NBA

Harden scores 39 points as Nets crush Clippers, Bulls beat Hawks despite Trae's return

By Sports Desk December 28, 2021

James Harden scored 39 points in his second game since coming out of the NBA's COVID-19 protocols to inspire the Brooklyn Nets past the Los Angeles Clippers 124-108.

Harden returned with 36 points and a triple-double in the Nets' 122-155 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day and backed that up against the depleted Clippers, who were without star duo Paul George (elbow) and Kawhi Leonard (ACL).

The 2018 NBA MVP was in a dominant mood, with Kevin Durant absent in protocols, shooting 15 of 25 from the field and providing 15 assists, as well as having eight rebounds and two steals.

Patty Mills and Nicolas Claxton both contributed 18 points for the Nets, while the latter had three blocks. Marcus Morris Sr was the Clippers' best with 24 points, five rebounds and six assists.

 

Bulls duo combine for Hawks defeat

Trae Young returned from COVID protocols with 29 points and nine assists but it was not enough as the Atlanta Hawks lost 130-118 to the Chicago Bulls who had Zach LaVine (30 points, four rebounds, nine assists) and DeMar DeRozan (35 points, five rebounds, 10 assists) impress. LaVine and DeRozan became the first team-mates each with 20 points and five assists in a half over the last 25 seasons.

Ja Morant drained a last-gasp clutch shot to earn the Memphis Grizzlies a thrilling 114-113 win over the Phoenix Suns, who were missing center Deandre Ayton and head coach Monty Williams after entering protocols. Desmond Bane had a career-high 32 points and Morant finished with 33, grabbing the win after Devin Booker (30 points) had put the Suns ahead with five seconds left with a three-pointer.

The Utah Jazz extended their win streak to four games, even without injured Donovan Mitchell, as they defeated the San Antonio Spurs 110-104 with Jordan Clarkson (23 points, eight rebounds, five assists) starring off the bench.

 

In-form Celtic misses the mark

Jaylen Brown has been in hot point-scoring form lately but his shooting was down at 33.3 percent as the Boston Celtics – without Jayson Tatum who has entered COVID protocols - lost 108-103 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Brown scored 26 points but made only two of eight from beyond the arc.

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    The Celtics finished with 11 steals - three each by Brown, Tatum and Holiday. They became the first team in NBA playoff history to have three players record 25 points and three steals in a game. 

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    Indiana twice turned the ball over with a three-point lead in the final 30 seconds of regulation. Brown’s 3 from the corner with Pascal Siakam in his face tied it at 117.

    Tyrese Haliburton sank three free throws after he was fouled with 1:46 to go in overtime to put the Pacers ahead 123-121, but Tatum completed a three-point play 34 seconds later to give Boston the lead for good.

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  • Victor Wembanyama makes history with All-Defensive team selection Victor Wembanyama makes history with All-Defensive team selection

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    Gobert and Wembanyama were joined on the first team by the Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Herb Jones.

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    This was the first season of position-less voting for the All-Defence teams, leading to a strong preference for interior defenders, but perimeter players were well-represented on the second team.

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    Wembanyama, who became the first player to unanimously win NBA Rookie of the Year honours since Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015-16, averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and a league-leading 3.6 blocks in 71 games in 2023-24.

    After finishing second to Minnesota's Rudy Gobert in voting for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award two weeks ago, Wembanyama seems like a lock to be named to this season's All-Defensive team, which will be revealed Tuesday.

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