Russell Westbrook was trolled as the Lakers collapsed amid a scuffle in the crowd, while the Brooklyn Nets made a scary title statement.
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Fri, 14 Jan
Friday January 14th
RUSS TROLLED IN LAKERS COLLAPSE AS SCUFFLE BREAKS OUT IN CROWD
The Los Angeles Lakers have collapsed on the road against the Sacramento Kings 125-116 on Thursday ( all times AEDT) as Frank Vogel’s team fell to 21-21.
Russell Westbrook was trolled in enemy territory as Foreigner’s hit song “Cold as Ice’ played when his name was announced then several more times when he missed shots throughout the game.
It come in another wasteful shooting performance from the star point guard, finishing jus 2-of-14 from the field for his eight points, adding 12 rebounds and six assists.
LeBron James’ 34 points, seven rebounds and six assists led the Lakers, though his shot was also off (13-of-29 from the field, 5-of-10 from the free-throw line).
The Kings used a 40-23 third quarter to blow by their Californian rivals in big performances from De’Aaron Fox (29 points) and Harrison Barnes (23 points, six rebounds).
In ugly scenes, a scuffle broke out in the crowd between two fans who had to be broken up. Neither man were dressed in apparel from the two teams.
The Lakers will look to bounce back when they visit the Nuggets on Sunday.
NETS MOVE TO 2-0 WITH BIG 3
The Nets had their Big 3 together for just the second time all season — and for the first time, they defeated an elite team.
Make that destroyed an elite team.
The Nets put together by far their most impressive victory of the season, routing the red-hot Bulls 138-112 before a sellout crowd of 21,698 at United Centre.
Kevin Durant finished with 27 points and nine assists, while James Harden added 25 points and 16 assists. But it wasn’t just a two-man show: The Nets blew the game open with a 37-8 run and led by as many as 38 points.
The Nets (26-14) used balanced scoring and free-flowing offense, and they got every look they wanted. They shot 56.3 percent, and 17-for-32 from 3-point range to climb within 1 ½ games of first-place Chicago in the Eastern Conference.
Injured centres LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Claxton were out, but the Nets got 20 points and seven boards from rookie Day’Ron Sharpe in his first career start to cool off the Bulls, who had won 10 of their last 11.
After the Big 3 had logged just 17 minutes together previously this season, Durant and Harden each played at least 30 minutes and Kyrie Irving had nine points in 24:42 in just his third game of the season.
“I think it’s been fine. They played one game together,” Steve Nash said. “So James didn’t play Monday, so it’s really early. Anytime those three get on the court together, it’s exciting for us.
“If we can get dozens of games under our belt with those three playing, I think we can really develop something.”
What will be even more exciting is how they played together, and the impact they had.
The Nets had been 0-8 against elite teams, those clubs over .600 and in the top 4 of each conference — the kind of contenders they’re going to have to learn to beat if they want to earn their first NBA title.
“I think the guys know. They want to get a good win against Chicago because we’ve lost to them twice. … And our goal is to be ready to beat elite teams in April and May,” Nash said. “We’re not in that category. We’ve got to get there by the end of the season: That’s our goal.”
They sure looked elite Wednesday, for the first time in a long time.
The Bulls led by five early, and had it tied at 29-all on Coby White’s 3-pointer with 2:43 left in the first quarter.
But the Nets took control with an 11-2 run that spanned the first and second quarters.
Mills’ pull-up gave the Nets a 40-31 lead just 16 seconds into the second, and they never trailed again.
When the Bulls clawed within 53-51 on White’s running layup, Kyrie Irving’s first points of the night — a jumper off Durant’s pass with 3:58 left in the half — and a Blake Griffin bucket padded it back to six.
After consecutive baskets by Zack LaVine (22 points) cut the lead to 57-55, Irving ran a two-man game with Durant and answered with a 3.
Finally, when Chicago pulled even at 71-71 on a tip-in by Nikola Vucevic (14 points) with 8:43 left in the third quarter, the Nets blew the game completely open, reeling off a 42-8 run.
The first nine unanswered points were sparked by the defence. Kessler Edwards had a block and a steal, and Sharpe rejected Vucevic to lead to a Harden 3-pointer. When Harden found Edwards for a layup, the cushion was back up to 80-71.
Durant made a stellar cross-court look to find Mills for a wide-open 3-pointer and an 89-75 lead. Then he drilled a 3 of his own to make it 99-79 with 1:43 left in the third.
Durant never came off the floor in the third and had 17 points in the quarter. And by the time Mills’ free throw capped the run with 9:18 left in the fourth, the Nets were rolling. They were up 114-79 and on the way to a statement win.
“I don’t know about a statement game, but it’s a great challenge for us,” Nash said. “It’s a team that’s played extremely good basketball and has had an outstanding year and has a lot of confidence. So for us, we’ve been struggling lately. When you struggle, there’s a great opportunity to learn the most about yourself.
“It’s not all about (Thursday), but (it) would be a great opportunity to raise your level of competition, to be as competitive as possible with ourselves to put out the best performance and continue to grow. If we are able to win, it’ll give us a lot of confidence.”
Earlier in the game, Bulls high-flyer Derrick Jones Jr. suffered a gruesome knee injury that sidelined him for the entire contest.
Jones had to be helped to the locker room 36 seconds into the game after landing landing awkwardly in his right leg while appearing to hyperextend his knee.
You can watch a video of the injury here.
It’s a potential big blow for the Bulls if Jones needs to miss any time, with the forward emerging as one of the team’s most important role players this season.
-This article was first published in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
IN-FORM BARRETT POWERS KNICKS
Knicks forward RJ Barrett starred again on Thursday, scoring 32 points to lead New York to a 108-85 victory over Dallas that halted the Mavericks’ six-game NBA winning streak.
