NBA

Lakers set franchise record and Doncic makes history as Lillard and McCollum ignite Blazers

By Sports Desk January 14, 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers set a franchise record after winning again on the road, while Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic made NBA history.

LeBron James posted 26 points and defending champions the Lakers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-99 on Wednesday.

The streaking Lakers (10-3), who have won four successive games, improved to 7-0 away from home this season – surpassing the 1985-86 team for the best start on the road.

James has had at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in all 13 games this season. In the last 30 years, the only NBA player to have a longer streak of 15/five/five games to start a season was James himself in 2011-12 (22 straight), according to Stats Perform.

Lakers team-mate Montrezl Harrell had 21 points, while Anthony Davis put up 18 points and seven rebounds in Oklahoma City midweek.

Doncic became the first player in NBA history to post 34 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists, four blocks, two steals and five threes made, per Stats Perform.

The Mavericks went on to win 104-93 and snap the Charlotte Hornets' four-game winning streak.

Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis returned from a knee injury and scored 16 points in his first appearance since undergoing surgery in October.

 

Red-hot Giannis fuels Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo's triple-double guided the Milwaukee Bucks past the Detroit Pistons 110-101. The two-time reigning MVP finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his 20th career triple-double.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum put on a show as the Portland Trail Blazers prevailed 132-126 against the Sacramento Kings. Lillard (40 points and 13 assists) and McCollum (28 points and 10 assists) became the first team-mate duo in NBA history to have 25-plus points, 10-plus assists and five-plus three-pointers made in the same game, per Stats Perform. They are also the first duo in the NBA to have 25-plus points, 10-plus assists and one or fewer turnovers in the same game since 1987.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker starred with 37 points, but the New Orleans Pelicans still lost 111-106 to the Los Angeles Clippers. Kawhi Leonard (28) and Paul George (27) combined for 55 points in the Clippers' win.

The Memphis Grizzlies topped the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-107 behind Jonas Valanciunas' 24 points and 16 rebounds.

 

Knicks duo struggle

The New York Knicks did not get much support from their two starting point guards in a 116-109 loss to city rivals the Brooklyn Nets. Austin Rivers was three-of-10 shooting from the field and two-of-five from three-point range for eight points in 34 minutes. Elfrid Peyton was just three of 11 from the field, while making just one of three-point attempts as he finished with seven points in 33 minutes.

 

Nurkic says no!

There was no way past Jusuf Nurkic as the Trail Blazers big man denied Glenn Robinson III in the fourth quarter.

 

Wednesday's results

Dallas Mavericks 104-93 Charlotte Hornets
Milwaukee Bucks 110-101 Detroit Pistons
Brooklyn Nets 116-109 New York Knicks
Memphis Grizzlies 118-107 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Lakers 128-99 Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Clippers 111-106 New Orleans Pelicans
Portland Trail Blazers 132-126 Sacramento Kings
Utah Jazz-Washington Wizards (postponed)
Orlando Magic-Boston Celtics (postponed)
Atlanta Hawks-Phoenix Suns (postponed)

 

Rockets at Spurs

As James Harden reportedly heads to the Nets, the Houston Rockets (3-6) will look to cast the chaos aside when they face the San Antonio Spurs (6-5) on the road on Thursday.

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    Manchester United lost further ground at the top of the Premier League table as they drew 0-0 at Chelsea on Sunday, Thomas Tuchel's men benefiting from a contentious call relating to a potential penalty against them.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side came into the weekend 10 points adrift of pacesetters Manchester City, but this draw coupled with the leaders' 2-1 win at West Ham on Saturday saw the gap increase to 12 as Pep Guardiola closes in on another Premier League title.

    While a win for United at Stamford Bridge would not have changed a great deal, they will likely feel hard done by, as Callum Hudson-Odoi escaped unpunished when handling the ball in his own area during the first period.

    Both sides had their chances after the interval but neither managed to apply the finishing touch, meaning for the first time in the five meetings between Tuchel and Solskjaer, the away manager could not leave with the spoils.

    A fast and furious first half saw the two teams largely cancel each other out with their comparable high-pressing setups and solid defensive work, but United were controversially denied the chance to take an early lead.

    Marcus Rashford's free-kick stung the hands of Edouard Mendy before dropping between Hudson-Odoi and Mason Greenwood, with the ball clearly hitting the hand of the Chelsea wing-back, yet referee Stuart Attwell refused to award a penalty even after going to the pitchside monitor.

    Hudson-Odoi had a more positive impact just after the half-hour mark when Olivier Giroud nearly met his early cross, though chances at either end were a rarity otherwise.

    Chelsea were straight on the front foot after the break, with David de Gea forced into a reflex save by Hakim Ziyech before Luke Shaw vitally blocked the rebound from Reece James – introduced at the interval for the injured Hudson-Odoi.

