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.

Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors team-mates have been playing with extra spice over the past week.

Questionable puns aside, the sight of a fit and firing Curry is certainly no laughing matter for defences across the NBA.

A golden era for the Warriors saw Steve Kerr's team reach the NBA Finals in five seasons running from 2015 to 2019, with Curry and the rest of a star-studded roster winning the title three times.

But a 2019-2020 season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic was one of injury woe and transition for a Warriors side that finished bottom of the Western Conference (15-50), while they were a world away from playing in the NBA bubble in Orlando where the end of the regular season and the entire postseason was played.

The departures of Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala hit the Warriors after Klay Thompson had sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and Curry managed just five games in an injury-hit campaign.

However, after losing their opening two games this season, the Warriors have won four of the past five and welcome the Los Angeles Clippers to Chase Center on Wednesday with a 4-3 record – with Curry starring in wins against the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.

Five of the Warriors' next seven games come against teams with a .500 record or better, including a double-header versus the Clippers, and there is much intrigue as to whether Kerr's men can be a sustained threat this season.

TOP PERFORMERS

Golden State Warriors - Stephen Curry

Curry and the Warriors were certainly not firing on all cylinders in defeats to the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks to start the season – although his 20 and 19 points respectively were a team high.

Only one defeat has followed since then, though, and 32-year-old Curry has provided a timely reminder of his enduring quality including a barnstorming showing in defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 137-122 on Monday.

Curry sank a career-high 62 points in that game, as well as offering five rebounds and four assists, before following up with 30 against the Kings (nine rebounds, eight assists).

Consequently, the outlook for the Warriors and Curry himself looks a lot healthier. In the early throes of this season, he has averaged 32.0 points - second-most in the league - while his player efficiency rating (PER) ranks third.

His 32.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for 2020-21 are outperforming his career averages for the regular season (23.6 and 4.5), while his 6.4 for assists is only slightly lower (6.6).

A 36.9 per cent success rate from three-point range is way down on the 43.4 overall in his career, yet he was at 50.0 and 41.7 per cent in this metric over the Warriors' past two wins.

Golden State may need to find more assistance for Curry, though. The return to action of Draymond Green has allowed his superstar team-mate more space on the floor, but Andrew Wiggins (17.6) and rookie James Wiseman (11.4) are the side's next-highest average scorers. Without Thompson, the Warriors need a little more from their supporting cast.

TOP PERFORMERS

Los Angeles Clippers - Kawhi Leonard

Much was expected of a Clippers side that combined star-studded duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for the 2019-20 season.

But the Clippers surrendered a 3-1 lead to lose their Western Conference semifinal series to the Denver Nuggets last season and it has been a mixed bag thus far.

Defeat to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday left the Clippers at 5-3, and the Warriors might have to beware the wounded animal if they are to make a statement of their intent.

George missed that game due to ankle soreness, with Leonard putting up 30 points and 10 assists in the losing effort.

George leads the way for average points (25.1) for the Clippers this season, but Leonard (23.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists) is typically impressing across the board.

The efforts of Leonard are going to be particularly crucial if George, whose injury status is day-to-day, fails to make it against the Warriors.

KEY BATTLE: CAN BEVERLEY CONTAIN CURRY?

The best offensive point guard in Curry comes up against one of the league's best defensive point guards in Patrick Beverley. 

Beverley was on it against Spurs, contributing 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, along with two blocks, and it will be his job to be a nuisance against Curry.

If Beverley, a man with a penchant for trash talking, can keep Curry quiet then it is hard to imagine the Warriors will have the scoring power to take down the Clippers.

That being said, if Curry gains the upper hand in this battle of the guards then the Warriors can make a huge statement about their credentials this season.

HEAD TO HEAD

It was a clean sweep for the Clippers in the three games they played against the Warriors in 2019-20.

The most recent of those matchups was way back on March 10, though – a game in which Leonard put up 23 points in a 131-107 rout of the Warriors.

History is with the Warriors overall, with Golden State triumphing in 131 games to the Clippers' 90 from the 221 occasions on which the teams have faced off in the NBA's regular season.

Anthony Davis says there is trust among the Los Angeles Lakers regardless of whether he or LeBron James are making plays late in games after the NBA champions rallied past the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Lakers made it a clean sweep of four straight wins on the road thanks to a 94-92 triumph in Memphis, backing up a victory against the Grizzlies and two against the San Antonio Spurs.

