NBA

Heat sizzle as Miami pip LeBron's Lakers, Hornets buzz past Curry-less Warriors

By Sports Desk February 21, 2021

The Miami Heat edged NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers 96-94 on Saturday.

In a rematch of last season's NBA Finals, which LeBron James and the Lakers won, the Heat came out on top in Los Angeles.

The Heat led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter before the Lakers rallied, but Miami held on at Staples Center.

Kendrick Nunn (27 points) and Jimmy Butler (24 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals) fuelled the Heat on the road.

James led the slumping Lakers – who have lost back-to-back games – with a team-high 23 points.

 

CP3 surpasses Robertson as Suns set franchise record

It was a memorable day for Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns, who routed the Memphis Grizzlies 128-97. Paul passed Oscar Robertson for sixth place on the all-time assists list. Robertson had 9,887 assists. The Suns, meanwhile, nailed a franchise-record 24 three-pointers.

Zach LaVine's 38 points inspired the Chicago Bulls to a 122-114 victory over the Sacramento Kings. LaVine made 15 of 20 shots in his fourth consecutive game with 30 or more points.

Russell Westbrook (27 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds) and Bradley Beal (37 points) teamed up to guide the Washington Wizards to an 118-111 victory at the Portland Trail Blazers, who had their six-game winning streak snapped. Damian Lillard's 35 points and 12 rebounds were not enough for the Blazers.

 

Caruso scoreless

Alex Caruso dished off four assists, but it was a tough night for the Lakers shooting guard in a scoreless outing. He was 0-of-three from the field, missing both of his three-point attempts.

The less said about the Grizzlies' performance from beyond the arc, the better. Memphis were just five-of-33 from three-point range – shooting at 15.2 per cent in a crushing defeat at home to the Suns.

 

Rozier calls game!

Terry Rozier nailed a jumper as time expired to lift the Charlotte Hornets past the Golden State Warriors 102-100. Rozier finished with 36 points. Golden State lost Stephen Curry (illness) moments before tip-off.

 

Saturday's results

Charlotte Hornets 102-100 Golden State Warriors
Miami Heat 96-94 Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls 122-114 Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns 128-97 Memphis Grizzlies
Washington Wizards 118-111 Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs-New York Knicks (postponed)
Houston Rockets-Indiana Pacers (postponed)

 

Nets at Clippers

It will be a blockbuster battle on Sunday when the Brooklyn Nets (19-12) visit the Los Angeles Clippers (22-9). The Nets will be without Kevin Durant (hamstring) for a fourth consecutive game. Both teams are second in their respective conferences.

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    Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Marquinhos and Marco Verratti are unlikely to start the second leg against Bayern Munich as Paris Saint-Germain look to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

    Verratti, along with fellow Italy international Alessandro Florenzi, missed the first meeting between the teams in Munich after testing positive for COVID-19.

    However, the duo have received the all-clear and are back in training ahead of the return fixture in the French capital, with PSG holding a 3-2 advantage at the halfway stage in the tie.

    Pochettino told the media on Monday he is yet to decide on his line-up, with Marquinhos remaining a doubt due to a thigh injury.

    "We haven't decided the team for tomorrow yet, but it will be difficult for Verratti to start," the PSG boss said in his pre-game news conference. "Florenzi will be assessed further tomorrow."

    On Marquinhos' status, he added: "We will see how he feels tomorrow. In theory, he could be involved in the squad, so we will see.

    "I don't think he will be able to start, certainly, but he may be able to be on the bench. We will decide that on Wednesday."

    PSG knocked out Barcelona in the previous round 5-2 on aggregate, though were held to a 1-1 draw at home in the second leg following a resounding triumph at Camp Nou.

    Pochettino is well aware that the tie with Bayern – who he made clear are the best team in the world – is much tighter, meaning his players must find the right balance between retaining their slender advantage and also posing problems in attack for their opponents.

    "At home to Barcelona, particularly in the first half, we found it very hard to keep the ball, even with Verratti and Leandro Paredes in the team," Pochettino said.

    "It is not about individual names but collective attitude. We have to have a different approach from the Barcelona game while understanding that we don't just need to defend but also to keep the ball to attack and hurt the opposition.

    "This is the challenge that lies ahead, and once again we have a positive first-leg result to build on."

    PSG have won all four of their previous games in which they have hosted the German side in European competition, while only three of the previous 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League knockout tie have managed to progress.

    Pochettino, though, is well aware of the size of the task the hosts face against the defending champions, with Bayern having gone 16 games unbeaten in the competition under Hansi Flick prior to the loss on home soil last week.

    "The Barcelona game is the past, Bayern are the best team in the world at the moment so they will certainly make it difficult for us," the former Tottenham head coach said.

    "We need the strength and ability to manage those moments, just as we did in the first leg in Munich.

    "They are world champions who have won six trophies in recent months. We are the pretenders and contenders to win the trophy. We have to consider all the circumstances surrounding the tie.

    "If we get through to the semi-finals, it will be a big achievement for the club. PSG want to win every competition we are involved in, but beating Bayern Munich, in itself, would be a big feat."

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    Greenwood sets high sub standard

    As cameo appearances go, Greenwood's short time on the field against Spurs was right up there.

    The 19-year-old replaced Marcus Rashford after 72 minutes at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with the game in the balance at 1-1.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could surely not have wished for a bigger impact from the forward, who laid on a goal for Edinson Cavani before sealing all three points by finding the back of the net himself deep into stoppage time.

    Greenwood became the first teenager to score and assist as a substitute for United in a Premier League match since the legendary Ronaldo did so against Portsmouth in November 2003.

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    On the subject of big impacts, Lingard has been a revelation for the Hammers since his loan move from Manchester United in January.

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  • Greenwood and Rashford need another year of Cavani at Man Utd - Neville Greenwood and Rashford need another year of Cavani at Man Utd - Neville

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    Cavani scored his seventh league goal of the campaign on Sunday, heading in a cross from Mason Greenwood to put United 2-1 ahead against Tottenham.

    Substitute Greenwood added a third in stoppage time to wrap up the victory, with Neville believing the young England international's development - along with that of club and country colleague Marcus Rashford – can only be helped by working regularly with Cavani.

    The Uruguayan signed as a free agent and while United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains hopeful the player will remain at the club, speculation has suggested the striker wants to return to South America.

    "Tottenham had a throw with two minutes to go, and Cavani was moving between the centre-backs trying to stop the ball from being thrown in, and he's organising where Mason Greenwood should be," Neville explained on his podcast for Sky Sports. "I thought, 'Greenwood needs another year of Cavani being alongside him.'

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    "He does the right things. The right movements. It's clockwork, that run across the defender, across the near post, the one you're always trying to get young strikers to do."

    Cavani has scored eight times in all competitions since his arrival at Old Trafford, averaging out at a goal every 195.5 minutes – only Bruno Fernandes and Rashford have managed more.

    However, the former Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain player has a better shot conversion rate (20.5 per cent) than both that pair, demonstrating his value to the side.

    Solskjaer made clear after the away triumph at Spurs that he remains hopeful the 34-year-old will be part of his squad for the 2021-22 season.

    "He knows my feelings; I know his feelings. He's not made up his mind yet," the United boss told the media.

    "I understand that it's been a difficult year for everyone, but for a new lad who doesn't speak English, not to feel the English culture, to go see people, have friends around... it's in the back of your head if this is what you want, you know you can't have your family over.

    "Fingers crossed, but if he decides that it's just this season, then we've been very, very fortunate to have him here."

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