NBA

NBA: Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic extend streaks

By Sports Desk November 27, 2023

Devin Booker hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds remaining to give the Phoenix Suns a 116-113 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday that extended their winning streak to seven games.

Booker finished with 28 points and 11 assists and Eric Gordon had 25 points as the Suns continued their winning ways despite star Kevin Durant missing a second straight game with a sore right foot.

Phoenix also overcame a 35-point, eight-assist effort from New York's Jalen Brunson to snap the Knicks' four-game winning streak at Madison Square Garden.

Booker's deciding shot came after the Knicks scored four straight points to pull even, with Brunson hitting a fadeaway jumper with 21.9 seconds left following a Phoenix turnover to tie the contest at 113-113.

Brunson had a chance to force overtime in the final seconds, but his long 3-point try as time expired missed the mark. 

The Suns led by as many as 15 points in the first half and owned a 79-66 advantage in the third quarter, but the Knicks went on an 18-5 run later in the period and the game remained tight into the latter stages.

Julius Randle added 28 points for New York and Immanuel Quickley contributed 18 off the bench. 

 

Bucks put forth big rally to win Lillard's first meeting with Blazers

Giannis Antetokounmpo also came through with a tie-breaking basket with time winding down, as his tip-in with 18.5 seconds left helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a stirring 108-102 comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Bucks rallied from a 26-point deficit to win the first meeting between the teams since the Blazers traded franchise icon Damian Lillard to Milwaukee in September. Lillard, who spent his first 11 seasons with Portland and is the Trail Blazers' all-time scoring leader, had 17 of his 31 points in the second half to aid the comeback.

Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points, 16 rebounds and six assists in the Bucks' seventh win in eight games.

The rebuilding Blazers shot 52 percent over the first two quarters to build a 68-52 halftime lead, then extended the margin to 81-55 three minutes into the third quarter.

Milwaukee responded with a 17-2 run, however, and continued to cut into the deficit until Lillard's 3-pointer with 2:53 remaining created a 97-97 tie.

The game remained deadlocked until Antetokounmpo tipped in teammate Bobby Portis' putback attempt to put the Bucks up by a 104-102 score. Lillard then sealed the win by making four free throws in the closing seconds.

Jerami Grant had 22 points in Portland's ninth loss in 10 games, while Malcolm Brogdon recorded 18 points and 12 assists. 

 

Magic get past Hornets for seventh straight win

The Orlando Magic are also riding a seven-game winning streak following Sunday's 130-117 victory over the Charlotte Hornets behind 30 points from both Franz Wagner and Cole Anthony.

Paolo Banchero added 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists to help Orlando to its longest winning streak in nearly 13 years. The Magic last won seven in a row during a franchise-record nine-game run from Dec. 23, 2010-Jan. 12, 2011.

Anthony scored 18 of his points in the fourth quarter as Orlando gradually pulled away before putting the game out of reach with a 12-3 run that gave the Magic a 120-104 lead with four minutes remaining.

Charlotte got guard Terry Rozier back from a groin injury that caused him to miss the team's previous nine games, but played the second half without star point guard LaMelo Ball after he injured his right ankle late in the second quarter. 

Rozier had 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting to go along with nine assists in his return. Miles Bridges led the Hornets, who came in having won a season-high two straight, with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

 

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    LeBron James cannot discount another player going on to reach 40,000 NBA points, as he celebrated reaching the milestone despite a Los Angeles Lakers loss.

    The Lakers lost 124-114 to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, though with a haul of 26 points, James reached 40,017 points.

    When James reached nine points, he was presented with the game ball and received an ovation from the crowd at the Crypto.com arena.

    Coincidentally, James surpassed the 40,000 mark on the 62nd anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks.

    While teammate Anthony Davis believes no other player will come close to matching James' points haul, James himself warned records are there to be broken, even though no other active player has yet reached 30,000 career points.

    "Obviously we have a lot of great guys in our league that can score the ball, and if they were to stay healthy and they would play a long time, then they can eclipse it," James said.

    "And then, records are always meant to be broken. You can never say never for any record. At one point we said that Big O's [Oscar Robertson's] triple-double record would never be broken and Russ [Westbrook] did it, and now looks like Joker [Nikola Jokic] and Luka [Doncic], they're doing it every night.

    "I feel like I'm still that threat out on the floor and I am still able to do the things that I was doing 10 years ago. And some things I was doing 20 years ago, which is weird to say."

