NBA

Nuggets top Kawhi's Clippers, Irving returns

By Sports Desk January 13, 2020

Nikola Jokic led the Denver Nuggets past Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers 114-104, while Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving impressed on his return in the NBA.

Jokic's double-double of 20 points and 15 rebounds helped the Nuggets see off Western Conference rivals the Clippers in Denver on Sunday.

Jamal Murray contributed 19 points as the Nuggets edged the Clippers, who closed within six points with just over a minute remaining after trailing by as many as 20 in the second half.

In the absence of Paul George (hamstring) for the second consecutive game, Leonard led the Clippers with 30 points on the road.

In Brooklyn, Irving ended his two-month injury absence in the Nets' 108-86 victory at home to the lowly Atlanta Hawks.

Back on the floor following a shoulder injury, Irving was 10 of 11 from the field for 21 points in 20 minutes of action against the Hawks – who were without Trae Young.

 

Valanciunas makes Grizzlies roar

Jonas Valanciunas posted 31 points and collected a season-high 19 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors 122-102. Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell – who missed the previous six games due to a shoulder problem – scored 34 points.

Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns outlast the Charlotte Hornets 100-92.

Jimmy Butler put up 25 points and 10 rebounds but the Miami Heat were stunned 124-121 away to the New York Knicks.

All of the Utah Jazz's starters had double-digit points (Bojan Bogdanovic 31), Rudy Gobert (21, 14 rebounds), Joe Ingles (20), Emmanuel Mudiay (14) and Royce O'Neale (10), while Jordan Clarkson added 23 off the bench in a 127-116 victory over the Washington Wizards.

 

Raptors blow lead

Defending champions the Toronto Raptors were unable to hold out the San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors surrendered an 18-point lead in a 105-104 defeat at home to the Spurs.

Landry Shamet played 25 minutes against the Nuggets and he failed to score a point. The Clippers guard was 0 of five from the floor.

 

Irving's back!

After a prolonged absence and talk of surgery, Irving was back on the court on Sunday and it was like he was never away.

 

Sunday's results

Utah Jazz 127-116 Washington Wizards
New York Knicks 124-121 Miami Heat
San Antonio Spurs 105-104 Toronto Raptors
Memphis Grizzlies 122-102 Golden State Warriors
Brooklyn Nets 108-86 Atlanta Hawks
Phoenix Suns 100-92 Charlotte Hornets
Denver Nuggets 114-104 Los Angeles Clippers

 

Cavs at Lakers

A ninth successive win will be on the line when Western Conference leaders the Los Angeles Lakers (32-7) welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers (12-27) to Staples Center on Monday. The Lakers could have star pair LeBron James and Anthony Davis back for the clash. The Cavs have won two straight.

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    Reports suggest Curry's return could come on March 1 against the Washington Wizards, with the Warriors having five games on the schedule before then.

    Kerr insisted there was no definitive timeframe for Curry's comeback but added he was impressed by his conditioning.

    "I don't know when he's going to be allowed to scrimmage. It's not this week or anything," he said.

    "He looks really good. He's gaining strength, gaining confidence.

    "He's been putting himself through some brutal workouts so his conditioning is about as good as it can possibly be because of somebody who hasn't been able to scrimmage because of how he goes about his work."

    The Warriors have made the NBA Finals in each of the previous five years but this season they are bottom of the Western Conference with an NBA-worst 12-43 record.

    As well as Curry's lengthy absence, they have had to content with five-time All-Star Klay Thompson being sidelined by a torn anterior cruciate ligament that is expected to keep him out for the entire campaign.

    "It's easy to look and say, 'In a couple of weeks, Steph's going to be ready to play', but Klay's a long way from that," Kerr added.

    "I don't even entertain any thoughts of Klay playing this year."

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    Irving has only played 20 games for the Nets (25-28) this season, missing a large part of the campaign due to his shoulder.

    Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson revealed on Tuesday that Irving would see another specialist this week.

    "The shoulder is a tough thing," he said, via ESPN.

    "I just think it was an on and off thing where it's bothering you. Some days you feel good, some days you don't feel good.

    "But I think it got to the point it was, 'Hey, let's see another specialist'."

    Irving is averaging 27.4 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds for the Nets this season.

    Brooklyn are seventh in the Eastern Conference and face the Philadelphia 76ers (34-21) on Thursday.

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    LeBron James called out MLB commissioner Rob Manfred over the handling of the sign-stealing scandal involving the Houston Astros.

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    The fallout from the scandal continued on Tuesday after New York Yankees star Aaron Judge labelled the punishment "weak" and NBA icon James weighed in via social media.

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    "Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc etc about this.

    "Literally the ball is in your court [or should I say field] and you need to fix this for the sake of Sports! #JustMyThoughtsComingFromASportsJunkieRegardlessMyOwnSportIPlay."

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    "Books have the ability to teach, inspire, and bring people together. That's why these books, and the opportunity to get children and parents reading together, mean so much to me," James said.

    "Most importantly, we wanted to make sure these stories are ones that every single kid can see themselves in."

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