Suns melt depleted Sixers
The Phoenix Suns continued its winning ways as it notched its seventh straight victory at the expense of the Philadelphia 76ers 130-117 in Orlando Tuesday.
Devin Booker waxed hot anew for the Suns, scoring 35 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists for the Suns, who kept their hopes alive for a play-in series for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Phoenix at 33-39 tied the Portland Trailblazers for ninth place in the West. The Memphis Grizzlies is at No. 8.
The Suns are seeking to earn a playoff spot in 10 years.
Alec Burks led the Sixers with 23 points. Raul Neto added 22 while Mike Scott chipped in 17.
The Sixers played without their starters who were either injured or resting. Their two main stars — Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons — are out with ankle and knee injuries respectively.
Trump picks Jordan over James
US President Donald Trump, who has been at odds with several sports personalities over social justice, says Michael Jordan is a better player than LeBron James.
Why? Because Jordan was apolitical.
Trump, in a Fox Sports Radio interview, was asked: “Who is better as a basketball player?”
The US chief executive replied:
Well, I’ve seen them both. Michael Jordan is. Plus, he wasn’t political. So, people like him better.”
Jordan has been noted to be apolitical during his career while LeBron is a known critic of Trump and has sparred with him over many social issues.
Spurs continue to hang on
The San Antonio Spurs kept alive their chances of making the playoffs this year for the 23rd consecutive season when they trashed the Houston Rockets 123-105 in Orlando.
Keldon Johnson had a career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who are on the heels of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and last playoff spot in the West along with the Portland Trailblazers and the Phoniex Suns.
Whoever finishes ninth among the Trailblazers, Spurs, and the Suns qualify for a play-in tournament against the eighth-placed team for a playoff spot in the West.
The No. 9 needs to beat the No. 8 team twice to advance.
Russell Westbrook returned from an injury and led the Rockets with 20 points. Houston played without James Harden (rest) and Eric Gordon (injury).
Lillard: Just like Wilt
Damian Lillard scored a career-high 61 points to lead the Portland Trailblazers past the Dallas Mavericks 134-131.
The victory enabled the Traiblazers to remain ahead of the Phoenix Suns and in position for the final playoff spot in the West.
Lillard also became the first Trailblazer in franchise history to score 50 or more points in consecutive games. His third 60 points or more games a season put in in the company of the legendary Wilt Chamberlain as the only ones to have done so in NBA history.
Carmelo Anthony chipped in 26 points for Portland.
Kristaps Porzingis of Dallas had a team-high 36. Luka Doncic contributed 25 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists.
NBA to fete top players
The NBA bared Tuesday that it will honor top players in the seeding games in Orlando.
The league said it will announce the Kia NBA All-Seeding Games Team and the Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games for games played July 30-Aug. 14.
It added a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters who have been on site covering the season restart will select the Kia NBA All-Seeding Games Team and the Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games.
They will vote for five players for the All-Seeding Games First Team and five players for the All-Seeding Games Second Team.
A total of 10 players at any position from either conference will be selected.
Ross back with Magic
Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic has returned to the bubble in Orlando.
Ross had earlier left the bubble to undergo testing for a “personal, non-COVID-related matter,” upon the advice of a league doctor.
He is quarantining for four days and will miss their final game against the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday.
Ross is expected to be back for their first round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The NBA playoffs start Saturday.
Giannis axed for headbutt
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks was ejected in Tuesday’s game against the Washington Wizards.
The reiging NBA MVP was thrown out after he headbutted Moritz Wagner of the Wizards in the second quarter.
Wagner drew a charging foul from Giannis who rejected the call.
Antetokounmpo approached Wagner and jabbered at him before giving him the headbutt.
Game officials ejected Giannis for his act. He had played 10 minutes and scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds before exiting. (Compiled by Tristan Lozano)