Blog

James Harden, Patty Mills come to the rescue after LeBron James leads the comeback

Findings from an exciting Christmas matchup (Author: Gardener)

James HardenWhile many stars were absent from the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, the players who took the floor put on quite a show. After falling up to 23 points in the fourth quarter, the Lakers put on a furious rally to level things out in the last minute of the regulations. In the end, however, it was not enough, because the Nets were able to escape Los Angeles with a 122-115 victory. It was the fifth straight loss for the Lakers, who drop to 16-18 in the season, while the Nets improve to a 22-9 Eastern Conference best. LeBron James and James Harden were almost unstoppable for their respective teams as James finished with 39 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists, while Harden scored a triple-double of 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in victory. Patty Mills was also masterly for Brooklyn when the Veteran Guard put down eight shots from beyond the bow to end on a career high of 34 points. Whether or not this ultimately ends up being the kind of NBA Finals preview fans thought the season started remains to be seen, but for tonight at least, the Nets and Lakers didn't disappoint. That didn't stop Saturday's matchup from being a star-studded affair as Harden and James went back and forth demonstrating why they're perennial all-stars and former MVPs. In his first game in over two weeks, Harden finished health and safety protocols in classic form and orchestrated the offensive during Brooklyn's scoring explosion in the first three quarters. In the fourth play, however, he seemed to be running out of gas, possibly due to his stamina, as he only scored four points and did not score a field goal in the last frame. After the Lakers were 20 points behind early in the fourth quarter, James broke out with 13 points and six assists in the 3v5 3-point shootout in the final frame to score a 17-0 run that would be his Team right back into the mix. He's done a bit of everything - besides his offensive orchestration, shooting, and deadly transition play, he's cut, screened, and propelled his way to the basket. He also overtook Kobe Bryant and became the NBA's top scorer on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for the Lakers, which was also due to the other outstanding artist of the evening: Patty Mills. Mills isn't usually considered a star (unless you see him competing for Australia internationally) but he certainly shone on Christmas Day. He shot career highs in points (34) and 3-pointers (eight, most ever for an NBA game on Christmas Day) and brought the Nets to victory after the devastating Lakers run. Mills' 3-pointer at 1:34 before the game gave Brooklyn a five-point cushion and some much-needed air to breathe. The Nets did a great job from Harden and certainly missed Durant, but if they get games like this from Mills - which has happened more often this season - they will be in good shape. The box score tells you that he had a triple-double (13 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists) which may seem like a good game until you find out that he was 4:20 off the field and being team worst ended minus-23. He also failed on several marginal opportunities, including a devastating missed dunk that would have put the Lakers on one point, 26 seconds behind. With LeBron dominant and Carmelo Anthony filling the stat (17 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, two steals), the Lakers basically needed an average game from Westbrook on offense and they just didn't get it. Thanks to Westbrook for not being affected by his bad night of shooting - he led the team with five offensive rebounds that earned some of the Lakers' 20 second chance points, but he just has to do better with Davis out of the lineup, when the Lakers put together some victories. There were a ton of huge shots during this game, but none bigger than Nic Claxton's and a dunk just over 40 seconds to give the Nets a head start they weren't going to give up. Claxton finished with 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a career high of five blocks. With Blake Griffin falling out of rotation before the Nets roster was ravaged by logs, Claxton will be an integral part of Brooklyn's attack on both ends of the court. Harden and Mills were fantastic, but the Nets couldn't have won without great support from their supporting cast. We mentioned Claxton earlier, but Bruce Brown (16 points, six rebounds, four assists), DeAndre 'Bembry (15 points, five rebounds) and James Johnson (eight points, four rebounds, three assists) all made a big impact on that Game at both ends. With the dynamic of Harden and the shooting of Mills, the Lakers often left Bembry open in the corner, and he made them pay by knocking down all three of his attempts from behind the arch. After all, he had only made three or more threesomes five times in his entire six-year career when he stepped into the game on Saturday. The Nets won by seven points and Bembry had nine on those three 3-pointers alone, so he certainly made the Lakers pay that night. The furious late comeback was great and all, but it doesn't hide the fact that, defensively, the Lakers were absolutely terrible - once again - for the first three quarters of the game when they took 102 points for the Nets. Los Angeles has allowed 114 points per 100 possessions during its five-game losing streak, which the way the team struggles to put the ball in the basket just can't match. Yes, Bembry had a good night of shooting, but there's just no excuse for leaving the red hot mills to try and contest a Bembry corner 3-pointer. This was just one example of the lack of attention to detail (and sometimes effort) that led to the Lakers' poor defense during their losing streak.

Read

Baker Mayfield talks about the Browns' 24-22 loss to the Packers

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin - Brown's quarterback Baker Mayfield answered questions from reporters following the loss to the Packers on Saturday 24-22. Felt another clinging to his back coming from the backcourt and just felt that ... (Author: Gardener)

