NBA

76ers win eighth straight to move closer to clinching east, Nets end slump and Westbrook equals record

By Sports Desk May 09, 2021

The red-hot Philadelphia 76ers extended their winning streak to eight games after topping the Detroit Pistons 118-104, while Eastern Conference rivals the Brooklyn Nets snapped their skid.

MVP hopeful Joel Embiid posted 29 points for the 76ers, who took another step towards clinching the Eastern Conference and top seed ahead of the NBA playoffs on Saturday.

In the absence of Ben Simmons and Seth Curry, rookie Tyrese Maxey added 22 points and Dwight Howard (19 points and 14 rebounds) moved up to 10th on the all-time double-doubles list with his 743rd.

The 76ers improved to 47-21 for the season and moved three games clear of the Nets (44-24), who returned to winning ways by upstaging the Denver Nuggets 125-119.

Kevin Durant was nine-for-14 shooting for 33 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks as the rallying Nets ended their four-game losing streak to reclaim second spot ahead of the idle Milwaukee Bucks.

Nets team-mate Kyrie Irving added 31 points of his own, while MVP candidate and Nuggets star Nikola Jokic put up 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists at home.

 

Westbrook matches Hall of Famer

Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook equalled Oscar Robertson's record after posting his 181st career triple-double. Westbrook moved level with the Hall of Famer thanks to his 33 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists in a 133-132 overtime win against the Indiana Pacers. The former MVP became the first player in NBA history to record back-to-back games with 15-plus rebounds and 15-plus assists. Team-mate Bradley Beal had 50 points before a hamstring injury forced him to sit out OT. A Domantas Sabonis triple-double (30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists) and Caris LeVert's double-double of 35 points and 14 rebounds were not enough for the Pacers.

The NBA-leading Utah Jazz reached 50 victories for the season behind Georges Niang's joint-career high 24 points in a 124-116 win at home to the lowly Houston Rockets.

Damian Lillard's game-high 30 points fuelled the Portland Trail Blazers' 124-102 victory against the San Antonio Spurs.

Jonas Valanciunas dominated with his 47th double-double of the season – 18 points and 21 rebounds – in the Memphis Grizzlies' 109-99 triumph over the Toronto Raptors.

 

Ellington struggles in Philly

Pistons veteran Wayne Ellington was one-for-seven shooting, while making just one of his six three-pointers for three points in 24 minutes.

 

The three-point king!

Stephen Curry put on a show in three quarters of action as the Golden State Warriors crushed the Oklahoma City Thunder 136-97. Curry posted 49 points in 29 minutes, matching his season best with 11 three-pointers, including a deep attempt from beyond the arc in the third period. Curry had his 10th 40-point game of the season and 48th of his career. His performance also marked the fourth time he has posted multiple 20-point quarters in the same game, and the first time since 2018.

 

 

Saturday's results

Washington Wizards 133-132 Indiana Pacers (OT)
Philadelphia 76ers 118-104 Detroit Pistons
Memphis Grizzlies 109-99 Toronto Raptors
Utah Jazz 124-116 Houston Rockets
Golden State Warriors 136-97 Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers 124-102 San Antonio Spurs
Brooklyn Nets 125-119 Denver Nuggets

 

Suns at Lakers

The high-flying Phoenix Suns (48-19) will be looking to sizzle against struggling defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers (37-30) on Sunday. The Suns are second in the west, while the Lakers are seventh and on track to feature in the play-in tournament.

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  • 'He is part of Madrid history' – Ancelotti hails Bale ahead of Bernabeu exit 'He is part of Madrid history' – Ancelotti hails Bale ahead of Bernabeu exit

    Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Gareth Bale will leave Real Madrid when his contract expires in June as he hailed the forward who remains "a part of the history" at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Madrid wrapped up the LaLiga title with four games to spare and host Real Betis on the final matchday of the league season, with a Champions League final against Liverpool to follow on May 28 in Paris.

    Bale's role in their success to this point has been extremely limited, making just seven appearances in all competitions this season, totalling only 290 minutes of action.

    The Wales international, who will hope to qualify for the World Cup when his country face either Ukraine or Scotland in their play-off final on June 5, was expected to leave Madrid when his contract runs out at the end of the season, and Ancelotti confirmed that was the case on Thursday.

    Bale has won four Champions League titles during his nine-year spell in the Spanish capital, scoring three final goals.

    But his exit will mark the end of a turbulent stay in Madrid, with his Los Blancos commitment regularly coming under scrutiny from Madridistas and the Spanish press.