The 21-year-old Barrett posted his second straight 30-point game, after scoring 31 in a rout of San Antonio on Monday.
Mitchell Robinson added a season-high 19 — including three dunks in a third-quarter dominated by the Knicks.
All five Knicks starters scored in double figures.
That included Julius Randle, who chipped in 17 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and handed out eight assists in a performance that will likely go some way to easing his recent strained relations with New York fans he had chastised for booing the struggling home side.
With 1:13 remaining, fans were chanting Barrett’s name when Randle got the ball to Barrett in the corner for a three-pointer that sparked a celebration in Madison Square Garden.
“It felt great,” Barrett said of a victory that saw the Knicks improve to 21-21 for the season. “It felt great especially because so many guys played well.
“Even that last shot, for me to get 30 (points), you know (that was) Julius being unselfish.
“Doing it as a team is what’s getting us these wins,” Barrett added. “Any time you have five starters in double figures, that’s a recipe for success.” Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
But Dallas — who halted the Chicago Bulls’ nine-game winning streak on Sunday — struggled offensively.
Doncic connected on just eight of 23 shots from the field, and the Mavericks as a whole shot 41 percent overall. They made only eight of 37 three-point attempts, a dismal 21.6 percent success rate.
HEAT SCORCH HAWKS
The Miami Heat again found a way to win with stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler sidelined, beating the Hawks 115-91 in Atlanta.
Tyler Herro led the Heat with 21 points, one of seven Miami players to score in double figures.
Caleb Martin added 18, and Duncan Robinson and Gabe Vincent added 14 points apiece off the bench as the Heat shook off a slow start to post a second straight double-digit win.
Miami trailed 27-21 after a tough first quarter in which they coughed up seven turnovers and made just one of five three-point attempts.
Herro keyed the comeback with 16 points and eight assists in the first half as Miami took a 56-51 lead at halftime.
They opened the second half with a 16-0 scoring run and took a 19-point lead into the final quarter.
The Heat held Hawks star Trae Young to 15 points on four-of-15 shooting. They’ll try to double-down on the Hawks when they open a four-game homestand against them on Saturday.
CELTICS TOO STRONG FOR HAWKS
The Boston Celtics shrugged off their recent road woes with a 119-100 victory over the Pacers in Indianapolis.
Jaylen Brown scored 34 points and pulled down seven rebounds, and Jayson Tatum contributed 33 points for the Celtics, who had lost their last six games on the road.
They beat the Pacers for the second time in three days, seizing control early and keeping the accelerator down.
Boston jumped to a 10-point lead and led 54-49 at halftime. They out-scored the Pacers 33-22 in the third quarter and led by as many as 24 in the fourth as they powered to the line.
FAN’S PLEA TO ‘GET SIMMONS OUT OF PHILLY’
Philadelphia 76ers fans have clearly grown tired with the team’s lengthy trade stalemate with Ben Simmons.
One Sixers supporter in attendance of the Thursday’s game against the Charlotte (all times AEDT) went so far to yell out to Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul from Klutch Sports, during a break in the action for the Aussie to get dealt.
“Yo Rich Paul, get Ben Simmons out of Philly!” The fan said, according to Sixers beat writer Kyle Neubeck.
It comes after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there’s been no movement on a Simmons trade following a meeting between Paul and Sixers president Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand.
The stances from both the Simmons camp and the 76ers front office reportedly hasn’t changed, with the 25-year-old “no closer to playing this season,” while the franchise is “determined to bring back a significant player in a trade.”
Despite this, the Athletic’s Sam Amick reported Simmons would be ready to play for a new team if he’s traded “after a few weeks of intensified conditioning and court action.” It comes as ESPN’s Marc J. Spears reported that a potential deal with the Hawks hit a snag after Philly wanted to include Tobias Harris in it.
The Sixers went down to the Hornets 109-98 despite a huge performance from Joel Embiid, who racked up 31 points and six rebounds to continue his hot streak. Harris chipped in 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists despite battling a shoulder injury.
Gordon Hayward led the way for Charlotte with 30 points, four triples, seven assists and three steals, while Terry Rozzier (22 points) and Miles Bridges (21 points, eight rebounds) were also busy.
KUZMA CLIPS TEAMMATE FOR COSTING HIM TRIPLE-DOUBLE
Kyle Kuzma just fell short of his first career triple-double in the Washington Wizards’ 112-106 win over the Orlando Magic.
So it’s no surprise why Kuzma, stranded on 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists with 30 seconds left of the game, wasn’t happy at teammate Corey Kispert for passing up a wide-open shot he dished to him.
Sitting in the corner, Kispert instead passed to Kentavious-Caldwell Pop, who his shot from beyond the arc.
Kuzma was left visibly upset, even calling out ‘c’mon Corey!” in what proved to be his last clear opportunity in the game to reach a triple-double.
It did however mark the Wizards’ third-straight win as the team bounces back from a rocky period of its season.
Caldwell-Pope (12 points, 10 rebounds) Spencer Dinwiddie (17 points) and Montrezl Harrell 16 points, eight rebounds) also played well in Bradley Beal’s absence (health and safety protocols), while Thomas Bryant returned for his first game since January last year from an ACL injury.
Orlando’s Cole Anthony just fell short of a triple-double himself with 19 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
The win saw Washington retain its spot in the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed.
CELTICS 119 PACERS 100
HORNETS 109 SIXERS 98
MAGIC 106 WIZARDS 112
HEAT 115 HAWKS 91
MAVERICKS 85 KNICKS 108
ROCKETS 128 SPURS 124
CAVALIERS 111 JAZZ 91
NETS 138 BULLS 112
LAKERS 116 KINGS 125