NBA

Harden dazzles on home debut for 76ers, Bucks stun Heat with stirring comeback

By Sports Desk March 03, 2022

James Harden continued his impressive start to life with the Philadelphia 76ers by dazzling in Wednesday's 123-108 victory against the New York Knicks on his home debut.

The 10-time NBA All-Star starred with 26 points, nine assists and nine rebounds to make it three wins from three since arriving from the Brooklyn Nets last month.

Joel Embiid led the scoring with 27 points, while Tyrese Maxey added 25 as the 76ers won for a fourth game in a row and improved to 38-23 for the season.

Doc Rivers' side now sit two games back of the Miami Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings after the latter lost 120-119 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Heat led by 14 points with six minutes to play but could not see out a fifth victory in a row, with Jrue Holiday's driving layup with 1.9 seconds to go completing the comeback.

Defending NBA champions Milwaukee had Giannis Antetokounmpo to thank for the much-needed win, the two-time MVP registering 28 points, 17 rebounds and five assists.

 


Suns reach milestone mark

The Phoenix Suns became the first team to reach 50 wins this season by easing to a 120-90 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at Footprint Center.

Cam Johnson scored 20 points and Deandre Ayton added 18 as the Suns made light work of being without Chris Paul and Devin Booker, the latter entering the league's health and safety protocols.

Portland briefly put up a fight and were ahead early in the second quarter, but the hosts rallied to lead 63-48 at half-time and pulled further ahead to keep a two-game lead over the Chicago Bulls atop the Eastern Conference.


Pelicans show unity with Ukraine

The New Orleans Pelicans wore yellow socks for their 125-95 win over the Sacramento Kings in a show of solidarity with Ukraine after the country was invaded by Russia.

"It's a big mess," said Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds. "We're just trying to bring more attention. The enemy is still out there. Innocent people are still dying. 

"The whole world is talking about sanctions, support, prayers – but something else has to be done because the war is still going on. It's been a tough seven days."
 
Elsewhere on Wednesday, injury-depleted Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off a surprise 119-107 win over the Denver Nuggets, while Donovan Mitchell scored 37 points as the Utah Jazz held off the Houston Rockets 132-127.

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost for a fifth time in six games with a 119-98 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, despite the return of Darius Garland from injury, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Orlando Magic 122-114 thanks to Malcolm Brogdon's 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

Related items

  • Curry laments 'perfect storm' as Warriors demolished by Celtics Curry laments 'perfect storm' as Warriors demolished by Celtics

    Stephen Curry lamented a "perfect storm" as the Golden State Warriors were on the end of a 140-88 defeat to the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

    The loss at TD Garden was the fourth-worst the Warriors, who entered the contest in good form, have suffered in franchise history.

    It marks the third time this season the Celtics have won by 50 points or more, meanwhile, as they racked up an 11th victory in a row.

    "The way that they've been playing, they seem very sure of themselves in their identity and who they are," Curry said. "Give them credit. 

    "They came out and whooped us from the jump, and it was a perfect storm of a rough [day] on our end and them taking it to us."

    Curry played despite being questionable, but he did not feature in the second half as he finished with a season-low tally of four points.

    The Warriors will hope to have Curry back to full fitness for their return to action against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

    "This was not a day off for Steph, though he probably could have used one," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said.

    "He's played so well and for so long this year. Hopefully the next few days he'll get it recharged."

    Jaylen Brown led the scoring with 29 points, while birthday boy Jayson Tatum had 26 in the Celtics' third-biggest victory in franchise history.

    Boston led by a franchise-record 44 points at the midway point and went on to extend their advantage to 51 before making some changes.

    "It feels great, but, at the same time, it's always within humility," Brown said. "We don't take the game for granted. 

    "We didn't come and mess around and that's just how we show our respect to the game, we handle business and take care of it.

    "It's a lot of respect for the Golden State Warriors, but we feel like it's our time now."

    The 48-12 Celtics lead the Eastern Conference, while the Warriors are ninth in the Western Conference with a record of 32-28. 

  • Celtics obliterate Warriors 140-88, hold Curry to just four points Celtics obliterate Warriors 140-88, hold Curry to just four points

    Stephen Curry's first basket Sunday tied the score between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics midway through the first quarter.

    The next time he made a shot, the Warriors trailed by 32 points.

    The Celtics annihilated Curry and the Warriors, cruising to a 140-88 drubbing to extend their season-best winning streak to 11 games.

    The victory marked the third-largest winning margin in franchise history as Boston set an NBA record with its third win by 50 or more points this season.

     

    After Curry's floating bank shot tied the game at 21 with 6:05 to play in the opening period, Boston went on a 22-3 run en route to a franchise-record 44-point half-time lead.

    Curry's only other basket came with 4:24 remaining in the second quarter, as his four points marked his fewest since he scored just three on March 16, 2022 at Boston - a game he departed after playing just 16 minutes due to a foot injury.

    The 10-time All-Star missed all nine of his 3-point attempts and didn't play after half-time.

    The Celtics had no such trouble making their baskets, connecting on 51.0 per cent of their 3-point tries, hitting a season high-tying 25 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.

    Jaylen Brown had a game-high 29 points in just 22 minutes, while Jayson Tatum had 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting on his 26th birthday.

    Payton Pritchard added 19 points for the Celtics, who shot 60 per-cent in the first half to go into the break with an 82-38 lead, and led by as much as 56 points.

