The Los Angeles Lakers suffered their heaviest loss of the NBA season on Monday, while Ben Simmons and Damian Lillard inspired victories with stunning performances.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis featured from the start but the Lakers never got going in a heavy 139-107 defeat to the Boston Celtics.

Jayson Tatum registered a game-high 27 points to help Celtics team-mate Kemba Walker celebrate his first career win against superstar James at the 29th attempt.

Joel Embiid's absence through injury failed to hurt the Philadelphia 76ers as Simmons shone in a 117-111 road victory over the slumping Brooklyn Nets.

Simmons enjoyed one of the best games of his career, posting a triple-double with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, plus five steals.

There was similar joy elsewhere for Damian Lillard, who erupted for a career-best 61 points – including 11 three-pointers – as the Portland Trail Blazers overcame the Golden State Warriors 129-124 in an overtime thriller.

 

Westbrook heroics not enough as OKC complete comeback

Russell Westbrook's 32 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds went unrewarded as the Houston Rockets squandered a big lead to lose 112-107 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Rockets were overrun after taking a 16-point advantage into the fourth quarter, as Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari shared 53 points for OKC.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (28 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) also recorded a triple-double, the reigning MVP reaching 10,000 career points as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls 111-98.

The Miami Heat resumed their charge in the Eastern Conference, outlasting the Sacramento Kings 118-113 in overtime.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Denver Nuggets bounced back to winning ways, topping the Timberwolves 107-100 thanks to double-doubles from Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr.

 

Lowry misses out in Atlanta

The Toronto Raptors claimed a 122-117 win against the Atlanta Hawks but it was still a game to forget for five-time All Star Kyle Lowry, who went three-of-11 from the floor and missed each of his five three-point attempts.

 

Brown posterises LeBron!

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown had 20 points and a huge dunk on an NBA superstar at TD Garden.

Monday's results

San Antonio Spurs 120-118 Phoenix Suns
Portland Trail Blazers 129-124 Golden State Warriors (OT)
Utah Jazz 118-88 Indiana Pacers
Washington Wizards 106-100 Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors 122-117 Atlanta Hawks
Philadelphia 76ers 117-111 Brooklyn Nets
Miami Heat 118-113 Sacramento Kings (OT)
Milwaukee Bucks 111-98 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 Houston Rockets
Orlando Magic 106-83 Charlotte Hornets
New Orleans Pelicans 126-116 Memphis Grizzlies
New York Knicks 106-86 Cleveland Cavaliers
Boston Celtics 139-107 Los Angeles Lakers
Denver Nuggets 107-100 Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Clippers at Mavericks

Kristaps Porzingis could return from a knee injury when the Dallas Mavericks (27-15) entertain the Los Angeles Clippers (30-13) in Tuesday's only game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and NBA leaders the Milwaukee Bucks eased past the Brooklyn Nets, while LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers topped the Houston Rockets.

Antetokounmpo's 29 points and 12 rebounds fuelled Milwaukee's 117-97 victory away to the Nets on Saturday.

Khris Middleton scored 20 points for the Bucks, who improved their league-best record to 38-6 amid a six-game winning streak.

James also had a double-double as the Western Conference-leading Lakers powered past rivals the Rockets 124-115 on the road.

After the Orlando Magic snapped their nine-game winning streak, the Lakers bounced back thanks to 31 points and 12 assists from James in Houston.

Kyle Kuzma added 23 points, while Lakers team-mates Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 20 points apiece.

The Rockets were led by Russell Westbrook, who put up 35 points for his fourth consecutive 30-point game, and James Harden (34 points).

 

Sixers end road woes

The Philadelphia 76ers snapped a six-game road losing streak with a 90-87 victory at the lowly New York Knicks. Ben Simmons had 20 points for the 76ers.

The Los Angeles Clippers rallied to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 133-130 on the back of Kawhi Leonard's 39 points.

Rudy Gobert's 28 points and 15 rebounds, and Bojan Bogdanovic's 30 points inspired the Utah Jazz to a 123-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Devin Booker had 39 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Phoenix Suns stunned the Boston Celtics 123-119. Marcus Smart's franchise-record 11 three-pointers were not enough for the Celtics.

