Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers insists there is no way he should have been ejected in Sunday's defeat to the Denver Nuggets.

It was a disappointing evening for the Clippers, who fell short in a rally to fall to a 114-104 loss on the road.

Rivers allowed frustration to get the better of him with a little over a minute remaining when Patrick Beverley was pinged for fouling the influential Nikola Jokic.

After Jokic nailed the free-throws, Rivers – who was already reeling from seeing Montrezl Harrell called for an offensive charge against Jerami Grant earlier in the quarter – remonstrated with official Nick Buchert and received two technical fouls to be ejected. 

"Listen, coaches can lose their composure, so can officials," Rivers said. "There's no way I should have been thrown out of the game.

"The pick was solid. The bottom line is I shouldn't get a tech. That's number one. That's on me."

Jokic impressed for the Nuggets with 20 points, 15 rebounds and six assists and Rivers conceded his team did not get to grips with the Denver dangerman.

"Post-ups, he's great. Passing, he's great. Shooting, he's great," Rivers said. "Not a lot of weaknesses there. Just got to guard him hard."

The Clippers were without Paul George (hamstring) for the second straight game and Rivers said "we'll just keep evaluating" when asked about his progress.

Nikola Jokic led the Denver Nuggets past Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers 114-104, while Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving impressed on his return in the NBA.

Jokic's double-double of 20 points and 15 rebounds helped the Nuggets see off Western Conference rivals the Clippers in Denver on Sunday.

Jamal Murray contributed 19 points as the Nuggets edged the Clippers, who closed within six points with just over a minute remaining after trailing by as many as 20 in the second half.

In the absence of Paul George (hamstring) for the second consecutive game, Leonard led the Clippers with 30 points on the road.

In Brooklyn, Irving ended his two-month injury absence in the Nets' 108-86 victory at home to the lowly Atlanta Hawks.

Back on the floor following a shoulder injury, Irving was 10 of 11 from the field for 21 points in 20 minutes of action against the Hawks – who were without Trae Young.

 

Valanciunas makes Grizzlies roar

Jonas Valanciunas posted 31 points and collected a season-high 19 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors 122-102. Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell – who missed the previous six games due to a shoulder problem – scored 34 points.

Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns outlast the Charlotte Hornets 100-92.

Jimmy Butler put up 25 points and 10 rebounds but the Miami Heat were stunned 124-121 away to the New York Knicks.

All of the Utah Jazz's starters had double-digit points (Bojan Bogdanovic 31), Rudy Gobert (21, 14 rebounds), Joe Ingles (20), Emmanuel Mudiay (14) and Royce O'Neale (10), while Jordan Clarkson added 23 off the bench in a 127-116 victory over the Washington Wizards.

 

Raptors blow lead

Defending champions the Toronto Raptors were unable to hold out the San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors surrendered an 18-point lead in a 105-104 defeat at home to the Spurs.

Landry Shamet played 25 minutes against the Nuggets and he failed to score a point. The Clippers guard was 0 of five from the floor.

 

Irving's back!

After a prolonged absence and talk of surgery, Irving was back on the court on Sunday and it was like he was never away.

 

Sunday's results

Utah Jazz 127-116 Washington Wizards
New York Knicks 124-121 Miami Heat
San Antonio Spurs 105-104 Toronto Raptors
Memphis Grizzlies 122-102 Golden State Warriors
Brooklyn Nets 108-86 Atlanta Hawks
Phoenix Suns 100-92 Charlotte Hornets
Denver Nuggets 114-104 Los Angeles Clippers

 

Cavs at Lakers

A ninth successive win will be on the line when Western Conference leaders the Los Angeles Lakers (32-7) welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers (12-27) to Staples Center on Monday. The Lakers could have star pair LeBron James and Anthony Davis back for the clash. The Cavs have won two straight.

The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks were too good for the Portland Trail Blazers 122-101, while the depleted Los Angeles Lakers extended their winning streak.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 32 points and 17 rebounds as the Bucks won their third consecutive game and improved to 35-6 for the season.

Khris Middleton posted 30 points and team-mate Eric Bledsoe contributed 29 for the high-flying Bucks in Portland on Saturday.

