NBA

Harden, Durant and Irving help Nets to victory over Bulls, Lakers collapse against Kings

By Sports Desk January 13, 2022

James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined to score 61 points as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Chicago Bulls 138-112 in a table-topping Eastern Conference clash.

Durant's game-high 27 and Harden's double-double of 25 points and a season-high 16 assists inspired the Nets to a routine victory at United Center.

Kyrie Irving, who is barred from playing home games, added nine points in his third game back for the Nets, but it was Durant who stole the show with 17 points in the third.

The 11-time NBA All-Star has now scored at least 25 points in 12 straight games and in the process denied the Bulls a first regular-season sweep of the Nets since 1997-98.

After seeing off the Detroit Pistons 133-87 on Tuesday, the Bulls become the first team in NBA history to win by 45+ points one day and then lost by 25+ the next.

Kings snap losing streak against Lakers

LeBron James' 34 points were not enough as the Los Angeles Lakers fell 125-116 to the Sacramento Kings, who snapped a five-game losing streak in the process.

On their worst run of the season, the Kings regularly found themselves trailing and were six down at half-time before taking control in the third quarter.

Russell Westbrook's missed 3-pointer paved the way for Chimezie Metu to make a clutch 3-pointer with 46.7 seconds remaining and Tyrese Haliburton rounded off the scoring.

The Lakers, who saw James score 31 or more for the 11th time in 12 games in the injury absence of Carmelo Anthony, have now lost two in a row and are 21-21 for the season.

Heat's run goes on

The Miami Heat may have six players on their inactive list, but they won for a third game running with a 115-91 victory against the Atlanta Hawks.

Tyler Herro had a game-high 21 points and added 11 assists as the Heat, now 26-15 for the season, kept within touching distance of the Eastern Conference leaders.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks' six-game winning streak was brought to an end with a 108-85 loss to the New York Knicks.

RJ Barrett's 32 made him the youngest player in franchise history with consecutive 30-point games as the Knicks won for a fourth time in five games.

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  • South Africa clinch series whitewash with dramatic four-run victory over India South Africa clinch series whitewash with dramatic four-run victory over India

    Quinton de Kock made a magnificent century South Africa won a dramatic third ODI by four runs against India at Newlands to seal a 3-0 series whiteewash.

    Half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan (61) and Virat Kohli (65) gave the tourists a platform to build their chase of 288 from, but some excellent bowling and safe hands in the field saw the Proteas dismiss India for an agonising 283 off the second ball of the final over.

    India won the toss and put South Africa in to bat, taking the early wickets of Janneman Malan (1) and Temba Bavuma (8). When Aiden Markram fell to Deepak Chahar for 15 in the 13th over, the hosts were 70-3 and wobbling until a partnership of 144 between De Kock and Rassie van der Dussen.

    De Kock followed up his 78 from the second game in Paarl to by making a classy 124 off 130 balls, with Van der Dussen (52) the only other to make a half-century for the Proteas.

    However, both fell in consecutive overs, and though a useful pairing of David Miller (39) and Dwaine Pretorius (20) put on a partnership of 44, South Africa were all out in the last over, with Prasidh Krishna (3-59) bringing the innings to a close with the penultimate ball for a total of 287.

    The chase did not start brilliantly for India as KL Rahul was caught by Malan off the bowling of Lungi Ngidi (3-58) for just nine, though Dhawan and Kohli set about repairing that early damage.

    Their partnership of 98 appeared to set the tourists on their way to a consolation win, though after Dhawan was dismissed when he hit an Andile Phehlukwayo delivery straight up in the air, allowing De Kock to snaffle the catch, Rishabh Pant was out first ball to Phehlukwayo and India's chase looked less assured.

    Kohli steadied the ship with Shreyas Iyer (26) before he was taken by Bavuma off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj, but Suryakumar Yadav (39) and Chahar (54) had India scenting a win.

    However, with just 10 runs required for victory, Chahar hit Ngidi straight up in the air, with Pretorious taking the catch, before Jasprit Bumrah (12) was caught by Bavuma off Phehlukwayo to leave India needing seven runs from nine balls with one wicket remaining, which fell when Yuzvendra Chahal (2) hit Pretorious straight to Miller.

    Proteas in safe hands with Bavuma

    It is safe to say that South Africa's ODI captaincy is in safe hands, quite literally when it comes to Bavuma as he took four catches to help his team dismiss India in Cape Town.

