The Denver Nuggets held off the Oklahoma City Thunder to claim a 109-98 win in the NBA on Friday.

With several starters sidelined long term by injuries, some observers believe the Nuggets are on the brink of a collapse.

The Nuggets entered Friday's game leading the Western Conference and jumped out to a fast start before holding off the Thunder.

Center Nikola Jokic scored 24, collected 15 rebounds and handed out nine assists.

The Nuggets (19-9) had four other players in double-figures. Even Nick Young, playing his first game in a Denver uniform, got in on the act, hitting two key three-pointers.

Paul George scored 32 to lead OKC (17-10). Steven Adams put up 26 points and hauled in 14 rebounds.

This was a huge win for Denver, made even greater by the fact three starters were out. Guard Gary Harris (hip), who has not played since December 3, is expected to be out another two to three weeks. Forward Paul Millsap, who injured his toe on December 7, is expected to miss up to five more weeks.

There is some good news on the injury front, as forward Will Barton, who has been out since the first week of the season, is expected back soon from a hip injury.

Giannis gigantic for Bucks

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had 44 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in a 114-102 win over the Cavs.

The 76ers' Joel Embiid scored 40 and added 21 rebounds in a 113-101 loss to the Pacers.

Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay scored 34 and had eight assists to help rally New York from 19 behind at the half to a 126-124 overtime win against the Hornets.

 

Hornets cough up huge lead

The Hornets blew a 15-point lead after three quarters in the overtime loss to the Knicks at home.

 

Thompson delivers for Warriors

Warriors star Klay Thompson hit a clutch three-pointer in a 130-125 win over the Kings.

Kyrie Irving produced a crazy ball-handling move. Boston won their eighth straight with a 129-108 victory over the Hawks.

Friday's results

Boston Celtics 129-108 Atlanta Hawks
New York Knicks 126-124 Charlotte Hornets
Brooklyn Nets 125-118 Washington Wizards
Milwaukee Bucks 114-102 Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers 113-101 Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat 100-97 Memphis Grizzlies
Denver Nuggets 109-98 Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers 128-122 Toronto Raptors
Golden State Warriors 130-125 Sacramento Kings

 

Rockets at Grizzlies

The underperforming Rockets (13-14) visit the overachieving Grizzlies (16-12). The Rockets' struggles this season have been well-documented, but far less attention has been paid to Memphis, who finished 22-60 last season and definitely were not expected to be four games over .500 at this stage of the season.

The Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors upstaged NBA champions the Golden State Warriors 113-93 on the road.

Toronto were a class above even without Kawhi Leonard on Wednesday as they completed their regular-season sweep of the Warriors, having topped Golden State last month.

The Raptors amassed a 16-point lead by half-time, and they never looked back at Oracle Arena, where they won for the first time in 14 years.

Kyle Lowry, who has faced criticism for his performance against the NBA's best teams lately, showed up against the Warriors with 23 points, 12 assists and three steals.

Serge Ibaka was just behind Lowry in scoring, tallying 20 points on seven-of-16 shooting.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 33 points, but Golden State just didn't seem to have its mojo as a unit.

 

Davis enjoys big outing

Anthony Davis scored 44 points on 16-of-32 shooting and grabbed 18 rebounds in the New Orleans Pelicans' 118-114 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

CJ McCollum recorded 40 of the Portland Trail Blazers' 83 points in their 92-83 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

John Wall posted 34 points on 14-of-26 shooting and had 13 assists in the Washington Wizards' 130-125 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics.

Spencer Dinwiddie had a career-high 39 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 127-124 upset win at the Philadelphia 76ers.

 

Cavs win but Burks struggles

Alec Burks scored one point on 0-of-six shooting in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 113-106 victory against the New York Knicks.

