NBA

Nets win without Irving as James closes in on points record in Lakers loss

By Sports Desk February 05, 2023

Cam Thomas starred off the bench as the depleted Brooklyn Nets came from behind to defeat the Washington Wizards 125-123 on Saturday.

Already without Ben Simmons and talisman Kevin Durant, the Nets were dealt a further blow when Kyrie Irving was ruled out due to a calf problem.

Irving's injury came just a day after news broke of his wish to leave the Nets, with the point guard having handed in a trade request.

The former Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics star was not in attendance at the Barclays Center, though that decision was a joint one with the team's management.

A bleak end to the week looked set to be compounded as the Warriors held a healthy 23-point lead, yet the Nets fought back partly thanks to Thomas' efforts.

He scored a career-high, game-leading 44 points, while Edmond Sumner chipped in with 29 as the Wizards – who lost to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday – became the first team in the past 25 seasons to throw away 20+ point leads on consecutive days.

Kristaps Porzingis top scored for the Wizards with 38 points.

James gets closer but Pelicans end losing streak

LeBron James is now just 36 points away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing NBA record, yet his efforts were not enough for the Los Angeles Lakers against the New Orleans Pelicans.

James added 27 more points to his total on Saturday, though the Lakers lost 131-126 to a Pelicans team that had suffered 10 straight defeats.

While Anthony Davis was the Lakers' standout performer with a double-double of 34 points and 14 rebounds, Brandon Ingram's 35-point haul led the Pelicans, who moved onto .500 for the season.

Curry concern for Warriors

Stephen Curry scored 21 points, added six rebounds and provided seven assists but hobbled out of the Golden State Warriors' 119-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Curry must now await results of an MRI scan, which is set to take place on Sunday, to determine the severity of the issue.

Reigning NBA champions Golden State nevertheless got the job done without him in the final quarter, getting over the line against a Dallas side missing their star man Luka Doncic.

Draymond Green's 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists were crucial, with Spencer Dinwiddie's game-high 25 points not enough for the Mavs, who have lost seven in 11.

Nuggets tie with Celtics

The Boston Celtics lost for the fourth time in six games on Friday and the Denver Nuggets capitalised to tie level as joint-NBA leaders.

Denver beat the Atlanta Hawks 128-108, with Nikola Jokic (14 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists) claiming his 18th triple-double of the season while Jamal Murray turned on the style with his season-best tally of 41 points.

The Nuggets are now tied with the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics on 37-16 for the season and have won 19 of their last 20 home games.

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    India secured their place in the T20 World Cup Super 8s with a game to spare after recovering from a slow start to see off the United States.

    Suryakumar Yadav hit an unbeaten half-century as India successfully chased down their opponents' target of 111 for a seven-wicket victory - and their third win in as many Group A matches.

    The tournament co-hosts also entered the contest with a perfect record from their opening two games, but endured a poor start as Arshdeep Singh claimed Shayan Jahangir and Andries Gous in the first over.

    That left them at 3-2, but they managed to settle with Steven Taylor (24 from 30 balls) and Nitish Kumar (27 off 23) top-scoring as their side finished at 110-8.

    However, the States made a purposeful start in the field. With the second ball, Virat Kohli was gone for a duck as Gous caught him from Saurabh Netravalkar, who also dismissed Rohit Sharma for just three.

    Suryakumar (50 off 49 not out) stepped in and held the fort alongside Shivam Dube (31 off 45 not out), though India were still in danger of a potential shock, needing 35 off the final 30 balls.

    Nevertheless, an untimely five-run penalty was awarded to them as the USA took longer than a minute between overs for the third time.

    That swung the pendulum firmly in India's favour. Successive boundaries from Suryakumar eased the pressure as they saw out what was eventually a comfortable win.

    Data Debrief: India through, but Kohli's struggles continue

    It was not as comfortable as India would have hoped for but, nevertheless, they managed to get the job done, with Suryakumar leading the charge.

    However, the form of Kohli will be a cause for concern. His dismissal for a golden duck means he has now scored just five runs in his nation's opening three matches.

    The five-run penalty proved a crucial moment in the contest, with USA the first team to be penalised by the stop-clock rule, but they can take plenty of positives from their display in New York.

  • The pride of Italy: Sinner's route to world number one in Opta numbers The pride of Italy: Sinner's route to world number one in Opta numbers

    Step aside Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, tennis has a new world number one on the block in Jannik Sinner.

