NBA

Rockets overcome Raptors, 76ers beaten

By Sports Desk December 05, 2019

The Houston Rockets were too good for the Toronto Raptors in the NBA on Thursday, while the Philadelphia 76ers' streak came to an end.

The Rockets went 22-of-55 from three-point range in a 119-109 victory over the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

Ben McLemore (eight-of-17) and P.J. Tucker (five-of-10) did most of the damage for Houston from beyond the arc.

McLemore finished with 28 points, while Tucker had a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds as James Harden (23 points) and Russell Westbrook (19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists) got plenty of support.

Pascal Siakam had 24 points for defending champions the Raptors.

Joel Embiid's double-double of 26 points and 21 rebounds was not enough for the 76ers, who went down to the Washington Wizards 119-113.

The result saw Philadelphia's four-game winning streak come to an end, while they are now 5-7 on the road this season.

 

Brilliant Booker, all-round Nuggets

Devin Booker had 44 points on 13-of-24 shooting in the Phoenix Suns' 139-132 overtime win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Denver Nuggets had eight players score in double-figures in a 129-92 thrashing of the New York Knicks.

 

Knicks' struggles continue

The Knicks (4-18) have the longest losing streak in the NBA after it was stretched to eight games.

 

Hayes hammer

Jaxson Hayes, the eighth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, produced a monster dunk in the Pelicans' loss to the Suns.

Thursday's results

Washington Wizards 119-113 Philadelphia 76ers
Denver Nuggets 129-92 New York Knicks
Houston Rockets 119-109 Toronto Raptors
Phoenix Suns 139-132 New Orleans Pelicans

 

Clippers at Bucks

Milwaukee's 13-game winning streak will be put to the test as the Bucks (19-3) host the Los Angeles Clippers (16-6) on Friday in a clash between two of this season's contenders.

Related items

  • Chicago Bulls fire head coach Boylen Chicago Bulls fire head coach Boylen

    The Chicago Bulls have fired head coach Jim Boylen after two seasons in charge.

    After working for the team as an associate head coach, Boylen was appointed to the top job in Chicago in December 2018, though he was not able to turn around the franchise's fortunes.

    The Bulls posted a 39-84 record during his tenure, failing to make the playoffs. They were 22-43 when the current campaign was suspended, meaning they missed out on being involved in Orlando when play eventually resumed in late July.

    Arturas Karnisovas, executive vice president of basketball operations, confirmed Boylen had been relieved of his duties on Friday, with the search to find his replacement beginning immediately.

    "After doing a comprehensive evaluation and giving the process the time it deserved, I ultimately decided that a fresh approach and evolution in leadership was necessary," Karnisovas said in a statement.

    "This was a very difficult decision, but it is time for our franchise to take that next step as we move in a new direction and era of Chicago Bulls basketball.

    "Jim is a great human being that cares deeply about this organisation and the game of basketball. I want to thank him for his professionalism and commitment to the franchise."

    As well as serving as head coach at the University of Utah between 2007 and 2011, Boylen has also worked as an assistant at several NBA teams, including being part of the Houston Rockets when they won successive NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.

    The 55-year-old was also part of the championship-winning staff at the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.

  • Popovich not dwelling on past after Spurs' record-tying playoff streak ends Popovich not dwelling on past after Spurs' record-tying playoff streak ends

    Gregg Popovich refused to dwell on the San Antonio Spurs missing the NBA playoffs for the first time in 23 years.

    With the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns both winning their final regular-season games on Thursday, the Spurs were eliminated from postseason contention for the first time since 1996-97.

    San Antonio's fate was confirmed even before their 118-112 loss to the Utah Jazz at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

    Despite missing out on a play-in berth behind the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers and Grizzlies in the Western Conference, Spurs head coach Popovich looked to the future.

    "It means a lot to a lot of people probably but I don't dwell on the past," said Popovich, who has led the Spurs to five NBA championship since replacing Bob Hill in 1996.

    "That stuff's totally [not] important, what's important is the moment you do what you've got to do then you move on, but looking at the past doesn't do much good.

    "Any success we've had has been because we've had some great players."

