NBA

Clippers center Zubac dominates in Kareem-esque fashion, Durant's Nets look sharp

By Sports Desk November 27, 2022

Ivica Zubac was a man possessed in the Los Angeles Clippers' 114-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, recording a stat-line only ever emulated by the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

With star Clippers duo Kawhi Leonard (ankle) and Paul George (hamstring) both absent, Zubac carried his team on both ends, scoring a season-high 31 points on 14-of-17 shooting, while grabbing a career-high 29 rebounds and blocking three shots.

Abdul-Jabbar is the only other player to offically tally those numbers, although it is widely believed both Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain should also be on that list, having played before the NBA began recording blocks and steals in the 1973-74 season.

Zubac became the first Clipper ever with 25 points and 25 rebounds, and since the 1983-84 season, there have only been 24 instances of a player grabbing at least 29 rebounds in a game, joining Andre Drummond, Nikola Vucevic and Kevin Love as the only active players to accomplish the feat.

He grabbed 12 offensive rebounds with his 17 defensive rebounds, raising his average to 10.8 for the season – the ninth-best figure in the league. He is also top-10 in blocked shots, averaging a career-high 1.8 per game.

For the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton had 19 points and 11 assists to continue maintaining his career-high and league-leading average of 11.1 assists. He is two assists per game clear of second-placed Trae Young (9.1).

The win improves the Clippers' record to 12-9, leaving them fifth in the Western Conference standings.

Nets machine begins to click into gear

The Brooklyn Nets showed the signs of a potential contender as they pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 111-97.

With offensive focal points Kevin Durant (31 points) and Kyrie Irving (22 points) combining to shoot 20-of-37 from the field (54 per cent), their perimeter-oriented style was thriving. 

Ben Simmons only attempted three shots and finished with two points, but he played exactly the role envisioned for him, posting team-highs in rebounds (12), assists (eight) and steals (three) to keep the ball moving and the offense functioning.

Seth Curry was spectacular off the bench, hitting 11-of-15 shots for a season-high 27 points, showing off his supreme chemistry with former Philadelphia 76ers teammate Simmons.

Golden State's big-three deliver

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green turned back the clock as they had full control over the Golden State Warriors' 137-114 road win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Curry continued his MVP-calibre season with 25 points (seven-of-17 shooting), 11 rebounds and eight assists, while his Splash Brother Klay Thompson contributed an efficient 21 points on eight-of-13 shooting, hitting five-of-eight from deep.

They were both set up by Green, who hit six of his seven shots for 19 points, while leading the game with 11 assists and two blocks.

The Warriors have now won five of their past six games to claw above .500 at 11-10.

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    The NBA referees' official Twitter account apologised for a "gut-wrenching" mistake after a decisive last-minute officiating error cost the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics.

    With the score tied at 105-105, LeBron James was smacked on his shooting arm at the rim by Jayson Tatum as the Lakers star went for glory with under five seconds remaining on the clock.

    The four-time MVP and four-time NBA Finals MVP would fall short with his attempted drive before the Celtics snatched a 125-121 triumph in overtime.

    James, Anthony Davis and the entire Lakers bench erupted at the last-gasp call, with Patrick Beverley issued a technical foul after bringing over a camera to referee Eric Lewis to review the decision.

    Davis said Los Angeles were "cheated", while James expressed confusion at the clear error and the NBA referees took to social media to apologise on Sunday.

    "Like everyone else, referees make mistakes. We made one at the end of last night's game and that is gut-wrenching for us," the official account wrote.

    "This play will weigh heavily and cause sleepless nights as we strive to be the best referees we can be."

    The apology may prove little consolation for James, whose 41 points on Saturday in Boston proved in vain.

    Defeat saw the Lakers fall to 23-27, sitting 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference ahead of four road games in the coming week.

    Los Angeles will look to bounce back at the Brooklyn Nets on Monday without James and Davis after the Lakers confirmed the pair would be absent on the first night of their back-to-back.

  • James and Davis out for Lakers at Nets as LeBron nears Kareem record James and Davis out for Lakers at Nets as LeBron nears Kareem record

    LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been ruled out of the Los Angeles Lakers' game at the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

    James is dealing with left ankle soreness, while Davis has a right foot stress injury, the team confirmed the day before the game.

    Both men played in Saturday's overtime loss to the Boston Celtics, in which James scored 41 points.

    For James, his absence in Brooklyn may well mean a historic NBA moment comes in front of a home crowd in Los Angeles.

    The four-time MVP now has 38,271 career regular season points, putting him just 116 behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record.

    Averaging 30.2 points per game this season, James would only require four more games to pass Abdul-Jabbar at his current rate of scoring.

    The Lakers have four games in this coming week – all on the road.

    After that, the Lakers return to Staples Center on February 7 to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game in which James will likely be targeting the record.

  • Storm to face Horizon in Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League final after thrilling victory over Waves Storm to face Horizon in Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League final after thrilling victory over Waves

    Despite a game-high 58 points by Cameron Burhannon, Waves suffered a tough 115-113 loss to Storm on Friday to advance to Sunday’s final of the Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League where they are set to face defending champions Horizon.

    Brandon Armstrong scored 32 for Storm in a most-compelling encounter.

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    Played in front of a vociferous group of spectators, the Storm/Waves game featured end-to-end action and almost constant lead changes in what many described as the game of the tournament.

    Waves enjoyed the largest lead, six points, over Storm at the end of the third quarter, an advantage that was quickly erased by the second minute of the of the final quarter.

    “I must commend my team. They played their hearts out,” said Storm’s head coach O’Neil Brown.

    “We played this team twice since this season, this is the third game and I told my guys going into this match if one team beat you three times it means they are better then you.

    “The last game when I watched over and over again we saw that when we play with two ‘bigs’, it kind of give us problems guarding the perimeter ‘cause the Waves like to shoot threes so we decided at the end of the game that we were going to go small and force them to go small and it worked out for us."

    Brown said he was confident of his team’s chances against the defending champion in the final.

     “I feel great and this going into the finals. We are confident that we can pull it off. This lifts the guys’ morale and we can't wait for Sunday to come," Brown said.

    Losing coach Rohan Robinson was naturally despondent.

    “Well, it’s simple. You could see the team prepared for us.  You play a team twice and you beat them, you can do so much and no more,” he said.

    “If you prepare yourself you will come out the victor. I told them if we cannot get a chance to prepare ourselves and we not playing together when things are tough we not going get through."

    The second match of the night between Horizon and Rivers went as expected with Horizon winning by 25 points as Bobby Gray scored 23 points in tandem with Rasheed Maynard and Asaad Wood, who each scored 19 points.

    They led at the end of every quarter and were ahead by as many as 35 points in the third quarter.

    Rivers outscored Horizon 27-17 in the fourth quarter but it provided little consolation.

    Rivers’ Anthony Ottley scored 24 with support from Ricky Shuford 17 and Tre Brewer 16.

     "It was a pretty good game. We have played them about four times. We weren't surprised that we were able to pull out another victory tonight, not really a strong opponent but nevertheless, we were able to pull a victory and I am proud of the team tonight" said Horizon’s coach Cleon Morgan.

    River’s coach Tesfa Milligen is hopeful his team can win third place on Sunday.

    “Unfortunately, another rough night. We still have one more game left which is for third place so hopefully we can put it together and play a full 48 minutes of competitive team basketball and come out with a W," he said.

    The third place -off and final will tip off on Sunday, January 29. The first match begins at 6:00 pm and the final set for at 8:00 pm.  The day's activity will actually start at 2:00 pm with several exhibition matches featuring high school girls and boys teams.

     

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