NBA

Brogdon hits clutch overtime winner for Pacers while 76ers keep soaring

By Sports Desk January 05, 2021

Seven players hit double figures as the Philadelphia 76ers surged to 6-1 while Malcolm Brogdon landed an overtime winner as the Indiana Pacers take up chase in the East.

Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia remain ahead of the pack after a second-quarter flurry helped to sink the Charlotte Hornets, 118-101, with Tobias Harris leading the scoring on 22 points.

Joel Embiid (14 points and 11 rebounds) and Ben Simmons (12 points and 10 rebounds) played key supporting roles with double-doubles as the 76ers continue to fly high.

Indiana improved to 5-2 in a 118-116 thriller against the New Orleans Pelicans after Brogdon capped his double-double with the clutch OT winner, while Victor Oladipo top scored for the Pacers with 25 points.

In-form Pelicans duo Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson combined for 55 points in the loss, as Ingram scored 31 and Williamson recorded a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Orlando also stayed in the hunt for top spot as Aaron Gordon (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Nikola Vucevic (23 points) inspired the Magic to move to 5-3 with a 103-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Malcolm Brogdon hits the game-winning floater in OT as the @Pacers pick up their 5th W of the season!

Brogdon: 21 PTS, 7 REB, 11 AST
Victor Oladipo: 25 PTS, 6 AST
Brandon Ingram: 31 PTS, 8 AST
Zion Williamson: 24 PTS, 10 REB pic.twitter.com/XfWbcMXemJ

— NBA (@NBA) January 5, 2021


Doncic, Giannis go off as Mavs and Bucks win

Luka Doncic dominated with 33 points and a triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks ended the Houston Rockets’ winning streak with a 113-100 win.

Doncic added 16 rebounds and 11 assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr shot for 30 points to boost the Mavs. Houston's Christian Wood, Eric Gordon and a returning James Harden all put up more than 20 points.

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    Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Myles Turner added 17 as the Indiana Pacers rolled to a 116-103 victory over the New York Knicks to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday.

    Andrew Nembhard, Tyrese Haliburton and T.J. McConnell each added 15 points, with Nembhard grabbing six rebounds and handing out six assists. Haliburton had nine assists as the Pacers remained perfect in six home games in this postseason.

    The winner of Game 7 in New York on Sunday will advance to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.

    Jalen Bruson scored 31 points on 11-of-26 shooting after missing his final 11 shots in the first half. Deuce McBride added 20 points with four 3-pointers as the Knicks fell to 0-3 on the road in this series.

    Already decimated by injuries, the Knicks lost starting forward Josh Hart in the fourth quarter due to abdominal soreness.

    Hart was seen holding his midsection multiple times during the game and asked to be taken out after he had five points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes.

    New York is already without All-Star Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic.

    Indiana used a 14-6 run in the third quarter to take control, turning a 61-56 lead into a 75-62 advantage. The Pacers maintained at least a 10-point edge the rest of the way.

  • Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak

    Laurent Courtois has accepted that it is on him to find a winning formula as CF Montreal look to snap their winless run against Toronto FC.

    Montreal were beaten 3-1 by Columbus Crew in midweek and are now without a victory in six games in all competitions.

    That includes a three-game losing streak in MLS, leaving them 13th in the Eastern Conference, and Courtois is eager to get back on track.

    "It's up to me to find the winning formulas and discern the phases of the game," head coach Courtois said after the loss to Columbus.

    "We have to grit our teeth and find solutions. The difficult times we are going through help me identify my group. I want to know the players better. 

    "From all the negative aspects we can observe, I can identify a few individual aspects to improve the game or the team itself."

    Monreal's rivals Toronto have themselves lost back-to-back games ahead of Saturday's Canadian Classique at BMO Field.

    Nashville SC scored twice late on to snatch a 2-0 win in the Reds' most recent match, but acting head coach Jason deVos admits there can be no excuses.