James and Davis each finished with 26 points, but it was down the stretch where the superstar duo really came to the fore. Trailing by two with five minutes to go, they combined for a 9-2 run and an 86-81 lead.

Together they put on 15 points late in the fourth to make it 92-83 with a little over 30 seconds remaining, while the last basket was James assisting Davis for a dunk.

Describing their chemistry late in games, Davis said: "When you got playmakers and scorers on the floor, it's very easy for us. 

"We don't like to use the term, like you said, 'flip the switch'. We want our switch to be on at all times, but it's good to have guys who can make plays for us, especially late in game at both ends of the floor. 

"It starts with LJ and his ability to pass the ball and read defences is unreal, his I.Q. is very high. We usually have the ball in his hands. 

"Even when we don't have it, we know late game whoever it's going to - whether it's his hands or my hands – we're going to live with that, whether we make shots or miss shots we're going live with us making the plays for us or for others."

Davis is in his second season playing alongside the legendary James, who also had 11 rebounds and seven assists to his name in another influential showing.

For Davis, there are no surprises about the levels James continues to show at the age of 36.  

"It's not surprising at all, he's been doing this now for 18 years, it's crazy to see he's doing it in his 18th year but the numbers he puts up is not surprising," he added. 

"It's testament to the player he is - practice, shootaround, pregame, he's constantly getting his body ready to go out there and put up those kind of numbers you know from rebounds to assists or scoring. 

"But also, things that don't show up on a stats sheet, leadership, getting guys ready to learn offensive and defensive schemes we have, hence he's one of the greatest to ever do it, if not the greatest. 

"It's good to be a witness to that in my second year, to see how he continues to put on a show for us, night in and night out. It surprises no one on this team, he's been doing it night in and night out and it seems like it's getting easier for him."

James was asked about the Lakers' first experience of the road this season during a global pandemic.

"It's what it is, we're here to work, get better and to win," he replied. 

"We're in a winning business, that's what we want to do, we want to create great habits, we're going to have times when we don't play to our capabilities but we still want to create great habits going forward, that's what I think we did on this road trip."

LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers team-mates were left disheartened upon hearing Kenosha County District Attorney announced no charges are to be filed against the police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a black man who was left paralysed.

Blake was shot seven times in the back by a white police officer on August 23 last year as he leaned into his car in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In response, several professional sports teams refused to play scheduled matches and, in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their first-round playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

That subsequently led to all NBA games on August 26 being postponed, while there were further boycotts in Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

Many NBA stars, including James, were vocal from the Orlando bubble in their campaigning against racial injustice, and several Lakers players expressed their dismay following Tuesday's confirmation none of the officers at the scene will face criminal charges.

Speaking after the Lakers' 94-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, James said: "To hear what happened in Kenosha today was a blow to the heart and to the gut, not only to that community but to us and to every, I guess, black person that has been a part of this process and seeing these outcomes for so long.

"And not only in the black community but in the white community as well, who see moments like this happen to us, to happen to his family, to happen to [Blake] himself. But we've got to continue to stay strong, continue to believe in each other and continue to push for the greater change and the greater good."

Wesley Matthews, now at the Lakers, was a part of the Bucks side that refused to play against the Magic back in August and was left similarly frustrated by the latest developments but urged the public to not lose heart.

"Truly, it's disheartening," he added. "It's just about right and wrong, but it can't deter those citizens who are trying to do right, who are trying to fight for equality, who are trying to fight for the right things.

"It can't deter us, we can't lose our heads, we can't start rioting, we have to be calculated, we have to continue to keep our foot on the pedal, we have to continue to keep our foot on the gas.

"These are lives right here. It's upsetting as a Wisconsinite. It's upsetting as a human being that justice isn't justice. It's tough. But it can't knock us off our path that we're trying to get to, which is equality and just simply right and wrong."

Anthony Davis said he was left with a sense of failure but will "continue to push the needle for change".

"Obviously it sucks, we as a community try to support the family and try to do everything we can to get justice for him, for that to happen, it sucks," he said. "It's like we let the family down. We continue to honour Jacob Blake and his family, we continue to push the needle for change, it's not going to stop us by playing basketball."

