NBA

Magic end Lakers' streak, Rockets lose

By Sports Desk January 16, 2020

The Orlando Magic snapped the Los Angeles Lakers' winning streak in the NBA, while the Houston Rockets were also stunned on Wednesday.

The Lakers' nine-game winning run was ended with a shock 119-118 loss to Orlando.

LeBron James had a double-double of 19 points and 19 assists, but the Lakers (33-8) were stunned at the Staples Center.

Markelle Fultz was the star for Orlando (20-21) with a triple-double of 21 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Houston were also surprised in a 117-107 defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Russell Westbrook contributed a triple-double of 31 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, but James Harden (13 points) went three-of-12 from the field.

Damian Lillard (25 points) and CJ McCollum (24) combined for 49 points for Portland, while Hassan Whiteside (18 points and 18 rebounds) and Carmelo Anthony (18 points and 12 rebounds) managed double-doubles.

 

Doncic delights as Sabonis shines

Luka Doncic starred with 25 points, 17 assists and 15 rebounds in the Dallas Mavericks' 127-123 win over the Sacramento Kings. The 20-year-old became the youngest player in NBA history to post a triple-double with at least 15 rebounds and 15 assists.

Domantas Sabonis' double-double of 29 points and 13 rebounds helped the Indiana Pacers past the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-99.

The Philadelphia 76ers overcame the Brooklyn Nets 117-106 as Ben Simmons contributed 20 points and 11 assists.

 

Kuzma struggles

Kyle Kuzma struggled in the Lakers' defeat, going two-of-10 from the field for just four points in 27 minutes.

 

Mykhailiuk from deep

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk converted from beyond half-court to beat the buzzer in the third quarter of the Detroit Pistons' 116-103 victory against the Boston Celtics.

Wednesday's results

Detroit Pistons 116-103 Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers 117-106 Brooklyn Nets
Miami Heat 106-100 San Antonio Spurs
Chicago Bulls 115-106 Washington Wizards
Indiana Pacers 104-99 Minnesota Timberwolves
Toronto Raptors 130-121 Oklahoma City Thunder
Denver Nuggets 100-86 Charlotte Hornets
Portland Trail Blazers 117-107 Houston Rockets
Dallas Mavericks 127-123 Sacramento Kings
Orlando Magic 119-118 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Celtics at Bucks

The Celtics (27-12) get a chance to bounce back when they face Eastern Conference leaders the Milwaukee Bucks (36-6) on Thursday.

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    LeBron James made his frustration clear over another MVP near-miss after helping the Los Angeles Lakers take a 1-0 lead in their Western Conference finals showdown with the Denver Nuggets.

    Double-doubles from James and Anthony Davies inspired the top-seeded Lakers to a 126-114 victory in Game 1 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

    Speaking after the match, James made little attempt to hide his contempt for the MVP vote that saw Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo named the NBA's best player for a second consecutive season

    "It p****** me off. That's my true answer," said four-time MVP James, who came in second behind Steve Nash in 2005-06, Kevin Durant in 2013-14 and James Harden in 2017-18.

    "It p****** me off because out of 101 votes I got 16 first-placed votes. That's what pissed me off more than anything.

    "I'm not saying that the winner wasn't worthy of the MVP but that p****** me off.

    "I've finished second a lot in my career, either in a championship or now four times as an MVP.

    "I never came into this league saying I wanted to be an MVP or a champion. I've always just said I want to get better and better every single day and those things will take care of themselves.

    "There are some things out of my hands and some things you can't control. But it p****** me off."

    Davis had no doubt his team-mate deserved greater recognition in the poll

    "He deserves it," he said. "What he's been able to do for our team, the things he's been doing individually, on a consistent basis, night-in, night-out, just it's not even a question who deserves it."

    James was keen to point out he was still happy with the bigger picture the Lakers have mapped out for themselves and ready to toast victory.

