NBA

Curry and Thompson star late as Warriors down Nets, Embiid and Morant continue hot form

By Sports Desk January 29, 2022

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson came to life in the final quarter as the Golden State Warriors edged the short-handed Brooklyn Nets 110-106 on Saturday.

Curry struggled with his shooting throughout, going five-of-18 from the field, but found his range late, scoring 14 of his 19 points in the final quarter to lead Golden State to victory despite Kyrie Irving's game-high 32 points for the Nets, who were without James Harden with a hand strain.

Thompson also had his issues shooting five-of-14 for the game, but scored nine fourth-quarter points including a clutch three-pointer to make it 107-103 with 12.1 seconds left.

Five-time All Star Thompson finished with 16 points, while Curry had 19 points, with seven rebounds and eight assists. First-time All-Star Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors' scoring with 24 points, including 17 in the first half.

Irving had seven rebounds and seven assists to go with his 32 points which included three triples, while Patty Mills hit six three-pointers in his 24 points.

The Warriors, who are 24-4 at home this season, improve to 37-13, while the Nets move to 29-20.

 

Embiid and Morant continue hot streaks

Joel Embiid led the Philadelphia 76ers' rally from a 17-point deficit as they won 103-101 over the Sacramento Kings. Embiid scored 25 or more points for the 17th consecutive game, finishing with 33 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, while Tyrese Haliburton had 38 points for the Kings.

First-time All-Star Ja Morant scored 34 points including four three-pointers as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Washington Wizards 115-95, while Jayson Tatum starred with 38 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the Boston Celtics' 107-97 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Jimmy Butler had a triple-double with 37 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists but the Miami Heat went down in triple overtime 124-120 to the Toronto Raptors. Gary Trent Jr had 33 points for Toronto who had blown a 10-point three-quarter time lead.

Pacers battle as Doncic stars for Mavs

The Indiana Pacers' road struggles continued with their 20th loss in 26 games away from home, with Luka Doncic dominant as the Dallas Mavericks blew them out 132-105 with 30 points, six rebounds and 12 assists. 

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  • Edwards urges Luton to 'reward' supporters on final day Edwards urges Luton to 'reward' supporters on final day

    Rob Edwards wants Luton Town’s players to "reward" the fans for their support throughout the season when they welcome Fulham on the final day.

    The 18th-place Hatters' survival hopes are still mathematically alive, but they require an ambitious 12-goal swing to leapfrog Nottingham Forest, who are away at already relegated Burnley, in 17th.

    Despite their immediate return to the Championship being all but confirmed, Luton have earned many admirers this season, scoring 50 goals along the way.

    In a 20-team Premier League season, only Blackpool (55, 2010-11), Middlesbrough (51, 1996-97) and Leicester City (51, 2022-23) have netted more times during a campaign in which they were relegated. 

    Edwards has urged his players to give the supporters plenty to cheer about and, regardless of the end result on Sunday, is optimistic about the club's future.

    "We want to reward them with a good performance and want to win the game," he said. "I think it will be really good atmosphere. 

    "Everything I have had from fans has been really positive. Everyone has been proud of players and club and what they have shown. We want to make it a really positive day with the performance as well.

    "We have given everything and given a really good account of ourselves. We have shown Luton to the world in a really good light.

    "I'm really proud of what we have done the past 18 months. The club is in a really healthy position. We have been saying since we arrived, this club is only going one way."

    With Fulham safe in 14th and looking forward to a third successive season back in the Premier League, Cottagers boss Marco Silva also paid tribute to the spirit shown by the Hatters during their maiden campaign.

    "It will be a really tough game for us," he said. “Even if they don't achieve [safety], they are going to fight to the maximum – and this reflects Rob and his staff.

    "For them to fight until the end to stay up, shows how much they have improved. Their fans are proud of their team and you can see it every time they play."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Luton Town - Alfie Doughty

    With 42, Doughty has created the most chances from set-plays in the Premier League this season.

    Meanwhile, only West Ham's James Ward-Prowse has registered more such assists (six) than the Luton full-back (five).

    Fulham - Andreas Pereira

    Pereira has created 84 chances in the Premier League this season, the most by a Fulham player in a single campaign (since 2003-04). 

    Meanwhile, his tally of seven assists is the highest by a Cottagers player in a single term since Simon Davies in 2007-08 (eight).

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Both sides are on winless streaks; Luton failing to win any of their last five matches, and Fulham without victory in four attempts.

    The Hatters have failed to win any of their last six league games against the Cottagers (drawn two, lost four), though both those draws have come in the two most recent meetings at Kenilworth Road. 

    Luton have only kept two clean sheets this season and conceded 81 goals – only letting more in during a top-flight campaign in 1982-83 (84).

    While Fulham have kept two successive away clean sheets – after 12 straight games without one – they have not registered three in a row since a run of four in late 2008.

    The Cottagers have not won their final league game in any of the last six seasons (drawing one, losing five), with a 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in 2016-17 representing their most recent such success.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Luton Town: 33.9%
    Fulham: 37.7%
    Draw: 28.4%

  • ​Houston Dynamo FC v FC Dallas: Estevez hopes to take advantage of 'great opportunity' ​Houston Dynamo FC v FC Dallas: Estevez hopes to take advantage of 'great opportunity'

    Nico Estevez considers FC Dallas' trip to Houston Dynamo FC a "great opportunity" for his side to lay down a real marker.

