NBA

Embiid stars on return, Bucks win again as Kobe tributes continue

By Sports Desk January 29, 2020

Joel Embiid starred for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA on Tuesday, while the Milwaukee Bucks recorded a resounding win.

Embiid made his return from a finger injury and had 24 points and 10 rebounds in the 76ers' 115-104 win over the Golden State Warriors.

The forward also wore a number 24 jersey to honour the late Kobe Bryant, who made it famous during his glittering career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Al Horford chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds for the 76ers, who improved to 31-17.

The Bucks extended their winning streak to nine by thrashing the Washington Wizards 151-131.

Without Giannis Antetokounmpo (shoulder), the Bucks had no problems against the struggling Wizards.

Khris Middleton contributed a career-high 51 points to go with 10 rebounds, while Eric Bledsoe poured in 34.

Super Siakam, Hayward steps up

Pascal Siakam's 24 points and nine rebounds helped the Toronto Raptors past the Atlanta Hawks 130-114. The Raptors have won eight straight.

Gordon Hayward guided the Boston Celtics to a 109-101 victory over the Miami Heat with 29 points and nine rebounds.

Jonas Valanciunas' 23 points and 12 rebounds saw the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Denver Nuggets 104-96.

 

Bad Bullock

Reggie Bullock went two-of-seven from the field for just six points in 28 minutes in the New York Knicks' 97-92 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

 

Kobe tributes continue

The tributes to Bryant continued after his death in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday.

The Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns took an eight-second backcourt violation and 24-second shot-clock violation in honour of the Lakers great, who wore those two numbers during his career.

The 76ers and Warriors did likewise.

Tuesday's results

Charlotte Hornets 97-92 New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers 115-104 Golden State Warriors
New Orleans Pelicans 125-111 Cleveland Cavaliers
Toronto Raptors 130-114 Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics 109-101 Miami Heat
Memphis Grizzlies 104-96 Denver Nuggets
Milwaukee Bucks 151-131 Washington Wizards
Phoenix Suns 133-104 Dallas Mavericks

 

Rockets at Trail Blazers

Sitting fifth in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets (29-17) visit the Portland Trail Blazers (20-27) on Wednesday.

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    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."

  • Davis upbeat over ankle injury as Lakers close in on NBA Finals Davis upbeat over ankle injury as Lakers close in on NBA Finals

    Anthony Davis provided a positive assessment over the ankle injury he suffered in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, declaring: "I'll be fine."

    Davis rolled his ankle in the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers' 114-108 triumph over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, putting them 3-1 up in the best-of-seven series and on the brink of a place in the NBA Finals.

    Despite the setback, the 27-year-old still led the Lakers in terms of scoring, contributing 34 points as he played 41 minutes.

    Game 5 takes place on Saturday, with Davis confident of being fit for action as Los Angeles aim to close out the Nuggets and progress to the NBA Finals.

    "Ankle feels fine," the seven-time All-Star told the media. "Got tonight, tomorrow before the game to get it back to, I don't want to say back to where it was, but good enough to play.

    "Rolled it pretty bad but not too bad. I'll be fine."

    While the Lakers are clearly firmly in control, they will be wary of allowing the Nuggets to climb off the canvas following their heroics in the previous two rounds.

    Denver battled back from 3-1 deficits to see off the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers, leading Davis to speak out about the dangers of taking anything for granted.

    "You know, like I said last game, we've got to put them away," he said. 

    "They are going to continue to fight, no matter what the score is, no matter what the situation is, we just have to make sure we counter everything they do."

    The Lakers have not reached the NBA Finals since 2010, which was also the last time they were crowned champions.

  • LeBron's Lakers one win away from NBA Finals despite Murray's heroics LeBron's Lakers one win away from NBA Finals despite Murray's heroics

    The Los Angeles Lakers are on the cusp of the NBA Finals after holding off Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets 114-108 in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

    LeBron James and fellow All-Star Anthony Davis led the top-seeded Lakers, who moved 3-1 ahead in the NBA playoffs at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday.

    James put up 26 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in a performance just shy of a triple-double, while Davis had a game-high 34 points.

    There was a worrying moment in the fourth quarter when Davis rolled around in pain after landing on his ankle, but he continued.

    Murray dazzled once again in Orlando, Florida, where the Nuggets star posted 32 points and eight rebounds – including a memorable Michael Jordan-esque drive to the basket.

    But the Nuggets – who became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series twice in the same postseason en route to the Conference finals – find themselves in a familiar position, down 3-1.

    The Lakers' dominance off the boards proved decisive as the Nuggets failed to make a field goal during the last three minutes, 28 seconds – missing their final five attempts.

    Now, the Lakers are one win away from their first trip to the NBA Finals since winning their last championship in 2010.

    Lakers veteran Dwight Howard finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was limited to just 16 points.

     

    Heat face Celtics

    The Miami Heat can book their spot in the NBA Finals with victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday.

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