NBA

Kyrie Irving's 60-point explosion leads Brooklyn blowout, Morant-less Grizzlies cruise

By Sports Desk March 15, 2022

Another road game, and another virtuoso performance from Kyrie Irving in the Brooklyn Nets' 150-108 win over the Orlando Magic.

Unable to play in home games due to New York's vaccine mandate, Irving made the most of Brooklyn's trip to Orlando, scoring a ridiculous 41 points (14-19 from the field) in just the first half.

In an explosive team performance, the Nets scored 48 points in the first quarter, while Irving and Kevin Durant combined for 26. Irving went on to score another 25 of his side's 38 in the second period.

Irving eventually sat with more than eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, with his team up by 37 and his personal tally at a career-best 60 points on 20-31 shooting, 8-12 from the perimeter and 12-13 from the free-throw line.

It also sets a new franchise record for the Nets, beating Deron Williams' 57 back in 2012.

Irving's previous high-scores were 57 points and 55 points, which he scored within two months of each other in the 2014-15 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The massive total ties the most points scored in an NBA game this season, matching Karl-Anthony Towns' mark which he set just yesterday.

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  • Warriors win after 'incredible' Kerr contract extension Warriors win after 'incredible' Kerr contract extension

    Draymond Green welcomed the news that Steve Kerr has agreed a contract extension with the Golden State Warriors, calling the development "incredible".

    Golden State defeated the Charlotte Hornets 97-84 at home on Friday after reports had emerged that Kerr has agreed to a two-year, $35 million contract extension that will make him the highest-paid coach in NBA history.

    The new deal, which is not yet formally signed, will reportedly pay Kerr, who has guided the Warriors to four NBA championships, $17.5 million a year.

    His current deal was set to expire at the end of this season but Warriors forward Green was not worried about the prospect of Kerr leaving, as he was always confident an agreement would be struck.

    "No [I was not worried], because I know [owner] Joe [Lacob] is going to do the right thing," Green said, per ESPN.

    "He has done nothing but build that trust with us that he is going to do the right thing and take care of those who take care of this organization."

    San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is reported to make more annually than Kerr, but he also serves as the team’s president.

    Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra signed an eight-year extension that pays him approximately $15m a season.

    Kerr, 58, is in his 10th season as coach of the Warriors and holds a career regular season record of 501-264 and is 99-41 in the playoffs. 

    He won his 500th game last week to become the fifth-fastest coach to do so in history.

    "I think it's incredible," added Green. "I wouldn't want to finish my time here with any other coach. 

    "What he has meant to this franchise and the winning ways that he brought here – you can't replace that. He got what he deserved."

    Kerr will also coach Team USA in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. He said he felt "really good" about the team's future but could not comment on the deal until it was officially signed and announced.

    The victory means Golden State (29-26) has now won 10 of its last 12 games in the NBA, while Charlotte (14-42) had a four-game winning streak snapped.

    Stephen Curry had 15 points and five assists in a game that saw him take on his younger brother Seth, with their father Dell on commentary to make it a special night for the family.

    The Warriors' Curry (23,160 points) moved past Elgin Baylor (23,149) into 33rd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. 

    Hornets forward Miles Bridges had 19 points and 11 rebounds but was involved in a scuffle that saw Lester Quinones and Grant Williams ejected in garbage time. 

    An argument had ensued after Quinones drove to the basket and attempted a layup with 10.9 seconds remaining, with Bridges called for goaltending.

    "I don’t really understand why people get so mad at somebody scoring at the end of the game," added Green.

    "It’s like this dumb, unofficial, unwritten rule. If you all were winning by 13 points would you get mad if he laid a ball up? I doubt it. So it's kind of like a sore loser type thing."

    The Warriors will next host the Denver Nuggets in a big Sunday game.

  • Individual feats 'secondary' to wins for Wembanyama Individual feats 'secondary' to wins for Wembanyama

    Victor Wembanyama wants victories, not individual feats, after he joined Michael Jordan in the NBA record books.

    Wembanyama became just the second NBA rookie, after Jamaal Tinsley in 2001, to post at least five points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocks in a single game. He is just the second player to have five blocks and as many steals in successive games, after the great Jordan.

