LeBron James was frustrated with the performance and the officials as the Los Angeles Lakers suffered a fourth-quarter collapse against the Golden State Warriors.

Defending NBA champions the Lakers went into Monday's home game on a run of five straight wins.

They raced into an early 19-point lead and still led by 14 in the fourth quarter but fell to a surprise 115-113 loss.

The game marked the 284th time in his career James and his team took a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter at home in the regular season and postseason. Per Stats Perform data, it was the first of those in which LeBron's team lost the game in regulation.

It was not what the Lakers needed before starting a seven-game road trip on Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

"I think we just had some tough breaks, some tough calls against us in the second half that slowed our pace down," said James, who finished with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists.

"We couldn't get back into a rhythm.

"Obviously you are frustrated any time you lose, especially when you know you could have played better. We know we can play much better. We can all learn from that and apply it to next game."

James was not happy about being called for travelling, adding: "It is so funny because the very next play Draymond [Green] gets into the lane and slides his foot and it is not called.

"The same official who called me for the travel is right there on the play and told me he didn't travel."

Anthony Davis had 17 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists, while Dennis Schroder topped the team with 25 points, but they fell to 11-4 overall and 4-4 at home this season.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel added: "We got outplayed in the second half. We got hesitant on the offensive end, and a little casual at certain points in the game."

Stephen Curry scored 26 points to inspire another Warriors comeback, as the team improved to 7-6.

Earlier in January the Warriors beat the Lakers' city rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, despite being 22 behind in the third quarter.

"We kept our composure and the second unit was amazing both halves," Curry said.

"We got some momentum in the second half to give us a chance and carry us down the stretch. It was similar to the Clippers game. We've done it twice now but want to get leads early."

The Warriors play at home against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

They had lost their past two games against the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers despite a combined 55 points from Curry.

The two-time MVP is averaging 28.2 points per game, on pace for the second-best scoring season of his NBA career.

LeBron James says he is shooting with confidence after the Los Angeles Lakers won a fifth straight game.

The Lakers moved to 11-3 on the season with a 112-95 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.

James had 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in 31 minutes on court for the NBA champions, with Anthony Davis adding 17 points against his former team.

Four three-pointers from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope helped him to 16 points, the same total as Montrezl Harrell as the Lakers stormed back from an early 15-point deficit.

"We just settled in," James said, per ESPN, as the Lakers returned to Staples Center after three games on the road.
 
"That first game after a road trip is always kind of difficult, but we got some stops and got back to playing our kind of basketball." 

The Lakers went 15-for-37 from deep as they continue to impress with their three-point shooting, which was third-best in the league coming into the game.

While James was 2-for-6 against the Pelicans, he is currently on pace for the second-best three-point shooting rate (38.2 per cent) of his long career.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said this week he would probably rate James as the best shooter on the team, a status Davis would give to Caldwell-Pope.

"I mean, we got a lot of great shooters on the team, man," James said when asked for his verdict on the debate.

"KCP [Caldwell-Pope], a great shooter. Wes Matthews, great shooter. Kuz [Kyle Kuzma] can shoot the heck out of the ball. Dennis the Menace [Dennis Schroder] can shoot the ball. 

"AD [Davis] can shoot the ball. So we got a lot of great knock-down shooters.

"Obviously, if someone says, 'Bet,' then obviously you guys know, I'm going to take myself. That's just the competitive nature in me and the work ethic that I put into my shot. 

"But I feel real good with my shot right now, both from the free throw line and also from the three-point line, and I want to continue that."

The Pelicans slumped to 4-7 despite 21 points from Zion Williamson and 20 from Brandon Ingram. 

Next up for James and the Lakers is a home game against the 6-6 Golden State Warriors on Monday.

LeBron James revealed his no-look three pointer against the Houston Rockets was all about sealing a bet with Los Angeles Lakers team-mate Dennis Schroder.

During the second quarter of Tuesday's game, James caught a pass in the corner and, after a pump fake on a defender, let go with an attempt from deep.