The Lakers celebrated their eighth successive victory by topping the Oklahoma City Thunder 125-110 without a host of stars on the road.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Danny Green were all absent for the trip to Oklahoma City, but Western Conference leaders the Lakers still won thanks to a season-high 36 points from Kyle Kuzma.

 

Career night for Tatum

A career-high 41 points from Jayson Tatum led the Boston Celtics past the New Orleans Pelicans 140-105, snapping a three-game skid in the process.

James Harden passed 20,000 career points in the Houston Rockets' 139-109 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He scored 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in three quarters.

Triple-doubles from Tristan Thompson (18 points, 13 rebounds), Kevin Love (19 points, 15 rebounds) and Cedi Osman (11 points, 12 rebounds) helped the Cleveland Cavaliers shock the Denver Nuggets 111-103.

 

Shooting struggles for Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers had plenty of looks but were woeful from the floor in their 109-91 loss away to the Dallas Mavericks. Philadelphia tallied 98 shots but finished at 38 per cent. The 76ers were also nine of 37 from three-point range.

 

Celtics sizzle

The Celtics were red-hot in this team move that stunned the Pelicans and set up Enes Kanter.

 

Saturday's results

Houston Rockets 139-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
Boston Celtics 140-105 Orleans Pelicans
Chicago Bulls 108-99 Detroit Pistons
Los Angeles Lakers 125-110 Oklahoma City Thunder
Dallas Mavericks 109-91 Philadelphia 76ers
Cleveland Cavaliers 111-103 Denver Nuggets
Milwaukee Bucks 122-101 Portland Trail Blazers

 

 

Clippers at Nuggets

The Los Angeles Clippers (27-12) – riding a two-game winning streak – can cement second spot in the west on Sunday. The Nuggets (26-12) will host the Clippers after being shocked by the Cavs.

Nikola Jokic had a night to remember as the Denver Nuggets beat the Atlanta Hawks 123-115 on the road, with team-mate Will Barton declaring "no one can stop him".

Denver moved to 25-11 on the season, good for second in the Western Conference, after Jokic scored a career-high 47 points while committing zero turnovers on Monday.

"We go as he goes," Barton said of Jokic, per ESPN. "I feel like no one can stop him."

Barton had 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Jamal Murray added 16 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

As well as his 47 points, center Jokic also had eight rebounds and five assists, going 16-of-25 from the field to sail past his previous top career total of 41 and the season-best of 31 recorded against the Memphis Grizzlies.

"I just liked the flow of the game," said Jokic. "I think I made a few shots and got to the line a little bit, and I think the flow was really good for me."

The Nuggets bounced back nicely from their loss to the Washington Wizards, while the Hawks were left with an 8-29 record despite 29 points form star man Trae Young.

Next up for Jokic and the Nuggets is a road game against the Dallas Mavericks, who are sixth in the West.

The San Antonio Spurs stunned NBA leaders the Milwaukee Bucks 126-104, while the Philadelphia 76ers ended a four-game losing streak on Monday.

San Antonio used a season-high 19 three-pointers to upstage Milwaukee, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.

DeMar DeRozan posted 25 points for the Spurs (15-20) and team-mate Patty Mills added 21 points – including six for 10 from beyond the arc.

The high-flying Bucks (32-6) were led by reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists on the road.

In Philadelphia, the 76ers returned to winning ways thanks to a 120-113 victory at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Ben Simmons' double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds, Josh Richardson's 23 points and Joel Embiid's 18 points despite a dislocated finger fuelled the 76ers.

 

Doncic with league-leading triple-double

Luka Doncic recorded his 11th triple-double of the season as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls 118-110. He scored 21 of his 38 points in the third quarter, collected 11 rebounds and tallied 10 assists.

Markelle Fultz – the number one pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the 76ers – had a career-high 25 points to lead the Orlando Magic past the Brooklyn Nets 101-89. Team-mate Nikola Vucevic added 11 points and 24 rebounds.

Nikola Jokic was red-hot in the Denver Nuggets' 123-115 triumph at the Atlanta Hawks. He had a career-best 47 points with no turnovers.

Ish Smith put up a game-high 27 points as the Washington Wizards shocked the Boston Celtics 99-94.

