NBA

Wizards hand Bucks latest defeat as Harden leads Nets and Warriors win again

By Sports Desk November 08, 2021

Reigning NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks lost for the fifth time in six games as Bradley Beal led the Washington Wizards to a 101-94 comeback victory on Sunday. 

Washington (7-3) scored the first 12 points of the game, but Milwaukee (4-6) led by three at half-time. The Bucks' edge never got beyond four after that, though, and the Wizards took the lead for good midway through the third quarter. 

The Wizards had lost eight in a row to the Bucks but turned it around behind 30 points and eight assists from Beal, who said it felt like a playoff game. 

Washington played playoff-level defence, limiting the Bucks to 39.4 per cent shooting, including just 10 of 36 (27.8 per cent) from three-point range. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 18 rebounds but was only five-of-12 from the free-throw line. 

 

Durant, Harden lead Nets past Raptors

Kevin Durant had 31 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while James Harden added 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Brooklyn Nets (7-3) defeated the Toronto Raptors 116-103. Fred VanVleet led Toronto (6-5) with 21 points and eight assists. 

The Golden State Warriors improved to an NBA-best 8-1 with a 120-107 rout of the team that shares the worst record in the league, the Houston Rockets (1-9). Jordan Poole had 25 points and Stephen Curry 20 for Golden State. 

Ricky Rubio scored a career-high 37 and became the first player in NBA history to post at least 35 points, 10 assists and eight three-pointers off the bench as the Cleveland Cavaliers (7-4) rolled to a 126-109 defeat of the New York Knicks (6-4).

 

Hornets' woes continue

The Charlotte Hornets' franchise-best 3-0 start is a distant memory after the Hornets watched the Los Angeles Clippers (5-4) close the game with a 27-4 run on the way to a 120-106 victory. The Hornets (5-6) shot just 40.6 per cent from the field en route to their fourth successive defeat. 

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  • 'I was upset' – Kevin Durant looks to move forward from the Brooklyn Nets' offseason drama 'I was upset' – Kevin Durant looks to move forward from the Brooklyn Nets' offseason drama

    Kevin Durant said he’s looking forward to another season with the Brooklyn Nets, instead of looking back on a tumultuous offseason that saw the NBA superstar request a trade and reportedly ask for his coach and general manager’s dismissal.

    "Can we move on past that at some point?" Durant told reporters following Friday’s practice. "I know it’s an interesting story. I know that it took up most of the offseason and drama sells. I get that, but I didn’t miss any games, I didn’t miss any practices.

    "I’m still here, so hopefully we can move past that."

    Durant is back for a third season in Brooklyn after eventually rescinding the trade demand that created a firestorm around NBA circles for much of the summer. The 2013-14 league MVP and two-time NBA Finals MVP acknowledged during Monday’s media day that he’s no longer at odds with the organisation after ironing out his differences in a lengthy discussion with team owner Joe Tsai in August.

    "I was upset," Durant stated. "And as a family, they understood that I was upset, some of the stuff they agreed with. So we talked about it, and it was over a couple of months, a couple of weeks, towards the end of that where we talked about it.

    "We came out and we voiced all our concerns about how we can all be better. And it just worked out from there, and I’m glad I’m here now."

    Durant refused to expound on the rumours that he also requested the firings of head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks following the Nets’ disappointing and injury-plagued 2021-22 season.

    "There’s a lot of (stuff) that was inaccurate," he said. "But it’s like I don’t want to go through it right now."

    Nash also said earlier this week that he didn’t entirely believe the reports that Durant had asked for his ousting.

    "I never thought that was 100 per cent," he said. "It’s not black and white like that, so there was a lot of factors. A lot of things behind the scenes. A lot of things that are reported are not 100 per cent accurate. So you get fragmented bits of truth. You get things that are flat out not true. It happens. So I never really got caught up in all that stuff.”

    With his differences behind him, Durant said he’s eagerly awaiting the new season and the chance for the Nets to erase the memory of a turbulent 2021-22 campaign that saw the franchise trade disgruntled All-Star James Harden midseason and had Kyrie Irving limited to just 29 games, in large part due to New York City’s vaccination requirement that prevented the star point guard from playing most of the team’s home games.