    Ancelotti could not promise Bale a final farewell appearance at the Bernabeu on Friday as injury problems persist, but the Italian insisted the 32-year-old's name will be etched into Madrid's history books.

    "Bale isn't 100 per cent fit, and he won't be in the squad. Tomorrow I'll choose if he's on the bench or in the stands," Ancelotti told a pre-match news conference.

    Asked about his future, Ancelotti added: "The contract ends, and he will leave. It is not so important if he plays tomorrow. Bale is part of the history of this club. He will remain in the memory of all Madrid fans.

    "He was important in the Decima [the club's 10th Champions League win], in Kyiv, in the Copa del Rey. He has written important pages in this club's history, and we have to take that into account."

    While Bale will not feature against Betis, who are winless in their past 10 LaLiga visits to teams from the Madrid region, Ancelotti will continue to rotate his side to build fitness for the Champions League final.

    "I think about giving minutes to the players who need it the most," Ancelotti continued. "Tomorrow Marcelo, [Luka] Modric... [David] Alaba will train with the group starting on Monday."

    Karim Benzema has scored 27 goals in LaLiga this season and is set to become the first French player to finish a campaign as the top scorer in the competition's history, but he is expected to be rested again.

    Despite fielding another heavily rotated side, Ancelotti expects an exciting game against Copa del Rey winners Betis.

    "We are the two teams that have won the competitions," he added. "It will be an entertaining game because Betis plays quality football."

  • Frank promises Eriksen statue in 'two, three years' if playmaker stays at Brentford Frank promises Eriksen statue in 'two, three years' if playmaker stays at Brentford

    Christian Eriksen would have a statue built in his honour in the next "two, three years" should he stay at Brentford, Thomas Frank has said.

    Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest when playing for Denmark against Finland at Euro 2020, but survived the ordeal.

    However, the 30-year-old was unable to play for Inter due to medical rulings in Italy preventing players from competing after having a cardioverter-defibrillator fitted.

    Brentford subsequently offered the midfielder a six-month contract in January and Eriksen has starred, scoring once and assisting four in 10 league games to lift Brentford way clear of any danger.

    Eriksen has also created 26 chances since his Brentford debut in February, with only Son Heung-min (27), Martin Odegaard (33) and Kevin De Bruyne (37) laying on more opportunities in the Premier League in that period.

    Manchester United and Eriksen's former club Tottenham are reportedly circling, but Frank has reiterated his desire for his compatriot to stay with Brentford.

    "I'd love to say 100 per cent but I am convinced there is a good chance that he will wear a Brentford shirt [next season]," he said of Eriksen at a news conference on Thursday.

    "The way we play, our environment, and the role he is given, gives him an opportunity to flourish and play his best game.

    "He enjoys going to work every day and I still think you can be extremely ambitious playing for us.

    "I know I am optimistic, but I also picked up the phone and called him and said 'do you want to come to Brentford', no one thought about that six months ago.

    "So I'm convinced we will have a chance, the way I see it for us it is a win-win. He helped the team, he gave something to the fans they have never seen before at this level.

    "We helped him back to his football life again, for Christian it's a win-win, either he signs for us and everyone will be happy.

    "The fans will build a statue of him outside the stadium in two, three years' time or he goes to a bigger level and we will applaud him and we will say thank you for your time; go forward."

    Brentford will be hoping Eriksen can deliver again when they conclude their maiden Premier League season on Sunday against relegation-threatened Leeds United.

  • Mavericks believe 'brilliant' Doncic will bounce back in Game 2 Mavericks believe 'brilliant' Doncic will bounce back in Game 2

    The Dallas Mavericks have faith in Luka Doncic to put a disappointing Game 1 behind him when they meet the Golden State Warriors again on Friday.

    Mavs superstar Doncic was tightly marshalled by the Warriors on Wednesday, with the Slovenian only managing 20 points on six-of-18 shooting.

    Andrew Wiggins was the primary defender on Doncic, who had seven turnovers and was also limited to seven rebounds and four assists in a 112-87 defeat.

    However, team-mate Spencer Dinwiddie has full confidence that one of the best players in the NBA has the ability to be back at his best in Game 2.

    "He's just brilliant. I think he's seen every defense from probably playing professionally overseas when he was younger," Dinwiddie told reporters.

    "If you've seen it before, you've probably developed counters for it.

    "So, now, it's just about continuing to improve game by game, and he's one of the best in the business at doing that."

    The sentiment was echoed by Mavs coach Jason Kidd, who said: "[Doncic] understands what [the Warriors] are trying to do, and he'll be better, we believe that in that locker room."

    Doncic was still the second-highest scorer in Game 1, behind only Warriors talisman Stephen Curry, who had 21 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.

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