Bogan Bogdanovic's 35 points led the Utah Jazz to a 128-126 victory against the New Orleans Pelicans and a sixth straight win.

 

Nets duo struggle, Washington cold from floor

Taurean Prince was two of 11 from the field and two of nine from three-point range for six points in 29 minutes. His Nets team-mate Garrett Temple did not fare much better, posting nine points on two of 13 shooting and one of eight from beyond the arc.

The Charlotte Hornets lost 115-104 to the Indiana Pacers and PJ Washington struggled. While Washington collected nine rebounds, he only made three of his 12 shots from the field, while he missed all five of his three-point attempts.

 

Trae with the fake

The Hawks might be struggling, but Trae Young continues to star in Atlanta…

 

Monday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 120-113 Oklahoma City Thunder
Indiana Pacers 115-104 Charlotte Hornets
Washington Wizards 99-94 Boston Celtics
Orlando Magic 101-89 Brooklyn Nets
Denver Nuggets 123-115 Atlanta Hawks
Utah Jazz 128-126 New Orleans Pelicans
San Antonio Spurs 126-104 Milwaukee Bucks
Dallas Mavericks 118-110 Chicago Bulls
Sacramento Kings 111-98 Golden State Warriors

 

Knicks at Lakers

The lowly New York Knicks (10-26) make the trip to Staples Center on Tuesday. The Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers (29-7) will look to extend their winning streak to six games.

Luka Doncic inspired the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA on Thursday, while the Los Angeles Clippers cruised again.

Doncic's 31 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists saw the Mavericks past the Brooklyn Nets 123-111.

Seth Curry provided plenty of support off the bench with 25 points on nine-of-13 shooting.

The Clippers eased to a 126-112 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 30 points, but it was the Clippers' bench that did most of the damage.

Montrezl Harrell (23 points), Lou Williams (22) and JaMychal Green (12 points and 12 rebounds) impressed.

 

Awesome Adebayo leads Heat

Bam Adebayo had a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds in the Miami Heat's 84-76 win against the Toronto Raptors.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander delivered 25 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 109-103 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

A double-double from Rudy Gobert (17 points and 12 rebounds) saw the Utah Jazz past the Chicago Bulls 102-98.

Poor Pistons

Detroit's starters struggled against the Clippers. The Pistons' starting line-up – Tony Snell, Sekou Doumbouya, Andre Drummond, Svi Mykhailiuk and Tim Frazier – went 14-of-43 from the field in the loss.

 

Spellman's slam

Golden State Warriors forward Omari Spellman delivered a huge dunk against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Thursday's results

Charlotte Hornets 109-106 Cleveland Cavaliers
Denver Nuggets 124-116 Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat 84-76 Toronto Raptors
Utah Jazz 102-98 Chicago Bulls
Minnesota Timberwolves 99-84 Golden State Warriors
Dallas Mavericks 123-111 Brooklyn Nets
Oklahoma City Thunder 109-103 San Antonio Spurs
Sacramento Kings 128-123 Memphis Grizzlies
Los Angeles Clippers 126-112 Detroit Pistons

 

Pelicans at Lakers

Flying high atop the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers (27-7) host the New Orleans Pelicans (11-23) on Friday. The Pelicans are on a four-game winning streak.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George helped the Los Angeles Clippers bounce back in the NBA, while James Harden and Russell Westbrook led the Houston Rockets.

Coming off a loss to the Utah Jazz, the Clippers responded by crushing the Sacramento Kings 105-87 on Tuesday.

Unsurprisingly, their star duo led the way as Leonard had 24 points and George finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

The Rockets' two main stars guided Houston to a 130-104 thrashing of the Denver Nuggets on New Year's Eve.

Harden had 35 points and Westbrook finished with 28 to go with seven assists and three rebounds.

The Nuggets (23-10) are second to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference, ahead of the Clippers (24-11) and Rockets (23-11).

 

Doncic dominance not enough for Dallas

Luka Doncic's 35 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists were not enough as the Dallas Mavericks fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 106-101.

DeMar DeRozan's 24 points guided the San Antonio Spurs to a 117-113 overtime win against the Golden State Warriors.

