NBA

Lakers lose again with LeBron ankle worry, Giannis outduels Durant in Bucks-Nets battle

By Sports Desk May 03, 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers slumped to their sixth loss in seven games with LeBron James finishing their 121-114 defeat to the Toronto Raptors injured in the locker room on Sunday.

James left the court in the fourth quarter due to a sore right ankle, the same ankle which sidelined the Lakers superstar for 20 games until his return against the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

The four-time MVP played 28 minutes, scoring 19 points with seven rebounds and six assists but he could not inspire reigning NBA champions the Lakers to reverse their worrying form ahead of the playoffs.

Toronto forward Pascal Siakam was exceptional with a season-high 39 points, 13 rebounds and four assists, while veteran guard Kyle Lowry also had a double-double with 37 points, including three three-pointers, and 11 assists.

The result means the Lakers slip to 36-28 and sixth spot in the Western Conference, while the Raptors are 27-38.

 

Giannis comes out on top against KD

Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 49 points as the Milwaukee Bucks overcame the star-studded Brooklyn Nets 117-114 in their heavyweight Eastern Conference meeting. Making his return after a minor ankle issue, two-time reigning MVP Antetokounmpo also had eight rebounds and four assists, while Khris Middleton contributed 26 points and 11 rebounds in a key supporting role. Durant did his best to lift the Nets with 42 points and 10 rebounds.

Joel Embiid had his 14th game with 30 or more points and 10 rebounds, with only Antetokounmpo having more this season, as the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers won 113-111 in overtime against the San Antonio Spurs. MVP hopeful Embiid finished with 34 points and 12 rebounds after OT, with Seth Curry adding 22 points.

Devin Booker had 32 points to lead the high-flying Phoenix Suns to a 123-120 victory over the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder.

The New York Knicks kept up their hot run with 122-97 win against the Houston Rockets, fuelled by All-Star Julius Randle's 31 points in three quarters.

C.J. McCollum (33 points), Damian Lillard (26 points and 13 assists) and Jusuf Nurkic (14 points and 11 rebounds) combined to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past the Boston Celtics 129-119. Jayson Tatum's 33 points were not enough for the Celtics. Per Stats Perform, the Trail Blazers are the first team in NBA history to have four consecutive home losses immediately followed by four straight road victories.

 

From hero to zero

Dorian Finney-Smith nailed the game-winner for the Dallas Mavericks against the Washington Wizards on Saturday. But he was struggled in the 111-99 loss to the Sacramento Kings. Finney-Smith was one-for-seven shooting in 35 minutes, missing all five of his three-point attempts for just three points.

 

Timely tip from Simmons

Ben Simmons tipped home in the nick of time after Embiid's attempted buzzer-beating shot missed in the 76ers' win over the Spurs.

 

Sunday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 117-114 Brooklyn Nets
Portland Trail Blazers 129-119 Boston Celtics
New York Knicks 122-97 Houston Rockets
Philadelphia 76ers 113-111 San Antonio Spurs (OT)
Phoenix Suns 123-120 Oklahoma City Thunder
Sacramento Kings 111-99 Dallas Mavericks
Miami Heat 121-111 Charlotte Hornets
Toronto Raptors 121-114 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Nuggets at Lakers

The Lakers (36-28) have a big test to get back on track in the Western Conference against Nikola Jokic's Denver Nuggets (43-21) with playoffs seedings up for grabs.

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    Nikola Jokic showed why he is the reigning NBA MVP after leading the Denver Nuggets to a 120-114 overtime win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Jokic posted back-to-back triple-doubles as the Nuggets outlasted the Pelicans in NBA action on Wednesday.

    After putting up a triple-double on Monday, Jokic was at it again midweek with a season-high 39 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

    Jokic scored 11 of his points in OT to help the Nuggets take down the Pelicans – the Serb star posting his ninth career 30-point triple-double, the most in NBA history by a center not named Wilt Chamberlain.

    Overall, it is Jokic's 61st career triple-double, one behind Brooklyn Nets superstar James Harden, who ranks seventh all-time.

     

    Red-hot Rockets win again

    The Houston Rockets capitalised on Kevin Durant's absence in a 114-104 win over the shorthanded and Eastern Conference-leading Brooklyn Nets. Durant was rested and the Rockets extended their winning streak to seven games. According to Stats Perform, the Rockets are the first NBA/NBA/NHL team to have a losing streak of 15-plus games and then a winning streak of at least seven games later that same season (at any point) since the Louisville Colonels in 1895.

    Joel Embiid was the source of inspiration again for the Philadelphia 76ers, who prevailed 110-106 against the Charlotte Hornets. Embiid had 32 points to lead the 76ers. It is the ninth time in Embiid's career he has tallied at least 75 points and 20 rebounds in a two-game span. The only other 76ers to do so at least nine times are Hall of Famers Chamberlain and Charles Barkley.

    The NBA-leading Golden State Warriors were too good for Western Conference rivals the Portland Trail Blazers 104-94.

     

    Giannis struggles as champs fall

    Defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks lost 113-104 at the Miami Heat after superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with just 15 points on four-of-13 shooting in 33 minutes.

  • Barca fortunate Bayern didn't score 'significantly' more goals – Nagelsmann Barca fortunate Bayern didn't score 'significantly' more goals – Nagelsmann

    Julian Nagelsmann believes Bayern Munich would have won by an even greater margin had they not taken their foot of the pedal in Wednesday's comprehensive Champions League win over Barcelona.

