NBA

Giannis' monster double-double and late layup lifts streaking Bucks, Doncic follows in Magic's footsteps

By Sports Desk December 02, 2021

Defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 127-125 thanks to superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA on Wednesday.

Antetokounmpo's monster double-double and late driving layup with 2.0 seconds remaining lifted the in-form Bucks (14-8) to their eighth consecutive victory midweek.

Milwaukee's Antetokounmpo had 40 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in a near triple-double performance at home to the Hornets.

The Bucks withstood LaMelo Ball, who posted 36 points, nine assists and five rebounds on the road for the Hornets (13-11).

 

Doncic flexes his muscles

Luka Doncic fuelled the Dallas Mavericks' 139-107 victory at the New Orleans Pelicans. He put up 28 points and 14 assists in just 27 minutes. According to Stats Perform, Doncic is the first player to reach those numbers while playing 27 minutes or less since Hall of Famer Magic Johnson in 1987.

Jae'Sean Tate's career-high 32 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks helped the Houston Rockets rally past the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-110. The Rockets are the first team in NBA history with four straight wins immediately after a 15-game losing streak, per Stats Perform. As for Tate, he joined Hakeem Olajuwon as the only Rockets players to record 30-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, five-plus assists and five-plus blocks in a game.

 

Embiid struggles as Philly's offensive woes continue

In the absence of wantaway All-Star Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers continue to endure a topsy-turvy campaign following their 88-87 defeat to the Boston Celtics. MVP runner-up Joel Embiid had a double-double of 13 points and 18 rebounds, but he was just three-of-17 shooting. Tobias Harris was four-of-11 shooting – missing all four of his three-point attempts – for only eight points.

Duncan Robinson had a game to forget as the shorthanded Miami Heat went down 111-85 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Robinson went scoreless in 20 minutes on 0-of-seven shooting from the floor, having failed to make any of his six efforts from beyond the arc.

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  • Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro signs four-year, $130million contract extension Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro signs four-year, $130million contract extension

    The Miami Heat signed reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro to a four-year contract extension on Sunday. 

    The Heat announced the deal, but per club policy terms were not disclosed. According to reports, the contract – which begins with the 2023-24 season – includes $120million in guaranteed money and could be worth as much as $130million with incentives. 

    "Tyler is an impact multi-faceted player and we are excited to have him signed for the next five years," Heat president Pat Riley said.  

    "His improvement every year since we drafted him has led to this day. We believe he will continue to get better."

    Miami selected Herro with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after he spent one season at the University of Kentucky. 

    He averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 2019-20 to earn second-team All-Rookie honours. 

    Herro then put up 15.1 points, 5.0 boards and 3.4 assists per game in 2020-21 before having a career year last season. 

    Herro averaged 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists en route to being the runaway selection as the league’s top sixth man. 

    He received 96 first-place votes from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters after 1162 of his team-leading 1367 points came as a reserve. 

  • Pujols hits 702nd career home run in final regular season home game, Trout goes deep in Angels win Pujols hits 702nd career home run in final regular season home game, Trout goes deep in Angels win

    Albert Pujols hit a home run in his final regular season home game as a trio of St Louis Cardinals legends were honoured in a 7-5 loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

    Pujols, 42, drove in the first runs of the game with a two-run double in the first inning, and with his next at-bat, he connected on the 702nd home run of his career to score another two runs. Only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) have ever hit more homers in their career, and with his three RBIs, he joined Ruth with the second-most ever (2214), trailing only Aaron (2297).

    Starting on the mound for the Cardinals was another future Hall-of-Famer, 41-year-old Adam Wainwright, who was being caught behind the plate by 40-year-old Yadier Molina as the two added one more to their record number of starts together.

    Unfortunately for Wainwright his final regular season start at Busch Stadium was less of a fairytale ending than Pujols', giving up six runs in four-and-two-thirds innings before all three Cardinals icons were pulled from the game together for a standing ovation.

    Bryan Reynolds finished two-for-five at the plate for the Pirates, and the center-fielder hit his 27nd home run of the season to add some breathing room in the seventh inning, after Ben Gamel's three-run blast in the second frame.

    Trout hits homer in Angels win

    Three-time American League MVP Mike Trout moved up to fourth in this season's home run standings as he knocked his 39th in the Los Angeles Angels' 8-3 home win against the Texas Rangers.

    Trout's 409-foot blast came in the fourth inning after the Angels piled on six runs in the opening frame, and with three games left he only needs one more home run to reach 40 for the third time in his 12 seasons.

    Nobody in the top-20 for home runs this season has played fewer than Trout's 116 games, with the rest of the top-five all totaling at least 153 appearances.

    Langelliers, Kaprielian carry the A's

    Rookie Shea Langelliers and starting pitcher James Kaprielian were both excellent in the Oakland Athletics' 10-3 win against the Seattle Mariners.

    Facing reigning Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray on the mound, the Athletics figured him out in the fourth inning, with Langelliers bombing a big 423-foot home run to left-field. It was one of two homers on the day for the 24-year-old catcher in his first season, also hitting one in the ninth inning for his first ever multi-homer day.

    On the mound, Kaprielian was just as good, giving up only one hit and two walks in six scoreless innings, striking out seven batters.

  • Vikings need to focus on Jefferson before they rue missed opportunities Vikings need to focus on Jefferson before they rue missed opportunities

    Victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could not have come in a more dramatic style for the Minnesota Vikings, who took the lead with 24 seconds remaining on Sunday and saw the New Orleans Saints endure a double doink with the last kick of the game.

    The 28-25 result takes the Vikings to 3-1 for the season, with the last two wins coming by less than a single score, needing two fourth-quarter touchdowns against the Detroit Lions in Week 3.

    In the opening weeks, Justin Jefferson's impact on the offense was limited. Two touchdowns and 184 receiving yards against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 did not go unnoticed, with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions often putting an extra man on him to quell his impact.

    Those two games combined for just 62 receiving yards and only 50 per cent completion when Jefferson was the targeted receiver. Against the Saints, and Marshon Lattimore, the pendulum swung in the opposing direction again.

    Lattimore, one of the league's premier cornerbacks, is not a player who needs an additional defender alongside him, but he lost the matchup in London against Jefferson despite numerous opportunities to stand out – Kirk Cousins targeting his receiver on 13 occasions, more than any other game this season.

    Ten of those were successful, with Jefferson notching up 147 receiving yards, including a stunning 41-yard reception that teased the sort of partnership he can have with his quarterback, and punching in a touchdown run for three yards.

    That was not just a targeted opportunity, though, with head coach Kevin O'Connell detailing after the game how the plan was to always get Jefferson involved as much as possible after a frustrating few weeks.

    "No matter what we had to do today, within reason, within our normal offense, we were going to get him going," O'Connell said.

    "We knew he was going to be matched up against a premier player at his position in Marshon Lattimore. I have a ton of respect for him, how he plays and competes. But we wanted to give Justin some more one-on-one opps when we saw them. Obviously, it allowed him to help the other guys as well on some of those early downs."

    One on one, Jefferson is a player who can win his battles with the best, as shown with his matchup against Lattimore, but he needs to be brought into the game more by Cousins. While the receptions and the yards were there against the Saints, it could, and should, have been a more comfortable match.

    Cousins knows as much, saying after the game: "Twice I think Justin was open for touchdowns and we didn't connect. The plays are there to make, and we didn't connect. That's disappointing."

    Jefferson, for his part, needs to demand the ball and the big plays more. Now in his third year with the Vikings offense, he has taken leadership responsibilities this season and it has shown, not letting the frustrations in the past two weeks knock him out of his stride and responding in style against the Saints.

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