NBA

Harden's 54 points lead Rockets, Bucks win 17th straight

By Sports Desk December 14, 2019

James Harden produced another 50-point performance in the NBA, while Giannis Antetokounmpo helped the Milwaukee Bucks extend their streak on Friday.

Harden made it back-to-back 50-point games in the Houston Rockets' 130-107 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Coming off a 55-point game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Harden had 54 in the win over Orlando.

The Bucks made it 17 straight wins by getting past the Memphis Grizzlies 127-114.

Antetokounmpo had a double-double of 37 points and 11 rebounds in the Bucks' latest victory.

Los Angeles' duos shine

LeBron James (28 points and 12 assists) and Anthony Davis (33 points and 10 rebounds) helped the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat 113-110.

The Los Angeles Clippers' stars also impressed. Paul George had 46 points and Kawhi Leonard 42 in a 124-117 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Philadelphia 76ers are 14-0 at home after Ben Simmons contributed 24 points and 11 assists in a 116-109 win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

 

Bad Bulls

The Chicago Bulls were woeful in an 83-73 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The Bulls went at just 30 per cent from the field, shooting 27-of-90.

 

Harden hot

Harden continued his irresistible form for the Rockets.

Friday's results

Houston Rockets 130-107 Orlando Magic
Philadelphia 76ers 116-109 New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Lakers 113-110 Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers 110-100 Atlanta Hawks
Charlotte Hornets 83-73 Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee Bucks 127-114 Memphis Grizzlies
Utah Jazz 114-106 Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers 124-117 Minnesota Timberwolves
New York Knicks 103-101 Sacramento Kings

 

Pistons at Rockets

Can Detroit (10-15) stop Harden? The Rockets (17-8) host the Pistons on Saturday.

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    Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams conceded he could have made "a better-quality decision" after being forced to miss NBA games because he visited a strip club in Atlanta.

    Williams, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, had been allowed to leave the NBA's 'bubble' in Orlando last month to return to Georgia to attend the wake of a friend's father.

    Under NBA rules, Williams was then due to observe a four-day quarantine period upon his return to Florida, yet that was extended to 10 days - a period encompassing the Clippers' first two games - after it emerged he also took a trip to the gentlemen's club, Magic City, in Atlanta.

    The 33-year-old is a frequent visitor to Magic City - a place also renowned for its chicken wings - describing it as his "favourite restaurant" in Atlanta, though he admitted his latest visit was an ill-judged one.

    "In hindsight, I think as far as the public safety issue goes, I probably could have made a better-quality decision," he told reporters after the Clippers' 117-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

    "I was a little naive in that aspect. I went somewhere after a viewing of somebody I considered a mentor, somebody I looked up to, first black man I seen with legal money in my life.

    "It's been documented how much I talk about [Magic City], how much I eat there.

    "I just did something that was routine for me. I frequent that place at that time of day, 5:30, 6 in the afternoon.

    "At the time, I thought I was making a responsible decision. After looking back on it, with everything going on in the world, the pandemic, maybe it wasn't the best-quality decision. I chalk it up as that, take my L and keep moving."

    Williams, who had seven points, six assists and six rebounds against the Suns, was one of three Clippers players granted a leave of absence by the NBA for personal reasons.

    Patrick Beverley did not miss any games after observing a four-day quarantine period but Montrezl Harrell is yet to return as he mourns his grandmother's death.

    "It's extremely difficult, man," Williams added.

    "I truly was grieving two weeks ago. I was really going through something. I was thrown under the bus, you know what I'm saying?

    "All the attention turned to Magic City because it's a gentlemen's club. I feel like if I was at a steakhouse or Hooters or whatever, it wouldn't be half the story."

  • Nets stun Giannis and Bucks, Clippers fall to Suns after Booker's buzzer-beater Nets stun Giannis and Bucks, Clippers fall to Suns after Booker's buzzer-beater

    The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks crashed to a 119-116 defeat against the Brooklyn Nets, while the Phoenix Suns upstaged the Los Angeles Clippers at the buzzer.

    Back-to-back three-pointers from Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot put the Nets ahead during the closing stages as the Bucks suffered a surprise loss in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday.

