Stephen Curry led the Golden State Warriors past the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, while the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back.

Curry's fine start to the NBA season continued in the Warriors' 115-105 win over the Clippers.

The guard had a double-double of 38 points and 11 assists as the Warriors (5-4) responded to their loss to the Clippers on Wednesday.

Curry was 13-of-24 from the field and nine-of-14 from three-point range in the win.

Paul George (25) and Kawhi Leonard (24) combined for 49 points for the Clippers, but they slipped to 6-4.

The Lakers bounced back from their loss to the San Antonio Spurs by overcoming the Chicago Bulls 117-115.

LeBron James' 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists led the Lakers, who were without Anthony Davis (strained adductor).

Zach LaVine finished with 38 points for the Bulls.

 

Bucks fall despite Giannis' display, Celtics win

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 35 points, eight rebounds and four assists, but the Milwaukee Bucks went down to the Utah Jazz 131-118.

Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz, posting 32 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Jaylen Brown continued his good form with a double-double of 27 points and 13 rebounds in the Boston Celtics' 116-107 win over the Washington Wizards. Brown and Jayson Tatum (32 points) became the third pair of team-mates in the past 20 seasons to each record 250-plus points in their team's first 10 games, joining Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant (2001-02) and Curry and Kevin Durant (three times).

The Wizards slumped to 2-7 despite Bradley Beal's 41 points.

Caris LeVert exploded for 43 points, but the Brooklyn Nets – without Durant and Kyrie Irving – were edged by the Memphis Grizzlies 115-110.

 

Magic misery

The Orlando Magic have made a good start to the season, but they shot at just 38.2 per cent in a 132-90 loss to the Houston Rockets. Orlando are now 6-3.

 

Brotherly battle

LaMelo and Lonzo Ball did battle on Friday. LaMelo had 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in the Charlotte Hornets' 118-110 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Friday's results

Detroit Pistons 110-105 Phoenix Suns
Boston Celtics 116-107 Washington Wizards
Charlotte Hornets 118-110 New Orleans Pelicans
Oklahoma City Thunder 101-89 New York Knicks
Houston Rockets 132-90 Orlando Magic
Memphis Grizzlies 115-110 Brooklyn Nets
Utah Jazz 131-118 Milwaukee Bucks
Toronto Raptors 144-123 Sacramento Kings
Golden State Warriors 115-105 Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers 117-115 Chicago Bulls

 

Cavaliers at Bucks

The Bucks (5-4) will look to bounce back when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers (5-4) on Saturday.

LaMelo Ball revelled in a "great feeling" after facing his brother, Lonzo, as the Charlotte Hornets overcame the New Orleans Pelicans.

LaMelo had 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in the Hornets' 118-110 victory in the NBA on Friday.

His brother, Lonzo, had less of an impact, finishing with five points, three assists and two rebounds for the Pelicans.

LaMelo, who had the first double-double of his NBA career, enjoyed facing his older brother.

"It was a great feeling for sure," he told Fox Sports.

"Onto the next one, we don't really live in the past, we've got a game tomorrow."

Gordon Hayward lifted the Hornets with 26 points, while Zion Williamson had 26 for the Pelicans.

LaMelo praised his team for working together as they improved to 4-5.

"I've played a lot of basketball and I know basketball don't change," he said.

"At the end of the day I'm smooth but all of our team-mates together we all help each other and push each other."

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James condemned the scenes in Washington, D.C. and shared the feeling that the response by law enforcement could have been far worse had the perpetrators been black people.

On Wednesday, a large number of violent protestors stormed the US Capitol after descending on the city for a rally held by Donald Trump, who has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, his presidential election loss to Joe Biden was fraudulent.

Five people are confirmed to have died and dozens arrested after appalling scenes at the seat of democracy in the United States on the day the electoral college certified Biden's victory, with some individuals able to force access into private offices and take pictures in the chair of vice president Mike Pence while members of congress were forced to flee under escort.

Tear gas was used in the Capitol Rotunda as part of non-lethal means to disperse the crowd, and Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook claimed the outcome would have been "totally different" had the vast majority of aggressors been African-American.

Team-mate Bradley Beal said, compared with the police handling of Black Lives Matter protests last year, the response lacked the same "sense of urgency".

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers shared that sentiment, saying: "It basically proves the point about a privileged life in a lot of ways. I'll say it because I don't think a lot of people want to: could you imagine today if those were all black people storming the Capitol and what would have happened?"