The ball went in - but the four-time NBA Finals MVP was not watching. Instead, James had turned around after his release to engage with one particular member of the Lakers' bench.

Schroder had offered an impromptu $100 bet over whether the shot would be successful or not, leaving James needing to "look him in the eye" to confirm the wager had been placed.

"He hit me with a bet on the sideline and I took the bet while I was still shooting the ball," LeBron explained to the media after the Lakers' 117-100 win.

"A bet isn't official until you look a man in the eye, so I had to look him into the eye. I was able to win that one."

Explaining the exchange with Schroder in more detail, he added: "He said, 'Bet you won't make it'. In order to make a bet official, you've either got to have a handshake or look a man in the eye.

"He said, 'Bet it?' - I turned around, looked him in the eye and said, 'Bet it'."

James appreciates that while he was successful on this occasion, he is by no means the master of the no-look shot in the NBA, a title that belongs to another player: Stephen Curry.

"Steph [has] definitely probably done it the most in our league, and when you shoot the ball as beautiful and effortlessly and precisely as Steph does, he has the ultimate, ultra-green light to do that," James said.

"Because 10 times out of nine, it's going in for Steph."

James finished the game with 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists as the reigning champions improved to 9-3 on the season.

Joel Embiid was the headline act as the Philadelphia 76ers held on to beat the Miami Heat 137-134 in overtime, while NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers won again.

Embiid went berserk with a 45-point, 16-rebound double-double, and a career-high five steals and four assists, in a dominant performance to help the 76ers past the shorthanded Heat in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The three-time All-Star had 10 points in the first half before carrying the 76ers with a stellar third quarter and clutch buckets in OT against the Heat, who were missing the likes of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic.

Embiid sent the game into overtime with a pull-up jumper 4.3 seconds from the end in the fourth period, while Dakota Mathias' only basket of the game – a go-ahead three-pointer with 26.1 seconds remaining – ensured the 76ers prevailed.

Philadelphia's Embiid became the first 76ers player with 45 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and four assists in a game in franchise history since 1973-74, while he became the first NBA player with those stats since 1983-84.

In Houston, LeBron James starred as the in-form Lakers took down the Rockets for the second time in three days, winning 117-100.

James posted a game-high 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists to help the Lakers improve to 9-3 atop the Western Conference.

Anthony Davis contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Lakers.

 

Green sets career high

Danny Green had a game to remember for the 76ers. He set a new career high with nine three-pointers against the Heat. It also tied a franchise record for the most three-pointers in a game, joining Dana Barros in 1995. The two-time NBA champion finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

Kevin Durant flexed his muscles again, scoring 34 points, tallying 13 assists and grabbing nine rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets trumped the Denver Nuggets 122-116. Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 11 assists for the Nuggets.

 

Harden – out of shape and out of sorts

James Harden's uninspiring start to the season continued amid ongoing trade rumours. The former MVP – looking out of shape – made just five of 16 shots from the field, while he only nailed one of his six three-point attempts for 16 points in 31 minutes.

Rudy Gobert got paid in the offseason, signing a stunning contract in excess of $200million. He was far from convincing in the Utah Jazz's 117-87 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the 2020 All-Star collected 10 rebounds, he finished with just four points on two-of-seven shooting from the field in 25 minutes. Gobert also had two turnovers.

 

LeBron trolls Rockets

As a four-time champion and NBA MVP, James has faith in his ability. The Lakers superstar took it to another level when he nailed a no-look three-pointer against the Rockets.

Tuesday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 137-134 Miami Heat (OT)
Brooklyn Nets 122-116 Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz 117-87 Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Lakers 117-100 Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs 112-102 Oklahoma City Thunder
Indiana Pacers 104-95 Golden State Warriors
Boston Celtics-Chicago Bulls (postponed)

 

Nets at Knicks

Bragging rights will be on the line when the New York Knicks (5-6) host city rivals the Brooklyn Nets (6-6) on Wednesday.

