NBA

LeBron enjoying longest run in NBA history after triple-double as rallying Lakers break franchise record

By Sports Desk February 05, 2021

LeBron James inspired reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers to a 114-93 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.

James posted his second triple-double of the season – 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists – to guide the Lakers past the visiting Nuggets in Los Angeles.

With the 12,682nd bucket of his illustrious career, Lakers superstar James surpassed Wilt Chamberlain for the third-most field goals made in NBA history.

James' 23-game streak of recording 15-plus points, five-plus rebounds and five-plus assists to start the season is the longest run in NBA history, surpassing his own record of 22 in a row in 2011-12.

The Lakers recorded their third consecutive win after overturning a 12-point deficit against Western Conference rivals the Nuggets.

According to Stats Perform, it is the largest margin of victory in franchise history after trailing by double digits at half-time. The previous high was a 20-point win at the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day in 1968.

 

Night to remember for Oubre

Kelly Oubre Jr. scored a career-high 40 points as the Golden State Warriors overpowered the Dallas Mavericks 147-116. Stephen Curry had 28 points for the Warriors in Dallas.

Joel Embiid hurt his knee but had a game-high 37 points in the Philadelphia 76ers' shock 121-105 loss at home to the Portland Trail Blazers, who were without stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

 

Scoreless Rondo

Rajon Rondo did not score a point in the Atlanta Hawks' 112-91 defeat to the Utah Jazz. Rondo was 0 of seven from the field, while he missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc in 28 minutes.

Embiid did not have much support in Philadelphia as the 76ers struggled without Ben Simmons. Tobias Harris finished with 12 points on just five-of-14 shooting from the field. The All-Star hopeful missed both of his three-point efforts.

The Houston Rockets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 115-103, however P.J. Tucker was one-of-eight from the field, and one-of-seven from three-point range for three points in 34 minutes.

 

The LeBron show

James was at his brilliant best against the Nuggets, showcasing his elite shooting and passing skills.

 

Thursday's results

Utah Jazz 112-91 Atlanta Hawks
Golden State Warriors 147-116 Dallas Mavericks
Portland Trail Blazers 121-105 Philadelphia 76ers
Houston Rockets 115-103 Memphis Grizzlies
Los Angeles Lakers 114-93 Denver Nuggets

 

Raptors at Nets

The star-studded Brooklyn Nets (14-9) will host the Toronto Raptors (9-12) on Friday. The Los Angeles Clippers (17-6) and Milwaukee Bucks (13-8) will also be in action.

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  • Scaloni concerned about squad as Argentina rely on record-equalling Messi Scaloni concerned about squad as Argentina rely on record-equalling Messi

    Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni voiced concerns about the physical condition of his players while highlighting the importance of Lionel Messi after La Albiceleste booked their spot in the Copa America quarter-finals.

    Papu Gomez was the hero for Argentina, with his 10th-minute goal sealing a 1-0 win over Paraguay on Monday and a spot in the last eight of the showpiece CONMEBOL tournament.

    There was no rest for superstar captain Messi, who equalled Javier Mascherano's record for most Argentina appearances with his 147th cap, despite Scaloni's men backing up from Friday's success against Uruguay.

    Messi has not missed a minute of Argentina's three Group A games so far, amassing 74 touches against Paraguay while winning 75 per cent of a team-high 16 duels.

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner had the most shots (three) and shots on target (two) among his team-mates as Argentina extended their unbeaten streak to 16 matches, dating back to 2019.

    "The reality is that Messi has been playing every game and it is very difficult not to count on him, even though he is tired he continues to make the difference," said Scaloni, who introduced the likes of Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero into the starting XI.

    "Today we made several changes and despite that we were able to take all three points."

    Without a major title since the 1993 Copa America, Argentina snapped a four-game winless drought against Paraguay in Brasilia.

    Argentina ended the contest with a total of eight shots (five from outside the box) – their second lowest figure during the Scaloni era, tied with the match against Ecuador in October 2020 and one more than they registered against Paraguay at the 2019 Copa America.

    Paraguay controlled possession across the 90 minutes – 56.9 to 43.1 per cent, the first time in the last nine meetings with Argentina they had more ball possession.

    "What worries me is the physical condition of the players because we came from playing three days ago and today the conditions were not the best, so we had to rotate players," Scaloni told reporters.

    "The first half we played very well and in the second, due to the merit of Paraguay and their good physical condition, as a result of many days off, they had more control of the game. The team showed a good image in the first half, but there are always things to keep improving."

  • Substance over style for Messi's Argentina as confidence builds at Copa America Substance over style for Messi's Argentina as confidence builds at Copa America

    "The beauty of all this is the process," Lionel Scaloni said post-game.

