NBA

Embiid extends scoring streak in 76ers win, Pacers debutants defeated

By Sports Desk February 11, 2022

Joel Embiid extended his scoring run as the Philadelphia 76ers won their first game since trading for James Harden on Friday.

The 76ers have been busy in trade action this week, finally moving on Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets and receiving Harden in exchange, but focus returned to the court against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Former MVP Harden is yet to make his 76ers bow, but Embiid – perhaps the best performer of this NBA season – continued to perform without him.

The Cameroonian center had 25 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks in the 76ers' 100-87 win, which also saw Tyrese Maxey score 24.

This was Embiid's 22nd straight game with 25 or more points in a sequence only three players – Kevin Durant (twice), new 76er Harden and former 76er Allen Iverson – have topped this century.

Embiid, who shows no sign of slowing, had already secured the best streak by a foreign-born player of the past 50 years when Giannis Antetokounmpo's 20-game run ended against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.

Pacers new boys beaten

The 76ers next play the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will be on a high after a dramatic late show against the new-look Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers, fired by debutants Tyrese Haliburton (23 points) and Buddy Hield (16 points, nine rebounds, eight assists), did not trail at any point until late in the fourth quarter at home to the Cavs.

But Rajon Rondo's three-pointer swung momentum in the Cavs' favour, and their own recent signing Caris LeVert had a key role late on as he finished with 22 points in a 120-113 win.

More debutants deliver

Haliburton and Hield were not alone in making an instant impression.

Montrezl Harrell had 15 points as the Charlotte Hornets routed the Detroit Pistons 141-119, also boosted by 31 from LaMelo Ball and a triple-double for Terry Rozier. Meanwhile, Derrick White's 15 from the bench helped the Boston Celtics see off the Denver Nuggets despite Nikola Jokic's triple-double.

It was not all about those who have been on the move this week, though, as Jokic showed.

Dejounte Murray had a 32-point triple in the San Antonio Spurs' defeat of the Atlanta Hawks, while DeMar DeRozan's remarkable season continued with his fifth straight 30-point game.

DeRozan reached 35 as a blistering fourth quarter took the Chicago Bulls past the Minnesota Timberwolves 134-122.

Related items

  • 'No doubt' Davis will face the Pelicans 'No doubt' Davis will face the Pelicans

    The Los Angeles Lakers will have Anthony Davis to call on when they face the New Orleans Pelicans in their upcoming play-in game.

    After finishing eighth in the Western Conference, the Lakers will go up against the No.7 seed Pelicans on Tuesday.

    While the loser will drop into a game against either the Sacramento Kings or the Golden State Warriors, the winner will go up against the Denver Nuggets in the first round.

    The Lakers defeated the Pelicans 124-108 in their final regular-season game on Sunday, with an instant rematch now on the cards.

    And Davis, who had to be treated for back spasms after the game, insisted he will be fit to feature.

    "No doubt that I'm going to play," said Davis, who finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds.

    LeBron James is heading into the playoffs in fine form.

    He registered his fifth triple-double of the season, finishing with 28 points, a season-high 17 assists and 11 rebounds.

    "I just read the game and I was just finding my teammates and I just tried to put the ball on time and on target for either jump shots or guys at the rim," James said.

    "I just tried to be very efficient with my play."

    James marked Zion Williamson on Sunday, with the 23-year-old limited to 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

    However, James was full of praise for his opponent, adding: "He's a beast.

    "I mean, it's almost impossible to stop him so I just tried to keep a body on him and just tried to keep it tough on him. He's a great player, man."

    Looking towards Tuesday's matchup, James said: "Tuesday's game is going to be extremely hard, extremely difficult, extremely physical.

    "I've always known that, when you play a playoff series, and I look at this like a two-game playoff series, if you win that first game, a team has multiple days to kind of sit on that feeling, or sit with that taste in their mouth of defeat.

    "So they're going to be extremely ready for us and we have to come in with the same sense of urgency that we had the previous game."

  • Thunder have 'eyes on the prize' after clinching West's No.1 seed Thunder have 'eyes on the prize' after clinching West's No.1 seed

    Chet Holmgren and the Oklahoma City Thunder have their "eyes on the prize" as they target an NBA Championship tilt.

    The Thunder clinched the No.1 seed in the Western Conference with a 135-86 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

    Oklahoma City will face either the New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings or Golden State Warriors in the first round.

    But for Holmgren, the celebrations for finishing top of the West will be short-lived.

    "I wouldn't say celebratory so much as just kind of recognising the fruition of all the hard work that we've been putting in," Holmgren said.

    "We're not in the position we're in by accident. There was a lot of dedication and hard work that went into it.

    "But we're not celebrating, because what we're trying to do, we're not there yet. So, we're still eyes on the prize, locked in."

    The Thunder finished the regular season with a 57-25 record, as they edged out the Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-horse race for the No.1 seed.

    "It's super surreal. It's fun," said Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

    "Obviously, you play to win. It's [more fun] like that, but I think it goes back to us chipping away at it every day and not worrying about the past or the future.