Baker MayfieldCleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass under the Green Bay Packers defensive press outside linebacker Preston Smith in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. - Brown's quarterback Baker Mayfield answered questions from reporters following Saturday's 24-22 loss to the Packers. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, along with wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, wants an interference call for an interception for Peoples-Jones in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. As for what he saw on the last interception, the first interception, also addressed to Donovan, was probably 15 yards down field and making illegal contact. But the other two were just bad throws. The one in the end zone, which is extremely expensive, did not pull off a red zone turnover. The guy made a good game of it when he saw it stay in and turn back and play it. But just plain frustrating. I don't think it was something mentally about preparation. It was just a mistake. Atypical and I hurt this team. That's the most frustrating thing for me because I thought our defense played great against a really good offensive. But if you flip the ball in your own turf, the red zone, and midfield and give them additional opportunities, they will take advantage of it. They just are. "Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield wants an interference call for an interception for Peoples-Jones in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. About Mayfield, who has not turned the ball in the past, and if that adds to his frustration: "Yes, that's why it's particularly frustrating. As I said, I thought the defense was great. Our skill boys played well. Offensive line, the same. That's why it's frustrating for me. As I said, I hurt this team." No, how said, I don't think it was mental preparation. I had a lot of reps on these throws. I expect to do them, so it's frustrating. If I sat up here and made an apology for that I haven't trained, but that's ... I'm a quarterback in the NFL, I have to do these throws, on his attitude at halftime after having three intercepts in the first half of the game ons had thrown: “As I said, some of these were just bad throws, and you just have to flush it and move on. At that point, I knew it was only a two-goal game, the defense was playing well, that we would be in the ball game and that was us. It just sucks to end it with another turnover when I could have gotten us into field goal and sealed the game. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield passes the soccer ball to running back Nick Chubb in the first half at Lambeau Field. On losing two games in less than a week and what lies ahead of the season, Cleveland Browns center Nick Harris comes to the rescue of quarterback Baker Mayfield after being sacked by Green Bay Packers defensive end Dean Lowry in the fourth quarter on the Lambeau field. “We have to take care of our business, our own business, I know. We have to deal with Pittsburgh next week. Everyone knows we need help getting into the playoffs. Help doesn't matter unless we're running our own business and that will be our focus. We have another league opponent and then another at the end of the season. We have to improve and hope for the best, but all we have to do is work hard and focus on taking the win next week. ”Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will be in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field of sacked the Green Bay Packers outside the Preston Smith linebacker. How frustrated he was after testing positive for COVID-19: “It's very frustrating, especially in the past week. Obviously we got hit pretty hard with everyone before the season started last week. I handled it as best I could, attending virtual meetings, talking to the guys and doing mental repetitions, and doing as much as possible around the house. It's not an excuse. I expect to do these throws tonight and I haven't. That's why I hurt this team. ”Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass in the first half when Brown's guard Joel Bitonio blocks the Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith at Lambeau Field. If he feels like they still have some control over their fate until the end of the season, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is leaving the field after losing to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Like I said, if we don't win the next two games it really doesn't matter. We have to do business. That's the main focus - on Pittsburgh. I really think our boys played well. [We] just have to deal with a league opponent we know pretty well and who is playing really well right now. Hoodies, hats and much more. Browns lose 24-22 to the Packers as Baker Mayfield throws four interceptions. Rate Baker Mayfield's performance against the Packers in week 16 (poll) against the Packers were horrific, but the Browns can still win AFC North if it rebounds : Mary Kay Cabot Brown's offensive shows a sign of life despite losing to Packers: Scott Patsko Chubb tries to be the hero for the Browns, but losing to the Packers is not enough: Ashley Bastock Watch Baker Mayfield in the fourth quarter throws a 5-yard touchdown pass against Anthony Schwartz against the Packers

Read

Lakers rally lags behind Nets on Christmas Day

The Shorthanded Lakers almost closed a 23-point deficit in the fourth quarter before losing 122-115 to the still Shorthanded Nets (Author: Gardener)

Christmas DayThe Lakers' Russell Westbrook defends Brooklyn's James Harden as he heads to the basket at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles in the first half of December 25, 2021. They got closer than they should, considering they were 23 points behind them in the fourth quarter, that they were giving a 10-day contract player significant minutes, and that one of their available stars shot a miserable 4 for 20 off the field. But that probably won't alleviate the pain for the Lakers (16-18), who heartbreakingly lost their fifth game in a row, 122-115, to a Brooklyn team that was understaffed than they were. They were dismantled by James Harden (36 points) and Patty Mills (34), who led a limping Nets team to victory without Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. The Lakers' greatest hope was again LeBron James, who again failed to win. The 36-year-old scored 39 points on his comeback and delivered 7 assists, another strong performance on a current string that the Lakers couldn't push. He drove the action forward, helping or scoring all four baskets that resulted in Malik Monk leveling the game by 45 seconds ahead. But Nets center Nic Claxton slammed a dunk over James' head five seconds later and fouled the injury and an extra point. The Lakers never scored again. "I don't care how I play when I lose," he said. But you get the feeling that James's run of four games in a row, 30 points or more, keeps him awake more than anyone else at night. "I kick myself in the head for he's trying really hard," said Fizdale. "I'm trying to find ways to get him over the hump with this effort and I hate that it is wasted on loss." Anthony Davis is only a week in rehab from an MCL tribe; Russell Westbrook was still flying around doing everything but stopping his shots. Although Westbrook (13 points) only shot four shots outside the paint, he also struggled to get close to the edge. The closer to the end of the game, the more painful Westbrook's misses hurt. He missed a finger roll with 3:22 remainder, but the Lakers managed to roll through. But they couldn't recover when a loose ball found Westbrook's hands and he shot up lane for a dunk attempt that ricocheted off the edge itself 26 seconds before the end. The Lakers had to resort to heels for fouls, so the Nets were able to pull away at the finish. In his place, Fizdale was referring to something he had previously said about Westbrook: He fights because he wants to win. "I mean, you can just see it in him, everyone does it: he wants it so badly," said Fizdale. “And I know that it's only difficult for him if it doesn't work out. Westbrook's misses weren't the only misses that hurt the Lakers in the fourth quarter: James and Talen Horton-Tucker each missed layups in the middle of the period when the Lakers beat the Nets 33-20. James also pointed out Westbrook's other stats, including 11 assists and 12 rebounds for a triple-double. Five of his boards went on the offensive where the Lakers struggled. "He gave us additional possessions, he gave us a lot of looks in the basket that I know he can't stand (misses) either," he said. “But as far as the effort goes, when a guy plays hard, if he leaves everything on the floor, I have no problem with that. Another tough question for the Lakers could be how did they get into the hole in the first place. They took the lead with a jumper from Carmelo Anthony (17 points) at 10:25 of the third quarter and were then outdone for the rest of the period with 32:12. The Lakers were anemic, despite firing six more shots than the Nets in the third quarter, 8 for 27 and Brooklyn at 13 for 21. The starters pulled more than their weight for Brooklyn, which was just 12 points off the bench. The Lakers' own starters were sketchy at best, all except James, who outperformed the Nets by 9 points in almost 40 minutes, achieved a negative plus-minus rating. The Lakers pulled the plug on Dwight Howard early and went with wing-heavy lineups to keep up with Harden (10 for 25) and Mills (11 for 17). Harden was only off the logs a day himself, throwing an airball in the first quarter, but showing little other bad signs. James said he would dive into the film not just to see what the Lakers can do for better, but also for himself. "I try to do my part when I'm on the ground, carrying the load, both of them Participate a little bit and just try to set a good example and lead with my voice, ”he said.

