Paul George was thrilled to take to the court alongside Kawhi Leonard for the first time as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Boston Celtics 107-104 in overtime.

After injuries to both players postponed their maiden outing together, the wait was ended in Wednesday's clash with the Celtics in LA.

George put up 25 points and eight assists, while Leonard finished with a 17-point haul that included a dazzling dunk over the towering Daniel Theis.

And George was full of praise for his fellow Spurs star.

"I mean, that's the Finals MVP, man," George said of Leonard. "He knows when it's time to take over.

"He's been there and he's won championships with multiple ball clubs, so he knows how to stomp and put that foot on opponents' neck and that's what you saw him do tonight.

"It was fun to see what this team can look like on the defensive end, and offensively it was fun to see how we can play off each other.

"The fact of the matter is we are going to have growing pains and I think the most positive thing is we understood that.

"Nobody was pointing fingers or dropping their heads in huddles ... at no point was this team ever dysfunctional."

For his part, Leonard recognises there is room for improvement as the duo bed in alongside each other, with game time the key.

"It's pretty much just finding each other's spots and knowing the plays," Leonard said.

"It's still tough. We are both kind of on a minute restriction, hard to get into a flow. But just knowing plays and each other's spots and the language on the defensive end [will help].

"Repetition is what we need right now."

Gregg Popovich cut a frustrated figure as he reflected on yet another defeat for the San Antonio Spurs, whose losing streak now stretches to seven games.

The Spurs went down 138-132 to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and have not endured such a torrid run of form since the 1996-97 season.

It left coach Popovich in no mood to get too deep into analysis as he summed it up with some simple logical reasoning.

"All in all, if you score 132 points, you should probably have a pretty good chance to win a game," he said.

"The bad news is, if you give up 138, you are not going to win.

"I'm a really smart guy. I'm figuring that's logical. I could be wrong. There's not much else to say."

DeMar DeRozan struck an even more downbeat tone than his boss, despite his own contribution of 31 points. 

"Every single game we've lost feels worse than the last game," said the four-time NBA All-Star.

Ben Simmons said it felt good for his hard work to pay off after the Philadelphia 76ers star drained his first NBA three-pointer.

Simmons ended his long wait for a regular-season three as the 76ers topped the New York Knicks 109-104 on Wednesday.

The number one pick in the 2016 draft, All-Star guard Simmons had attempted 17 shots from beyond the arc in the league, with much made about his jump shot and unwillingness to shoot the three.

Simmons, however, made a three-pointer in the opening quarter against the Knicks – his 172nd game in the NBA.

"It feels good to put work in in the summer and it pays off," Simmons said post-game in Philadelphia midweek.

Wells Fargo Center erupted as fans and team-mates celebrated Simmons' maiden three-pointer.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown added: "Like I've said for a while now, other people get more excited about it than I do. But how can that not be a good thing? And, really, if we're all honest, that's the first legitimate sort of three he's taken.

"A lot of them have been heaves at the end of periods, and stuff like that. But I think his footwork, his confidence, he rose up and he didn't blink. He looked great."

There has been plenty of talk about Brown, who is reportedly finalising a deal to coach Australia at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Brown – who spent time coaching in Australia prior to his move to the San Antonio Spurs – previously led the Boomers to the 2012 Olympic Games quarter-finals.

After sitting out this year's FIBA World Cup in China, Simmons said of Brown: "I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it.

"He's coaching me now, so we have a great relationship. I've known him my whole life. I'm excited to put together a great team."

Luka Doncic recorded a remarkable triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks demolished the Golden State Warriors 142-94 in the NBA.

Doncic showed no mercy with 35 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in just 25 minutes of action on Wednesday.

The second-year guard had 22 points, five assists and five rebounds after the first quarter alone in Dallas midweek.

Doncic – who was coming off a 40-point triple-double on Monday – has an NBA-best seven triple-doubles through 14 games for the Mavs (9-5) this season.

The struggling Warriors (3-13) were led by Eric Paschall's 22 points on the road.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George took to the court for the first time together as the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the Boston Celtics 107-104 in overtime.

Injuries to both players postponed the star Clippers recruits from playing together, however, that changed on Wednesday.

George had 25 points and eight assists, while Leonard – back from injury – finished with 17 points in Los Angeles, while Jayson Tatum scored 30 points.

 

Giannis sparks Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 33 points and 11 rebounds in the Milwaukee Bucks' 135-127 victory against the Atlanta Hawks. Eric Bledsoe had 28 of his own as the Bucks won their fifth consecutive game.

James Harden (27) and Russell Westbrook (25) combined for 52 points, while Clint Capela posted 12 points and 21 rebounds but the Houston Rockets still lost 105-95 to the Denver Nuggets.

Jarrett Allen's 22 points and 17 rebounds led the Brooklyn Nets past the Charlotte Hornets 101-91.

