NBA

LeBron-less Lakers issue reminder as Davis' 42-point double-double sinks Suns

By Sports Desk May 10, 2021

Anthony Davis went off for a dominant double-double as embattled NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers upstaged the high-flying Phoenix Suns 123-110.

Eyeing back-to-back titles this season, the Lakers have instead been left battling to reach the playoffs due to injuries, which have derailed their campaign – superstar LeBron James (ankle) is sidelined while Davis already missed a large portion of the campaign.

But the Lakers issued a reminder of their quality as Davis posted 42 points and 12 rebounds to stun Western Conference rivals the Suns in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Davis also had five assists, three steals and three blocks to help the Lakers – currently seventh and in the play-in position – move back within a game of the sixth seed in the west, which guarantees a postseason berth.

It marked the seventh time in Davis' career that he had 40 points, three blocks and three steals in a game. According to Stats Perform, in the last 35 years, the only player to have more such games is Hall of Famer Michael Jordan (14).

Cameron Payne (24 points), Devin Booker (21 points) and Chris Paul (13 points and 10 assists) led the beaten Suns.

 

Rozier not enough as Lonzo wins Ball battle, Knicks snap Staples skid

A career-high 43 points from Terry Rozier was not enough as the Charlotte Hornets went down 112-110 to the New Orleans Pelicans. Eric Bledsoe's 24 points and 11 assists fuelled the shorthanded Pelicans, who kept their play-in hopes alive in the absence of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. In a battle between the Ball brothers, Hornets rookie sensation LaMelo had 22 points and five assists, while New Orleans' Lonzo finished with 12 points and six assists.

The New York Knicks ended a run of eight consecutive losses at Staples Center, where they upstaged the Los Angeles Clippers 106-100. Derrick Rose scored 25 points off the bench for the Knicks.

Jimmy Butler's 26 points and 11 assists inspired the Miami Heat's 130-124 victory at the Boston Celtics. Fellow starters Duncan Robinson (22 points), Bam Adebayo (20 points), Trevor Ariza (19 points) and Kendrick Nunn (12 points) also contributed. Evan Fournier (30 points) and Jayson Tatum (29 points) starred for the Celtics.

 

Doncic ejected in Mavs win

Luka Doncic's outing did not go according to plan. While the Dallas Mavericks went on to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-97, Doncic (15 points) was ejected early in the third period. The Mavericks star received a flagrant-two foul for striking Collin Sexton in the groin area. Mavericks team-mate Dorian Finney-Smith, meanwhile, was two-for-10 shooting – missing all six of his three-point attempts – for four points in 22 minutes.

The Orlando Magic were humbled 128-96 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Orlando struggled from three-point range, making just nine of their 36 attempts (25 per cent).

Paul George put up 18 points for the Clippers but he was far from efficient. In 41 minutes of action, the Clippers star was eight-for-20 shooting, while he nailed just two of his nine efforts from beyond the arc. Team-mate Marcus Morris Sr. (seven points) was two-for-nine shooting, having missed all three of his three-pointers.

 

Green with authority!

Javonte Green went flying against the Detroit Pistons. In the second quarter of the Chicago Bulls' 108-96 victory, Green knocked down a thunderous slam.

 

 

Sunday's results

Miami Heat 130-124 Boston Celtics
New York Knicks 106-100 Los Angeles Clippers
New Orleans Pelicans 112-110 Charlotte Hornets
Dallas Mavericks 124-97 Cleveland Cavaliers
Minnesota Timberwolves 128-96 Orlando Magic
Chicago Bulls 108-96 Detroit Pistons
Sacramento Kings 126-98 Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Lakers 123-110 Phoenix Suns

 

Jazz at Warriors

The NBA-leading Utah Jazz (50-18) – riding a five-game winning streak – face Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors (35-33) on the road on Monday. The Jazz top the west, while the Warriors are eighth and set to feature in the play-in tournament ahead of the playoffs.

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    Stephen Curry reserved special praise for Klay Thompson despite his own latest spectacular performance for the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

    The Warriors extended their winning streak to six games as they beat the Portland Trail Blazers 118-103 to move to 17-2 for the season.

    Curry led the way with 32 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, surpassing Scottie Pippen for 62nd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

    The Warriors' impressive form has come despite the continued wait for the return of star shooter Thompson, who this week returned to full-team practice for the first time in more than two years.

    Thompson, a key part of the championship-winning sides in 2015, 2017 and 2018, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear during the Warriors' failed 'three-peat' attempt in 2019 and then injured his Achilles tendon during recovery.