    Sixteen games unbeaten and through to the Copa America quarter-finals for the 14th consecutive CONMEBOL tournament.

    Papu Gomez's delightful 10th-minute effort over onrushing Antony Silva extended Argentina's undefeated streak, while snapping a four-match winless drought against Paraguay on Monday.

    Add seven clean sheets during an unbeaten run, dating back to the 2019 Copa America semi-finals, and it sounds wonderful for La Albiceleste in pursuit of a first major title since 1993.

    This is not your usual Argentina, despite boasting a record six-time Ballon d'Or winner – Lionel Messi, who equalled Javier Mascherano's appearance record with his 147th cap – hellbent on claiming an elusive international trophy.

    Aside from Gomez's delicate finish, there was not much to write home about. After a promising opening half, Argentina faded. A growing theme under head coach Scaloni.

    Argentina ended the Group A contest with a total of eight shots (five from outside the box) – their second lowest figure during the Scaloni era, tied with the match against Ecuador in October 2020 and one more than they registered against Paraguay at the 2019 Copa America.

    Paraguay controlled possession across the 90 minutes – 56.9 to 43.1 per cent, the first time in the last nine meetings with Argentina they had more ball possession. Fortunately for Scaloni's side, La Albirroja did not manage a shot on target.

    At a time when Argentina was reeling following another early and unsuccessful World Cup campaign, ousted in the round of 16 at Russia 2018, Scaloni stepped into a hot seat so few were willing to take on.

    The seven-time Argentina international provided stability when superstar captain Messi initially retired. Scaloni oversaw a run to the 2019 Copa America semi-finals – La Albiceleste settled for third.

    Fast forward to this year and even amid a lengthy undefeated streak, there are growing questions over Scaloni, the style of football and Argentina's ability to put an end to 28 years of anguish.

    While the football might not be so easy on the eye, it's the results that matter at the moment as Argentina build towards dethroning South American rivals Brazil on their own turf.

  • Argentina 1-0 Paraguay: Gomez strikes as La Albiceleste reach Copa QFs with drought-ending win Argentina 1-0 Paraguay: Gomez strikes as La Albiceleste reach Copa QFs with drought-ending win

    Argentina qualified for the Copa America quarter-finals after ending their drought against Paraguay with a 1-0 victory.

    Not since the 2015 Copa had Argentina tasted a win over Paraguay – a run of four consecutive matches – but La Albiceleste snapped that winless streak thanks to Papu Gomez on Monday.

    Gomez scored the winner in the 10th minute, scooping an effort over onrushing Paraguay goalkeeper Antony Silva, for his second goal from just his sixth international appearance.

    As Lionel Messi equalled the record for most Argentina appearances, Lionel Scaloni's men extended their winning streak to 16 games in Brasilia.

    Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero were named in the starting XI for the first time during this year's Copa, and the veteran Argentina pair were heavily involved early.

    Aguero had a great chance to put Argentina ahead in the seventh minute after some woeful defending saw the ball fall to his feet inside the six-yard box, however, the Barcelona recruit's reactive effort went just over the crossbar.

    Argentina did break the deadlock three minutes later via Gomez, who beat the offside trap and finished delicately over Silva after Di Maria cut a ball perfectly to the Sevilla star.

    Paraguay ended the half with more possession – 55.2 per cent to 44.8 per cent – as Argentina dropped off after scoring the opening goal.

    Argentina did find the back of the net for a second time on the stroke of half-time, wheeling away in celebration after Gomez's cross was inadvertently put into his own net by Paraguay defender Junior Alonso but it was ruled offside.

    There was a promising spell of sustained pressure from Paraguay, who had not lost to Argentina in six years, to start the second half.

    Paraguay continued to dictate proceedings without creating anything meaningful as Argentina booked their spot in the knockout phase in pursuit of a first major title since winning the 1993 Copa America.

     

    What does it mean? Argentina roll on

    Argentina are a tough team to beat at the moment. Not since the 2019 Copa America have La Albiceleste tasted defeat – a run of 16 consecutive matches without a loss. They have kept seven clean sheets during that run.

    Messi milestone

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner celebrated another milestone on Monday, equalling Javier Mascherano for the most senior Argentina appearances – 147. Messi is already the country's all-time leading scorer (73).

    Toothless Paraguay

    Paraguay enjoyed more possession and a better passing accuracy, but it did not translate to anything meaningful up front. Eduardo Berizzo's side ended the contest without a shot on target.

    What's next?

    Argentina will conclude their Group A campaign against winless Bolivia in Cuiaba on Monday, while Paraguay meet Uruguay on the same day.

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