NBA

Irving returns as Nets snap three-game skid against Pacers, Jokic triple-double as Nuggets lose

By Sports Desk January 06, 2022

Kyrie Irving scored 22 points upon his return to the Brooklyn Nets side for the first time this season as they came from behind to beat the Indiana Pacers 129-121 and snap a three-game skid on Wednesday.

Irving had been ruled out of the entire regular season by the Nets due to his vaccination status but the franchise changed their stance a fortnight ago, permitting him to play road games.

The 29-year-old point guard played 32 minutes, making nine-of-17 from the field along with three rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Irving's return reunited the 'big three' alongside Kevin Durant (39 points, eight rebounds and seven assists) and James Harden (18 points, five rebounds and six assists).

The Pacers had led 73-60 at half-time with a biggest lead of 19 points before Brooklyn rallied with an 8-0 run to end the third quarter, before Patty Mills put them ahead with a fourth-quarter three-pointer.

Domantas Sabonis recorded a triple-double for the Pacers with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

 

Popovich brings up 2,000th in style

Gregg Popovich coached the San Antonio Spurs for the 2,000th time, recording his 1,325th win in charge as they beat the Boston Celtics 97-95 with Jaylen Brown's lay-up buzzer beater rimming out. Brown scored 30 points with six rebounds, while Dejounte Murray had 22 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists for the Spurs.

Bojan Bogdanovic (36 points, 13 rebounds and four assists) won the battle of the Balkan stars against Nikola Jokic as the Utah Jazz edged the Denver Nuggets 115-109. The reigning MVP was exceptional for the Nugs with 26 points, 21 rebounds and 11 assists.

Joel Embiid scored 31 points as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Orlando Magic 116-106, while Giannis Antetokounmpo was absent with a non-COVID-related illness as the Milwaukee Bucks lost 117-111 to the Toronto Raptors with Pascal Siakam netting 33 points.

 

Curry goes cold for Warriors

Stephen Curry had an ordinary shooting night, going five-of-24 from the field and one-of-nine from beyond the arc as the Golden State Warriors lost 99-82 to the Dallas Mavericks. Curry finished with 14 points with nine rebounds while Mavs All-Star Luka Doncic had 26 points with seven rebounds and eight assists.

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    Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks will "believe until the end" after they kept their NBA title hopes alive with a Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics.

    The Celtics headed to Dallas on Friday with the chance to clinch a first NBA Championship since 2008, up 3-0 in the series and looking to get the job done on the road.

    However, Dallas dominated on their home court, cruising to a 122-84 blowout victory that means Boston will have to wait until at least Monday to seal a record-breaking 18th NBA title.

    No team has ever come from 3-0 down in an NBA playoff series, but Doncic says his Mavericks team will not let that deflate their hopes of pulling off a hugely unlikely comeback.

    "Like I said at the beginning of the series, it's first to four," Doncic told reporters. "We're going to believe until the end.

    "So we've just got to keep going. I have big belief in this team that we can do it."

    Doncic was facing criticism heading into Game 4 after fouling out in the latter stages of the previous contest, but he led the way with 29 points on Friday to help his team ease to victory.

    Kyrie Irving believes Doncic proved the doubters wrong with his Game 4 showing, saying: "I think he made a few people eat their words in a healthy way.

    "I think what you're seeing is him just taking accountability as best he can at this point in his life. He's a young person, still trying to figure it out. I give him that grace. 

    "I think it's just lessons being learned. When he is locked in like that, not paying attention to the refs, he's a huge, impactful player for us and a great leader for us. We want him to stay consistent on that and not be too hard on himself either."

  • Brown: Celtics must 'reassemble' after missing chance to clinch title in Game 4 Brown: Celtics must 'reassemble' after missing chance to clinch title in Game 4

    The Boston Celtics must "reassemble" after missing the chance to clinch the NBA Championship on Friday, says Jaylen Brown.

    The Celtics headed into Game 4 on the road at the Dallas Mavericks looking to complete the sweep and seal their first title since 2008.

    However, they were outplayed by their hosts, slumping to a 122-84 blowout loss to end their 10-match playoff winning run and leave them with work to do if they are to get over the finishing line.

    The Celtics now head home with the opportunity to get the job done on Monday, and Brown has called upon his team-mates to bounce back from Friday's 38-point defeat.

    "These are the moments that can make you or break you," Brown told reporters.

    "We have to reassemble. We have to look at it and learn from it, and then we've got to embrace it and attack it.

    "It's going to be hard to do what we're trying to do. We didn't expect anything to be easy, but it's no reason to lose our head."

    Dallas dominated from start to finish in Game 3, holding an 11-point lead just nine minutes into the contest and never looking back as they stamped out any hopes of a Boston comeback.

    Brown praised the Mavericks for their response to losing the first three games of the series, saying: "Give credit to Dallas.

    "I think they played hard physically, and then they dominated the glass. I think that was the key that put a lot of pressure on us.

    "And then we didn't make shots tonight, and I think that's where, you know, we allowed them to play free, once we get them multiple opportunities to make shots, and then also we didn't hit shots on the other end.

    "We're going to look at the film and see where we can get better, and then go from there."

  • NBA: Mavericks roll past Celtics to avoid sweep in NBA Finals NBA: Mavericks roll past Celtics to avoid sweep in NBA Finals

    Luka Dončić scored 25 of his 29 points in a dominant first half and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 122-84 rout of the Boston Celtics to avoid a sweep in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.

    Kyrie Irving added 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored all 15 of his in the fourth quarter for the Mavericks, who forced the series back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday night.

    Dallas opened a 13-point lead after one quarter, were up 26 at halftime and led by as many as 38 in the third before both sides emptied their benches.

    Dereck Lively had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavs, and connected on the first 3-pointer of his NBA career midway through the first quarter.

    The 38-point final margin was the third-biggest ever in an NBA Finals game, behind only Chicago beating Utah 96-54 in 1998 and the Celtics beating the Lakers 131-92 in 2008.

    Jayson Tatum scored 15 points and Sam Hauser had 14 for Boston, which had its franchise-record, 10-game postseason winning streak snapped.

    The Celtics shot 36.3 percent (29 for 80) from the field and were outrebounded 52-31.

    The 35 points in the first half represented their lowest-scoring total in a half in Joe Mazzulla’s two seasons as coach. The 26-point deficit at halftime was Boston’s largest ever in an NBA Finals game.

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