NBA

Spurs stun Curry's Warriors, Bulls rally past Nets

By Sports Desk December 05, 2021

After snapping the Phoenix Suns' franchise-record winning streak, the high-flying Golden State Warriors crashed back down to earth in a shock 112-107 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

In the second of back-to-back games, having halted Phoenix's memorable 18-game run, the league-leading Warriors (19-4) were unable to rally past the Spurs on home court in the NBA on Saturday.

The Spurs (8-13) used an 8-1 run to close out the game for their fourth consecutive victory, fuelled by Dejounte Murray's 22 points and 12 rebounds.

Stephen Curry scored 27 points for the Warriors, who had won 11 successive home games – tied for their longest home winning streak since they claimed 54 straight from January 2015 to March 2016.

 

 

Bulls battle past Nets

The Chicago Bulls went on a rampage at Barclays Center, where they overturned a double-digit deficit to trump the Eastern Conference-leading Brooklyn Nets 111-107. Zach LaVine (31 points) and DeMar DeRozan (29 points) inspired the Bulls in the Eastern Conference blockbuster. Kevin Durant led the Nets with 28 points, while James Harden had 14 points and 14 assists.

Jayson Tatum (also 10 rebounds) and Dennis Schroder scored 31 points apiece to lead the Boston Celtics to a 145-117 blowout of the Portland Trail Blazers, who were without Damian Lillard.

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic put up 32 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in just 27 minutes as the Denver Nuggets beat the slumping New York Knicks 113-99.

No Giannis Antetokounmpo? No worries for defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks, who defeated the Miami Heat 124-102. Bobby Portis sparked the Bucks with 19 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. He is the first Bucks player with a 15/15/2/2/2 game in under 30 minutes since 1984.

 

George unable to lift Clippers

Paul George finished with a double-double but it was a rough night for him and the Los Angeles Clippers following a 104-99 loss at the Sacramento Kings. George only made five of his shots from the floor, while turning the ball over five times on the road.

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  • Australian Open: Barty begins title bid with convincing victory Australian Open: Barty begins title bid with convincing victory

    World number one Ash Barty kicked off her Australian Open title bid with a convincing straight-sets victory over Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko on Monday.

    The two-time grand slam winner, whose previous best finish on home soil at Melbourne Park was a run to the semi-finals in 2020, prevailed 6-0 6-1 in a time of just 54 minutes.

    Barty held serve throughout the one-sided contest with Tsurenko and is now unbroken in 41 successive service games across her last four matches.

    "It's certainly nice to be back on home soil and playing as well as I did tonight. It was a lot of fun out here," Barty said in her on-court interview.

    "I felt like it was nice and clean. End-to-end I did a good job in adjusting. Tonight it was just nice and solid to get out here and play a decent match and feel like I enjoyed it."

    Tsurenko took Barty to three sets when they met in this competition two years ago, but the world number 113 was outclassed on this occasion.

    Looking to build on her recent Adelaide International success, Barty eased through the first set as she dropped just 12 points.

    Barty was just as dominant in the second set, but she squandered two match points in the sixth game to miss out on a double-bagel to begin her campaign in Melbourne.

    Not that it mattered a great deal, though, as the 25-year-old emphatically served out the match to set up a meeting with Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti for a place in round three.

    DATA SLAM: Barty makes statement start

    Barty came through this first-round match with minimal stress and looks in great shape as she bids to become the first Australian to win here since 1978.

    The pressure is no doubt on as the pre-tournament favourite, with no top-seeded player in the women's draw failing to make at least round four since Virginia Ruzici in 1979.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Barty – 14/17
    Tsurenko – 4/21

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Barty – 5/0
    Tsurenko – 0/1

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Barty – 5/8
    Tsurenko – 0/2

  • Detroit rookie Cunningham denies ejection gesture: I was acknowledging my people Detroit rookie Cunningham denies ejection gesture: I was acknowledging my people

    Cade Cunningham insisted he was acknowledging his "people" and not taunting the opposition after he was ejected during the Detroit Pistons' loss to the Phoenix Suns.

    The Pistons fell to a 135-108 reverse against the NBA-leading Suns on Sunday as they saw two of their players ejected in the second half.

    Cunningham was the first to be dismissed in the third quarter, ending an enthralling battle with Devon Booker, for what referee Kevin Cutler later described as "a physical taunt for pointing at the defender".

    Cutler was referring to Cunningham's gesture after he slammed past Jalen Smith and immediately pointed in the 21-year-old's direction, leading to his second technical foul.

    But Cunningham – who had 21 points, one rebound and four assists before his ejection – provided a different view after the game as he justified his celebration.