    The Nets also head into 2022-23 with a healthy Ben Simmons, the key player Brooklyn received from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Harden trade. The three-time All-Star has yet to appear in a game with the Nets and missed all of last season due to a lingering feud with his former team and a back injury that later required surgery.

    "When you look at the grand scheme of things, we haven’t been healthy at all for two years," Durant said. "Each playoffs we didn’t have major guys, (they) miss minutes. Not just role players, but guys that make a lot of money.

    "When you got $50 million dollars on your bench this last playoffs with Joe [Harris] and Ben and then the playoffs before that, I want to see what our team looks like in full, with guys being healthy, with us having a little bit of continuity. So we’ll see what happens."

  • Salt grateful for England support after starring against Pakistan Salt grateful for England support after starring against Pakistan

    Phil Salt is "grateful for the backing" he has received after starring for England in their eight-wicket victory over Pakistan.

    Having struggled in his previous five innings in England's seven-match T20I series, when managing just 59 runs, Salt hit a blistering 88 not out from 41 deliveries on Friday.

    Salt reached a half-century in 19 balls – the third-fastest by an England player in the format – as the tourists levelled up the series at 3-3 in Lahore.

    That set up a decider on Sunday, when Salt will have another chance to underline his credentials to retain his spot at the top of the order at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

    "I'm very grateful for the backing I've got from my team-mates and the management. It's very clear the way they want me to play," the 26-year-old said.

    "The way I play is aggressive and I want to win as many games as possible while I'm in an England shirt. 

    "The first few games haven't gone to plan – I've been finding ways to get out, hitting fielders or whatever – but it's nice to come up with a performance like that in a big game.

    “It's always a challenge at the top of the order when you feel like you're playing well but you're picking out fielders and finding ways to get out.

    "It was definitely [my best T20 innings] and it was nice to do it with the series in the balance."

    With Jos Buttler due to return from injury in time for the World Cup, Salt is realistically in competition with Alex Hales over partnering the white-ball skipper.

    "You need competition. The best sides in the world have competition and you can't get away from that – it's the same in any sport," Salt added.

    "Everyone is trying to put their best foot forwards and show the coaching team and the team-mates how good they are.

    "I'm not looking too far into the future; I'm just focused on the next game in a couple of days' time."

    Salt's destruction of the Pakistan attack came after home captain Babar Azam had hit an unbeaten 87 to set England a target of 170 for victory.

    Babar became the first Pakistan batter to reach 3,000 T20I runs during his half-century, doing so in the absence of the rested Mohammad Rizwan.

    He is the fifth men's player to reach that milestone in the format and the joint-quickest to do so alongside India great Virat Kohli.

    Reflecting on what was ultimately a disappointing day for his side, however, Babar said: "After losing a couple of early wickets, we thought 170 was a good score. 

    "Maybe we were 10 runs or so short, but the way Salt batted in the first four or five overs, they took the game away from us. 

    "The way they used the powerplay was the turnaround today. I think the middle-order needs to step up, they need to take responsibility."

  • Bayern Munich 4-0 Bayer Leverkusen: Champions get back to winning ways with demolition job Bayern Munich 4-0 Bayer Leverkusen: Champions get back to winning ways with demolition job

    A brusquely assured first-half demolition job from Bayern Munich reaffirmed their Bundesliga title defence credentials in a 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

    Goals from Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala and Sadio Mane all before the interval put the champions firmly in the driving seat for a deserved victory at Allianz Arena on Friday, before Thomas Muller added a fourth close to the end.

    After a dismal domestic run saw them go four league games without a win, questions had been asked about Julian Nagelsmann's side and their purported chances of claiming another top-flight crown.

    But for now, they have been emphatically silenced, while Gerardo Seoane's side saw their horror-show start to the campaign worsened in painful fashion on the road.

    It took Sane just three minutes to split open the visitors, fed off the right wing and able to roll a deflected strike beyond the wrong-footed Lukas Hradecky.

    Musiala followed suit just after the quarter-hour mark, playing a one-two with Muller off a long ball before squeezing a shot in, and Sane added a third from the edge of the box six minutes from the break.

    Mane saw a second overturned 10 minutes after the interval when VAR deemed Odilon Kossounou to have been fouled, but that call was likely scant consolation for Leverkusen.

    Yet Bayern were not done, and when Muller pressed Hradecky late on, a tragicomic slip from the goalkeeper left an open net for the veteran to turn home and round off a comprehensive win.

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