 

Lamb nails clutch winner

Jeremy Lamb sealed the deal for the Charlotte Hornets with this game winner in a 108-107 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

 

Wednesday's results

Brooklyn Nets 127-124 Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics 130-125 Washington Wizards (OT)
Indiana Pacers 113-97 Milwaukee Bucks
Cleveland Cavaliers 113-106 New York Knicks
Charlotte Hornets 108-107 Detroit Pistons
New Orleans Pelicans 118-114 Oklahoma City Thunder
Memphis Grizzlies 92-83 Portland Trail Blazers
Dallas Mavericks 114-107 Atlanta Hawks
Utah Jazz 111-84 Miami Heat
Sacramento Kings 141-130 Minnesota Timberwolves
Toronto Raptors 113-93 Golden State Warriors

 

Lakers at Rockets

James Harden and Chris Paul were both great the last time these two teams met, resulting in a Houston Rockets win. However, the Los Angeles Lakers are a much different team this time around. After winning seven of their last 10 games, Los Angeles are in fifth in the Western Conference. Houston ended a three-game losing streak on Tuesday when a line-up change gave them new life against the Trail Blazers.

The Los Angeles Lakers are in fifth place in the Western Conference and they handled the Memphis Grizzlies with ease on on Saturday.

LeBron James led the way as the Los Angeles Lakers extended their winning streak by outlasting the San Antonio Spurs, while Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors were too good for Jimmy Butler's Philadelphia 76ers.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is tired of comparisons with Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young.

Nikola Jokic starred as the Denver Nuggets snapped the Toronto Raptors' winning streak, while the Golden State Warriors ended their skid on the road.

The Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the struggling Brooklyn Nets in double-overtime for their first win in four games, defeating the Brooklyn Nets 131-125 on Friday.

Memphis forward Jaren Jackson Jr. powered the team with a career-high 36 points at the Barclays Center, including a late 3-pointer to force overtime. He became the third youngest player in NBA history with a 30-or-more point game, behind only LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

The Grizzlies (13-8) maintain first place in the Southwest Division, and will continue to try and keep pace with the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference standings. 

The loss drops the Nets to 8-15 and extends their losing streak to five games. Brooklyn matched its season high with 125 points against Memphis with fourth-year player D'Angelo Russell leading the efforts with 26 points, and three Nets — Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — chipping in 15 apiece.

It was yet another thriller Brooklyn dropped. The Nets nearly caught up to the Philadelphia 76ers last Sunday but lost 127-125, and before that, fell to the Mavericks 119-113. 

 

Gordon throws flames from deep

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon was on fire, connecting on seven three-pointers to finish with 26 points in their 136-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs. He was second behind teammate Clint Capela, who had a game-high 27 points.

Andre Drummond finished with a double-double of 19 points and 20 rebounds in the Detroit Pistons' fourth consecutive win.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers had double-double performances from both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The pair helped the Sixers to a 16-8 record with the 123-98 win over the Washington Wizards. Simmons scored 13 points and dished out 10 assists to go along with eight rebounds, while Embiid finished with 16 points and 15 boards.

Donovan Mitchell dropped 30 points in the Utah Jazz's 119-111 win over the Hornets. 

 

Dante's nadir with Spurs

Nothing seemed to go right for San Antonio Spurs small forward Dante Cunningham, who finished with no points in 18 minutes on the court. He attempted just two shots, a field goal and a three-pointer, but couldn't net either in their 31-point defeat.

The New Orleans Pelicans could have used a little more help from their bench against the Miami Heat. New Orleans went on to lose 106-101 to Miami with a combined 12 points from their reserves.

 

Nuggets and Blazers deliver on expectations

The Denver Nuggets-Portland Trail Blazers matchup gave us all the action we expected from two of the top teams in the Western Conference, including this early dunk from Blazers forward Meyers Leonard.

Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic wasn't afraid of the King on Friday. Doncic had back-to-back blocks against LeBron James.

 

Friday's results

Boston Celtics 128-95 Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons 107-88 Chicago Bulls
Philadelphia 76ers 123-98 Washington Wizards
Utah Jazz 119-111 Charlotte Hornets
Memphis Grizzlies 131-125 (OT) Brooklyn Nets
Oklahoma City Thunder 124-109 Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat 106-101 New Orleans Pelicans
Houston Rockets 136-105 San Antonio Spurs
Orlando Magic 99-85 Phoenix Suns
Denver Nuggets 113-112 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers 114-103 Dallas Mavericks

 

Warriors at Pistons

The Detroit Pistons hope to continue their win streak, which was extended Friday with a 107-88 win over the Chicago Bulls, against a recently bruised Golden State Warriors squad. The Warriors weren't able to pull off a win Thursday despite Durant's 51-point night.

The overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors ended the Warriors' own streak of three consecutive wins. However, things haven't been easy for the defending champions, as they have been without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. Curry is supposed to make his return in Detroit on Saturday, so they will likely get a much-needed boost.

The Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the struggling Brooklyn Nets in double-overtime for their first win in four games, defeating the Brooklyn Nets 131-125 on Friday.

Memphis forward Jaren Jackson Jr. powered the team with a career-high 36 points at the Barclays Center, including a late 3-pointer to force overtime. He became the third youngest player in NBA history with a 30-or-more point game, behind only LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

The Grizzlies (13-8) maintain first place in the Southwest Division, and will continue to try and keep pace with the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference standings. 

The loss drops the Nets to 8-15 and extends their losing streak to five games. Brooklyn matched its season high with 125 points against Memphis with fourth-year player D'Angelo Russell leading the efforts with 26 points, and three Nets — Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — chipping in 15 apiece.

It was yet another thriller Brooklyn dropped. The Nets nearly caught up to the Philadelphia 76ers last Sunday but lost 127-125, and before that, fell to the Mavericks 119-113. 

 

Gordon throws flames from deep

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon was on fire, connecting on seven three-pointers to finish with 26 points in their 136-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs. He was second behind teammate Clint Capela, who had a game-high 27 points.

Andre Drummond finished with a double-double of 19 points and 20 rebounds in the Detroit Pistons' fourth consecutive win.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers had double-double performances from both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The pair helped the Sixers to a 16-8 record with the 123-98 win over the Washington Wizards. Simmons scored 13 points and dished out 10 assists to go along with eight rebounds, while Embiid finished with 16 points and 15 boards.

Donovan Mitchell dropped 30 points in the Utah Jazz's 119-111 win over the Hornets. 

 

Dante's nadir with Spurs

Nothing seemed to go right for San Antonio Spurs small forward Dante Cunningham, who finished with no points in 18 minutes on the court. He attempted just two shots, a field goal and a three-pointer, but couldn't net either in their 31-point defeat.

The New Orleans Pelicans could have used a little more help from their bench against the Miami Heat. New Orleans went on to lose 106-101 to Miami with a combined 12 points from their reserves.

 

Nuggets and Blazers deliver on expectations

The Denver Nuggets-Portland Trail Blazers matchup gave us all the action we expected from two of the top teams in the Western Conference, including this early dunk from Blazers forward Meyers Leonard.

Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic wasn't afraid of the King on Friday. Doncic had back-to-back blocks against LeBron James.

 

Friday's results

Boston Celtics 128-95 Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons 107-88 Chicago Bulls
Philadelphia 76ers 123-98 Washington Wizards
Utah Jazz 119-111 Charlotte Hornets
Memphis Grizzlies 131-125 (OT) Brooklyn Nets
Oklahoma City Thunder 124-109 Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat 106-101 New Orleans Pelicans
Houston Rockets 136-105 San Antonio Spurs
Orlando Magic 99-85 Phoenix Suns
Denver Nuggets 113-112 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers 114-103 Dallas Mavericks

 

Warriors at Pistons

The Detroit Pistons hope to continue their win streak, which was extended Friday with a 107-88 win over the Chicago Bulls, against a recently bruised Golden State Warriors squad. The Warriors weren't able to pull off a win Thursday despite Durant's 51-point night.

The overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors ended the Warriors' own streak of three consecutive wins. However, things haven't been easy for the defending champions, as they have been without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. Curry is supposed to make his return in Detroit on Saturday, so they will likely get a much-needed boost.

The Philadelphia 76ers have started to hit their stride in the NBA, beating the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

With their 117-91 win over the Knicks, Philadelphia have now won six of their last seven games and seven of their last nine since acquiring Jimmy Butler. The team's record stands at 15-8 this season.

More impressively though, with the win at Wells Fargo Center, the 76ers are now 11-1 on their home court.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 26 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in the 26-point win. JJ Redick had 24 points while Ben Simmons had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

"I'd say, we're just getting better," Simmons said after the game. "We're further along in the season. Jimmy is adapting a lot better, adapting to our plays defensively, our calls. Just staying together as a team."

