NBA

Harden leads Rockets past LeBron-less Lakers, Giannis stars

By Sports Desk August 06, 2020

The LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers fell to another NBA loss, while Giannis Antetokounmpo starred again on Thursday.

Without James (groin), the Lakers suffered a second straight loss, beaten by the Houston Rockets 113-97.

James Harden led the way for the Rockets with 39 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while the guard also had 12 assists and eight rebounds at the Walt Disney World Resort.

In James' absence, Anthony Davis had a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers.

Coming off back-to-back losses, the Milwaukee Bucks clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference by beating the Miami Heat 130-116.

The Bucks recovered from a 23-point deficit to bounce back, with Antetokounmpo finishing with 33 points and 12 rebounds.

Khris Middleton also posted 33 points for Milwaukee.

Leonard, Lillard in form

Kawhi Leonard had 29 points as the Los Angeles Clippers eased past the Dallas Mavericks 126-111.

Damian Lillard hit 11 three-pointers in a 45-point haul to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 125-115 win over the Denver Nuggets.

A career-high 35 points from Bogdan Bogdanovic guided the Sacramento Kings to a 140-125 success against the New Orleans Pelicans.

 

Cook can't take chance

Quinn Cook was unable to make the most of his start for the Lakers. The guard went two-of-12 from the field for just six points in 29 minutes.

 

Amazing Lillard

Lillard went 11-of-18 from three-point range in an incredible performance.

Thursday's results

Sacramento Kings 140-125 New Orleans Pelicans
Milwaukee Bucks 130-116 Miami Heat
Phoenix Suns 114-99 Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Clippers 126-111 Dallas Mavericks
Portland Trail Blazers 125-115 Denver Nuggets
Houston Rockets 113-97 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Celtics face Raptors

The Boston Celtics (45-23) and Toronto Raptors (49-18) go head-to-head in another blockbuster battle on Friday.

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  • Jamal Murray: Nuggets should be up 2-1 over Lakers Jamal Murray: Nuggets should be up 2-1 over Lakers

    Denver Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray believes his team should be 2-1 up in their best-of-seven series with Los Angeles Lakers after a devastating Game 2 defeat.

    Murray starred with 28 points, 12 assists and two late three-pointers to earn the Nuggets a 114-106 victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals in Florida.

    That hard-fought victory came on the back of a buzzer-beating loss in Game 2, which saw Anthony Davis hit a last-gasp three-pointer to win it for the Lakers.

    But having also showed real character to outlast the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semi-finals, Murray is determined to peg back the Lakers at 2-2 on Thursday.

    "We had Game 2. I thought we played great in Game 2, we just had a couple of moments that really hurt us," he told reporters. "So we feel like we should be up 2-1 right now." 

    "We have to move on to Game 4 now. In the Clippers series we dropped Game 3, so we have to take care of stuff that we can control. We've got to do that if we want to win."  

    The Lakers entered the game on a six-game winning run and closed to within three points of Denver in the final quarter, only for their opponents to pull away.

    "We're in this series," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after the vital win.

    "We let them know we're not going anywhere. That's what you guys have done this whole post-season.

    "That's why everybody is rooting for us. Keep on showing that grit and resilience and playing for each other."

    James led the Lakers with a 26th career triple-double, which included 30 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, but the Lakers star conceded the better team won on the day.

    "We turned the ball over too much and we put them on the free-throw line," he said.

    "I give credit where credit is due. They played better than us. They were more aggressive than us for three quarters."

  • LeBron James: I've never condoned violence LeBron James: I've never condoned violence

    LeBron James emphatically rejected talk he is inciting violence against police by speaking out against racial injustice in the United States.

    Los Angeles Lakers star James has been a prominent voice in the fight for racial justice, which intensified following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota in May and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last month.

    Following the latter incident, James said: "We are scared as black people in America. Black men, black women, black kids, we are terrified. Because you don't know. You have no idea. You have no idea how that cop that day left the house."

    The question of whether James was inciting violence was raised in the wake of the shooting of two police deputies in Compton on September 13.

    However, James dismissed talk of him advocating violent actions in a media conference after the Lakers' 114-106 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

    He said: "I've never in my 35 years ever condoned violence, never have, but I also know what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong and I grew up in the inner city in a black community.

    "I've seen a lot of counts first hand of a lot of black people being racially profiled because of our colour.

    "I've seen it my whole life, I'm not saying that all cops are bad because throughout high school and things of that nature I'm around them all the time and they're not all bad.

    "When you see the videos that's going on, not only my hometown but all over America you continue to see the acts of violence towards my kind I can't do nothing but to speak about it and see the common denominator but not one time have I ever said let's act violent towards cops.

    "I just said that what's going on in our community is not ok and we fear for our lives and it's something that we go on every single day as a black man, a black woman, a black kid, a black girl, we fear that moment where we're pulled over."

    James referenced the case of a black man who was placed in handcuffs in June after neighbours alleged he was trespassing at a house in Wisconsin that he was renting.

    "The police came in the house without a warrant, without anything and arrested the guy, a black man, because he was sitting out on the porch," James added. "And if you can't tell me that's not racial profiling then I don't know what the hell we're looking at.

    "I do not condone violence towards anyone, police, black people, white people, anyone of colour, anyone not of colour because that's not going to ever make this world or America what we want it to be."

  • Murray and Nuggets fend off Lakers comeback to win Game 3 Murray and Nuggets fend off Lakers comeback to win Game 3

    The Denver Nuggets outlasted an epic Los Angeles Lakers rally to claim Game 3 114-106 in the Western Conference finals.

    After a heartbreaking buzzer-beating loss in Game 2, the Nuggets produced a trademark performance of resilience behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic double-doubles to reduce the Lakers' series lead to 2-1 in the NBA playoffs.

    The Nuggets looked on track to cruise to victory in the third showdown, having taken a 93-75 lead through three quarters at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

    But LeBron James – who tallied a triple-double – and the top-seeded Lakers reeled off a stunning 19-2 run and forced six successive turnovers to close within 101-98 with less than four minutes remaining on Tuesday.

    Veteran guard Rajon Rondo was instrumental in the Lakers' fightback courtesy of three steals against the stuttering Nuggets.

    But the Nuggets – who became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series twice in the same postseason en route to the Conference finals – fended off the Lakers with a run of their own as Murray finished with 28 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.

    All-Star big man Jokic posted 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and Jerami Grant had a playoff career-high 26 points to help the Nuggets avoid a 3-0 hole.

    James led the Lakers with his 26th career triple-double, which included 30 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, while Anthony Davis – the last-gasp hero in Game 2 – had 27 points.

     

    Celtics face Heat

    The Boston Celtics will look to level their series against the Miami Heat when they two teams meet in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.

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