    "The last ten minutes, two mistakes cost us and that's the cruelty of football sometimes - that it's a 90-minute match and you need to put in a 90-minute performance in," he said. 

    "The players are aware of that. They know where the growth areas are for us as a team."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Toronto - Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi missed the loss to Nashville but will hope to start this weekend in a fixture he has fond memories of. 

    The Italian has scored in each of his two home games against Montreal, making him the third Toronto player to score in two successive home games against them after Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.

    Montreal - Joel Waterman

    Montreal have conceded three or more goals five times across their 12 MLS games this season, which is tied with San Jose Earthquakes for the most in MLS.

    They quite simply need to sharpen up at the back, with Joel Waterman needing to step up and hope others around him also do so.. The centre-back led the way for interceptions (three) and clearances (four) against Columbus, yet it was still not enough.

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Montreal have won five successive matches against Toronto, following a run of neither side ever winning more than three on the spin in this fixture.

    Toronto have won seven and drawn one of their eight matches in which they have held opponents under two goals since September, while they have lost all 13 in which they have shipped two or more.

    Keeping the opposition quiet is therefore key, and this could present a chance to do just that against a Montreal side with fewer points (five) than any side in MLS since mid-March.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto - 39.6%
    Draw - 28.5%
    Montreal - 31.9%

  • New England Revolution v Philadelphia Union: Porter urges players to cut out errors New England Revolution v Philadelphia Union: Porter urges players to cut out errors

    Caleb Porter accepts New England Revolution must cut out the individual errors if they are to return to winning ways against Philadelphia Union.

    The Revs went down 4-2 to New York Red Bulls last time out to make it four defeats in their last five games, and eight losses in 11 overall this season in MLS.

    New England are bottom of the Eastern Conference, but Porter hopes lessons have been learned ahead of hosting Philadelphia on Saturday.

    "Three of the four [goals NYRB scored] were individual mistakes that are easily correctable," Porter told The Blazing Musket. "We've gone to the training ground and corrected a few of those situation.

    "But it's just individuals in those moments have to be better. It wasn't a bad team-defending performance, but three of the four goals we gave up were routine."

    The Union have double the number of points compared to their opponents, having played one game more, as they occupy ninth place in the East.

    The Us are themselves not in great form, though, as they lost 2-1 at home to New York City FC in their most recent game - a contest overshadowed by a raccoon that entered the field. 

    They have just two points from the past 18 on offer, meanwhile, and head coach Jim Curtin admits it is on him and his players to turn things around.

    "The guys fight until the end, and we have to find a way to get out of this," Curtin said. "We're the only people that are going to get us out of it. 

    "The people in that locker room, the coaches, the players, they recognise that. They've shown they can beat anybody, and we're the only ones that can dig us out of this now."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New England Revolution - Carles Gil

    Gil got the Revs temporarily on level terms against New York Red Bulls, with that his 100th regular-season goal contribution in MLS. That makes the Revs' attacking midfielder the seventh European player to reach that milestone, and the second Spaniard after David Villa.

    Philadelphia Union - Julian Carranza

    Carranza was on target for the Union in their midweek loss to New York City, coming from one of nine attempts he had on target. The former Argentina age-grade international has now registered four-or-more shots in four MLS career matches.

    To put that in perspective, the two other players to have done so in the club's history - Conor Casey and Andrew Wenger - have done so in a combined two games (one each).

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Philadelphia have won 12 matches against the Revs across all MLS competitions, which includes MLS is Back, since 2018 - their best return against any single opponent across that period.

    New England's tally of seven points from their opening 11 games is their worst-such return at this stage of a campaign in club history, with only two out of 17 teams in the post-shootout era (since 2000) managing to reach the playoffs from this position.

    However, there is some hope for them this weekend as the Union's one point across their past five matches is their fewest across any five-game span within a single season since April 2017.


    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New England Revolution - 36.1%
    Draw - 28.8%
    Philadelphia Union - 35.1%

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