Miami Heat and Boston Celtics played “with a heavy heart” on Wednesday night after riots at the US Capitol left four people dead.
Hundreds of Donald Trump supporters stormed the halls of Congress in a bid to stop the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that later confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Pro-Trump protestors clashed with police a day after it had been confirmed prosecutors would not be charging the officer who shot Jacob Blake last summer.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 7, 2021
The NBA postponed games in protest at the police shooting in August and players from Boston and Miami released a joint statement before Wednesday night’s game which read: “2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed.
“We play tonight’s game with a heavy heart after yesterday’s decision in Kenosha, and knowing that protesters in our nation’s capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on.
“The drastic difference between the way protestors this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today’s protestors who acted illegally just shows how much more work we have to do.”
The game tipped off as planned at the American Airlines Arena and a last-second putback dunk by rookie guard Payton Pritchard helped Boston squeeze past Miami 107-105.
Miami looked sluggish out of the gates, giving up an eight-point deficit in the first quarter, before rallying in the third to keep the heat on their opponents down the stretch.
The see-sawing momentum shifts continued in the fourth, with both teams stringing together late runs, however Pritchard’s effort to save a missed lay-up from Marcus Smart was ultimately enough for Boston to clinch the narrow victory.
Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics with 27 points, while Jimmy Butler posted 26 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort.
It was also a close battle in New Orleans, with the Oklahoma City Thunder downing the Pelicans 111-110.
Three 3's in a row for Mike Muscala.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 7, 2021
Darius Bazley finished with a double-double for Oklahoma City and Zion Williamson top-scored for the Pelicans with 29.
The 76ers got the best of the Washington Wizards 141-136 in a high-scoring affair in Philadelphia.
A career-high 60 points from Bradley Beal were not enough for the Wizards to overcome the duo of Joel Embiid and Seth Curry, who combined for 66.
It was Philadelphia’s fifth consecutive victory, while the Wizards fell to a 2-6 win-loss record on the season.
Steph Curry’s high-scoring run came to an end in the Golden State Warriors’ 108-101 defeat by the Los Angeles Clippers.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 7, 2021
Curry made just one of his six three-point attempts on the way to 13 points – a far cry from his 62-point effort against the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George each posted 21 points in the Clippers’ seven-point win.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 35 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Houston Rockets 114-107.
The New York Knicks’ impressive early-season form continued against the Utah Jazz, with Julius Randle posting 30 points and 16 rebounds in the 112-100 victory.
In the rest of the day’s games, the Orlando Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-94, the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Atlanta Hawks 102-94, the Milwaukee Bucks pulled out a 15-point win over the Detroit Pistons, the Phoenix Suns claimed their sixth win of the season 123-115 over the Toronto Raptors and the Sacramento Kings overcame a 36-point effort from Coby White to sink the Chicago Bulls 128-124.