    Dallas defeated Austin FC 2-1 last time out and have now taken seven points from the last nine on offer on home soil.

    Away from home, however, they have taken just one point from a possible 15 this season, with Estevez now after points plus performances in his side's fourth Copa Tejas outing of the campaign.

    "I think the team is working well," he said. "They are energetic and we are improving both in results and the level of play.

    "We have to continue growing. This game is a great opportunity to do so away from home; to be able to achieve something more than just points and to be able to achieve something important that will help us.

    "We are going to have to do many things well to be able to win against a rival as important as Houston."

    The Dynamo went down 1-0 to Austin late on in midweek, placing them eighth in the Western Conference and six points better off than their next opponents, having played a game more.

    Houston have scored the fewest goals of any side in the West (11), which head coach Ben Olsen acknowledged is down to a lack of quality in front of goal.

    "It's decision making and quality in the moment," he said at his pre-match press conference. 

    "It's not for the lack of getting in dangerous areas on the field. Checking boxes, you don't need a 2.0 expected goals to win games."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Houston Dynamo - Amine Bassi

    The Dynamo had 17 shots against Austin without finding the net, six of which were on target - and three of those via Bassi alone.

    Bassi's 1.8 shots per game is bettered only by Ibrahim Aliyu (2.5) this season among Houston players, yet he has registered zero goals thus far. That is something that must be put right.

    FC Dallas - Petar Musa

    Musa played a part in both of Dallas' goals in their victory over Austin, as he scored the opener himself and then assisted Jesus Ferreira for what proved to be the decisive goal.

    The Croatia international has now contributed to five of Dallas' last seven MLS goals - three goals and two assists - meaning he is the man for Houston to stop.

    MATCH PREDICTION: HOUSTON WIN

    Houston's loss to Austin was their fourth defeat in their past seven league matches, compared to just two losses across their previous 17 outings dating back to last July.

    Dallas have won three of their past four games in all competitions, meanwhile, having won just three out of 17 prior to this upturn in form. 

    However, not since November 2020 have Dallas won three successive games across all competitions, while the home team in this fixture is unbeaten in the last 20 encounters between these sides - albeit 11 of those ending all square.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Houston - 42.2%
    Draw - 29.3%
    Dallas - 28.5%

  • Newcastle 'determined to finish on a high' at Brentford, Howe insists Newcastle 'determined to finish on a high' at Brentford, Howe insists

    Eddie Howe says Newcastle United are "determined to finish on a high" when they travel to Brentford on the final day.

    The Magpies, who are seventh in the Premier League, travel to the Gtech Community Stadium still in the hunt to secure European football for a second successive season.

    Howe's side trail sixth-place Chelsea by three points but, boasting a superior goal difference, can leapfrog the Blues if they beat Brentford and Mauricio Pochettino's men lose at home to Bournemouth.

    The Newcastle head coach knows their destiny is not in their hands, but urged his players to be ready to pounce.

    "It's a big last day for us, there's no denying that," he told reporters during his pre-match press conference. "We go into game knowing we have to do our part, which is win the game.

    "That is no mean feat, it's going to be a tough game, and then we're in the hands of other clubs.

    "The players are determined to finish on a high. We could have got more from the last two games and we didn't.

    "We have to do everything we can to do our part. What we don't want to do is for the other teams to make a mistake and we're not there to capitalise on it."

    Meanwhile 16th-place Brentford, who can climb to 15th by bettering Everton's result at title-chasing Arsenal, are set to finish in the bottom six - their lowest final position in the Premier League. 

    Although Thomas Frank admits his sights are set on achieving bigger and better with the Bees, the head coach insists it has been a fruitful campaign with the club's top-flight status assured for another year at least.

    "This season has been a good success," he said. "Every year you are in the Premier League is a success if you are a club of our stature. I just hate saying that because we want so much more.

    "We want to be an asset to the league, we want to dream big and we want to do something special. But I am an optimistic person, I am positive, and I believe so much in this club. 

    "The culture is good. There's a good atmosphere. We are pulling in the same direction, we are aligned."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Brentford - Bryan Mbeumo

    Mbeumo has been directly involved in more goals than any other Brentford player in the Premier League this season with 15 (nine goals, six assists).

    That is despite the winger playing just 24 of the Bees' 37 matches during the campaign.

    Newcastle United - Anthony Gordon

    Gordon has had a hand in two goals (one goal, one assist) in Newcastle's last two away games, taking his overall tally of direct goal involvements for the season to 21 (11 goals, 10 assists).

    With Alexander Isak also boasting 21 involvements (20 goals, one assist), it marks the first time two Magpies players have reached that mark in a Premier League campaign since 1996-97, when Alan Shearer (25 goals, seven assists) and Les Ferdinand (16 goals, eight assists) achieved the feat.

    MATCH PREDICTION: NEWCASTLE UNITED

    Newcastle have prevailed in each of the last four meetings between the sides, and are unbeaten in all five Premier League encounters.

    Brentford have only faced Crystal Palace (six) more in the competition without ever winning than against the Magpies (five).

    Newcastle have lost their final league game in just one of the last nine seasons (winning seven, drawing one), with that sole defeat coming against champions Liverpool in 2019-20.

    The Magpies are also unbeaten on each of the last six occasions they have finished a league season in London (winning five, drawing one).

    You must go back to a 3-2 reverse at Tottenham on the final day of the 1972-73 campaign for their last such defeat.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Brentford - 37%
    Newcastle United - 34.9%
    Draw - 28.1%

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