NBA

Harden returns with 44-point haul in Nets' victory, Lakers win without LeBron

By Sports Desk March 27, 2021

James Harden returned from neck soreness with a 44-point haul to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 113-111 win over the Detroit Pistons in the NBA on Friday.

As well as his personal Nets high 44 points, which included four three-pointers, Harden had 14 rebounds and eight assists.

Harden set up Blake Griffin for an alley-oop as the new recruit contributed 17 points against his former side.

Detroit had an 11-0 final-quarter stretch, led by back-to-back three-pointers from Frank Jackson, to ensure a tense finale.

But Cory Joseph missed a point-blank look to send the game to overtime on the buzzer, enabling Brooklyn to improve to 31-15.

The Los Angeles Lakers snapped their losing run without LeBron James, with a 100-86 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Montrezl Harrell starred off the bench with a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds as they steadied to 29-17 record.

Zion puts up career-best haul in defeat

Former number one draft pick Zion Williamson put in a huge display with a career-high 39 points, going 16-of-19 from the field, 10 rebounds and five assists, but it was not enough as the New Orleans Pelicans lost to the Denver Nuggets 113-108.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic underlined his MVP credentials with 37 points, six rebounds and nine assists. He scored 22 of his 37 in the second half.

The Milwaukee Bucks were toppled by the Boston Celtics 122-114, with forward Jayson Tatum scoring 34 points and guard Marcus Smart adding 23. Tatum had an injury scare but played on.

Reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was quiet by his standards with only 16 points, while he had eight rebounds and five assists. The Celtics stay in the playoffs hunt with a 22-23 record, while the Bucks slip to 29-15 in third in the East.

Donovan Mitchell had 35 points along with five rebounds and six assists as the top-of-the-table Utah Jazz defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 117-114 to secure their fourth straight win.

The Portland Trail Blazers edged the Orlando Magic 112-105 without Damian Lillard, with CJ McCollum starring with 22 points, five rebounds and seven assists.

Chris Paul got the edge over Kyle Lowry as the Phoenix Suns won 104-100 at the Toronto Raptors. Paul had 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Heat slide to sixth straight loss

The Miami Heat may have got busy on NBA trade deadline with the addition of Victor Oladipo but he did not play as they lost their sixth straight, going down 110-105 to the Charlotte Hornets.

 

Timberwolves' 22-0 hot streak

The Minnesota Timberwolves' 22-0 run to secure their 107-101 win over the struggling Houston Rockets was the first 22-0 (or better) game-ending run since the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1998-99 season.

 

Friday's results

Brooklyn Nets 113-111 Detroit Pistons
Boston Celtics 122-114 Milwaukee Bucks
Phoenix Suns 104-100 Toronto Raptors
Denver Nuggets 113-108 New Orleans Pelicans
Minnesota Timberwolves 107-101 Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers 112-105 Orlando Magic
Charlotte Hornets 110-105 Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers 109-94 Dallas Mavericks
Utah Jazz 117-114 Memphis Grizzlies
Atlanta Hawks 124-108 Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers 100-86 Cleveland Cavaliers

 

76ers at Clippers

Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia 76ers (32-13) visit the Los Angeles Clippers (30-16), who are third in the West, on Saturday.

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  • Belgium have 'unbelievable' desire to win Euro 2020 ahead of clash v Ronaldo's Portugal – Alderweireld Belgium have 'unbelievable' desire to win Euro 2020 ahead of clash v Ronaldo's Portugal – Alderweireld

    Toby Alderweireld said star-studded Belgium have an "unbelievable" desire to win Euro 2020 as they prepare to face defending champions Portugal in the round of 16.

    Belgium and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal will go head-to-head in Seville for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

    Number one in the world rankings, Belgium have never won a major tournament, having finished runners-up at the European Championship in 1980, while the Red Devils finished third at the 2018 World Cup.

    Belgium have reached the knockout stages in each of their last five appearances at a major tournament (Euros and World Cup), progressing to the semi-final in their previous one at Russia 2018. Their defeat to eventual winners France three years ago is the only one of their last 10 games at major tournaments that they have failed to win (W9).

    Boasting a golden generation, including Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Youri Tielemans and Thibaut Courtois, veteran defender Alderweireld is bullish about Belgium's chances.

    "I want to see it differently," Alderweireld replied when asked if Portugal have an advantage given their 2016 success. "I can't talk about how they feel or how they think, the only thing I can say is that we are very hungry.

    "The desire is unbelievable with us to achieve big things for our country and for this team. So we will do everything in our powers to beat them."

    On whether this Belgium generation can be the one to deliver a trophy, Tottenham's Alderweireld said: "We will do everything in our powers to become that generation. I think we have already shown that we can beat any team if we have a good day.

    "But we know it is going to be a tough opponent, but we believe in our ideas and in our quality."

    Belgium will come up against superstar Ronaldo, who equalled Ali Daei for the most international goals in men's football with his 109th following a two-goal haul in Portugal's 2-2 draw against France.

    But Alderweireld and Belgium are wary of more than just Ronaldo, the 32-year-old adding: "I think they are a very difficult team to beat. They have a lot of quality, the team is very compact, they know how to play big games in big tournaments.

    "A lot of experience as well, so I think we have to be top to beat them. Of course everyone talks about Cristiano Ronaldo, we know he is one of the best in the world. But not only him, I think they have a lot of quality around him as well who create chances for him, So again we have to be top to beat them."