And James, who hit 27 points, six rebounds and 12 assists in the Lakers' 118-109 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, said the black community has endured a hard week following the Capitol riots and the news that the police officer who shot and paralysed Jacob Blake in Wisconsin in August will face no charges.

"Obviously, the last few days have been very, very tough on anybody in the black community," James said.

"We got the news in Memphis with the Jacob Blake announcement and the cop being let off and then seeing what happened in our national capital, inside the Capitol.

"We live in two Americas. That was a prime example of that yesterday, and if you don't understand that or don't see that after seeing what you saw yesterday, then you really need to take a step back, not even just one step, maybe four or five or even 10 steps backwards.

"Ask yourself: how do you want your kids, or how do you want your grandkids, how do we want America to be viewed as, how do we want to live in this beautiful country? Because yesterday was not it.

"Being part of a household with three kids, two boys, a daughter, a wife, a mother-in-law, so many black folks in my household during that time and it's on the TV, couldn't help but wonder if those were my kind storming the Capitol... what would have been the outcome? I think we all know."

The Los Angeles Lakers' four-game winning streak was snapped in the NBA on Thursday, while the Philadelphia 76ers also fell.

Despite a double-double of 27 points and 12 assists from LeBron James, the Lakers were beaten by the San Antonio Spurs 118-109.

Anthony Davis also had 23 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lakers slipped to 6-3.

LaMarcus Aldridge posted a game-high 28 points for the Spurs.

After five straight wins, the 76ers fell to a 122-109 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Joel Embiid had a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers (7-2).

The Nets were without Kevin Durant (quarantine) and Kyrie Irving (personal reasons), but Caris LeVert posted 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds as they improved to 5-4.

 

Lillard lifts Trail Blazers, Doncic dominates

Damian Lillard's 39 points, seven rebounds and seven assists saw the Portland Trail Blazers past the Minnesota Timberwolves 135-117.

Luka Doncic dominated with 38 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks overcame the Denver Nuggets 124-117 after overtime.

Andre Drummond had a double-double of 22 points and 15 rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers edged the Memphis Grizzlies 94-90.

 

Terrible Timberwolves

After back-to-back wins to start the season, the Timberwolves have suffered six straight losses. Malik Beasley struggled against the Trail Blazers, going three-of-13 from the field for 12 points in 28 minutes.

 

Cool Jokic

Nikola Jokic forced overtime for the Nuggets against the Mavericks with a long two. He finished with 38 points and 11 rebounds in the overtime loss.

Thursday's results

Brooklyn Nets 122-109 Philadelphia 76ers
Cleveland Cavaliers 94-90 Memphis Grizzlies
Portland Trail Blazers 135-117 Minnesota Timberwolves
San Antonio Spurs 118-109 Los Angeles Lakers
Dallas Mavericks 124-117 Denver Nuggets

 

Clippers at Warriors

The Los Angeles Clippers (6-3) and Golden State Warriors (4-4) meet for the second time in three days on Friday. The Clippers claimed a 108-101 victory on Wednesday.

Steve Nash labelled Joe Harris "a stud" after he helped the Brooklyn Nets beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA on Thursday.

Harris was 11-of-19 from the field and six-of-nine from three-point range for 28 points in 30 minutes in a 122-109 victory.

The Nets were without Kevin Durant (quarantine) and Kyrie Irving (personal reasons), but Harris delivered off the bench.

Nash hailed the 29-year-old for his performance after the Nets improved to 5-4.

"Joe's a stud. He makes shots, he makes plays, he battles physically, defends, rebounds, he does a bit of everything," he told a news conference.

"He's not just a shooter. He makes other plays and makes his team-mates better because of his energy, effort and shot-making."

Durant and Irving are set to be absent again when the Nets face the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

A report claimed Irving simply did not want to play against the 76ers (7-2), but Nash dismissed those suggestions.

"I haven't spoken to him yet. I can't really comment because I haven't spoken to him and it's personal reasons so it'd have to come from Kyrie, but I don't believe that to be the case," he said.

Kevin Durant could return for the Brooklyn Nets against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, head coach Steve Nash said.

Durant missed Tuesday's win over the Utah Jazz and was expected to be absent for another three games after reportedly being exposed to someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

But the star may return early, although he will still miss the Nets' next two games – including Thursday's clash against the Philadelphia 76ers.

