Paul George, Clippers bury Pelicans with 3-point spree

Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard tangles with New Orleans Pelicans' Frank Jackson, center left, as Pelican's JJ Redick, left, and Clippers' Ivica Zubac #40 watch during an NBA basketball game on Aug. 1, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
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Updated 02 August 2020

Paul George, Clippers bury Pelicans with 3-point spree

  • Oklahoma City rolled past Utah in their first game of the restart
  • Miami beat Denver in the first restart game for both teams

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida: Paul George made three straight 3-pointers in the opening minutes and scored 28 points for the Los Angeles Clippers in a 126-103 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.
Los Angeles broke a franchise record by making 25 of 47 3-pointers, with George making 8 of 11. The Clippers also tied a team record for 3-pointers in a half and fell one short of the NBA record by hitting 16 of 24 in racing to a 77-45 lead.
Los Angeles made its first six 3-pointers to take a 20-6 lead.
Kawhi Leonard had 24 points o help the Clippers bounce back from a 103-101 loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night in their first game of the restart.
The Pelicans had a minor scare midway through the first half when rookie Zion Williamson stepped on Reggie Jackson’s foot and appeared to slightly roll his right ankle while driving to the basket, ending up on his backside under the basket. He got up with a slight limp and was subbed out, then returned for the start of the second half.
Williamson finished with seven points and four rebounds in 14 minutes. Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 15 points for New Orleans.

PACERS 127, 76ERS 121
T.J. Warren scored a career-high 53 points, Victor Oladipo added 15 after reversing course on opting out of the NBA restart and Indiana beat Philadelphia.
A sixth-year player acquired from Phoenix in an offseason trade, Warren was 20 of 29 from the field and 9 of 12 from 3-point range in his first game with at least 50 points.
The Pacers took control of the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference by breaking a tie with the 76ers and winning the season series. Both teams have clinched playoff spots.
Joel Embiid had 41 points and 21 rebounds for the 76ers. Tobias Harris scored 30 points, and Ben Simmons had 19 points and 13 rebounds.

THUNDER 110, JAZZ 94
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 19 points, Chris Paul added 18 and Oklahoma City rolled past Utah in their first game of the restart.
The teams were to meet on March 11 in Oklahoma City, but everything changed when Utah center Rudy Gobert’s COVID-19 test came up positive right before the tip. That night, the NBA announced it would shut down indefinitely.
Steven Adams had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Danilo Gallinari added 15 points and the Thunder shot 53% from the field. Oklahoma City moved within a half-game of the Jazz for fourth place in the Western Conference standings and within 1 1/2 games of Denver for third.
Donovan Mitchell scored 13 points for the Jazz but shot just 5 for 15. Utah shot 39% from the field.

HEAT 125, NUGGETS 104
Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each scored 22 points to help Miami beat Denver in the first restart game for both teams.
Heat center Meyers Leonard stood during the national anthem, saying it was out of respect for the US military, while all the coaches and players around him kneeled. His brother, Bailey Leonard, served two tours in Afghanistan with the Marines. Leonard wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt over a jersey that said “Equality.”
Kelly Olynyk scored all of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Miami, The Heat shot 56% from the field.
Nikola Jokic and Jerami Grant each scored 19 points for Denver. The Nuggets played without guards Jamal Murray (hamstring), Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip).


Atletico catching all the breaks in Champions League

Updated 12 August 2020

Atletico catching all the breaks in Champions League

  • A victory against Leipzig will put Atletico back in the semifinals for the first time since 2017

LISBON: So far so good for Atletico Madrid in the quest for their first Champions League title.

Diego Simeone’s team have caught all the breaks going into the decisive final-eight tournament in Lisbon.

Old foes Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo are gone. They drew Leipzig instead of a more traditional powerhouse for the quarterfinals. And their rival lost its top player after Timo Werner left for Chelsea. Even when things went wrong and the squad was hit by COVID-19, Atletico avoided the worst as only two players were infected and they could still make the trip to Portugal.

Things have been looking good for Simeone and his players.

A victory against Leipzig on Thursday will put Atletico back in the semifinals for the first time since it was eliminated by Ronaldo’s Madrid in the last four in 2017. Ronaldo and Madrid had defeated Atletico in the final in 2014 and 2016, and also ended the rival’s run in the quarterfinals in 2015.

Ronaldo again was Atletico’s nemesis last season after joining Juventus. Atletico lost to the Italian team in the round of 16 after Ronaldo scored a hat trick in the decisive second leg in Turin.

But this time Ronaldo and Juventus were eliminated by Lyon in the last 16, the same stage in which Madrid were knocked out of the tournament by Manchester City. Only two past champions are still left in the competition — Barcelona and Bayern Munich — and they play against each other in the opposite side of the draw, meaning Atletico could only meet one of them in the final.

Leipzig are a relative newcomer to the Champions League, having reached the group stage only twice. This is the first time they made it to the knockout round. They eliminated Tottenham in the round of 16, but now they won't count on top scorer Werner, who did not extend his contract by a few weeks to finish the season with the German club before moving to Chelsea.

Atletico stunned defending European champion Liverpool in the last 16, advancing after a 3-2 win in England.

“The game against Liverpool will go down in history and was one of the best we’ve had in a long time,” Atletico striker Diego Costa said. “It gave fans high expectations and we will give our best to try to meet those expectations. Hopefully we will play well and luck will stay on our side.”

Costa said Atletico will not take Leipzig lightly despite  the rival’s lack of experience in international competitions.

“They are very strong on the ball and know what they are about,” he said. “They have made it to the quarterfinals and have no pressure.”

There was a scare within Atletico this week when it announced two positive test results for COVID-19 among the group that was traveling to Lisbon. There were concerns that an outbreak within the club could have affected the team’s participation in the tournament in Portugal, but new tests showed that only Ángel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko were infected and the squad could travel to Lisbon.

Vrsaljko was not even going to play because he is nursing an injury, while Correa isn't among Atletico’s top stars even though he led the team in assists this season.

After coming agonizingly close recently, Atletico hope the breaks will keep going their way and that they  will finally get to lift the coveted European trophy.