LeBron James and Anthony Davis saw the Los Angeles Lakers to another win in the NBA, while the Clippers fell on Tuesday.

James (26 points and 11 rebounds) and Davis (26 points and 10 rebounds) both had double-doubles in a 94-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Lakers stars became the third pair of team-mates in the past 10 years to have 25-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in the same game with neither committing a personal foul, according to Stats Perform.

The previous two occasions also featured James – alongside Dwyane Wade in 2013 and Kevin Love three years later.

While the Lakers are 6-2, the Clippers slipped to 5-3 following a 116-113 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Kawhi Leonard posted 30 points and 10 assists, but the Clippers were beaten by a Patty Mills-inspired Spurs.

Mills was eight-of-12 from three-point range for 27 points in 28 minutes off the bench.

Irving lifts Nets as Jokic dominates

Kyrie Irving had 29 points, six rebounds and five assists as the Brooklyn Nets thrashed the Utah Jazz 130-96.

Nikola Jokic posted 35 points and 15 rebounds to help the Denver Nuggets past the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-116.

The Timberwolves slumped to 2-5 despite 33 points and 11 assists from D'Angelo Russell.

Otto Porter Jr. (19 points and 13 rebounds) and Coby White (21 points and 10 rebounds) had double-doubles in the Chicago Bulls' 111-108 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Bulls came from 18 points down after the first quarter. It marked the second time in franchise history they have trailed by 18-plus points at the end of the first quarter and come back to win, as per Stats Perform.

 

Valanciunas struggles

Jonas Valanciunas went four-of-13 from the field in the Grizzlies' loss. The center had 13 points to go with 11 rebounds.

 

Irving in form

Without Kevin Durant, Irving stepped up for the Nets. He was seven-of-seven from the field and four-of-four from three-point range for 18 points in the first quarter.

Tuesday's results

Brooklyn Nets 130-96 Utah Jazz
Los Angeles Lakers 94-92 Memphis Grizzlies
Denver Nuggets 123-116 Minnesota Timberwolves
San Antonio Spurs 116-113 Los Angeles Clippers
Chicago Bulls 111-108 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Clippers at Warriors

The Golden State Warriors (4-3) will host the Clippers on Wednesday. Stephen Curry has made an impressive start to the season for the Warriors, averaging 32 points, 6.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds.

Stephen Curry has no doubt the Golden State Warriors continue to get the absolute best from their opponents each time the team take to the court and he would have it no other way.

The superstar shooter followed up a career-high return of 62 points in the beating of the Portland Trail Blazers with another 30 in the Warriors' 137-106 triumph over the Sacramento Kings on Monday.

Curry also finished with nine rebounds and eight assists, while the 32-year-old had chalked up 23 points by half-time on the back of seven-for-11 shooting, including four-for-seven on three-pointers.

The Warriors are now 4-3 for the season and are showing positive signs despite losing Klay Thompson for the season, while the transition to life without the likes of Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala continues.

It remains to be seen if the Warriors can produce the kind of form that led them to five straight NBA Finals between 2015 and 2019 but Curry feels their opponents still treat them as a huge threat each night.

"100 percent [we get the best]," Curry said following the victory over the Kings. 

"And that's how it's supposed to be. There are teams that were in the bubble, in the playoffs last year in both conferences that we're going to be doing that to them. 

"So, it's always the game within the game and that competition's exciting knowing that there's a little bit more meaning based on what we did the last five years and other teams' experience playing against us. That's part of the journey. We love it."

After a tough opening week, Curry is back into a groove helped in part by the return of team-mate Draymond Green, who was absent for pre-season and the opening four games of the campaign due to a mix of a foot problem and adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

The Warriors finished with an NBA season-high of 41 assists against the Kings and Curry acknowledged the return of Green has been vital.

"Draymond obviously has helped a lot in terms of getting us organized," he added. 

"And especially when I get off the ball and starting again. And so [Sunday], started seeing pictures of it a little bit clearer and understand spacing and, obviously, guys have got to make shots, and everybody pitched in. 

"It was a really good effort across the board, guys staying ready off the bench, and defensively, we gave ourselves energy and life from the beginning. On a back-to-back, you need that presence to get everything flowing, and then it translated to good offense."

Kevin Durant is out of the Brooklyn Nets' contest against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday and could reportedly miss the team's next four NBA games as he follows the league's health and safety protocols.

