’We suck right now’: LeBron’s frustration reaches boiling point; Star set for surgery – NBA Wrap

L.A Lakers superstar LeBron James has called out his team after a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies – their fourth straight.

Reigning MVP Joel Embiid created history but it wasn’t enough as the 76ers were thrashed by the Knicks.

Meanwhile, bad news for Warriors guard Chris Paul, who is set for surgery after fracturing his hand in a nailbiting win against the lowly Detroit Pistons

Read on for our NBA wrap!

 

FRUSTRATING MOUNTING IN L.A AS UNDER SEIGE COACH FIRES BACK

 

Since the Lakers’ historic In-Season Tournament win on December 10, the Lakers have lost 10 of 13 games, with LeBron James stating his team “sucks right now”.

The Lakers dropped their fourth straight in a 127-113 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday (AEDT), building the pressure on head coach Darvin Ham.

James struck a dejected figure in the locker rooms after the game, unable to find answers for the Lakers form slump.

“We suck right now,” James told reporters after his 32-point game.

 

 

The Lakers are now two games under .500 after the loss with a 17-19 record, sitting 11th in the Western Conference.

Ham was unusually testy in the post-match press conference, taking aim at fans calling for his job amid the Lakers’ recent form.

“It’s the NBA, it’s a marathon,” Ham said.

“I’m tired of people living and dying with every single game we play.

“We’re in a tough stretch. This is the same team that has played some high-level games.”

EMBIID JOINS RARE LIST AS KNICKS THRASH SIXERS IN STATEMENT WIN

The Knicks beat the snot out of the Sixers.

Behind a stout defense, Jalen Brunson’s continued offensive brilliance and unlikely heroics from Miles McBride, Tom Thibodeau’s squad annihilated the Sixers on the road, 128-92, remaining undefeated since the arrival of OG Anunoby.

The Knicks (20-15), winners of three straight, led by double digits for the final 30 minutes, holding the supposed title contender to just 37 points in the second half.

It ended with chants of “Let’s Go Knicks” and “Go New York, Go New York, Go” at the Wells Fargo Center, with the outnumbered visiting fans emboldened by a fourth-quarter onslaught that included a 26-5 run.

Brunson won his head-to-head battle with Tyrese Maxey, dropping 30 points in 32 minutes.

Anunoby provided his usual disruptive defense, alternating between guarding Joel Embiid and Maxey.

The Knicks’ defense has significantly improved since the arrival of OG Anunoby in a blockbuster trade with the Raptors. Source: Getty ImagesThe Knicks’ defense has significantly improved since the arrival of OG Anunoby in a blockbuster trade with the Raptors. Source: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
Isaiah Hartenstein continued to assert himself as a top-shelf starting centre.

But the bench, which had struggled mightily two nights prior against Chicago, also had a claim for the game ball collectively.

Led by McBride’s 15 points, Quentin Grimes’ resurgence (18 points) and Josh Hart’s energy, the reserves dominated their minutes and shifted the momentum permanently in the first and second quarters.

They sparked a 21-4 run — with McBride nailing four treys, tying his career high in just five minutes — which turned into a 20-point lead at the break.

The Knicks never allowed the Sixers to get back in it despite Embiid finishing with 30 points and Julius Randle (eight points, 1 for 11 shooting) riding the struggle bus.


Brunson, Knicks beat 76ers, Embiid hurt | 00:50

 

It was the first of four match-ups this season with the Sixers, a team widely considered in the top 3 of the Eastern Conference with Embiid as a candidate for back-to-back MVPs.

The Knicks hadn’t fared well in these type of “measuring stick” match-ups — losing six of seven games against the Bucks and Celtics — but they absolutely punked the Sixers in Philly.

“You play the top teams in the league and the conference, it’s always a measuring stick to see at this point in the season where you are, what you gotta do to improve, what you’re doing well,” Randle said.

“So, it’s definitely a measuring stick.”

While his plus/minus on the floor was a concerning -29, Embiid filled the stat sheet once again, becoming the third player in NBA history to record 15 straight 30-point/10-rebound games after Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar.

– Originally from the New York Post and republished with permission

PAUL UNDER INJURY CLOUD AS WARRIORS SQUEAK PAST PISTONS

 

The Golden State Warriors will send guard Chris Paul for surgery, after the veteran guard left the win over the Detroit Pistons in the third quarter with a fractured left hand.

Paul knocked his hand on Detroit’s Jaden Ivey with six minutes left in the third and didn’t return.

