NBA

Giannis ignites Bucks, Celtics' Brown in memorable 33-point performance

By Sports Desk January 25, 2021

The Milwaukee Bucks snapped a two-game skid thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose double-double fuelled a 129-115 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

After the Bucks dropped back-to-back games, two-time reigning NBA MVP Antetokounmpo posted 27 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists on Sunday.

Antetokounmpo became the sixth Bucks player to record 11,000 career points thanks to his performance in Milwaukee.

The Hawks – playing without Trae Young – were led by De'Andre Hunter's game-high 33 points and John Collins' 30 points but it was not enough.

Jaylen Brown produced a scintillating display as the Boston Celtics outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 141-103.

Brown had 33 points in just 19 minutes – the most by any player in fewer than 20 minutes played during the shot-clock era (1954-55), according to NBA.com/Stats.

 

Kawhi stars

The Los Angeles Clippers celebrated their seventh consecutive victory behind Kawhi Leonard's 34 points in a 108-100 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Clippers improved to 13-4, tying defending champions and city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers for the league's best record.

Gordon Hayward flexed his muscles with a game-high 39 points to lead the Charlotte Hornets past the Orlando Magic 107-104.

A season-high 30 points from OG Anunoby saw the Toronto Raptors top the Indiana Pacers 107-102 for a fifth victory in six games.

 

Westbrook struggles on return

For the first time in almost two weeks, Russell Westbrook was back on the court for the struggling Washington Wizards. However, the former MVP finished with just nine points in 25 minutes. Westbrook was three-of-11 from the field, while he made just one of three attempts from beyond the arc. He also had four turnovers as the Wizards lost 121-101 to the San Antonio Spurs.

Paul George has been in good form this season, but he struggled in the Clippers' win. He was four-of-13 from the field and only two-of-eight from three-point range for 11 points and four turnovers in 33 minutes.

 

Hayward proving his worth

Michael Jordan and the Hornets opted to give Hayward a big payday to lure him from Boston. The former All-Star has returned to his best with the Hornets, continuing his fine form with the game-winning shot with 0.7 seconds remaining.

Sunday's results

Toronto Raptors 107-102 Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Clippers 108-100 Oklahoma City Thunder
Boston Celtics 141-103 Cleveland Cavaliers
Charlotte Hornets 107-104 Orlando Magic
San Antonio Spurs 121-101 Washington Wizards
Milwaukee Bucks 129-115 Atlanta Hawks
Portland Trail Blazers 116-113 New York Knicks
Memphis Grizzlies-Sacramento Kings (postponed)

 

76ers at Pistons

The in-form Philadelphia 76ers (12-5) – the Eastern Conference leaders – will put their three-game winning streak on the line against the lowly Detroit Pistons (3-13) on Monday.

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    Massimiliano Allegri hailed the "heavy legacy" Giorgio Chiellini will leave as the Juventus head coach suggested the centre-back and Paulo Dybala will feature at Fiorentina.

    Chiellini confirmed he will leave Juve at the end of the season and was substituted in his final home appearance in the 17th minute on Monday to honour his 17-year spell with the Bianconeri.

    The Italy veteran handed the captain's armband to Dybala as he made his way off the pitch, with the forward also heading for the exit door when his contract expires in June.

    Dybala, who has 115 goals for the Bianconeri, will leave as the third-highest non-Italian scorer in Juve's history in all competitions, behind only David Trezeguet (171) and John Hansen (124).

    Monday's draw with Lazio was expected to be the pair's last appearance for Juve, but Allegri suggested the duo could yet feature in Florence on Saturday, while Weston McKennie might return from injury.

    "A good match against a team that has the objective of hitting Europe," he said as he previewed the Fiorentina game on JuventusTV. "We will find a warm environment and we have to have fun.

    "Tomorrow I think it will be an open game with many goals. Then usually in the final season in these games there are many goals.

    "We will all go to Florence apart from Danilo, [Federico] Chiesa and [Mattia] De Sciglio. Then the others are all available. [Weston] McKennie comes back and maybe he will play a piece of the game."

    On Chiellini's departure, Allegri added: "He leaves a heavy legacy because in any case he was an extraordinary player and he still is because he plays tomorrow.

    "Also on a moral level he will have left excellent lessons to the players who remain in the locker room."

    Juve will end this season with 73 points if they defeat Fiorentina, their worst total in a Serie A campaign since 2010-11 (58).

    Allegri is aware that improvements are needed for next season to compete in the Champions League and with the likes of Milan and Inter, who are still vying for the title.