"I think Kevin's situation is that if he continues to test negative he can play Sunday," Nash told a news conference.

"That's all I have on that, but can't wait for Sunday to come."

The Nets will also be without another star, Kyrie Irving, against the 76ers due to personal reasons.

"I just found out. I just sent him a message in the last half hour and I haven't heard back yet," Nash said.

"But obviously thinking about him and hope all is well. It's a private matter."

Durant is averaging 28.2 points, seven rebounds and 4.8 assists per game for the Nets (4-4) this season.

Irving, meanwhile, is averaging 27.1 points, 6.1 assists and 5.3 rebounds.

Lonzo Ball is looking forward to taking on his brother LaMelo Ball when the Pelicans face the Charlotte Hornets on Friday - but getting New Orleans back on track is his primary concern. 

The Pelicans are 4-4 after suffering back-to-back narrow defeats against the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the Hornets ended a three-game losing skid by beating the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, improving to 3-5. 

LaMelo was the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and the rookie is already pushing for a spot in Charlotte's starting lineup, averaging 12.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists through his first eight games in the league. 

In his fourth appearance, LaMelo had 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a 118-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. He became first rookie to post such a stat line (at least 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists) within their first four games in the league since Lonzo in 2017, and only the fifth since 1985-86 - Kevin Durant, Grant Hill and Lloyd Daniels the others to achieve the feat. 

Eight games into his NBA career, Lonzo was averaging 9.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists from eight starts for the Los Angeles Lakers – the last of which saw him fail to score a single point in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. 

The game between the Pelicans and Hornets will be broadcast nationally in the United States but Lonzo does not intend to let a family reunion detract from greater objectives. 

"I think it's gonna be a lot of fun. It's our first time matching up in a real game, but I think it's gonna be an opportunity to just get back on track. We've lost the last two so we want to turn it around starting tomorrow," said Lonzo. 

"It's just about getting the win. It'll be cool seeing him out there and everything but he's gonna do what he can for his team and I'm gonna do what I can for my team and go from there." 

Asked if he was planning to treat LaMelo to some trash talk, he added: "No, I'll just play my game. Wherever coach puts me I'll do the best I can to get stops for my team and push the break the other way."

Despite spending their formative years together, Lonzo may be in for a surprise when he finally faces up to LaMelo having played minimal one-on-one during their youth.

"Not really too much one-on-one; a lot of two-on-twos, three-on-threes, though, pretty much our whole life," he said.

"One-on-one I was just always a little too big for him. As far as playing in the back yard, we played three-on-three pretty much every day. We always went at it and I think you see that in his game. He's not afraid of anybody. He's always played up and it's always been that way for him."

Lonzo and LaMelo enjoyed a single season as team-mates alongside their other brother LiAngelo – who has reportedly signed a contract to play in the upcoming G League season – during high school at Chino Hills in 2015-16, going 35-0 and winning a state championship.

"It was a lot of fun. We went undefeated that year. It was the only time we all got to play together in high school and we made the most of it," said Lonzo.

"It was just a fun time all around, being with them before I took off on my journey and they went their ways as well."

While Lonzo spent a year at UCLA before being drafted second overall by the Lakers in 2017, LaMelo opted against playing in college.

He turned professional and played in Lithuania and Australia either side of participating in the Junior Basketball Association - a league that was set up by his father LaVar Ball to offer an alternative to college.

"Everybody has to find their own way. Obviously, I went the more traditional route, he didn't, but at the end of the day we both ended up where we wanted to be," said Lonzo.

"Hard work definitely pays off. No matter who you are, you put your mind to something and you can do it. I really believe that. It worked for me, it worked for him, so that's what I'd tell kids growing up today as well."

Now the pair are on the same stage, Lonzo declared: "It just shows all the hard work paid off ... and we both ended up where we wanted to go."

It was never going to be easy for the Toronto Raptors, not when you are living out of hotels and temporary residences more than 2,000 miles from your home city. Not when you dwell in by far the most top-heavy division in the Eastern Conference.

Still, the way the 2018-19 NBA champions have performed more like a bottom-feeding also-ran than a presumed title contender during the nascent stages of a challenging 2020-21 season is at least a cause for concern. And the difficult circumstances the Raptors find themselves under, playing their home games in Tampa, Florida, after being forced southward by travel restrictions by the Canadian government, does not reasonably explain all their early problems. 

