NBA

Harden lifts short-handed Nets to keep pressure on 76ers, LeBron-less Lakers struggle as Zion makes NBA history

By Sports Desk March 24, 2021

The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers continue to go toe-to-toe in the Eastern Conference after both championship hopefuls won in the NBA on Tuesday.

James Harden led the way with a double-double as the star-studded Nets topped the Portland Trail Blazers 116-112.

In the absence of fellow superstars Kyrie Irving (personal matter) and Kevin Durant (hamstring), Harden posted 25 points and a career high-tying 17 assists to fuel the short-handed Nets in Portland.

Jeff Green finished with 20 points – 15 in the first half – Nicolas Claxton put up 16 of his own, while Blake Griffin had eight points, five rebounds and two steals in his second Nets appearance.

Enes Kanter scored 19 points and collected 19 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who also had 22 points from All-Star Damian Lillard.

The Nets (30-14) remain within a game of the Eastern Conference-leading 76ers (31-13) after they held on to beat the Golden State Warriors 108-98.

Behind Tobias Harris' 25 points and 13 rebounds and Ben Simmons' 22 points, the 76ers earned their fifth consecutive road victory – the team's longest winning streak away from home since winning seven straight in 2018.

The Warriors – without star Stephen Curry (back) – threatened to complete a stunning comeback, having been outscored 35-17 at the end of the opening quarter, while they trailed by more than 20 points before half-time.

 

Zion makes history

Zion Williamson helped the New Orleans Pelicans top the slumping Los Angeles Lakers 128-111. The 20-year-old's 27 points and nine rebounds saw him become the first NBA player younger than 21 to score at least 20 points in 21 consecutive games. Pelicans team-mate Brandon Ingram posted a season-high 36 points.

MVP candidate Nikola Jokic had his 12th triple-double of the season as the Denver Nuggets beat the Orlando Magic 110-99. Jokic posted 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists for a franchise-best 53rd career triple-double. Only Washington's Russell Westbrook (14) has more triple-doubles this season.

It is almost impossible to replace Joel Embiid, but Tony Bradley stepped up in a big way for the 76ers. The 23-year-old was flawless against the Warriors, going eight-of-eight for 18 points and 11 rebounds. Bradley became the first 76ers player not to miss a shot in a game on a minimum eight attempts since Dikembe Mutombo in 2002.

All-Star Julius Randle finished with 37 points to lead the New York Knicks past the lowly Washington Wizards 131-113.

 

Lakers feeling absence of star duo

The Lakers – who came out of the All-Star break on a 4-0 run – are now 0-3 since LeBron James suffered an ankle injury, with fellow star Anthony Davis (calf) also sidelined.

Tyler Herro headlined the Miami Heat's woes after last season's NBA Finals participants lost 110-100 at home to the Phoenix Suns. Herro was three-of-11 from the field, while he was just one-of-six from three-point range for seven points in 26 minutes.

 

Robinson throws it down!

New York's Mitchell Robinson got up high for a powerful dunk in the second quarter against the Wizards.

 

Tuesday's results

Denver Nuggets 110-99 Orlando Magic
New York Knicks 131-113 Washington Wizards
New Orleans Pelicans 128-111 Los Angeles Lakers
Phoenix Suns 110-100 Miami Heat
Brooklyn Nets 116-112 Portland Trail Blazers
Philadelphia 76ers 108-98 Golden State Warriors

 

Nets at Jazz

It is back-to-back outings for the high-flying Nets (30-14), who travel to the NBA-leading Utah Jazz (31-11) on Wednesday.

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  • Australian Open: Swiatek seals semi-final spot after lengthy Kanepi battle Australian Open: Swiatek seals semi-final spot after lengthy Kanepi battle

    Iga Swiatek came through a huge battle against Kaia Kanepi to advance to the Australian Open semi-finals on Wednesday.

    Swiatek, the Polish seventh seed, made her second grand slam semi after a 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 victory over Kanepi on a warm day on Rod Laver Arena.

    The 2020 French Open champion held off Kanepi, who suffered a seventh defeat in as many grand slam quarter-finals.

    Swiatek fought hard and needed three hours, one minute to progress to a meeting with American 27th seed Danielle Collins.

    The steadier start was made by Swiatek, with Kanepi saving break points in each of her opening three service games.