Read

LeBron James and Lakers can't do the crypto Christmas miracle if they lose Nets

LeBron James surpasses Kobe Bryant as the all-time NBA scorer this Christmas, but it's not enough to prevent the Lakers from losing their fifth consecutive loss. (Author: Gardener)

LeBron JamesLakers star LeBron James (right) tries to drive the Brooklyn Nets forward during Saturday's 122-115 loss for the Lakers at Crypto.com Arena, Blake Griffin. LeBron James sprinted up the square and stormed over the left wing. Then Mason Jones. Then Jemmerio Jones. Only James was on the Lakers list last week. The NBA's leading problem solver is grappling with the challenge that lies ahead - keeping track of who's on his team, not to mention trying to win with those basketball strangers. On a night when he became the NBA's all-time scorer on Christmas Day, James failed to claim victory as a squad and rotation were beaten up almost overnight. "I kick myself in the head because it tries me so hard," said interim coach David Fizdale. “I'm trying to find ways to get him over the hump with this effort and I hate that it is wasted on loss. And I hate wasting it on losses. ”The Lakers lost 122-115 to Brooklyn at the Crypto.com Arena on Saturday, wasting 39 points in 40 minutes on James, the time the Lakers were nine points better than the nets. In the eight minutes he was out of the game, Brooklyn was 16 points better. Ever since the Lakers learned they would be without Anthony Davis for at least four weeks after his knee sprain in Minnesota, James has scored at least 30 points every time the Lakers played, increasing his total score each time. It has resulted in zero wins. "I don't care how I play when I lose," said James. You can see it on the court when the Lakers blow up cover or miss a simple hoop and the team is unable to match its level. And you know it's there, considering the Lakers mess. When Johnson and Collison checked into the game on Friday, they were the 21st and 22nd separate players to play in Lakers uniform that season. Lakers Guard Russell Westbrook, center, is fouled in the first half between Brooklyn Nets striker Bruce Brown (left) and James Johnson. The chaos made the Lakers change their plans in the blink of an eye, and on Saturday that meant starting Dwight Howard - and then sitting quickly. They went to James in the middle at the start of the first half and went small to come back from losing. They made up a 17 point deficit early in the third quarter and brought life to their home. That life escaped quickly like a perforated balloon after the Nets did a 39:14 run. Challenged by Carmelo Anthony to show some pride, the Lakers shot up again. Johnson, the former Santa Ana Mater Dei High star who signed on Christmas Eve, played with great length and energy, helping to slow James Harden down. Thanks, certainly also due to his presence, Harden only walked two out of ten off the field in the second half and thus opened the door for the Lakers. James found a cutting Malik Monk playing for a basket in his first game in a week in the COVID-19 logs to tie the score at 115. Brooklyn, however, quickly got a three-point game from center Nic Claxton, who got a praise and showed up on James. And on the other end, Russell Westbrook missed another shot at close range - that one dunk - and sealed the Lakers' fate. "A big part of it is that he just wants it so badly," Fizadale said of Westbrook. Everyone does. And I know he cares like crazy. ”When a team official asked to speak after the game, Westbrook declined. Everyone in-house has been asking serious questions about where this Lakers team is going to go, citing a complete lack of information. Evaluation of the squad, the coaching job, all of this was made impossible by early season injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak where the Lakers were looking for healthy players just to fill out a rotation. “We were just trying to find out how we can best win, how we can win and what is the best line-up. Let's log these minutes so we can get better and better, "said James after they lost to Spurs on Thursday. “We literally had no way of logging in. We do not know it. I just said it after the last game. We have no chemistry with any line-up because we literally haven't logged enough minutes. ”James '39 points put him 27 behind Kobe Bryant for the most Christmas in league history. Westbrook's triple-double was also his second on the league's marquee day - he's only the second player to ever record multiple triple-doubles on Christmas. But the Lakers have lost the last four of James' 30-point games and stand 2-4 in Westbrooks six triple doubles. On Saturday it was disastrous performances in the first and third quarters that forced the Lakers to play too close to perfection. And what becomes far too familiar to them, they left the floor losers even when James played big minutes and played big games. He can do what he wants, ”said Monk, shaking his head. And don't win, man, and don't help, man. We're just as crazy as everyone else. "

Read

David Fizdale on Solutions for Lakers

Ryan Ward: David Fizdale on what the Lakers should do when LeBron is out of the game: "We can clone him. Do you know any good scientists? Can we make a duplicate? I don't know." Source: Twitter @RyanWardLA What's the fuss on Twitter? Eurohoops @ ... (Author: Gardener)