    However, his efforts proved fruitless for the San Antonio Spurs, who lost 113-108 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

    Wembanyama finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals and five blocks. He is just the 15th player in the NBA to record a 5x5.

    But for the overall number one draft pick, wins are the priority.

    "To me, it's secondary," Wembanyama said. "Hopefully in the future, and think this is a good performance, but as of today, I can't be satisfied with a loss."

    LeBron James returned from injury to score 30 points for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis had 28 points and 13 rebounds.

    "Of course it was challenging [going against] one of the best duos in the league," Wembanyama said of facing two of the NBA's star players.

    "But still, I think it's a lot of teams we beat if we play this way.

    "But I think it came down to maturity at the end because each and every one of us was making a mistake each of the times.

    "Little mistakes, missing a layup, turning the ball over. We went down, we went back to down four, down seven multiple times and that's when we did mistakes. So yeah, it's maturity."

    Even though the Spurs have lost 10 of their last 11 games, James believes the sky truly is the limit for Wembanyama.

    "He doesn't have a ceiling," James said.

    "He can do whatever he wants to do with his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts in the work. Just from the outside looking in, I'm not with him on a day-to-day basis, but I said a long time ago how special he was, and it's literally that simple.

    "There are guys in our league that you have to account for any time you get around the rim or around the perimeter in our league history, and he sits right at the top of it, [if not] around the top, with all the greats.

    "He's one of them to have like a stellar rookie season. Guys that have come in and [dominated]. But, it's, can you sustain it? We've had guys that have come in and [have] just been really damn [good]."

    The Lakers returned to winning ways following their loss to the Golden State Warriors, but coach Darvin Ham was not entirely satisfied with the performance.

    "You want your team to constantly look within and try to make plays and force the other team to put you in uncomfortable positions," Ham said.

    "Not you put yourself in those uncomfortable positions, whether it's not sprinting back in transition or allowing teams to get two or three offensive rebounds. Or, you know, fouling because we're not in position because we're not doing our work early. And then going down the other end and not trusting the execution.

    "We've got a bunch of weapons, but they're useless if we don't do the little things, sprinting hard when we get the ball in transition, not turning it over, maintaining spacing, making sure we get hits on screens to create an advantage and making the simple, easy play."

  • Antetokounmpo has 33 and 13 in Bucks' win over West-leading Timberwolves Antetokounmpo has 33 and 13 in Bucks' win over West-leading Timberwolves

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks held off the West-leading Minnesota Timberwolves 112-107 on Friday in a matchup of NBA heavyweights.

    Damian Lillard had 21 points, 10 assists and a season-high nine rebounds and Malik Beasley scored all 14 of his points in the third quarter as the Bucks improved to 4-10 under new coach Doc Rivers.

    Anthony Edwards scored 28 points and hit three 3-pointers in the final two minutes to draw the Wolves within 110-107 with 31 seconds left, but Lillard’s long jumper 22 seconds later sealed the win.

    Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points with 14 rebounds and Rudy Gobert added 12 points and 19 boards for Minnesota, which had a four-game winning streak snapped.

    Butler among 4 ejected in Heat’s win

    Jimmy Butler was one of four players ejected after a fourth-quarter scuffle and the Miami Heat held off the New Orleans Pelicans, 106-95.

    Butler had 23 points and nine rebounds and Bam Adebayo added 24 points for Miami, which snapped New Orleans’ four-game winning streak and made it seven consecutive wins over the Pelicans.

    Also ejected for the melee were Heat reserve Thomas Bryant and Jose Alvarado and Naji Marshall of the Pelicans.

    Herb Jones scored 19 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 12 with 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which couldn’t overcome 37.5 percent shooting, including 7 of 32 from 3-point range.

    Maxey leads 76ers over Cavaliers

    Tyrese Maxey scored 24 points and Cam Payne added 16 off the bench to propel the Philadelphia 76ers to a 104-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Maxey came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of the Sixers’ final 20 points and assisted on a 3-pointer by Buddy Hield that put Philadelphia up by eight in the final minute.

    Maxey was the only Sixer to make more than one basket in the fourth quarter and also added four rebounds and two assists.

    Jarrett Allen had 24 points and Darius Garland added 20 and nine assists, but Cleveland had a six-game road winning streak stopped while losing for the third time in four games overall.

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