It is not the sole reason Toronto has been among the league's most inept scoring teams thus far, ranking 26th in offensive rating and dead last in field goal percentage. It is not why the Raptors have been routinely steamrolled in the second half of games during their 1-6 start (their sixth loss of last season did not come until their 21st game, by the way).

No, there's a bit more to it than that. And while it is certainly not time to press the panic button just yet, there are a few areas the Raptors clearly need to improve on if they are to at least extend their current seven-year streak of playoff appearances. 

THE SHOTS ARE NOT FALLING, ESPECIALLY FROM LONG DISTANCE 

The 3-point shot has always been a big part of the Raptors' game since Nick Nurse took over as head coach, as they ranked sixth in the NBA in 3-point rate (the ratio of 3-pointers attempted to total field goal attempts) last season and 10th during their 2018-19 championship campaign. So far in 2020-21, nearly half (49.2 per cent) of Toronto's shots have come from behind the arc – the highest total in the league. 

The difference is this Raptors are not hitting those shots at nearly the same proficiency as before. Toronto's 34.2 success rate ranks 24th in the league. The Raptors finished no lower than sixth in either of the past two seasons. 

In 2019-20, the Raptors had six players with at least three 3-point attempts per game shoot 38 percent or better from long range, tied with Detroit for the most in the NBA. Only three current players (Fred VanVleet, Chris Boucher, Matt Thomas) can make that claim so far this season. 

Two players who accomplished that feat in 2019-20, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, have moved on. Aron Baynes, a 35 percent 3-point shooter over the past two seasons, was signed with the intent to fill the void, but he is 3-of-16 on triple attempts thus far. Holdover OG Anunoby, just weeks removed from signing a four-year, $72million extension, is 12-of-41 (29.3 percent) after hitting at a 39 percent clip in 2019-20. 

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, PASCAL SIAKAM? 

Siakam's well-documented struggles in Toronto's seven-game loss to Boston in last season's Eastern Conference semi-finals may not have been a blip on the radar.

The Celtics masterfully neutralised the forward by deploying the smaller Jaylen Brown as his primary defender, and teams have been successfully following that blueprint during the early stages of this season. 

The plan is working so far, too. Often drawing defenders with the length and athleticism to give him problems (Philadelphia's Ben Simmons and San Antonio's Rudy Gay were particularly effective), Siakam is simply not getting to the rim with the same frequency as past years, and (see below) has been among the least efficient players of his size when doing so.

LOWEST FG PERCENTAGE AT THE RIM – PLAYERS 6'9" OR TALLER - IN 2020-21 SEASON (minimum 100 minutes played) 

Isaiah Stewart, Det .478 
Pascal Siakam, Tor .488 
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA .500 
Brook Lopez, Mil .500 
Jusuf Nurkic, Por .500 
Dwight Powell, Dal .500 

The Raptors have been outscored by an astonishing 63 points with Siakam on the court, an average of 10.5 per game that is eclipsed only by a pair of players from the likely lottery bound Timberwolves (D'Angelo Russell, Ed Davis) for the worst mark in the league. 

It has been a humbling start for the 2018-19 NBA Most Improved Player, and that frustration was no more evident than when he bolted straight to the locker room after fouling out late in a loss to the 76ers. Nurse benched him for the next game, which happens to be the only one the Raptors have won so far.

Siakam did look more like his old self in Wednesday's outing at Phoenix, when he put up 32 points and shot over 50 percent from the field for the first time this season. It goes without saying the Raptors need him to return to his All-Star form, as they were 19-1 when he scored 25 or more points in a game in 2019-20. 

LEADS ARE SLIPPING AWAY 

Six teams have lost multiple times when holding a double-digit lead in a game so far. The Rockets, Hawks, Wizards and Pistons have done so twice, the Grizzlies three times. The Raptors have five such losses through their first seven outings.

Starting well hasn't been a problem - Toronto is outscoring opponents by an average of 4.3 points in the first quarter, the second-best mark in the NBA behind only Milwaukee. Starting the second half well has been a real issue, however. The Raptors have been outscored by an average of 5.4 points in the third quarter, with only the Timberwolves and Cavaliers having been worse.

In contrast, the Raptors outscored foes by 4.3 points per game in the third quarter (fourth-best in the NBA) while going 53-19 last season. They ranked second in the league during their 2018-19 title run.  

