NBA

LeBron top scores upon return as Lakers beat Cavs, Harden finds form as Nets win

By Sports Desk October 30, 2021

LeBron James returned from injury with 26 points as the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a slow first half to defeat his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-101 on Friday.

James had missed the Lakers' past two games with a sore ankle but marked his return by top scoring, adding eight assists and three rebounds.

The four-time MVP only shot 10 from 22 from the field and one from 10 from three-point range, draining a three-quarter time buzzer beater from almost halfway.

Carmelo Anthony added 24 points off the bench for the Lakers while Anthony Davis had 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

The Cavs, who have beaten contenders the Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers this season, led by as much as 11 points at one stage, including holding a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.

James played a lead role in steadying the ship for the Lakers, who scored 25-16 in the fourth quarter to win by 12 points and improve their record to 3-3.

 

Harden finds his scoring touch

James Harden re-discovered some form with a season-high 29 points, including 21 in the first half, in the Brooklyn Nets' 105-98 win over the Indiana Pacers. LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points off the bench to reach 20,000 career NBA points, while Kevin Durant dominated with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Jimmy Butler starred with 32 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Bam Adebayo added 26 points and 19 rebounds as the Miami Heat downed the in-form Charlotte Hornets 114-99.

Damian Lillard hit five from seven three-pointers, finishing with 25 points as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 111-92. Paul George finished with 42 points for the Clippers, who are 1-3.

 

Doncic wayward as Mavs routed

Luka Doncic had an off-night, with 16 points, shooting five from 18 from the field as the Dallas Mavericks were brushed aside 106-75 by the Denver Nuggets.

Hornets guard LaMelo Ball's bright start to the season has stalled, managing only six points in their loss to the Heat, shooting none from five from beyond the arc.

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    Joel Embiid has no plans to let up after putting on another dominating performance as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated a depleted New Orleans Pelicans side on Tuesday.

    Embiid had 42 points alongside 14 rebounds and four assists for the 76ers, who ran out 117-107 victors at the Wells Fargo Center.

    Having been criticised in the past for missing games, Embiid recently revealed he has altered his diet in order to compete more regularly.

    It certainly seems to have done the trick. Tuesday's game was his 19th in a row, helping Philly to a 13-6 run in that time, during which he is averaging 33.3 points to enhance his MVP credentials having finished runner-up last season.

    "That was one of my goals, just to be available. I don't plan on stopping," said Embiid, whose 76ers side are now 28-19 and sixth in the East.

    The Pelicans actually led 58-50 at the break despite missing starters Devonte Graham, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram with ankle injuries, while Jonas Valanciunas was rested. Zion Williamson is also still out with the foot injury that has kept him out all season.

    Asked what the thought process was for the second half, Embiid said: "Just win.

    "Just being aggressive because in the first half everything was easy for them."

    Embiid was not the only player to go off on Tuesday, with Nikola Jokic leading the Denver Nuggets in their 110-105 defeat of the Detroit Pistons, which leaves them sixth in the West with a 25-21 record.

    Jokic had 28 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists but was uninterested in re-watching the film to try and find an extra assist that would have given him a triple-double.

    "I'm not worried about that," he said. 

    "It was a good game for me and a huge win for our team. I knew I was having a big night, but I wasn't thinking about the stats."

    During the game, Jokic chalked up a 3,000th career NBA assist. He is now the only Denver player to record 3,000 assists and 5,000 rebounds in the NBA.

    "It's hard to keep track of all the milestones he's passing," head coach Michael Malone said. 

    "He just won Western Conference Player of the Week, and then he has 28, 21 and nine tonight."

    Team-mate Jeff Green, who had 20 points himself, added of Jokic: "It's incredible to play with Jokic – he's one of the best players I've ever been on the floor with. 

    "When you are out there with him, you know that if you do your job, you're going to get open shots. The defense has to focus on him."

  • Thompson impresses as Warriors rout Mavericks and says 'it felt good to be myself again' Thompson impresses as Warriors rout Mavericks and says 'it felt good to be myself again'

    Klay Thompson said "it felt good to be myself again" after playing a season-high 25 minutes in the Golden State Warriors' 130-92 rout of the Dallas Mavericks.

    Thompson is still getting up to speed having missed two and a half years, first with a serious knee injury then with a torn Achilles.

    He sat out the Warriors previous two matches to rest his surgically repaired left knee but was part of a well-rounded offense that downed Luka Doncic and the Mavericks to help Golden State clock up a third straight win.

    Thompson had 15 points alongside six assists, while Stephen Curry had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Jonathan Kuminga added 22 points, while Jordan Poole had 17 off the bench for the title contenders.

    "I really pride myself on my efficiency, so it felt good to be myself again," Thompson said of his performance.

    "My mindset is just to play with energy, great focus and joy."

    Head coach Steve Kerr believes it was Thompson's best performance since his comeback.

    "I think this was Klay's best game in terms of his patience and allowing things to happen, he wasn't forcing it at all," Kerr said.

    Doncic scored 25 points on an otherwise forgettable night for the Mavericks, whose misery was compounded by Tm Hardaway Jr going off court with a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot with seven minutes and 16 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

    "I just want to say how sorry we are to hear that. You hate to see anybody get injured," Kerr said. 

    "I just want to send him our regards from the organisation and hopefully he’s back sometime soon. I don’t know what the prognosis is. We feel terrible for him."

    Doncic added of his team-mate: "That's just bad luck. I talked to him. He's disappointed. Every time you get injured you are sad, so we tried to cheer him up."

  • Lue lauds 'crazy' Clippers comeback Lue lauds 'crazy' Clippers comeback

    Los Angeles Clippers coach Ty Lue branded his side's stunning comeback win over the Washington Wizards as "crazy".

    The Clippers roared back from 66-31 down in the second quarter to claim a thrilling 116-115 triumph at Capital One Arena.

    In doing so, they became the first team in NBA history to score under 40 points in the first half of a game and follow up by posting 40 or more points in both the third and fourth quarters.

    And Lue, who was without injured leading duo Kawhi Leonard (ACL) and Paul George (elbow), was delighted by the Clippers' astonishing feat.

    "It's crazy," he said. "Because when I looked at the score in the first half, I thought we were down 19. And I looked again, I said, 'We're down 29!' I said, 'Oh s***!' It happened so quick.

    "We kept chipping away. I know when it was like 17 going into the fourth, and I think when we got to 10, I was like, okay, we got a real shot."

    Luke Kennard landed a three-point pullup jump shot with 1.9 seconds remaining, tying the game.

    He was fouled in the process, earning a free throw, and made no mistake from that opportunity as he landed the game-winning point.

    Amir Coffey was one of the players who came in for the second half to help instigate the fightback, adding 29 points, and he echoed his coach's sentiments regarding the mad nature of the contest.

    "Probably the craziest game I've ever been a part of," he said. "January's been wild.

    "You never know when the game is over. Play through the buzzer.

    "Like tonight, anything can happen."

    On the losing side, the Wizards' Bradley Beal was left humiliated.

    "I have no words, besides 'embarrassing'," he said, having put up 23 points. 

    "I was frustrated when I had to go back in. This should have been a game where the starters get their rest. Plain and simple."

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