 

Westbrook wonderful for Thunder

Russell Westbrook scored 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting while grabbing 19 rebounds and 15 assists in the Thunder's 100-83 win over the Cavaliers.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a 116-113 win over the Bulls.

James Harden had 25 points, 17 assists, 11 rebounds and six steals in the Rockets' 128-108 loss to the Mavericks.

Anthony Davis had 28 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in the Pelicans' 125-104 win over the Wizards.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard scored 41 points while shooting 13 of 22 and 10 of 15 from the three-point line in a 115-112 win over the Magic.

 

Russell battles for Nets

Nets guard D'Angelo Russell was prevalent in the Brooklyn offense on Wednesday, but maybe he should not have been. He finished six-of-25 shooting and the team were minus-13 with him on the floor in a 101-91 loss to the Jazz.

 

Okogie throws it down

Timberwolves forward Josh Okogie threw one down in the Timberwolves' 128-89 win over the Spurs.

Wednesday's results

Charlotte Hornets 108-94 Atlanta Hawks
Philadelphia 76ers 117-91 New York Knicks
Utah Jazz 101-91 Brooklyn Nets
Dallas Mavericks 128-108 Houston Rockets
Milwaukee Bucks 116-113 Chicago Bulls
Minnesota Timberwolves 128-89 San Antonio Spurs
New Orleans Pelicans 125-104 Washington Wizards
Oklahoma City Thunder 100-83 Cleveland Cavaliers
Portland Trail Blazers 115-112 Orlando Magic
Los Angeles Clippers 115-99 Phoenix Suns

 

Warriors at Raptors

Stephen Curry will not be playing for the Warriors – he is set to return on Saturday – but that does not mean this will not be a good game. It is Kawhi Leonard against Kevin Durant.

The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled to shoot at times this season and a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday was a glaring example of their problems.

In a 117-85 defeat, the Lakers shot five of 35 from three-point range. The 30 missed three-pointers is a season high.

LeBron James especially struggled, posting a season-low 14 points on five-of-15 shooting.

But the Nuggets played very well. Six different players scored in double-digits including Malik Beasley, who scored a career-high 20 points off the bench.

Paul Millsap also posted a double-double with 20 points on nine-of-14 shooting and 11 rebounds.

The Lakers have now lost back-to-back games while Denver have won four in a row.

 

Griffin enormous for Pistons

Pistons forward Blake Griffin had 30 points, five assists and four rebounds in Detroit's 115-108 win over the Knicks. Rookie Allonzo Trier also had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for New York.

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol had 27 points, four rebounds and four assists, but Memphis coughed up a 17-point second-half lead to the Raptors, who won 122-114.

Suns forward T.J. Warren had 25 points and seven rebounds in a 109-104 loss to the Pacers.

 

Burke, Whiteside struggle

Knicks guard Trey Burke has been very up and down this season. Tuesday was a down night as he went one-of-eight shooting while scoring six points and adding zero assists in New York's loss to the Pistons.

Heat center Hassan Whiteside did have 11 points and 10 rebounds but he shot one of seven from the free-throw line in a 115-113 loss to the Hawks.

 

Collison makes Ayton look silly

Pacers guard Darren Collison made Suns rookie Deandre Ayton look silly.

Tuesday's results

Detroit Pistons 115-108 New York Knicks
Atlanta Hawks 115-113 Miami Heat
Toronto Raptors 122-114 Memphis Grizzlies
Denver Nuggets 117-85 Los Angeles Lakers
Indiana Pacers 109-104 Phoenix Suns

 

Magic at Trail Blazers

The Magic (10-11) are still in playoff position in the Eastern Conference but there is a long way to go before the postseason. However, a win over a very good Trail Blazers (12-8) team could give them a confidence boost, at least in the short term.

Jimmy Butler has been with the Philadelphia 76ers for less than two weeks, but he has already hit a pair of buzzer-beaters in the NBA.

The 29-year-old forward knocked down a step-back three-pointer with less than a second to play to give Philadelphia a 127-125 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Butler was acquired by the 76ers from the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 12.

The 76ers trailed by double-digits for most of the game and were down by 13 with five minutes, 38 seconds remaining after a three-pointer by Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Philadelphia, however, responded with a 19-5 run to take a one-point lead.

But Dinwiddie answered with another basket to swing the scoreboard back in the Nets' favour, setting up Butler's three-pointer. The Philadelphia star tallied 34 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.

