NBA Roundup: Suns post 7th win in a row; Trump: Jordan better than James; Lillard, Chamberlain in same company

Suns melt depleted Sixers

Devin Booker
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns dunks the ball against Furkan Korkmaz #30 and Norvel Pelle #14 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Ashley Landis / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

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:

"Michael Jordan.

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

Keldon Johnson
Keldon Johnson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots in front of P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets (Kim Klement / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

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
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots the ball against Dorian Finney-Smith #10 of the Dallas Mavericks (Kim Klement / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

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
Terrence Ross #31 of the Orlando Magic (Kim Klement / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

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
Moritz Wagner #21 of the Washington Wizards and Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks argue with the referee during the first half at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Ashley Landis / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

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)