NBA

Simmons and 76ers spoil LeBron celebration, Jazz overhaul Mavs

By Sports Desk January 26, 2020

Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers ruined a memorable moment for Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, while the Utah Jazz defused Luka Doncic on Saturday.

Four-time MVP James passed Kobe Bryant and rose to third for all-time NBA points during the third quarter in Philadelphia, but the Lakers failed to crown the occasion in style as they lost 108-91.

Simmons stole the limelight, scoring 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and eight assists.

The 76ers, still missing Joel Embiid, withstood a fourth-quarter Lakers recovery before sealing their fifth victory in six games.

The Dallas Mavericks, meanwhile, led for three quarters before collapsing to a 112-107 loss to the Jazz, who have now won four straight.

Rudy Gobert registered a double-double with 22 points and 17 rebounds, while Donovan Mitchell's 25-point haul included two clutch three-pointers in Utah's fourth-quarter comeback.

 

Irving ignites the Nets

Kyrie Irving snapped the Brooklyn Nets out of a five-game losing streak as he put up 45 points in 121-111 overtime win against the Detroit Pistons.

Brooklyn rallied back from a double-digit deficit to take a late lead, only for Derrick Rose to force an extra period with a brilliant finish at the basket with 1.9 seconds left on the clock.

The Nets, though, eventually pulled away in OT thanks to strong performances from Irving and Jarrett Allen (20 points, 15 rebounds).

Karl-Anthony Towns dropped 37 points but the Minnesota Timberwolves suffered a 113-104 defeat against the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder, while Zach LaVine (40 points, 10 rebounds) guided the Chicago Bulls to a 118-106 victory over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Doncic goes cold beyond the arc

MVP candidate Doncic had 25 points for the Mavs but the new All-Star struggled from three-point range against the Jazz, hitting just two of his 10 attempts.

 

LeBron betters the Black Mamba

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) were the only men left leading James (33,655) on the all-time points tally following his third-quarter layup at Wells Fargo Center.

 

Saturday's results

Utah Jazz 112-107 Dallas Mavericks
Brooklyn Nets 121-111 Detroit Pistons (OT)
Chicago Bulls 118-106 Cleveland Cavaliers
Oklahoma City Thunder 113-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
Philadelphia 76ers 108-91 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Rockets at Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets (31-14) have the chance to avenge Wednesday's road loss to the Houston Rockets (28-16) when the teams square off at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

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  • Stevens pleased with Celtics' tenacity in comeback Stevens pleased with Celtics' tenacity in comeback

    Brad Stevens felt improved defense helped the Boston Celtics turn Game 5 against the Miami Heat to stay alive in the NBA playoffs.

    The Celtics rallied for a 121-108 victory over Miami on Friday to cut the Heat's Eastern Conference finals lead to 3-2.

    But Boston struggled early, trailing by 12 points, before a 41-25 third quarter helped them turn the game.

    Celtics head coach Stevens said improvement defensively was key for Boston.

    "I just thought we played with great tenacity defensively, and our offense followed suit," he told a news conference.

    "But they're very hard. It's easy for me to sit up and say to be at our very best and get stops on every possession.

    "This is a heck of an offensive team, a heck of a well-coached team and hard to guard."

    Celtics star Jayson Tatum scored 17 of his 31 points in the third quarter, with Boston going on a 20-3 run.

    Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra lamented his side's inability to slow the Celtics down.

    "We missed some open shots to start the quarter and then those turned into run-outs that got them going, those easy ones. This is a team that has great offensive firepower," he said.

    "When they see the ball go in the basket they started to get more aggressive and putting a ton of pressure on us in the paint, much like they did in Game 3 and we weren't able to shut that off, and they just carried that through."

    Game 6 is on Sunday.

  • Celtics stay alive with Game 5 win over Miami Celtics stay alive with Game 5 win over Miami

    The Boston Celtics stayed alive in the NBA playoffs with a 121-108 win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    Jayson Tatum (31 points and 10 rebounds) lifted the Celtics at the Walt Disney World Resort on Friday as they reduced Miami's series lead to 3-2.

    The win came after Miami made a better start, at one stage leading by as many as 12 points.

    Tatum scored 17 third-quarter points as the Celtics rallied on their way to a victory that kept them alive in the playoffs.

    Jaylen Brown (28 points) also starred, while Kemba Walker (15 points) and Daniel Theis (15 points and 13 rebounds) were also key contributors.

    Duncan Robinson (20 points) had put Miami in position in the first half before the Celtics' fightback.

    Jimmy Butler finished with 17 points, while Goran Dragic had 23 before fouling out.

    Coming off his Game 4 heroics, rookie Tyler Herro managed just 14 points.

    Game 6 of the series is on Sunday.

     

    Nuggets face Lakers

    Leading the Western Conference finals 3-1, the Los Angeles Lakers are a win away from a first NBA Finals appearance since 2010 ahead of facing the Denver Nuggets again on Saturday.

  • LeBron asked to guard Murray during 'winning time' for the Lakers LeBron asked to guard Murray during 'winning time' for the Lakers

    LeBron James took on the responsibility of guarding Jamal Murray down the stretch because he knew it was "winning time" for the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4. 

    With the Lakers holding a four-point lead with just over five minutes remaining in the final quarter, and Murray on 28 points on 12-for-17 shooting, James switched onto the Denver Nuggets guard. 

    Murray was held to 0-for-2 shooting by the four-time NBA MVP, with his four points in the last five minutes coming from the free throw line. 

    The Lakers consequently closed out a 114-108 victory to move 3-1 up in the Western Conference Finals. 

    Asked why he put himself on Murray, James said: "I knew it was winning time, and Jamal had it going. The kid is special. He has an array of shots. Triple threat from the three, mid-range and also in the paint. 

    "For me, it's just trusting my defensive keys. Trusting my study of film. Trusting personnel. And living with the results. I told my team-mates that I had him and everyone else can kind of stay at bay and stay home. 

    "I was able to get a couple stops and we were able to rebound the basketball, which is the most important thing." 

    James is averaging 34.4 minutes in the playoffs, which is the fewest of his career – his previous low was 38.2 with the Miami Heat in 2013-14. 

    The 17-year veteran denied that having less time on court helped him stay fresh to guard Murray in the closing stages. 

    "I don't reserve any energy. I'm on the floor, I give it all I've got. If I need a break, I ask for a break. Coach has done a good job of getting me out throughout the course of the game," said James. 

    "I don't look at it as a reserve tank. I've got pretty good energy when I'm on the floor all the time. It's winning time and I don't have a chance or time to be feeling tired. 

    "I'm tired now. That's when I'm tired, when it's zeros on the clock. That's when I'm tired. I'm not tired during the game."

    Murray appreciated the respect the Lakers afforded him but felt the Nuggets, who have come back from 3-1 deficits to advance in the past two rounds, still should have found a way to win. 

    He said: "I mean, they switched AD [Anthony Davis] on me to be on him, too. 

    "Obviously, with LeBron I do the same stuff I do when I see [Alex] Caruso, when I see [Rajon] Rondo and KCP [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope], and Kawhi [Leonard], Paul George and Pat Bev [Patrick Beverley]. 

    "I mean, I do the same thing. Appreciate the respect, but we've got to win the game."

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