NBA

LeBron leads Lakers past Spurs again, Bucks crush Bulls

By Sports Desk January 02, 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers made it back-to-back wins in the NBA, while the Milwaukee Bucks thrashed the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

LeBron James posted a triple-double of 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs 109-103.

Anthony Davis had a game-high 34 points, to go with 11 rebounds, as the Lakers enjoyed a second win in three days over San Antonio.

Keldon Johnson (26) and DeMar DeRozan (23) combined for 49 points for Spurs.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists) helped the Bucks crush the Bulls 126-96.

Milwaukee had seven players in double-digits and the Bucks hit 22 three-pointers.

No team has hit more threes through the first six games of a season than the Bucks' 108 to begin 2020-21.

 

Doncic lifts Mavericks, Leonard's Clippers lose

Luka Doncic finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in the Dallas Mavericks' 93-83 win over the Miami Heat.

Kawhi Leonard fell just short of a triple-double as he posted 20 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists, but the Los Angeles Clippers went down to the Utah Jazz 106-100.

The Portland Trail Blazers eased past the Golden State Warriors 123-98 thanks largely to 34 points from Damian Lillard. Lillard joined Clyde Drexler as the only players to score 15,000 points with the Trail Blazers.

Deandre Ayton's double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds helped the Phoenix Suns improve to 5-1 with a 106-103 victory against the Denver Nuggets.

 

Nets slip to 3-3

Kyrie Irving struggled from the field, shooting six-of-21 for 18 points, as the Brooklyn Nets were beaten by the Atlanta Hawks 114-96. Kevin Durant finished with 28 points.

 

Grant delivers huge dunk

Jerami Grant produced a huge dunk as part of his 24 points in the Detroit Pistons' first win of the season – a 96-93 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Friday's results

Memphis Grizzlies 108-93 Charlotte Hornets
Detroit Pistons 96-93 Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks 93-83 Miami Heat
Atlanta Hawks 114-96 Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee Bucks 126-96 Chicago Bulls
Washington Wizards 130-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Lakers 109-103 San Antonio Spurs
Phoenix Suns 106-103 Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz 106-100 Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers 123-98 Golden State Warriors

 

Kings at Rockets

The Sacramento Kings (3-2) take on James Harden and the Houston Rockets (1-2) on Saturday.

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  • Xavi reaffirms desire for 'dream' Barcelona job Xavi reaffirms desire for 'dream' Barcelona job

    Xavi has once again expressed his desire to coach Barcelona as the former midfielder revealed returning to his former club is his "goal and dream".

    Barca great Xavi has managed Qatari side Al-Sadd since retiring in 2019 – leading them to five domestic cups and a league title – but has regularly admitted that he wants the top job with the Catalan giants.

    The 41-year-old was linked to the role in August 2020 before Ronald Koeman's appointment and the Dutchman has seen his position come under scrutiny following a mixed start to the new term.

    Barca currently sit seventh in LaLiga and suffered back-to-back Champions League group stage defeats for the first time since 2000-01, leading Xavi to once again be linked to Koeman's job.

    While Koeman's position has seemingly improved ahead of Sunday's crucial Clasico against Real Madrid, a fixture Barca have not won in four LaLiga meetings, Xavi reaffirmed his desire to return to his former club in future.

    "My ideal is to coach Barcelona," Xavi told 20 Minutes. "I have never hidden it, it is my goal and my dream.

    "I don't know if it will happen or not, if they will need me or not, but at the moment I am happy to be in Al-Sadd and very proud of it.

    "Obviously, it is the beginning of my career. I am beginning. It is my third year at Al-Sadd as a coach and I am gaining experience.

    "If any offer comes in, it will be evaluated and then we will try to decide, but at the moment I am very happy here."

    Xavi appeared 715 times for Barca across all competitions - scoring 79 times and assisting 130 goals between 1998 and 2015 - with only Lionel Messi playing more games (766).

    And Al-Sadd's head coach - who moved to the Qatari outfit in 2015 and later signed a contract extension as coach until May 2023 - has been pleased with his work, both managerially and his former playing days.

