NBA

Embiid lifts 76ers over Jazz in thriller and Harden enjoys winning return to Houston as LeBron-less Lakers lose

By Sports Desk March 04, 2021

Joel Embiid enhanced his MVP credentials with a monster double-double as the Philadelphia 76ers trumped the NBA-leading Utah Jazz in a thrilling battle, 131-123 after overtime.

Embiid hit a game-tying three-pointer with 5.3 seconds remaining to force OT – Eastern Conference leaders the 76ers outscoring the Jazz 13-5 in the additional period to reign supreme in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

MVP candidate Embiid finished with 40 points and 19 rebounds to fuel the 76ers to back-to-back wins heading into the break, with the All-Star Game scheduled for Sunday.

Sixers team-mate Tobias Harris scored 11 of his 22 points in overtime as the 76ers improved to 24-12.

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, who was ejected with 30.8 seconds remaining in OT, recorded 33 points in the road loss – Utah (27-9) suffering back-to-back losses.

James Harden showed no mercy in his first game against the Houston Rockets since January's blockbuster trade to the Brooklyn Nets.

Former MVP Harden had 29 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for his eighth triple-double since joining the Nets, who downed the injury-hit Rockets 132-114.

 

McConnell makes history

T.J. McConnell put up 16 points on eight of eight shooting, 13 assists and 10 steals off the bench in the Indiana Pacers' 114-111 win at the Cleveland Cavaliers. McConnell became the first player in NBA history to record 10-plus steals and make 100 per cent of his field-goal attempts in a game, per Stats Perform. He also became only the 10th player with a 10-plus steal triple-double since steals began being tracked in 1973-74.

Trae Young ended the game with 32 points as the Atlanta Hawks edged the Orlando Magic 115-112.

The Chicago Bulls trumped the New Orleans Pelicans 128-124 behind Zach LaVine's 36 points.

Triple-doubles from Mason Plumlee (14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists) and Dennis Smith Jr. (10 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists) inspired the Detroit Pistons to a 129-105 win over the Toronto Raptors. Norman Powell had a game-high 36 points for the Raptors.

 

Lakers' poor form continues

Playing without LeBron James for the first time this season and with Anthony Davis already sidelined, defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers went down 123-120 to the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers have lost six of their last eight games, falling into a tie for third place in the Western Conference heading into the All-Star weekend.

The Rockets have lost 13 games in a row – the franchise's longest skid since dropping 15 straight in 2001.

 

Lillard sinks Warriors

Damian Lillard (22 points) scored the final eight points for the Portland Trail Blazers, including the game-winning three with 13.7 seconds remaining, in a 108-106 win against the Golden State Warriors. Stephen Curry's 35 points were not enough for the Warriors.

 

Wednesday's results

Indiana Pacers 114-111 Cleveland Cavaliers
Philadelphia 76ers 131-123 Utah Jazz (OT)
Detroit Pistons 129-105 Toronto Raptors
Brooklyn Nets 132-114 Houston Rockets
Atlanta Hawks 115-112 Orlando Magic
Charlotte Hornets 135-102 Minnesota Timberwolves
Chicago Bulls 128-124 New Orleans Pelicans
Dallas Mavericks 87-78 Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers 108-106 Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings 123-120 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Clippers at Wizards

The Los Angeles Clippers (24-13) will look to snap a run of back-to-back defeats before the All-Star break when they visit the lowly Washington Wizards (13-20) on Thursday.

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    Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino does not believe his team are favourites to win the Champions League after eliminating holders Bayern Munich.

    PSG advanced to the semi-finals for the second successive season on away goals after the blockbuster tie ended 3-3 following Tuesday's 1-0 loss at home to Bayern.

    Ligue 1 champions PSG exacted some revenge after moving through to the final four, having lost last season's decider to Bayern.

    PSG will face either Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund in the semis, while Chelsea are set to meet the winner of the Liverpool-Real Madrid clash.

    Pochettino, though, dismissed the idea that PSG are the main contender to win the Champions League this season.

    "I don't think so," Pochettino told reporters when asked if PSG are favourites. "We have beat Barcelona in last 16 in two games, we have beat Bayern now in two games too.

    "I think we deserved to win both ties, but I don't think PSG are the main contender to win Champions League. There are still rivals in. We have qualified and Chelsea did today as well.

