Crawford leads Clippers past Rockets; Nuggets win

Updated 16 January 2013
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Crawford leads Clippers past Rockets; Nuggets win

HOUSTON: Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 30 points, including 12 straight to start the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Clippers looked just fine without Chris Paul in a 117-109 win over the struggling Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
The Clippers won their second game in a row despite missing their star point guard, who is day to day with a bruised right kneecap.
Los Angeles used a big third quarter to take the lead, and Crawford extended the advantage to 20 by outscoring Houston 12-7 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
James Harden had 23 points for the Rockets, whose four-game losing streak is a season worst.
The Clippers improved to 11-1 this season when Crawford leads the team in scoring.
Los Angeles opened the second half with a 10-0 run to take a 68-59 lead with about nine minutes left in the third quarter.
Nuggets 115, Trail Blazers 111, OT: At Denver, Wilson Chandler hit a tie breaking 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds remaining in overtime and Denver beat Portland for its season-best sixth consecutive victory.
Danilo Gallinari had 25 points, including a key 3-pointer in the extra period. Ty Lawson added 24 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets, who are 2-0 in overtime this season. Portland, which lost for the first time in six OT games this season, was led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 28 points. Nicolas Batum had 22 points and J.J. Hickson 19.
Lakers 104, Bucks 88: At Los Angeles, Dwight Howard had 31 points and 16 rebounds, Kobe Bryant also scored 31 points and Los Angeles beat Milwaukee for its second straight win after a six-game skid.
Metta World Peace added 12 points as the Lakers prepared for Thursday’s visit from the NBA champion Miami Heat with an impressive effort against the Bucks, who lost for the second time in five games under interim coach Jim Boylan.
Bryant and Howard both had 30-point games for the second time in their brief tenure together, and the Bucks couldn’t cope with Bryant’s outside game or Howard’s inside dominance.
Monta Ellis scored 17 points for Milwaukee, while Brandon Jennings was held to 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting largely by Bryant’s defense.
Howard again played with an obvious spark in his second game back from a three-game absence with a torn labrum in his shoulder, defending aggressively in the paint while overpowering the Bucks on offense.
Pau Gasol missed his fifth straight game for the Lakers with a concussion, but the 7-foot Spaniard worked out before the game and will be re-examined before Thursday’s game against Miami.
Pacers 103, Bobcats 76: At Charlotte, Roy Hibbert had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Indiana handed Charlotte its 13th straight home loss.
The Pacers bounced back from Sunday’s 11-point defeat to Brooklyn and won for the fifth time in six games.
With team owner Michael Jordan looking on from the bench, the Bobcats lost their fifth in a row. They’ve dropped 24 of 26 since Thanksgiving.
Indiana won this one going away behind some dominant inside play, outrebounding the Bobcats 60-31 and outscoring them 52-22 in the paint.
Paul George had 16 points and 10 rebounds, while David West added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers. George Hill chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds.
The Central Division leaders (24-15) have not lost consecutive games since Dec. 9.Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with 15 points.
Nets 113, Raptors 106: At New York, Brook Lopez had 22 points and nine rebounds, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams each scored 21 points, and Brooklyn beat Toronto to extend its season-high winning streak to seven games.
Andray Blatche added 14 points for the Nets, in the midst of their longest winning streak since running off 14 in a row late in the 2005-06 season. A .500 team when they fired Avery Johnson late last month, Brooklyn is 9-1 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo and has pulled within 1½ games of the New York Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead.
The Nets dominated the fourth quarter again, pulling away for their sixth straight home victory.
Kyle Lowry scored 21 points for the Raptors, who have dropped two in a row but still have 10 wins in their last 15 games.
Hornets 111, 76Ers 99: At Philadelphia, Greivis Vasquez scored 23 points and Eric Gordon added 19 to help New Orleans beat Philadelphia.
Ryan Anderson had 14 points, Xavier Henry scored 11 and Anthony Davis 10 for the Hornets, who are last in the Western Conference at 12-26 — with matching 6-13 records at home and on the road.
Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with 29 points and 11 assists. Nick Young and Evan Turner added 14 points each while Thaddeus Young scored 12.
Philadelphia hasn’t won consecutive games since a three-game streak from Nov. 25-30.