    But the Pole was having some trouble with her serve, a fifth double fault giving Kanepi a break point in the seventh game, the Estonian converting with a fine forehand return winner.

    Swiatek held after a gruelling 16-minute ninth game, saving four set points as the Rod Laver Arena crowd started to come to life.

    Kanepi had won only one set in her six previous grand slam quarter-finals, but she eventually served out the opener against Swiatek, converting her ninth set point.

    After Kanepi broke in the opening game of the second set, Swiatek – who was starting to move the veteran around the court – reeled off four straight games.

    However, Kanepi responded, a pair of Swiatek double faults helping her break back in the seventh game on the way to a tie-break.

    Swiatek was the more consistent of the two players in the tie-break to send the quarter-final into a deciding set.

    After the players traded breaks early in the third set, Swiatek took a 3-2 lead after Kanepi sent a forehand narrowly wide before managing a tough hold in the sixth game.

    Swiatek charged into a 5-2 lead and while her attempt at serving it out did not go to plan, she sealed her win with another break after a tremendous defensive point.

     

    DATA SLAM: Swiatek hard to beat at majors

    It takes a fair bit to beat Swiatek at a grand slam.

    The 20-year-old is now 30-2 at majors against opponents ranked outside the top 30 after getting past world number 115 Kanepi.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Swiatek – 31/50
    Kanepi – 35/62

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Swiatek – 5/12
    Kanepi – 5/4

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Swiatek – 6/13
    Kanepi – 5/13

  • Clippers set NBA record, overturn 35-point deficit to beat Wizards Clippers set NBA record, overturn 35-point deficit to beat Wizards

    The Los Angeles Clippers pulled off a comeback for the ages as they rallied from 66-31 behind during the second quarter to beat the Washington Wizards 116-115.

    At Capital One Arena, the first half was almost all one-way traffic as the Clippers started shockingly slowly.

    Yet they turned the game around from a half-time deficit of 66-36, with Amir Coffey finishing with 29 points and Luke Kennard contributing 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

    Washington, who had seven players in double figures, were left stunned when Kennard landed a three-point pullup jump shot with 1.9 seconds remaining, tying the game.

    He was fouled in the process, earning a free throw, and made no mistake from that opportunity as he landed the game-winning point.

    The visitors had closed to 93-76 adrift by the end of the third quarter, before bossing the fourth 40-22 against flagging opposition, with Kennard's late heroics stunning the home crowd.

    It made the Clippers the first team in NBA history to score under 40 points in the first half of a game and follow up by posting 40 or more points in both the third and fourth quarters.

    Kennard posted on Twitter: "What just happened… crazy fight in this group! What a win!"

  • Australian Open: Collins ends Cornet's run to reach semis Australian Open: Collins ends Cornet's run to reach semis

    Danielle Collins ended Alize Cornet's dream run and reached her second Australian Open semi-final with a straight-sets win on Wednesday.

    Collins moved into the last four in Melbourne for the second time in four years thanks to a 7-5 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Australia Day.

    The American 27th seed, who will face either Iga Swiatek or Kaia Kanepi in the semi-finals, was in solid form in warm conditions.

    Collins was the aggressor throughout against Cornet, who was playing her maiden grand slam quarter-final in her 63rd main-draw appearance.

    It was Collins who dictated the majority of points from the baseline early and landed a break of serve in the fourth game.

    Cornet saved three break points, but there was no denying Collins on her fourth opportunity, a powerful return setting up a simple volley winner for a 3-1 lead.

    Collins looked the more comfortable in the warm weather, but Cornet hung in there and broke back when her opponent was trying to serve out the first set, the American's backhand letting her down with three unforced errors.

    But Cornet dropped the first set when serving to stay in it, saving two set points but not a third – set up with a Collins forehand winner down the line – as she framed a forehand long.

    Collins crushed a forehand return winner to break serve in the second game of the second set to take complete control of proceedings.

    She broke to love to grab a 4-0 lead, cruising through the second set on her way to another last-four appearance in Melbourne.

     

    DATA SLAM: Contender Collins finding consistency

    The dangerous Collins has found consistency since the back end of last year.

    She is now 31-7 since July 12, 2021 and will be hard to stop by either Swiatek or Kanepi in the semi-finals.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Collins – 28/29
    Cornet – 11/17

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Collins – 5/4
    Cornet – 2/0

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Collins – 4/9
    Cornet – 1/3

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