Serge Ibaka had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds in the Toronto Raptors' 117-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Kings, Hornets continue to struggle

The Kings slumped to an eighth straight loss with their defeat to the Clippers.

The Charlotte Hornets are on a six-game losing run, meanwhile, after being beaten by the Boston Celtics 109-92.

 

Sabonis slam

Domantas Sabonis produced a huge slam during the Indiana Pacers' win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tuesday's results

Boston Celtics 109-92 Charlotte Hornets
Indiana Pacers 115-97 Philadelphia 76ers
Los Angeles Clippers 105-87 Sacramento Kings
Toronto Raptors 117-97 Cleveland Cavaliers
Houston Rockets 130-104 Denver Nuggets
San Antonio Spurs 117-113 Golden State Warriors
Oklahoma City Thunder 106-101 Dallas Mavericks

 

Suns at Lakers

The Lakers (26-7) will be expecting to begin 2020 with a win against the Phoenix Suns (13-20) on Wednesday.

LeBron James bested Luka Doncic as the Los Angeles Lakers eased to a 108-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA.

Two MVP candidates went head-to-head at Staples Center on Sunday and Lakers superstar James emerged on top after making history on his way to a double-double of 13 points and 13 assists.

One day out from his 35th birthday, the three-time NBA champion became the ninth player in history to reach 9,000 assists and the first to do it with a minimum of 9,000 rebounds.

Doncic, making his 100th appearance in the league, needed treatment after a heavy fall in the first quarter, although he still led the Mavs with 19 points and seven assists.

Dallas (21-11) are now four and a half games adrift of the Western Conference-leading Lakers (26-7) and two games behind the second-placed Denver Nuggets, who prevailed 120-115 against the Sacramento Kings.

Nikola Jokic made a clutch fadeaway jumper in the fourth quarter and finished with 17 points, while Will Barton and first-time starter Michael Porter Jr had 19 apiece for the Nuggets (23-9).

 

Lonzo leads Pelicans past Rockets

Lonzo Ball starred in James Harden's absence as the New Orleans Pelicans topped the Houston Rockets 127-112 to notch a fourth consecutive victory. Rockets guard Harden joined Russell Westbrook on the sideline due to a toe problem and Ball – the former number two draft pick – took advantage with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander consigned defending champions the Toronto Raptors to a third loss in four games, his 32 points, plus 25 and 11 rebounds from Chris Paul, lifting the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 98-97 triumph at Scotiabank Arena.

Dillon Brooks went eight of 13 from the floor for 20 points as the Memphis Grizzlies overcame the Charlotte Hornets 117-104.

 

Rivers dries up

The Rockets needed scoring production from elsewhere with star pair Harden and Westbrook unavailable, but Austin Rivers struggled to step up against the Pelicans. The 27-year-old guard managed nine points and five assists in 29 minutes, hitting one of four three-point attempts and just two of seven from the floor.

 

Jokic shows off skills

Denver big man Jokic showcased his slick handles with two brilliant behind-the-back dribbles in the Nuggets' five-point win against the Kings.

 

Sunday's results

Oklahoma City Thunder 98-97 Toronto Raptors
Memphis Grizzlies 117-104 Charlotte Hornets
New Orleans Pelicans 127-112 Houston Rockets
Denver Nuggets 120-115 Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Lakers 108-95 Dallas Mavericks

 

Bucks at Bulls

The Milwaukee Bucks (29-5) will hope Giannis Antetokounmpo can overcome back soreness in time for Monday's trip to the improving Chicago Bulls (13-20).

LeBron James led the way as the Los Angeles Lakers ended a four-game losing streak with a 128-120 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA.

James posted a double-double to snap the Lakers' season-long winless run away to the Trail Blazers on Saturday.

In doubt with a groin problem, James took to the court and scored 21 points and tallied 16 assists for the Lakers in Portland.

Kyle Kuzma put up 24 points and Lakers team-mate Anthony Davis added 20 points.

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard had a game-high 31 points as Portland lost their third consecutive game.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers lost 120-107 at home to the Utah Jazz.

Paul George had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard recorded 19 points, but the Clippers went down to the visiting Jazz – who were led by Donovan Mitchell's 30 points.

