LeBron James shines as Cavaliers deal LA Clippers 7th straight loss
LeBron James shines as Cavaliers deal LA Clippers 7th straight loss
James added 14 rebounds and six assists to his 39 point tally while Kevin Love grabbed 25 points to power the Cavs to a 118-113 overtime victory at the Quicken Loans Arena.
The win helped cement Cleveland’s climb in the Eastern Conference standings, with the 2016 NBA champions now at 9-7 after four straight wins.
But the Cavs did it the hard way, repeatedly allowing the Clippers to open up sizeable leads before reeling them in.
It was the second time this week the Cavs had been forced to dig themselves out of a hole after recovering from a 23-point deficit against the Knicks in New York.
“That’s how the game is being played for us at this point in the season,” said James.
“It’s good to know that we’re building character and building resiliency and you can do that with a new group then that definitely can help us in the long run, so we can’t say that we wish we wouldn’t do that, but it is what it is.
“That’s the way the game is being played and we got to adjust to it.”
The Clippers were unable to ram home their advantage after leading 92-82 with 8:51 left in the fourth and 101-93 with just under five minutes on the clock.
The Clippers had also led by 81-66 with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter only to see the lead evaporate after James’ commanding performance.
Dwyane Wade was the only other Cleveland player to crack double digits, with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
Los Angeles meanwhile spread their scoring more evenly, with Blake Griffin leading with 23 and DeAndre Jordan adding 20.
Four other Clippers players also reached double figures for the night, but it was not enough.
The Clippers now have lost seven straight, a dip in form that has seen them slump to 5-9 for the season.
“This is about the fourth game to me that we had a chance to win it at the end we just have not gotten it done,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
“It tells you that you’re closer than you think you are, no matter what your record is.”
Griffin meanwhile took no solace from another narrow defeat.
“Ultimately, being close doesn’t really help you win games (in the future),” Griffin said. “Being close is not what we want.”
Elsewhere Friday, the San Antonio Spurs produced another fightback to topple Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in an absorbing clash between the Western Conference rivals.
The Spurs trailed by 23 points in the second quarter but fought back to claim a 104-101 victory at the AT&T Center in Texas.
LaMarcus Aldridge was the talisman for San Antonio, scoring 26 points including a crucial basket in the final minute as the Spurs improved to 10-6. Oklahoma City fell to 7-8 after the loss.
The Thunder had trailed by six points in the final quarter but came back to 100-99 with 45 seconds left after a free throw by Paul George.
Aldridge scored to put San Antonio up by three at 102-99 only for Carmelo Anthony’s score to make it 102-101. Pau Gasol then hit two free throws to extend San Antonio’s lead before a wild effort by Westbrook on the buzzer missed the rim.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich praised the way his side had fought back from its early deficit.
“They pounded the rock, kept a great attitude, kept their minds on playing basic basketball and things turned their way,” Popovich said.
“The effort was great and we played a lot smarter in the second half, took care of the ball and showed a lot of courage. A lot of good performances from a lot of guys, but overall a great team win.”
Al-Hilal boss Jorge Jesus reveals Omar Abdulrahman will make debut in Super Cup clash in London
- New boss Jorge Jesus to give start to new star signing after $17 million move from Al-Ain last week.
- Al-Hilal coach keen to put on a good show in London and start season with silverware against Al-Ittihad.
LONDON: Jorge Jesus confirmed Omar Abdulrahman will make his Al-Hilal debut in the Saudi Super Cup final against Al-Ittihad on Saturday.
The UAE playmaker joined the Saudi Pro League champions last week in a loan deal from Al-Ain that was worth $17 million, a fee that has only been surpassed once in football history.
The 26-year-old has been training with his new teammates at English football’s HQ at St. George’s Park this week and traveled down to London on Friday with the rest of the team ahead of the showpiece game at Loftus Road.
Abdulrahman has not played since May, when Al-Ain were dumped out of the AFC Champions League by Lekhwiya, and he was not considered for the Arab Club Champions Club on Sunday, but Jesus said the 2016 Asian Player of the Year is line to make his first appearance for his boyhood club this weekend.
“Omar is training with the team for five or six days,” said Jesus. “Intelligent players like Omar learn fast, so that’s why he will be part of the game.”
There are various subplots to the game in west London, not least the fact that Al-Ittihad coach Ramon Diaz comes up against the club that fired him in February. He won the double in the first season in Riyadh and then choreographed Al-Hilal’s run to the final of the AFC Champions League in his second. Now he goes up against Jesus, the Portuguese tactician who replaced him this summer.
“It’s true Diaz could know the players more and this could influence the match, but they are working with my ideas today and I expect the match to be an excellent game,” said Jesus.
Al-Hilal lost the Super Cup the last time it was held in London, losing to Al-Ahli on penalties in a thriller at Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground. Jesus knows this year’s match could provide a launchpad for the season ahead and broaden the appeal of football in the Kingdom.
“Everybody knows the importance of this match, because we play outside Saudi Arabia,” he said. “It represents the image of our football. We are happy to be present in London and play the Saudi Super Cup here. The eyes of Europe sees London as the center of football, so we need to create a good image of Saudi football.”
Jorge Jesus is looking to get his reign as Al-Hilal coach off to a winning start at QPR's Loftus Road ground on Saturday.
Jesus will be without the injured Salman Al-Faraj, Abdullah Otayf and Nawaf Al-Abed while national team full-back Yasser Al-Shahrani will undergo a late fitness test.
“We are missing some players but that should not reduce the importance of some players we have in the squad,” said Jesus. “We have to find our best combination of players to go to the match with.”
Mohammad Al-Shalhoub will captain the side from midfield following the departure of Osama Hawsawi and knows bragging rights are up for grabs on Saturday between Saudi Arabia’s two most successful clubs who have won the top prize in the Kingdom 23 times between them.
“It’s one match, there is no other chance,” he said. “We will do our best to win the cup. We can start the season well if we win this cup. We will fight hard to win, but Ittihad is doing their hardest to win it, too. We are super motivated to show a good level and start with a Saudi Super Cup victory.”
Al-Hilal labored to a 1-0 win over Al-Shabab on Sunday night and know they will need to be much nearer their best against last season’s King’s Cup winners.
“In the beginning of the season, you can have some difficulties,“ Al-Shalhoub said. “Our first home game in the Arab Cup we showed a good level, but we have to me more ready against Ittihad.”