    Davis did joke, though, that James' record-setting games usually come in defeats for the Lakers.

    "I was just telling him in the locker room he might have to stop breaking records because we always lose any time he breaks a record," Davis said. "And he said the same thing."

    Indeed, that streak is quite something. James was on the losing side when he reached his 30,000th and 35,000th career points. When he became the all-time leading NBA points scorer last year, the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    "For me, the main thing is always the main thing, and that's the win," James said.

    "I hated that it had to happen in the defeat, especially versus the team that plays extremely well. We played some good basketball tonight, but weren't able to close it out. So, bittersweet but enjoyed every moment tonight on the floor."

  • NBA: James reaches 40,000 points but Nuggets win 6th straight NBA: James reaches 40,000 points but Nuggets win 6th straight

    LeBron James scored his 40,000th point, but the Denver Nuggets closed strong and won their sixth straight game, 124-114 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

    James finished with 26 points and nine assists while reaching his latest milestone on a layup with 10:39 left in the second quarter. He extended his lead as the league’s career scoring leader.

    Nikola Jokić had 35 points and 10 rebounds, Michael Porter Jr. added 25 and 10 and Jamal Murray had 24 points, 11 assists and six boards to help Denver get within one-half game of Minnesota for the Northwest Division lead.

    The Nuggets closed the game on a 16-6 run, with Aaron Gordon’s 3-pointer with 3:49 left putting them ahead for good.

    Jokic made a turnaround hook before Murray hit a jumper and Justin Holiday converted a running layup for a 117-110 advantage. After Anthony Davis’s basket got the Lakers within 117-112 with 1:49 left, Murray made a layup and Jokic added a layup of his own.

    Booker injures ankle in Suns’ loss

    Jalen Green poured in 34 points with six 3-pointers to lead the Houston Rockets to a 118-109 win over the Phoenix Suns, who lost star guard Devin Booker to an ankle injury.

    Booker left late in the game after he injured his right ankle when he stepped on teammate Royce O’Neale’s foot. Booker had 24 points in 38 minutes before departing.

    Fred VanVleet scored 24 points and Alperen Sengun added 21 with 10 rebounds as the Rockets snapped a three-game skid and avenged Thursday’s loss at Phoenix.

    Kevin Durant had 30 points for the Suns, who had a nine-game home winning streak snapped.

    Butler leads Heat past Jazz

    Jimmy Butler scored 18 of his season-high 37 points in the third quarter and the Miami Heat defeated the Utah Jazz 126-120 for their 10th win in 13 games.

    Bam Adebayo added 23 points and Caleb Martin had 18 for the Heat, who beat the Jazz at home for the seventh straight time.

    Butler hit all three of his 3-point attempts and had a steal, extending his streak of having at least one 3 and one steal to 13 consecutive games – the fourth-longest run in the NBA this season and tying Tim Hardaway for the second-longest such streak in Heat history.

    Keyonte George scored 31 points and Lauri Markkanen added 25 as the Jazz lost their third straight and eighth in nine games.

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    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 46 points as he became the player with the most wins in the Milwaukee Bucks' history on Friday, with the Chicago Bulls beaten 113-97 at United Center.

    For Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, however, the focus is squarely on preparing for the postseason as the Bucks eye their third NBA Championship.

    Antetokounmpo surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season, also adding 16 rebounds and six assists, as the Bucks recorded their fifth straight victory.

    The win was the 489th of Antetokounmpo's Bucks career including both regular-season and playoff games, taking the two-time NBA MVP clear of Sidney Moncrief as the winningest player in franchise history.

    "Everybody has to be on the same page, and I feel like the last couple of games, we're doing that and that's why our defense has taken a step," Antetokounmpo said after the win. 

    "Hopefully, we can keep it up. Right now, it's just about trust. We've just got to trust one another. That's it, win or lose, we have to have the same trust."

    For coach Rivers, who has led the team to an 8-7 run since replacing Adrian Griffin in January, all that matters is ensuring Milwaukee are ready for the postseason.

    "We're winning games, but for us, it's not about that right now," Rivers said. "Our whole key is getting ready. That's the first thing I told the players. 

    "We still have work to do, we're still pushing, we've got to get better. It's nicer to get wins than to lose, but we're not where we want to be yet."

    Milwaukee, who sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, are back in action against the 38-20 Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. 

    They then embark on a four-game California road stretch on Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. 

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