NBA

Stephen gets best of Seth in Curry family clash as LeBron leads Lakers in return and Rockets snap skid

By Sports Desk November 25, 2021

It took a while, but big brother came out on top as Stephen and Seth Curry faced off Wednesday. 

Stephen's Golden State Warriors trailed by as many as 19 in the first half but rallied to cruise to a 116-96 victory over Seth's Philadelphia 76ers. 

Seth Curry led all scorers with 17 points before half-time as the 76ers (10-8) roared out of the gate, but they could not sustain it for the long haul. 

Golden State (15-2) opened the second half with a 14-2 run to take the lead and the teams went back and forth for a while before the Warriors iced the game with a 28-8 run in the fourth quarter. 

It was the second time this season the Warriors won a game by at least 20 points after trailing by at least 10. The rest of the NBA's teams only have three such games. 

Stephen Curry led the way with 25 points and added 10 assists, while Seth finished with 24 to lead the 76ers, but they took different routes to those similar point totals. 

Stephen made just one free throw but connected on six of 11 three-point attempts. Seth missed all five of his three-point tries but was eight-for-eight from the line. 

Golden State have won nine straight home games, all by at least 13 points. 

 

LeBron leads Lakers to OT win in return

LeBron James poured in a season-high 39 points and made a pair of key three-pointers in overtime as he returned from a one-game suspension to lead the Los Angeles Lakers past the Indiana Pacers 124-116. Russell Westbrook added 20 for the Lakers (10-10), who were playing without Anthony Davis as he was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers (8-12) with 28 points.

Down by 10 to the Chicago Bulls midway through the third quarter, it appeared the Houston Rockets were on their way to a 16th consecutive loss, but a 27-9 run to end the period put the Rockets on top and they never looked back on the way to a 118-113 triumph. Houston (2-16) made eight of their 11 three-point attempts in the decisive third quarter and 17 of 36 threes overall in the game. Danuel House Jr. led the Rockets with 18 points in 17 minutes off the bench, all in the second half. Zach LaVine had 28 for the Bulls (12-7). 

Devin Booker scored 24 of his game-high 35 points in the first half as the Phoenix Suns held off a late challenge to win their 14th game in a row, 120-115 over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Chris Paul added 17 points and 12 assists for the Suns (15-3), while Jarrett Allen made nine of 10 shots from the field to lead Cleveland (9-10) with 25 points. 

Patty Mills had 23 points, Kevin Durant 21 and James Harden 20 as the Brooklyn Nets (14-5) opened up an early lead at the Boston Celtics (10-9) and kept rolling on the way to a 123-104 victory. 

 

Rare win for Pelicans over slumping Wizards

The Washington Wizards lost for the fourth time in five games on the heels of a five-game winning streak, getting blown out 127-102 by a New Orleans Pelicans team that entered the game with a 3-16 record. Washington (11-7) turned the ball over 19 times to 10 for New Orleans and made just seven of 31 three-point attempts (22.6) while also missing 13 of their 36 free-throw attempts. Brandon Ingram scored 26 for the Pelicans and Bradley Beal led Washington with 23. 

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    Cristiano Ronaldo "cannot do things on his own" and Manchester United will therefore not look to build their team around one player, according to interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

    The Portugal international has scored 14 goals and assisted three more in 21 appearances since returning to Old Trafford from Juventus in September.

    That is double the number of goals than any other United player, with compatriot Bruno Fernandes next on the list with seven strikes to his name in 2021-22.

    Ronaldo's incredible longevity was recognised with a special award from FIFA on Monday after becoming the all-time top goalscorer in men's international football history in 2021.

    But while Rangnick is in awe of Ronaldo's scoring record, he has no plans to centre his United side around the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

    "What he has done with his career so far is amazing: 800 goals in competitive games, which no one has achieved that in the last 80 or 100 years," Rangnick said.

    "That shows what kind of exceptional player he is. But the Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and he cannot do things on his own. 

    "He is one important member of this team and that’s how we have to develop."

    Ronaldo has missed United's last two games – a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round and a 2-2 draw against the same side five days later in the Premier League.

    Rangnick is hopeful of having Ronaldo back for Wednesday's trip to Brentford, which has been rescheduled from last month after a COVID-19 outbreak in the United camp.

    A raft of games have been called off in the English top flight in recent weeks, with bottom side Burnley having as many as four games in hand on some sides around them.

    Thomas Tuchel is among those to have asked for more transparency in terms of games being called off, with Chelsea recently having a postponement request declined. 

    Asked if he feels more should be done to prevent postponements, Rangnick said: "I don't know, I can only speak about our club here, we had some problems four weeks ago.