Butler also hit a game-winner against the Charlotte Hornets on November 17.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Lakers' three-game winning streak came to an end when they fell to the Magic 108-104. Orlando center Nikola Vucevic led his team to the victory with a game-high 31 points and 15 rebounds. He also added seven assists.

LeBron James registered a team-high 24 points and seven assists in the losing effort. Kyle Kuzma chipped in 21 points.

 

Harris heroics

Tobias Harris scored 34 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Clippers to a 104-100 win over the Trail Blazers.

Dwyane Wade tallied 35 points off the Heat bench against the Raptors. Miami, however, fell 125-115.

 

Bad Bridges

Miles Bridges was one-of-six shooting and finished with a minus-four in the Hornets' 124-123 loss to the Hawks.

Kings guard Frank Mason III scored three points and was a minus-15 in his team's 133-112 loss to the Jazz.

 

Collins, Conley produce highlights

Trae Young passed to John Collins for a big jam.

Mike Conley produced a slick dribble and a scoop layup.

Sunday's results

Orlando Magic 108-104 Los Angeles Lakers
Detroit Pistons 118-107 Phoenix Suns
Atlanta Hawks 124-123 Charlotte Hornets
Philadelphia 76ers 127-125 Brooklyn Nets
New York Knicks 103-98 Memphis Grizzlies
Toronto Raptors 125-115 Miami Heat
Utah Jazz 133-112 Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Clippers 104-100 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Rockets at Wizards

Both Houston (9-9) and Washington (7-12) have underperformed so far this season. The Rockets appeared to be rebounding when they won five in a row last week, but have since dropped two straight. The Wizards have picked up victories in two of their last three after starting the season 6-11.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in complete rebuild mode this year, but that did not keep them from handing the Philadelphia 76ers their first home loss of the season on Friday.

Cleveland took down Philadelphia 121-112 behind 20-point efforts from Rodney Hood (25), Collin Sexton (23) and Cedi Osman (20).

The 76ers got 20 points apiece from four players as well, but they simply could not get the Cavaliers out of rhythm.

Cleveland played an incredibly efficient game, shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 50 per cent from the three-point line. Hood was especially good, shooting 10 of 20 from the field and five of seven from behind the arc.

While the 76ers were pretty efficient themselves, they simply did not shoot well enough from 3-point range as they went 12 of 33 (36.4 percent) from beyond the arc.

 

Mixed results for superstars 

With almost a full complement of NBA games on Friday, a number of stars came up with big performances to varying degrees of success. Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol scored 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting while adding 13 rebounds and seven assists, but his team fell to the Los Angeles Clippers 112-107 in overtime.

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela tallied his first 20-20 game of the season with 29 points and 21 rebounds, but they dropped the contest to the Detroit Pistons 116-111, also in overtime.

MVP candidate Anthony Davis had 33 points on 12-of-19 shooting to go with 12 rebounds, but that did not help the New Orleans Pelicans win. They fell to the New York Knicks 114-109.

Following Stephen Curry's road accident scare, Kevin Durant (32) and Klay Thompson (31) combined for 63 points in the Golden State Warriors' 125-97 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Meanwhile, LeBron James had 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the Los Angeles Lakers' 90-83 win over the Utah Jazz.

 

Wizards' chucking reaches ghastly levels 

It takes the wrong kind of talent to miss 37 3-pointers in a game, but the Wizards were "good" enough to do it. And, not just one player was to blame. Every single player missed at least one 3-pointer while every starter missed at least two. Kelly Oubre went zero for six and John Wall was one for seven.

It still did not compare to Milwaukee Bucks centre Brook Lopez, who had seven points and five assists, but he set an NBA record by going 0 for 12 from long distance. That's the most attempts without a make from beyond the arc ever. He finished three of 17 from the floor.

 

Carter brings up 25,000 points

During a game in which Eric Bledsoe would be talking on almost every possession, we are pretty sure Jamal Crawford yelled, "That's why they got me here!" when pulling up for the game-winning jumper, that gave the Phoenix Suns a 116-114 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. The bucket gave the Suns their fourth win of the season. 

