NBA

Heat rise after downing LeBron's Lakers, Embiid extends hot streak as 76ers win

By Sports Desk January 23, 2022

LeBron James had a double-double but it was not enough for the fast-finishing Los Angeles Lakers to overcome his former side the Miami Heat who won 113-107 on Sunday.

The Heat led by 23 points but the Lakers charged home with 37-24 points down the stretch.

James finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the Lakers, while Russell Westbrook had 24 points and nine rebounds.

Jimmy Butler starred for the Heat, breaking James' franchise record for triple-doubles with his 22 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

The Heat are top of the Eastern Conference with a 30-17 record, while the Lakers drop below .500 with a 23-24 record.

 

Embiid continues scoring streak

Joel Embiid continued his hot streak with a double-double as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Antonio Spurs 115-109. Embiid had 38 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, extending his 14-game run of 25 points or more.

Luka Doncic had a double-double with 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Dallas Mavericks won 104-91 over the Memphis Grizzlies, for whom Ja Morant had 35 points and 13 rebounds, while the Golden State Warriors won 94-92 over the Utah Jazz, despite only 11 fourth-quarter points.

Jayson Tatum scored 51 points, including 48 in the first three quarters, as the Boston Celtics won 116- 87 over the Washington Wizards, while DeMar DeRozan had 41 points as the short-handed Chicago Bulls' slide continued with a 114-95 loss to the lowly Orlando Magic.

 

Harden subdued as Nets cut down

James Harden shot four-of-13 for the game as the Brooklyn Nets were downed 136-125 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Harden only managed 13 points, while Kyrie Irving had 30 points with six rebounds and five assists.

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  • Mbappe can play with freedom alongside Messi and Neymar, says Galtier Mbappe can play with freedom alongside Messi and Neymar, says Galtier

    Kylian Mbappe is a smart enough player to create space and play with freedom alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar, according to Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier.

    France international Mbappe appeared to question the tactics used at PSG when admitting last week he has "a lot more freedom" when playing for his country.

    The 23-year-old was speaking on the back a 2-0 win over Austria in which he and strike partner Olivier Giroud linked up throughout, with both players on the scoresheet.

    But while Galtier agrees that PSG could do with a Giroud-type player in their squad, he does not believe his side have a problem getting the most out of Mbappe in attack.

    "I don't think he has less freedom," Galtier said ahead of Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with his former club Nice. "With Giroud, he has someone who opens up spaces for him.

    "We don't have that player profile but he's just as smart to find other moves with Leo and Neymar giving him the ball in his preferred space.

    "Kylian's analysis is correct. He's not in the same system for his club and national team. This is a discussion I've had with the president and Luis Campos about our attack.

    "We were all convinced we needed a fourth player in that position with a different profile, but that player did not come [in the transfer window]. It's a shame but that's how it is.

    "The technical relationship between Neymar, Leo and Kylian is different to what he has with the national team."

    The relationship between PSG's star-studded front three was again in the spotlight this week when Neymar declined to comment on his relationship with Mbappe.

    Speaking earlier this month, Mbappe admitted he has "hotter and colder moments" with the Brazil international, though added they have a strong mutual respect.

    But when probed on the pair's relationship on Thursday, Galtier insisted he is more than happy with the chemistry in the dressing room.

    "I am surprised I have to always repeat the same thing," he said. "Since I arrived here, to the current day, all I've experienced is normal things in the life of a locker room.

    "There is nothing that's surprised me, nothing that has challenged me. The players here want to win together and they are also in competition [for a place in the side].

    "They are all great champions with competitiveness, with egos. We have a pleasant dressing room. There is a discrepancy between what you hear and the reality."

    The Parisians enter the contest with Nice top of Ligue 1 with seven wins and a draw from the opening eight matches of their latest title defence.

    However, PSG have scored only one goal in both of their past two league outings – not since September 2020 have they failed to score more than once in three straight games.

    Galtier said during the international break that his side need to show more of a "killer" instinct in front of goal, having managed 12 shots on target across the two matches.