    The 22-year-old, born in San Candido, ended a 51-year wait for Italy to boast the ATP's best player in the world rankings after moving to top spot this month.

    Sinner overtook Djokovic at the summit of the men's game after his French Open performance, reaching the Roland-Garros final before falling in a five-set thriller to the battling Alcaraz.

    Having already secured his first major at the Australian Open earlier this year, Sinner's remarkable rise continued in Paris – but how has the Italian managed to do so?

    Here, we unpack the best of the Opta data to delve into Sinner's surge to world number one.

    Major champion in Australia

    Sinner was crowned a grand slam champion for the first time in his career back in January, defeating Daniil Medvedev in the final after overcoming a two-set deficit in Melbourne.

    Sweeping aside Djokovic in the last four and Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals, his route to glory was far from straightforward, too.

    Aged 22 years and 165 days at the time of his Melbourne Park triumph, Sinner became the youngest-ever player to achieve successive ATP top-five wins in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of a major, surpassing Michael Stich – 22 years and 262 days at Wimbledon in 1991.

    That Medvedev victory, at the time, also marked Sinner's fourth top-five scalp of 2024.

    Since 1973, Sinner is the only fourth player aged under 23 to claim four such wins in the opening three months of a season, after Bjorn Borg (1978-79), Miloslav Mecir (1987) and Andy Murray (2007 and 2009).

    Special 2023 sets tone for this year's success

    Sinner enjoyed a remarkable campaign last year, winning his first Masters 1000 title at the Canadian Open and finishing the season by reaching the showpiece of the ATP Finals.

    He finished with a win-loss record of 64-15 in 2023, breaking the Open Era record previously held by Corrado Barazzutti (55, 1978) for most ATP match wins by an Italian in a calendar year.

    En route to the Indian Wells semi-final defeat to Alcaraz, Sinner also claimed a 19th consecutive ATP match win after overcoming Jiri Lehecka, breaking Adriano Panatta's record for the longest winning streak at ATP level of any Italian in the Open Era.

    It is hard to argue with his position at the top, too.

    Sinner became only the fifth player before turning 23 to defeat the men's world number three times in a calendar year, having overcome Alcaraz and Djokovic (twice) in a remarkable 2023 season.

    The Italian also helped his country lift the Davis Cup, though major individual honours were always around the corner for the excellent right-hander.

    The best in the world

    Australian Open successes and a fine 2023 campaign brought Sinner to his crowning moment in June as he became the first Italian to reach world number one since the ATP rankings started in 1973.

    Sinner is one of four players in the past two decades to hold the ATP's number-one ranking before the age of 23, along with Roger Federer, Nadal and Alcaraz.

    Since 2000, Sinner is also just the third male player taller than 188 centimetres to reach the summit of tennis before turning 23, along with Andy Roddick and Marat Safin.

  • Suryakumar leads India into T20 World Cup Super 8s past spirited States Suryakumar leads India into T20 World Cup Super 8s past spirited States

    India secured their place in the T20 World Cup Super 8s with a game to spare, after recovering from a slow start to see off the United States.

    Suryakumar Yadav hit an unbeaten half-century as India successfully chased down their opponents' target of 111 for a seven-wicket victory - and their third win in as many Group A matches.

    The tournament co-hosts also entered the contest with a perfect record from their opening two games, but endured a poor start as Arshdeep Singh claimed Shayan Jahangir and Andries Gous in the first over.

    That left them at 3-2, but they managed to settle with Steven Taylor (24 from 30 balls) and Nitish Kumar (27 off 23) top-scoring as their side finished at 110-8.

    However, the States made a purposeful start in the field. With the second ball, Virat Kohli was gone for a duck as Gous caught him from Saurabh Netravalkar, who also dismissed Rohit Sharma for just three.

    Suryakumar (50 off 49 not out) stepped in and held the fort alongside Shivam Dube (31 off 45 not out), though India were still in danger of a potential shock, needing 35 off the final 30 balls.

    Nevertheless, an untimely five-run penalty was awarded to them as the USA took longer than a minute between overs for the third time.

    That swung the pendulum firmly in India's favour. Successive boundaries from Suryakumar eased the pressure as they saw out what was eventually a comfortable win.

    Data Debrief: India through, but Kohli's struggles continue

    It was not as comfortable as India would have hoped for but, nevertheless, they managed to get the job done, with Suryakumar leading the charge.

    However, the form of Kohli will be a cause for concern. His dismissal for a golden duck means he has now scored just five runs in his nation's opening three matches.

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