So what's the reason for the dramatic drop-off? Is it because Toronto fields one of the league's older rosters? The Raptors are one of only three teams with two starters (Baynes and Kyle Lowry) aged 34 or older. One of the others is the Lakers, however, so there goes that theory. 

A lack of depth is the more plausible answer. The Raptors rank 27th in the NBA in bench scoring, though they also had one of the league's least productive second units last season. That was less of an issue in 2019-20 because the starting five was often so good. With Siakam, Anunoby and Baynes all underperforming thus far, it has quickly become a more pressing concern. 

THE BOTTOM LINE 

There's no cause for alarm yet for Toronto fans just yet regarding their snowbird team. If not for a few bad stretches, the Raptors could just as easily be 5-2 instead of 1-6, and a defense that is still among the NBA's better units has kept them in every game in spite of their inefficiencies on the other end. 

There is enough of a track record throughout the roster to suggest that the offense will come around. It needs to as well for a team that has been built on the premise of winning now and whose window may be closing soon.

Lowry, the Raptors' unquestioned heart and soul, is in the final year of his contract and turns 35 in March. Does team president Masai Ujiri consider moving him at the trade deadline if Toronto finds itself fighting for merely a playoff spot instead of a division title? 

The next two months should be very intriguing in Toronto. And Tampa as well.  

Russell Westbrook, Doc Rivers and Billie Jean King reacted with revulsion to the assault on the US Capitol by supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump, united in the view there would have been a deadlier outcome had the rioters been black people.

On a dark day for the United States, thousands of Trump backers descended on Washington for a protest rally, refusing to accept the result of November's election that saw Joe Biden sweep to power.

Two weeks out from Biden's inauguration, many violent protesters breached security and accessed the Capitol, causing carnage and destruction as they appeared to go largely unchallenged.

There were a number of casualties, with four dead including a woman who was shot, while reports said a number of explosive devices were discovered.

Washington Wizards star Westbrook said: "It's very unfortunate to see. If those roles were reversed, if those were African-Americans, black people, it would be totally different."

He said the chaos was "just crazy, almost like a movie", and team-mate Bradley Beal agreed it was hard to stomach the scenes, given his view that police took a far less lenient approach to protesters during last year's Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

"It's very disheartening in a lot of ways - a lack of sense of urgency to respond to what was going on, versus protesters at Black Lives Matter over the summer," Beal said.

"The people who were invading our Capitol, that's unheard of and it's disheartening this is where we're at as a country."

Veteran Philadelphia 76ers coach Rivers called the insurgency "pretty disturbing" but vowed that "democracy will prevail".

"It shows a lot, though," Rivers said. "When you saw the [Black Lives Matter] protests in the summer, you saw the riots or more the police and the national guard and the army. And then you see this and you saw nothing.

"It basically proves the point about a privileged life in a lot of ways. I'll say it because I don’t think a lot of people want to: could you imagine today if those were all black people storming the Capitol and what would have happened?

"So that to me is a picture that’s worth a thousand words for all of us to see and probably something for us to reckon with again."

Tennis great King, a long-time activist for equality in sport and society, added on Twitter: "If the rioters storming the Capitol building today were Black and Brown people, the police response would be much different."

Footballer Megan Rapinoe became embroiled in a war of words with Trump during USA's triumph at the 2019 Women's World Cup.

Looking at footage of how seemingly easily the protesters were able to break into the Capitol, Rapinoe offered her opinion, writing: "This is crazy, how did they even get through the..... ohhhhh it was opened for them."

Trump had addressed the crowds earlier in the day, forcefully standing by his view that he was fraudulently robbed of an election win.

In the hours after the Capitol was cleared, Congress confirmed Biden's victory.

Richard Sherman, the San Francisco 49ers cornerback, described the rioters as "terrorists".

He wrote on Twitter: "Never thought Americans would let terrorists into the capital without a fight....sad day. There are certain things my brain could never imagine.... and one of them is black ppl storming a government building and taking things without deadly consequences. But that’s just my brain."

It was not just Sherman's brain thinking along those lines, though. Far from it.

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard took the same stance, saying: "You just see the privilege, the privilege in America. "It's sad to see, because if any of us was out there, I think we would've been tear-gassed, Maced, probably gunshots, you know?"

And American track and field legend Michael Johnson said the scenes were only to be expected, given the nature of the Trump presidency.