LeBron James and Patrick Mahomes were among the stars to wax lyrical over DeVonta Smith, who said Alabama "finished writing our story" in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Heisman trophy winner Smith was in sensational form at Hard Rock Stadium in top-ranked Alabama's (13-0) 52-24 rout of Ohio State (7-1) on Monday.

The exciting wide receiver, who is NFL bound for the 2021 season, had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half as Alabama claimed a 35-17 lead at the interval.

The 22-year-old recorded 200-plus receiving yards and three or more touchdown catches for the third time this season, tying Davante Adams (2013) for the most such games by any FBS player in the last 25 seasons, according to Stats Perform.

Smith also broke the South Eastern Conference's single-season receiving yards record as he was named Offensive Most Valuable Player.

What was most impressive is the fact Smith missed the majority of the second half with a right hand injury, though he said after the game "I'll be alright" when asked about the issue.

Speaking about the achievement, in quotes reported by ESPN, Smith said: "It came down to the young guys just putting in the work, every day, every week, knowing if somebody went down, they were going to have to come in and do something big. 

"I believed in them from the jump. That's what we do, that is why you come to Bama.

"Just with COVID and everything going on it made things tough, made us more together as a team, be there for each other. This team is like no other.

"It's been an unbelievable [season]. We just finished writing our story, that was the whole thing of us coming back, just finishing the story that we wanted to write and we did that."

Social media was abuzz watching Smith's performance, with Los Angeles Lakers superstar James hailing the youngster on Twitter.

"DeVonte Smith is one of the best pure receivers I've ever watched! Like a mix between Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. Man he's good!" James wrote.

Mahomes, who led the Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl glory last season, merely posted: "Lol they just need to put like everybody on him".

After seeing his record tied, Adams joked: "From now on if u misspell my name make sure it’s Devonta cuz he that boy."

J.J. Watt added: "DeVonta is going crazyyyyyy!!!!!!!"

The win saw head coach Nick Saban win a seventh college title, surpassing Paul Bryant for the most national championships, with six of those titles coming during his 14 seasons at the helm of Alabama.

Anthony Davis led the way as defending NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers continued their fine form with a 120-102 win over James Harden's Houston Rockets.

Davis, who sat out on Friday due to a groin strain, returned to score 27 points in Sunday's victory against the Rockets in Houston.

LeBron James posted 18 points, seven assists and seven rebounds as the Lakers won for the sixth time in seven games.

"[Tonight] was just A.D. being A.D. and just having him back in the line-up gives us a whole other dynamic both offensively and defensively," James said after the Lakers led by as many as 27 points.

Former MVP Harden finished with 20 points, while Rockets team-mate Christian Wood had 23 of his own.

It was a feisty game in Houston, where the Lakers' Markieff Morris and Rockets big man DeMarcus Cousins were both ejected in the opening half, while there were also five technical fouls and two flagrant fouls.

Kawhi Leonard reached a milestone after the Los Angeles Clippers held on to beat the Chicago Bulls 130-127.

Clippers star Leonard put up a season-high 35 points, including seven three-pointers, four assists and three steals to reach 10,000 career points.

Paul George contributed 28 points, seven rebounds and nine assists for the Clippers, who snapped a run of back-to-back losses.

The Bulls were led by Zach LaVine's season-high 45 points away to the Clippers in Los Angeles.

 

Durant stars on return

Back on the court following a three-game absence, Kevin Durant scored 36 points and collected 11 rebounds, but the slumping Brooklyn Nets still lost 129-116 at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander inspired the Thunder with 31 points.

Julius Randle's double-double of 29 points and 10 rebounds was not enough to lift the New York Knicks, who went down 114-89 to the Denver Nuggets. Nikola Jokic (22 points and 10 rebounds) propelled the Nuggets with a double-double of his own.

 

Curry struggles

While the Golden State Warriors trumped the struggling Toronto Raptors 106-105, Stephen Curry was uncharacteristically poor. Curry was just two-of-16 from the field, while he made only one of his 10 three-point attempts for 11 points in 38 minutes.