    Bavuma also used his bowling attack expertly, with five different bowlers sharing the wickets (Ngidi and Phehlukwayo with three, Pretorius two and Sisanda Magala and Maharaj getting one each).

    One day woes for India

    Although the first two defeats in this series were the result of poor performances, this was a much tighter affair and stand-in ODI captain Rahul will be pleased with the improvement.

    Chahar was one success story, coming in for his first game of the series and hitting 54 with the bat while taking two wickets with the ball, but this now makes it four defeats on the spin in ODIs.

  • Arteta laments Arsenal's lack of spark and concedes January transfer business is 'complicated' Arteta laments Arsenal's lack of spark and concedes January transfer business is 'complicated'

    Mikel Arteta was frustrated at a lack of guile from his Arsenal in a goalless draw at home to Burnley and the Gunners boss did not seem optimistic he will be able to bring in reinforcements this month.

    Arsenal were looking to move level to go fourth in the Premier League by overcoming a Burnley team that had lost their last two away games 3-1.

    However, the Clarets held firm at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, with Nick Pope making some fine saves and Alexandre Lacazette spurning a glorious opportunity.

    It means Arsenal head into the Premier League's winter break sitting in sixth, while Burnley are bottom but hold between two and four games in hand on their relegation rivals.

    The Gunners had 20 attempts, with five hitting the target, yet they have now failed to score in four successive matches in all competitions. It is the first time they have gone on such a run since December 2005.

    Arsenal have also failed to win any of their first five games in a calendar year for the first time in 27 years, while it is the first time since October 2008 that they have not beaten a team at the bottom of the league at home.

    "We started slow, we looked leggy and didn't have enough rhythm or intention to attack the way we wanted," Arteta told BBC Sport.

    "We tried in every different way but lacked the quality in the final third. At the end, when we have a really low block, you need spark and creativity to win football matches and today we didn't do that."

    For all their possession (75.7 per cent), Arsenal only created one big chance against Burnley, defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would be expected to score, though they finished with an expected goals (xG) of 1.4, suggesting their finishing was below par.

    Pope made two excellent saves to deny Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe, who subsequently turned provider for Arsenal's best chance, only for Lacazette to prod wide of an open goal from the midfielder's cut back. 

    With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future uncertain – albeit he was unavailable for health reasons on Sunday – Arsenal are reportedly keen to bring in a striker this month, and it would seem it is a vital need if they are to secure Champions League qualification.

    Dusan Vlahovic is said to be a target, with Fiorentina willing to sell the forward, who scored 33 goals in Serie A in 2021, matching Cristiano Ronaldo's record from 2020. However, the Viola have insisted no offer has yet been received for a player rumoured to be valued at €70million (£58.6m).

    Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin has also been linked, while Arteta has previously said he would like to bolster his midfield, but asked about Arsenal's transfer plans for the remainder of January, he replied: "In this market things are complicated."

    Burnley did offer a threat of their own, with Dwight McNeil particularly dangerous on the counter. No player had more than his four attempts, one of which almost caught Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale cold early on.

    Ramsdale did his part, however, and that was the only save he had to make. The former Sheffield United goalkeeper echoed Arteta's complaints about Arsenal's attacking output.

    "I will give credit to Burnley, we know what they are about, it is frustrating from our behalf because we were putting balls into the box and that's meat and drink for Burnley," he told BBC Sport. "We didn't create that quality we needed."

    Ramsdale was not wrong. Arsenal played 42 passes/crosses into the box – a season-high for the Gunners. Indeed, their 23 crosses from open play was also a high mark for 2021-22, yet only two of these were successful.

    Battling Burnley made 42 clearances, including 27 headed clearances. Both figures are season-highs for Sean Dyche's side.

  • Real Madrid 2-2 Elche: Los Blancos stage another late comeback Real Madrid 2-2 Elche: Los Blancos stage another late comeback

    Real Madrid dramatically rescued a result against Elche for the second time in four days as Eder Militao's stoppage-time header snatched a 2-2 LaLiga draw.

    The league leaders recovered from a goal down in Thursday's Copa del Rey defeat of the same side and this time trailed by two, as Lucas Boye and Pere Milla – sent off in midweek – looked set to condemn Madrid to a first home loss in 21 league matches.

    Karim Benzema had missed a first-half penalty for the hosts, too, but Luka Modric pulled a goal back from 12 yards with eight minutes remaining when Milla was punished for handball.

    Militao then headed home a dramatic equaliser in the 92nd minute to deny Elche a first win in this fixture since March 1978 and restore a four-point gap to second-placed Sevilla.

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