NBA

Suns make franchise history with 18th straight win as merciless Grizzlies break NBA record

By Sports Desk December 03, 2021

The Phoenix Suns celebrated a franchise-record 18th consecutive win after taking down the lowly Detroit Pistons 114-103 in the NBA on Thursday.

Phoenix – who reached last season's NBA Finals – eclipsed the 17-game record set during the 2006-07 campaign, despite the absence of All-Star Devin Booker.

Leading scorer Booker sat out for the first time this season after suffering a hamstring injury in Tuesday's win over the Golden State Warriors, however, the Suns were still too good for the Pistons.

The NBA-leading Suns – who improved to 19-3 – were fuelled by 19 points apiece from Cam Johnson and Cameron Payne, while Deandre Ayton had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 12 points and 12 assists.

Phoenix also celebrated back-to-back wins over Detroit for the first time since 2014.

Jerami Grant put up a game-high 34 points for the Pistons, who have lost eight straight games for their worst skid since 2017-18.

 

Grizzlies in historic humbling

The Memphis Grizzlies broke the record for the largest victory in NBA history after humiliating the shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder 152-79. Memphis surpassed the 1991 Cleveland Cavaliers (68 points) for the largest winning margin thanks to their 73-point demolition. The Grizzlies were without star Ja Morant. According to Stats Perform, 152 is the most points in NBA history by a team missing a player who was leading the team in total points and assists entering the game.

 

DeMar DeRozan (34 points), Zach LaVine (27 points) and Nikola Vucevic (27 points) combined to lead the Chicago Bulls past the New York Knicks 119-115. Julius Randle's double-double of 30 points and 12 rebounds was not enough for the Knicks.

 

Milwaukee's streak over as Giannis sits out

Giannis Antetokounmpo was held out by the Milwaukee Bucks due to a calf problem. In his absence, the defending champions lost 97-93 at the Toronto Raptors as their eight-game winning run was halted. Milwaukee shot just 37.6 per cent from the field.

Related items

  • Liverpool assistant Lijnders excited by Elliott's comeback Liverpool assistant Lijnders excited by Elliott's comeback

    Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has expressed his excitement at Harvey Elliott's return to full training, saying that the youngster "didn't lose his football brain."

    Elliott has been out of action since September, having dislocated his ankle in a 3-0 Leeds United. The teenager had played in all four of Liverpool's previous games this season.

    The 18-year-old returned to full training earlier this week and Lijnders smiled as he was asked about the former Fulham player at a news conference ahead of Liverpool's EFL Cup semi-final second leg at Arsenal.

    "Let me say it like this, he didn't lose his football brain," Lijnders said, though he did not put a timescale on Elliott's return to match action.

    "He shows immediately what he's about. It would be a crime if you would not play him if he trains like this, but we know it's just the start of the team training. He needs time and we go step by step, of course.

    "Some players they never knock on the door, they run through it – and he's one of them."

    Elliott, the youngest ever Premier League player, returned to Merseyside at the end of last season having enjoyed a productive loan spell at Championship side Blackburn Rovers, where he registered the joint-third most assists in the division (11), behind only Emiliano Buendia (16) and Michael Olise (12), who is now playing a starring role for Crystal Palace.

    He was also the only player in the Championship to register as many as three second assists – which Opta defines as a pass/cross that is instrumental in creating a goal-scoring opportunity – and was eighth overall for successful passes into the final third (519), ahead of the likes of Olise (495), Leicester City's Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (478 while on loan at Luton Town) and Tottenham's Oliver Skipp (441 while on loan at Norwich City).

    In his three Premier League starts and one substitute appearance this season before his injury, Elliott created five chances, more than team-mate Curtis Jones (three) has in his four starts and three appearances from the bench, and won possession in the middle third of the pitch (17) more often than Jones (11) and even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (12) despite the former Arsenal man making 15 league appearances, seven of which have been starts.

    Lijnders also had words of praise for Liverpool's opponents on Thursday, crediting the work that Mikel Arteta has done since taking charge of Arsenal just over two years ago and noting how well the Gunners played in the goalless first leg at Anfield despite going down to 10 men in the first half when Granit Xhaka was sent off.

    Arteta, too, has been happy to utilise younger players as he continues to freshen up Arsenal's squad.

    "First of all, Arsenal always had really good players but, for me, they have a really good team at this moment," Lijnders added. "I think credit to Mikel, they matured.

    "You see many games where the team with 10 men plays better than the 11 – not play better but they give just this extra step, they give this extra [bit] more because they know they have one player less. What happens many times with the 11 players is that they do one thing less because they know they have one player more. That's exactly what happened.

    "Anyway, what I like about the Arsenal game is that we wanted to surprise them with our intensity and that's what we did until Xhaka went off.

    "I really think that in football the only advantage exists if you go to the last minute of the game, to be honest. Before that, it's quite even. I think Mikel did an unbelievable job. The team is a proper team.

    "They were struggling as well with injuries and, how you said, COVID cases and they had to change as well in the last minute, but if you can play with 10 men like that then you have a mature and good team."

