NBA

Curry rested as Warriors go down to Raptors, depleted Nets upset by Magic

By Sports Desk December 19, 2021

Fred VanVleet starred as the Toronto Raptors won 119-100 over the Golden State Warriors who rested star guard Stephen Curry on Saturday.

VanVleet finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists as the Raptors blew the Warriors away in the first half, leading 63-42.

Curry (rest), Draymond Green (right hip), Andre Iguodala (right knee), Otto Porter Jr. (left foot) and Andrew Wiggins (left knee) were all absent for Golden State and returned to California to avoid potential COVID-19 exposure and quarantine in Canada.

The Raptors made their absence count, shooting 45 of 90 from the field, becoming the first side the Warriors have allowed this season to shoot at 50 percent or better.

The Warriors' sixth defeat of the season leaves them second in the Western Conference with a 24-6 record.

 

Wizards end Jazz run

Bradley Beal scored a season-high 37 points and had seven assists and five rebounds as the Washington Wizards ended the Utah Jazz's eight-game winning streak 109-103. Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points for the Jazz, while Rudy Gobert had 19 rebounds with 11 points.

Cedi Osman came off the bench to top score for the Cleveland Cavaliers with 23 points as they won 119-90 over the Milwaukee Bucks, who were missing Giannis Antetokounmpo due to COVID protocols.

Luke Kennard's (27 points, seven rebounds) heroics could not lift the Los Angeles Clippers to victory, going down 104-103 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were led by rookie Josh Giddey (eight points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists).

 

Weakened Nets lose to struggling Magic

The depleted Brooklyn Nets, missing star trio Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden due to COVID protocols, were beaten 100-93 by the lowly Orlando Magic for their sixth win of the season. The loss was the Nets' ninth.

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    Joe Mazzulla warned the Boston Celtics that the confidence garnered from taking a 2-0 series lead against the Indiana Pacers is not enough to secure progress.

    The Celtics won 126-110 on Thursday to move two games ahead in their Eastern Conference finals series against the Pacers.

    Indiana were also dealt a blow when star player Tyrese Haliburton suffered a hamstring injury, which the Pacers will wait agonisingly on.

    Yet with the Pacers having overturned a deficit to overcome the New York Knicks in the last round, Celtics coach Mazzulla knows the job is nowhere near done.

    "The only thing we should be thinking about is, they were down 2-0 a series Tago and brought it to Game 7," Mazzulla said.

    "They do a great job protecting their home court. They're undefeated at home. It's going to take a lot more than confidence to get the job done.

    "We have to focus on the details and the execution and the mindset, the things that go into playing against a team like this at home.

    "I know they're going to respond so it's up to us to do the same."

    Jaylen Brown starred again for the Celtics, finishing with 40 points on the day he missed out on an All-NBA selection.

    "We're two games from the Finals," he said when asked about that snub. "So, honestly, I don't have the time to give a f***."

    Indiana, meanwhile, face the prospect of having to fight back against the NBA's best team without their key player.

    "He does so many things for our team," T.J McConnell said of Haliburton.

    "I think everyone has to move the ball more, get in the paint more. The ball movement has to be at another level. He gets 10 assists in his sleep, so it's hard for another person on our team to replicate that. It's a group effort when he goes down."

    Pacers coach Rick Carlisle added: "We'll know more [on Friday] and then probably more Saturday."

  • Bickerstaff departs Cavs after four years in charge Bickerstaff departs Cavs after four years in charge

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    Bickerstaff guided the Cavs to the playoffs in successive seasons, including their first Eastern Conference semifinals appearance since 2018 this term. There, they were beaten by the top seeds in the Boston Celtics.

    The 45-year-old posted a regular season record of 170-159, with the youthful Cleveland winning at least 44 times in each of their last three campaigns.

    Koby Altman, the Cavaliers' President of Basketball Operations, paid tribute to the outgoing coach as he revealed the franchise were seeking a change in direction.

    "J.B. is a well-respected NBA coach and an incredible human being," Altman said.

    "Over the past four years, he helped establish a culture that progressively drove players to become the best versions of themselves. Decisions like these are never easy, particularly when you look back at where this franchise rebuild started under his leadership.

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  • NBA: Brown scores 40 to give Celtics 2-0 lead in East finals NBA: Brown scores 40 to give Celtics 2-0 lead in East finals

    Jaylen Brown scored 10 of his career playoff high 40 points during a first-half surge and the Boston Celtics pulled away for a 126-110 victory over the Indiana Pacers to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night.

    After his 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left in regulation forced overtime in Game 1, Brown helped Boston turn a five-point deficit in the first quarter into a 15-point second-quarter lead.

    The Celtics led 42-27 after that 20-0 run and never relinquished the lead.

    Indiana missed nine straight shots and committed four turnovers during the drought that lasted more than six minutes. Brown had 10 points during the run and had 24 by halftime.

    Jayson Tatum and Derrick White each scored 23 points and Jrue Holiday had 15 with 10 assists for the top-seeded Celtics, who lost Game 2 in both of their previous series this postseason.

    The series shifts to Indiana for Game 3 on Saturday night.

    Pacers star guard Tyrese Haliburton had 10 points and eight assists before leaving in the third quarter with a sore left leg.

    Pascal Siakam led Indiana with 28 points and Andrew Nembhard added 16.

    The Pacers got as close as 68-66 on Siakam’s 3 with 7:55 left in the third quarter, but Derrick White and Tatum dunked and White made a 3 a minute later to give the Celtics a 75-68 advantage.

    Brown’s 3 with 4:32 to go in the third extended the lead to 80-71 and Indiana would get no closer.

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