    San Antonio had won three consecutive games prior to falling to the Jazz inside the Orlando bubble – the Spurs ending their coronavirus-hit 2019-20 campaign with a 32-39 record.

    Popovich added: "I'm more excited about this than anything you guys are talking about right now, successes or non-successes, because the success for streaks or whatever the hell you're talking about ended.

    "I could care less about that. I'm thrilled at the way they played here."

    "They had no shot to get into this thing and basically willed themselves into it to have this opportunity," the 71-year-old continued. "The development of the young kids largely playing the way they did, this is the best we've played all year. I've really enjoyed it."

  • Lillard's Trail Blazers pip Suns to play-in game, Spurs miss playoffs for first time in 23 years Lillard's Trail Blazers pip Suns to play-in game, Spurs miss playoffs for first time in 23 years

    The Portland Trail Blazers dramatically set up a Western Conference play-in showdown against the Memphis Grizzlies as the red-hot Phoenix Suns missed out on the NBA playoffs.

    Portland clinched the eighth seed in the west thanks to a nail-biting 134-133 win over the Brooklyn Nets in Orlando, Florida on Thursday.

    The Suns improved to 8-0 at Walt Disney World Resort with a 128-102 victory against the Dallas Mavericks, and needed a Nets win to secure a play-in spot.

    However, Damian Lillard's heroics of 42 points and 12 assists ensured the Trail Blazers clinched a play-in date against the Grizzlies – who trumped the Milwaukee Bucks 119-106 earlier in the day.

    The Trail Blazers finished with a 35-39 record, ahead of the Grizzlies (34-39). Portland will only have to beat Memphis once in order to secure a playoff berth against the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, while the Grizzlies require two wins against the Trail Blazers.

    Phoenix (34-39) are the first team in NBA history to end the regular season on an eight-plus game winning streak and still miss the playoffs. The last team to do that in any of the four major sports were NHL's the Philadelphia Flyers in 1992-93, per STATS.

     

    LeBron ends regular season as assist king

    The Lakers lost 136-122 to the Sacramento Kings but LeBron James was still crowned the assist king in 2019-20. James had 17 points in 15 minutes, all in the first half. The three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP ends the regular season averaging a league-best 10.2 assists per game, ahead of the Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (9.3). The 35-year-old also reached double figures in points in his 995th consecutive game.

    Lillard has 154 points across his past three games, the second most by any player in a three-game span this season – behind himself in January (158). Per STATS, the last player with 150-plus points in two separate three-game spans in a season was Wilt Chamberlain in 1964-65.

    Devin Booker put up 27 points as the Suns stayed unbeaten since the NBA's restart following the coronavirus pandemic, but it was not enough.

    Dillon Brooks' 31 points led the way for the Grizzlies, while he was aided by team-mates Jonas Valanciunas (26 points, 19 rebounds, 12 assists) and Ja Morant (12 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists).

    Jusuf Nurkic scored 22 points and 10 rebounds, while CJ McCollum had 25 points for the Trail Blazers. Caris LeVert finished with 37 points for the Nets.

     

    Spurs' record-tying playoff streak over

    The Spurs will not feature in the NBA playoffs for the first time in 23 years. San Antonio's absence from the postseason for the first time since 1996-97 was confirmed prior to their 118-112 loss to the Utah Jazz.

     

    Dame from the arc

    Lillard continues to prove his worth for the Blazers. Instrumental to Portland's play-in berth, Lillard highlighted his quality with a flurry of threes.

     

    Thursday's results

    Washington Wizards 96-90 Boston Celtics
    Sacramento Kings 136-122 Los Angeles Lakers
    Memphis Grizzlies 119-106 Milwaukee Bucks
    Phoenix Suns 128-102 Dallas Mavericks
    Utah Jazz 118-112 San Antonio Spurs
    Portland Trail Blazers 134-133 Brooklyn Nets
    Orlando Magic 133-127 New Orleans Pelicans

     

    Regular season concludes

    Friday will see teams play their final regular-season games before the playoffs start on August 17. The Denver Nuggets face the Toronto Raptors, the Miami Heat meet the Indiana Pacers, the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Los Angeles Clippers and the Houston Rockets play the Philadelphia 76ers.

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