 

Doncic delivers another triple-double

It was the Luka Doncic show as the Dallas Mavericks star had 31 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds in just 30 minutes. His ninth triple-double of the season led the Mavericks past the Golden State Warriors 141-121. Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell finished with 35 points and nine three-pointers.

James Harden starred with 44 points and 10 rebounds as the Houston Rockets defeated the Brooklyn Nets 108-98.

Joel Embiid posted 35 points and 11 rebounds but the Philadelphia 76ers suffered a heartbreaking 117-116 overtime loss to the Miami Heat.

Defending champions the Toronto Raptors topped the Boston Celtics 113-97 thanks to Kyle Lowry's 30 points. Serge Ibaka contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan (29 points) and LaMarcus Aldridge (25 points, 12 rebounds) combined to help the San Antonio Spurs beat the Detroit Pistons 136-109.

 

Fultz falters

Former number one pick Markelle Fultz has shown glimpses of his talent this season. However, Fultz was just one of 10 from the floor in 30 minutes of action. He finished with just four points as the Orlando Magic went down 111-100 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

Happy Holidays

Jrue, Justin and Aaron Holiday made history in the New Orleans Pelicans' 120-98 victory against the Indiana Pacers. It was the first time in the NBA three brothers shared the court at the same time.

 

Saturday's results

Denver Nuggets 119-110 Memphis Grizzlies
Toronto Raptors 113-97 Boston Celtics
New Orleans Pelicans 120-98 Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat 117-116 Philadelphia 76ers (OT)
Chicago Bulls 116-81 Atlanta Hawks
Cleveland Cavaliers 94-88 Minnesota Timberwolves
New York Knicks 107-100 Washington Wizards
Houston Rockets 108-98 Brooklyn Nets
San Antonio Spurs 136-109 Detroit Pistons
Dallas Mavericks 141-121 Golden State Warriors
Milwaukee Bucks 111-100 Orlando Magic
Phoenix Suns 112-110 Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Lakers 128-120 Portland Trail Blazers
Utah Jazz 120-107 Los Angeles Clippers

 

Mavs at Lakers

Doncic and the Mavericks will travel to Los Angeles on Sunday to face James and the Lakers in a Western Conference showdown.

The Los Angeles Clippers claimed Christmas Day honours as neighbours the Los Angeles Lakers crashed to their fourth consecutive defeat in the NBA.

Kawhi Leonard starred with 35 points to lead the Clippers past the slumping Lakers 111-106 in the battle of LA on Wednesday.

Leonard scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and added 12 rebounds as the Clippers beat the Lakers for the second time this season, having also won on opening night.

The Lakers (24-7) led 63-51 at half-time but were outscored 60-43 by the Clippers (23-10) in the second half in Los Angeles.

Montrezl Harrell posted 18 points off the bench and Clippers team-mate Paul George contributed 17 at Staples Center midweek.

LeBron James, who returned from a muscle strain, put up 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the beaten Lakers, while Kyle Kuzma led the way with his 25 points.

 

Embiid takes down Bucks

Joel Embiid was at his brilliant best with 31 points and 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers upstaged league leaders the Milwaukee Bucks 121-109. It was Embiid's seventh game of the season with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Simmons added 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Jaylen Brown was 10 for 13 from the field and five-of-seven from three-point range for 30 points to inspire the Boston Celtics' 118-102 victory against defending champions the Toronto Raptors. Chris Boucher had 24 points off the bench for the Raptors.

Damion Lee's 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds helped the Golden State Warriors past the Houston Rockets 116-104. It was Golden State's third straight win. Double-doubles from Russell Westbrook (30 points, 12 rebounds), James Harden (24 points, 11 assists) and Clint Capela (10 points, 11 rebounds) were not enough for the Rockets.

 

Giannis struggles from the floor

While Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, it was a tough night for the reigning MVP. He was eight of 27 from the floor and 0 of seven from three-point range.

 

Beverley says no to LeBron!

Patrick Beverley produced a big defensive play as the Lakers tried to rally against the Clippers. James led the charge, but he was denied by the energetic Beverley.

