NBA

Jokic triple-double condemns Lakers to third straight defeat, Durant injured as Nets win

By Sports Desk January 15, 2022

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic recorded another triple-double as the Los Angeles Lakers slumped below .500 again following a 133-96 humiliation at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.

Nuggets center Jokic finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists and brought up his triple-double in the third quarter, as Denver piled on 73 first-half points before restricting the Lakers to only 36 points in the second half.

LeBron James scored 25 points with nine rebounds and two blocks for the Lakers, while Russell Westbrook had 19 points, five rebounds and three assists.

The defeat means the Lakers, who are still without Anthony Davis due to injury, move to a 21-22 record after losing three games in a row.

Bones Hyland was brilliant off the bench for Denver, who improve to 22-19, with a career-high 27 points including six triples and 10 rebounds.

 

Durant injured as Nets win

Kevin Durant limped out with a knee sprain as James Harden had 27 points, eight rebounds and 15 assists while Patty Mills scored 21 points as the Brooklyn Nets won 120-105 over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Pascal Siakam over-shadowed Giannis Antetokounmpo with a triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Toronto Raptors won 103-96 over the Milwaukee Bucks. Antetokounmpo scored 30 points with six rebounds and four assists.

Jayson Tatum had 23 points with 12 rebounds as the Boston Celtics won 114-112 to condemn the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls to three straight losses, while Darius Garland had 27 points and a career-high 18 assists in the Cleveland Cavaliers' comeback 107-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

Butler struggles as Heat go cold

Jimmy Butler struggled from the field, making one of 11 for his eight points as the Miami Heat's four-game winning streak was ended by the in-form Philadelphia 76ers 109-98. Joel Embiid had 32 points with 12 rebounds for the 76ers.

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    Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Myles Turner added 17 as the Indiana Pacers rolled to a 116-103 victory over the New York Knicks to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday.

    Andrew Nembhard, Tyrese Haliburton and T.J. McConnell each added 15 points, with Nembhard grabbing six rebounds and handing out six assists. Haliburton had nine assists as the Pacers remained perfect in six home games in this postseason.

    The winner of Game 7 in New York on Sunday will advance to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.

    Jalen Bruson scored 31 points on 11-of-26 shooting after missing his final 11 shots in the first half. Deuce McBride added 20 points with four 3-pointers as the Knicks fell to 0-3 on the road in this series.

    Already decimated by injuries, the Knicks lost starting forward Josh Hart in the fourth quarter due to abdominal soreness.

    Hart was seen holding his midsection multiple times during the game and asked to be taken out after he had five points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes.

    New York is already without All-Star Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic.

    Indiana used a 14-6 run in the third quarter to take control, turning a 61-56 lead into a 75-62 advantage. The Pacers maintained at least a 10-point edge the rest of the way.

  • Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak

    Laurent Courtois has accepted that it is on him to find a winning formula as CF Montreal look to snap their winless run against Toronto FC.

    Montreal were beaten 3-1 by Columbus Crew in midweek and are now without a victory in six games in all competitions.

    That includes a three-game losing streak in MLS, leaving them 13th in the Eastern Conference, and Courtois is eager to get back on track.

    "It's up to me to find the winning formulas and discern the phases of the game," head coach Courtois said after the loss to Columbus.

    "We have to grit our teeth and find solutions. The difficult times we are going through help me identify my group. I want to know the players better. 

    "From all the negative aspects we can observe, I can identify a few individual aspects to improve the game or the team itself."

    Monreal's rivals Toronto have themselves lost back-to-back games ahead of Saturday's Canadian Classique at BMO Field.

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Toronto - Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi missed the loss to Nashville but will hope to start this weekend in a fixture he has fond memories of. 

    The Italian has scored in each of his two home games against Montreal, making him the third Toronto player to score in two successive home games against them after Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.

    Montreal - Joel Waterman

    Montreal have conceded three or more goals five times across their 12 MLS games this season, which is tied with San Jose Earthquakes for the most in MLS.

    They quite simply need to sharpen up at the back, with Joel Waterman needing to step up and hope others around him also do so.. The centre-back led the way for interceptions (three) and clearances (four) against Columbus, yet it was still not enough.

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Montreal have won five successive matches against Toronto, following a run of neither side ever winning more than three on the spin in this fixture.

    Toronto have won seven and drawn one of their eight matches in which they have held opponents under two goals since September, while they have lost all 13 in which they have shipped two or more.

    Keeping the opposition quiet is therefore key, and this could present a chance to do just that against a Montreal side with fewer points (five) than any side in MLS since mid-March.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto - 39.6%
    Draw - 28.5%
    Montreal - 31.9%

  • New England Revolution v Philadelphia Union: Porter urges players to cut out errors New England Revolution v Philadelphia Union: Porter urges players to cut out errors

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    The Union have double the number of points compared to their opponents, having played one game more, as they occupy ninth place in the East.

    The Us are themselves not in great form, though, as they lost 2-1 at home to New York City FC in their most recent game - a contest overshadowed by a raccoon that entered the field. 

    They have just two points from the past 18 on offer, meanwhile, and head coach Jim Curtin admits it is on him and his players to turn things around.

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New England Revolution - Carles Gil

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    Philadelphia Union - Julian Carranza

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    To put that in perspective, the two other players to have done so in the club's history - Conor Casey and Andrew Wenger - have done so in a combined two games (one each).

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Philadelphia have won 12 matches against the Revs across all MLS competitions, which includes MLS is Back, since 2018 - their best return against any single opponent across that period.

    New England's tally of seven points from their opening 11 games is their worst-such return at this stage of a campaign in club history, with only two out of 17 teams in the post-shootout era (since 2000) managing to reach the playoffs from this position.

    However, there is some hope for them this weekend as the Union's one point across their past five matches is their fewest across any five-game span within a single season since April 2017.


    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New England Revolution - 36.1%
    Draw - 28.8%
    Philadelphia Union - 35.1%

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