NBA

Embiid joins exclusive NBA club, Doncic makes history as Irving returns alongside Harden and Durant

By Sports Desk January 21, 2021

Joel Embiid produced another mammoth performance to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics 117-109 on Wednesday.

Embiid posted 42 points and 10 rebounds – going 12 of 19 from the floor in Philadelphia, where the three-time NBA All-Star scored 22 points in the first half.

Returning to action following knee soreness, Embiid topped 40 points for the second time in three games as he joined Bradley Beal as the only NBA players with multiple such performances.

There is only one other instance where a Sixers player had a 40 and 10 game on one or fewer turnovers since the three-point era – Embiid himself in 2019.

Luka Doncic recorded another triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Indiana Pacers 124-112 to snap a three-game losing streak.

Doncic put up 13 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season – tied for the most alongside Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic – and 30th of his career.

The 22-year-old is the youngest player to reach 30 career triple-doubles, while he is the second-fastest in terms of games played (146), eclipsing Magic Johnson (190) but behind Oscar Robertson (75).

 

Irving stars on return but Sexton outshines Nets trio

After a seven-game absence due to personal reasons, Kyrie Irving had 37 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 147-135 double overtime loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin Durant led the Nets with 38 points and 12 rebounds, and fellow superstar James Harden finished with a triple-double of 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. However, Collin Sexton's 42 points lifted the Cavaliers past Brooklyn's 'Big Three'.

Clint Capela had 27 points and a career-high 26 rebounds for the Atlanta Hawks, who outlasted the Detroit Pistons 123-115 in overtime. Trae Young scored 38 points and John Collins registered 31 points, while Detroit's Jerami Grant posted a career-high 32 points.

 

Lowry's shooting woes

While collecting 10 rebounds and tallying seven assists, Kyle Lowry was far from his best in the Toronto Raptors' 111-102 loss to the Miami Heat. Lowry was just two-of-12 from the field, while he made just one of 10 shots from three-point range for eight points in 36 minutes.

 

Anthony on the buzzer!

Cole Anthony did it all at the death. He grabbed the rebound and ran the length of the court before sinking the buzzer-beating shot to lift the Orlando Magic past the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-96.

Wednesday's results

Cleveland Cavaliers 147-135 Brooklyn Nets (OT)
Dallas Mavericks 124-112 Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia 76ers 117-109 Boston Celtics
Atlanta Hawks 123-115 Detroit Pistons (OT)
Miami Heat 111-102 Toronto Raptors
Orlando Magic 97-96 Minnesota Timberwolves
Phoenix Suns 109-103 Houston Rockets
Golden State Warriors 121-99 San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers 115-96 Sacramento Kings
Washington Wizards-Charlotte Hornets (postponed)
Portland Trail Blazers-Memphis Grizzlies (postponed)

 

Lakers at Bucks

LeBron James and defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers (11-4) travel to face Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks (9-5) on Thursday. Both teams are coming off losses.

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  • Middleton revels in Bucks finding different ways to win Middleton revels in Bucks finding different ways to win

    Khris Middleton said the Milwaukee Bucks are having to learn how to win in different ways after impressing in the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo against the Sacramento Kings.

    Having needed to rely on an impressive defensive showing against the Chicago Bulls, it was the turn of the offense to turn it on in a 133-127 triumph against the Kings.

    Middleton had 34 points, while Jrue Holiday put up 26 as the Bucks chalked up another tick in the win column despite Antetokounmpo missing out with soreness in his right knee.

    "We just need to be able to win different type of ballgames," Middleton said after the defending champions moved to 29-19 on the season. 

    ''Every game is not going to be perfect, every game is not going to be pretty. To get defensive stops, to get 50-50 balls like we did [against the Bulls], it helps. 

    "When you hit shots like we did tonight, it also helps."

    Middleton made a key three-pointer with one minute and nine seconds remaining on the clock, with the Kings having fought back to within three points.

    Holiday felt Middleton's effort was key in helping the Bucks get over the line.

    "I feel like this is what he has been doing," Holiday said. ''He makes timely threes. He makes big shots, especially in that moment when they had momentum. He just came down and laced them, took advantage."

    Donte DiVincenzo (20 points), George Hill (17) and Pat Connaughton (15) all made valuable contributions for Milwaukee to earn praise from Middleton.

    "I think they were great," he added. 