    At 48-12, Boston has its best record through 60 games since 2007-08 - the last season the franchise won the NBA title.

    Golden State (32-28) arrived in Boston having won 11 of 13, including eight straight on the road.

    None of the Warriors starters played more than 20 minutes, as reserve Lester Quinones had a team-high 17 points in 33 minutes.

     

    Thunder escape in Phoenix to move back atop West

    The Oklahoma City Thunder survived a furious rally by the Phoenix Suns to pull out an impressive 118-110 road win to move atop Western Conference.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 36 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to help the Thunder bounce back from Thursday's 132-118 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

    The victory marked Oklahoma City's seventh in eight games as the Thunder (42-18) moved into sole possession of first place in the West for the first time since January 27.

    Oklahoma City looked like it was going to cruise to an easy win, going up by 24 points on Gilgeous-Alexander's jump shot with 6:56 left in the third quarter.

    The Suns (35-26) stormed back, however, going on a 31-5 run and taking a 91-89 lead Royce O'Neale's 3-pointer just over one minute into the fourth period.

    Phoenix built its lead to six points before Oklahoma City rallied once more, taking the lead for good at 105-103 on Jalen Williams' driving layup with 5:29 to play.

     

    Jusuf Nurkic established a Phoenix franchise record with 31 rebounds - the most by any player in the NBA since Kevin Love also had 31 for the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 12, 2010.

    Nurkic's previous career high for rebounds was 23 and he broke the Suns' record of 27 set by Tyson Chandler on January 23, 2016.

    He also had 14 points and four assists for Phoenix, which was playing without Devin Booker after he sprained his right ankle in Saturday's 118-109 loss to the Houston Rockets.

    Bradley Beal led the Suns with 31 points and six assists but also accounted for seven of Phoenix's 21 turnovers.

    Kevin Durant, who added 20 points, turned the ball over five times, along with Nurkic.

     

    Brunson exits early but Knicks get past Cavaliers

    Things looked bleak early for New York when Jalen Bunson got hurt in the opening minute, but the Knicks managed to overcome the loss of their All-Star guard for a 107-98 road win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Brunson was injured on New York's first possession when his left knee hit the knee of team-mate Isaiah Hartenstein as he lifted off the ground while attempting a jump shot after coming off a screen from Hartenstein near the foul line.

    He sat on the court holding his left leg and needed to be helped to the locker room.

    The injury is not believed to be serious with coach Tom Thibodeau saying after the game that X-rays were negative. 

    That's good news for a banged-up Knicks team already without starters Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and O.G. Anunoby because of injuries.

    Brunson, who was diagnosed with a knee contusion, entered the game against the Cavaliers averaging 30.2 points in his last six games.

    Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo stepped up in Brunson's absence for the Knicks (36-25), as Hart finished with 13 points, a career high-tying 19 rebounds and 10 assists, while DiVincenzo scored 28.

     

    Reserve Miles McBride entered New York's lineup after Brunson was injured, and was never subbed out, finishing with 16 points and four 3-pointers - including a clutch 3 in the final minute to put the Knicks up by nine.

    Playing without Donovan Mitchell for a second straight game because of left knee soreness, the Cavaliers (39-21) fell apart late, missing 5 of 6 shots while turning the ball over four times in the final four minutes.

    Backup Sam Merrill led Cleveland with 21 points while making 7-of-13 3-point attempts and Darius Garland added 19 points and went 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. 

  • James after reaching 40,000 NBA points: 'Records are always meant to be broken' James after reaching 40,000 NBA points: 'Records are always meant to be broken'

    LeBron James cannot discount another player going on to reach 40,000 NBA points, as he celebrated reaching the milestone despite a Los Angeles Lakers loss.

    The Lakers lost 124-114 to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, though with a haul of 26 points, James reached 40,017 points.

    When James reached nine points, he was presented with the game ball and received an ovation from the crowd at the Crypto.com arena.

    Coincidentally, James surpassed the 40,000 mark on the 62nd anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks.

    While teammate Anthony Davis believes no other player will come close to matching James' points haul, James himself warned records are there to be broken, even though no other active player has yet reached 30,000 career points.

    "Obviously we have a lot of great guys in our league that can score the ball, and if they were to stay healthy and they would play a long time, then they can eclipse it," James said.

    "And then, records are always meant to be broken. You can never say never for any record. At one point we said that Big O's [Oscar Robertson's] triple-double record would never be broken and Russ [Westbrook] did it, and now looks like Joker [Nikola Jokic] and Luka [Doncic], they're doing it every night.

    "I feel like I'm still that threat out on the floor and I am still able to do the things that I was doing 10 years ago. And some things I was doing 20 years ago, which is weird to say."

    Davis did joke, though, that James' record-setting games usually come in defeats for the Lakers.

    "I was just telling him in the locker room he might have to stop breaking records because we always lose any time he breaks a record," Davis said. "And he said the same thing."

    Indeed, that streak is quite something. James was on the losing side when he reached his 30,000th and 35,000th career points. When he became the all-time leading NBA points scorer last year, the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    "For me, the main thing is always the main thing, and that's the win," James said.

    "I hated that it had to happen in the defeat, especially versus the team that plays extremely well. We played some good basketball tonight, but weren't able to close it out. So, bittersweet but enjoyed every moment tonight on the floor."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.