David FizdaleRyan Ward: David Fizdale on what the Lakers should do when LeBron is out of the game: “We can clone him. Source: Twitter @RyanWardLA Eurohoops @Eurohoopsnet James Harden, Patty Mills and the Nets are ruining LeBron James 'big night eurohoops.net/en/nba-news/12… - 4:31 AM No team has failed to deliver LeBron James' gifts maximize than the Los Angeles Lakers, as was so clearly demonstrated in a Christmas flop of the NBA's most disappointing team. theathletic.com/3035405/2021/1… - 2:05 AM New Story: The Nets were better off with one of their big three than the Lakers with LeBron and Westbrook when LA's new point guard struggled on Christmas Day. pn / 3FtHpoL - 1:44 AM LeBron James has scored at least 30 points in four games in a row. The Lakers lost them all. The newest one, a heartbreaker on Christmas Day against the nets, hurt a lot. David Fizdale said, "I hate that it is wasted on losses." ocregister.com/2021/12/25/lak… - 12:36 AM Kurt Helin @basketballtalk LeBron James breaks Christmas scoring record, reclaims Lakers from 23 but not via Nets nba.nbcsports.com/2021/12/ 26 / live… - 12:02 AM In case you missed it: With his third free throw of the evening, LeBron James overtook Kobe Bryant and became the best scorer of all time on Christmas Day via Lakers PR. Ben Golliver @BenGolliver Column: A hectic and uneven Christmas defeat for the Nets has shown just how far LeBron James and the Lakers have to go @PostSports https://t.co/j6OEj5mZ9M pic.twitter.com/hh4FqgPonj - 11:33 p.m. LeBron when he's dealing with more bumps and bruises in the center: “No, I don't feel anything. ... I feel pretty good other than stepping on Jae Crowder's foot the other day. "- 11:28 PM Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis Why James Harden ran this praise for Nic Claxton at such a big point, he said he have played the same game a couple of times before and LeBron James faked it. This time he just raised it and Claxton got it. #Nets - 11:14 p.m. James Harden on his praise to Nic Claxton on LeBron James, a game that parted them late in the game pic.twitter.com/3CD4LzVt4Z - 11:13 p.m. James Harden said he got that praise game performed with Claxton a few possessions earlier and LeBron has it fended off. He then realized he had to make it higher if he wanted it to go down. Lakers have a very cheap upcoming schedule: Rockets, Grizzlies, Blazers, Timberwolves, Kings, Hawks. But you have to help LeBron or he will be exhausted by All-Star. David Fizdale on what the Lakers should do when LeBron is out of the game: “We can clone him. Fizdale after @Dave McMenamin pointed out LeBron's Plus-9 rating tonight and what the Lakers can do if he's out. “We can clone him. Do you know good scientists? Do you know good scientists? Do you know good scientists? Can we make a duplicate? I don't know. "- 11:04 pm I don't know." - 11:04 pm I don't know. "- 11:04 pm David Fizdale hates that LeBron's" incredible effort "is wasted on losses like tonight David Fizdale sounds upset that the Lakers wasted LeBron James' shot on goal in that five-game losing streak: "I kick myself in the head for giving me incredible basketball ... spectacular." - 11:00 pm David Fizdale on (yet another) monstrous game by LeBron: "Spectacular. I hate that this is wasted on losses." into my own head for making an incredible effort. "- 10:59 pm" It was huge - you had momentum. " reminds of the Christmas presents he gave his teammates has. "It was a great finish and an incredible pass." ⁃Steve Nash on Nic Claxton's poster of LeBron James. The Lakers were surpassed by 76 points in their losing streak of five games. It is the highest score any LeBron James team has ever scored in the five games it has played. His worst range so far was in January 2018 with the Cavaliers (exceeded with 74 points). @ESPNStatsInfo - 22:51 PM The Lakers lost five in a row to drop on 16-18 and LeBron James headed for the locker room in the final seconds. pic.twitter.com/vor4XnbCPg - 10:48 PM Lakers come back from 23 back to tie in Q4 but drop to BKN 122-115. That's five losses in a row for LAL. LeBron 39p 9r 7a 3s; Monk 20p at 8-of-13; Melody 17p 11r 4a 2s 3b; Westbrook 13p on 4-for-20 12r 11a. Lakers were +11 in the 40 minutes LJ played, -18 in 8 minutes he sat - 10:47 p.m. LeBron put the Lakers on their backs and almost wanted the team to win. LeBron first game in the Crypt: 39 PTS 9 REB 7 AST 3 STL For the first time since 2018 he has 4 games with 30 points in a row. The Lakers have lost five in a row. pic.twitter.com/HqvA7vjecl - 22:44 PM Nets finish with a 122-115 win over the Lakers on Christmas Day. Once again, LeBron James played brilliantly. But the rest of the team is too inconsistent. No winning or sustainable formula on.nba.com/3FrHrgB - 10:44 p.m. 39 points on 14-of-24 shooting The other four Lakers starters combined: 32 points on 10-of-36 - 10:43 p.m. LeBron James is 6-6 this season at 30+ points. This is a player's worst record with at least 10 such games. pic.twitter.com/wMlr690yu4 - 10:43 PM This Nic Claxton dunk on LeBron will be on the Nets' hype video while he's in Brooklyn. LeBron now has a game high of 39 points with 9 rebs, 7 branches and 3 stls. LeBron goes crazy - 10:38 p.m. When Lebron looks down and to the right, it goes up - 10:38 p.m. You just can't be who the best player in the league is and not have LeBron talking to whoever how you end up leaning - 10:38 p.m. I have to guess Lebron as long as we can, it's crazy he's still playing at this level - 10:38 p.m. Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA LeBron makes it interesting on the track - 10:37 p.m. David Locke @ DLocke09 LeBron is +12 Westbrook is -20 but he has a triple double - 10:35 p.m. James Harden, can you at least pinch LeBron during the break? Gosh, terrible defense - 10:31 pm Couple missed on the edge of LeBron and Talen. Patty Mills drills a three and the Lakers have to hope the moment isn't over at 5:20 and a 110-101 game. LeBron versus Claxton when switching is not an advantage matchup - 10:24 p.m. Man, you would have thought the Lakers Nets Christmas game could have been so exhausted with both teams. But without KD, Kyrie Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge and five other players, the Nets led by 23 points. LeBron was right: this team has no chemistry. Ted Stepien could have told you that Bron and Russ were terribly fit - 10:09 p.m. LeBron sat 8 minutes tonight and the Lakers are minus 16 in those 8 lol - 10:05 p.m. Non-LeBron Lakers are shooting 18 out of 54 from the field. Kevin Pelton @kpelton The Nets are plus-16 at the 8:07 am LeBron was on the bench tonight. Lakers (except LeBron) just follow it at home on Christmas Day. The Nets got 'Houston Harden' for Christmas: 23 PTS, 8/15 FG, 6 AST for only 1 TO. Lakers won the second quarter 39:28, but the impressive first quarter gave Brooklyn some cushion. Patty Mills has 19 points but 4 fouls. LeBron has 22. Good game. HALF-TERM: Nets 66, Lakers 62. HALF-TERM: Nets 66, Lakers 62. Lakers scored 39 points in the second quarter when LeBron went off the ball and defeated Bruce Brown. However, the Lakers are still hunting. LeBron with 22 points, Russ with 7 assists, Harden with 23 points, Mills with 19. Bill Oram @billoram Somehow the Lakers are only 66-62 behind at halftime. It's not the star-laden matchup everyone was expecting, but LeBron (22 points) and Harden (23) do their part. Ajayi Browne @ajayibrowne Ajayi Browne @ajayibrowne Ajayi Browne @ajayibrowne HALF: Nets 66, Lakers 62 James Harden (23 PTS, 7 ASTS), Patty Mills (19 PTS) & the Nets have cooled off. As expected, LeBron James (24 PTS, 7-10 FG) is playing great. It's hard to get the ball out of his hands. Brooklyn also needs more production from the bank. LeBron means mug for one and one against Blake Griffin. Reminds me of classic games in the old Staples Center. Dave McMenamin @mcten Dave McMenamin @mcten Dave McMenamin @mcten With his 13th point on this free throw in the second quarter, LeBron James overtook Kobe Bryant as the NBA's all-time scorer on Christmas Day. LeBron James overtakes Kobe Bryant to become the all-time top scorer on Christmas Day. With his third free throw of the evening, LeBron James overtook Kobe Bryant and became the all-time top scorer on Christmas Day. Lakers open 2nd Q with LeBron & Westbrook also attacking the rim, LeBron throws a cross-court pass to ignite a fast break, and Malik Monk cooks. Difficult to say with this team. Kyle Goon @kylegoon Malik Monk checks in for the first time in two weeks, doing a layup of Bron. Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina LeBron makes a point of getting THT going early - 8:10 p.m. Bagged the LA trip after Portland was canceled but will be back on the road in 2022. Nets-Lakers tips in brief. The Beard is back against LeBron. Bruce Brown goes from logs to the first five. Do the Nets have enough against the Lakers? Lakers start LeBron, Russ, THT, Wayne Ellington and Dwight Howard. Nets start James Harden, Patty Mills, Bruce Brown, De’Andre Bembry and Nic Claxton. Merry Christmas!! 🎄❤️ Here's what you need to know about LeBron James and one of his greatest gifts this holiday season: pic.twitter.com/pTuVmVC2lO - 5:45 p.m. LeBron James @KingJames Christmas playday is electrifying! ⚡️💪👑 #GMCAmbassador #GMCHummerEV pic.twitter.com/I2YsBnW3rm - 3:15 p.m. Kobe Bryant once admitted he wanted to play with LeBron James. #Lakers #LakeShow sportscasting.com/kobe-bryant-dr… - 3:13 p.m. LeBron James' ideal Christmas show, he always dreamed of playing for the #Lakers #NBA #LakeShow sportscasting.com/lebron-james-i… - 3:11 Merry Christmas from Phoenix. It is an honor and a privilege to report today on this game between the suns and the warriors. It's my sixth Christmas game, the first that LeBron isn't involved in. Thanks for reading and for helping @TheAthletic. pic.twitter.com/UISqZOwc61 - 2:43 p.m. Kemba Walker is the seventh player in NBA history to score a triple-double at Christmas, according to NBA PR. He joins Draymond Green (2017), Russell Westbrook (2013), LeBron James (2010), Billy Cunningham (1970), John Havlicek (1967) and Oscar Robertson (1960, 61, 63, 67) - 2:18 pm @ESPNStatsInfo, Kemba Walker's triple-double is only the 10th Christmas in NBA history. Four are from Oscar Robertson in the 1960s. The others: John Havlicek (67), Billy Cunningham (70), LeBron James (2010), Russell Westbrook (13) and Draymond Green (17). Best Christmas Performances of the Last 40 Years, According to Global Rating by @Alberto de Roa: 4th LeBron James 2010 4th LeBron James 2010 5th Kevin Durant 2010 7th Kyrie Irving 2020 Ryan Ward: Frank Vogel: “Our biggest problem this year is the constancy. ”-via Twitter @RyanWardLA / December 10, 2021 Ryan Ward: LeBron continues, when he's seen enough to say that this Lakers roster is a finished product:" No, I haven't. " However, he said he "loved" the way Rob Pelinka and Frank Vogel put the team together. -via Twitter @RyanWardLA / Dec 6, 2021 Ryan Ward: Avery Bradley admits the team "ran out of energy in the fourth quarter" and that they "need to get better" going forward. -via Twitter @RyanWardLA / November 24, 2021