 

Spurs' slide continues

The San Antonio Spurs are in freefall. Gregg Popovich's team dropped their seventh straight game – a 138-132 loss to the Washington Wizards. It is San Antonio's worst streak since 1996-97.

 

Simmons shoots a three!

Yes, you read that right. Ben Simmons nailed his first three-pointer in the NBA. After 17 unsuccessful attempts, the Philadelphia 76ers guard ended his drought in the opening quarter of his team's 109-104 win over the New York Knicks.

Wednesday's results

Washington Wizards 138-132 San Antonio Spurs
Philadelphia 76ers 109-104 New York Knicks
Toronto Raptors 113-97 Orlando Magic
Milwaukee Bucks 135-127 Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat 124-100 Cleveland Cavaliers
Brooklyn Nets 101-91 Charlotte Hornets
Dallas Mavericks 142-94 Golden State Warriors
Chicago Bulls 109-89 Detroit Pistons
Utah Jazz 103-95 Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets 105-95 Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers 107-104 Boston Celtics (OT)

 

Trail Blazers at Bucks

The Bucks (11-3) will back up when they welcome Carmelo Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers (5-10) to Milwaukee on Thursday. Anthony made his debut last time out and will be looking to make more of an impact against the high-flying Bucks.

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons made his long-awaited first regular-season three-pointer in the NBA.

The number one pick in the 2016 draft, All-Star guard Simmons had attempted 17 shots from beyond the arc in the league.

Much had been made about Simmons' jump shot and unwillingness to shoot the three following 171 NBA appearances.

However, that changed in the 76ers' clash with the lowly New York Knicks at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Early in the opening quarter, Simmons received a pass from team-mate Furkan Korkmaz and hailed the three from the corner as the arena erupted in celebration.

Entering the midweek game, Simmons had been averaging 13.7 points, 7.1 assists and 6.0 rebounds for the 76ers (8-5).

The Portland Trail Blazers waived Pau Gasol as the NBA veteran continues his recovery from a left foot injury.

Gasol suffered a season-ending injury before signing a one-year deal with the Trail Blazers in July, however, the two-time champion's rehabilitation has taken longer than expected.

The 39-year-old six-time All-Star, who played three games for the Milwaukee Bucks having arrived from the San Antonio Spurs last season, is reportedly in talks with the Trail Blazers over a coaching role.

"As of today, I will no longer be member of the Portland Trail Blazers roster," Gasol said in video released via his Twitter account on Wednesday. "The injury I am dealing with, for which I underwent surgery last May, can take anywhere from six to 12 months to heal completely.

"I underwent surgery in hopes it would expedite my return, but unfortunately we have assessed that my recovery will take longer than we originally hoped for.

"When we signed my contract with the Blazers we knew this timeline was a possibility, so we agreed the team could have the opportunity to release me in order to have the flexibility to sign another player who could help on the court right away. This will also allow me to fully focus on my recovery without the pressure of having the team waiting for my return."

Gasol – who won his two titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, while he also played for the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls – averaged a career-low 3.9 points and 4.6 rebounds last season.

The Spaniard has averaged 17.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists over the course of his NBA career.

Steve Kerr was delighted to see his Golden State Warriors players rewarded for their persistence following Tuesday's 114-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

It has been a season of struggle for the 2019 NBA Finals losers and the victory in Memphis snapped a run of seven consecutive losses.

Kerr's side have only three wins to their name from 15 outings, leaving the Warriors bottom of the Western Conference, but he preferred to focus on the positives.

"I'm happy for the guys," said the coach. "They've been playing hard and working hard and it's good to see them rewarded.

"The great thing with these guys is they've stayed with it every step of the way. They haven't taken a day off, they haven't stopped working."

Forward Draymond Green went close to a triple-double in the win, finishing with 11 assists, 10 rebounds and eight points.

He echoed Kerr's sentiments in citing work rate and desire as being key to securing a positive result this time around.

"I think we just challenged ourselves," he said.

"That's something we've talked a lot about, getting better on the defensive end and we've been stepping up to the challenge.

"You can definitely see that there's some improvement. And with the improvement, we've been talking after each game about, 'We're getting there, we're getting there, just keep on working.'"

LeBron James is so used to making history that his latest landmark initially passed him by, though he later described his milestone triple-double feat as "pretty cool".

The Los Angeles Lakers star became the first player to record a triple-double against all 30 NBA teams as he posted 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in Tuesday's 112-107 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel was quick to praise the 34-year-old after his latest impressive outing at the Staples Center but James was not aware of what he had just achieved.

"I had no idea," he said. "Coach Vogel came in here and said congratulations. I was like, I thought he was joking about my seven turnovers because I've been taking care of the ball so much.