Reports in ESPN stated Durant was exposed to someone who has tested positive for coronavirus and is facing a seven-day quarantine period.

That would see Durant also sit out against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday and Friday, as well as Sunday's showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

After opening the season with back-to-back wins, the Nets have lost four of their past five to sit 10th in the early throes of the Eastern Conference standings.

Durant missed the entirety of the disrupted 2019-20 campaign due to a ruptured Achilles and is averaging 28.2 points, seven rebounds and 4.8 assists for the Nets this term.

Seven players hit double figures as the Philadelphia 76ers surged to 6-1 while Malcolm Brogdon landed an overtime winner as the Indiana Pacers take up chase in the East.

Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia remain ahead of the pack after a second-quarter flurry helped to sink the Charlotte Hornets, 118-101, with Tobias Harris leading the scoring on 22 points.

Joel Embiid (14 points and 11 rebounds) and Ben Simmons (12 points and 10 rebounds) played key supporting roles with double-doubles as the 76ers continue to fly high.

Indiana improved to 5-2 in a 118-116 thriller against the New Orleans Pelicans after Brogdon capped his double-double with the clutch OT winner, while Victor Oladipo top scored for the Pacers with 25 points.

In-form Pelicans duo Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson combined for 55 points in the loss, as Ingram scored 31 and Williamson recorded a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Orlando also stayed in the hunt for top spot as Aaron Gordon (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Nikola Vucevic (23 points) inspired the Magic to move to 5-3 with a 103-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Malcolm Brogdon hits the game-winning floater in OT as the @Pacers pick up their 5th W of the season!

Brogdon: 21 PTS, 7 REB, 11 AST
Victor Oladipo: 25 PTS, 6 AST
Brandon Ingram: 31 PTS, 8 AST
Zion Williamson: 24 PTS, 10 REB pic.twitter.com/XfWbcMXemJ

— NBA (@NBA) January 5, 2021


Doncic, Giannis go off as Mavs and Bucks win

Luka Doncic dominated with 33 points and a triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks ended the Houston Rockets’ winning streak with a 113-100 win.

Doncic added 16 rebounds and 11 assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr shot for 30 points to boost the Mavs. Houston's Christian Wood, Eric Gordon and a returning James Harden all put up more than 20 points.

The NBA is back! A shortened schedule, a new play-in tournament and increased roster sizes have created plenty of interest in a new season.

A December start seems to have caught a few of the potential title hopefuls a little cold, though it is still early days. The key is not about starting fast, but finishing strong.

Still, some have hit the ground running. Each week, Stats Perform will take a look at the players who are impressing, as well as those seemingly stuck in a bit of a slump.

For this opening edition, however, all statistical comparisons are made to performances on average across the entire 2019-20 season.
 

RUNNING HOT... 

Stephen Curry (32.3ppg versus 20.8ppg) 

Scoring 62 points in a game sure helps to boost the average. Curry actually started out a little slowly – hardly a surprise considering injury meant he played just five games in the previous campaign – as he made only 13 of his combined 48 field goal attempts in defeats to the Nets and Bucks. However, Curry was certainly cooking against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, hitting eight three-pointers as he posted a new career-high points total. So far in this season, he is making 4.3 three-pointers per outing. 

Christian Wood (23.8ppg versus 13.1ppg) 

These are uncertain times in Houston, where James Harden seemingly no longer wants to be. While his future remains the headline story for the franchise, Christian Wood has quickly shown why he was such an astute signing. Having gone undrafted out of college, the 25-year-old flashed potential with the Detroit Pistons in 2019-20, tempting the Rockets to sign him to a three-year, $41million deal. Their reward? Wood has averaged 23.8 points while playing 36.5 minutes for a team that boasts a 2-2 record through four games. 

Kyle Anderson (16.7ppg versus 5.8ppg) 

Opportunity knocks for Anderson in Memphis due to the absence of Jaren Jackson Jr with a knee issue. The forward's minutes on court have risen as a result – and so, too, has his production. Having never averaged in double digits for points for his previous six seasons in the NBA, Anderson is now up at 16.7 per game for the Grizzlies. Ja Morant was, less surprisingly, on the rise in terms of his scoring output as well, up at 26.3 points per game before suffering an ankle injury. 

