Al Horford ejected for elbowing Mo Wagner, Video, Reaction, Kyrie Irving Buzzer Beater, Ben Simmons

Jacques Vaughn asked – cross that out required — the nets to fight for each other. On Saturday (AEDT) they got off the mat again and fought a stunning 119-116 win over the Raptors.

It was Kyrie Irving – who was unable to play in Canada last season due to COVID-19 vaccine restrictions – who won it with a 27-foot win at the buzzer. He had a team-high 32 points and Kevin Durant added 28 for the Nets, who have won nine of 10.

It ended a season sweep by the Raptors and was also the latest proof that this Nets team actually has a jaw. They bounced back from 18 points to claim a tough, dismal win and disappoint a sell-out crowd of 19,800 at Scotiabank Arena.

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Sat, Dec 17

Saturday December 17th

The Nets (18-12) came fourth in the Eastern Conference on Friday, a game behind third-placed Cleveland and a lead over fifth-placed Philadelphia, both of whom were in action Friday.

Toronto (13-16) has lost four in a row.

Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons is guarded by Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes. Image: Mark BlinchSource: Getty Images

The score was tied at 105-all after Fred VanVleet (game-high 39 points) scored with 3:06 to play. But back-to-back dunks by Ben Simmons and Durant gave the Nets the lead.

The teams went back and forth, with Toronto’s VanVleet, Irving and Scottie Barnes taking turns letting their team lead. But it was an unlikely hero for the Nets who came through with the biggest shot of the night.

Irving drove and attracted three defenders, cornering ex-raptor Yuta Watanabe. He drilled a clutch 3-pointer to set the Nets up, 116-114, by 14.1 seconds.

Barnes tied it at the free-throw line with eight seconds remaining. Irving then solved it with his 3-pointer on the buzzer.

The Nets looked good in the fourth quarter, with Simmons in the middle and length of the smallball at every position around Irving. But it was the third quarter that put the Nets in position to win it.

After a 3-pointer from Pascal Siakam with 62-44 and 1:17 left in the first half, the Nets closed the half with eight unanswered points, leading to a 14-0 sprint that extended into the break.

It was the start of an extended 35-14 run that changed the game. The Nets shot 10 of 13, with Durant having seven points on 3 of 5 from the floor.

The Nets pressed Toronto to a 5-for-18 shooting – including 0-for-6 from deep.

Durant put the Nets ahead, and Watanabe’s finger roll on a three-for-two fast break made it 79-76 with just over three minutes left in the third.

The fourth was full of drama, no game more dramatic than Irving’s 3-pointer.

This article originally appeared in The New York Post and has been republished with permission.

HORFORD CHEAP SHOT

Al Horford’s return from a five-game absence hardly went according to plan on Saturday after the Boston Celtics were eliminated in the third quarter of a shocking 117-109 loss to the Orlando Magic.

Horford, sidelined for personal reasons, was called out for a foul on Orlando big man Moe Wagner that was later deemed a flagrant two.

This meant Horford was automatically knocked out in the third quarter with just over 10 minutes left. Later replays showed that he had elbowed Wagner in the groin.

Horford was on the court for just 16 minutes before his night came to an early end, ending the game with six points and six rebounds.

Celtics teammate Jayson Tatum disagreed with the ejection call after the game.

“I didn’t think that was the right decision,” Tatum said, according to NBC Sports Boston’s post-game coverage.

” … That was incredible. I couldn’t believe Al got kicked out of the game. I didn’t think that was justified. Especially when they went to check, they saw that Mo had fouled him first – so I was allowed to take the free throws. Sometimes guys get fed up with people touching them and the referee doesn’t see it.

Tatum (31 points, seven rebounds, three assists) and Jaylen Brown (26 points, four rebounds, three assists) led the Celtics, who fell to 22-8 with the loss.

Boston Celtics’ Al Horford blocks a shot by Orlando Magic’s Franz Wagner. Image: Winslow TownsonSource: Getty Images

As for the Magic, Cole Anthony was productive with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists from the 29th minute off the bench.

Four of Orlando’s starters, with the exception of Bol Bol (four points), also hit double figures in the win, with Wagner (25 points, eight rebounds) taking the lead in the Magic’s 10th win of the season.

INCREDIBLE GIDDEY PASS

His Oklahoma City Thunder might have lost, but Josh Giddey showed off his brilliant basketball IQ with an epic assist against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Closely guarded by veteran Austin Rivers, Giddey drove and dribbled towards the top of the key before executing an excellent right-handed bounce pass to Jalen Williams, who stopped his baseline cut perfectly and nailed a running dunk.

The Aussie recorded another double-double, finishing with 11 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, but the Timberwolves clinched a 112-110 win.