    Luwawu-Cabarrot posted a career-high 26 points for the Nets (32-25), while reigning MVP and Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 16 points before sitting out the entire second half.

    The Bucks (54-14) are yet to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference following consecutive defeats at the Walt Disney World Resort.

    There was another upset in the Orlando bubble as the Clippers went down 117-115 to the Suns following Devin Booker's buzzer-beating shot.

    Booker nailed a turnaround jumper over Clippers star Paul George as time expired in a 35-point performance for the Suns, after Kawhi Leonard had tied the game with 31.1 seconds remaining.

    The playoff-chasing Suns (29-39) claimed their third consecutive victory since the NBA resumed following the coronavirus-enforced break.

    Leonard led the Clippers (45-22) with 27 points, while team-mate George contributed 23 of his own.

     

    Doncic's historic triple-double leads Mavs

    Luka Doncic's 34 points, career-high 20 rebounds and 12 assists helped the Dallas Mavericks top the Sacramento Kings 114-110 in overtime. At 21 years and 158 days, Doncic became the youngest player to finish a game with 30 or more points, 20 or more rebounds and 10 or more assists.

    T.J. Warren enjoyed another fine outing with 32 points as the Indiana Pacers beat the Orlando Magic 120-109.

    A 21-point and 19-rebound Jusuf Nurkic double-double fuelled the Portland Trail Blazers' 110-102 victory over the Houston Rockets.

     

    Bogdanovic struggles

    In the Kings' loss to the Mavericks, Bogdan Bogdanovic was just one for 15 from the field in 21 minutes. The Kings shooting guard only made one of eight three-pointers for three points.

     

    Harden inspires quick basket

    A perfectly weighted inbound pass from Houston Rockets star James Harden caught the Portland Trail Blazers napping as Russell Westbrook made the catch before teeing up Ben McLemore in a swift move.

     

    Tuesday's results

    Brooklyn Nets 119-116 Milwaukee Bucks
    Dallas Mavericks 114-110 Sacramento Kings (OT)
    Phoenix Suns 117-115 Los Angeles Clippers
    Miami Heat 112-106 Boston Celtics
    Indiana Pacers 120-109 Orlando Magic
    Portland Trail Blazers 110-102 Houston Rockets

     

    Thunder face Lakers

    The Oklahoma City Thunder will meet the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The Thunder are coming off a loss, while the Lakers clinched the top seed in the west on Monday.

  • Zion Williamson 'felt alive again' after playing down the stretch in Pels win Zion Williamson 'felt alive again' after playing down the stretch in Pels win

    Zion Williamson expressed his delight at being allowed to play during the decisive closing stages as the New Orleans Pelicans won their first game since the NBA season restarted.

    The Pelicans had restricted the minutes for their star rookie in their first two games in Orlando, with Williamson on the bench as they fell to defeats to the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers.

    New Orleans had been following "medical advice" with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after Williamson - whose debut season has been disrupted by injury - had to quarantine for four days right before the campaign resumed last week having left the Florida 'bubble' to attend to a family matter.

    But Williamson was allowed to play a greater role in the Pelicans' crucial 109-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday as he scored 23 points in 25 minutes, outshining fellow rookie star Ja Morant, who managed only 11 points and eight assists in 39 minutes.

    "I felt alive again," Williamson told ESPN on being on the court at the end.

    "My competitive spirit was there, and I'm glad coach [Alvin Gentry] and the whole team trusted me to finish the game out."

    He later added: "I ain't gonna lie to you, it's just different in a bad way when I'm on the bench in the fourth quarter, and there's nothing I can do to help my team win.

    "So I said I felt alive. It was just great to be out there doing whatever I can to help my team win. And as for the energy part, me and my team-mates can just feed off each other."

    Williamson tied his career-high with five assists, as well as contributing seven rebounds, while his 21 field-goal attempts were an indication of a more aggressive approach.

    "It was a little bit of both from myself and the coaching staff," Williamson said of taking more shots.

    "They were telling me to try to give the team a spark and that's what I was trying to do, give my team a spark, get them going."

    New Orleans are 2.5 games back of the Grizzlies, who own the eighth and final playoff spot for the Western Conference.

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