Lakers fall to Thunder, Embiid leads 76ers

By Sports Desk August 05, 2020

The Los Angeles Lakers were well beaten in the NBA on Wednesday, while Joel Embiid led the Philadelphia 76ers to a win.

With the top seed in the Western Conference secured, the Lakers went down to the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-86.

LeBron James (19 points) and Anthony Davis (nine) went a combined 10-of-30 from the field as the Lakers shot at just 35.2 per cent.

Chris Paul top-scored in the Thunder's victory with 21 points.

Embiid's double-double of 30 points and 11 rebounds saw the 76ers past the Washington Wizards 107-98.

Philadelphia suffered a setback during their win, with Ben Simmons hurting his knee in the third quarter.


Even Celtics shine as Gobert lifts Jazz

The Boston Celtics had seven players in double-digits for points in a 149-115 thrashing of the Brooklyn Nets. Jaylen Brown (21), Jayson Tatum (19), Gordon Hayward (18) and Robert Williams III (18) led the way.

Rudy Gobert had a double-double of 21 points and 16 rebounds in the Utah Jazz's 124-115 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Fred VanVleet went eight-of-13 from the field for 21 points, to go with 10 assists, in the Toronto Raptors' 109-99 win against the Orlando Magic.


Davis struggles

Davis has been in good form for the Lakers, but the forward was three-of-11 from the field in their loss.


Diallo dunk

Hamidou Diallo delivered a huge dunk in the Thunder's win.

Wednesday's results

Utah Jazz 124-115 Memphis Grizzlies
Philadelphia 76ers 107-98 Washington Wizards
Denver Nuggets 132-126 San Antonio Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder 105-86 Los Angeles Lakers
Toronto Raptors 109-99 Orlando Magic
Boston Celtics 149-115 Brooklyn Nets


Lakers face Rockets

The Lakers (51-16) will try to bounce back on Thursday in a blockbuster clash with the Houston Rockets (42-25).

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    Another season, another Most Valuable Player award for Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

    Antetokounmpo was crowned the NBA's MVP for the second straight year after leading the Bucks to the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the league's best record (56-17) before losing in the semi-finals at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

    The "Greek Freak" – who averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game during the regular season – is the first player to claim MVP honours in successive seasons since Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry in 2015 and 2016.

    After capping another dominant individual season, we look at Antetokounmpo's campaign using STATS data.


    - Antetokounmpo is the only player that ranked in the top five in scoring and rebounding this season among qualifying players. The last player to do it on the team with the most wins in the NBA that season was Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal in 1999-00.

    - Of all players to rank in the top five of both points per game and rebounds per game, Antetokounmpo was doing it averaging the fewest minutes per game (30.4). For context, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid ranked in the top five last season with 33.7 minutes per game.

    Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in points per game, total rebounds per game and assists per game in 2019-20. For comparison, Denver Nuggets All-Star led his team with 19.9ppg, 9.7rpg and 7.0apg.

    - Antetokounmpo also did this last season and also in 2016-17. If not for team-mate Eric Bledsoe barely beating him out in assists per game in 2017-18, Antetokounmpo would have led Milwaukee in these categories for a fourth consecutive season.

    - There have been 15 instances in which a player has averaged 25.0-plus points per game, 10.0-plus rebounds per game and 5.0-plus assists per game in a season. Antetokounmpo has two of these instances, this season and last term. The 25-year-old joins Russell Westbrook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only players to average these numbers in multiple seasons.

    - Not since Abdul-Jabbar in 1972-73 (30.2ppg, 16.1rbg and 5.0apg) has a player enjoyed a season with 29.0-plus points per game, 13.0-plus rebounds per game and 5.0-plus assists per game. Chamberlain achieved the feat twice in 1963-64 (36.9ppg, 22.3rbg and 5.0apg) and 1965-66 (33.5ppg, 24.6rbg and 5.2apg), while Elgin Baylor had averages of 34.8ppg, 19.8rbg and 5.1apg in 1960-61.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo wins second successive NBA MVP award Giannis Antetokounmpo wins second successive NBA MVP award

    Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player for a second successive season.

    Antetokounmpo won the award once again after leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

    Their 56-17 record was the best in the NBA in a season impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game in the regular season.

    He becomes the first player to claim the MVP in successive seasons since Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors in 2015 and 2016.

    Having also been named Defensive Player of the Year, Antetokounmpo is just the third player in league history to win that award and the MVP in the same season, that select list also featuring Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

    Antetokounmpo could not guide the Bucks to their first NBA title since 1971, however, Milwaukee coming up short in the Conference semifinals.

    The Bucks were beaten 4-1 in that series by the Miami Heat, with Antetokounmpo missing the final game due to an ankle injury sustained in Game 4.

    Milwaukee's failure in the postseason ramped up speculation around Antetokounmpo's future amid talk he could demand a trade.

    He is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season, while he is eligible for a max contract extension worth around $254million this offseason.

    Antetokounmpo dismissed speculation of a trade, however, telling Yahoo Sports: "It's not happening. That's not happening.

    "Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plough through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season."

  • Jaylen Brown lifts lid on Celtics' locker-room drama Jaylen Brown lifts lid on Celtics' locker-room drama

    Jaylen Brown revealed emotions were running high in the locker room after the Boston Celtics fell 2-0 down in their Eastern Conference finals series against the Miami Heat.

    The Celtics squandered a half-time lead once again as they were beaten 106-101 at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday.

    The Heat trailed by 17 points in the second quarter and were down by 13 at the midway point but overcame the deficit to seize control against the Celtics thanks to Bam Adebayo, who added 15 third-quarter points.

    Brown conceded the Celtics had taken the result hard, amid reports guard Marcus Smart had been seen storming out of the locker room.

    "It's really just a lot of emotions just flying around," Brown said, per ESPN.

    "Obviously we feel like we could have won, we should have won, but we didn't. So just a lot of emotions flying around. That's it."

    Speaking about the challenge that now faces the Celtics to turn the series around, he added: "We just got to be sound, execute and stay together. That's it. We feel confident about our abilities, we feel confident about our game plan.

    "We just haven't executed it to the extent that we know we can. Two games, we came up short towards the end of the game, and we're looking forward to Game 3. We've gotta find a way to win.

    "We just haven't played a full 48 minutes of being locked in and executing the game plan. I feel like maybe about 75 per cent, we played really well.

    "It's always one quarter or one sequence of events where we have lapses, and against this team, we can't have those.

    "If we take that away, we'll win."

    Kemba Walker posted 23 points for the Celtics, who had a chance to tie the game with 15 seconds remaining but Brown missed a three-pointer as Jimmy Butler sealed Miami's victory via a pair of free throws.

    However, Walker dismissed the idea that it had been a close-run contest.

    "Man, they outplayed us," he said. "They outplayed us. It's really unacceptable on our behalf. It was just a really bad quarter for us.

    "We didn't continue to do the things that we did to get us up and get us that lead. I think we got kind of comfortable, and those guys, they took great advantage of it.

    "They played hard. They played really hard. They played a lot harder than us. They wanted it."

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