    "We will see in the ties Man City versus Dortmund and Liverpool versus Real Madrid. Any team which is in semi-finals has the same options to win."

    PSG's elimination of Bayern is the first instance in Champions League history of the previous season's losing finalists eliminating the holders in the knockout stages.

    French giants PSG have reached the semi-finals for the second season in a row, after managing to reach the final four only once in their previous 11 campaigns in the competition before that – their first in 1994-95.

    PSG, though, failed to score at home in the Champions League for the first time in 24 games, since a 0-0 draw with Madrid in October 2015.

    Asked to pick between City and Dortmund, former Tottenham boss Pochettino – who led Spurs to the 2018-19 Champions League final – added: "We have faced Barcelona in last 16, playing two games, and we have disqualified Barca. We have also eliminated Bayern Munich in quarter-finals.

    "We don't choose one or other rival. The one we play, we will try to beat them. If you are wondering we can or not beat them, we will see."

  • Nuggets star Murray out indefinitely with torn ACL Nuggets star Murray out indefinitely with torn ACL

    The Denver Nuggets have been dealt a blow after star guard Jamal Murray suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the left knee.

    Murray will be sidelined indefinitely after the high-flying Nuggets revealed the injury diagnosis on Tuesday.

    Denver were left sweating over Murray's fitness following Monday's 116-107 NBA loss to the Golden State Warriors.

    Murray fell to the floor in agony following an apparent non-contact injury – the 24-year-old clutching his left knee amid serious concerns on court.

    Denver's Murray has been averaging a career-high 21.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game this season.

    Murray has also been boasting career highs in field-goal percentage (47.7) and three-point percentage (40.8).

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  • Smells like team spirit to Pochettino as PSG close in on Champions League glory Smells like team spirit to Pochettino as PSG close in on Champions League glory

    Mauricio Pochettino said Paris Saint-Germain felt like "a real team" after they edged out Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

    With "geniuses" such as Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria, there has never been any doubting the quality of the individuals in the PSG ranks.

    They reached last season's Champions League final, and on Tuesday they completed a revenge mission against the Bundesliga giants who beat them in that Lisbon showpiece match.

    A 1-0 home defeat saw the Ligue 1 outfit through on away goals following their 3-2 win in Munich last week.

    "It was a real tough match," Pochettino said on BT Sport. "I'm really happy because the players deserve big credit. I'm so happy for them, the club, the president, for [sporting director] Leonardo who trusts in us.

    "After three months working here, we are here and we are enjoying the moment. If you win and you qualify for the semi-final that is an amazing moment for us."

    Asked directly about his three thrilling front players, Pochettino shone a light on what he wants them to deliver, which is not only the frequent moments of solo magic.

    "They are fantastic players and the capacity and the quality is there and you can appreciate it, and of course they work so hard," the former Tottenham boss said.

    "I am so happy because our job is to try to put this type of talent, they are geniuses, to work like a team, to bring the effort without the ball. Of course with the ball they are fantastic, but to feel that we are a real team that is a challenge for us and at the moment we are so happy about that."

    PSG had won all four of their previous home matches against Bayern in Europe, with those games all coming in the Champions League from 1994 to 2017, and the slender defeat felt like another victory this time.

    Pochettino said he tried to enjoy a contest in which PSG played delightfully at times, repeatedly opening up the Bayern defence with thrilling interplay between the front players.

    Neymar had five shots in the first half, three of which drew fine saves from Manuel Neuer, hitting the crossbar and post with the other two attempts prior to the break.

    In all, he had a team-high 85 touches, played the most passes in the opposition half (28) of any PSG player, and was involved in more duels (30) than anyone on the pitch.

    The Brazilian was sensational on a night when Mbappe, who scored twice in the first leg, was a little erratic, being flagged offside six times. On one of those occasions, the flag looked to have gone up too early and Mbappe might have had a chance to score or set up a team-mate. On another, he raced through and thrashed a ferocious shot beyond Neuer, only for the goal to be disallowed.

    It was a tie that was tense through to the final whistle in the second leg, as Pochettino got the better of Bayern boss Hansi Flick.

    "Every time I am calm outside," said Pochettino. "But inside always you are always a little bit with the stress of the competition, adrenaline that we love to feel, but tonight was a fantastic game."

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