    "I mean, I'm fine. Don't get it twisted," he added. "I'm perfectly fine. We're 1-0 in the Western Conference Finals. I'm absolutely fine.

    "I'm absolutely great now. I'm going to go back to my room, drink some wine and sleep very well.

    "I'm great. It's just the voting scale is a little weird to me sometimes."

  • LeBron's Lakers beat Nuggets in Western Conference finals opener LeBron's Lakers beat Nuggets in Western Conference finals opener

    The Los Angeles Lakers drew first blood against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals, winning 126-114 on Friday.

    Led by double-doubles from Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the top-seeded Lakers claimed Game 1 of the NBA playoff series at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

    Davis posted 37 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes for the Lakers, while All-Star team-mate James had 15 points and 12 assists of his own.

    The third-seeded Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series twice in the same postseason, having rallied past the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers.

    And they made a promising start, outscoring the Lakers 38-36 in the opening period but that is as good as it got for Jamal Murray's Nuggets.

    The Lakers – back in the Conference finals for the first time since going on to win their last championship in 2010 – outscored the Nuggets 67-41 in the next two periods to move clear and take control of the contest behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Murray and Nikola Jokic, integral to Denver's first trip to the Conference finals since losing to the Lakers in 2009, both scored 21 points apiece.

    Game 2 between the Lakers and Nuggets is on Sunday.

     

    Celtics face Heat

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  • Giannis: Don't call me MVP until I'm an NBA champion Giannis: Don't call me MVP until I'm an NBA champion

    Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo does not want to be called a two-time MVP until he wins an NBA championship.

    Antetokounmpo was crowned the Most Valuable Player for the second straight year after leading the Bucks to the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the league's best record (56-17) before losing in the semi-finals at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

    The 25-year-old, who averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game during the regular season – became the first player to claim MVP honours in successive seasons since Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry in 2015 and 2016.

    After winning his first MVP award last year, Antetokounmpo said: "Please, after this day don't call me MVP until I win it again next year."

    But with back-to-back MVPs in 2019-20 after receiving 85 of the 101 first-place votes, Antetokounmpo – whose Bucks lost 4-1 to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals – told TNT on Friday: "Don't call me MVP until I'm a champion."

    Having also been named Defensive Player of the Year, Antetokounmpo is just the third player in league history to win that award and the MVP in the same season, that select list also featuring Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

    "Obviously, I'm happy for tonight and I'm happy for this award, but I always look forward," Antetokounmpo said. "I always try to figure out, how can I get better? How can I do it again? How can I do it for multiple years to come? How can I be a champion? I'm happy. I'm grateful, but how can I do it again?"

    Milwaukee's failure in the postseason ramped up speculation around Antetokounmpo's future amid talk he could demand a trade.

    Antetokounmpo is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season, while he is eligible for a max contract extension worth around $254million this offseason.

    "As long as everybody's fighting for the same thing ... which is to be a champion, I don't see why not to be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years," Antetokounmpo told NBA TV.

    Antetokounmpo reportedly met with the Bucks last week in Milwaukee and he added: "Obviously, I would like to keep that conversation I had with the ownership and my coach and the general manager private, but at the end of the day, every team has got to improve.

    "It's simple. You've got to be better than what you were last year. If you did not win the whole thing, you've got to get better. If you win the whole thing, you've got to get better and do it again. So, for now, our team has got to get better. I think we have great talent and as long as we improve individually and improve as a team we're gonna be in a good spot.

    "I left the meeting encouraged and was happy with what we discussed and for now, we're on the same page. I was happy that they came and we had this long conversation about how we're gonna get better and about things for the future, but, as I said, I was happy.

    "I left the conversation encouraged, but I've been encouraged my whole career in Milwaukee. I know that we've gotten better each year and I know that Milwaukee has great people that view every year the same I do every year, which is to play well, improve and win it all. So, I've always been encouraged, but after the meeting I was encouraged, too."

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