NBA

Doncic dazzles, Rockets soar as the NBA continues to mourn Bryant

By Sports Desk January 28, 2020

An emotional Luka Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks to a 107-97 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the short-handed Houston Rockets topped the Utah Jazz.

Emotions were still raw on Monday following the tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, on Sunday.

Suiting up for the road game in Oklahoma City, Mavericks star Doncic posted 29 points and 11 rebounds for Dallas – who have retired Bryant's iconic number 24 jersey.

"I broke down after the first quarter," Doncic said. "That was when it really hit me. It was really hard to explain."

The Thunder were without star guard Chris Paul, who sat out his first game of the season to mourn the loss of friend Bryant. Oklahoma City cited personal reasons.

Eric Gordon scored a career-high 50 points as the Rockets defeated the high-flying Jazz 126-117 in Utah.

In the absence of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Gordon became the first Rockets player besides the former to score 50 points in a game since Hakeem Olajuwon had 51 in 1996, per Stats Perform.

 

Career night for Hield

A career-high 42 points from Buddy Hield helped the Sacramento Kings outlast the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-129 in overtime. The Kings rallied from a 27-point deficit in Minnesota.

DeMar DeRozan put up 36 points and 10 rebounds in the San Antonio Spurs' narrow 110-109 defeat the Chicago Bulls.

Bam Adebayo's third triple-double of the season (20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) inspired a 113-92 victory for the Miami Heat against the Orlando Magic. "It was about honouring Kobe," Adebayo said. "I felt like I had the 'Mamba Mentality' tonight ... I never got to meet him but he's here in spirit."

The Jazz lost but Donovan Mitchell starred with 36 points against the soaring Rockets.

 

Tough outing for Ingles

Usually a strong contributor, Joe Ingles struggled for the Jazz. The Australian was two of eight from the floor and one of seven from three-point range for just seven points in 33 minutes.

 

Timberwolves honour Bryant

Teams across the league have continued to honour five-time champion and 2008 MVP Bryant. On Monday, the Timberwolves opened the game by taking an eight-second backcourt violation and Sacramento took a 24-second shot-clock violation in hour of the two numbers Bryant wore in his famed 20-year career. While taking their violation, Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins placed the ball on the free throw line – where Bryant scored to eclipse Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA's scoring list in December 2014.

Monday's results

Cleveland Cavaliers 115-100 Detroit Pistons
Miami Heat 113-92 Orlando Magic
Dallas Mavericks 107-97 Oklahoma City Thunder
Chicago Bulls 110-109 San Antonio Spurs
Sacramento Kings 133-129 Minnesota Timberwolves (OT)
Houston Rockets 126-117 Utah Jazz

 

Celtics at Heat

It is an Eastern Conference blockbuster as the Heat host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. The Heat (32-14) are second in the east, while the Celtics (30-15) are fourth. The showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers was supposed to headline play, but the clash has been postponed following Bryant's death.

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    Euroleague Basketball has strongly condemned a "cowardly, criminal attack" in Athens on a taxi carrying referees who took charge of the game between Panathinaikos and Barcelona.

    Three referees and a referee coach were being transported to their hotel following Friday's match when the window of their taxi was smashed by two people. 

    In a statement on Sunday, Euroleague warned it may consider moving future matches from Greece should another similar incident occur in the country.

    "Following the conclusion of the Panathinaikos OPAP Athens-FC Barcelona game in Round 25 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague regular season in Athens, Greece, two individuals performed a cowardly, criminal attack, smashing a window of the taxi that was transporting the referees from OAKA to their hotel," read Euroleague's statement.

    "Fortunately, all three referees, the referee coach and the taxi driver are OK," read the statement. "After the attack, Euroleague Basketball communicated directly with the Hellenic Police, who guaranteed the safety and security of the referees until they departed from Greece."

    The statement continued: "Euroleague Basketball and all participating clubs condemn violent acts of any shape or form, and will continue to apply a zero-tolerance policy.

    "Euroleague Basketball will support the police investigation into the attack. Should the two individuals be identified, they will be banned for life from attending any Euroleague Basketball game/event, without prejudice to any additional legal proceedings.

    "Euroleague Basketball will seek the cooperation of the clubs and the local authorities to prevent any such incidents in the future.

    "Whilst the attack is unprecedented in the 20-season history of Euroleague Basketball, should a similar incident occur again within the territory of Greece, this would signify that a safe and secure environment for the visiting teams, referees and all other accredited personnel cannot be guaranteed.

    "Therefore, Euroleague Basketball will immediately evaluate relocating all further EuroLeague, EuroCup and U18 Tournament games outside of Greece."