Read

Packers keep coming back with that one move it takes to win

A dressing room COVID-19 outbreak poses as much of a threat to Packers' hopes of winning the top seed as anything else. (Author: Gardener)

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers keep bringing the games into the abyss, but then it is necessary to win that one play to win. It's unclear whether they are the most formidable team in the league, but after Rasul defeated Douglas Baker Mayfield in the last minute to secure another win, that of 24-22 points against the Cleveland Browns, the Packers have the best record the NFL at 12-3. And they did it partly by going 4-1 in games decided in the last minute or in extra time. Just last week, Darnell Savage and Eric Stokes severed the pass from Baltimore's two-point gambit in the final minute of the Packers' 31:30 victory over the Ravens. In Week 3 of San Francisco, it was Aaron Rodgers who hit Davante Adams with a large pass setting up the game-winning field goal when the clock struck: 00:00. And a few weeks later in Cincinnati, the Packers defeated the Bengals with a field goal from Mason Crosby in overtime. More: Aaron Rodgers sets Green Bay's all-time passing TD record when Packers hold back Browns 24-22 to 12-3 out by the Browns' rusty quarterback The only time they failed the game was in Minnesota, where Savage dropped a tough interception that could have made the game decisive. Kirk Cousins ​​then led the Vikings to the game-winning field goal after the time ran out. The Packers 2021 haven't had many of their leading league wins, that's for sure. Indeed, on Saturday, with Cleveland in midfield, with less than a minute to go, it looked like coach Matt LaFleur's team were about to lose a game that had been leading most of the second half. But then when everything was at stake and they had to have a game, Douglas got through and kept the Packers on top in the race for # 1 in the NFC playoffs. "We have to finish the games better, that's up to us," said Aaron Rodgers of the Packers' offensive. “But our defense ended many games. The last two to stop this two-point conversion and offer Rasul a wide variety. It's nerve-wracking, but it's hard to win in this league. ”The very best teams in the very best season win more convincing games than the Packers in 2021. The fact is, the Packers have the best record in the league and the top seeding in the league NFC will finish by winning their last two games. at home against Minnesota (7-7) and in Detroit (2-11-1). Seeing Cleveland amass 408 yards against a Packers defense that has been falling behind for a month didn't do much to alleviate the team's concerns about that side of the ball in the postseason. Living and dying with a loss of the ball - the Packers have defeated Mayfield four times - is a precarious path in this league, because at some point you will meet someone who will not give the ball. LaFleur would take that every week because with the Packers' talent on the offensive, they should put up a game of their own over 30. It was LaFleur, Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Aaron Jones who failed to clear this one away. Cleveland got back on the game because the Packers had three threes in a row with a chance to open the game by nine points in the second half. "That's what I told Matt," Rodgers said, "just trust me with the ball in my hands, I'll make the right decision and get us into the right game. One reason they covet the top seed is that It would free Rodgers wildcard week to maybe get a full cure and return to full-time practice or practice nearby, saying he felt so good this week that he didn't get an analgesic injection before the game Even though Rodgers looked petty he still sounded like he had a chance to be healed through the playoffs. A week off with wild cards would be of great help. "That was the best thing I've felt in weeks," Rodgers said. It's been a good week and it was fun being outside and feeling a lot better. "At this point, COVID-19 is as big an enemy as any of the Packers when trying to get these top seeds block. You recently had a Some key players lost to COVID - Kenny Clark last week, Marquez Valdes scantling for that game - but their locker room was not ravaged by the highly contagious Omicron variant like others. Imagine if you were the Browns, whose game was postponed to Monday last week after more than 20 players were on their COVID-19 list. That meant they played short-handed in that game and then faced the Packers in a short week, essentially a Thursday game against an opponent who had an extra day of rest. "It's out there and widespread, and it's obviously a real problem right now," said LaFleur. The Packers survived more than their share of close matches and did so again on Saturday.

Read

LeBron James leads comeback, but James Harden and Patty Mills come to the rescue

Findings from an exciting Christmas matchup (Author: Gardener)

LeBron JamesWhile many stars were absent from the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, the players who took the floor put on quite a show. After falling up to 23 points in the fourth quarter, the Lakers put on a furious rally to level things out in the last minute of the regulations. In the end, however, it was not enough, because the Nets were able to escape Los Angeles with a 122-115 victory. It was the fifth straight loss for the Lakers, who drop to 16-18 in the season, while the Nets improve to a 22-9 Eastern Conference best. LeBron James and James Harden were almost unstoppable for their respective teams as James finished with 39 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists, while Harden scored a triple-double of 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in victory. Patty Mills was also masterly for Brooklyn when the Veteran Guard put down eight shots from beyond the bow to end on a career high of 34 points. Whether or not this ultimately ends up being the kind of NBA Finals preview fans thought the season started remains to be seen, but for tonight at least, the Nets and Lakers didn't disappoint. That didn't stop Saturday's matchup from being a star-studded affair as Harden and James went back and forth demonstrating why they're perennial all-stars and former MVPs. In his first game in over two weeks, Harden finished health and safety protocols in classic form and orchestrated the offensive during Brooklyn's scoring explosion in the first three quarters. In the fourth play, however, he seemed to be running out of gas, possibly due to his stamina, as he only scored four points and did not score a field goal in the last frame. After the Lakers were 20 points behind early in the fourth quarter, James broke out with 13 points and six assists in the 3v5 3-point shootout in the final frame to score a 17-0 run that would be his Team right back into the mix. He's done a bit of everything - besides his offensive orchestration, shooting, and deadly transition play, he's cut, screened, and propelled his way to the basket. He also overtook Kobe Bryant and became the NBA's top scorer on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for the Lakers, which was also due to the other outstanding artist of the evening: Patty Mills. Mills isn't usually considered a star (unless you see him competing for Australia internationally) but he certainly shone on Christmas Day. He shot career highs in points (34) and 3-pointers (eight, most ever for an NBA game on Christmas Day) and brought the Nets to victory after the devastating Lakers run. Mills' 3-pointer at 1:34 before the game gave Brooklyn a five-point cushion and some much-needed air to breathe. The Nets did a great job from Harden and certainly missed Durant, but if they get games like this from Mills - which has happened more often this season - they will be in good shape. The box score tells you that he had a triple-double (13 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists) which may seem like a good game until you find out that he was 4:20 off the field and being team worst ended minus-23. He also failed on several marginal opportunities, including a devastating missed dunk that would have put the Lakers on one point, 26 seconds behind. With LeBron dominant and Carmelo Anthony filling the stat (17 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, two steals), the Lakers basically needed an average game from Westbrook on offense and they just didn't get it. Thanks to Westbrook for not being affected by his bad night of shooting - he led the team with five offensive rebounds that earned some of the Lakers' 20 second chance points, but he just has to do better with Davis out of the lineup, when the Lakers put together some victories. There were a ton of huge shots during this game, but none bigger than Nic Claxton's and a dunk just over 40 seconds to give the Nets a head start they weren't going to give up. Claxton finished with 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a career high of five blocks. With Blake Griffin falling out of rotation before the Nets roster was ravaged by logs, Claxton will be an integral part of Brooklyn's attack on both ends of the court. Harden and Mills were fantastic, but the Nets couldn't have won without great support from their supporting cast. We mentioned Claxton earlier, but Bruce Brown (16 points, six rebounds, four assists), DeAndre 'Bembry (15 points, five rebounds) and James Johnson (eight points, four rebounds, three assists) all made a big impact on that Game at both ends. With the dynamic of Harden and the shooting of Mills, the Lakers often left Bembry open in the corner, and he made them pay by knocking down all three of his attempts from behind the arch. After all, he had only made three or more threesomes five times in his entire six-year career when he stepped into the game on Saturday. The Nets won by seven points and Bembry had nine on those three 3-pointers alone, so he certainly made the Lakers pay that night. The furious late comeback was great and all, but it doesn't hide the fact that, defensively, the Lakers were absolutely terrible - once again - for the first three quarters of the game when they took 102 points for the Nets. Los Angeles has allowed 114 points per 100 possessions during its five-game losing streak, which the way the team struggles to put the ball in the basket just can't match. Yes, Bembry had a good night of shooting, but there's just no excuse for leaving the red hot mills to try and contest a Bembry corner 3-pointer. This was just one example of the lack of attention to detail (and sometimes effort) that led to the Lakers' poor defense during their losing streak.