 

LeBron, the sniper!

James produced a moment of magic to unleash Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with a stunning left-handed pass from deep.

Sunday's results

Utah Jazz 96-86 Detroit Pistons
Los Angeles Clippers 130-127 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 129-116 Brooklyn Nets
Denver Nuggets 114-89 New York Knicks
Los Angeles Lakers 120-102 Houston Rockets
Minnesota Timberwolves 96-88 San Antonio Spurs
Golden State Warriors 106-105 Toronto Raptors
Miami Heat-Boston Celtics (postponed)

 

76ers at Hawks

The high-flying Philadelphia 76ers (7-3) visit the Atlanta Hawks (4-5) on Monday. Doc Rivers and the 76ers are set to welcome back All-Star Joel Embiid, but Ben Simmons is expected to miss out after a depleted Philadelphia side – ravaged by coronavirus and injuries – lost to the Nuggets.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James condemned the scenes in Washington, D.C. and shared the feeling that the response by law enforcement could have been far worse had the perpetrators been black people.

On Wednesday, a large number of violent protestors stormed the US Capitol after descending on the city for a rally held by Donald Trump, who has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, his presidential election loss to Joe Biden was fraudulent.

Five people are confirmed to have died and dozens arrested after appalling scenes at the seat of democracy in the United States on the day the electoral college certified Biden's victory, with some individuals able to force access into private offices and take pictures in the chair of vice president Mike Pence while members of congress were forced to flee under escort.

Tear gas was used in the Capitol Rotunda as part of non-lethal means to disperse the crowd, and Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook claimed the outcome would have been "totally different" had the vast majority of aggressors been African-American.

Team-mate Bradley Beal said, compared with the police handling of Black Lives Matter protests last year, the response lacked the same "sense of urgency".

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers shared that sentiment, saying: "It basically proves the point about a privileged life in a lot of ways. I'll say it because I don't think a lot of people want to: could you imagine today if those were all black people storming the Capitol and what would have happened?"

And James, who hit 27 points, six rebounds and 12 assists in the Lakers' 118-109 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, said the black community has endured a hard week following the Capitol riots and the news that the police officer who shot and paralysed Jacob Blake in Wisconsin in August will face no charges.

"Obviously, the last few days have been very, very tough on anybody in the black community," James said.

"We got the news in Memphis with the Jacob Blake announcement and the cop being let off and then seeing what happened in our national capital, inside the Capitol.

"We live in two Americas. That was a prime example of that yesterday, and if you don't understand that or don't see that after seeing what you saw yesterday, then you really need to take a step back, not even just one step, maybe four or five or even 10 steps backwards.

"Ask yourself: how do you want your kids, or how do you want your grandkids, how do we want America to be viewed as, how do we want to live in this beautiful country? Because yesterday was not it.

"Being part of a household with three kids, two boys, a daughter, a wife, a mother-in-law, so many black folks in my household during that time and it's on the TV, couldn't help but wonder if those were my kind storming the Capitol... what would have been the outcome? I think we all know."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LeBron James wants to see the Los Angeles Lakers get Marc Gasol more involved going forward.

James (26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists) and Anthony Davis (34 points and 11 rebounds) guided the Lakers past the San Antonio Spurs 109-103 in the NBA on Friday.

Gasol attempted just one field goal in his 20 minutes, while finishing with eight rebounds and three assists.

James hopes the Lakers can use the 35-year-old more often as the season progresses.

"I just think playing through him a lot more. When we do that, we're very good because his ability to see the floor, pass the ball, he does some special things out on the floor," he told a news conference.

"When he's on the floor, we have to do a better job of not playing much pick and roll with him setting the picks but more just letting him kind of play that point four or that point centre position at the top of the key, letting offense flow through him because he makes just great decisions.

"We're going to get him more involved because he's going to be a big part of what we do, we know that, he showed that already this year against Minnesota.