  • Arteta insists Arsenal 'did the right thing' by requesting Tottenham postponement Arteta insists Arsenal 'did the right thing' by requesting Tottenham postponement

    Mikel Arteta hit back at Arsenal's critics following the postponement of Sunday's north London derby as he insisted "we did the right thing."

    The Gunners were due to make the short trip to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for a showdown with their fierce rivals, but the game was called off due to a lack of players available to Arteta.

    Arsenal were accused of exploiting the Premier League's rules, with the majority of players absent due to injury, suspension or Africa Cup of Nations duty.

    The club only one confirmed positive COVID-19 case at the time of lodging an application to get the derby called off, but the Premier League deemed they were unable to meet the required number of available players – 13 outfielders and a goalkeeper – despite their Under-23s having a squad of 16 for a game on Friday.

    Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte felt the decision to postpone the match was "very, very strange."

    Arsenal manager Arteta hit back on the eve of Thursday's EFL Cup semi-final second leg at home to Liverpool, which he expects to go ahead despite "issues that have not been resolved" in his squad.

    Asked what he thought about people saying Arsenal could have played the game, the Spaniard said: "We played against Forest [in the FA Cup] when we had 10 players out and we went to Liverpool and we had many players out.

    "We have done that and we have played with academy players when we already have the youngest squad in the league.

    "Tomorrow if we have everybody available as I suspect we will play the match because we want to play football."

    He added: "I think more than hate [being directed towards Arsenal] there is a lot of respect for Arsenal and that comes from the history of the club, how it's always acted and how it has always conducted itself.

    "We know we did the right thing. We worked with the Premier League and the FA to make that decision. If anything we've been very honest at least."

    Arteta stressed that it was "100 per cent guaranteed" that Arsenal did not have enough players to face Spurs.

    Asked if the criticism of the club could be used as a fuel to drive his team, Arteta said: "We will defend our club tooth and nail. We're not going to get anybody damaging our name or trying to spread lies."

    Arteta revealed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is back in London and has undergone tests after returning from the Africa Cup of Nations for medical reasons without playing a game.

    The Gabon striker had tested positive for COVID-19 on January 6 and was subsequently diagnosed with "heart lesions".

    Arteta said: "He's in London and going through some examinations because we haven't had any clarity from Gabon about why he came back.

    "So it's our obligation to make sure he's safe and in good condition. So far historically with what we've done with the player that's never been an issue."

    Aubameyang has not featured for Arsenal since December 6, having been stripped of the captaincy due to a breach of club rules.

    Arsenal and Liverpool played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their EFL Cup tie at Anfield, with Granit Xhaka seeing red in the first half.

  • Zverev: I hope my brother has not sold my Olympic gold on eBay Zverev: I hope my brother has not sold my Olympic gold on eBay

    An Olympic gold medal would be most athletes' prized possession, but Alexander Zverev's ownership has perhaps been a little more carefree – or it was until he found himself wondering if his brother had sold it on eBay.

    Zverev claimed arguably the biggest title of his career last year when claiming gold in Tokyo, adding that to his 2018 ATP Finals success – he went on to repeat that triumph at the year-end tournament in Turin.

    The German beat Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals at the Olympics before going on to defeat Karen Khachanov in straight sets to win the tournament.

    That made him the first German man to win a gold in the singles and first to win any medal since Tommy Haas got silver 21 years earlier.

    While some might tend to their gold medal on a daily basis, polishing it generously as it takes pride of place on the mantelpiece, it turns out Zverev has not actually seen his for a while.

    His older brother Mischa has had it for a few months, leaving the younger sibling not even sure if it is still in the family's possession.

    After beating Australian's John Millman to reach the third round of the Australian Open, Zverev was asked where he keeps his gold medal, to which he replied: "That's actually a good question because my brother took it for a media appearance.

    "He didn't give it back to me yet. I don't know where it is for the past five months. Hopefully he hasn't sold it on eBay or something."

    Zverev will presumably be a little more attentive to any silverware he claims in Melbourne this year, with the 24-year-old still chasing his first major.

    Seeded third this month, Zverev is certainly considered one of the favourites after an excellent 2021 in which he won six titles, more than anyone else on the ATP Tour.

    Zverev was initially on course to meet Djokovic in the semis, but the Serbian's absence means many will consider him the favourite to reach the showpiece from his side of the draw and he has made a solid start.

    After dispatching fellow German Daniel Altmaier, Zverev saw off the tricky Millman, a big-serving Australian who understandably had the crowd's backing on Rod Laver Arena, coming through both games in straight sets.

    "My tactic today was to hit the ball as slow as possible," he said. "That was my mindset going into the match, but hopefully I can hit it even harder next match and harder the next match after that.

    "I could really feel that you guys have been locked down for two years. I'm prepared that everybody will hate me after the match. It's quite accurate and that's my mindset.

    "I'll get a lot of boos and hopefully everybody will cheer against me. I'm kidding."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.