Read

Green Bay benefits from four Baker Mayfield INTs, Cleveland holds back

Brown's stage rally in the second half, but too short (Author: Gardener)

Green BayThe Cleveland Browns almost did a Christmas miracle, but in the end the Green Bay Packers survived and got away with a 24-22 win to improve their record to 12-3. The Packers were unusually ineffective on the offensive for much of the second half as the Browns could eat away at their lead, but Rasul Douglas, who was able to intercept another pass, ended the game for Green Bay late in the fourth quarter. Baker Mayfield threw four picks at the game, three of them in the first half, and that proved to be the difference. The Browns came back 24-12 with Nick Chubb and D'Ernest Johnson breaking chunk runs from the right side of the line, and they retreated within two points of a Mayfield touchdown pass to rookie Anthony Schwartz. They had the chance to go for a game-winning field goal in the two-minute drill and came close to midfield after several other strong wins from Chubb, but Mayfield threw in two consecutive incomplete passes before being picked up by Douglas in a game It seemed like the Packers corner got away with a grip on wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones. The Browns had several other ways to add points early in the game, but a missed extra point, an interception just outside the red zone and an early sack sank them. In the end, the points they left on the field turned out to be extremely valuable. Aaron Rodgers became the Packers' all-time leader on touchdown passes shortly after Mayfield's first interception of the game, finding Allen Lazard for an 11-yard score to break a tie with Brett Favre. He later found Davante Adams for two more touchdowns, and Mason Crosby's 32-yard field goal in the third quarter turned out to be the profit margin. Rodgers and Co. turned three sales in the first half of the year into 21 points. After each interception from Mayfield, the Packers went five plays for 53 yards and one touchdown, 10 plays for 78 yards and one touchdown, and nine plays for 49 yards and one touchdown. That was pretty much all Green Bay needed, although the field goal the Packers scored on the first drive of the second half was what actually won the game. There are some games where it's hard to tell why one team won and the other lost. The Browns lost because their quarterback threw four bone-breaking interceptions and picked up some really bad sacks, and their secondary had no answer for Davante Adams. The Browns started this game with an efficient 75 yard five game touchdown drive. They even stopped the Packers on their first possession and forced a punt. But after Mayfield was picked up at the first game of the following drive, Rodgers drove the team downfield for a touchdown. The Browns had the chance to answer this drive with their own score and even got onto the field and just outside the red zone. At this point, Mayfield threw his second interception of the night. Mayfield didn't get in because of the muddy bag in front of him, and the toss slid over Jarvis Landry's head and into the arms of Chandon Sullivan. The Packers would drive over the field again for a touchdown and build a lead that they would never give up. No quarterback-wide receiver combo is better for the sideline than Rodgers and Adams. They teamed up for an outrageous back-and-shoulder toss in the second quarter - a game they made look a lot easier than any deal made it out to be. Green Bay holds number 1 in the NFC and will secure both a bye in the first round and a home advantage if it wins during the conference playoffs. Next up is a home game against the Vikings for the Packers.

Read

Brown's QB Baker Mayfield on the four-interception game against Packers

Baker Mayfield lamented his four career high interceptions on Saturday's return which sank the Browns in a 24-22 street loss to the Packers. (Author: Gardener)

Baker Mayfield- Baker Mayfield showed how difficult it is to be successful without much practice, no matter how easy Aaron Rodgers made it look over the past month. Mayfield threw four career-high interceptions in his first game since returning from the Reserve / COVID-19 roster as the Browns' dwindling playoff hopes took another hit with a 24-22 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. "It was just a mistake," Mayfield said. That's the most frustrating thing for me because I thought our defense played great against a really good offensive. Cleveland's coronavirus-related complications have severely hampered the Browns' chances of scooping a second straight playoff spot. Mayfield missed a 16-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders due to his presence on the list on Monday. The Browns (7-8) were missing at least eight regulars on Saturday and about a dozen regulars on Monday. With left tackle Jedrick Wills and center JC Tretter both on the coronavirus list, Mayfield was fired five times while walking 21 of 36 for 222 yards. He threw Harrison Bryant and Anthony Schwartz touchdown passes. Even with so many sidelined players, the Browns could still have won this game and given the Packers their first home defeat of the season - if Mayfield hadn't made so many mistakes. "At Baker, I know he's had four interceptions, but listen, we win as a team, we lose as a team," said Browns coach Kevin Stefanski. Stefanski said he wasn't thinking of changing quarterback at halftime. Three of Mayfield's interceptions came in the first half. "Baker, he did a great job while he was quarterback for us and I'll believe in him as long as he wears a brown uniform," said Brown's defensive end Myles Garrett. I will support him. I'll be there for him, good or bad. He made some great pieces. He's made some not-so-great pieces. Mayfield has been unable to exercise in the past few weeks due to the NFL's COVID-19 protocols. But he just had to look at the opposite page to know that a lack of training time doesn't always lead to a lack of production. Rodgers has thrown 16 touchdown passes without interception in his last five games for the Packers (12-3) despite having a toe injury that limited his participation in training. Rodgers says he broke his left little toe while exercising at home during his own quarantine after a positive COVID-19 test. Mayfield did not come close to achieving this efficiency. "I expect to do (these throws) and that's why it's frustrating," Mayfield said. "I'd sit up here and make an excuse that I haven't trained, but I'm a quarterback in the NFL, I have to do these throws and I have that over and over again." Each of the Packers' three touchdowns followed Mayfield interceptions. The Browns fell 24-22 to hit third and tenth places from midfield when Rasul Douglas played a pass for Donovan Peoples-Jones with 43 seconds remaining. Mayfield said he believed Douglas made some contact with the crucial game, but added that "you can't trust that to be named." “I have to look at the tape,” said Stefanski. I understand the officers won't get every call, but at big moments like these it's difficult. ”That was Douglas' second interception of the day. Mayfield also threw passports picked up by Darnell Savage and Chandon Sullivan. Mayfield's sales spoiled solid performances from Cleveland's Running Game and Defense. Cleveland's defense allowed only three points in the second half, giving up just 36 yards from the Packers' last four holdings. That combination could have resulted in a Browns win if Mayfield had been flawless. He didn't get close to that.

