An emotional Luka Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks to a 107-97 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the short-handed Houston Rockets topped the Utah Jazz.

Emotions were still raw on Monday following the tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, on Sunday.

Suiting up for the road game in Oklahoma City, Mavericks star Doncic posted 29 points and 11 rebounds for Dallas – who have retired Bryant's iconic number 24 jersey.

"I broke down after the first quarter," Doncic said. "That was when it really hit me. It was really hard to explain."

The Thunder were without star guard Chris Paul, who sat out his first game of the season to mourn the loss of friend Bryant. Oklahoma City cited personal reasons.

Eric Gordon scored a career-high 50 points as the Rockets defeated the high-flying Jazz 126-117 in Utah.

In the absence of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Gordon became the first Rockets player besides the former to score 50 points in a game since Hakeem Olajuwon had 51 in 1996, per Stats Perform.

 

Career night for Hield

A career-high 42 points from Buddy Hield helped the Sacramento Kings outlast the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-129 in overtime. The Kings rallied from a 27-point deficit in Minnesota.

DeMar DeRozan put up 36 points and 10 rebounds in the San Antonio Spurs' narrow 110-109 defeat the Chicago Bulls.

Bam Adebayo's third triple-double of the season (20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) inspired a 113-92 victory for the Miami Heat against the Orlando Magic. "It was about honouring Kobe," Adebayo said. "I felt like I had the 'Mamba Mentality' tonight ... I never got to meet him but he's here in spirit."

The Jazz lost but Donovan Mitchell starred with 36 points against the soaring Rockets.

 

Tough outing for Ingles

Usually a strong contributor, Joe Ingles struggled for the Jazz. The Australian was two of eight from the floor and one of seven from three-point range for just seven points in 33 minutes.

 

Timberwolves honour Bryant

Teams across the league have continued to honour five-time champion and 2008 MVP Bryant. On Monday, the Timberwolves opened the game by taking an eight-second backcourt violation and Sacramento took a 24-second shot-clock violation in hour of the two numbers Bryant wore in his famed 20-year career. While taking their violation, Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins placed the ball on the free throw line – where Bryant scored to eclipse Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA's scoring list in December 2014.

Monday's results

Cleveland Cavaliers 115-100 Detroit Pistons
Miami Heat 113-92 Orlando Magic
Dallas Mavericks 107-97 Oklahoma City Thunder
Chicago Bulls 110-109 San Antonio Spurs
Sacramento Kings 133-129 Minnesota Timberwolves (OT)
Houston Rockets 126-117 Utah Jazz

 

Celtics at Heat

It is an Eastern Conference blockbuster as the Heat host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. The Heat (32-14) are second in the east, while the Celtics (30-15) are fourth. The showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers was supposed to headline play, but the clash has been postponed following Bryant's death.

The NBA came together to mourn and honour Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on a solemn Sunday.

Though all eight games went ahead as scheduled, a dark shadow clouded the on-court action after Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant, 13-year-old Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California around 10am local time.

Games across the league began with intentional 24-second violations as players recognised the number Bryant wore throughout the second half of his illustrious career, a number Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his team would never use again.

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young took to the floor in the number eight jersey the five-time NBA champion adopted following his arrival at the Lakers in 1996 and proceeded to do him proud, dropping 45 points and 14 assists in a 152-133 win over the Washington Wizards.

"One of the last conversations we had, he was just telling me how much he's seen my game progress, being happy for me, saying how proud he was of me and how he wants me to continue to be a role model for kids growing up," an emotional Young later told a news conference.

The San Antonio Spurs lost to the Toronto Raptors 110-106 but head coach Gregg Popovich summed up the mood, telling reporters: "Good game. Tough loss. Who cares? Everyone's pretty emotional with the tragedy about Kobe."

Zion reflects after major milestone

Amid the mourning emerged some uplifting performances befitting one of the league's greatest ever scorers.