    "Just chipping away, seeing where that gets us, and us taking that mentality has allowed us to get here.

    "So, yeah, it feels good, something to be proud about. We have a lot more work to do."

    Reigning NBA champions the Nuggets might have finished second in the West, but they did tie a franchise record with their 57 wins.

    "To tie the franchise record for wins in a season is outstanding, especially on the heels of winning a championship," coach Michael Malone said.

    "That's been the mantra all year long. Not being satisfied."

  • NBA: Thunder earn West's No. 1 seed NBA: Thunder earn West's No. 1 seed

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points in just one half of action to lead seven Oklahoma City players in double figures as the Thunder clinched the Western Conference's No. 1 seed with a 135-86 rout of the depleted Dallas Mavericks in Sunday's regular-season finale.

    The Thunder, who missed the postseason in each of the previous three seasons, earned the conference's top spot for the first time since 2012-13 after winning a tiebreaker with the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets. Both teams finished with 57–25 records, but Oklahoma City won three of the four meetings between the clubs. 

    Oklahoma City rested most of its starting five for the entire second half after building an insurmountable 82-41 lead over Dallas, which held out stars Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving and two other starters with its playoff seed already known.

    The Mavericks were locked into the West's No. 5 seed and will face the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers in the quarterfinals.

    Oklahoma City shot 60.7 per cent in the first quarter to own a 39-22 advantage after 12 minutes, then overwhelmed Dallas' makeshift lineup in the second to put the game already out of reach.

    The Thunder outscored the Mavericks by a 43-19 margin for the period, with reserve Aaron Wiggins leading the way with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

    Wiggins finished with 14 points and Chet Holmgren had 13 along with nine rebounds before also sitting out the second half.

    Brandon Williams paced Dallas with 22 points, while rookie Olivier Maxence-Prosper had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Mavericks.

     

    Suns thump Timberwolves to avoid play-in round

    In another of the West's pivotal games on the season's final day, the Phoenix Suns secured a spot in the quarterfinals with a 125-106 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves to set up a first-round clash between the teams.

    Phoenix's win coupled with New Orleans' 124-108 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday moved the Suns ahead of the Pelicans for the West's No. 6 seed. New Orleans will now host the Lakers once again on Tuesday in the play-in round.

    Minnesota entered the day tied with Oklahoma City and Denver for the West's top record, but fell to the No. 3 seed and will face the Suns in the best-of-seven quarterfinals.

    Phoenix set up the rematch behind a big performance from Bradley Beal, who made all six of his 3-point attempts while tallying 36 points. The Suns also received 23 points and seven assists from Devin Booker and 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting from Grayson Allen.

    Beal set the tone right from the start, as he dropped in 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter as Phoenix took a commanding 44-22 lead into the second.

    The Suns maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way, with Minnesota never getting its deficit under 10 points over the final three quarters.

    Rudy Gobert led the Timberwolves with 21 points and seven rebounds, but All-Star Anthony Edwards was held to 13 points in 35 minutes and committed five of Minnesota's 24 turnovers, which tied a single-game high for the season.

     

    Knicks outlast Bulls in overtime to secure East's No. 2 seed

    Jalen Brunson's 40 points and some big shots from his supporting cast catapulted the New York Knicks into the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed with a 120-119 overtime win over the Chicago Bulls.

    The Knicks leapfrogged the Milwaukee Bucks in the standings after rallying from an eight-point deficit with nine minutes left in regulation and then holding off Chicago during the final stages of overtime. Brunson added eight rebounds and seven assists, while Donte DiVincenzo recorded 25 points and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 13 points off the bench.

    Milwaukee finished one game back of New York following Sunday's 113-88 loss to Orlando, a result that enabled the Magic to avoid the play-in round. The Bucks would have won the tiebreaker with the Knicks had the teams ended with identical records.

    New York appeared on the verge of defeat when down 90-82 early in the fourth quarter, but the Knicks scored 14 of the game's next 20 points to draw even.

    A Bogdanovic 3-pointer with 6:48 left cut Chicago's lead to 94-93, and after DeMar DeRozan's jumper gave the Bulls some breathing room, DiVincenzo knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 96-96 with five minutes to go.

    Chicago took a 109-107 edge on Coby White's layup with 1:19 remaining in regulation, but Brunson answered with a short jumper on the ensuing possession and neither team could score in the final minute.

    After the Bulls' Alex Caruso opened overtime with a 3-pointer, New York scored seven straight points to own a 116-112 advantage with 2:27 left.

    Chicago, which entered the contest already locked into the play-in round as the East's No. 9 seed, continued to battle back before missing out on a chance to win at the end.

    Caruso's layup with 14.4 seconds on the clock brought the Bulls within 120-119 before DiVincenzo turned the ball over on the next possession. Chicago then got the ball to DeRozan, who couldn't get a short jumper to fall with 2.8 seconds left as the Knicks held on.

    DeRozan finished with 30 points and Nikola Vucevic had 29 along with 11 rebounds for Chicago, which also received 26 points from White.

    The Bulls will host the 10th-seeded Atlanta Hawks in Wednesday's play-in round.

     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.