    But United soon woke up again, with Greenwood shooting agonisingly wide of the top-left corner and Scott McTominay testing Mendy after a well-placed cut-back from Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

    Timo Werner was denied a tap-in by Victor Lindelof and McTominay squandered a counter-attacking opportunity in the latter stages, with the game ultimately destined to end goalless.

  • Bale: I've been happy all season Bale: I've been happy all season

    Gareth Bale dismissed the suggestion he has been frustrated during his second stint with Tottenham, insisting he has "been happy all season".

    Bale marked just his third Premier League start of 2020-21 in style on Sunday, scoring twice and setting up another goal with a superb long pass as Spurs thrashed Burnley 4-0.

    The 31-year-old, signed in loan from Real Madrid in September, opened the scoring after 68 seconds – the quickest goal conceded by Burnley in the Premier League – and Bale has now been directly involved in seven goals in his last four appearances for Tottenham in all competitions (four goals, three assists).

    It has been far from plain sailing for the Wales star since his return to north London, however, with fitness struggles having made Jose Mourinho reluctant to hand Bale regular chances to impress in the league.

    Mourinho also seemed frustrated when Bale asked to miss Spurs' trip to Everton in the FA Cup earlier this month, as he nursed a slight injury.

    Bale, though, affirmed that he has thoroughly enjoyed his time back at the club where he became a global superstar.

    "It's not just about scoring. It's about our all-round play and helping the team," Bale told BBC Sport.

    "I'm delighted with the goals and the assist and whatever I can do for the team.

    "I've been happy all season. In the dressing room I feel comfortable and I'm having fun. I'm happy and I'm sure it's showing on the pitch."

    Having scored from two of his three attempts, while also brilliantly teeing up Harry Kane to put Spurs 2-0 ahead, Bale was taken off in the 70th minute.

    "I wasn't upset to be substituted," he said. "There are a lot of games to come. It's important to keep building minutes each game."

    A player who has clearly enjoyed combining with Bale is Son Heung-min, who created both of the Welshman's goals, becoming the third player to lay on two assists for him in the same Premier League match, after Rafael van der Vaart versus Blackburn Rovers in November 2010 and Aaron Lennon against QPR in October 2011.

    Son created a game-high six chances, his joint-most in a single Premier League game, and the South Korea forward was quickto praise his team-mate.

    "Bale is, no matter what, the best player in the world," Son told Goal Korea.

    "He prepared a lot, and showed a good performance as a starter. He helped our team. I think it's important to go out to the pitch where you've become a player and make a figure that is helpful to the team. I think Bale showed it."

  • 'Best Bale' delights Mourinho with double as Spurs down Burnley 'Best Bale' delights Mourinho with double as Spurs down Burnley

    Jose Mourinho felt Gareth Bale turned in the best display of his Tottenham second coming against Burnley and insists every manager in the world would pick the Wales star, fitness permitting.

    Bale was handed only his third Premier League start since re-joining Spurs on loan from Real Madrid last September and he responded with two goals and an assist for Harry Kane in a dominant 4-0 win over Burnley.

    Persistent fitness struggles have made Mourinho reluctant to give Bale too much action outside of cup competitions but he was thoroughly impressed after the forward put Sean Dyche's woeful Clarets to the sword.

    "It's the best Bale that we have had during this season, more confidence, better condition, no bad feelings with injuries," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    "His left foot will always be his left foot but the change of speed and direction and winning duels is not something he was able to do three or four months ago. Now he's giving us that."

    Bale won five of eight duels contested including two out of two in the air – the only Spurs player to have a 100 per cent record on this metric against Burnley.

    The 31-year-old was also perfect in a more headline-grabbing fashion, scoring twice from two shots on target and setting up Kane's 15th-minute goal with his only key pass.

    A hectic schedule continues at pace with back-to-back London derbies for Tottenham against Fulham and Crystal Palace this week.

    Mourinho plans to continue carefully managing Bale's workload, despite having instincts to the contrary.

    "Sometimes some of you like to imagine stories and you have to write stories. Sometimes you like to say things that are not really true," he said at a post-match news conference, referencing allusions to a strained relationship between himself and the Wales international.

    "But there is not one manager in the world who does not play Gareth Bale if Gareth Bale is in good condition. There is not one.

    "His knowledge of his body and his feelings are going to be fundamental.

    "A player who gives me this kind of performance, I want to play him Thursday and I want to play him Sunday and I want to play hm next week against Dinamo Zagreb [in the Europa League].

    "But I don't think I can. This is a process that we have to manage day bay day. The day after tomorrow we have to see how he feels.

    "He is a very important part of this decision making because he has a lot of experience."

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