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NBA: NETS AND SIXERS STUMBLE, KNICKS WIN EIGHT IN A ROW

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The Brooklyn Nets and Philadephia Sixers lost on Wednesday in a 12-game night of NBA action that included the New York Knicks’ eighth straight win.

Eastern leaders ease off
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference had a bad night Wednesday. In Tampa, where Toronto plays this season « at home » because of health restrictions related to Covid-19, the Nets were beaten (114-103) by the Raptors despite a better start than their opponents (36-23 after the first quarter). Still ahead at halftime, Steve Nash’s players sank during the third quarter (36-23) and suffered from the absence of James Harden and Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving more than made up for it by nearly getting a triple-double (28 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists), but Pascal Siakam (27 pts, 9 rbds) and OG Anunoby (25 pts) proved that the Raptors had some answer.
Second of the Eastern Conference, the Nets were not however distanced by the leader Philadelphia, also dominated on its floor by Phoenix (113-116). The Sixers, deprived of Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Seth Curry, all affected by physical problems, almost came back to the score in the very last moments of the game. From the right arm, Joel Embiid unleashed a powerful shot that went all the way across the court before bouncing off the rim…without going in for good, burying the Sixers’ hopes of overtime. « The ball looked good when I started the shot, » lamented Embiid, who scored 38 points (17 rebounds). Thanks to their victory, the Suns remain second in the West, ahead of the Clippers who fell to Memphis (117-105) and Denver, stronger than Portland (106-105).

The success of the Nuggets will give them some peace of mind, while their point guard Jamal Murray is on the sidelines because of a rupture of a cruciate ligament in the left knee. The Canadian had surgery, Denver announced Wednesday, but could be out for up to a year. The Israeli Deni Avidja joined him Wednesday in the infirmary: the player of the Wizards fractured his ankle during the victory of Washington against the Golden State Warriors (118-114), the sixth success in a row for the players of the American capital.

The Jazz and Knicks are flying high
Another team in great shape, the New York Knicks took advantage of Julius Randle’s 40 points to beat Atlanta in overtime (127-117), and settle alone in fourth place in the East, just ahead of their victims of the evening. In Madison Square Garden, the number 30 was effectively assisted by Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley, both authors of 40 points. The head of the conference is still occupied by the Jazz, still unbeatable in Houston (112-89). Rudy Gobert had a solid performance (19 pts, 18 rbds), in a team where six players crossed the 10-point mark. Utah has a solid cushion of two more wins and one less loss than the Suns. In the other games of the evening, Oklahoma conceded a twelfth defeat in a row against Indiana (122-116) and Dallas dominated Detroit (127-117) thanks to the very complete game of Luka Doncic (30 pts, 10 rbds, 9 assists).

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