Luguentz Dort (14.6ppg versus 6.8ppg) 

Someone has to score points for Oklahoma, right? GM Sam Presti is clearly in it for the long haul in terms of a rebuild, considering the number of moves made in the offseason and draft picks now owned by the team. Still, Dort remains on the roster and has stepped up to accept greater responsibility. The Canadian has raised his successful three-point attempts from an average of 0.8 to 2.4 a game, shooting an impressive 44.4 per cent from deep. Team-mate Isaiah Roby is another to catch the eye for the Thunder, averaging 13 points and 6.5 total rebounds.


GOING COLD...

Devonte' Graham (9.0ppg versus 18.2ppg)

The moment Charlotte selected fellow point guard LaMelo Ball with the third pick in the draft, Graham was under pressure. He retained his starting job in the Hornets' backcourt but the pressure is mounting now, considering the form of both players. While Ball seems to be a quick learner after some preseason concerns, his teammate has struggled. Graham is at just nine points per game - half his average from the previous season. His three-point shooting has dipped to 2.0 made per outing from 3.5. He forced himself off the bench and into the rotation for the Hornets last year, yet could soon find himself moving in the opposite direction.

Jimmy Butler (8.3ppg versus 19.9ppg)

There are reasons behind the five-time NBA All-Star's sluggish start. Butler has featured in just three games so far - and one of those he only played in the first half, with an ankle issue keeping him off the court for the remainder of the clash with the Pelicans. He averaged 19.9 per game for a Heat team that made it all the way to the Finals last term. The early going has seen an 11.6-point decrease in his scoring output, though expect that to rise as the weeks progress.

Kelly Oubre Jr. (9.7ppg versus 18.7ppg)

Oubre was on the merry-go-round headlined by Chris Paul going from Oklahoma to Phoenix. His form last season with the Suns was not enough for the Thunder to keep him around, though, as they dealt him to Golden State. It has not been plain sailing with the Warriors; while not required to contribute quite so much on offense for his new team, the concern is his three-point shooting. Having made 1.9 on average per game last season, Oubre's been successful with two of his 30 attempts so far. The early report card for him reads as such: Must do better.

Kyrie Irving is in it for the long haul with the Brooklyn Nets and will not be getting frustrated despite them slipping to a 3-4 record with a 123-122 loss to the Washington Wizards. 

The Nets dropped their fourth game in their past five, with Irving missing a three-pointer with 5.9 seconds remaining and Kevin Durant unable to make the most of a second chance after Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot grabbed the rebound. 

There were numerous on-court discussions between Brooklyn team-mates throughout the game, with the new-look line-up trying to work through the kinks during their early season struggles. 

Irving had a game-high 30 points and 10 assists but his five turnovers in addition to Durant's six accounted for more than half of the team's entire total (20). 

Head coach Steve Nash highlighted "simple defensive lapses, offensive rebounding, and turnovers" as the primary issues, though his starting point guard is confident they will eventually be ironed out. 

"It's just basketball. I've been doing it for a long time at a high level and the greatest gift is teaching the game to others, to be able to match their level or raise their level to yours to be a great functioning team," said Irving. 

"It's just taking time. It's not going to be put together overnight, nor am I expecting it to, nor am I going to get frustrated over six games or however many games we've played. 

"The object of this regular season is to continue to get better and to prepare for the 16 wins in the playoffs, so we're just gonna enjoy this. 

"We just have to manage realistic expectations of what we want out of this group right now … [when] we put together a few great months of consistent work and consistent progress, consistent craft, consistent communication, then we'll be okay. 

"We're committed to it. I know the guys in the locker room and everyone in the organisation is committed to that. We want to change this whole thing and that's not an overnight process. 

"I didn't just come here for two years or three years or anything like that. I'm excited for the journey ahead and to continue to get better. It is as simple as basketball, but the team effort takes a while to get together."

Asked about what was labelled a "disconnect" between the bench and the players on the floor when Nash was slow to call a timeout during the third quarter, Irving responded: "I don't know what you're talking about. Disconnect? It's basketball. It's pretty simple, just go out there and try to out-score the other team."

Durant missed the entirety of last season with an Achilles injury and acknowledged he needs to "tone it down" to help the team flourish.

"I think we're just trying to be aggressive to make plays and sometimes we look overzealous to make a pass," he said of the turnovers committed by himself and Irving.