"We want to continue to just get him and Dennis [Schroder] and Trez [Montrezl Harrell] and Wes [Matthews] acclimated to what we want to do and go from there."

The Lakers (4-2) face the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

LeBron James marked his 36th birthday by ticking off another staggering NBA achievement - just as Becky Hammon made it a landmark night for women in US sports.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar James became the first player in the league's history to rack up 1,000 consecutive double-digit scoring games, helping his team to a 121-107 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

It came as Hammon became the first woman to act as head coach in the NBA, taking over after Spurs boss Gregg Popovich was ejected in the second quarter.

James said he would enjoy a socially distanced night of birthday celebration, with "some good wine, maybe some tequila", and spoke of his astonishment at being able to enjoy such a career.

"I would be lying if I could sit here and tell you I could wrap my head around it," he said, speaking in a video news conference.

"It doesn't make sense but I took advantage of every opportunity I've been given."

He spoke of feeling like "one of the chosen ones" who could make a difference on and off court, 

"Nobody is perfect but you can try to be as great as you can every single day," he added. "I've been doing this half my life in this league. I'm 36 today and I got in at 18."

Hammon had a long playing career in the WNBA with the New York Liberty and San Antonio Silver Stars, before moving into coaching in the NBA in 2014 when a Spurs opportunity materialised.

James is respectful of the effort that Hammon, now 43, has put in to come so far in her career.

"She's been putting in the work, and any time you put in the work then you get rewarded with opportunities," he said.

"She's been paying her dues over the last few years and Coach Pop has given her an opportunity to first of all be the coach of the Summer League team and now be a head coach if anything ever happened to Pop.

"Tonight was a case where she got to step in and show her work, show her talents and show her love for the game. What she did as a player, first of all, we all know that. So in her mind she was able to transfer to our league, and she's been great ever since she got in.

"It's a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets, and she's very passionate about the game, so congrats to her and congrats to our league."

LeBron James made history in the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the San Antonio Spurs, while Jaylen Brown fuelled the Boston Celtics with a mammoth performance in the NBA.

Lakers superstar James became the first ever NBA player with 1,000 consecutive double-digit scoring games as the defending champions topped the Spurs 121-107 on Wednesday.

Celebrating his 36th birthday midweek, James posted 26 points, eight assists and five rebounds to help the Lakers improve to 3-2.

James – who surpassed Michael Jordan's mark, which only accounts for regular-season games, of 866 in March 2018 – last failed to score at least 10 points in a game on January 5, 2007.

Four-time NBA champion and MVP James has just eight single-digit scoring games in his illustrious career – six of them coming during his rookie season in 2003-04.

In the same game on Wednesday, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon became the first woman in NBA regular-season history to act as head coach.

Hammon – the first full-time, salaried female coach in NBA history – filled in after Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in the opening half.

 

Brown in 34-year first

Brown became the first Celtics player to score 40-plus points while playing less than 30 minutes in a game since Boston great Larry Bird did it in 1986, per Stats Perform. The 24-year-old Brown finished with 42 points in 29 minutes as the Celtics beat the Memphis Grizzlies 126-107.

The Miami Heat bounced back from their humbling at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks with a 119-108 victory 24 hours later. According to Stats Perform, Miami are the first team in NBA history to lose by 45-plus points and then come back to beat the same team the very next day.

Tyler Herro (21 points and 15 rebounds) and Bam Adebayo (22 points and 10 assists) led the Heat, while a triple-double from two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists) was not enough for the Bucks.

After a two-game absence due to a mouth laceration, Kawhi Leonard returned with 28 points to guide the Los Angeles Clippers past the Portland Trail Blazers 128-105. All-Star team-mate Paul George put up 23 points and 10 rebounds.

The Brooklyn Nets won a thrilling shoot-out with the Atlanta Hawks 145-141. Led by Kevin Durant (33 points and 11 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving (25 points), the Nets handed the Hawks their first loss of the season. Trae Young (30 points and 11 assists) and John Collins (30 points and 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for the Hawks.

