NBA

Suns overcome Booker injury to beat Warriors to tie franchise record 17 straight wins, Harden stars for Nets

By Sports Desk December 01, 2021

The Phoenix Suns have tied their franchise record 17 consecutive wins and moved level with the Golden State Warriors at the top of the table by beating them in a 104-96 win on Tuesday.

The Suns' record-equalling win came without Devin Booker who suffered a left hamstring injury in the second quarter and did not return.

Deandre Ayton top scored with 24 points along with 11 rebounds while veteran guard Chris Paul had 15 points and 11 assists, but Phoenix's defense was critical to the win.

The Warriors only managed 61 points after quarter-time, with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green finishing the game with only 12 and eight points respectively.

Golden State had a season-high 22 turnovers, with Paul having five steals and Mikal Bridges also registering four steals.

The result means the Suns and Warriors both have 18-3 records across the season and will meet again on Friday.

 

Harden finds his groove

James Harden had his third 30-point game for the season, finishing with 34 points as the Brooklyn Nets won 112-110 over the New York Knicks. Harden had a double-double with 10 rebounds, eight assists and three steals, while Kevin Durant contributed 27 points and nine assists.

Top draft pick Cade Cunningham registered a career-high 26 points including five three-pointers as the Detroit Pistons lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 110-92.

In the absence of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr and Desmond Bane scored 25 and 23 points respectively  to lead the Memphis Grizzlies past the Toronto Raptors 98-91.

 

Kings struggle from range

The Sacramento Kings only managed six triples for the entire game as they were beaten by the Los Angeles Lakers, without LeBron James, 117-92. Shooting guard Terence Davis went zero-for-four from beyond the arc. Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook had 25 and 23 points respectively in James' absence, after he entered the NBA's health and safety protocols prior to tip-off.

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    Stefanos Tsitsipas produced a strong performance to brush aside Jannik Sinner and move into his third Australian Open semi-final.

    Tsitsipas outclassed the talented 20-year-old from Italy with an impressive 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.

    The Greek fourth seed broke early in each set on his way to a third win in four meetings with 11th seed Sinner, who was playing his second grand slam quarter-final.

    Not even a brief rain delay that led to the roof being closed early in the second set could slow Tsitsipas, who delivered his best performance of the tournament so far.

    Tsitsipas will face either Daniil Medvedev or Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-finals.

    Tsitsipas made an impressive start, landing an early break following a pair of forehand errors from Sinner, moving into a 3-0 lead.

    Spurred on by a contingent of singing Greek fans, Tsitsipas closed out the opening set, set up by his fast start.

    Tsitsipas created another opportunity for an early break in the second set after firing a backhand winner down the line at 30-30 in the third game.

    Sinner was unable to deny the Greek star, a backhand cross-court flying wide to hand Tsitsipas the upper-hand.

    Not even an unexpected rain delay on a hot and humid day in Melbourne could disrupt Tsitsipas' momentum, with the roof closed after the third game.

    Like the first set, there was little pressure on either player's service games, but Tsitsipas' single break was again enough for him to take a two-sets-to-love lead.

    A brilliant backhand pass down the line set up break points in the third game of the third set for Tsitsipas, converted when Sinner sent a forehand into the net.

    Tsitsipas broke again to take a 4-1 lead on his way to a convincing victory and the semi-finals, starting to find the form to suggest he could be a threat for the title in Melbourne.

     

    DATA SLAM: Tsitsipas stays perfect in major quarter-finals

    The quarter-finals have proven to be no hurdle for Tsitsipas.

    He improved to 5-0 in grand slam quarters, including 3-0 at Melbourne Park. Tsitsipas is playing his fifth Australian Open main draw and has reached the semis three times.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Tsitsipas – 30/28
    Sinner – 18/22

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Tsitsipas – 4/2
    Sinner – 4/1

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Tsitsipas – 4/4
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  • Lue lauds 'crazy' Clippers comeback Lue lauds 'crazy' Clippers comeback

    Los Angeles Clippers coach Ty Lue branded his side's stunning comeback win over the Washington Wizards as "crazy".

    The Clippers roared back from 66-31 down in the second quarter to claim a thrilling 116-115 triumph at Capital One Arena.

    In doing so, they became the first team in NBA history to score under 40 points in the first half of a game and follow up by posting 40 or more points in both the third and fourth quarters.

    And Lue, who was without injured leading duo Kawhi Leonard (ACL) and Paul George (elbow), was delighted by the Clippers' astonishing feat.

    "It's crazy," he said. "Because when I looked at the score in the first half, I thought we were down 19. And I looked again, I said, 'We're down 29!' I said, 'Oh s***!' It happened so quick.

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    "Like tonight, anything can happen."

    On the losing side, the Wizards' Bradley Beal was left humiliated.

    "I have no words, besides 'embarrassing'," he said, having put up 23 points. 

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    Anthony Davis joked he was more concerned about LeBron James than his own recovering knee following a celebration during the Los Angeles Lakers' 106-96 triumph over the Brooklyn Nets.

    Superstar James put up 33 points as the Lakers moved to 24-24 in an inconsistent season, but it was the return of Davis after a 17-game absence with a sprained knee that will have been a particularly pleasing sight.

    Davis contributed eight points to go with two assists and two rebounds from 25 minutes on court and the Lakers will hope his return can help spark a strong run in the latter half of the season.

    There was one moment of concern for Davis, though, who knocked James off balance after his illustrious team-mate managed a couple of steals and dunks in quick succession during the fourth quarter.

    "Can't think about it. When I’m on the floor I try not to think about it," Davis said about his knee and the celebrations. 

    "I was what, a month, five weeks, doing a lot of weightlifting. So, I hit him, he kind of like fell over. I was more worried for him than my knee!"

    Davis took little time getting back up to speed and blocked three shots in a first quarter that saw the Lakers leading 33-25.

    James was delighted to have his team-mate back on court.

    "Obviously right away you see what he's capable of," James said. 

    "We draw a play right to start the game, I was able to turn the corner and threw a late lob that he was still able to throw home. So very exciting to have him back."

    The Nets were still without Kevin Durant (knee), while Kyrie Irving was again unavailable. Irving is unvaccinated against COVID-19 and therefore is not eligible to play in matches in New York under the city's health protocols.

    James Harden had 33 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists but was later asked about reports he is frustrated at the Nets.

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    "Injuries, COVID, whatever you want to call it, so yeah, it is frustrating. I think everyone in this organisation is frustrated because we are better than our record is and we should be on the way up. So that's all it is."

    The reports suggested Harden is frustrated by Irving's mixed availability and the rotations of head coach Steve Nash, who said he cannot imagine his player making such comments.

    "So I'm not sure what to believe," Nash said. 

    "James and I speak all the time and I think we have a great relationship, so I'm not sure the validity of these comments to be honest with you."

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