"He told me I was the first player in NBA history to have a triple-double versus 30 teams, every team, so I was like, 'Okay. That's pretty cool.'"

While James refused to get carried away with it, Vogel was far more effusive.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "He'll say it's because he's been in the league for so long, but we all know that it's because he's remarkable.

"For him to be doing it for as long as he's been doing it, that's how you knock out all 30 teams with a stat like that.

"I don't know if that will ever get accomplished again."

The win was the Lakers' fifth in a row, improving their record to 12-2.

Carmelo Anthony maintained an optimistic outlook despite tasting defeat on his Portland Trail Blazers debut on Tuesday.

The 10-time NBA All-Star managed just 10 points after going four-of-14 from the field in a 115-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

But the 35-year-old forward was delighted to be back in the action after a frustrating time with the Houston Rockets.

"It felt great just to be back into the flow of the game, be back on the court, be back to where I think I belong," Anthony said.

"Just being back out there with the guys again. I think most of all the routine – team bus, team lunch, being around the guys in the locker room – just the routine I've been used to for 17 years now ... so getting back into that. As far as the game goes, it felt good to be back out there.

"As far as conditioning, though, I felt absolutely great out there. There were minor things, but it was more of the flow of things, and getting used to how the team plays and sets and getting used to the guys on the team."

Blazers coach Terry Stotts, whose side have lost 10 of their 15 games, was also content with Anthony's maiden outing.

"To be honest, I thought he looked good," he said. "I thought offensively he got looks, he got good looks at the basket.

"I thought he got fouled at least two or three times taking it strong to the basket. He then came away empty, so that kind of affected his [stat] line.

"But I thought, for having a morning shoot-around, I thought it was pretty good."

The Los Angeles Lakers continued their fine form in the NBA, while Carmelo Anthony made his Portland Trail Blazers debut on Tuesday.

The Lakers improved to 12-2 and won their fifth straight with a 112-107 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

They were again led by star duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the Staples Center.

James finished with a triple-double of 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while Davis had 34 points. It marked more history for James, who became the first player to record a triple-double against all 30 NBA teams.

Anthony, 35, made his Trail Blazers debut in Portland's 115-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 10-time All-Star managed just 10 points after going four-of-14 from the field in the defeat.

Burks guides struggling Warriors

The Golden State Warriors claimed just their third win of the season, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 114-95 thanks to 29 points from Alec Burks.

Draymond Green went close to a triple-double in the win, finishing with 11 assists, 10 rebounds and eight points.

Bogdan Bogdanovic (31 points) and Richaun Holmes (20 points and 15 rebounds) helped the Sacramento Kings past the Phoenix Suns 120-116.

 

Ferguson struggles

Terrance Ferguson struggled for the Thunder. A first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Ferguson went one-of-seven from the field, finishing with just three points in 30 minutes against the Lakers.

 

Rondo sets up LeBron

James dunked a perfect pass from Rajon Rondo during the Lakers' win.

Tuesday's results

Golden State Warriors 114-95 Memphis Grizzlies
New Orleans Pelicans 115-104 Portland Trail Blazers
Sacramento Kings 120-116 Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Lakers 112-107 Oklahoma City Thunder

 

Celtics at Clippers

It is another early-season blockbuster at the Staples Center as the Boston Celtics (11-2) visit the Los Angeles Clippers (9-5).

The Portland Trail Blazers have confirmed the signing of 10-time NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony - and could hand their latest addition his debut for the team on Tuesday.

Anthony has not featured in the league in over a year, since a short-lived spell with the Houston Rockets came to an end.

However, the 35-year-old has played over 1,000 games in a career that has spanned 16 seasons since he was selected with the third overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Anthony has previously played for the Denver Nuggets - the team who drafted him - as well as the New York Knicks and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"Carmelo is an established star in this league that will provide a respected presence in our locker room and a skill set at a position of need on the floor," said Neil Olshey, Portland's president of basketball operations.

Anthony will wear number 00 for the Trail Blazers, who reached last season's Western Conference Finals but are struggling at 5-9 this year.

The NBA's scoring champion for the 2012-13 campaign has been activated in time to feature against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Carmelo Anthony says joining the Portland Trail Blazers feels like the "perfect opportunity" to resurrect his NBA career.

The veteran forward is expected to join the Trail Blazers ahead of their road match-up with the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday.

Anthony, 35, has been out of the league since he was waived by the Chicago Bulls back in February and last played a game in November 2018 for the Houston Rockets.

The 10-time All-Star is determined to grasp his opportunity now he has secured his return.

The veteran forward said in a YouTube clip: "I always kept my eye on Portland. It just didn't work out at other times. But now it seems like a perfect opportunity.

"I just look at that team and say, 'This is what I can bring, this is where I can help'. It can only work if all parties see it the same way.