Zion Williamson marked his third NBA appearance with a first double-double, the number one overall draft pick contributing 21 points and 11 rebounds in the New Orleans Pelicans' 123-108 victory against the Boston Celtics.

"Kobe meant a lot to me growing up. I had both jerseys, the eight and the 24," Williamson said. "It's tough. I was on the way to the arena when I got the news. I just send my prayers to his family."

Damian Lillard became the first player in Portland Trail Blazers history to score 40 or more points in three successive games, the point guard hitting 50 on 14-of-23 shooting in a 139-129 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Kawhi Leonard put up a game-high 31 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers past the Orlando Magic 112-97.

"I know he would have wanted him me to come out here and try to ball and still just be great," he told ESPN. "That's what I tried to do. Everybody is sad."

Kyrie sits out

Madison Square Garden, where Bryant memorably scored 61 points in a single game in 2009, dimmed its lights and fell silent before the Brooklyn Nets' 110-97 loss to the New York Knicks.

Kyrie Irving was a notable absentee, the Nets guard having shared a close relationship with his former mentor.

Another of the NBA's new generation of stars, Ben Simmons, said the world had "lost a legend".

"Kobe Bryant was someone who I looked up to, a fierce competitor, a champion, an icon," Simmons tweeted.

 

Respects paid in New Orleans

The Pelicans and the Celtics were among the teams who each took 24-second violations to honour Bryant.

Sunday's results

Denver Nuggets 117-110 Houston Rockets
Toronto Raptors 110-106 San Antonio Spurs
Atlanta Hawks 152-133 Washington Wizards
Memphis Grizzlies 114-109 Phoenix Suns
New Orleans Pelicans 123-108 Boston Celtics
New York Knicks 110-97 Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Clippers 112-97 Orlando Magic
Portland Trail Blazers 139-129 Indiana Pacers

 

Rockets at Jazz

Monday brings the chance to focus on a big game in the Western Conference, with the second-placed Utah Jazz (32-13) to host the sixth-placed Houston Rockets (28-17).

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard posted his first career triple-double in the NBA, while Russell Westbrook starred for the Houston Rockets on Friday.

Leonard's 33 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists helped the Clippers overcome the Miami Heat 122-117.

Montrezl Harrell (15 points and 11 rebounds) and JaMychal Green (14 and 10) had double-doubles.

Jimmy Butler was unable to lift Miami to a victory, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while going six-of-15 from the field.

Westbrook's 45 points, 10 assists and six rebounds saw the Rockets past the Minnesota Timberwolves 131-124.

Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns contributed 30 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota.

Giannis stars in Paris as Lowry lifts Raptors

In Paris, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points in the Milwaukee Bucks' 116-103 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Kyle Lowry's 26 points, six rebounds and three assists helped defending champions the Toronto Raptors past the New York Knicks 118-112.

Nikola Jokic starred for the Denver Nuggets, finishing with 27 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in a 113-106 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Zion Williamson played 21 minutes for the Pelicans, going seven-of-nine from the field for 15 points.

 

Harden wayward for Rockets

James Harden struggled from the field, going three-of-13 for 12 points in 34 minutes in the Rockets' win.

 

Tremendous Turner

Myles Turner produced a huge dunk during the Indiana Pacers' win over the Golden State Warriors.

Friday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 116-103 Charlotte Hornets
Memphis Grizzlies 125-112 Detroit Pistons
Boston Celtics 109-98 Orlando Magic
Toronto Raptors 118-112 New York Knicks
Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 Miami Heat
Sacramento Kings 98-81 Chicago Bulls
Houston Rockets 131-124 Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets 113-106 New Orleans Pelicans
Oklahoma City Thunder 140-111 Atlanta Hawks
Phoenix Suns 103-99 San Antonio Spurs
Indiana Pacers 129-118 Golden State Warriors

 

Lakers at 76ers

The high-flying Los Angeles Lakers (36-9) visit the Philadelphia 76ers (29-17) on Saturday.

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will return as NBA All-Star team captains after leading the vote for February's showpiece contest in Chicago.