"The alarms were sounded for four years. Republicans ignored them. Many in the media ignored them and normalized dangerous behavior," Johnson wrote on Twitter.

"Sadly, today it all came to be. Shameful! This president and his supporters. Shame on you! And take responsibility!

"People on Twitter (of course) literally equating BLM protesters fighting for justice and equality to White Supremacist Trump supporters (supposed Patriots) gleefully and violently desecrating America's oldest and greatest institutions of democracy. Sadly, this is typical America."

The Golden State Warriors are not overly concerned by Stephen Curry's ankle issue in the defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers as the superstar point guard is confident it will not prove a major setback.

Curry's outstanding run of form was checked in Wednesday's 108-101 reverse at Chase Center.

The two-time NBA MVP had scored a career-high 62 points against the Portland Trail Blazers and then added another 30 versus the Sacramento Kings in the Warriors' past two games.

Yet Curry contributed only 13 points against the Clippers, bringing his season average down to 29.6, and shot one-of-six from beyond the arc.

More concerningly, Curry was not able to finish the game as he complained of an ankle problem in the fourth quarter and exited with just over a minute remaining.

But head coach Steve Kerr had positive news for Golden State fans, who have already seen Klay Thompson condemned to another long-term lay-off after the team's 2019-20 season was wrecked by injury woes.

"He did tweak it. He told me it's not serious," Kerr said on Wednesday. "He'll come in tomorrow and get treatment and we'll check it out.

"The good news is Steph does not think it's anything too serious."

The Warriors had led earlier in the fourth quarter despite Curry's failure to make an impact, with each of their five starters finishing with a negative plus/minus.

Kerr's second unit instead led the way, as Eric Paschall scored 19 points in 20 minutes, but the Golden State coach paid tribute to the Clippers' defensive effort.

"There was not a ton of rhythm or flow," he said. "We played a team that's going to be – at full strength, like they were tonight – one of the best defensive teams in the league, with a ton of length.

"They did a really good job. I thought they played an excellent defensive game. They hounded Steph and we couldn't find a rhythm."

Kerr reserved praise for his own defense, too, describing Draymond Green as "the best defensive player in the world" after he weighed in with six defensive rebounds and two steals.

And the coach suggested this was a key reason for a slow start to the game, although he was asked if the riot on Capitol Hill earlier in the day had also contributed.

"There was a strange energy in the air at the beginning of the game and that may have been a factor," Kerr said, having addressed the issue at length prior to tip-off.

Bradley Beal insisted "I don't give a damn" after tying a franchise points record for the Washington Wizards in their defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Beal's career-high 60 points on Wednesday could not prevent a 141-136 loss at Wells Fargo Center as the Wizards slipped to 2-6 for the season.

The 27-year-old was 20-of-35 on shooting, including seven-of-10 from three-point range, as he equalled Gilbert Arenas' franchise best against the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2006.

Still, the two-time All Star took little pride in recording a personal best in another loss.

"I'm p***** off," Beal said. "I'm mad. I don't count [them]. Any of my career highs, they've been in losses. So I don't give a damn. You can throw it right out the window with the other two or three I've had.

"I just want to win. Sometimes you might be able to score 40, 50, 60, whatever the case may be, but I just want to win, whatever that looks like. We came up a little bit short."

Beal's spectacular 57 points in the first 36 minutes proved futile as Philadelphia closed out a high-scoring contest, making 61.7 per cent from the field throughout.

Washington tied the scores at 119 each after having trailed by 10 at the start of the fourth quarter, but Joel Embiid led the 76ers to a strong finish, sinking a three-point jumper from 28 feet.

"I think they got stops and made more plays than we did down the stretch," Beal said when asked what made the difference late on. "I think Embiid hit a tough three... they were making a lot of shots. They hit a lot of tough shots.

"They shot 60 per cent from the field and 62 per cent from three. You can't win a game like that."

For Embiid, it was all part of the service.

"They pay me to take over the game," he said after making 38 points, eight rebounds and five assists. "They pay me to dominate. That's my job.

"I always give credit to my teammates. [But] I finished."

The Boston Celtics edged the Miami Heat in the NBA on Wednesday, while the Milwaukee Bucks claimed their third straight win.

In a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics overcame the Heat 107-105 in Miami.

Jayson Tatum (27 points) and Jaylen Brown (21 points and 12 rebounds) led the Celtics (6-3) to their win.

