SPORTS NBA highlights on Dec. 23: Russell scores 30 as Warriors top Wolves

SPORTS

NBA highlights on Dec. 23: Russell scores 30 as Warriors top Wolves

CGTN

19:45, December 24, 2019


Damion Lee #1 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Chase Center in San Francisco, California, December 23, 2019. (Photos: CGTN)0

For a team that went to the NBA Finals five straight years and came away with three championships over that stretch, it might not seem like much. But considering where the Golden State Warriors are at, winning consecutive games for the first time this season qualifies as progress.

D'Angelo Russell scored 30 points, Alec Burks had 25 points and eight assists, and the Warriors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-104 on Monday night.

"I think it's good man, in the way we're winning too," Russell said. "We're growing."

Draymond Green added 14 rebounds and nine points and Damion Lee had 14 points for Golden State, which won consecutive games for the first time since last season's Western Conference finals.

"It feels... amazing," Green said. "I never thought I'd be so excited for two regular-season wins in my life."

Draymond Green #23 (L) of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by Gorgui Dieng #5 (R) of the Minnesota Timberwolves at Chase Center in San Francisco, California, December 23, 2019.

Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and Jordan McLaughlin had 19 for the Timberwolves, who dropped their 11th straight.

Jeff Teague added 12 points for Minnesota.

The Timberwolves are 5-19 since a 125-119 win over Golden State on November 8 in which Russell scored 52 points and Wiggins had 40.

"It's no secret we're in a funk right now," Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said.

"Young team or not, we've got to learn lessons in this league, because you've got to go through hard times to get to where you want to be."

The Warriors are playing their best ball ahead of a Christmas home game against the Houston Rockets that will be seen by a national audience.

"We need this regardless of what's coming next," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We just needed to win a couple of games in a row just to get a little momentum and feel good. Christmas is always a special day to play on; you know that everybody's watching. It's got a different vibe, a different feel, and our players will be really excited. It'll be good to go into that game with momentum."

Pelicans beat Blazers 102-94; Lillard misses all 10 3s

In another game, the New Orleans Pelicans capitalized on Lillard's shooting struggles to beat the Trail Blazers 102-94.

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, December 23, 2019.

For a Portland team looking to ride a five-game winning streak into Christmas, Monday night was a bad time for Damian Lillard to have one of the worst shooting games of his career.

The Pelicans held Portland to just 48 points in the second half, the lowest mark the Pelicans have surrendered in a half this season, and won for the second time in three games.

"There's a big thing in the NBA about 3s and layups and we try to take away at least one of them," Holiday said. "Tonight they had a lot of paint points but how they shot the 3 was in our favor."

Carmelo Anthony had 23 points and nine rebounds but Portland had its four-game winning streak snapped.

Portland's backcourt duo of Lillard and CJ McCollum was a combined 2 for 20 from the 3-point line. Lillard had an especially tough night, going 0 for 10 beyond the arc, the first time in his career that he's failed to make a 3-pointer while attempting at least nine. His previous low mark was 0 for 8 in his rookie season.

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, December 23, 2019.

"First time for everything," Lillard said. "Tonight was one of those nights. I've been scoring and shooting the ball well enough in this league while it's not something I'm about to go and stay up over."

"We were into it," Lillard said of his team's effort. "But if you make four 3s and they make 15, it's going to be hard to win."

Anthony had 11 points in the first half of his return from injury, including a steal and 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to tie the game at 31. However, Anthony's 3-pointer was the only one the Blazers made in 12 attempts in the first half.

Lillard finished 6 of 21. He didn't make a field goal in the fourth quarter until there were 58 seconds left.

The Blazers led 56-54 at halftime but the Pelicans made six 3-pointers in the third quarter and pushed the ball while Portland continued to struggle shooting the ball from the outside. Anthony had eight points in the third quarter to help keep Portland within single digits.

A 3-pointer by Holiday gave the Pelicans a 95-88 lead with 7:09 left in the game. A dunk by Kenrich Williams gave the Pelicans their biggest lead of the game at 101-91 with 3:34 left.

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