 

Wednesday's results

Boston Celtics 118-102 Toronto Raptors
Philadelphia 76ers 121-109 Milwaukee Bucks
Golden State Warriors 116-104 Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers 111-106 Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans 112-100 Denver Nuggets

 

Spurs at Mavs

After their high-scoring battle against the Memphis Grizzlies, the San Antonio Spurs take on the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. The Mavericks could welcome back star guard Luka Doncic.

The Indiana Pacers outlasted defending champions the Toronto Raptors in overtime, while the Philadelphia 76ers downed the Detroit Pistons in the NBA.

Aaron Holiday's double-double helped the Pacers past the Raptors 120-115 in Indiana on Monday, snapping Toronto's five-game winning streak.

Holiday had 19 points and 10 assists, T.J. Warren and Myles Turner posted 24 points apiece, and Domantas Sabonis contributed 12 points and 17 rebounds for the Pacers.

The Raptors, coming off a franchise-record comeback on Monday, were led by Kyle Lowry's 30 points, while Fred VanVleet put up 21 points and 11 assists.

In Detroit, the 76ers were too good for the slumping Pistons 125-109 thanks to Tobias Harris' 35 points on the road.

Joel Embiid added 20 points of his own, while Andre Drummond scored 27 for the Pistons – who crashed to a fifth straight loss.

 

Aldridge stars in Spurs shoot-out

LaMarcus Aldridge recorded a season-high 40 points as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies 145-115.

Ben Simmons posted a triple-double for the 76ers, finishing with 16 points, a career-high 17 assists and 13 rebounds.

Bradley Beal had 30 points in the Washington Wizards' 121-115 win over the New York Knicks. Julius Randle managed a game-high 35 points for the Knicks.

 

Griffin a shadow of himself

Blake Griffin – a six-time All-Star – looked out of sorts against the 76ers. He was just two of 14 from the floor for eight points in 27 minutes. Griffin also missed all six of this three-point attempts.

 

Murray with the game-winner

Tied at 111-111, Jamal Murray nailed the go-ahead jumper with 2.5 seconds remaining as the Denver Nuggets edged the Phoenix Suns 113-111.

 

Monday's results

Cleveland Cavaliers 121-118 Atlanta Hawks
Philadelphia 76ers 125-109 Detroit Pistons
Orlando Magic 103-95 Chicago Bulls
Washington Wizards 121-115 New York Knick
Indiana Pacers 120-115 Toronto Raptors (OT)
Miami Heat 107-104 Utah Jazz
San Antonio Spurs 145-115 Memphis Grizzlies
Denver Nuggets 113-111 Phoenix Suns
Houston Rockets 113-104 Sacramento Kings
New Orleans Pelicans 102-94 Portland Trail Blazers
Golden State Warriors 113-104 Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Christmas Day feast

After a break on Tuesday, the NBA returns in a big way for Christmas. After the Raptors entertain the Boston Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks face the 76ers, the Houston Rockets travel to the Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers meet the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets welcome the New Orleans Pelicans.

LeBron James will be assessed day to day ahead of the Lakers' Los Angeles showdown with the Clippers on Christmas Day, head coach Frank Vogel said.

Superstar James was absent as the Lakers went down 128-104 on home court to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, their third straight defeat.

James was officially missing with an injury to his rib cage, while reports from ESPN suggest the 15-time All Star is also contending with a persistent groin issue.

Vogel acknowledged the importance of James and remains hopeful of having him available for a Los Angeles Christmas cracker on Wednesday.

"Hopefully he'll be available for us on Christmas Day," Vogel said in quotes reported by the LA Times.

"But we'll see how the injury heals up and whenever he gets back, we'll benefit from that for sure

"LeBron is obviously a game-changer. Our offensive flow, defensive communication, quarterbacking, playmaking offensively, being able to get guys shots. [He has an impact on] probably all that stuff."

Anthony Davis did his part to try and carry the Lakers without James, finishing with 32 points, 11 rebounds and an assist, while the returning Kyle Kuzma put up 16 points from 22 minutes.

Davis himself had an injury scare when he hurt his knee in the third quarter, but he managed to return to the game.

"I felt fine enough to go back out and play. I'll see how it feels tomorrow [before deciding if I can play against the Clippers]," Davis said.

