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LeBron James celebrates birthday with milestone in Lakers win, Clippers brush aside Blazers: NBA round-up

Superstar forward scored 26 points in a 121-107 win over the Spurs - his 1,000th straight game with double-digit points

LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers to victory over the San Antonio Spurs on his 36th birthday. AFP
LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers to victory over the San Antonio Spurs on his 36th birthday. AFP

LeBron James celebrated his 36th birthday in style by leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 121-107 victory over the Spurs in San Antonio on Wednesday.

James finished with 26 points, scoring double-digit points for the 1,000th straight game, to extend his already record streak of double-digit games in the regular season.

He sealed the milestone midway through the second quarter with a turnaround jump hook that gave the Lakers a 46-37 lead.

"I just try to live in the moment and try to continue to get better with my game, try to get better with my teammates and try to just maximise when I'm on the floor," said James, who is in his 18th NBA campaign after leading the Lakers to the 2020 title in the league's quarantine bubble in Orlando.

"I've been blessed to play the game that I love for 18 years and hopefully I can continue to play at a high level," he said.

James' double-digit scoring streak began on January 6, 2007, when he was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Shortly after James reached the milestone, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was ejected from the contest for arguing with officials.

Assistant Becky Hammon took over on the Spurs bench, becoming the first woman to direct a team in an NBA game.

Anthony Davis scored 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Lakers, newcomer Dennis Schroder added 21 points and four assists.

Wesley Matthews had his best game since joining the champions, scoring 18 points off the bench as he made all six of his three-point attempts.

Humbled Heat bounce back

Goran Dragic top scored for the Miami Heat in the win against the Milwaukee Bucks . AFP
Goran Dragic top scored for the Miami Heat in the win against the Milwaukee Bucks . AFP

In early action, the Miami Heat rebounded from an embarrassing 47-point loss to Milwaukee with a 119-108 NBA victory over the Bucks.

The Heat didn't have to wait long for revenge as they hosted the Bucks for the second straight night.

Goran Dragic came off the bench to lead Miami with 26 points, Bam Adebayo added 22 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists and Tyler Herro scored 21 points with a career-best 15 rebounds as the Heat rallied to stave off another home defeat.

The Bucks had dominated on Tuesday with an NBA-record 29 three-pointers in their 144-97 triumph.

The Bucks, fuelled by a triple-double of 26 points 13 rebounds and 10 assists from two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, looked like making it two wins in a row when they led by 14 in the third quarter.

Donte DiVincenzo scored 15 points and Jrue Holiday added 13 for the Bucks, but the Heat rallied despite missing Jimmy Butler for the second straight game.

"You want to constantly develop some grit and toughness during the course of a long season, and our guys responded in an appropriate fashion," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who acknowledged before the game that there was "a lot of anger and frustration" after the blowout loss on Tuesday.

"As well there should have been," he said.

Durant and Irving combine for Nets win

Kevin Durant starred for the Brooklyn Nets to inflict a first loss of the season on the Atlanta Hawks. AP Photo
Kevin Durant starred for the Brooklyn Nets to inflict a first loss of the season on the Atlanta Hawks. AP Photo

In Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving scored 17 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and Kevin Durant added 33 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists as the Nets dealt the Atlanta Hawks their first defeat of the young season, 145-141.

Irving's late burst helped the Celtics withstand 30-point performances from Atlanta's Trae Young and John Collins.

Boston, powered by Jaylen Brown's career-high 42 points defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 116-111.

The Celtics led by 12 points after the opening quarter and took full control with a 17-0 scoring run in the second period.

Brown's put-back basket with 4:39 left in the first half gave Boston a 57-30 lead and they cruised from there, Brown notching his career-high in scoring despite sitting out all of the fourth quarter.

Clippers crush Blazers

Kawhi Leonard dominated for the LA Clippers to beat the Portland Trail Blazers. AFP
Kawhi Leonard dominated for the LA Clippers to beat the Portland Trail Blazers. AFP

Kawhi Leonard recorded 28 points, seven assists and three steals in his return to the lineup, and he led the Los Angeles Clippers to a 128-105 victory over the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.

Paul George added 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as Los Angeles posted its second straight blowout victory following a franchise-worst, 51-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Leonard sported a mask after missing two games due to a mouth laceration that required eight stitches. He took an elbow to his face from teammate Serge Ibaka last Friday in a victory over the Denver Nuggets.

CJ McCollum made 7 of 11 3-point attempts while scoring 25 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard scored 20 points but was just 3 of 14 from the field, including missing all eight of his shots from behind the arc.

Los Angeles has won each of its past two games by 23 points, as it posted a 124-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Published: December 31, 2020 10:18 AM

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