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Edwards stars as Wolves end Celtics run; losing start for Harden

By AFP - Nov 07,2023 - Last updated at Nov 07,2023

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets goes to the basket against the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter during the NBA In-Season Tournament game at Ball Arena on Friday in Denver, Colorado (AFP photo)

LOS ANGELES — Anthony Edwards scored 38 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves ended the Boston Celtics’ unbeaten start to the season on Monday while James Harden made a losing start in his Los Angeles Clippers debut.

Edwards’ points tally included eight in overtime to help Minnesota claim a 114-109 win over a Celtics team who owned the last undefeated record in the league prior to the game.

“I let my team down in the last quarter by missing two shots; I said to myself I’ve got to make up for it by taking over in overtime,” Edwards said after the win.

Jaden McDaniels gave Edwards offensive support with 20 points, including a jump shot with 16 seconds remaining that effectively sealed victory for Minnesota.

“We’re the dynamic duo,” Edwards quipped. “I trust him. I give him the ball whenever he wants; he’s the reason we won tonight.”

Elsewhere Monday, new Clippers recruit Harden finished with 17 points and six assists but could not prevent his new team falling to a 111-97 road defeat to the New York Knicks.

The 34-year-old former NBA Most Valuable Player was one of five Clippers players in double figures but Tyronn Lue’s star-studded lineup were outgunned by the Knicks’ R.J. Barrett and Julius Randle, who combined for 53 points.

Clippers coach Lue liked what he saw from Harden despite his team’s defeat.

“I thought James was really good,” Lue said. “It’s going to take him a little time to get in game shape, we understand that. But his presence on the floor was definitely felt.”

New York ran away with the game in a one-sided fourth quarter, outscoring the Clippers 35-21 for a win that sees them improve to 3-4 in the Eastern Conference.

 

Wembanyama struggles 

 

In other games on Monday, Indiana gave rising San Antonio Spurs star Victor Wembanyama a reality check in a 152-111 drubbing.

Wembanyama had earned rave reviews after posting 20 points against Toronto on Sunday and 38 points in a victory over Phoenix last Thursday.

But the 19-year-old’s hot hand went stone cold in Indianapolis, with the French teenager shooting just 3-of-12 from the field to finish 13 points.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said only two of his players — Keldon Johnson and Zach Collins — had performed well.

“They were the only guys on our team who showed consistent, decent play,” Popovich said. “A lot of that had to do with Indiana — they were on fire and jumped on us.”

Asked about Wembanyama’s contribution, Popovich added: “He moved well. But like I said — only two guys played decently.”

In Miami, meanwhile, LeBron James scored 30 points against his old club, but the Los Angeles Lakers were edged out 108-107 by last year’s NBA Finals runners-up.

A James layup and a free throw got the Lakers to within one point with 2min 39sec remaining in the fourth quarter.

But Miami’s defence kept the Lakers scoreless for the remainder of the contest and Cam Reddish missed a potential game-winning jump shot with four seconds remaining as the Heat held on for the win.

In Philadelphia, reigning MVP Joel Embiid erupted for 48 points as the Sixers cruised to a 146-128 defeat of the Washington Wizards, who are bottom of the Eastern Conference with just one win in six games.

Embiid was in imperious form for the Sixers, making 17-of-25 from the field while draining a perfect 14 out of 14 from the free throw line. The Sixers improved to 5-1.

In the Western Conference, meanwhile, Steph Curry’s sizzling start to the season continued as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Detroit Pistons 120-109.

Curry is averaging more than 30 points a game in the league this season and added another 34 in Monday’s win. The Warriors improved to 6-2 to remain in third place.

In Denver, the defending NBA champion Nuggets produced a scintillating second-half comeback to sink the New Orleans Pelicans 134-116.

Denver trailed by 20 points in the second quarter after a fast start from the Pels, but came roaring back to outscore their opponents 75-45 after halftime.

Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic contributed a 35-point triple-double which included 14 rebounds and 12 assists in a remarkable second-half turnaround by Denver.

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