    "Right now we don't have any issues, we have players available, we haven't had any COVID cases. I can't judge other clubs, it's something the Premier League has to deal with."

    United head to Brentford sitting seventh in the Premier League and with just one win from their last five away top-flight matches. 

    The Red Devils have scored in all 10 of their Premier League away games this season, which is the best-such 100 per cent record in the competition this term. 

    However, three of the last four times they have failed to find the net on the road in the league have been in games in London (v Arsenal, Chelsea and Crystal Palace last season).

  • Watt: Cardinals' playoff defeat to Rams a massive failure Watt: Cardinals' playoff defeat to Rams a massive failure

    J.J. Watt reflected on the Arizona Cardinals' 34-11 playoff defeat to the Los Angeles Rams as "a massive failure".

    The Cardinals ended their season with a whimper at SoFi Stadium on Monday as the Rams dominated the Wild Card round clash between the NFC West rivals.

    Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford ended his wait for a first playoff win, throwing touchdown passes for Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp while running in another.

    Los Angeles will face defending champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida next Sunday in the divisional round. 

    The Cardinals, on the other hand, are left to lick their wounds following a fifth defeat in seven games that brought their campaign to a juddering halt.

    Watt returned from a shoulder injury to face the Rams and the defensive end pulled no punches with his verdict on the Cardinals' performance.

    He said: "It was a massive failure from what we were capable of doing and from what we showed we can do [up until the game Monday], there's no other way to describe it than as a failure.

    Quarterback Kyler Murray endured a game to forget, passing for 137 yards and throwing two interceptions in the Cardinals' first playoff game since 2015.

    He said: "I play to win the Super Bowl. That's the goal, that's the mission, is to win the Super Bowl not to make the playoffs or go to the second round. We fell short."

    He added: "It's disappointing that we didn't make it a game and come out and play the football we know we're capable of playing, that's really the most disappointing part.

    "Losing is one thing, but when you don't even make it competitive, it's another thing.

    "I put a lot on my shoulders, put a lot on myself and to dream of this moment and then be in the playoffs, the first game of the playoffs and then to play the way I did, to play the way we did, it's, like I said, disappointing."

    Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury: "When you're dropping back against that that group, it's not a good recipe.

    "And that's what we've found ourselves in. So, we just made it a tough night."

  • Man Utd boss Rangnick considers Martial matter 'resolved' Man Utd boss Rangnick considers Martial matter 'resolved'

    Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick will consider selecting Anthony Martial to face Brentford after holding clear-the-air talks with the forward.

    Martial was absent from United's squad for Saturday's 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa, which Rangnick explained was down to the player not wanting to be included.

    However, the 26-year-old subsequently refuted his manager's claims by stating on social media that he "will never refuse to play a match for Man United".

    Speaking on Tuesday, Rangnick did not explain the contrasting versions of events, but he left the door open for Martial to return to the squad should the forward prove his fitness.

    "I had a conversation with him on Sunday about what happened and how I saw the situation," Rangnick said at a news conference previewing Wednesday's trip to Brentford.

    "The matter is now resolved. He didn't train yesterday or the day before. But he will probably train today and after training I will then take the decision if he is selected or not."

    Martial is reported to have rejected loan offers from other Premier League clubs, while Juventus and LaLiga pair Barcelona and Sevilla have also been credited with an interest.

    The ex-Monaco man has scored 79 goals in 268 appearances since his debut in September 2015 – only Marcus Rashford (91 in 286) has scored more for United in that period.

    Martial's 79 goals have come from an expected goals (xG) return of 64, meaning he has scored 15 goals more than expected from the quality of his chances.

    That is the largest positive xG differential of any player at the club over the same period, followed by Mason Greenwood (11) and Rashford (10).

    However, Martial's playing time has been limited this term – not helped by injury issues – with his 358 minutes on the field only the 21st most of all United players.

    The player's agent, Philippe Lamboley, revealed last month that Martial is looking to join a new club in January due to a lack of playing time.

    While Martial may play a part against Brentford, team-mate Paul Pogba is still not being considered for selection despite returning to training this week.

    Pogba has been used just 13 times this season – and not at all under Rangnick – but could return from a three-month lay-off in the next few weeks.

    "Paul had his first day of training with the whole group yesterday," Rangnick said. "He showed what kind of extraordinary player he can be.

    "He will not be available for the two games this week. Hopefully after the break, with the cup game against Middlesbrough and the away game at Burnley, he can be an option."

    Rangnick also confirmed he will make a late decision on whether Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo will feature in west London as they recover from knocks.

    Wednesday's meeting will be the first between United and Brentford in the league since 1947 and their first in any competition since 1975, when United won 2-1 in an EFL Cup tie.

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