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James and Westbrook propel Lakers against Rockets

by archysport

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New York (AFP) – LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, in great form, revived the Lakers on Tuesday to victory over the Houston Rockets 132-123, ending a black streak of five consecutive losses for the Los Angeles team.

James, quadruple NBA champion, was established as a pivot for the first time in 19 years of career, while the Lakers, deprived of their star Anthony Davis, also had to deal with the absence of Rajon Rondo and Trevor Ariza , as well as trainer Frank Vogel, still in anti-Covid protocol. He scored 32 points, made 11 rebounds and provided 11 assists.

“I’m just trying to do whatever it takes for this team,” James said after the game.

“Tonight I was starting as a pivot for the first time in my career and we were able to come out of this five-game losing streak,” added James, who became the third NBA player to reach 36,000 points after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ( 38.387) and Karl Malone (36.928).

Behind James, Russell Westbrook, with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists – his seventh triple double of the season – was also a key player in the game. Malik Monk added 25 points and Carmelo Anthony scored 24, including a three-point shot that put the Lakers back in the lead with 2min 25s from time.

“After the hard defeat of the Christmas game (against the Nets 122-115), everyone made great contributions” today, said James. “Melo was spectacular off the bench once again. Everyone gave us great game minutes.”

Carmelo Anthony of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the game against the Houston Rockets on December 28, 2021 Carmen Mandato GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

The Nuggets stand up to the Warriors

The Golden State Warriors, leaders of the Western Conference, had a disastrous start to the game in Denver, before recovering from a 24-point deficit at halftime. But that was not enough for them to win and they finally bowed narrowly against the Nuggets (89-86).

The Warriors, who lost Draymond Green to anti-covid protocols on Monday, looked utterly lost early in the game, leaving Denver to score 10 points to zero in the opening minutes.

Denver, led by 22 points from MVP Nikola Jokic, led 60-36 at halftime and held their own against a furious comeback from the Warriors, including 15 points from star Stephen Curry in the fourth quarter.

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets in the game against Golden State on December 28, 2021 in San Francisco
Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets in the game against Golden State on December 28, 2021 in San Francisco EZRA SHAW GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Curry, who had scored just two points in the first half, finally finished the game with 23 units on the clock, including 5 shots from behind the arc, becoming the first NBA player to exceed the 3,000 shot mark. winners returned, thus beating … his own record.

But at 1.2 seconds from the buzzer, it was his teammate Andre Iguodala who found himself with the ball in his hands and who, by missing his shot, prevented the Warriors from winning overtime.

The Milwaukee Bucks, defending champions, dominated the Orlando Magic 127-110 thanks to 28 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo and 21 points from Khris Middleton, pocketing their fourth straight victory.

In New Orleans, Garrett Temple had four three-pointers in less than four minutes in the fourth quarter, allowing the Pelicans to win 108-104 over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who scored to 23. points ahead at the start of the match.

Jonas Valanciunus had four free throws in the final 28.7 seconds to seal the victory over Cleveland, who otherwise lost Ricky Rubio, carried off the field with a knee injury with less than three minutes to go.

Finally in Toronto, Tobias Harris signed the first triple-double of his career, registering 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to counter Joel Embiid’s 36 points and 11 rebounds and giving the Philadelphia 76ers a 114-109 victory over the Raptors. .

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