"We've got two days before our next game, so that should be plenty of enough time to get it back right. 

"But obviously the game just ended so we got to see how it feels overnight and then hopefully nothing significant happens. [I can] get some treatment on it and continue to move forward [on] Wednesday."

The Los Angeles Lakers lost in LeBron James' absence in the NBA on Sunday, while the Toronto Raptors rallied from 30 points down to beat the Dallas Mavericks.

James missed the clash with the Denver Nuggets due to a thoracic muscle strain and his absence hurt the Western Conference leaders in a 128-104 loss at Staples Center.

Anthony Davis played almost a lone hand for the Lakers (24-6), posting 32 points and 11 rebounds as he fought through a suspected knee problem sustained after an awkward fall in the third quarter.

Kyle Kuzma added 16 points on his return from an ankle injury but there was no stopping the Nuggets (20-8), who were inspired by Paul Millsap's 21 points and a double-double from Will Barton (14 points, 13 rebounds).

Defending champions the Raptors, meanwhile, set a franchise record with their incredible 110-107 win against the Luka Doncic-less Mavericks.

Kyle Lowry led the way with 32 points and 10 assists as Toronto (21-8) overturned a 30-point third-quarter deficit to record their largest-ever comeback victory.

 

Giannis guides Bucks past Pacers

Giannis Antetokounmpo fell one assist short of a triple-double as his 18 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a 117-89 rout of the Indiana Pacers, who were on a five-game winning streak before Sunday's contest.

Jayson Tatum put up a career-high 39 points on 15-of-29 shooting in the Boston Celtics' 119-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets to stay in touch with the Bucks.

Paul George endured an unhappy return to Oklahoma City as the Los Angeles Clippers, who rested Kawhi Leonard, led for three quarters before slipping to a 118-112 defeat to the Thunder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, part of the trade that sent All-Star George to the Clippers, posted 32 points for the second time in a week.

 

Brogdon's rough Bucks reunion

Before facing the Bucks, Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said he would not have left Milwaukee had he been properly "valued". He gave his old team little cause for regret at Fiserv Forum, making five of 19 shots from the floor and going zero-for-four from three-point range.

 

Monk's massive dunk

Malik Monk provided a highlight for the Hornets with a huge dunk over Enes Kanter.

Sunday's results

Toronto Raptors 110-107 Dallas Mavericks
Boston Celtics 119-93 Charlotte Hornets
Oklahoma City Thunder 118-112 Los Angeles Clippers
Milwaukee Bucks 117-89 Indiana Pacers
Denver Nuggets 128-104 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Raptors at Pacers

Toronto will look to carry their momentum into Monday's important Eastern Conference encounter with the Pacers, who have a point to prove after falling well short against the Bucks.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will miss the showdown against the Denver Nuggets, the NBA franchise confirmed.

James was in doubt for Sunday's NBA clash due to a thoracic muscle strain, suffered during a 105-102 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

The Lakers (24-5) announced James' absence just hours before tip-off at Staples Center in Los Angeles, though Kyle Kuzma and Anthony Davis will face the Nuggets (19-8).

James – whose first season with the Lakers was ravaged by injury – is averaging 25.8 points, 10.6 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game in 2019-20.

The Lakers top the Western Conference, while the Nuggets are third after winning five straight games.

The Los Angeles Lakers could be without LeBron James against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday due to a thoracic muscle strain.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel revealed the four-time NBA MVP did the damage during a 105-102 defeat to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

James will be monitored, but the 34-year-old is a doubt for the showdown with the Nuggets at Staples Center, where the Lakers will attempt to stop the rot after back-to-back defeats.

"It was sustained in the Indiana game," Vogel said. "He played through it in the Milwaukee [Bucks] game, but the medical team is just keeping a close eye on him and list him as doubtful [to play on Sunday].

"If he doesn't go, it's going to be a group effort. We'll release starting line-ups tomorrow [Sunday], but it's one of those things that no one person can pick up what LeBron does for our team, so it will just have to be a group effort."

There is more positive news on forward Kyle Kuzma, who has been struggling with an ankle injury but is probable to face Denver.

The Lakers are 24-5 at the top of the Western Conference, while the Nuggets (19-8) occupy third place are have won their last five games.

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