Tatum leads Celtics to eighth straight victory, Edwards stars as Timberwolves down Pacers

By Sports Desk February 13, 2022

Jayson Tatum scored 38 points including four triples as the Boston Celtics clinched their eighth consecutive victory beating the Atlanta Hawks 105-95 on Sunday.

Tatum led the Celtics' third-quarter charge as they piled on 42-23 to open up the game after trailing by 12 points early in the period.

The Celtics small forward had 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks to go with his 38 points, while Jaylen Brown added 17 points and nine rebounds.

Trae Young starred for the Hawks, who never gave in, scoring 30 points with four rebounds and 10 assists.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 26 points off the bench for the Hawks who reached last year's Conference Finals but are 26-30 this season.

 

Edwards shines as Timberwolves win

Former NBA Draft first pick Anthony Edwards dominated with 37 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 129-120 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Edwards' haul included seven three-pointers along with five rebounds and four assists, overshadowing Karl-Anthony Towns (15 points, 13 rebounds, three assists).

The Timberwolves shot at 52.9 per cent from beyond the arc, making 18 triples for the game.

The Pacers, who were busy late in the trade period, were soundly beaten but new acquisition Tyrese Haliburton was impressive with 22 points, five rebounds and 16 assists. Oshae Brissett also had 22 points with 13 rebounds.

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  • 'Maradona will have been proud' – Spalletti revels as Napoli hit Ajax for six 'Maradona will have been proud' – Spalletti revels as Napoli hit Ajax for six

    Luciano Spalletti declared "even Diego Maradona will have been proud" after Napoli thrashed Ajax 6-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

    Despite falling behind to Mohammed Kudus' ninth-minute opener in Amsterdam, Spalletti's side responded with goals from Giacomo Raspadori, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Piotr Zielinski putting them 3-1 up at the break.

    The visitors' task was made easier after Dusan Tadic's second-half dismissal; Raspadori and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia increasing the advantage, before Giovanni Simeone sealed an emphatic victory.

    Spalletti referenced the late Maradona after Napoli scored six times in a European game for the first time in their history, while Ajax suffered their heaviest defeat in all competitions since November 1964.

    "When you go into a stadium like this, with that roar there, it's not easy to immediately regain the conviction in pressing and recovering after going a goal down," the Napoli coach told reporters. 

    "It could have disturbed us a lot, but the team did the things it had to do; they never let themselves be influenced and won a great match.

    "More than the result, it is beautiful as the performance shows us our qualities; the boys played important football and will benefit because they have all seen it. They played very good plays, even Maradona will have been proud tonight."

    Continuing their perfect start to the competition after making it three wins from three, Napoli are three points clear of Liverpool at the halfway point in Group A, and in the driving seat to reach the knockout stages.

    "With this victory, we have excellent chances [to qualify], but we have to achieve other results," Spalletti added. "What gives context is the quality of the opponents who we produced this performance against, they are a great club."

  • 'We have to be more clinical' - Conte rues missed opportunities in Eintracht draw 'We have to be more clinical' - Conte rues missed opportunities in Eintracht draw

    Antonio Conte has urged Tottenham to be "more clinical" after they were held to a goalless draw by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League.

    Despite registering 11 shots on goal, Spurs failed to score in successive group games in the competition for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

    Conte's side subsequently missed the chance to move top of Group D, but the Italian praised the intensity and personality demonstrated by his players on the back of a 3-1 North London derby defeat at Arsenal.

    "We played a match with great intensity; we didn't allow them to play their football or press a lot in every area of the pitch," he told BT Sport.

    "At the same time, we have to be more clinical. We created many chances to score. At the end, we are talking about a draw. It is a good draw because it is not easy to play away with the atmosphere. We played a good game but if you don't score, you don't win.

    "There are moments you are more clinical, there are moments like in the game against Arsenal and today; you create chances, but make a mistake with the last pass.

    "It is important to create chances; the game was good for us and we played with a great personality."

    Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was left disappointed by his team-mates' failure to turn positive build-up play into a breakthrough, but the midfielder highlighted the maturity on display as they ended a run of three successive away defeats in the Champions League.

    "We are not 100 per cent happy, I thought we prepared until the penalty area well," Hojbjerg said. "We tried to get in behind them, but the opportunities we had, we didn't use them. It's disappointing. The last bite needed a bit.

    "I thought we took the game well, we tried to be dominant. We tried to find the spaces and tried to overcome the first pressure.

    "If you cannot win, you don't lose the game. The team presented themselves as very mature. We are here, we are competing and every game, we want to win."

    Spurs are second in Group D, two points behind Sporting CP and level on points with Eintracht.

  • Klopp looking forward to reading newspapers again as he concedes Liverpool criticism has been fair Klopp looking forward to reading newspapers again as he concedes Liverpool criticism has been fair

    Jurgen Klopp believes the criticism that has come Liverpool's way in recent weeks has been justified, as he quipped he is relishing the chance to read a newspaper again.

    Liverpool have had an underwhelming start to the season and sit ninth in the Premier League following Saturday's 3-3 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion.

    They bounced back in the Champions League on Tuesday, beating Rangers 2-0 at Anfield thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold's free-kick and Mohamed Salah's penalty.

    Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep the scoreline respectable, with Darwin Nunez frustrated in his search for a first Anfield goal, but the Reds got the job done with a minimum of fuss to claim a second straight win in Group A following their 2-1 defeat of Ajax last month.

    When it was put to him in his post-match news conference if Liverpool had used criticism of their performances as additional motivation, Klopp said with a smile: "I cannot wait for the moment when I can read newspapers again!"

    He continued: "No, I have no clue. The criticism was completely fine. We are not over the moon about our situation, let’s put it like this.

    "We've still been playing some really good games, it's not like [success] was 10 years ago. Champions League nights at Liverpool are always quite enjoyable, usually.

    "I don't think it had too much to do with the situation. I saw tonight a team fully committed, that's what I like about it."

    Captain Jordan Henderson, who started alongside Thiago Alcantara in a two-man midfield as Klopp tweaked his side's formation, told BT Sport: "It can be difficult. You try to not listen to social media especially when you go through a tough period as an individual or a team.

    "You've got to switch off the noise and focus on what you do day-to-day and stay focused on what we're trying to achieve as a team. That's not easy. It can hurt players at times but you've got to try and find a way to use it as fuel and energy on the pitch."

    Alexander-Arnold has been one of the players to face the most scrutiny, but delivered an excellent performance.

    His stunning free-kick seven minutes in opened the scoring and he finished with more touches (96) and more successful passes in the opponent's half (40) than any other player, while he also produced a joint-high four tackles.

    He has now scored more free-kicks (six) than any other Liverpool player since the start of the 2016-17 season, while the England international - who was left out by Gareth Southgate for the Three Lions' final match before the World Cup against Germany - is the first Reds player to net such a goal in the Champions League since Steven Gerrard against Basel in 2014.

    "It's a wonderful goal. What can I say?" Klopp said.

    "He played a good game, defensively especially. It is not that he has had a defensive problem it's that we have had a defensive problem, because our line was not right.

    "If the timing is not right, you open gaps and these gaps are very often on the back of Trent but not because of him, but because of the situation where we put our right-back."

    Henderson added: "You've got to give Trent a license to get forward and produce what he can produce up the pitch. I thought he was good defensively tonight, he did the basics really well. I didn't have to cover too much."

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