 

Carmelo struggles in OKC

While Chris Paul shined with 30 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder, fellow veteran Carmelo Anthony struggled in the Portland Trail Blazers' 119-106 loss. He was four of 13 from the field and missed all three attempts from beyond the arc for nine points in 32 minutes.

 

From Noel to Bazley

After Nerlens Noel blocked a shot, Darius Bazley went up the other end and hammered home the slam for the Thunder!

 

Saturday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 117-97 Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Clippers 133-130 New Orleans Pelicans
Phoenix Suns 123-119 Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers 90-87 New York Knicks
Detroit Pistons 136-103 Atlanta Hawks
Toronto Raptors 122-112 Minnesota Timberwolves
Chicago Bulls 118-116 Cleveland Cavaliers
Golden State Warriors 109-95 Orlando Magic
Los Angeles Lakers 124-115 Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz 123-101 Sacramento Kings
Oklahoma City Thunder 119-106 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Pacers at Nuggets

Only two games are scheduled for Sunday, with the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are the only other teams in action. The Indiana Pacers (27-15) are riding a four-game winning streak, while the Denver Nuggets (29-12) are coming off three straight victories.

The Orlando Magic snapped the Los Angeles Lakers' winning streak in the NBA, while the Houston Rockets were also stunned on Wednesday.

The Lakers' nine-game winning run was ended with a shock 119-118 loss to Orlando.

LeBron James had a double-double of 19 points and 19 assists, but the Lakers (33-8) were stunned at the Staples Center.

Markelle Fultz was the star for Orlando (20-21) with a triple-double of 21 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Houston were also surprised in a 117-107 defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Russell Westbrook contributed a triple-double of 31 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, but James Harden (13 points) went three-of-12 from the field.

Damian Lillard (25 points) and CJ McCollum (24) combined for 49 points for Portland, while Hassan Whiteside (18 points and 18 rebounds) and Carmelo Anthony (18 points and 12 rebounds) managed double-doubles.

 

Doncic delights as Sabonis shines

Luka Doncic starred with 25 points, 17 assists and 15 rebounds in the Dallas Mavericks' 127-123 win over the Sacramento Kings. The 20-year-old became the youngest player in NBA history to post a triple-double with at least 15 rebounds and 15 assists.

Domantas Sabonis' double-double of 29 points and 13 rebounds helped the Indiana Pacers past the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-99.

The Philadelphia 76ers overcame the Brooklyn Nets 117-106 as Ben Simmons contributed 20 points and 11 assists.

 

Kuzma struggles

Kyle Kuzma struggled in the Lakers' defeat, going two-of-10 from the field for just four points in 27 minutes.

 

Mykhailiuk from deep

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk converted from beyond half-court to beat the buzzer in the third quarter of the Detroit Pistons' 116-103 victory against the Boston Celtics.

Wednesday's results

Detroit Pistons 116-103 Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers 117-106 Brooklyn Nets
Miami Heat 106-100 San Antonio Spurs
Chicago Bulls 115-106 Washington Wizards
Indiana Pacers 104-99 Minnesota Timberwolves
Toronto Raptors 130-121 Oklahoma City Thunder
Denver Nuggets 100-86 Charlotte Hornets
Portland Trail Blazers 117-107 Houston Rockets
Dallas Mavericks 127-123 Sacramento Kings
Orlando Magic 119-118 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Celtics at Bucks

The Celtics (27-12) get a chance to bounce back when they face Eastern Conference leaders the Milwaukee Bucks (36-6) on Thursday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo showed no mercy in a devastating 21-minute display as the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks defeated the New York Knicks 128-102.

Antetokounmpo only played three quarters but the reigning MVP still scored 37 points to lead the Bucks past the Knicks on Tuesday.

The Bucks, who led by as many as 35 points, improved their league-best record to 36-6 with a fourth consecutive victory.

Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard posted 43 points as the Los Angeles Clippers cruised past the Cleveland Cavalier 128-103.

Lou Williams contributed 24 points off the bench for the Clippers, who were again without injured star Paul George.

