NBA

Nuggets top Kawhi's Clippers, Irving returns

By Sports Desk January 13, 2020

Nikola Jokic led the Denver Nuggets past Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers 114-104, while Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving impressed on his return in the NBA.

Jokic's double-double of 20 points and 15 rebounds helped the Nuggets see off Western Conference rivals the Clippers in Denver on Sunday.

Jamal Murray contributed 19 points as the Nuggets edged the Clippers, who closed within six points with just over a minute remaining after trailing by as many as 20 in the second half.

In the absence of Paul George (hamstring) for the second consecutive game, Leonard led the Clippers with 30 points on the road.

In Brooklyn, Irving ended his two-month injury absence in the Nets' 108-86 victory at home to the lowly Atlanta Hawks.

Back on the floor following a shoulder injury, Irving was 10 of 11 from the field for 21 points in 20 minutes of action against the Hawks – who were without Trae Young.

 

Valanciunas makes Grizzlies roar

Jonas Valanciunas posted 31 points and collected a season-high 19 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors 122-102. Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell – who missed the previous six games due to a shoulder problem – scored 34 points.

Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns outlast the Charlotte Hornets 100-92.

Jimmy Butler put up 25 points and 10 rebounds but the Miami Heat were stunned 124-121 away to the New York Knicks.

All of the Utah Jazz's starters had double-digit points (Bojan Bogdanovic 31), Rudy Gobert (21, 14 rebounds), Joe Ingles (20), Emmanuel Mudiay (14) and Royce O'Neale (10), while Jordan Clarkson added 23 off the bench in a 127-116 victory over the Washington Wizards.

 

Raptors blow lead

Defending champions the Toronto Raptors were unable to hold out the San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors surrendered an 18-point lead in a 105-104 defeat at home to the Spurs.

Landry Shamet played 25 minutes against the Nuggets and he failed to score a point. The Clippers guard was 0 of five from the floor.

 

Irving's back!

After a prolonged absence and talk of surgery, Irving was back on the court on Sunday and it was like he was never away.

 

Sunday's results

Utah Jazz 127-116 Washington Wizards
New York Knicks 124-121 Miami Heat
San Antonio Spurs 105-104 Toronto Raptors
Memphis Grizzlies 122-102 Golden State Warriors
Brooklyn Nets 108-86 Atlanta Hawks
Phoenix Suns 100-92 Charlotte Hornets
Denver Nuggets 114-104 Los Angeles Clippers

 

Cavs at Lakers

A ninth successive win will be on the line when Western Conference leaders the Los Angeles Lakers (32-7) welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers (12-27) to Staples Center on Monday. The Lakers could have star pair LeBron James and Anthony Davis back for the clash. The Cavs have won two straight.

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  • Antetokounmpo: Bucks must continue improving Antetokounmpo: Bucks must continue improving

    Giannis Antetokounmpo urged his Milwaukee Bucks team-mates not to let up after they improved their league-leading record with a 117-97 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

    Antetokounmpo's 29 points and 12 rebounds fuelled Saturday's triumph as the NBA's Eastern Conference leaders extended their winning run to six matches.

    The Bucks' latest victory came two days after they let a commanding double-figure lead against Boston Celtics diminish to four points, eventually holding on to win 128-123.

    And reigning MVP Antetokounmpo accepts there is still room for improvement, despite leading the Miami Heat by seven and a half games in the East.

    "We've got to keep getting better, game by game," he told reporters. "I think we're in a good place, but we've got to play good basketball for 48 minutes, not for a quarter or a couple of quarters. 

    "We've got to play the whole game and get ourselves to a place that we can play and compete for 48 minutes and be smart for 48 minutes, be sharp for 48 minutes.

    "We were focused today [against the Nets]. We had the lead but we didn't play like we had the lead - we played like it was a tied game. 

    "We know that Brooklyn is a team that can get hot at any moment. They can make threes, they can go for runs, but we were able to be smart, move the ball and get good shots."

  • Bucks and LeBron's Lakers soar, 76ers end road skid Bucks and LeBron's Lakers soar, 76ers end road skid

    Giannis Antetokounmpo and NBA leaders the Milwaukee Bucks eased past the Brooklyn Nets, while LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers topped the Houston Rockets.