Read

The Green Bay Packers defense was lucky enough to get away with a poor performance against the Cleveland Browns

The Packers' 24-22 win over the gritty Browns was littered with red flags that made it look like Mike Pettine was back coordinating the defense. (Author: Gardener)

The Green Bay PackersGREEN BAY - With the playoffs underway there is nothing that guarantees the Green Bay Packers Run Defense will play like they did against Nick Chubb against Baker Mayfield on Saturday. The Packers' 24-22 win over the gloomy but understaffed Cleveland Browns was full of red flags that made it look like Mike Pettine was re-coordinating the defense and the season was about to end with another opposing offensive that made enough clutch play to send the team home just before the Super Bowl. Up until a few weeks ago, new coordinator Joe Barry's defense had played five games in a row without giving up 100 yards, beating three surefire playoff teams (Arizona, Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams) within that time. Then there were 137 yards against Chicago and 143 yards against Baltimore, and then 219 yards against the Browns, despite playing against a quarterback who was testing the COVID-19 protocol and flying a private plane to the game on Saturday morning with no left tackle Jedrick Wills and Center JC Tretter due to COVID. Chubb looked as good here as Dalvin Cook from Minnesota did a year ago. He carried 17 times 126 yards (7.4 yard average) and one touchdown and caught three passes for 58 yards. With Backup D’Ernest Johnson hitting 58 yards on four carries (averaging 14.5), it was a flashback to the NFC championship game two years ago when San Francisco Pettine's defense blasted the doors with a 285-yard rushing. Dougherty: Packers keep coming back with that one play it takes to win. Packers were saved by the Browns' rusty quarterback. It's noble to take the blame for every yard Chubb and Johnson won, but it doesn't change the fact that this is an ongoing problem, especially when it comes to running backs and scrambling quarterbacks, too allow to escape around the corner and hit the containment. It was quarterback Justin Fields who led the way for the Bears with nine rushs for 74 yards and quarterback Tyler Huntley who led the way for the Ravens with 13 carries for 73 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. And this one was mostly Chubb and Johnson, but wide receiver Anthony Schwartz had two end-arounds for 24 yards and Mayfield had a 12-yard scramble to the perimeter. "Nick Chubb is one of the best backs in the league," said Packers coach Matt LaFleur. And they have a good front. “So, you have to give them credit, but do I necessarily think we need to get better? We have to do a better job to set the edge. And we have to tackle better. That was probably our worst duel of the season. ”As the Packers have proven, you can give up 219 yards if you have a guy like Rasul Douglas who makes two passes, including a crucial one that the Browns believe would it is a passport disorder, will go to the grave. Making four turns without taking any is a good recipe for victory no matter how many yards you give up. What remains puzzling, however, are the mental errors that can drive a team to the edge and, in the worst case, throw it overboard. Last weekend, the Packers let the Ravens go for two touchdowns in order to position themselves for a two-point conversion and a possible 32-31 win. The first touchdown of that rally came when Huntley came first around the corner untouched and scored the goal on 3 when the Packers only had 10 players on the field. Cleveland had just stepped up the field with a Johnson 30-yard run and the Browns wasted no time getting to the line and preparing for the next game. This time there was confusion as to where the guys should line up and Douglas had to notify someone that the slot guy on his side was revealed. Nobody asked for time out on a game that ultimately made it a 24-22 game. "I thought about calling time out in this situation," said LaFleur. “I was hoping that we would communicate a little better, a little faster and get the call and coordinate our boys because you never want to see that. “You didn't throw it at the man who was exposed, which I was a little shocked about, but it's very frustrating because these are self-inflicted wounds that tend to hit you. The ball went with a double move to Schwartz and Douglas fell behind him and eventually gave up the touchdown. But there was confusion over how he and his safety Darnell Savage, who eventually got there, would put the two receivers on that side. "We didn't know where we were going to be," said Douglas. I was just trying to stop it until someone on defense ran over to guard the "2" (the inner receiver). Blaming Douglas is debatable despite the fact that his man scored the touchdown. The bigger problem is he had to spend time warning everyone that no one was covering up the slot guy instead of getting involved with his man. "We have to be better in situations like this when people get chunk plays and then bounce the ball," said LaFleur. Ultimately, Douglas returned the favor and picked up Mayfield's throw at recipient Donovan Peoples-Jones with 43 seconds to go and the Browns at the 50-yard line. Douglas tugged on the People-Jones jersey but the officials didn't name it and he made a second game-saving stop for the Packers in what turned out to be one of the best off-season performances to see the area in a year for a long time. Douglas was torn from the Arizona training team after Jaire Alexander sustained a shoulder injury and he's picked five passes, including two for touchdowns. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers called Douglas "a star" and said the defense's turnover games were crucial to the win. He accused the offense of not having the game sealed sooner, but as everyone here knows, the Packers won't win a Super Bowl without their defense playing better. Mayfield made some terrible decisions that resulted in Savage picking up one pass and Douglas another earlier in the game, and another poor throw that could have sealed the game much sooner was dropped by rookie corner Eric Stokes. There are reasons to apologize to the defense for their poor play against an offensive that came 19th in the league this season, joining Minnesota for the second most yards (408) against the Packers this season. Nose tackle Kenny Clark was struck off the COVID-19 list on Friday, Savage is in a late-season slump after playing solidly all year, and the Packers have played against an unknown opponent for a second straight week. The Packers get one last chance to measure themselves before the playoffs; They have a rematch with the Vikings on Jan. 2 before ending their regular season against the humble Detroit Lions.

Read