 

Jazz extend winning streak

The Utah Jazz made it 10 successive wins by beating the Brooklyn Nets 118-107. Joe Ingles matched his career high with 27 points, while Rudy Gobert had 22 points and 18 rebounds. Kyrie Irving recorded 32 points and 11 assists for the Nets.

Trae Young's double-double of 36 points and 10 assists helped the lowly Atlanta Hawks soar past the Phoenix Suns 123-110. Devin Booker scored 39 points for the visiting Suns.

James Harden's 41 points were not enough after the Houston Rockets fell 121-110 to the in-form Memphis Grizzlies. Rookie Ja Morant put up 26 points as the Grizzlies won their sixth successive game.

 

O'Neale scoreless

Royce O'Neal did not post a point against the Nets. In 32 minutes, he was 0 of five from the floor, while he missed all three of his three-point attempts.

 

Grizzlies put on a show

Led by Morant and Jackson, the Grizzlies grounded the Rockets.

 

Tuesday's results

Atlanta Hawks 123-110 Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz 118-107 Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee Bucks 128-102 New York Knicks
Memphis Grizzlies 121-110 Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers 128-103 Cleveland Cavaliers
Dallas Mavericks 124-97 Golden State Warriors

 

Magic at Lakers

Can the Los Angeles Lakers (33-7) make it 10 straight wins? The Western Conference leaders play host to the Orlando Magic (19-21) on Wednesday.

James Harden revelled in the "great accomplishment" of surpassing the 20,000 point-mark in the NBA on Saturday.

The Houston Rockets star posted 32 points in his side's 139-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, adding 12 rebounds and eight assists for good measure. 

A haul of 20,022 places Harden 45th on the all-time list, although Kareem Abdul-Jabbar' 38,387 remains a distant prospect.

"It's a great accomplishment obviously," Harden said. "I have a bigger picture and bigger goals, but it's pretty cool."

The 30-year-old revealed that he took the game ball and gave it to his mother for safe keeping.

"She has everything,'' he said. "Every goal and achievement that I have, she has it. I gave it to her, and she'll put it in a safe place.''

Russell Westbrook offered glowing praise of his team-mate.

"To be able to do that on a very, very high level is something we don't take for granted," he said.

"Growing up in LA and being able to see him progress over the years, to me, is just a blessing to see as his friend, and I'm truly happy for him."

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.

Russell Westbrook felt like he was back at home as he was given a rousing reception on his return to Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

The 2016-17 NBA MVP and eight-time All-Star was given a standing ovation before the Houston Rockets were beaten 113-92 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

There were chants of "MVP" for Westbrook from the Thunder faithful in his first appearance at his old stomping ground since ending an 11-year spell with Oklahoma to join the Rockets last year.

Westbrook scored a game-high 34 points and although he was unable to make a winning return, the point guard savoured the welcome he was given, with a tribute video also played in recognition of the huge impact he made for the Thunder.

"Man, some things you can't put into words, just because I've been here so long, so many great memories, great people," Westbrook said.

"Obviously, the best fans in the world, because they come with it, and tonight they came with it.

"The organisation, Sam [Presti], Mr. [Clay] Bennett, they do an amazing job of just making you feel home. And I felt like I was home."

Westbrook added: "It's special. It's a very, very special thing that meant a lot to me, honestly.

"Coming back here, just making me feel that I was very, very appreciated."

Russell Westbrook returned to his former home but the Houston Rockets fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-92 in the NBA on Thursday.

Westbrook was dealt by the Thunder to the Rockets in the offseason after 11 years, an MVP and eight All-Star appearances with Oklahoma City.

The Rockets star was given a standing ovation as he returned to Oklahoma City for the first time since the trade, but the Thunder emerged victorious.

Westbrook had a game-high 34 points to lead the Rockets away from home, while Danilo Gallinari's 23 points and 11 rebounds fuelled the Thunder.

The Philadelphia 76ers overcame the absence of All-Star Joel Embiid to trump Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics 109-98.

Embiid is set to undergo surgery on a torn ligament in a finger in his left hand, but the 76ers still managed to rally past the Celtics at Wells Fargo Center.

Josh Richardson posted 29 points as the 76ers overturned a double-digit deficit against the Celtics, who dropped their third straight.