 

Friday's results

Denver Nuggets 112-87 Orlando Magic
Phoenix Suns 116-114 Milwaukee Bucks
Oklahoma City Thunder 109-104 Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat 103-96 Chicago Bulls
San Antonio Spurs 111-100 Indiana Pacers
Toronto Raptors 125-107 Washington Wizards
Cleveland Cavaliers 121-112 Philadelphia 76ers
New York Knicks 114-109 New Orleans Pelicans
Boston Celtics 114-96 Atlanta Hawks
Detroit Pistons 116-111 (OT) Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers 112-107 (OT) Memphis Grizzlies
Minnesota Timberwolves 112-102 Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Lakers 90-83 Utah Jazz
Golden State Warriors 125-97 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Nuggets at Thunder

While these two teams sit in the middle of the playoff pack in the Western Conference, make no mistake, they are also two of the best in the NBA and this has the potential to be an absolutely great game.

The Trail Blazers are among the best in the West, but against the Milwaukee Bucks – the second best team in the East – Portland certainly did not show it.

The Blazers' short win streak was spoiled by a 143-100 loss to the Bucks on Wednesday.

Milwaukee's efforts were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 33 points and added 16 rebounds for a double-double. Khris Middleton pitched in 21 points, and both Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon netted 16. 

For Portland, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard led the team with 22 points apiece. Jusuf Nurkic was the only other Blazer to score in double digits. He finished with 16 points. The loss was the largest by a conference leader since the East and West conferences were established in 1970-71.

The outcome has big consequences for both teams. The Bucks (13-4) inch closer to the Toronto Raptors, who are atop the standings with a 14-4 record after a 124-108 win over the Atlanta Hawks, and the Blazers (12-6) have been passed by the 12-5 Grizzlies.

Memphis took down San Antonio on two late free throws by Marc Gasol.

The Grizzles took advantage of the Blazers' worst loss of the season and used Mike Conley's 30-point night for their fifth consecutive win to move ahead of both Portland and Golden State.

The Warriors slumped to a fourth straight loss with a 123-95 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

Embiid helps 76ers to another home win

The 76ers remain undefeated at home after a narrow 121-120 victory over the Pelicans. In Philadelphia's efforts to move to 10-0 at Wells Fargo Center, Joel Embiid scored a game-high 31 points. He finished with a double-double after grabbing 19 rebounds – 14 on the defensive end – and had a pair of assists and blocks by the night's end.

Despite the loss, Anthony Davis scored 12 points to put his career total just above 10,000. He became the eighth-youngest player in NBA history to reach the milestone, and accomplished the feat with the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Tracy McGrady, Dwight Howard and Bob McAdoo – the only other players to do so at a younger age.

Layman, Aminu poor for Blazers

Portland did not receive much help from two of their starters. Jake Layman made just one shot and only played nine minutes. However, with more time, Al-Farouq Aminu did not do any better. He finished with four points thanks to a one-for-13 shooting night to go with a pair of free throws. 

 

Carter brings up 25,000 points

How else should a player reach the 25,000-career point milestone? With a dunk, of course. At least that is what Hawks veteran guard Vince Carter did to become only the 22nd player to complete the feat.

The Lakers-Cavaliers matchup came down to the final seconds. But, LeBron James' return was not spoiled, thanks to some late defensive help from JaVale McGee.

Wednesday's results

Charlotte Hornets 127-109 Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia 76ers 121-120 New Orleans Pelicans
Toronto Raptors 124-108 Atlanta Hawks
New York Knicks 117-109 Boston Celtics
Chicago Bulls 124-116 Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Lakers 109-105 Cleveland Cavaliers
Houston Rockets 126-124 Detroit Pistons
Milwaukee Bucks 143-100 Portland Trail Blazers
Denver Nuggets 103-101 Minnesota Timberwolves
Dallas Mavericks 119-113 Brooklyn Nets
Memphis Grizzlies 104-103 San Antonio Spurs
Sacramento Kings 119-110 Utah Jazz
Oklahoma City Thunder 123-95 Golden State Warriors

 

Trail Blazers at Warriors

On the heels of the loss to the Bucks for the Blazers, Friday's matchup between two of the top teams in the West will be interesting to say the least. The Blazers are barely above .500 (5-4) on the road, and it will take the efforts from all of Portland's starting five for the Blazers to get back to their winning ways.