  • Euroleague condemns 'cowardly, criminal attack' on taxi carrying referees Euroleague condemns 'cowardly, criminal attack' on taxi carrying referees

    Euroleague Basketball has strongly condemned a "cowardly, criminal attack" in Athens on a taxi carrying referees who took charge of the game between Panathinaikos and Barcelona.

    Three referees and a referee coach were being transported to their hotel following Friday's match when the window of their taxi was smashed by two people. 

    In a statement on Sunday, Euroleague warned it may consider moving future matches from Greece should another similar incident occur in the country.

    "Following the conclusion of the Panathinaikos OPAP Athens-FC Barcelona game in Round 25 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague regular season in Athens, Greece, two individuals performed a cowardly, criminal attack, smashing a window of the taxi that was transporting the referees from OAKA to their hotel," read Euroleague's statement.

    "Fortunately, all three referees, the referee coach and the taxi driver are OK," read the statement. "After the attack, Euroleague Basketball communicated directly with the Hellenic Police, who guaranteed the safety and security of the referees until they departed from Greece."

    The statement continued: "Euroleague Basketball and all participating clubs condemn violent acts of any shape or form, and will continue to apply a zero-tolerance policy.

    "Euroleague Basketball will support the police investigation into the attack. Should the two individuals be identified, they will be banned for life from attending any Euroleague Basketball game/event, without prejudice to any additional legal proceedings.

    "Euroleague Basketball will seek the cooperation of the clubs and the local authorities to prevent any such incidents in the future.

    "Whilst the attack is unprecedented in the 20-season history of Euroleague Basketball, should a similar incident occur again within the territory of Greece, this would signify that a safe and secure environment for the visiting teams, referees and all other accredited personnel cannot be guaranteed.

    "Therefore, Euroleague Basketball will immediately evaluate relocating all further EuroLeague, EuroCup and U18 Tournament games outside of Greece."

  • Simmons injured in 76ers loss, Heat honour retired Wade Simmons injured in 76ers loss, Heat honour retired Wade

    The Philadelphia 76ers lost Ben Simmons to injury in another NBA road defeat on Saturday, while the Miami Heat paid tribute to Dwyane Wade.

    Simmons left a 119-98 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first quarter after aggravating an existing back problem and will reportedly undergo an MRI on Sunday.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo relished his fellow All-Star's absence, putting up 31 points and 17 rebounds in a double-double that condemned Philadelphia to a sixth successive away loss.

    The 76ers (35-22) sit fifth in the Eastern Conference, one place behind the Heat (36-20) following their 124-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    The win added to a memorable occasion as Miami welcomed former favourite Wade back to AmericanAirlines Arena, officially retiring the number three jersey he wore during the team's NBA championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013.

    Wade, 38, retired at the end of last season after returning to the Heat for his career swansong.

     

    Harden hot in valuable Houston victory

    James Harden hit a game-high 38 points while Russell Westbrook went 14-of-26 for 34 points as the Houston Rockets topped the Utah Jazz 120-110.

    The Jazz struggled to handle Houston's small-ball approach and are now level with the Rockets at 36-20.

    Kawhi Leonard tallied 31 points and eight rebounds but the Los Angeles Clippers lost for the third time in as many games, going down to the Sacramento Kings 112-103.

    Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks overcame a nine-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to beat the Dallas Mavericks 111-107.

    Trae Young and John Collins each recorded double-doubles to inspire the Hawks to their 17th win of a lean campaign.

     

    Kawhi a lone performer for cold Clippers

    Leonard did his part against the Kings at Staples Center but the reigning MVP had little help from his fellow Clippers starters, all of whom failed to reach double figures for points.

    Reggie Jackson and Landry Shamet were particularly culpable, the pair making just three of their combined 12 three-point attempts.

     

    Bam drops the hammer

    Fresh from winning the Skills Challenge on NBA All-Star Weekend, Heat big man Bam Adebayo put on another show with a huge dunk against the Cavaliers.

     

    Saturday's results

    Sacramento Kings 112-103 Los Angeles Clippers
    Brooklyn Nets 115-86 Charlotte Hornets
    Atlanta Hawks 111-107 Dallas Mavericks
    Miami Heat 124-105 Cleveland Cavaliers
    Phoenix Suns 112-104 Chicago Bulls
    Milwaukee Bucks 119-98 Philadelphia 76ers
    Houston Rockets 120-110 Utah Jazz

     

    Celtics at Lakers

    LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers entertain Jayson Tatum's Boston Celtics in the pick of Sunday's seven games.

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