    "Pat got hot for us. George did a great job at the point guard position, just controlling the team. Defensively he was all over the place, coming down for rebounds and helping box out. 

    "Pat has played so many different positions. It's weird to see him playing the center. He's a selfless guy doing anything that can help."

  • Australian Open: Barty bests Anisimova to ease through to quarter-finals Australian Open: Barty bests Anisimova to ease through to quarter-finals

    Ash Barty's dominant form at the Australian Open continued as the world number one saw off Amanda Anisimova to reach the quarter-finals.

    Anisimova shocked 2021 champion Naomi Osaka in the last round but the in-form Barty proved a step too far on Sunday.

    Barty had not dropped a set in any of her previous matches and the Australian continued that trend with a 6-4 6-3 triumph that took just 74 minutes.

    The 25-year-old missed five chances to break before she finally nosed herself ahead in a tightly contested first set when Anisimova went long.

    Anisimova made the same mistake in the next game, failing to grasp the opportunity for an immediate response, and Barty struck a forehand winner to claim the set.

    World number 60 Anisimova responded by racing into a 40-0 lead at the start of the second set, only for some sloppy shots to allow Barty to haul herself level.

    The American held her nerve though and looked to be right back into it when she broke Barty in the next game.

    Yet two-time major winner Barty hit straight back, with a missed backhand from Anisimova gifting her a reprieve, and she did not look back, holding serve before breaking again to go 4-3 ahead.

    Anisimova saved two match points in her win over Osaka, yet another overhit backhand sent Barty through to a tie against Jessica Pegula at the first time of asking.

    DATA SLAM: BARTY'S HOLD STREAK OVER

    There was one negative for Barty, who failed to hold serve for the first time in 63 games when she was broken in the second set. However, the Queenslander responded to that streak ending with a display of her title-winning quality to reach a fourth successive Australian Open quarter-final.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Barty – 23/17
    Anisimova – 20/34

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Barty – 7/3
    Anisimova – 4/1

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Barty – 4/11
    Anisimova – 1/5

  • Burrow tired of 'underdog narrative' as Bengals topple Titans Burrow tired of 'underdog narrative' as Bengals topple Titans

    Joe Burrow is "tired of the underdog narrative" and said the Cincinnati Bengals are "here to make noise" after toppling the Tennessee Titans to make the AFC Championship game.

    Rookie Evan McPherson converted a last-gasp 52-yard field goal to send the Bengals to their first Championship Game since 1988 in a 19-16 win over the top-seeded Titans, while it represented their first ever postseason road win.

    The question of "Why not us?" has been a common theme of the Bengals' postseason run but for quarterback Burrow that is a motto that is no longer relevant.

    "I'm tired of the underdog narrative," said. "We're a really, really good team. We're here to make noise."

    Burrow added that McPherson called nailing his game-winning kick.

    "He [McPherson] gave a little warm-up swing and he said, 'Ahh, looks like we're going to the AFC Championship,'" Burrow said.

    The Bengals managed to triumph despite Burrow being sacked nine times, tying the most in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era.

    But they did also manage three interceptions, with Logan Wilson getting in the way of a Ryan Tannehill pass with 20 seconds left that ultimately set up McPherson's kick.

    And Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said there is no limit for his team.

    "This is the expectation for this team," Taylor said. 

    "This is not too big for these guys. I know we haven't been here before, but it sure feels like we have. You just see the attitude of this team and the confidence of this team that we're going to find a way to win."

    Shortly before coming in for his news conference, defensive tackle D.J. Reader was asked what the Bengals' new team motto is if not "Why not us?"

    He replied "it is us" before saying the team was motivated by what he felt has been disrespect from pundits this season.

    Reader said: "As a journalist, do you want somebody to doubt your ability to do your job? No. It's disrespectful. 

    "You gotta go out there and get it and take it. You gotta earn respect, though."

    "We're confident in us. We feel like we [are] them. We're the people. We're going out there every game, feeling like we're confident, we're the ones that need to get beat."

    Tannehill had an indifferent night for the Titans, completing 15 of 24 attempted passes for 220 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

    It means the Titans suffered a third straight loss on home turf as the number one seed in the AFC, while their last home postseason victory came back in 2003.

    Titans coach Mike Vrabel said: "I don't think Ryan or myself or anybody did enough to win the game. That's how it goes. 

    "It's never going to be about one person, not as long as I'm head coach, which will be a while."

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