NBA

Booker's Suns sizzle in OT win over NBA-leading Jazz, Durant sparkles on return

By Sports Desk April 08, 2021

Devin Booker and Chris Paul helped the Phoenix Suns take down Donovan Mitchell and the NBA-leading Utah Jazz 117-113 after overtime.

Booker posted 35 points, while Paul finished with 29 points as the high-flying Suns moved to within a game of the best record in the league on Wednesday.

DeAndre Ayton finished with 18 points and 12 assists for the Suns (36-14), who won their seventh successive game after scoring the first five points in overtime and never trailed again.

Mitchell – who nailed a three-pointer with 10.4 seconds remaining to force OT – had a game-high 41 points, eight rebounds and three assists for the Jazz (38-13) in a thrilling encounter.

Jazz team-mate Rudy Gobert put up 16 points on seven-for-seven shooting and 18 rebounds in the losing effort on the road.

Kevin Durant made his long-awaited return in the Brooklyn Nets' 139-111 victory against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Durant had been sidelined since February 13 due to a hamstring strain, but the former NBA MVP returned as the star-studded Nets won midweek.

After a 23-game absence, Durant – initially named in the starting five – came off the bench and posted 17 points on five-for-five shooting in 19 minutes, making both of his three-point attempts.

Durant, who received an ovation from the home crowd at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, also collected seven rebounds and tallied five assists against the Pelicans midweek.

 

Westbrook fuels Wizards with triple

A Russell Westbrook triple-double of 23 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds led the Washington Wizards past the Orlando Magic 131-116. It was Westbrook's 20th triple-double of the season as the Wizards snapped a four-game losing streak. Bradley Beal returned from a five-game absence and posted 26 points, while the Wizards made a season-best 19 three-pointers.

MVP candidate Nikola Jokic (25 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds) fell just short of his 13th triple-double of the season after the Denver Nuggets topped the San Antonio Spurs 106-96.

Grayson Allen's season-high 30 points helped the streaking Memphis Grizzlies beat the Atlanta Hawks 131-113. Jonas Valanciunas (19 points and 11 rebounds) set a franchise record with his 19th straight game with 10-plus rebounds.

 

Richardson struggles

It was a rough outing for Josh Richardson in the Dallas Mavericks' 102-93 loss to the lowly Houston Rockets. In 29 minutes, he was 0-for-nine shooting for one point. Richardson missed all six of his three-point attempts.

 

Grizzlies roar

The Grizzlies are hard to beat at the moment thanks to their collective effort. All five starters finished in double-digit points – Ja Morant tallying 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, including this combination with Kyle Anderson (16 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals).

 

Wednesday's results

Indiana Pacers 141-137 Minnesota Timberwolves
Washington Wizards 131-116 Orlando Magic
Boston Celtics 101-99 New York Knicks
Brooklyn Nets 139-111 New Orleans Pelicans
Memphis Grizzlies 131-113 Atlanta Hawks
Houston Rockets 102-93 Dallas Mavericks
Charlotte Hornets 113-102 Oklahoma City Thunder
Denver Nuggets 106-96 San Antonio Spurs
Phoenix Suns 117-113 Utah Jazz (OT)

 

Suns at Clippers

The Suns (36-14) will put their winning streak on the line when they visit Western Conference rivals the Los Angeles Clippers (34-18) on Thursday. The Clippers are third in the west, behind leaders the Jazz and second-placed Suns.

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    Ajax made it six wins from six games in Group C following Tuesday's 4-2 victory over fellow last-16 bound outfit Sporting CP in Amsterdam.

    With the triumph, Ajax became the first Dutch team to win all six of their games in a single Champions League group-stage campaign.

    Ajax also won six consecutive matches in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their illustrious history.

    Ten Hag's men have swept all before them in Europe this season and the Manchester United-linked head coach hailed Ajax.

    "To win one match in the [UEFA] Champions League is difficult enough, but to win six in a row is an outstanding achievement," Ten Hag said.

    "The intensity was good throughout the match this evening. You saw that in the pressure we put on them which led to the second goal by Antony."

    Sebastien Haller broke a Champions League record held by Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland when he gave Ajax the lead against Sporting, matching another feat previously only ever achieved by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Haller took his tally this term to 10 goals in six appearances – making him the quickest player to reach double figures in a Champions League career after Haaland had previously managed to so in seven matches.

    Ivory coast international Haller also became the first player to score in each of his opening six games in the competition.

    Haller is only the second player in Champions League history to score in all six matches of a single group stage after Ronaldo in 2017-18, while the former West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt forward is only the second Ajax player to score 10-plus goals in a single season of the premier club competition following Soren Lerby in 1979-80.

    "There is no secret [to our success]. It’s just a matter of working hard, together. The coach tells us everything we should know. And then we just try to stay focused," Haller told UEFA.com.

    "Of course I didn't expect it [to score ten times in six matches], especially in my first games. The only thing you want to do is perform well, and be in the flow of the game. Ten goals was not in my dreams. So I can be happy and proud today."

    Haller added: "The way we train every day, the way we think; we always want to play well and perform. Even at the end of the game you could see that.

    "We're really happy with the energy and focus we put into the game, and we just hope that the next game will be the same."

  • Ancelotti realistic about Real Madrid's Champions League chances Ancelotti realistic about Real Madrid's Champions League chances

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    Madrid just needed to avoid a defeat to go through to the knockout phase as group winners, but they ultimately battled to a commendable victory over the Italian champions.

    Toni Kroos netted a glorious first-half opener, before a similarly satisfying Marco Asensio curler wrapped up the win 11 minutes from time.

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    "There are no teams with the quality [guaranteed] to win the Champions League, just to compete.

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    There had been calls prior to the weekend win over Real Sociedad for Ancelotti to rotate his midfield more, yet Modric is heading into the derby having played 90 minutes both against La Real and Inter.

    The Croatian is not concerned, however.

    "I feel very good," the 36-year-old told Movistar. "I think you don't have to look at the years, you have to look at what you do on the field. The years are less and less noticeable because players' careers are prolonged.

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    Atletico prevailed in Tuesday's do-or-die battle away to Porto on matchday six, defeating the Portuguese hosts 3-1 to book their spot in the knockout phase.

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    Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa and Rodrigo de Paul scored to earn Atletico victory in a match that saw three players sent off – Yannick Carrasco received his marching orders, while Porto duo Wendell and Marchesin were also dismissed amid chaotic scenes as three goals were scored after the 90th minute.

    Simeone, who has guided Atletico to two LaLiga titles and a pair of Champions League runners-up appearances during his decade-long tenure in the Spanish capital, could not contain his emotions.

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    "The whole team got involved in the game, gave everything, put their hearts into it. We have a goalkeeper who delivered in moments of difficulty. In the second half, if they had scored from that chance, they win.

    "Today was a beautiful day, a great day. The boys from the youth team made it through and I wanted to as well. They gave us the ambition of wanting to make it through. We are going to remember this as one of the classic Champions League matches of our lifetime, against a great team in a tough game. We're similar.

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    "There's no limit to what we can do and when we have to dig our heels in we do it. I wish we didn't have to suffer so much but this is football: it's not always easy."

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