NBA

Warriors' depth shines in Bulls rout, Booker stars as Suns down Pacers

By Sports Desk January 15, 2022

The Golden State Warriors showed off their newfound depth and flexed their muscle with a 138-96 rout over the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls on Friday.

Three Warriors scored more points than Stephen Curry, who finished with 19 points including four three-pointers in the win without Draymond Green (calf) and Klay Thompson (rest).

Top 10 draft pick Jonathan Kuminga top scored with 25 points, while Jordan Poole added 22 including five triples and Andrew Wiggins contributed 21.

Golden State piled on 78 points in the first half, leading by 31 at the main break and never looked back after the Bulls lost Zach LaVine to a knee injury early in the first quarter.

DeMar DeRozan was kept quiet with 17 points, two rebounds and seven assists, while Nikola Vucevic top scored for the Bulls with 19 points along with 14 rebounds.

Chicago, who were humbled 138-112 by the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, slip to a 27-13 record but remain top of the Eastern Conference.

 

Suns and Heat continue stellar records

Devin Booker scored 35 points including five three-pointers while Deandre Ayton had 27 points with 12 rebounds as the ladder-leading phoenix Suns won 112-94 over the Indiana Pacers. The Suns are 32-9 at the halfway mark, which is their second-best record in franchise history after 41 games.

Jimmy Butler returned from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury with 23 points, 10 assists and two steals as the Miami Heat rallied late to win 124-118 over the Atlanta Hawks. The Heat improve to 27-15 and sit second in the east.

Joel Embiid had 25 points, 13 rebounds and six assists as the Philadelphia 76ers got past the Boston Celtics 111-99. Embiid fell five points short of breaking the 76ers franchise record for 30 points or more in nine straight games.

 

Grizzlies winning run ended

The Memphis Grizzlies' 11-game winning streak came to a halt at the hands of Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks 112-85. The Grizzlies struggled from beyond the arc, making seven-of-31 (22.6 percent) from three-point range with Jaren Jackson Jr missing all six of his three-point attempts. Doncic had a triple-double with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

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  • 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.

  • Klopp says Premier League title talk must wait after Reds raid Palace Klopp says Premier League title talk must wait after Reds raid Palace

    Jurgen Klopp insisted "the distance is too far" between Liverpool and Manchester City to talk about the Premier League title race after a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace.

    Virgil van Dijk and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain offered the Reds control with goals in the first half at Selhurst Park, but Odsonne Edouard's second-half strike teed up a nervy ending on Sunday.

    Fabinho sealed all three points from the penalty spot after Vicente Guita was ruled to have fouled Diogo Jota, though Klopp's side owed much credit to goalkeeper Alisson for victory.

    The Brazilian was required to make four saves, the joint-most of his 2021-22 campaign along with performances against Brighton and Hove Albion and Leeds United, as Liverpool managed a 10th straight victory over Palace in the league.

    It leaves them nine points behind leaders City, while still boasting a game in hand, and manager Klopp refused to start speculating about a potential chase for the title just yet.

    Asked by the BBC about Liverpool's title challenge, Klopp said: "No. The distance is too far to talk about it, but we don't have to. We just need to win football matches. 

    "Each Premier League game is difficult, like we saw today. We made it more exciting than necessary! We will see what happens in the final few months."

    Liverpool recorded victory without the likes of Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane, who are still away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

    The Reds trio should return to Merseyside before their next Premier League fixture, which sees them take on Leicester City at Anfield on February 10, and Klopp was delighted to have negotiated a challenging January period.

    "Massive. It is obviously January which is a tricky period for us historically - well at least during my time," Klopp said. "You play without three players in Africa and a few others, so we had a small group to get through this, but the boys did incredible.

    "It showed how insanely good we can be and how bad as well! For 35 minutes we were outstanding.

    "We looked really sharp and ready to play in small spaces, then two or three sloppy passes and the stadium is back, Palace is back, and we did not start well in the second half. We had our moments, but we did not control it anymore.

    "If you lose a little bit of focus it showed how tired we could be as Palace played a really good game. We opened the door for them and they ran through."

    Van Dijk opened the scoring after just eight minutes in south London with his 10th headed goal in the competition – the only defender to have scored more headers in the Premier League for the Reds is Sami Hyypia (17).

    The Netherlands international praised Andy Robertson's delivery as the centre-back reiterated Liverpool were not getting ahead of themselves in the title race.

    "It was a very good corner from Andy Robertson," Van Dijk told Sky Sports. "We practised a lot for this, so important to finally get on the scoresheet again.

    "I'm just happy to get the three points because it was a tough one. You can't deny it's [the title race] in your mind but as we have said many times we take it game by game. It sounds a bit boring, but it is like that.

    "We are not looking at them because there is no point. There are so many games to play. We focus on ourselves."

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