Sun could set on Hyderabad while Knight Riders are the ones to watch as the IPL enters the final sprint for glory

Updated 35 sec ago
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Sun could set on Hyderabad while Knight Riders are the ones to watch as the IPL enters the final sprint for glory

In our preview, we had tipped Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings for the playoffs, while mentioning that Rajasthan Royals would be the dark horses. But after a topsy-turvy season that saw Mumbai Indians, the holders knocked out, and the seventh-placed side finish within a win of the playoffs, it is time to run the rule again over the four teams that have made it to the final week.

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

Recent form: WWLLL

Given a choice, you would not go into the business end of a tournament on the back of three straight defeats. Hyderabad lost some intensity after sealing their playoff spot, even as Kane Williamson, captain extraordinaire, continued to bat like a dream. Their bowlers, so miserly earlier in the tournament, have taken some punishment in the past fortnight, and their hopes of repeating the triumph of 2016 will depend largely on some key players finding form. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has had a disappointing season, and there has been scant batting support for Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan. Rashid Khan and Siddharth Kaul, whose performances have earned an India call-up, have led the bowling, and while Shakib Al-Hasan has been disciplined, he needs to do far more with bat in hand.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

Recent form: WLWLW

They could play only one game at their Chepauk fortress before opportunistic Cauvery-water-related protests forced them to shift their home base to Pune. Only one of their bowlers, Shardul Thakur, features in the top 20 wicket-takers list, and he has conceded nearly nine an over. But despite the hardships, Chennai have again made the playoffs, for the ninth time in nine seasons (they were banned for the 2016 and 2017 editions). MS Dhoni’s renaissance with the bat has garnered the headlines, but around him, Ambati Rayudu has made 586 runs and Shane Watson 438. Even a largely out-of-sorts Suresh Raina has managed 391. Dwayne Bravo’s death-overs bowling has gone from strength to concern, but the raw pace of Lungi Ngidi — nine wickets at an outstanding economy rate of 6.11 — has given Chennai a thrilling option that Dhoni will doubtless use wisely. It’s hard to see past them in a high-pressure game.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

Recent form: LLWWW

The city that was ruled by the Left Front for nearly four decades has got through because of the strength of the collective. That is not to say individual brilliance has been absent. Sunil Narine, despite the murmurs over his action, leads the Most Valuable Player race with 327 runs (strike-rate of 189) and 16 wickets. Andre Russell has shown his prowess with both bat and ball, while Dinesh Karthik, who took over as captain this season, has shown Zen-master calm to guide the team home in chases. Six of the batsmen have scored more than 250 runs, and young Prasidh Krishna — discovered through the Karnataka Premier League — has given them a potent pace option. If they can coax a couple of big performances from Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla, the wrist spinners who have had underwhelming seasons, they are a good long shot to land a third title.

RAJASTHAN ROYALS

Recent form: WWWLW

The power-packed batting of Jos Buttler helped transform their season, but it also led to an unexpected Test call-up that has deprived the Royals of one of their trump cards. Ben Stokes, who had a poor season with the bat and an average one with the ball, has also gone, leaving the onus very much on the Indian contingent. Ajinkya Rahane’s batting has been mediocre, but he has led brilliantly, coaxing some terrific displays from fringe spinners like Shreyas Gopal and K Gowtham. Jofra Archer’s pace and white-ball nous has allowed them to overcome the poor bowling form of Jaidev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni. But Sanju Samson, who has gone off the boil after a great start, and Rahul Tripathi will need to bat out of their skins to replicate the Buttler heroics that turned around a miserable 3-6 start. Despite being the form side, the suspicion persists that they’re a marquee player or two short.