LeBron outscores Irving in Lakers' victory, Doncic lifts Mavs

By Sports Desk January 24, 2020

LeBron James and Luka Doncic celebrated their All-Star selections with brilliant performances in valuable NBA road victories on Thursday.

James, who will captain Team LeBron against Team Giannis in Chicago next month, led the Los Angeles Lakers to a gritty 128-113 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

The 35-year-old posted a triple-double with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to spoil Kyrie Irving's return after a game out with hamstring tightness.

The former Cleveland Cavaliers team-mates were facing each other for the first time since Irving (20 points) joined the Nets in July 2019.

Doncic gained his first All-Star selection after topping the Western Conference backcourt vote and then inspired the Dallas Mavericks to a 133-125 win against the Portland Trail Blazers.

His nine assists and team-high 27 points ensured 47 from Damian Lillard went in vain as the Mavs prevailed for the fifth time in six games.

Beal brilliant in Wizards' win

After losing to the Heat in Miami, the Washington Wizards bounced back to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-112.

Bradley Beal went 15 of 22 from the field for 36 points and eight assists in a sublime performance at Quicken Loans Arena.

 

Simons fizzles in losing cause

Lillard and Carmelo Anthony (16 points) had to be productive for the beaten Trail Blazers given Anfernee Simons' struggles on home court.

The 20-year-old guard contributed just five points in 23 minutes on the floor.

 

AD denies Kyrie!

Anthony Davis sent a message to Irving and the Nets with a huge rejection in the third quarter.

Thursday's results

Washington Wizards 124-112 Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Lakers 128-113 Brooklyn Nets
Dallas Mavericks 133-125 Portland Trail Blazers 

 

Clippers at Heat

Providing he overcomes knee soreness, Jimmy Butler will seek to prove he should have been an All-Star starter when the Miami Heat (31-13) host the Los Angeles Clippers (31-14) on Friday.

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    Brad Stevens felt improved defense helped the Boston Celtics turn Game 5 against the Miami Heat to stay alive in the NBA playoffs.

    The Celtics rallied for a 121-108 victory over Miami on Friday to cut the Heat's Eastern Conference finals lead to 3-2.

    But Boston struggled early, trailing by 12 points, before a 41-25 third quarter helped them turn the game.

    Celtics head coach Stevens said improvement defensively was key for Boston.

    "I just thought we played with great tenacity defensively, and our offense followed suit," he told a news conference.

    "But they're very hard. It's easy for me to sit up and say to be at our very best and get stops on every possession.

    "This is a heck of an offensive team, a heck of a well-coached team and hard to guard."

    Celtics star Jayson Tatum scored 17 of his 31 points in the third quarter, with Boston going on a 20-3 run.

    Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra lamented his side's inability to slow the Celtics down.

    "We missed some open shots to start the quarter and then those turned into run-outs that got them going, those easy ones. This is a team that has great offensive firepower," he said.

    "When they see the ball go in the basket they started to get more aggressive and putting a ton of pressure on us in the paint, much like they did in Game 3 and we weren't able to shut that off, and they just carried that through."

    Game 6 is on Sunday.

  • Celtics stay alive with Game 5 win over Miami Celtics stay alive with Game 5 win over Miami

    The Boston Celtics stayed alive in the NBA playoffs with a 121-108 win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    Jayson Tatum (31 points and 10 rebounds) lifted the Celtics at the Walt Disney World Resort on Friday as they reduced Miami's series lead to 3-2.

    The win came after Miami made a better start, at one stage leading by as many as 12 points.

    Tatum scored 17 third-quarter points as the Celtics rallied on their way to a victory that kept them alive in the playoffs.

    Jaylen Brown (28 points) also starred, while Kemba Walker (15 points) and Daniel Theis (15 points and 13 rebounds) were also key contributors.

    Duncan Robinson (20 points) had put Miami in position in the first half before the Celtics' fightback.

    Jimmy Butler finished with 17 points, while Goran Dragic had 23 before fouling out.

    Coming off his Game 4 heroics, rookie Tyler Herro managed just 14 points.

    Game 6 of the series is on Sunday.

     

    Nuggets face Lakers

    Leading the Western Conference finals 3-1, the Los Angeles Lakers are a win away from a first NBA Finals appearance since 2010 ahead of facing the Denver Nuggets again on Saturday.

  • LeBron asked to guard Murray during 'winning time' for the Lakers LeBron asked to guard Murray during 'winning time' for the Lakers

    LeBron James took on the responsibility of guarding Jamal Murray down the stretch because he knew it was "winning time" for the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4. 

    With the Lakers holding a four-point lead with just over five minutes remaining in the final quarter, and Murray on 28 points on 12-for-17 shooting, James switched onto the Denver Nuggets guard. 

    Murray was held to 0-for-2 shooting by the four-time NBA MVP, with his four points in the last five minutes coming from the free throw line. 

    The Lakers consequently closed out a 114-108 victory to move 3-1 up in the Western Conference Finals. 

    Asked why he put himself on Murray, James said: "I knew it was winning time, and Jamal had it going. The kid is special. He has an array of shots. Triple threat from the three, mid-range and also in the paint. 

    "For me, it's just trusting my defensive keys. Trusting my study of film. Trusting personnel. And living with the results. I told my team-mates that I had him and everyone else can kind of stay at bay and stay home. 

    "I was able to get a couple stops and we were able to rebound the basketball, which is the most important thing." 

    James is averaging 34.4 minutes in the playoffs, which is the fewest of his career – his previous low was 38.2 with the Miami Heat in 2013-14. 

    The 17-year veteran denied that having less time on court helped him stay fresh to guard Murray in the closing stages. 

    "I don't reserve any energy. I'm on the floor, I give it all I've got. If I need a break, I ask for a break. Coach has done a good job of getting me out throughout the course of the game," said James. 

    "I don't look at it as a reserve tank. I've got pretty good energy when I'm on the floor all the time. It's winning time and I don't have a chance or time to be feeling tired. 

    "I'm tired now. That's when I'm tired, when it's zeros on the clock. That's when I'm tired. I'm not tired during the game."

    Murray appreciated the respect the Lakers afforded him but felt the Nuggets, who have come back from 3-1 deficits to advance in the past two rounds, still should have found a way to win. 

    He said: "I mean, they switched AD [Anthony Davis] on me to be on him, too. 

    "Obviously, with LeBron I do the same stuff I do when I see [Alex] Caruso, when I see [Rajon] Rondo and KCP [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope], and Kawhi [Leonard], Paul George and Pat Bev [Patrick Beverley]. 

    "I mean, I do the same thing. Appreciate the respect, but we've got to win the game."

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