But Payton Pritchard (six points) made the decisive lay-up with 0.2 seconds remaining to secure the win.

The teams kneeled in protest ahead of the clash, in response to a riot on Capitol Hill and after no charges were brought against the police officer who shot and seriously injured Jacob Blake, a black man, in Kenosha in August last year.

Meanwhile, the Bucks made it three straight wins by easing past the Detroit Pistons 130-115.

Giannis Antetokounmpo guided Milwaukee into a 5-3 record with 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

 

Hayward heroic, Beal brilliance not enough for Wizards

Gordon Hayward scored a career-high 44 points to see the Charlotte Hornets past the Atlanta Hawks 102-94.

Bradley Beal equalled a Washington Wizards record, but it was not enough. Beal tied the franchise record with 60 points in a 141-136 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Joel Embiid once again inspired the 76ers, scoring 38 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists as they improved to 7-1.

A 35-point haul from Malcolm Brogdon helped the Indiana Pacers beat the Houston Rockets 114-107.

 

Curry cools off

After 92 points in the previous two games, Stephen Curry cooled off. He went five-of-17 from the field for 13 points in 35 minutes as the Golden State Warriors fell to the Los Angeles Clippers 108-101.

 

Beal ties record

Beal was in spectacular form for the Wizards. He equalled Gilbert Arenas' record of 60 points for the Wizards against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006.

Wednesday's results

Indiana Pacers 114-107 Houston Rockets
Orlando Magic 105-94 Cleveland Cavaliers
Philadelphia 76ers 141-136 Washington Wizards
Charlotte Hornets 102-94 Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics 107-105 Miami Heat
New York Knicks 112-100 Utah Jazz
Milwaukee Bucks 130-115 Detroit Pistons
Oklahoma City Thunder 111-110 New Orleans Pelicans
Phoenix Suns 123-115 Toronto Raptors
Los Angeles Clippers 108-101 Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings 128-124 Chicago Bulls

 

76ers at Nets

The 76ers will look to continue their good start to the season when they take on the Brooklyn Nets (4-4). The Nets will again be without star Kevin Durant, who is in quarantine.

Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz will miss the rest of the NBA season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Wednesday.

Fultz suffered the injury during the first quarter of Orlando's 105-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The top pick in the 2017 draft, Fultz has battled injuries to begin his NBA career, and his 2020-21 season is over after just eight games.

"Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz suffered a left knee injury with 7:35 remaining in the first quarter tonight against Cleveland. He underwent an MRI and results revealed that Fultz has sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament," the Magic said.

"Fultz will be out for the remainder of the season."

Fultz played just 33 regular-season games with the Philadelphia 76ers before being traded to Orlando in February 2019.

He made 72 appearances for the Magic in 2019-20 and was averaging 12.9 points, 5.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds to begin this season.

"Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers during this time. God has a plan for me and I know that this adversity will only make me stronger in the end," Fultz wrote on Twitter.

"I believe in my brothers on this team and we have so much more to prove. To all the fans, keep riding with us.

"I'm going to approach this recovery with all my heart and be the best team-mate I can be to this organisation. Faithful to the grind."

After their win over the Cavaliers, the Magic are 6-2.

Bradley Beal equalled the Washington Wizards' franchise record with 60 points in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Beal exploded for 60 points on 20-of-35 shooting, including seven-of-10 from three-point range, in a 141-136 loss to the 76ers.

The guard equalled Gilbert Arenas' record of 60 points for the Wizards against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006.

Russell Westbrook was the Wizards' next highest scorer with 20.

But Washington slipped to 2-6 after Joel Embiid (38 points) and Seth Curry (28) led the way for the 76ers (7-1).

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat played "with a heavy heart" after highlighting the different treatment of protesters in the United States.

Players kneeled ahead of the clash at AmericanAirlines Arena before the game went ahead.

It came in response to riot on Capitol Hill and after no charges were brought against the police officer who shot and seriously injured Jacob Blake, a black man, in Kenosha in August last year.

A statement from Heat and Celtics players 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 protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today's protesters who acted illegally just shows how much more work we have to do.

"We have decided to play tonight's game to try to bring joy into people's lives. But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues and do everything we can to work for a more equal and just America."

Supporters of United States president Donald Trump stormed Capitol Hill as Joe Biden's election victory was due to be certified.

At least 13 people were arrested, police said.

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