NBA

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

By Sports Desk January 19, 2020

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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    Jimmy Butler said "I got to be ready to go" after the Miami Heat's disappointment over a Game 1 blowout to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals was exacerbated by injury woes.

    Veteran guard Goran Dragic sustained a reported plantar tear in his left foot and is a doubt for the remainder of the series, while Bam Adebayo left the game with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter clutching his shoulder.

    All-Star Butler also turned his left ankle towards the end of the first half of the humbling 116-98 loss in Orlando but insisted he will be good to go for Game 2 on Friday.

    "[I'm] a little bit sore. I'll be okay with some treatment. I'll get ready to go again," he said.

    "I think I got to be ready to go. So, we'll see how it feels tomorrow, but I'm going to be fine."

    Dragic's injury occurred in the second quarter when attempting to drive Rajon Rondo and initially tried to carry on before heading for treatment and not returning.

    Head coach Erik Spoelstra did not have an update after the game and Butler said the Heat will rally around their team-mate but must be prepared to move forward in the series without him.

    "[We'll] just let him know that I and we are here for him. We know how much he wants to win, how much he wants to go to war and battle with us," Butler added.

    "Obviously we love him for that and we want him out there with us. But whatever the doctor tells him to do, that's what he's got to do.

    "I understand that he wants to go out there and compete and obviously we want him out there with us. But he's got to take care of himself first.

    "[We have to] be ready to go with or without Goran. We're still expecting to win. We still know that we can. We want that guy out there with us. He's a big part of what we're trying to do, but until we can have him back, we got to go out there and we got to fight even harder.

    "We got to try to cover up what he gives us and make up for it. We're capable of it. We have to be capable of it. Moving forward with or without Goran we better hurry up and tie it up 1-1."

    Spoelstra also said he was unsure if Adebayo's injury was the same one he sustained during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics or a fresh concern.

    Butler acknowledges more of the burden to score may fall on his shoulders but said regardless the team has to be tougher in defense.

    "I just take what the game gives me for the most part. I still have a lot of belief in all of my team-mates, I will continually play that way. But maybe so, maybe try to score a little bit more," Butler said.

    "We just got to be tougher. We got to put up more of a fight. I don't think we did that. And then it doesn't help whenever we don't make shots.

    "It's been that way all year long, whenever we start to miss a couple shots, we don't do what we're supposed to do on the other end.

    "So, I think we should always think about letting our defense, for sure our rebounding, start it off for us and then hopefully we start to make shots."

  • NBA Finals: LeBron James and Lakers not satisfied after humbling Heat NBA Finals: LeBron James and Lakers not satisfied after humbling Heat

    Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James refused to get carried away with his team's blow-out win over the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, insisting there is much more work to do.

    The Lakers humbled the Heat 116-98 in the opening game of the showpiece showdown at Walt Disney World Resort on Wednesday.

    James' Lakers led by as much as 32 points after trailing by 13 early in Orlando, Florida, where the Heat were no match for the Western Conference top seeds midweek.

    Anthony Davis posted a game-high 34 points, while James – making his 10th Finals appearance – had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

    Despite outclassing the Heat as the Lakers eye their first championship since 2010, James told reporters: "We have so much more work to do.

    "The job is not done. We are not satisfied with winning one game. It's that simple."

    "I don't think at the beginning we were physical enough," said three-time NBA champion James, who recorded his 31st career double-double in the Finals to move outright fourth in league history, after the Lakers went on a 75-30 run.

    "You have to get a feel for how hard Miami play and I think they smacked us in the mouth. We had a sense of that, so we knew how hard we had to play to make it a game.

    "From that moment when it was 23-10, we started to play to our capabilities. We started flying around, getting defensive stops, sharing the ball a lot better offensively and got into a really good groove."

    Davis produced a huge performance in his first Finals appearance following a blockbuster trade from the New Orleans Pelicans at the start of the season.

    He became the first Lakers player to post 30-plus points in the Finals since Kobe Bryant's 38 in Game 5 of the 2010 Finals.

    Davis and James also became the first Lakers duo to each record 25-plus points in the same Finals game since Bryant (33) and Shaquille O'Neal (29) in Game 2 of the 2004 Finals.

    "I expect it out of him. I didn't give him any advice. We have been preparing for this moment all season, he has been preparing all season," James said.

    "I'm happy to be on the same floor and same uniform as him. Once again, he was a force in every facet of the game, both offensively and defensively."

    The NBA Finals are taking place behind closed doors without fans amid the coronavirus pandemic, but James said: "It felt great, I've been preparing for this moment for quite a while.

    "Fans or no fans, the inner challenge for myself and the way I prepare myself, it felt amazing to be playing the Finals once again."

  • NBA Finals: Caldwell-Pope saved us – Davis credits guard for Lakers' response NBA Finals: Caldwell-Pope saved us – Davis credits guard for Lakers' response

    Anthony Davis credited Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for helping the Los Angeles Lakers recover from a slow start against the Miami Heat.

    Davis (34 points) and LeBron James (25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists) saw the Lakers thrash the Heat 116-98 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday.

    But Miami led 25-12 in the first quarter before Caldwell-Pope hit back-to-back three-pointers for the Lakers, starting a 19-3 run.

    Davis said those shots were huge for the Lakers, who are eyeing a first title since 2010.

    "We know they're a great team, they're here for a reason. This team plays hard and plays scrappy and they've got a lot of guys who can make plays for them," he told ESPN.

    "They came out very hot, we came out slow, KCP saved us. He hit them two big threes in the first quarter and got us going and we kind of picked it up on both ends of the floor so we can't come out like that in Game 2.

    "This is a great team, they're here for a reason, if we want to win this series and become champions we have to play better from the start."

    The Lakers went 15-of-38 from three-point range and led by as many as 32 points during their win.

    Davis praised the Lakers' shooting but also said they needed to improve when holding such a big lead.

    "If they're going to give us shots like that, we have got to be able to knock them down. Bron and [Rajon] Rondo and AC [Alex Caruso] is getting in the paint and guys are open for three so we work on our shots every game, working on shots pregame and practice, shootaround," he said.

    "Guys have got to be able to make shots and we did that, which got us a good lead.

    "We've got to obviously play better with the lead, we can't let guys come in and get too comfortable. We feel like we let Kendrick Nunn come in and get comfortable, obviously he's a talented player, but if we want to win the championship we have to be better.

    "Championship mindset for the full 48 minutes, but guys made shots and got us this win."

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