NBA

Harden records 66th career triple-double as Nets beat Spurs to top east, LeBron leads Lakers rally

By Sports Desk January 22, 2022

James Harden and Dejounte Murray both had triple-doubles as the Brooklyn Nets got past the San Antonio Spurs 117-102 on Friday.

Harden scored 37 points with 10 rebounds and 11 assists with Kevin Durant out with a sprained left MCL as the Nets rallied from a 51-50 half-time deficit to improve to 29-16.

Kyrie Irving contributed 24 points with three rebounds and four assists for the Nets, who are top of the Eastern Conference.

Harden's triple-double was the 66th of his career, moving him to eighth on the all-time list, while Murray – who had 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists – recorded his ninth triple-double of the season and 13th of his career.

 

LeBron leads Lakers past Magic

LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers' second-half response as they fought back from an eight-point half-time deficit to win 116-105 over the Orlando Magic. James finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists, playing the second half at center, while Russell Westbrook contributed 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

The Milwaukee Bucks edged the Chicago Bulls 94-90 in an important game in the Eastern Conference standings. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points with 12 rebounds and three assists as the Bucks overcame Grayson Allen's ejection.

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic recorded another triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists but Ja Morant overshadowed him with 38 points as the Memphis Grizzlies won 122-118 over the Denver Nuggets, while Stephen Curry had 22 points including a game-winning buzzer beater in the Golden State Warriors' 105-103 win over the Houston Rockets.

 

Sixers fluff 24-point lead

The Philadelphia 76ers blew a 24-point lead to lose 102-101 to the Los Angeles Clippers despite Joel Embiid scoring 40 points with 13 rebounds. Reggie Jackson finishing with 19 points and nine assists for the Clippers.

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  • 'I like physicality' - Butler guarantees Heat intensity after Game 1 win 'I like physicality' - Butler guarantees Heat intensity after Game 1 win

    Jimmy Butler has assured he will sustain intensity against the Boston Celtics, following the Miami Heat's 118-107 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday.

    Butler was at his best for the Heat, finishing with 41 points on 12-of-19 shooting, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.

    He also took 18 free-throw attempts and only two three-point attempts in comparison, attacking the basket at almost every opportunity.

    Against a Boston team that can be just as physical and aggressive as the Heat, the six-time All-Star said he will thrive on it, but the individual stat line does not matter in relation to wins and losses.

    "I like physicality. I want to run into people and see who falls down first, who's going to quit first," Butler said. at the post-game news conference.

    "I think that's the style of basketball I like to play and so do they. I was zero-for-two from three tonight, I want to go zero-for-zero next game, because I just want to keep banging into people.

    "I think I speak for my teammates, the Miami Heat organisation when I say I know what I'm capable of. I don't do this, score 40 points, I play the way that I play to win, by all means necessary. It just so happens that I scored 40, but if I score 40 and lose I'm gonna be really pissed off.

    "I have so much trust in my teammates and I will continue to play that way. I've been a quote unquote scorer at other points in my career, and it didn't work out too well for me, so I'm glad that I have the guys that I have around me and with me."

    Down by eight at the start of the second half, the Heat turned it around with a 39-14 third quarter in which they were able to get six steals and force the Celtics to none-of-seven from the perimeter.

    Butler's 17 points and three steals as the Heat turned Game 1 around were critical, but he asserted that the team knew they needed to dial up the intensity on the defensive end before coach Erik Spoelstra even addressed them.

    "It's crazy because he [Spoelstra] didn't have to say too much," he said. "We already knew what we were doing wrong – turning the ball over, not getting back. We're at home, we've got to play better basketball, as a team. We did that, went on a little run, but this was just a win.

    "I've said it all season long, whenever we let our defense dictate our offense, we're a much better team – we get stops, get into the open floor, we whip that ball around to our shooters and that's the style of basketball we call Miami Heat basketball. Gritty, dog-like, worried about getting stops instead of worried about getting buckets."

  • 'It's on me': Tatum accepts blame for Celtics' third-quarter collapse in Heat loss 'It's on me': Tatum accepts blame for Celtics' third-quarter collapse in Heat loss

    Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has taken the blame for his turnovers in the Miami Heat's game-changing 22-2 third-quarter run in Tuesday's Conference Finals Game 1 defeat.

    The Celtics led 62-54 at half-time but were blown away by the Heat in a staggering 39-14 third quarter where Boston gave up eight turnovers, including six from Tatum.

    Boston were not helped by poor shooting offensively, with their two-of-15 (13 per cent) from the field in the third being their worst in any quarter over the last four seasons.

    "They were down at half-time and came out and played hard in the third quarter," Tatum told reporters after the game.

    "It's on me, I had six turnovers. I've got to take care of the ball better, especially in those situations when they're going on runs like that."

    Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said his side lost their composure during the third quarter, with Jimmy Butler starring for the Heat at both ends.

    Butler finished the game with 41 points, including 27 in the second half, while he also had four steals and three blocks.

    "They looked like they came out in the second half and wanted to up their physicality and aggression at both ends," Udoka said.

    "I don’t think we obviously responded well on either end of the floor. We had eight of our 16 turnovers in that quarter.

    "It flipped very quickly. We lost our composure."

    The win gives the Heat a 1-0 series lead but Udoka was eager to point out that the Celtics won three of the four quarters, offering hope moving forward.

    "We won three quarters other than that but obviously that one is going to stand out, 39-14 on two-of-15 is tough to overcome," he said.

    "We won the transition battle, won the second-chance points battle we won the points in the paint, really had one poor quarter that hurt us.

    "It was strictly from a physically standpoint. It wasn’t anything different that they did. At least we bounced back in the fourth."

  • Butler scores 41 points as Heat blaze Celtics after lopsided third-quarter blitz Butler scores 41 points as Heat blaze Celtics after lopsided third-quarter blitz

    Jimmy Butler scored 41 points including 27 in the second half as the Miami Heat's third-quarter charge helped them to a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 118-107 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

    After trailing 62-54 at half-time, the Heat went on a 22-2 run early in the third quarter to storm ahead and never looked back from there. The Heat are 7-0 in the 2022 playoffs at FTX Arena.

    Butler's 41-point haul was his sixth time in 12 playoff games where he has hit the 30-point mark. It was also his third 40-point night of these playoffs.

    The Heat forward shot 12-of-19 from the floor, along with eight-of-11 in the second half, while he also had nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks in a remarkable all-round display.

    Butler becomes the first player this postseason with at least 30 points and four steals in multiple games.

    Gabe Vincent (17 points, three assists, three blocks), Max Strus (11 points including three triples, four rebounds, two assists, two steals) and Tyler Herro (18 points, eight rebounds, three assists) all provided good support.

    The Celtics were left to lament their 39-14 third quarter, along with their 11-of-34 three-point shooting, cooling off in the second half.

    Boston's two-of-15 (13 per cent) third-quarter field goal shooting was their worst in any quarter over the last four seasons. The Celtics only managed four points in the paint in the second half, having scored 42 in the first.

    Jayson Tatum top scored for Boston with 29 points with two-of-nine from beyond the arc along with eight rebounds, six assists and four steals.

    Jaylen Brown added 24 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, while the absence of Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (health and safety protocols) was felt.

    The Heat were also missing veteran point guard Kyle Lowry due to a lingering hamstring issue.

    Miami's 12 blocks for the game, led by center Bam Adebayo (10 points, four rebounds, four blocks), was a joint franchise playoff record.

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