 

Career night for Thompson as slumping Cavs snap streak

Tristan Thompson had a career-high 35 points and 14 rebounds as the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to snap a five-game losing streak by topping the Detroit Pistons 115-112 in overtime.

 

Harden fails to fire

James Harden scored 17 points but he was not at his usual best. The Rockets star was just five of 17 from the field and two of nine from three-point range.

Carmelo Anthony was limited to eight points as the Portland Trail Blazers lost 116-102 at the Minnesota Timberwolves. The veteran was three of 10 from the field, while he missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.

 

All smiles

Westbrook returned to OKC as an opposition player but he was showered in love by the Thunder fans before and after the game.

 

Thursday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 109-98 Boston Celtics
Cleveland Cavaliers 115-112 Detroit Pistons (OT)
Minnesota Timberwolves 116-102 Portland Trail Blazers
Oklahoma City Thunder 113-92 Houston Rockets

 

Lakers at Mavericks

Western Conference leaders the Los Angeles Lakers (30-7) are on the road against the Dallas Mavericks (23-14) on Friday. The Lakers are riding a six-game winning streak, though they could be without star Anthony Davis due to a gluteus maximus contusion.

The Milwaukee Bucks returned to winning ways with a 107-98 victory over the Golden State Warriors, while James Harden's triple-double inspired the Houston Rockets.

NBA leaders the Bucks bounced back from their loss to the San Antonio Spurs by topping the Warriors away from home on Wednesday.

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 30 points and 12 rebounds as the Bucks improved to 33-6 for the season, while Khris Middleton added 21 points.

Alec Burks top-scored for the Warriors with 19 points off the bench in San Francisco.

 

Harden stars as Rockets soar

James Harden moved up to eighth on the all-time triple-doubles list with his performance in the Houston Rockets' 122-115 victory over the lowly Atlanta Hawks. He recorded 41 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Nikola Jokic led the Denver Nuggets to a nail-biting 107-106 win at the Dallas Mavericks. Jokic scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half, including the game-winning basket with 7.9 seconds remaining in Dallas. Luka Doncic posted 27 points and 10 assists for the Mavericks.

DeMar DeRozan's 30 points fuelled the Spurs' 129-114 triumph over the Boston Celtics.

 

Warren ejected on tough night

Just two days after posting a season-high 36 points, T.J. Warren had a game to forget as the Indiana Pacers lost 122-108 at home to the Miami Heat. Warren managed only three points before being ejected after sarcastically applauding a foul on Jimmy Butler.

The Nuggets did not get their usual output from star Jamal Murray, who was seven of 18 from the field for 14 points in 31 minutes. He also missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Kemba Walker also had a tough night in Boston. The Celtics star was ejected for arguing a non-call after a hard pick by LaMarcus Aldridge in the third quarter. He had six points in 18 minutes.

 

Spider man!

Donovan Mitchell nailed this slam as the Utah Jazz topped the New York Knicks 128-104.

 

Wednesday's results

Toronto Raptors 112-110 Charlotte Hornets (OT)
Miami Heat 122-108 Indiana Pacers
San Antonio Spurs 129-114 Boston Celtics
Orlando Magic 123-89 Washington Wizards
Denver Nuggets 107-106 Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets 122-115 Atlanta Hawks
New Orleans Pelicans 123-108 Chicago Bulls
Utah Jazz 128-104 New York Knicks
Milwaukee Bucks 107-98 Golden State Warriors

 

Celtics at 76ers

After falling to the Spurs, the Celtics (25-10) will face Eastern Conference rivals the Philadelphia 76ers (24-14) on the road. The 76ers, who will be without All-Star Joel Embiid, are eyeing back-to-back wins.

James Harden and Ben Simmons both had triple-doubles as the Houston Rockets overcame the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA on Friday, while Anthony Davis shone for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rockets guard Harden posted 44 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds to edge a scintillating showdown with 76ers star Simmons and guide Houston to a 118-108 win in Texas.

Simmons kept Philadelphia in touch with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, but Joel Embiid's 20 points on seven-of-17 shooting failed to match Rockets centre Clint Capela's 30 points and 14 rebounds.

