NBA

Jazz stay hot with NBA's best record as Kings upstage Kawhi's Clippers

By Sports Desk February 07, 2021

The NBA-leading Utah Jazz won for the 15th time in 16 games after defeating the Indiana Pacers 103-95.

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell fell just one rebound shy of a triple-double – finishing with 27 points, 11 assists and nine boards to inspire Sunday's victory.

The Jazz improved their NBA-best record to 19-5 as the slate of five league games took place before the NFL's Super Bowl LV, despite the absence of injured star Mike Conley.

Rudy Gobert contributed 16 points and 16 rebounds for the in-form Jazz, while Domantas Sabonis led the slumping Pacers with 20 points.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Clippers were upstaged by the Sacramento Kings 113-110.

The Clippers had won both games against the Kings this season by a combined 56 points. Since the start of 2010-11, the Clippers were 33-7 against the Kings – the best record by any team against a divisional opponent in that span, per Stats Perform.

But Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers were stunned in Los Angeles, where De'Aaron Fox's 36 points, seven assists and four rebounds fuelled the Kings to a fourth successive victory.

Kings team-mate Buddy Hield added 22 points and nine rebounds, while Richaun Holmes put up 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Leonard's double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds was not enough for the Clippers, who suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

 

Beal stars again but Wizards fall

It was a familiar story for Bradley Beal. The star guard led the way with 31 points however the struggling Washington Wizards went down 119-97 to the Charlotte Hornets. Terry Rozier (26) and Gordon Hayward (25) combined to score 51 points for the Hornets.

The Miami Heat topped the New York Knicks 109-103 thanks to Bam Adebayo (24 points and 11 rebounds) and Jimmy Butler (17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists).

 

Inefficient Walker

The 2020-21 season has not gone according to plan for Kemba Walker. He was just four-of-20 shooting from the field, while making only four of 11 three-point attempts for 14 points in the Boston Celtics' 100-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Knicks star Elfrid Payton had seven points on three-of-12 shooting against the Heat. He also missed both of his efforts from beyond the arc.

 

Butler and Bam combine

There has been a hangover in Miami following the Heat's memorable run to last season's NBA Finals. But Butler and Adebayo provided a reminder of what they are capable of with a powerful dunk – the former the architect against the Knicks.

 

Sunday's results

Utah Jazz 103-95 Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat 109-103 New York Knicks
Charlotte Hornets 119-97 Washington Wizards
Phoenix Suns 100-91 Boston Celtics
Sacramento Kings 113-110 Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers-Charlotte Hornets (postponed)

 

Thunder at Lakers

The Oklahoma City Thunder (10-12) will make the trip to defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers (18-6) on Monday. LeBron James and the Lakers have won four games in a row.

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    Tyler Herro will miss Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, but the Miami Heat are hopeful Jimmy Butler will face the Boston Celtics on Monday.

    Herro sustained a groin injury during the Heat's 109-103 Game 3 win and will play no part as Miami attempt to take a 3-1 lead at TD Garden.

    Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said: "We just had to be responsible and take the decision out of his hands.

    "He really wants to be out there tonight. The trainers and Dr. [Harlan] Selesnick don't think that's the best idea just because of the intensity and everything, but we'll see.

    "He's young, we'll treat him day-to-day, and we'll see what happens from here."

    Butler has been suffering with inflammation of his left knee, but will warm up with the intention of playing in Game 4.

    Spoelstra is also hoping Kyle Lowry (left hamstring strain), Max Strus (right hamstring strain), P.J. Tucker (left knee irritation) and Gabe Vincent (left hamstring strain) will feature.

    Celtic trio Jayson Tatum (stinger), Marcus Smart (sprained ankle) and Robert Williams III are listed as probable.

  • Doncic 'still learning' after Warriors go three up against the Mavericks Doncic 'still learning' after Warriors go three up against the Mavericks

    Luka Doncic said he is "still learning", with his 40-point haul not enough to prevent the Dallas Mavericks from going 3-0 down in the Western Conference Finals series to the Golden State Warriors.

    The 109-100 defeat in American Airlines Center means the Mavs have the unlikely task of needing to win the next four games in a row to make the NBA finals.

    Doncic top scored in the game, while also making 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, but felt he did not play well enough in the first half.

    Spencer Dinwiddie (26) and Jalen Brunson (20) offered assistance but the hosts just could not keep up with the Warriors, with Stephen Curry coming away with 31 points and 11 assists.

    "I'm still learning," Doncic said after the game. "I think the first two quarters, I played very bad. That's on me. But I'm still learning. I think after this season is done, whatever we are, I think we're going to look back and learn a lot of things.

    "It's my first time in the Conference Finals in the NBA. I'm 23, man. I'm still learning a lot."

    Despite Doncic's concerns about the first two quarters, it was the third where the game got away from Dallas, with the Warriors extending their half-time lead of one point to 10 points by the start of the fourth quarter.

    However, the Slovenian praised the Warriors for their form and credited their development as a team over recent years.

    "I think the Warriors are playing incredible," he added. "Everybody knows their role. Everybody just stays together.

    "They're a long-built team. They've been together for a long time, and I think they're playing good basketball, so that's what I think is going to be really difficult. And these past three games, it's been very difficult."

    Mavs head coach Jason Kidd offered similar thoughts, and insisted his team are just at the start of their "journey".

    "This is just the beginning of this journey," Kidd said. "I know you guys had us winning the championship before the season started, and that's a joke if you didn't get it. But this is a lot bigger than just this one game or this one series. This is huge for our franchise because none of you guys had us here.

    "So it's cool to go through this, and we're going against... you can call them a dynasty. They have three great players who will be hall of famers, and this is a great lesson learned from us.

    "This isn't the end. This is just the beginning."

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    Stephen Curry avoided injury late in the first half of the Golden State Warriors' 109-100 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday after he tripped over a vendor at court-side.

    Curry fell over the unsuspecting man serving drinks in the final seconds before the main interval as he scrambled to close out on a Reggie Bullock three-point attempt.

    With his extensive history of ankle injuries, the former unanimous MVP was visibly frustrated with the accident, but went on to score 31 points as the Warriors took a 3-0 series lead over the Mavs.

    Curry's frustration was not directed at the vendor however, which he clarified post-game.

    "Yeah, man, there's like 30 seconds left before half-time, you're ordering a drink," Curry said after the game. "Just wait until half-time. I don't know why they needed to deliver it right then, but thankfully I was alright.

    "He [the vendor] was doing his job, so hopefully he got a big tip."

    Curry shot an even 50 per cent on his way to those 31 points, while adding 11 assists and five rebounds in the win.

    Rebounds were big for the Warriors, especially on the offensive glass, with Kevon Looney and Andrew Wiggins combining for 10 while the Mavs grabbed seven as a team.

    Looney had only seen over 20 minutes twice over the two series against Denver and Memphis, but following his double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2, pitched in with nine points, 12 rebounds and four assists on Sunday.

    Curry singled out Looney for praise following the game, highlighting him as a reflection of the team's identity. 

    "It's a testament to how things change in the playoffs, from series to series and even within that from game to game, where you've got to have everybody stay ready," he said.

    "Loon comes in Game 6 [against Memphis] and makes a huge difference, has a career night rebounding the ball. In this series, he's had career nights and had an amazing impact.

    "It's how we do things, with everybody being a part or being a factor at some point, but it's how the playoffs go. You just love to see a guy get rewarded for staying ready."

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