    "They are the ones that must have a team that aims to win and that fights for all the goals for which it participates," he said of his team.

    "We definitely need to improve this year's season. It's true, but also that we have a good base to start from."

  • Gerrard riled by questions over his integrity ahead of Man City showdown Gerrard riled by questions over his integrity ahead of Man City showdown

    Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has been disappointed by questions over his side's integrity ahead of their season-ending clash with Manchester City.

    It means Gerrard, a Liverpool great, has the chance to do his old club a huge favour. Should City drop points against Villa on Sunday, then a win for the Reds over Wolves would ensure the Premier League title is theirs.

    Villa hosted Liverpool last week, with some doubts raised over how Gerrard would approach that game, but the Reds were pushed hard before ultimately triumphing 2-1. 

    Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings started on the bench on Thursday in Villa's final home game of the season – a 1-1 draw with Burnley – with both players coming on in the final 20 minutes.

    Those questions, however, have frustrated Gerrard.

    "In terms of Liverpool, I totally understand and respect the external noise and the questions that have been coming my way for some time," the former England midfielder told a news conference.

    "They're involved in a title race, and I spent a lot of time there. It is disappointing when people mention integrity and aim it towards me or Aston Villa or any of my players.

    "We'll go out at the weekend and give it everything we've got to try to get points for Aston Villa and our supporters. If that inevitably helps Liverpool, fantastic."

    City have won nine of their last 10 Premier League games against Villa (D1), including the last six in a row, while Villa have lost 15 of their last 16 trips to the Etihad Stadium in the league, losing each of their last 11 on the bounce since a 2-0 win in 2007.

    Speaking of facing City and Liverpool, Gerrard said: "In terms of my experience being back in the Premier League, they have been the two best sides by far that we have faced.

    "Very different – one tries to hurt you with positional play and possession and one tries to hurt you with speed and intensity.

    "They are both extremely consistent and have got top managers. They have both recruited extremely well over a period of time and had a lot of time to work with the team so it is no surprise that they get the results that they do."

  • Alexander-Arnold: Liverpool's quadruple hunt 'special', regardless of Premier League outcome Alexander-Arnold: Liverpool's quadruple hunt 'special', regardless of Premier League outcome

    Trent Alexander-Arnold says Liverpool's quadruple tilt represents one of the greatest seasons from a Premier League side, regardless of the outcome of their final-day title tussle with Manchester City.

    Jurgen Klopp's team remain in contention for the second top-flight title of his tenure when they host Wolves at Anfield, having already won the EFL Cup and FA Cup, while reaching the Champions League final.

    With Liverpool one point behind City and possessing an inferior goal difference, the Reds will need Pep Guardiola's men to slip up in their home game against Aston Villa to preserve their hopes of an unprecedented quadruple.

    Liverpool and City have set a relentless pace at the top of the Premier League table this season with the Reds winning 15 and drawing three of their last 18 league games, while City are unbeaten in 11 league outings after rescuing a 2-2 draw at West Ham last Sunday (eight wins, three draws).

    Alexander-Arnold was part of the Liverpool team that finished as runners-up despite amassing 97 points in the 2018-19 season as City finished one point clear of the Reds.

    The England international believes Liverpool's effort on four fronts this term represents a historic achievement amongst Premier League sides, whatever the outcome of Sunday's title fight.

    "I think back in March, or April I was thinking 'this is going to happen again', but when there are seven or eight fixtures to go you think 'surely someone has got to drop a few points'," the full-back told Sky Sports.

    "We have [a 1-1 home draw with Tottenham last month], but it's been quite even and it's all we could do. You think back to January and we were miles behind them, and we fought back and got ourselves into an amazing position.

    "I think, to push the way we have in all competitions this season, it's got to be, for me, one of the best team performances over the course of a season in Premier League history.

    "We've taken every trophy to the last game, that's all you can really ask for, and I think it's been a special achievement no matter what happens on Sunday."

    Liverpool will be supremely confident of doing their part after going unbeaten throughout their last 22 home Premier League games (17 wins, five draws).

    If the Reds avoid defeat against Wolves, they will have gone unbeaten through an entire home Premier League campaign for a fifth time, the joint-most of any club (alongside Chelsea).

    However, rivals City have ended 10 of their last 13 campaigns with a victory (two draws, one defeat), not losing on the final day since suffering a 3-2 reverse against Norwich City in 2013, while the defending champions have won nine of their last 10 Premier League games against Villa.

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