Rivers, Naz Reid and Anthony Edwards combined for 67 points for Minnesota.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got the highest score for the Thunder with 35 points.

LAKERS WIN AMONG INJURY CONCERNS

The Los Angeles Lakers pulled away late for a 126-108 win over the Denver Nuggets despite losing Anthony Davis at halftime to a right foot injury.

Davis was clearly hampered after tangling under the basket with Denver’s Nikola Jokic in the first quarter, but kept playing, with the Lakers trailing 65-64 after a hard-fought first half.

Denver led 8:03 in the third quarter with 12, but a driving layup from LeBron James and a three-pointer from Dennis Schroder put the Lakers by five in the fourth as they relentlessly retreated.

James led the Lakers with 30 points and Thomas Bryant added 21 from the bench when he filled in for Davis in the second half.

Two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Jokic scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Denver.

EMBIID, HARDEN SPARK SIXERS AFTER SLOW START

The Philadelphia 76ers overcame a shaky start, rebounding from a 38-point quarter against the undermanned Golden State Warriors to claim a 118-106 win.

Joel Embiid and James Harden got up when the Sixers needed it most, scoring 34 and 27 points respectively in the win, with the former capturing 10 defensive boards.

Harden, on the other hand, dealt it when he finished the game with nine assists.

The Warriors took a surprise lead in the first quarter, with DiVincenzo (15 points in 5-on-6 from deep) leading the way for Golden State.

Though Steph Curry and Draymond Green were out, the Warriors had no trouble picking up points and led 38-33 over Philadelphia in the second quarter.

Overall, Golden State shot 9-for-12 from downtown in the opening period, and while that wasn’t exactly sustainable, it was still enough to keep the Sixers at bay.

Philadelphia may still be without Tyrese Maxey, who is reportedly set to return by Christmas Day after breaking his left foot, but the 76ers also had Embiid and Harden available.

James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles past Klay Thompson. Image: Tim NwachukwuSource: Getty Images

The latter had 15 points in 5-for-8 shooting in the opening quarter and led the Sixers in scoring, while Embiid had a stat line of eight points, three rebounds and two assists.

Able to slow the Warriors’ 3-point barrage in the second quarter, the Sixers drew within two points at halftime, trailing 57-55.

Both Embiid and Harden had 17 points at this point, with the former finding plenty of success as he drove towards the basket and recorded nine free-throw attempts by half-time.

Philadelphia carried the momentum into the third quarter as well, going into the latter stages of the game with an 88-81 lead when Embiid scored in the 12th quarter.

Australia’s Matisse Thybulle intervened with a 3-pointer to open the scoring for the Sixers in the fourth quarter, while Georges Niang scored five quick points to make it 98-83 with nine minutes left.

A pair of three-pointers from Klay Thompson helped narrow the deficit, while Jordan Poole also had a pair of late buckets as the Warriors refused to walk away, just staying in touch.

One of those Poole buckets — a driving floating jump shot — cut Philadelphia’s lead to 109-99 with just over three minutes left when the Sixers called for a timeout.

In the end, the Warriors didn’t get much closer, falling 118-106.

Sun’s Crushes Exhausted Clippers! | 01:08

“They took a lot of shots, they were keen to start the game,” Embiid said of a Warriors team leading by two at halftime.

“We knew they would eventually cool down. We just had to stay aggressive, make stops.”

ELSEWHERE

In Detroit, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox scored 24 points and Domantas Sabonis added 23 points and 13 rebounds while seven Kings players scored in double digits in a 122-113 win over the Pistons.

Detroit led by eight at halftime, but the Kings rallied in the third quarter, beating the Pistons 38-23 to take control. Detroit fans booed their team as the Kings put together a 23-6 scoring streak.

The New York Knicks extended their winning streak to six games with a 114-91 win over the Bulls in Chicago.

RJ Barrett scored 27 points and Jalen Brunson and Quentin Grimes added 22 each, Brunson made six career three-pointers and Grimes lost five as the Knicks finished with 17 from beyond the arc.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, powered by 41 points from Donovan Mitchell, rallied for a 118-112 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Trae Young scored 31 points and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 28 for Atlanta as the Hawks beat the Hornets 125-106 in Charlotte.

LATEST NBA RESULTS

Atlantic Falcons 125 – CHARLOTTE HORNETS 106

SACRAMENTO KINGS 122 – DETROIT PISTON 113

ORLANDO MAGIC 117 – BOSTON CELTIC 109

INDIANA PACERS 112 – CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 118

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 106 – PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 118

NEW YORK KNICKS 114 – CHICAGO BULLS 91

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 112 – OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 110

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZER 110 – DALLAS MAVERICKS 130

DENVER NUGGETS 108 – Los Angeles Lakers 126

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