    "I had my people right behind the bench," said Cunningham, who finished on 9-for-15 shooting in 24 minutes. 

    "I went baseline to dunk the ball, and he's right in between me and my people. I probably should've read that situation better. I don't really get into taunting too much. 

    "Usually I'm chilling after a play. I realised the situation after he tech'ed me [technical fouled] up, but I didn't think I was going to get a tech. 

    "I let coach Monty [Williams of the Suns] over there, let him know, 'Good game,' and stuff like that."

    Detroit trailed by 20 at the time of Cunningham's removal, and that increased to 27 by the end of the game after Josh Jackson was also ejected with 41 seconds remaining.

    Pistons coach Dwane Casey – whose side are 10-32, the second-worst record in the league – believes his team must manage their reputation by maintaining strong disciplinary levels.

    "He [the referee] said Cade pointed at the guy that he dunked on," Casey said after the game. "I didn't see that part. I thought he was pointing towards his teammate. 

    "That's why he said he got a technical for and got ejected for, he already had one. I've seen a lot worse things to get ejected for than that. 

    "The Josh one, I haven't looked at it yet. He said Josh hit, or pushed, or whatever at [Ish] Wainright. I didn't see that part either, I have to look at that.

    "We're not in a position as a team to complain. Let me be the bad guy to fight for us.

    "As a young team, we shouldn't get that reputation of complaining to officials. Until we get to that level, we have to button up and zip up and play our butts off."

    Despite Cunningham's dismissal, the 20-year-old has been in fine form recently – averaging 17.9 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds since November 30 (a span of 18 games).

    With the Pistons looking to bounce back with a trip to the Golden States Warriors on Tuesday, Cunningham insisted that his team are heading in the right direction.

    "We're still locked in," Cunningham added. "We feel ourselves getting better and growing together. 

    "This is a big road trip that we got to go into. We're going to play some good teams. We're excited to take that challenge on and see what we got." 

  • Australian Open: Nadal disappointed by Djokovic absence but 'will never be against what justice says' Australian Open: Nadal disappointed by Djokovic absence but 'will never be against what justice says'

    Rafael Nadal believes it would be "better for everybody" if Novak Djokovic was competing at the Australian Open, while declaring the situation a "mess".

    Nadal sits level on 20 grand slam titles with Djokovic and Roger Federer but is the only one of tennis' 'Big Three' featuring in Melbourne.

    Federer was ruled out due to ongoing knee injury problems, while Djokovic saw his visa cancelled for a second time on Sunday as he appealed Australia's refusal to let him into the country.

    That ruling owed to Djokovic's unvaccinated status and Australia's coronavirus guidelines, leaving the Serbian unable to defend his Melbourne Park crown and seek a record-extending 21st grand slam.

    Nadal has previously said he was "tired" of talking about the Djokovic saga, but the Spaniard again offered his thoughts after defeating Marcos Giron in the first round on Monday.

    "Almost one week ago when he won in the first instance, the case, he was able to get back his visa and practising. I said the justice has spoken," Nadal told reporters.

    "If the justice says his visa is valid and he's able to play here, the justice has spoken, so that's the fairest thing, that he deserves to play here. Yesterday the justice said another thing. I will never be against what the justice says.

    "Another thing is what I believe personally and what I believe is the ideal situation personally, no?

    "The ideal situation in the world of sport is that the best players are on court and playing the most important events. That's better for the sport without a doubt.

    "If Novak Djokovic is playing here, it's better for everybody, no doubt about that. Another thing is what happened. As I said in the beginning, I can't say another thing because I believe that the situation is very clear now."

    Pressed for an answer on his relationship with the 34-year-old world number one, Nadal wished his fellow competitor all the best.

    "He's not the only one that did bad things in that case," Nadal added.

    "Of course, there are more responsibilities on all for this terrible situation that we faced for the last two weeks. But of course, he is one of those responsible, too.

    "So on a personal level, yes, I would like to see him playing here. If it is fair or not that he's playing here is another discussion that I don't want to talk anymore about that."

    Nadal advanced to the second round in Melbourne with a cruising 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory over American Giron, who is ranked 66th in the world.

    That was Nadal's fourth win of the year after triumphing at the Melbourne Summer Set and he appears to have battled through his foot injury, though he still expressed concerns over his fitness.

    "It's been a very challenging few months… tough moments with a lot of doubts – there still are doubts," he said.

    "But I am here and I can't be happier to be back in Australia in this amazing stadium.

    "You never know when you come back from injury, which unfortunately I have a lot of experience with, how things will be, so you have to take it day by day. You have to forgive yourself if things aren't going the proper way."

    Awaiting Nadal in the second round of the tournament will be either Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis or Yannick Hanfmann of Germany.

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