    Antetokounmpo's 29 points and 12 rebounds fuelled Milwaukee's 117-97 victory away to the Nets on Saturday.

    Khris Middleton scored 20 points for the Bucks, who improved their league-best record to 38-6 amid a six-game winning streak.

    James also had a double-double as the Western Conference-leading Lakers powered past rivals the Rockets 124-115 on the road.

    After the Orlando Magic snapped their nine-game winning streak, the Lakers bounced back thanks to 31 points and 12 assists from James in Houston.

    Kyle Kuzma added 23 points, while Lakers team-mates Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 20 points apiece.

    The Rockets were led by Russell Westbrook, who put up 35 points for his fourth consecutive 30-point game, and James Harden (34 points).

     

    Sixers end road woes

    The Philadelphia 76ers snapped a six-game road losing streak with a 90-87 victory at the lowly New York Knicks. Ben Simmons had 20 points for the 76ers.

    The Los Angeles Clippers rallied to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 133-130 on the back of Kawhi Leonard's 39 points.

    Rudy Gobert's 28 points and 15 rebounds, and Bojan Bogdanovic's 30 points inspired the Utah Jazz to a 123-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

    Devin Booker had 39 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Phoenix Suns stunned the Boston Celtics 123-119. Marcus Smart's franchise-record 11 three-pointers were not enough for the Celtics.

     

    Carmelo struggles in OKC

    While Chris Paul shined with 30 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder, fellow veteran Carmelo Anthony struggled in the Portland Trail Blazers' 119-106 loss. He was four of 13 from the field and missed all three attempts from beyond the arc for nine points in 32 minutes.

     

    From Noel to Bazley

    After Nerlens Noel blocked a shot, Darius Bazley went up the other end and hammered home the slam for the Thunder!

     

    Saturday's results

    Milwaukee Bucks 117-97 Brooklyn Nets
    Los Angeles Clippers 133-130 New Orleans Pelicans
    Phoenix Suns 123-119 Boston Celtics
    Philadelphia 76ers 90-87 New York Knicks
    Detroit Pistons 136-103 Atlanta Hawks
    Toronto Raptors 122-112 Minnesota Timberwolves
    Chicago Bulls 118-116 Cleveland Cavaliers
    Golden State Warriors 109-95 Orlando Magic
    Los Angeles Lakers 124-115 Houston Rockets
    Utah Jazz 123-101 Sacramento Kings
    Oklahoma City Thunder 119-106 Portland Trail Blazers

     

    Pacers at Nuggets

    Only two games are scheduled for Sunday, with the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are the only other teams in action. The Indiana Pacers (27-15) are riding a four-game winning streak, while the Denver Nuggets (29-12) are coming off three straight victories.

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    Luka Doncic is a "walking bucket" and the Dallas Mavericks fans should really appreciate being able to watch him, according to Carmelo Anthony.

    Last season's Rookie of the Year Doncic made a career-high eight three-pointers and had 35 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as the Mavs defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 120-112 at American Airlines Center on Friday.

    Anthony had 22 points for the Blazers, who slipped to an 18-25 record and sit 2.5 games back of the playoff positions in the Western Conference.

    When the 10-time All-Star was informed Doncic had referred to him as a "walking bucket", he returned the compliment.

    Anthony continued: "As far as Luka goes, he's gonna be in this league for a long time.

    "He's a young player and he's gonna get better and better. For years to come we're gonna to be watching a special player.

    "I hope you guys out here in Dallas really appreciate what you have in front of you right now."

    Anthony, who in November joined the Blazers after nine months without a team having been waived by the Chicago Bulls following his trade from the Houston Rockets, became the 18th player to reach 26,000 career points when he scored a free throw in the first quarter in Dallas.

    "This is a situation where I've always continued to believe in myself and I think with that being the case I'm able to still go out there and perform the way I want to be able to perform and enjoy the game again," he said.

    "I think people understand the situation I was in, but most important I think people understand the type of person I am. When you have that organic natural energy, people pick up on those vibes."

    Portland lost CJ McCollum to a left ankle sprain in the second quarter and he did not return to the game. It is unclear if he will be fit to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

    "Usually, the second day is the worst," McCollum said. "So we'll see how it feels [on Saturday]. Get some treatment, try to compress it and see how it feels."

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