    "I want to remind the players that it would be beneficial to us to hurt teams quickly," Galtier added at Thursday's press conference.

    "It will help with the management of the squad and playing time. But it must be said that opposing goalkeepers have also performed well against us."

    PSG are unbeaten in their past 17 Ligue 1 games ahead of their return to action this weekend, which is the longest current run in the division.

  • Smith Rowe ruled out until December after undergoing surgery Smith Rowe ruled out until December after undergoing surgery

    Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe has been ruled out of action until December after undergoing an operation on his groin.

    The 22-year-old played in 33 of Arsenal's 38 Premier League games last season – only three outfield players featured more regularly – but he has struggled for minutes this term.

    Smith Rowe has not started any of league leaders Arsenal's opening seven matches in the competition and has totalled just 48 minutes on the pitch.

    He has been struggling with a persistent groin issue, which was aggravated in the 3-1 loss to Manchester United earlier this month, and it was decided he would undergo surgery.

    Arsenal confirmed on Thursday that Smith Rowe is facing a long spell on the sidelines, effectively ruling him out until the final fortnight of the year due to the break for the World Cup, a tournament the England international is now certain to miss.

    "In recent months, Emile Smith Rowe has been experiencing discomfort in his groin, which has limited his training and match appearances," the club statement read.

    "Following a significant setback at our Premier League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford on September 4, and after further specialist consultations and discussions with our medical team, Emile underwent surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his groin.

    "This successful surgery took place in London in the past few days and Emile’s rehabilitation programme is already under way. We are hopeful that Emile will return to full training in December.

    "Everyone at the club will now be supporting and working hard with Emile to get him back on the pitch as soon as possible."

    Smith Rowe has played 86 games for Arsenal in all competitions and has scored 18 times.

    The three-cap England international's shot conversion rate of 23.81 is the fourth best of any Premier League player to have scored at least 10 times since the start of last season.

    Arsenal return from the international break with a north London derby showdown against Tottenham on Saturday.

  • Steve Nash doesn't care if Ben Simmons ever shoots for Nets Steve Nash doesn't care if Ben Simmons ever shoots for Nets

    The way Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash sees it, it does not matter if Ben Simmons ever takes a shot for his team because he does so many other things well.

    Two-time NBA All-Defensive First Teamer Simmons is set to make his debut for the Nets this season after he missed all last season while waiting for a trade out of Philadelphia and then dealing with rehab from back surgery as well as ongoing mental health issues.

    "Very unique," Nash said of Simmons after the second full practice of training camp on Wednesday. "That's what makes Ben great.

    "That's why I don't care if he ever shoots a jump shot for the Brooklyn Nets. He's welcome to, but that is not what makes him special and not what we need. He's a great complement to our team, and he's an incredible basketball player because of his versatility."

    The Nets have the luxury of having two standout scorers on their roster in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, which should allow Simmons to play a more wide-ranging role.

    "I think they'll have a certain element of cohesion out of the gates," Nash said of his star trio. "Because they're all really good basketball players, but hopefully it's something that evolves. And they can continue to find ways to make each other better. I think that's the beauty, that they actually fit really well together, but it may take time."

    With Durant and Irving handling the bulk of the offense, Simmons will be free to focus on defense and rebounding while creating open looks for his star teammates.

    "You're playing with some great NBA players, some of the greatest," Simmons said. "So, for me, it's just playing alongside them, figuring out where they want their shots, how they move, different spots on the floor where I need to be. It's just timing."

    Simmons' career 8.1 rebounds per game should benefit the Nets, who lost one of the league's best rebounding guards when James Harden was dealt to the 76ers.

    "He helps us for sure defensively, rebounding," Nash said. "And not only the talent he has, but also just size. Overall team size is something we struggled with."

    Nash said he wouldn't have a problem giving the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Simmons minutes at centre when the situation calls for it.

    "If he's the 'lone big,' that's a role we would definitely play him at," he said. "But he's also our playmaker and point guard."

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