    "During my time at Barcelona and with the national team, I always tried to do my bit to help and improve other players, and this is something that I am now enjoying a lot in my new career as a coach," he continued.

    "I already did it as a captain, but now as a coach, and I am happy to see the evolution of the local players and to know that I am doing my bit."

  • Klopp not encouraged by United's first-half flop against Atalanta Klopp not encouraged by United's first-half flop against Atalanta

    Jurgen Klopp dismissed suggestions Manchester United's languid first-half showing against Atalanta on Wednesday would be encouraging for Liverpool.

    United fell two goals behind against Atalanta after just 29 minutes – the earliest they have been two down in the Champions League at Old Trafford since October 2012.

    However, Cristiano Ronaldo scored in his third straight European game to cap a remarkable turnaround as the Red Devils came from behind to win.

    Ahead of Liverpool's trip to United, who have won just one of the last 10 top-flight meetings with the Reds, Klopp insisted United's performance was not as bad as some made out.

    "I was watching the game and there was not one second where I was rubbing my hands together," Klopp responded at Friday's pre-match news conference.

    "There was no reason for it if you watched the game, Atalanta caused United some problems but even then United had three clear chances in the first half.

    "With the quality they have, they can cause any team problems and the second half was a demonstration of United going for it - I am preparing the team for a tough game against a really tough opponent.

    "United versus Liverpool is a massive game. Man United are not overly happy with their results but they are able to do incredible stuff. We will focus on ourselves."

    Liverpool are on an 18-game unbeaten run – the longest current streak in England's top four tiers – and have scored three-plus goals in each of their last five top-flight away games.

    The Reds, following their 4-2 win at Old Trafford in May, could make it back-to-back away league wins against United for the first time since January 2002.

    However, Klopp remains without midfielder Thiago Alcantara for the trip as the Spain international remains out with a calf injury, though Curtis Jones may return.

    "What's clear is that Curtis will train today with us the full session, that's the plan," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

    "And Thiago not. So, these are the two things I know for the moment," before adding to reporters later: "Thiago is running, which is a good sign. Maybe he's back before the international break, but we will see."

  • Mbappe can replace Messi and Ronaldo, says former PSG boss Blanc Mbappe can replace Messi and Ronaldo, says former PSG boss Blanc

    Former Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc is backing Kylian Mbappe to step up and fill the void after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo hang up their boots.

    One of the most exciting talents in the game, the France international has scored 138 goals in 184 appearances for PSG since arriving in 2017, while supplying a further 62 assists.

    The World Cup winner's contract is due to expire at the end of the season, with Real Madrid widely expected to sign him on a free transfer.

    After 42 goals in 47 appearances last term, Mbappe has been included on the 30-man shortlist for this year's Ballon d'Or – an award won by either Messi or Ronaldo in 11 of the past 12 years.

    Now in their mid-30s, the decorated duo have set the standard for well over a decade.

    But with their days at the summit of the game arguably numbered, Blanc is confident Mbappe can be one of the players to pick up the baton.

    "He is very young but has already achieved a lot, and I think he can still progress," said the former PSG head coach, who guided them to three successive Ligue 1 titles between 2014 to 2016.

    "Everyone agrees that he still needs to develop, even if he is already doing so well. 

    "I believe that two players have marked the last decades of football: Messi and Ronaldo. 

    “Unfortunately, time passes. But I think Kylian is one of the players who can replace them."

     

    Mbappe has teamed up with Messi for Mauricio Pochettino's side this season, with the former Barcelona forward joining the French giants on a free transfer in August.

    Blanc says the Argentina skipper's arrival not only provided a timely boost for PSG, but to French football as a whole.

    "It is vital for the club because it has the best player in the world now," added the 1998 World Cup winner.

    "Along with Ronaldo – these two are on another planet. 

    "So, it's an excellent thing for the club and for French football. 

    "It's a great opportunity for Messi to play in the French championship because it will also allow young players to learn and play by his side."

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