Kemba Walker continued his stellar start to the season Monday, leading in the Charlotte Hornets' 117-112 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday.

The 28-year-old point guard backed up a 60-performance on Saturday with 43 points, five assists and four rebounds to lead the Hornets to the win at the Spectrum Center. Walker also connected on seven of his 13 three-point attempts in the victory.

The Hornets trailed by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter but rallied and took the lead on a 3-pointer by Walker. He then scored Charlotte’s next six points and added a game-securing step-back 3-pointer with 33.3 seconds left to play.

Elsewhere, Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook scored 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in his return from a sprained ankle. He was also involved in a heated exchange with Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein in the third quarter.

The Thunder ended up falling to the Kings 117-113. The Indiana Pacers also pulled away for a 121-94 win over the Utah Jazz

 

Randle carries Pels from the bench

Pelicans forward Julius Randle came of the bench to get a triple-double in his team’s 140-126 victory over the Spurs. He finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.

Meanwhile, Joel Embiid racked up 33 points and 17 rebounds in the Philadelphia 76ers 119-114 win over the Phoenix Suns.

 

Juancho goes cold

Denver Nuggets forward Juan Hernangomez tallied just six points and shot 2-of-10 from the field against the Milwaukee Bucks. Denver lost 104-98.

Harrison Barnes missed 11 of his 14 shots and was a minus-15 in the Dallas Mavericks’ 98-88 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

Giannis gets up

Giannis Antetokounmpo is making highlight plays a regular thing but here, he finishes with authority.

Kemba Walker played the game of his life, but Jimmy Butler stepped up to deliver victory for the Philadelphia 76ers against the Charlotte Hornets.

Walker scored a career-high and franchise-record 60 points, but in the game's final seconds, Philadelphia's own hero stepped up in Butler.

Playing only his third game with the 76ers, Butler buried the game-winning three-pointer in overtime to give Philly a 122-119 victory.

Butler had just moments earlier blocked Walker's shot with less than 20 seconds remaining to get Philadelphia the ball.

Butler finished the game with 15 points. Joel Embiid led the way with 33, and Ben Simmons and JJ Redick chipped in 23 apiece for the 76ers (11-7).

The 76ers needed all of their stars firing on a night that belonged to Walker. The guard knocked down 21 of 34 shots and had seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.

In a nice coincidence, Walker's offensive explosion came on the same night he was honoured as a member of the Hornets' 30th Anniversary Team.

Vucevic produces magic for Orlando

Magic center Nikola Vucevic had 36 points and 13 rebounds in a 130-117 win over the Lakers.

Anthony Davis scored 40 and had eight rebounds and assists in the Pelicans' 125-115 victory over the Nuggets.

Danilo Gallinari (28 points) and Tobias Harris (27) combined for 55 points to key the Clippers to a 127-119 win against the Nets. The Clippers are now 10-5.

 

Dud Dinwiddie

Guard Spencer Dinwiddie hit only three of 16 shots, had four turnovers and fouled out of the Nets' loss to the Clippers.

 

LeBron's dunk, Mitchell's block

Lonzo Ball drew the extra man, then found LeBron James for a thunderous dunk.

Donovan Mitchell chased down Gordon Hayward to block his dunk.

Saturday's results

Los Angeles Clippers 127-119 Brooklyn Nets
Philadelphia 76ers 122-119 Charlotte Hornets
Indiana Pacers 97-89 Atlanta Hawks
New Orleans Pelicans 125-115 Denver Nuggets
Orlando Magic 130-117 Los Angeles Lakers
Utah Jazz 98-86 Boston Celtics
Toronto Raptors 122-83 Chicago Bulls
Houston Rockets 132-112 Sacramento Kings
Dallas Mavericks 112-109 Golden State Warriors
Oklahoma City Thunder 110-100 Phoenix Suns

 

Warriors at Spurs

The Warriors (12-5) are physically wounded (Stephen Curry is still out) and, to quote coach Steve Kerr, "banged up spiritually" in the aftermath of the Kevin Durant-Draymond Green spat. They lost a close game to the Mavericks on Saturday. The Spurs (7-7) and high-scoring guard DeMar DeRozan (25.6 ppg) might be catching them at just the right time, and at home.

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