The 76ers (23-14) have now lost four on the trot, all on the road, ahead of Monday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Rockets (24-11) sit three places behind the Western Conference-leading Lakers, who downed the New Orleans Pelicans 123-113 at Staples Center.

Davis punished his former team, registering 46 points and 13 rebounds, while LeBron James had a double-double of 17 points and 15 assists.

 

Lillard back in form for Trail Blazers

Kept quiet in Wednesday's disappointing defeat to the New York Knicks, Damian Lillard bounced back to form in Washington.

Lillard had 35 points to help the Portland Trail Blazers snap a five-game losing streak in a 122-103 win over the Wizards, who had Isaiah Thomas ejected in the second minute for what was deemed a shove on an official.

Jimmy Butler's double-double (23 points, 10 rebounds) proved in vain for the Miami Heat as they slipped to a 105-85 loss against the Orlando Magic.

Devin Booker passed 30 points for the fifth successive game to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 120-112 victory over the Knicks.

 

Trouble for Tatum

The Boston Celtics edged the Atlanta Hawks 109-106 despite having little support from Jayson Tatum, the 21-year-old going two-of-16 from the field while missing both of his three-point attempts.

 

Theis says no!

Daniel Theis produced a crucial late block on Atlanta guard Trae Young to see the Celtics home in Boston.

 

Friday's results

Los Angeles Lakers 123-113 New Orleans Pelicans
Orlando Magic 105-85 Miami Heat
Portland Trail Blazers 122-103 Washington Wizards
Boston Celtics 109-106 Atlanta Hawks
Houston Rockets 118-108 Philadelphia 76ers
Phoenix Suns 120-112 New York Knicks

 

Spurs at Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo has the chance to record an eighth double-double in as many outings when the Milwaukee Bucks (31-5) take on the San Antonio Spurs (14-19) on Saturday.

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).

James Harden will miss his first game of the NBA season due to a toe sprain, Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Rockets star Harden has been ruled out of Sunday's clash against the New Orleans Pelicans – Houston already without Russell Westbrook (rest).

Harden posted 44 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 108-98 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

"He probably could [play], but given the circumstances it's better that he doesn't," D'Antoni said before the game. "He's banged up a little bit."

Harden is enjoying another stellar season – the 2017-18 MVP averaging 38.3 points, 7.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game for the Rockets (22-10).

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 Golden State Warriors have not had much to cheer about this season but the Christmas Day victory over the Houston Rockets prompted wild celebrations as head coach Steve Kerr savoured the team's "best game".

With All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson sidelined through injury and Kevin Durant now a member of the Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors have looked a shadow of the franchise that reached last season's NBA Finals.

Dealing with an unprecedented amount of injuries, the Warriors (8-24) languish at the foot of the Western Conference standings but Golden State are riding a three-game winning streak.

The Warriors, with Curry and Thompson watching courtside, upstaged the high-flying Rockets 116-104 in euphoric scenes on Wednesday.

Providing an insight into the emotions of the Warriors' win and the excitement it generated, Kerr told reporters on Thursday: "We got to a different level yesterday.

"In terms of our execution on both ends. It was the best game we've played, and it was great that Steph and Klay were on the sidelines cheering them on and so active.

"At one point the ref told me -- he wanted me to tell our guys not to run on the floor. And I said, 'That's not happening. We've had a lousy season. We're going to run on the floor.' I said, 'If you've got to call a T, you've got to call a T.' And he said, 'All right, fair enough.' So it was a good night."

Kerr added: "It was euphoric in the locker room. You have to put it into context of what kind of season we've had; the frustration and the injuries and the losses piling up. Yesterday was the most fun day of the year for us because our guys know they have gotten a lot better, but for that work to pay off and to win a national TV game on Christmas Day against a great team, that's a really good accomplishment.

"That game was much bigger for us than it was for Houston. They're going to play in a lot of big games this year. For us that was as big as it's been and maybe as big as it will be all year, just in terms of the magnitude of the game.

"So in that context, our guys were really, really happy and they deserve to be happy and our fans were great. I'm happy for them, they've been supporting us all along, and so it was just a great day all around."

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