Lakers honor Kobe, take control of series vs. Blazers

Lakers honor Kobe, take control of series vs. Blazers
LeBron James on the way to a 30 points and 10 assists performance to lead the Lakers against the Trail Blazers in Game 4 of the NBA first round playoffs. (AFP)
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Updated 25 August 2020

Lakers honor Kobe, take control of series vs. Blazers

Lakers honor Kobe, take control of series vs. Blazers
  • The Lakers, the top seed in the Western Conference, can close out the series on Wednesday

Lake Buena Vista, FLA.: The Los Angeles Lakers jumped out to an apt 24-8 lead on Kobe Bryant Day and dominated the Portland Trail Blazers the rest of the way, taking a 3-1 advantage in their playoff series with a 135-115 victory Monday night.

LeBron James had 30 points and 10 assists in 28 minutes before heading to the bench late in the third quarter. The Lakers led by as many as 38 points for their third straight win in the opening-round series, the team’s first playoff appearance since 2013.

The Trail Blazers won the opener but have appeared gassed in the past two games. Damian Lillard, the MVP of the seeding games in the NBA bubble, had 11 points before leaving with a right knee injury in the third. Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Anthony Davis added 18 points in 18 minutes for the Lakers before leaving the game midway through the third with back spasms.

The Lakers, the top seed in the Western Conference, can close out the series on Wednesday.

It was considered “Kobe Day” because Monday was 8/24, the two numbers Kobe Bryant wore during his 20-year career.

Bucks 121 Magic 106

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, Khris Middleton finally came alive with a huge fourth quarter Milwaukee beat Orlando to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round series.

Middleton scored 18 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 10 rebounds after being held to one field goal in the first three quarters on 1-of-9 shooting.

Wesley Matthews added 12 points for the Bucks, who can close out the Magic on Wednesday.

Nikola Vucevic continued his strong play for the Magic, finishing with 31 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Terrence Ross had 19 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Milwaukee have now won three straight after losing the series opener to the eighth-seeded Magic.

The top-seeded Bucks led by three entering the fourth quarter before Middleton came alive.

Thunder 117 Rockets 113

Dennis Schroder scored a career playoff-high 30 points, and Oklahoma City rallied to beat Houston and even the first-round Western Conference playoff series at two wins apiece.

Oklahoma City trailed by 15 points in the third quarter and was down a point heading into the fourth.

Chris Paul scored 26 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder, who won despite allowing 23 3-pointers.

James Harden had 32 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds for Houston. Eric Gordon scored 23 points and Danuel House Jr. added 21 for the Rockets.

Former Thunder star Russell Westbrook sat out for Houston again with a strained right quad.

Heat 99 Pacers 87

Goran Dragic scored 23 points and fifth-seeded Miami completed a first-round sweep of Indiana.

Tyler Herro had 16 points and Bam Adebayo added 14 points and 19 rebounds for the Heat, who made it out of the first round for the first time since 2016.

Victor Oladipo had 25 points and Myles Turner added 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who have dropped four straight postseason series to the Heat since 2012.

Miami’s bench outscored Indiana’s depleted reserves 38-3.

Heat guard Jimmy Butler left the game in the first quarter with a left shoulder strain. He returned after halftime and finished with six points in 23 minutes.


Transfers are out of my hands, says Liverpool manager Klopp

Transfers are out of my hands, says Liverpool manager Klopp
Updated 23 January 2021

Transfers are out of my hands, says Liverpool manager Klopp

Transfers are out of my hands, says Liverpool manager Klopp
  • Liverpool suffers alarming loss of form going five league games without a win

LIVERPOOL, UK: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said whether any new players come in the January transfer window will not be up to him as he does not hold the purse strings.

The German may be keen for fresh blood as the champions have suffered an alarming loss of form going five league games without a win.

Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Burnley ended a 68-game unbeaten home run and left them six points adrift of leaders Manchester United — who they play in an FA Cup fourth round tie on Sunday.

Injury has deprived Klopp of key central defender Virgil van Dijk but it is up front where their previously irresistible forward have failed to fire.

It is seven hours and 18 minutes since they last found the net in the league.

“Of course somebody else is making the decisions,” he said laughing at his press conference on Friday.

“It was always like this.

“We discuss the situation pretty much on a daily basis, could we improve something or not and we make recommendations but I cannot spend the money.

“I never did.”

Klopp said he would be taking Sunday’s game at Old Trafford seriously against a side they drew 0-0 in the league at Anfield last Sunday.

Klopp left the likes of Mo Salah and Robert Firmino on the bench against Burnley although both came on eventually.

“It is a different competition and yes we want to go through and for that we have to play really well,” he said.

“United are in a good moment and have got the results so far but we are ready 100 percent.”

Klopp had said in the immediate aftermath of the Burnley match that seeing the unbeaten home run end was “a massive punch in the face.”

However, on Friday the 53-year-old said it was about looking forwwards.

“Sixty-eight matches unbeaten is an incredible number,” he said.

“I never spoke about the number (referring to the home unbeaten run) but now it is onto a new series.”

Klopp said the players should not take the blame for what did not go right against Burnley.

“We go again, no doubt about that,” he said.

“I said what I thought after the game.

“When things don’t work out as we want them to then there’s an issue.

“The issue is that I didn’t tell the boys things clearly enough.

“I have to change the way I tell the boys (these things).”