Three newcomers – Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Pascal Siakam – will also take the floor for the 69th edition of the annual exhibition game.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar James captained Team LeBron to victory over Team Giannis in 2019 and the pair will renew their rivalry at United Center on February 16.

James, an All-Star for the 16th year of his illustrious career, will have the chance to draft Dallas Mavericks sensation Doncic onto his team for the first time, the MVP contender a walk-up selection amid a brilliant sophomore season in the NBA.

All-Star regulars James Harden, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard round out the Western Conference starter pool.

Atlanta Hawks guard Young topped the count among Eastern Conference backcourt options to secure a start alongside the Boston Celtics' Kemba Walker.

The pair gained selection ahead of four-time All Star Jimmy Butler and the Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, who scored poorly in the fan portion of the vote.

Siakam's selection comes after averaging a career-best 23.5 points per game for the Toronto Raptors this season, while injury troubles failed to prevent Joel Embiid from sealing a frontcourt berth.

Fan ballots were weighted at 50 per cent, while current players and the media contributed 25 per cent of the starter vote.

Captains James and Antetokounmpo will select their teams from the eight other starters, while NBA head coaches will be responsible for choosing the 14 reserves that will be announced on January 30.

 

Eastern Conference starters:

Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)

Western Conference starters:

James Harden (Houston Rockets), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)

Zion Williamson announced himself to the NBA with a thrilling taste of his talent on Wednesday, while James Harden and Russell Westbrook fuelled the Houston Rockets.

Huge expectations surrounded Williamson's long-awaited debut and the number one draft pick did not disappoint at 

The 19-year-old, having overcome knee surgery, erupted for 17 straight points in the fourth quarter to finish with a joint team-high 22, plus seven rebounds, through 18 minutes in the New Orleans Pelicans' 121-117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 32 points and 14 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan added 20 points.

Harden and Westbrook put on their own show in Houston, combining for 55 points as the Rockets topped the Denver Nuggets 121-105.

Fred VanVleet made six of his seven three-point attempts to help the Toronto Raptors prevail 107-95 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

LeBron, Davis drive Lakers

LeBron James dropped 21 points and Anthony Davis had 28 as the Los Angeles Lakers downed the New York Knicks 100-92 at Madison Square Garden.

The win ensured the Lakers bounced back from their heavy loss to the Boston Celtics, who made it two wins on the trot with a 119-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

There was an overtime thriller in Miami, where Jimmy Butler recorded 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds to take the Heat to a 134-129 defeat of the Washington Wizards.

The Los Angeles Clippers' four-game winning streak came to a surprise end against the struggling Atlanta Hawks, who had John Collins to thank for 33 points and 16 rebounds in a 102-95 triumph.

 

Difficulty for Draymond

Draymond Green struggled on his return from illness as the Golden State Warriors slumped to 129-96 home loss to the Utah Jazz.

The three-time NBA champion played 25 minutes for five points, four rebounds and two assists in the rout.

 

Zion sends New Orleans into frenzy

Williamson lit up Smoothie King Center, proving a danger from beyond the arc as he went four from four from three-point range.

Wednesday's results

Utah Jazz 129-96 Golden State Warriors
Toronto Raptors 107-95 Philadelphia 76ers
Detroit Pistons 127-106 Sacramento Kings
Oklahoma City Thunder 120-114 Orlando Magic
Los Angeles Lakers 100-92 New York Knicks
Boston Celtics 119-95 Memphis Grizzlies
Miami Heat 134-129 Washington Wizards (OT)
Atlanta Hawks 102-95 Los Angeles Clippers
Chicago Bulls 117-110 Minnesota Timberwolves
Houston Rockets 121-105 Denver Nuggets
Indiana Pacers 112-87 Phoenix Suns
San Antonio Spurs 121-117 New Orleans Pelicans

 

Lakers at Nets

Kyrie Irving is expected to return from a hamstring problem when the Brooklyn Nets (18-24) host the Lakers (35-9) on Thursday.

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.

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