    Bayern outclassed and overpowered Barca 3-0 midweek, a result that eliminated the embattled LaLiga giants from the Champions League.

    Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala were on target for Group E winners Bayern, who progressed to the knockout phase with a 100 per cent record.

    Bayern led 2-0 at half-time thanks to Muller and Sane before Musiala netted a third just past the hour-mark at Allianz Arena.

    With 22 goals scored and just three conceded, Bayern's goal difference of plus-19 during the group stages has only been bettered once before in Champions League history – Paris Saint-Germain in 2017-18 (+21 - F25 A4).

    Afterwards, Bayern head coach Nagelsmann felt Barca were fortunate not to have conceded more in Munich.

    "We played against an opponent who, of course, has a very big name and actually had to win today," Nagelsmann told DAZN.

    "We have never really let it unfold properly. In the second half we clearly defended deeper and let them have the ball a little more, but I believe that if we put it on properly, then we could have scored significantly more goals than three."

    Along with Liverpool and Ajax, Bayern became the third side this season to win all six Champions League group-stage matches.

    This is the first campaign to see more than one team manage this in the same season, whilst the German outfit are just the second team ever to do so on more than one occasion (also in 2019-20), alongside Real Madrid (2011-12 and 2014-15).

    Asked if Bayern are favourites to win the Champions League, Nagelsmann replied: "It's always a huge topic for the journalists: 'Who is the favourite?' You can write a lot about it. In the end, it's a fact that in the knockout stage there are more factors.

    "Sometimes the daily performance is decisive or some lucky moments. You don't have time to bring something back in order if you made some mistakes before. Of course, all teams that reach the knockout stage are some kind of favourites and can win this title. We as well. We did very well in the group stage. It's well deserved and also today our focus was really good and we reached the next round.

    "It's our own requirement to be one of the favourites, of course. We would like to win the Champions League and some of us would like to win it again. We need to show the same performances in the knockout stage and keep the same level. I believe that my team can do this. But in the end it's only about doing it. Now we wait for our opponent and then we will prepare for that, but there's still some time."

    Barca – amid a financial crisis – were consigned to the Europa League/UEFA Cup for the first time since 2003-04 following their Bayern defeat.

    It is the fourth time Barcelona have been eliminated in the Champions League group stage after 1997-98, 1998-99 and 2000-01, and the second time that they have fallen to the secondary European competition from the Champions League group stage following 2000-2001 (then, to play the UEFA Cup after finishing third behind Milan and Leeds United).

    Barca's tally of two goals after their six group-stage matches is their lowest recorded total in the Champions League, whilst only in 1997-98 (14) did they concede more goals at this stage than the nine they have shipped this season.

    "I think that the club can bounce back," Nagelsmann said of Barca. "It's still one of the biggest clubs. Today we deserved the victory and in both games we showed really good performances and our wins were well deserved.

    "I think Barcelona are a club with a lot of expertise and good guys. Not only Xavi, but also guys in the back who will make intelligent decisions for this club. I already said in the news conference before the game that it's not easy to deal with more than €1billion in debt in the daily business. It's about extremely tough decisions that need to be taken. This can take a while.

    "If I think that this would happen to us, then I am sure it would take a while until we could bounce back and be successful again. I wish them all the best and I hope the club will be soon the glorious Barcelona again that we all know."

  • Seahawks' Jamal Adams to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery Seahawks' Jamal Adams to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

    Seattle Seahawks star Jamal Adams will miss the remainder of the NFL season as the safety prepares to undergo shoulder surgery.

    Adams hurt his shoulder in Sunday's 30-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers, an injury that will sideline the three-time Pro Bowler for the rest of the 2021 campaign.

    It is same shoulder that required surgery last offseason and a major blow for the struggling Seahawks (4-8).

    "Jamal Adams is going to have surgery, I think it's tomorrow [Thursday], on his shoulder," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday.

    "Unfortunately, he got hit just the wrong way, and he's going to have to get fixed up.

    "He's been through this before, and he's really rocked by it of course. We're all pulling for him to get out of this thing and get back as soon as possible. Really disappointed for him as well as us."

    Carroll added: "He was really emotional about it last night, just because it means so much to him to keep playing, and he's been through this before and to have to go through it again." 

    Adams – who signed a four-year, $72million contract extension in August, making him the highest-paid safety in the NFL – was acquired from the New York Jets in a 2020 trade.

    In his first season with the Seahawks, he recorded 9.5 sacks in 12 games – a record for defensive backs, to help Seattle to the NFC West title.

    Through 12 appearances this season, the 26-year-old ranked third on the team in tackles (87), second in tackles for loss (four), fourth in passes defenced (five) and second in interceptions (two).

    "You lose all of the fire that he brings and explosive plays, big hits," Carroll said. "He's had a couple of picks. He's been doing everything except for we haven't gotten the sacks that we got a year ago, but other than that he's been playing really hard and tough, and he's got a lot of energy for us, it's been very positive."

    Seattle have a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time this season when they face the lowly Houston Texans (2-10) on Sunday.

    The last time the Seahawks went a whole season without back-to-back wins was 1992 (franchise worst 2-14 record that season), according to Stats Perform.

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