    Belgium have only failed to score in two of their last 58 games under head coach Roberto Martinez, averaging exactly three goals per game in this stretch of fixtures (174 in total).

    The two games they have been shut out came in the 2018 World Cup semi-final against France (0-1), and in their most recent meeting with Portugal – a 0-0 draw in June 2018.

    Belgium's victory over Finland last time out marked their ninth win at the World Cup and Euros combined under Martinez, with the Spaniard now holding the outright managerial record for major tournament wins with the Red Devils.

  • Bolivia 0-2 Uruguay: Cavani on target as Tabarez's side seal Copa America knockout spot Bolivia 0-2 Uruguay: Cavani on target as Tabarez's side seal Copa America knockout spot

    Edinson Cavani was on target as Uruguay booked their spot in the knockout stages of the Copa America with a 2-0 victory over Bolivia at Arena Pantanal.

    After losing their opening match to Argentina, Oscar Tabarez's men drew 1-1 with Chile on matchday two to breathe a bit of life into their campaign, and a first Group A win was enough to seal a place in the last eight. 

    They largely struggled in the first half against Cesar Farias' side, yet went in at the break 1-0 up courtesy of an unlucky own goal by Bolivia goalkeeper Carlos Lampe. 

    La Celeste dominated the second period and scored a deserved second 11 minutes from time through Cavani, who had earlier missed a host of glorious chances.

    Bolivia held their own in the opening stages, with Uruguay reduced to little more than half-chances inside the first 20 minutes.

    Cavani had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock midway through the first half, but the Manchester United forward was thwarted by Lampe after struggling to get the ball out of his feet.

    Uruguay went ahead five minutes before the interval in fortuitous circumstances, Luis Suarez's low cross diverted into his own net by Lampe after Jairo Quinteros' attempted clearance had crashed against him.

    Cavani fired straight at Lampe shortly after the interval when it looked easier to score, while at the other end Fernando Muslera tipped over a powerful strike from Ramiro Vaca. 

    Lampe twice denied Suarez before the hour mark – the first seeing him keep out the Atletico Madrid striker's audacious 40-yard half-volley – before the Bolivia keeper pawed over a fierce drive from Rodrigo Bentancur. 

    Substitute Facundo Torres missed a glaring opportunity at the back post, but the 21-year-old made amends with a fine low cross which was clinically dispatched by Cavani from 12 yards to wrap up all three points.

    Uruguay really should have scored a third deep into stoppage time, yet Maxi Gomez inexplicably skewered wide with the goal at his mercy.

  • Sri Lanka offer scare but Livingstone leads England to series win Sri Lanka offer scare but Livingstone leads England to series win

    Liam Livingstone led England to a Twenty20 series win over Sri Lanka despite the tourists threatening a comeback in Thursday's second match.

    In the absence of Jos Buttler, who was nursing a calf injury, Livingstone's 29 from 26 balls ensured an eighth consecutive victory at Sophia Gardens in this format.

    After Sri Lanka had posted 111-7, the lowest score England had ever conceded over 20 overs, the hosts survived a wobble high up the order and a rain delay in Cardiff to post 108-5 and win by five wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

    Sam Curran (1-8) produced a finish arguably more worthy of Wembley Stadium to run out Danushka Gunathilaka, side-footing the ball right into the stumps as England made a solid start after losing the toss.

    Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis brought up a partnership of 50 from 53 balls, but the Sri Lanka captain was gone off the next delivery from Mark Wood, a reverse sweep coming right off the toe of the bat and straight to Eoin Morgan.

    Wood then claimed two from two deliveries, Bairstow clearing the decks to catch a high ball from Mendis before Morgan was given a simple take at midwicket from Niroshan Dickwella. A hat-trick very nearly followed, Wanindu Hasaranga – who was later stumped by Bairstow from Adil Rashid's delivery – almost edging to slip.

    Sri Lanka did at least get to three figures in the final over, Isuru Udana finishing on 19 after a huge swing for six cleared the stands, and when Bairstow and Dawid Malan fell for the loss of eight runs, England's routine-looking chase suddenly seemed uncertain.

    Morgan was caught for 11 before Sam Billings and Livingstone steadied the ship, England reaching 69-4 before rain halted proceedings.

    Once play resumed with a revised target of 103, Livingstone read a full ball from Dushmantha Chameera and hooked an exquisite shot into the stands to calm any lingering nerves.

    Billings was skittled by Hasaranga (2-20) but it mattered little, Curran smashing a six to settle the contest just as the rain began to fall again.

    Sri Lanka far too brittle with the bat

    England's fifth consecutive T20 win over Sri Lanka had looked nailed on, but it became rather more nail-biting as Hasaranga led an accomplished early attack.

    Ultimately, it was too little, too late after another poor batting effort. Sri Lanka entered this match with 28 sixes in T20 matches since the start of 2020, the lowest figure among Test nations, and Udana's final-over flourish produced the only boundaries they managed once Mendis had gone.

     

    England make history

    England have now won back-to-back multi-game bilateral men's T20 series on home soil for the first time, having beaten Australia 2-1 last September.

    While Morgan could only manage 11 runs at a ground where he averaged 102 from his five previous innings, Livingstone and Wood stepped up with bat and ball to make Saturday's third match in Southampton a chance to throw off the shackles.

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