NBA

Heat rise after downing LeBron's Lakers, Embiid extends hot streak as 76ers win

By Sports Desk January 23, 2022

LeBron James had a double-double but it was not enough for the fast-finishing Los Angeles Lakers to overcome his former side the Miami Heat who won 113-107 on Sunday.

The Heat led by 23 points but the Lakers charged home with 37-24 points down the stretch.

James finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the Lakers, while Russell Westbrook had 24 points and nine rebounds.

Jimmy Butler starred for the Heat, breaking James' franchise record for triple-doubles with his 22 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

The Heat are top of the Eastern Conference with a 30-17 record, while the Lakers drop below .500 with a 23-24 record.

 

Embiid continues scoring streak

Joel Embiid continued his hot streak with a double-double as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Antonio Spurs 115-109. Embiid had 38 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, extending his 14-game run of 25 points or more.

Luka Doncic had a double-double with 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Dallas Mavericks won 104-91 over the Memphis Grizzlies, for whom Ja Morant had 35 points and 13 rebounds, while the Golden State Warriors won 94-92 over the Utah Jazz, despite only 11 fourth-quarter points.

Jayson Tatum scored 51 points, including 48 in the first three quarters, as the Boston Celtics won 116- 87 over the Washington Wizards, while DeMar DeRozan had 41 points as the short-handed Chicago Bulls' slide continued with a 114-95 loss to the lowly Orlando Magic.

 

Harden subdued as Nets cut down

James Harden shot four-of-13 for the game as the Brooklyn Nets were downed 136-125 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Harden only managed 13 points, while Kyrie Irving had 30 points with six rebounds and five assists.

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  • South Korea 2-1 Portugal: Dramatic Hwang winner incredibly puts Taeguk Warriors through South Korea 2-1 Portugal: Dramatic Hwang winner incredibly puts Taeguk Warriors through

    Hwang Hee-chan scored a stoppage-time winner to beat Portugal 2-1 and put South Korea through to the last 16 of the World Cup at the expense of Uruguay in a dramatic conclusion to Group H.

    The Taeguk Warriors appeared to be heading out as they looked set to draw while Uruguay led Ghana elsewhere, but Hwang netted at the end to complete an incredible turnaround.

    Ricardo Horta had put Portugal in front early on, but they failed to heed the warning posed by Kim Jin-su's disallowed goal soon after, with Kim Young-gwon deservedly getting South Korea back on level terms.

    Portugal – who won the group anyway – coasted through the second half and South Korea took full advantage, with Hwang landing the decisive blow to spark bedlam and send Uruguay packing.

    South Korea's feeble start suggested they were there for the taking, with Horta applying an easy finish to take a fifth-minute lead after Diogo Dalot breezed past Kim Jin-su and cut the ball back.

    Kim Jin-su scored what he thought was the equaliser 12 minutes later, tapping in on the rebound after Diogo Costa saved Cho Gue-sung's header, but it was ruled out for offside.

    Portugal's lead was wiped out before the half-hour, though.

    Ronaldo shied away from a corner delivery, which struck him, and Kim Young-gwon was on hand to steer home.

    Portugal's captain then missed completely missed his kick from close range early in the second half, the subsequent offside flag doing little to spare his blushes.

    A second half generally lacking quality appeared to be petering out.

    But then captain Son Heung-min darted towards the Portugal goal, awaited support, and calmly fed Hwang through a defender's legs, Hwang slamming past Costa to secure progress in astonishing fashion.

     

  • Flick must go after Germany's 'pathetic' World Cup exit, says Hamann Flick must go after Germany's 'pathetic' World Cup exit, says Hamann

    Former Germany international Dietmar Hamann has called for Hansi Flick to be replaced as the team's head coach after overseeing a "pathetic" group-stage exit from the World Cup.

    A late double from substitute Kai Havertz helped Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 in their final Group E game on Thursday, but Japan stunned Spain with a 2-1 win at the Khalifa International Stadium to send the four-time winners home.

    Germany have now suffered group-stage eliminations from consecutive World Cups, having avoided falling at the first hurdle on each of their last 16 appearances at the tournament before 2018.

    The coaches of some eliminated sides – such as Mexico's Tata Martino and Belgium's Roberto Martinez – have already announced their departures, and Hamann thinks Flick should do the same.

    Speaking to Sky Sports in Germany, a furious Hamann said: "I think it's impossible that we can continue with the coach. 

    "After this debacle, we only have 18 months until the European Championships at home, that was pathetic.

    "Costa Rica had one shot on target in the first two games and we made them look like Brazil. In the team, everyone does what they want. I see no reason why Flick should remain as coach.

    "When I hear some comments from those responsible [with other teams], I have to say that responsibility looks different. Excuses, excuses, excuses. It's time for a cut."

    Germany have failed to keep a single clean sheet in their last 12 games at World Cups or European Championships, their longest ever such sequence. 

    The last side to fail to score against Germany in a major tournament match was Slovakia, who were beaten 3-0 by Joachim Low's side in the round of 16 at Euro 2016.

  • Netherlands v USA: Oranje happy to keep winning while not playing well Netherlands v USA: Oranje happy to keep winning while not playing well

    The Netherlands would love to start playing well, but beating the United States and reaching a World Cup quarter-final is their primary focus.

    This has so far been an underwhelming tournament from the Oranje, although they still advanced top of Group A with two wins and a draw from their three matches.

    Coach Louis van Gaal told the media to fly home if the football was "so terribly boring", but there is no doubt it is effective.

    Discounting penalty shoot-outs, Van Gaal is unbeaten in his 10 World Cup matches as a coach. Only Felipe Scolari (12) and Mario Zagallo (11) have enjoyed longer undefeated streaks to start their finals careers.

    The coach appears to have his players on board, as Marten de Roon said: "We are searching, that is clear. We hope it gets better, we all hope so.

    "But the first goal is to get through to the next round. We are not deliberately playing badly here. Maybe one of you has the solution?

    "Of course, we would prefer to play everyone off the carpet and win 5-0 every time and become world champions, but it is not that simple. Winning counts on Saturday, but how we do it matters less. Even if necessary through penalty kicks.

     

    "I don't mind becoming a world champion without having played a good match. The positive is that we haven't lost. That may also give us the confidence that it can only get better."

    The Dutch have reached at least the quarter-final in four of their last five appearances at the World Cup, exiting in the last 16 in 2006.

    Meanwhile, the United States have lost three of their four last-16 matches, winning only in 2002 against Mexico.

    They have only won one of five meetings with the Netherlands – all in friendlies – although that victory was in their last such clash in 2015.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Netherlands – Cody Gakpo

    All the talk going into the tournament was around one forward in Memphis Depay, but the Netherlands have a new star. Gakpo put Oranje 1-0 up in all three group games, with David Villa in 2010 the last player to open the scoring in four matches at a single World Cup.

    United States – Christian Pulisic

    Pulisic expects to be fit for this match despite his injury against Iran, and his return will be welcomed. The winger has scored twice as many goals (22) for the USMNT as any other player in Gregg Berhalter's squad.

    PREDICTION

    The Netherlands may not be playing well, but the supercomputer expects their winning habit to continue. They are 51.9 per cent favourites for this one.

    The United States have a 22.0 per cent chance, while a draw that would spell penalties has a 26.1 per cent likelihood.

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