 

 

The Warriors didn’t need him though in the end, with Steph Curry starring in the clutch to get Golden State out of jail against the 3-32 Pistons.

The Warriors were trailing by a point with a minute and a half left, before Curry scored 12 of his 26 points in the final 1:32 to lift his side over the line.

Golden State big man Johnathan Kuminga has been vocal about his role in the Warriors side, and coach Steve Kerr responded by giving the third-year pro the most minutes of any Warrior.

Kuminga played 36 minutes, scoring 11 points. The Warriors are now 16-0 when the 21-year-old plays at least 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THUNDER ALMOST PULL OFF INSANE COMEBACK AGAINST NETS

Thunder guard Josh Giddey started strong and filled up the stat sheet, but it wasn’t enough as Oklahoma City went down 124-115 to the Brooklyn Nets.

Giddey scored 13 points, had eight rebounds and five assists in the loss as the Thunder rallied back from being 28 down at half time to get within six points late in the fourth quarter.

What was the most stunning: The Nets, for three quarters at least, steamrolling one of the best teams in basketball?

Shots continually falling for Brooklyn, which looked like the far fresher team?

Cam Thomas actually hitting a jump shot?

Or maybe it was the final score that reflected that the Nets, at long last, had won, to stop a five-game skid.

The deeply slumping and slumbering Nets (16-20) awoke and put the Thunder (23-11) — who entered as the second seed in the Western Conference — to sleep in the first half.

The Nets jumped out to a practically unthinkable 75-47 gap after two quarters, their biggest lead and their most points scored at the half all season.

The Nets would lead by as many as 32, though the Thunder mounted a late threat and nearly ran away with what would have been the Nets’ worst loss of the season.

A 33-15 run in the fourth quarter brought the Thunder to within seven and jeopardized what had been a feel-good victory.

But the Nets — tight throughout a fourth quarter in which they shot just 5-for-22 — hit just enough foul shots and made just enough plays — notably a late putback from Dennis Smith Jr. (13 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) that bumped the lead back to double digits — to fend off the attack.

The Nets held on and ensured their magical first half did not go to waste.

Perhaps the most illustrative moment arrived in the second quarter, when Royce O’Neale heaved up a deep airball.

But in the first two quarters, even the rare misses were benefiting the Nets.


Wemby cooks the freak in star showdown | 00:28

 

The ball ignored the rim but found Smith’s waiting hands, resulting in a catch and dunk.

It was as if Two-and-a-half weeks of frustration were released on every possession.

The Nets had not beaten a team that was not the Pistons since Dec. 13 in Phoenix.

In their previous 12 games, they morphed into the worst shooting team — both from the field and from 3-point range — in the NBA and were getting stomped defensively, including allowing opponents to bomb away (foes shooting a league-best 43.4 per cent) from deep.

The struggles were best personified by Thomas, who entered 0-for-20 — that is not a typo — in his past two-plus games.

Everything that had gone wrong started going right, beginning with a 25-7 spurt to end the first quarter that all but put the game away (until the fourth, at least).

Thomas, confidence clearly not shaken, continued hunting his own shot and poured in 16 of his 18 points in the first half.

Nic Claxton finished with 23 points on just 11 shots to go with 13 rebounds.

He also showed good court awareness in dishing out three early assists, including finding Thomas alone at the 3-point arc for a trey.

Every Net who played, apart from Lonnie Walker IV (who made his return after missing more than a month with a hamstring strain), had scored by halftime.

Eight Nets scored at least nine points, including a much-needed 23 points from Spencer Dinwiddie on 7-for-12 shooting.

What do you think? Be the first to comment.

“They can shoot,” Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault insisted before the game, ignoring the 26 per cent the Nets shot from 3 in their past matchup, an easy Thunder victory in Oklahoma City on Sunday.

It was Oklahoma City who abruptly could not, hitting on just two of their first 15 3-point tries.

After the torrid fourth and 32 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder finished 9-for-30 from deep.

 

NBA SCORES – JANUARY 6

Hawks 116 @ Pacers 150

Jazz 97 @ Celtics 126

Wizards 90 @ Cavs 114

Thunder 115 @ Nets 124

Knicks 128 @ 76ers 92

Clippers 111 @ Pelicans 95

Timberwolves 122 @ Rockets 95

Hornets 91 @ Bulls 104

Trail Blazers 103 @ Mavericks 139

Magic 122 @ Nuggets 120

Heat 97 @ Suns 113

Grizzlies 127 @ Lakers 113

Raptors 130 @ Kings 135

Pistons 109 @ Warriors 113

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