    Thompson, who was serenaded by the crowd at Chase Center where he stayed on the bench for more than 20 minutes, is now going through perhaps the most difficult part of his journey back to the court, according to Curry.

    "I kind of predicted this would be the hardest part of his journey because he's got the basketball back in his hands every day, he's feeling like himself, he's playing pickup and he's around our practices and back with us in those type of situations, but he's still not on the court," Curry said.

    "The good thing is we're talking weeks instead of months now. I'm super proud of just the way he's approached this two-year window because unless he wants to write a book and [explain] every step, nobody will understand what he's been through away from the game so long. And it shows how much this game matters to him."

    Portland threatened a late comeback when they moved to within eight points in the final six minutes, but the Warriors are nothing if not resolute, two Curry three-pointers helping to safeguard their lead.

    "We know these type of nights where we play at home, do the defence, get the crowd into it. It's all about just trying to create an identity here. We've got to do our part throughout the season to win games," he said.

    "The defence is huge. We always pride ourselves on being a top-five defensive and we got to that level quickly. We've got to sustain it, obviously.

    "Integrating our new guys, the shooting we have, ball movement, there was no guarantee that was going to be a smooth process. I'm proud of everybody stepping up, understanding how we play and everybody enjoying themselves."

  • Streaking Suns keeping eyes on NBA prize as record looms Streaking Suns keeping eyes on NBA prize as record looms

    The Phoenix Suns are keeping their eyes on the prize as they target NBA glory, with Chris Paul and Devin Booker playing down the team's winning streak.

    Phoenix made it 15 consecutive wins thanks to Friday's 118-97 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

    Paul's 14 points and 10 assists, and Booker's 32 points fuelled the Suns to within two wins of equalling their franchise record for consecutive victories – 17 in 2006-07.

    But after falling short in last season's NBA Finals, Paul and the Suns are solely focused on the business end of the campaign.

    "This ain't a playoff game tomorrow [Sunday]," Paul said post-game in New York, where the Suns improved to 16-3 – a record only bettered by Western Conference rivals the Golden State Warriors (17-2) this season.

    "It's good for us to go out there and compete, and we're probably gonna see different coverages and all that, but we're just trying to build, build.

    "It's not about winning a game in November."

    "We just wanted to get it going," said All-Star Booker. "It's no secret we have a streak going, and we're going to get every team's best shot.

    "The whole NBA knows about that, so we just tried to set the tone early. Come out, play team basketball ... we did our job tonight."

    Booker added: "We do one at a time. We know we have a tough opponent tomorrow that's been waiting on us, well-rested.

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    Sancho joined from Borussia Dortmund in a big-money move in the last transfer window, though the winger's arrival was somewhat overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo's sensational return to Old Trafford.

    The 21-year-old has struggled for form since the transfer and was dropped by England after disappointing in his initial showings for United.

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    His Champions League strike was his first goal for the club, having failed to score before United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer parted ways with the Red Devils sat eighth in the league.

    But Yorke expressed his confusion as to why United signed Sancho when they have Greenwood, who stormed onto the scene in 2019-20 before he became only the second teenager to find the net in the opening three matches of a Premier League season this term.

    "I think people forget these are young men that come in with huge expectations," Yorke, who finished as United's top league goal scorer in 1998-99, told Stats Perform. 

    "He hasn't had the best of campaigns with England. We've seen that missed penalty, that can have a knock-on effect as well. All those little things, things that young players have to deal with. 

    "I am a fan; I just probably think it would have been a little bit too early for us to bring him in. 

    "I think we didn't need Sancho at the point in time with the emergence of Greenwood. I just think that was a position that we didn't really need to go for."

    United are reportedly edging closer to appointing Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis, with a permanent solution set to be found at the end of the season.

    The 63-year-old will no doubt know about Sancho, who is the only player from Europe's top five leagues to have scored 10 goals or more and had at least 15 assists across all competitions in each of the previous three seasons.

    Despite questioning whether his arrival was necessary, Yorke added how exciting Sancho's potential can be for United, who travel to Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.

    "However, you still cannot underestimate the talent the boy does possess," he continued.

    "He's definitely one for the future. Again, we have an English product and we want to make sure that we continue to pick up the English players. 

    "But sometimes that can get a little bit overwhelming at times and people get ahead of themselves a little bit. But there’s no question in my mind that he's a very talented young man and will be a great asset to the football club going forward."

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