Durant leads Warriors past Lakers for 11th straight win

Above, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant dribbles the basketball over Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson during their NBA game at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Lakers 113-106. (USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 23 December 2017

Durant leads Warriors past Lakers for 11th straight win

OAKLAND, California: Steve Kerr had been waiting to see rookie Jordan Bell play significant minutes alongside Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
With Green back to full strength, Bell got to shine — and the Golden State Warriors needed every little thing he provided on both ends.
Now Kerr just wants to add a healthy Stephen Curry back to the mix and give that lineup a nice long look.
Durant had 33 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four blocks, and the Warriors held off the Los Angeles Lakers 113-106 on Friday night for their 11th straight victory.
Bell recorded his first career double-double with season bests of 20 points and 10 rebounds, making a key layup with 2:45 to go and dunking a minute later.
“They’re the main guys on this team so the fact he wants to see me play with them more is a good sign for me in the future,” Bell said of Kerr, who loves the rookie’s instincts and wants him to keep learning at this level.
Klay Thompson scored 16 points and Green added 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as he came back from a shoulder injury for the defending champs.
Kyle Kuzma scored 27 points and fellow rookie Lonzo Ball had 24 points with five 3-pointers in his first visit to Oracle Arena. Julius Randle added 21 points off the bench for Los Angeles, which snapped the Rockets’ 14-game winning streak Wednesday night in Houston.
Durant shot 9 for 20 in the Warriors’ 10th win in a row at home against the Lakers and sixth overall after Golden State outlasted the Lakers in overtime Monday night in Los Angeles.
Kerr and Lakers coach and former top Golden State assistant Luke Walton had a nice chat near the Warriors bench after the final buzzer.
Still without two-time MVP Curry, Golden State got some much-needed reinforcements.
Green returned after missing five of six games with soreness in his right shoulder, while Andre Iguodala also was back after sitting out Wednesday night’s win against Memphis with flu-like symptoms.
“That was huge. I don’t think we win that game without Andre and Draymond,” Kerr said. “It’s great to have Draymond back after his absence. He brings an energy to the game that otherwise was lacking last game.”
The Lakers, who trailed by as many as 23 in the third quarter before getting within 84-72 going into the final 12 minutes, briefly took their first lead of the night at 89-88 on Randle’s 3-pointer with 7:43 remaining.
Los Angeles cut the lead to 86-81 on a steal by Josh Hart and Kuzma’s layup with 9:39 left, then 88-86 when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a 3-pointer at the 8:09 mark.
While Curry could test his sprained right ankle with some on-court work Sunday, Kerr said it would be “irresponsible” to play him Christmas Day against the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals rematch.
“As much as everybody wants to see him, as much as I want to see him on the floor, we have to be smart with this — 99.999 percent that he’s out,” Kerr said.


Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

Updated 26 October 2020

Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

ARLINGTON, United States: Brett Phillips’s single scored two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays walked off with a stunning 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday that knotted the World Series at two games apiece.
The Rays became the first team in post-season history to homer in four straight innings, but they trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
With two out and two on, Phillips — who entered the game in the eighth as a pinch runner — was down to his last strike in the ninth when he singled to right center field off Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen and Kevin Kiermaier scored from second base.
Randy Arozarena racing from first, rounded third after the ball bounced off the glove of Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor.
Arozarena tripped between third and home and looked done for, but Dodgers catcher Will Smith bobbled the throw to the plate and Arozarena was able to scramble forward and throw himself headfirst across the plate in time.
“Golly, what a special moment,” said Phillips, who last got a hit in the Rays’ 58th game of the regular season on September 25.
“I am having a hard time putting my emotions into words,” Phillips said. “Baseball is fun.”
Kiermaier called the ending — which sent the Rays into a frenzy of celebration on Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, “truly incredible.”
Arozarena notched a record-breaking ninth home run of the post-season. Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe also homered for the Rays, who are seeking the first World Series title in franchise history.
The Dodgers, back in the World Series for a third time in four years after disappointments in 2017 and 2018, are seeking their seventh title — but a first since 1988.
“This is certainly a tough one,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They were the best team all year in the American League.
“They are not going to give anything away. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”
The spectacular ending, capped a tense back-and-forth battle with a World Series record eight straight half-innings with a run scored.
Justin Turner and Corey Seager homered for the Dodgers. Seager’s was his eighth of the playoffs, temporarily tying the single post-season record until Arozarena notched his ninth in the fourth frame.
For the second game in a row Turner got things rolling with a solo homer in the first inning.
Seager added a solo shot in the top of the third that put the Dodgers up 2-0, but Arozarena pulled back a run in the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off blast to right centerfield off a 95 mph fastball from Julio Urias.
Los Angeles stretched the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Seager singled off Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks and reached second on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning Max Muncy reached first on a sharp line drive to right field that scored Seager.
The Rays responded with a home run from Renfroe to cut the margin to one run in the bottom of the fifth.
The Dodgers pushed the lead back to two in the top of the sixth when Enrique Hernandez fired a double down the left field line that scored two.
But Lowe — the two-homer hero of the Rays’ game-two victory — put the Rays in front for the first time with a three-run blast off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez in the bottom of the sixth.
In the seventh, Dodgers pinch-hitter Joc Pederson came up with the bases loaded and two out and delivered a two-run single that put Los Angeles back in front.
All seven Dodgers runs came with two outs — continuing a trend for them this series.
The Rays however, wouldn’t be denied, Kiermaier’s homer off Baez knotting the score at 6-6.
“We have no quit,” Kiermaier said. “We have been doing that all year. We’ve been the comeback kids. To do it on the big stage makes it that much sweeter.”