NBA

Westbrook determined to maintain 'focus' after 33-point showing against the Spurs

By Sports Desk October 27, 2021

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  • Trail Blazers star Lillard rubbishes trade talk Trail Blazers star Lillard rubbishes trade talk

    Damian Lillard insists he is not seeking a trade as he declared "my intentions are to be in Portland and figure it out".

    Long-serving Trail Blazers guard Lillard, currently sidelined with an abdominal injury, has become accustomed to frenzied speculation over his future.

    ESPN this week reported the six-time NBA All-Star wants a two-year, $107 million extension, while it has also been claimed he wants a move as struggling Portland seek a new general manager after firing Neil Olshey.

    Lillard rubbished talk that he wants to leave the franchise where he has spent his entire professional career.

    He told reporters: "I'm not asking for a trade. I don't know how many times I have to say it.

    "It's gotten to a point in this era that people can write stories and say things and 'I heard this and I heard that' and because of who they are, people take as, like, this is credible, this is probably true.

    "Me, on the other hand, I don't feel like I have to defend myself against that and come out and challenge everything that people say until I'm asked about it because I know the truth, you know what I mean? 

    "I sit in the office with Chauncey [Head coach Billups] every day, and we're trying to find solutions, and dealing with these people every day when I walk in this practice facility trying to find solutions.

    "Why would I be a part of trying to find solutions if I'm planning on an exit, you know what I'm saying? That's not what's going on. 

    "But people want that so bad. It's a good story and it's a good thing to talk about that and they know people are going to entertain it so they continue with it, but my intentions are to be in Portland and figure it out.

    "That's as far I know all of our intentions, and I also know that people are going to continue to have these same conversations because it's fun to talk about, but that s*** is not accurate."

    Lillard has averaged 21.5 points per game this season – his worst record since the 2015-16 campaign – while shooting 39.7 per cent from the floor and just 30.2 per cent from three-point range. They both represent career lows for a season. 

  • Malone lauds MVP Jokic for inspiring Nuggets win over Pelicans Malone lauds MVP Jokic for inspiring Nuggets win over Pelicans

    Michael Malone says Nikola Jokic gave another demonstration he is "one of the better clutch players in the NBA" after he inspired the Denver Nuggets to a win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Reigning MVP Jokic scored a season-high 39 points to go with 11 assists and 11 rebounds in a 120-114 overtime victory in Louisiana on Wednesday.

    Jokic came up with the first 11 points for the Nuggets in the extra period to give them a cushion, and Denver head coach Malone hailed the Serbia star after his side moved to 12-12.

    Malone said: "He's not going to out-quick you, he's not going to out-jump you. He's going to out-skill you, he's going to out-smart you, and he does it so methodically.

    "He's one of the better clutch players in the NBA in the last five years, and tonight we saw many more examples of that."

    Jokic's triple-double was the 61st of his career and a fourth this season. He is eighth on the all-time list, two ahead of the great Larry Bird and one behind James Harden. Russell Westbrook leads the way on 189.

    He said in his on-court interview: "It felt good. The team believed in me. The coach drew a couple of plays for me. The ball went in and we just kept rolling.

    "Bottom line, I think they really trust me and I'm really comfortable taking shots in those situations."

    Denver face the San Antonio Spurs (8-15) on Thursday.

  • MVP Jokic leads Nuggets to OT win with another triple-double, Giannis struggles MVP Jokic leads Nuggets to OT win with another triple-double, Giannis struggles

    Nikola Jokic showed why he is the reigning NBA MVP after leading the Denver Nuggets to a 120-114 overtime win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Jokic posted back-to-back triple-doubles as the Nuggets outlasted the Pelicans in NBA action on Wednesday.

    After putting up a triple-double on Monday, Jokic was at it again midweek with a season-high 39 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

    Jokic scored 11 of his points in OT to help the Nuggets take down the Pelicans – the Serb star posting his ninth career 30-point triple-double, the most in NBA history by a center not named Wilt Chamberlain.

    Overall, it is Jokic's 61st career triple-double, one behind Brooklyn Nets superstar James Harden, who ranks seventh all-time.

     

    Red-hot Rockets win again

    The Houston Rockets capitalised on Kevin Durant's absence in a 114-104 win over the shorthanded and Eastern Conference-leading Brooklyn Nets. Durant was rested and the Rockets extended their winning streak to seven games. According to Stats Perform, the Rockets are the first NBA/NBA/NHL team to have a losing streak of 15-plus games and then a winning streak of at least seven games later that same season (at any point) since the Louisville Colonels in 1895.

    Joel Embiid was the source of inspiration again for the Philadelphia 76ers, who prevailed 110-106 against the Charlotte Hornets. Embiid had 32 points to lead the 76ers. It is the ninth time in Embiid's career he has tallied at least 75 points and 20 rebounds in a two-game span. The only other 76ers to do so at least nine times are Hall of Famers Chamberlain and Charles Barkley.

    The NBA-leading Golden State Warriors were too good for Western Conference rivals the Portland Trail Blazers 104-94.

     

    Giannis struggles as champs fall

    Defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks lost 113-104 at the Miami Heat after superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with just 15 points on four-of-13 shooting in 33 minutes.

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