"I can live with two or three but six of them is too much for me and I've got to just tone it down if our team wants to be successful."

Stephen Curry called on a Michael Jordan meme to explain his attitude towards the criticism he received prior to scoring a career-high 62 points as the Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

Two-time NBA MVP Curry averaged 26.4 points and 6.6 assists through the first five games of the season, but with the Warriors 2-3 and his shooting percentages down, his ability to lead the team back to the playoffs without a supporting cast of fellow superstars was brought into question.

Of the Golden State team that reached the 2019 NBA Finals, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins have left, Klay Thompson is expected to miss the entire season with a knee injury and Draymond Green only made his first appearances of 2020-21 in the double-header against the Trail Blazers.

Curry issued an emphatic response, scoring 62 points on 18-of-31 shooting (58.1 per cent) in a 137-122 victory for Golden State, making eight three-pointers in a single game for the 49th time in his career.

The 31-year-old posted career-highs in free throws made (18) and attempted (19) as he became the first Warrior since Thompson in 2016 to drop at least 60 points in a single game.

Speaking after the game, he referenced the mindset Jordan described possessing during the 1997-98 season with the Chicago Bulls on 'The Last Dance'.  

Curry said: "Cue the Jordan meme, right? 'I take all that personally.' I sensed the opportunity to kind of assert my will on the game early and try to create some energy and get off on the right foot.

"As crazy as it sounds after the game, all we really wanted to do was win the first quarter and take it from there. Obviously, that's what we did, and we continued the momentum.

"We have a winning spirit, we've just got to figure out how to do it consistently, and against the good teams in the league, it's gonna test us."

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was surprised to hear that Curry had been coming under fire early in the season, claiming it is tougher for him to dominate games than the likes of LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis.

"I'm honestly not playing dumb. Does he really take criticism? I hope they're saying something good about him tonight," said Kerr.

"If you think about most of the guys who are considered the best in the league, they're physical freaks of nature: LeBron, Giannis, Anthony Davis. Steph is 6-3, 180 pounds, so he has to carry a game with skill, he can't carry a game with physicality and athleticism.

"That would be the only thing I could think of that would make people criticise him. It's much harder to carry a team single-handedly by making 35-footers all day – the same thing with Damian [Lillard] and CJ [McCollum], those guys are incredible shot-makers.

"But if you're not 6-8 and 250, you can't really dominate a game in other ways. That's probably my best guess as to the criticism."

Green added: "I think that was right up there with the best of them, just because of all the talk that's been going around.

"Steph has the tendency at times to f*** around with the basketball. There was no f****** around. He came out and everything was a shot or attack."

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry just wanted to "stay in the moment" as he approached his career-high of 62 points against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Curry exploded for 62 points to lead the Warriors past the Trail Blazers 137-122 in the NBA on Sunday.

The two-time NBA MVP was 18-of-31 from the field and eight-of-16 from three-point range to set a personal best.

"You try to just continue to stay humble and stay in the moment. That's the best way to approach it," Curry told NBC Sports after the game.

"It doesn't help when your team-mates are yelling at you every dead ball how many points you've got, but other than that it's just don't do anything differently, just keep being aggressive, being decisive and good things happen."

Curry was also 18-of-19 from the free-throw line as he became the first Warriors player to score 62-plus points since Rick Barry in March 1974.

Damian Lillard (32) and CJ McCollum (28) combined for 60 points for the Trail Blazers.

Curry said he enjoyed coming up against the likes of Lillard, who is a five-time NBA All-Star.

"It's always the best guys in the league, especially the point guard position, bring the best out of you," he said.

"If you're around this league long enough you kind of get to see every kind of scenario and situation and we have a lot to fight for and a huge challenge in front of us.

"They're the established team now so for a guy like him, it always brings the best out of you and I love the competition and that's kind of what it is."

The Warriors are 3-3 to begin the NBA season and Golden State face the Sacramento Kings on Monday.

Stephen Curry exploded to lift the Golden State Warriors to victory in the NBA on Sunday, while the Los Angeles Lakers won again.

Curry produced a career-high 62 points as the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 137-122.

The two-time NBA MVP was in spectacular form, shooting 18-of-31 from the field and eight-of-16 from three-point range.

Damian Lillard (32) and CJ McCollum (28) combined for 60 points for the Trail Blazers.

