NBA

Nets rally to avoid back-to-back losses behind Harden and Durant, LeBron follows in MJ's footsteps

By Sports Desk December 08, 2021

The Eastern Conference-leading Brooklyn Nets overturned a double-digit deficit to top the slumping Dallas Mavericks 102-99 in the NBA.

Dallas led by 17 points in the third quarter on Tuesday before the Nets rallied behind superstar pair James Harden and Kevin Durant.

Harden put up 23 points and 12 assists, while Durant posted 24 points to help the Nets avoid back-to-back defeats, having squandered a double-digit advantage against the Chicago Bulls.

Brooklyn have now won six straight road games. Entering the contest, they owned an 8-2 (80.0) record away from home this season – the franchise's best road record through 10 games all-time, according to Stats Perform.

The result condemned Luka Doncic's Mavericks to a fifth successive home defeat, while Dallas have dropped eight of their past 10 games.

Mavericks star Doncic finished with 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

 

Lakers take down Celtics

The Los Angeles Lakers' big three all starred in a 117-102 victory over the Boston Celtics. LeBron James had a team-high 30 points, Russell Westbrook had 24 points and 11 assists, and Anthony Davis scored 17 points to go with 16 rebounds. James has tallied 155 points in his last five games. According to Stats Perform, the only other player in NBA history to score that many points over a five-game span aged 36 or older is Michael Jordan.

 

Another off night for Randle

While the New York Knicks beat the San Antonio Spurs 121-109, All-Star Julius Randle endured another rough outing. Often the instigator for the Knicks, Randle made just five of his 12 shots from the field for 15 points in 35 minutes. Knicks team-mate Evan Fournier was three-of-eight shooting in a seven-point performance.

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  • Tuchel expresses admiration for Barca outcast Dembele Tuchel expresses admiration for Barca outcast Dembele

    Thomas Tuchel has spoken of his admiration for Ousmane Dembele amid reports the Barcelona outcast could be a transfer target for Chelsea.

    Dembele looks to be on his way out of Barca due to a contract stand-off that has turned sour.

    The France winger warned the Catalan giants that he would not be "giving in to any blackmail" after Barca director Mateu Alemany ordered him to find a new club "immediately".

    Dembele is only under contract with the Blaugrana until the end of the season and Alemany declared he expects the 24-year-old to move on before the transfer window closes at the of this month as "we want to have players committed to the project."

    Tuchel saw Dembele's talent first-hand when he played under the Blues boss at Borussia Dortmund in the 2016-17 season before the former Rennes man joined Barca for an initial fee of €105million.

     

    The Barca contract rebel's chances created per game average of 2.36 this season is better than any of the Chelsea squad who can play in the same position, while his dribbles completed (6.69) also compares favourably.

    Dembele has also had more shots per game (4.46) and made more crosses from open play (6.69) than the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic.

    And while Tuchel stopped short of declaring his interest in his former player, the Chelsea head coach is well aware of what he is capable of.

    "He is a very good player when he is at his top level," Tuchel said. "I am very fortunate to have trained him in my time at Dortmund.

    "It was only one year; it should have been longer. I needed to leave and he decided to leave. From there we are not in closest contact.

    "We met here and there because of his duties for the French national team and of course I was in Paris so this was more or less when they were preparing for national duties."

    Chelsea face a big Premier League derby with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

  • Ronaldo neck injury leaves Man Utd with striker shortage for West Ham clash Ronaldo neck injury leaves Man Utd with striker shortage for West Ham clash

    Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged as an injury doubt for the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham on Saturday.

    The Portugal star played 71 minutes of the 3-1 win at Brentford on Wednesday before being substituted - a decision with which he was clearly annoyed.

    Interim manager Ralf Rangnick insisted he had no problem with the player becoming frustrated at going off and that it would not affect his chances of facing the Hammers at Old Trafford.

    However, Rangnick later confirmed Ronaldo suffered a neck injury during the victory over Brentford that could keep him out of the game.

    "Cristiano is a question mark because he has a problem with his neck," he said to MUTV on Friday.

    "He received treatment yesterday [Thursday] for two, three hours and we will have to wait to see how he feels today."

    Edinson Cavani missed the match at Brentford Community Stadium and he too is facing a race to be fit for the visit of David Moyes' men.

    "Edi hasn't been training with the team yet and will hopefully resume training today and then we'll take the final decision after the training session, [around] if he will be available for the game," Rangnick said.

    Losing Ronaldo and Cavani presents United with a possible striker shortage given Anthony Martial is attempting to secure a move away from the club.

    Rangnick left Martial out of the 2-2 draw at Aston Villa, saying the France international had told him he did not want to be involved – a claim Martial later disputed.

    Jesse Lingard will be available to face the club for whom he excelled on loan last season, while Jadon Sancho, who missed the Brentford match due to a family funeral, could be involved.

    "We need to see where Jadon stands," said Rangnick. "He didn't train yesterday. As you know, he attended a funeral on Wednesday and didn't want to train yesterday as he is still affected by that. We will have to see.

    "I will see him for training today and speak with him after the training session, to see if he is in the state of mind, and also his energy [is there], so he can be available for tomorrow."

    Aaron Wan-Bissaka will also be missing again with illness, while Victor Lindelof will sit out the game after a burglary of his family home, but midfielder Scott McTominay hopes to be involved after battling a back problem.

  • Australian Open: 'Nights like this mean everything' – Nadal Australian Open: 'Nights like this mean everything' – Nadal

    Australian Open favourite Rafael Nadal reflected on a "very special week" after he progressed to the fourth round in Melbourne for the 15th time in his career.

    Nadal cruised into a two-set lead against Karen Khachanov on Friday, though the Spaniard had to overcome a third-set fightback to win 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1.

    The 35-year-old - who triumphed at the Melbourne Summer Set earlier in January - has won all six of the matches he has played so far in 2022.

    Nadal has endured a difficult time with injuries in recent seasons but, with Novak Djokovic out of the picture after his deportation from Australia this week, he has a record 21st grand slam triumph firmly in his sights.

    "It is a very special week for me, coming back," said Nadal, who was out of action from August until December, when he played in an exhibition event in Dubai.

    "Every single time I am able to play here is very special. I played against a great player and a good friend on Tour. It was my best match since I have come back without a doubt.

    "I have gone through some very tough times over the past year, but nights like tonight mean everything.

    "I keep fighting and going every day. I put a lot of effort in to be back with where I am today, so I am happy."

    Nadal has won all eight matches against Russian Khachanov, and he will face Adrian Mannarino, whose four-set win over Aslan Karatsev concluded late into the Melbourne night.

    He may only have won the Australian Open on one occasion, in 2009, but only Roger Federer (18) has reached the fourth round in Melbourne on more occasions than Nadal.

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