"What happened before is the past; I can't dwell on that. I learned from that.

"This happened at a point of time in my life where I do have a lot of clarity and understanding of different situations, just life. My approach is totally different."Portland made the Western

Conference Finals last season but are struggling at 5-9 this time around and lost 132-108 to the Rockets on Monday.

 

Rick Carlisle declared Luka Doncic "can do anything he wants on a basketball court" after he inspired the Dallas Mavericks to a 117-110 defeat of the San Antonio Spurs.

The Slovenian prodigy conjured up a career-high 42 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in a magnificent display at American Airlines Center on Monday.

Doncic became the second-youngest player in NBA history to rack up a 40-point triple-double, with only his idol LeBron James having achieved the feat earlier in his career.

Mavericks coach Carlisle said: "This guy can do anything he wants to on a basketball court. He's having one of those magical runs right now.

"It's a phenomenal thing to watch. It's a phenomenal thing to be a part of."

Forward Doncic said: "It feels like every day there are stats you don't know about, stats that you read about. It's great to hit."

Dallas are 8-5 after winning two in a row, while the struggling Spurs have now lost six on the spin and are languishing at 5-9.

Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan said: "When adversity hits, you can't run from it, you can't shy away from it, you can't let it get you down.

"Try to channel that energy and put it in the right place so we can understand why we got beat."

 

Luka Doncic stole the show in the NBA on Monday, while the Los Angeles Clippers edged to victory.

Doncic, 20, finished with a triple-double of 42 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in the Dallas Mavericks' 117-110 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

The Slovenian became the second youngest player in NBA history to record a 40-point triple-double, with LeBron James the only other 20-year-old to manage the feat.

Kawhi Leonard was sidelined again with a knee injury as the Clippers overcame the Oklahoma City Thunder 90-88.

Paul George finished with 18 points, but it was Montrezl Harrell's 28 points and 12 rebounds off the bench that led the Clippers (9-5).

 

Harden, Westbrook guide Rockets to eighth straight win

James Harden had 36 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Houston Rockets' eighth straight win – a 132-108 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

He got plenty of support from Russell Westbrook, who posted a triple-double of 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks past the Chicago Bulls 115-101 with 33 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Horrible Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets (6-8) were destroyed by the Toronto Raptors, blown out in a 132-96 defeat.

 

George hits key three

George stepped up when the Clippers needed him, sinking a go-ahead three-pointer with less than 30 seconds remaining.

Monday's results

New York Knicks 123-105 Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers 115-86 Brooklyn Nets
Toronto Raptors 132-96 Charlotte Hornets
Milwaukee Bucks 115-101 Chicago Bulls
Houston Rockets 132-108 Portland Trail Blazers
Dallas Mavericks 117-110 San Antonio Spurs
Boston Celtics 99-85 Phoenix Suns
Minnesota Timberwolves 112-102 Utah Jazz
Los Angeles Clippers 90-88 Oklahoma City Thunder

 

Thunder at Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are 11-2 and return to action against the Thunder (5-8), who will be out to rebound from their narrow loss to the Clippers.

Marcus Smart was absolutely convinced his buzzer-beating attempt had landed but felt the Boston Celtics paid the price for a slow start in their defeat to the Sacramento Kings.

The Celtics guard went to the hoop with a last-gasp effort that seemed destined to land but hit the rim and trickled to safety as Boston saw a 10-match winning streak in the NBA snapped in a 100-99 reverse.

It capped a difficult evening for Smart, who went two-for-16 from the floor and made just one of eight three-point attempts.

Speaking about the late near miss, he said: "I thought it was going in.

"I think everybody thought it was going in and it just rolled out. It's one of those games, but that's not what lost us the game. 

"What lost us the game was the early start for me and everybody else in that starting unit. We allowed those guys to get very, very comfortable, and as we know in this league, especially with great guys like those are over there, when they get comfortable it's kind of hard to get a stop to get going."

Prior to that moment, Smart opted to shoot with 15 seconds remaining, having earned an offensive rebound and missed.

"I came up with the offensive rebound, and instead of kicking it back out I lost track of time," he added. 

"I thought I had a quick layup, instead of kicking it out and letting them foul us and controlling the game. And then I got called for the foul. He made two big free throws and got the bounce on one of them to go in.

"And then Kemba [Walker] made a great play. They stopped him, my man turned around to help and he kicked it. I drove it, just like anybody else would do. The ball felt like it sat on the rim forever."

Coach Brad Stevens hopes his side can learn from the mistakes they made.

"There were a lot of controllables that we missed, but they had to also make some incredible shots," Stevens said. 

"So, I think it was a mixture of those two, and we'll get to work from a film standpoint on those controllables and hopefully be better in those scenarios tomorrow. 

"But also credit them. I thought a couple of those shots were awfully well contested and those go in and it makes a big difference."

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