The Lakers made it three straight wins by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 108-94.

LeBron James' 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists led the Lakers, who had six players in double-digits for points.

 

Durant dominance not enough for Nets, George shines

Kevin Durant had 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, but the Brooklyn Nets fell to the Washington Wizards 123-122.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 27 points and 10 rebounds.

Paul George posted 39 points to guide the Los Angeles Clippers past the Phoenix Suns 112-107.

Jayson Tatum's double-double of 24 points and 12 assists helped the Boston Celtics edge the Detroit Pistons 122-120.

Bad Brooks

Dillon Brooks had a difficult outing for the Grizzlies. The guard went three-of-15 from the field for just nine points in 29 minutes.

 

Amazing Curry

Curry hit a brilliant eighth three-pointer to reach 62 points in the Warriors' win.

Sunday's results

Boston Celtics 122-120 Detroit Pistons
Los Angeles Lakers 108-94 Memphis Grizzlies
Washington Wizards 123-122 Brooklyn Nets
Denver Nuggets 124-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
Utah Jazz 130-109 San Antonio Spurs
Chicago Bulls 118-108 Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Clippers 112-107 Phoenix Suns
Golden State Warriors 137-122 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Pistons at Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks (3-3) take on the Detroit Pistons (1-5) on Monday. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 23.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game this season.

Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas hailed his team after they beat the Sacramento Kings despite losing James Harden shortly before tip-off on Saturday.

Harden turned his ankle late in the previous game against the Kings on Thursday but was not ruled out until 30 minutes before the subsequent 102-94 win, having by then gone through his shooting routine in the warm-up.

Silas was delighted the late blow did not prove decisive.

"[Harden] was just going to see how it felt," the coach said. "Obviously it didn't feel good enough for him to play.

"For us to win this game without him is pretty special."

John Wall stepped up in Harden's absence, making his mark with 28 points after coronavirus contact-tracing protocols kept him quarantined for the start of the season.

Wall, acquired from the Washington Wizards in a trade for Russell Westbrook, has registered 50 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds across two wins against the Kings since returning from a two-year injury lay-off.

Silas said: "I didn't have many expectations [of Wall]. I didn’t know what to expect. I saw some Instagram videos and stuff, playing pickup.

"We heard from people that said he looked good. But we didn't know until we got him.

"Whatever expectations I had, he obviously exceeded them. He's scoring. He's making plays for others.

"He's still rusty with his decision-making and he knows that. That's just a part of it. When you haven't played in so long, you shouldn't expect him to be totally crisp all the way through."

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are showing they each have the ability to be Defensive Player of the Year, according to Philadelphia 76ers team-mate Danny Green.

The Sixers were 127-112 winners against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, with Simmons' 29th career triple-double leading the way.

The 24-year-old, who made the All-Defensive First Team in 2020, also had had a block and a steal to go with his 15 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds, of which 11 were on the defensive end.

Team-mate Embiid - twice selected to the All-Defensive Second Team - balanced his 19 points with 11 defensive rebounds, a steal and an assist, too.

Green said of the pair after Philly moved to 5-1 at the top of the East: "They can be monstrous for us defensively.

"I think they have the potential, both of them, to be Defensive Player of the Year with their size, ability, reflexes, their footwork."

Coach Doc Rivers was on the same page, too, adding: "Ben has been, in my opinion, as good as anyone in the league defensively.

"Then having Joel to back him up, that combination defensively allows you to do a lot of things that you probably wouldn't do when you have the size of those two guys."

But the Sixers' two star names were not the only players contributing on both ends of the floor against Charlotte.

Tobias Harris was particularly impressive in a dominant display that led his team in scoring with 24 points but also included nine rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks.

Six games into the season, Harris is averaging career highs in rebounds (8.5), assists (3.2, same as 2019-20), steals (1.5) and blocks (1.5), and Simmons has noted the improvement.

"On both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively, he's been amazing," he said. "He's been an amazing factor for our team and he's going to be if we want to win a championship."

Simmons added: "We've got a good group, the chemistry's good off the floor. It makes it even better when you're winning, playing the right way, sharing the ball.

"Guys aren't worried about who's scoring the ball, as long as we're scoring and winning games.

"That's what it's all about for us. Our goal is to win a championship, and to do that, we need everybody."

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