Rookie LaMelo Ball was seven-of-10 from the field, while making four of his five three-pointers for a game-high 22 points off the bench in the Charlotte Hornets' 118-99 success away to the Dallas Mavericks.

 

Doncic struggles

It was a forgettable game for the Mavericks, who dropped to 1-3. Star guard Luka Doncic was just four-of-10 from the field in a 12-point display. He also missed all five of his attempts from beyond the arc. Dallas team-mate Josh Richardson made just one of 10 shots from the field, while going 0-of-four from three-point range for four points.

Damian Lillard had 20 points, but the Trail Blazers star was far from efficient. While he was 14-of-15 from the free-throw line, Lillard made just three of 14 from the field and missed all eight of his threes.

 

LeBron with the slam

There was plenty to celebrate for James midweek – his birthday, another milestone and a Lakers victory. He capped the triumphant outing with a signature slam against the Spurs in San Antonio.

 

Wednesday's results

Boston Celtics 126-107 Memphis Grizzlies
Brooklyn Nets 145-141 Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat 119-108 Milwaukee Bucks
Charlotte Hornets 118-99 Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Lakers 121-107 San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers 128-105 Portland Trail Blazers

 

76ers at Magic

The Philadelphia 76ers (3-1) will visit the Orlando Magic (4-0) – the only undefeated team remaining in the NBA – on Thursday.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James became the first ever NBA player with 1,000 consecutive double-digit scoring games on Wednesday.

James celebrated his 36th birthday by extending his record streak in the NBA as defending champions the Lakers clashed with the San Antonio Spurs midweek.

The four-time champion, NBA Finals MVP and league MVP reached the milestone thanks to a hook shot with just over six minutes remaining in the second quarter.

James surpassed Michael Jordan's mark – which only accounts for regular-season games – of 866 in March 2018.

The last time James failed to score at least 10 points in a game was on January 5, 2007 after posting eight points, nine assists and five rebounds in the Cleveland Cavaliers' win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

James has just eight single-digit scoring games in his illustrious career – six of them coming during his rookie season in 2003-04.

 

Lionel Messi, one of the greatest football players of all time, stunned Barcelona by telling the club he wanted to leave only to be thwarted in his attempts in the last transfer window.

However, as he enters the final six months of his contract, it seems likely talks have already begun with interested parties as he considers where his future will lie in 2021.

The Argentina superstar has spent his entire career at the Catalan giants, but he now looks likely to start the 2021-22 campaign with a new club. 

Where Messi goes remains to be seen but any deal for the 33-year-old will rank as one of the most dramatic in the history of sport. 

Here, we look at a selection of other sporting deals that shocked the world. 

 

Neymar: Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, 2017

The Brazilian had formed a potent attacking trio with Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou but a move to PSG was inevitable when the French side met his world-record buyout clause of €222million. He has played an important role in their continued dominance of domestic football, but has so far been unable to guide them to Champions League glory. He was reduced to tears by his side's 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the 2020 final last term. 

LeBron James: Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami Heat, 2010

Basketball icon James announced that he would sign with the Miami Heat instead of returning to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a six-time All-Star, James added to the spectacle of the stunning move by announcing it on a special television broadcast called The Decision. He enjoyed four years in Miami, where he won a pair of NBA titles, before returning to the Cavaliers in 2014. 

Tom Brady: New England Patriots to Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2020

Few people expected Brady to leave the Patriots after 20 years and six Super Bowl victories. Not only did one of the game's greatest ever quarterbacks leave, but he joined one of the least successful franchises in NFL history. Time will tell if his decision to sign with a highly promising Buccaneers team proves to be a masterstroke.  

Luis Figo: Barcelona to Real Madrid, 2000

Should Messi ever return to Camp Nou as an opposition player, it is unlikely he will be on the receiving end of the kind of abuse that greeted Figo. Barca fans threw bottles, lighters and even a pig's head at the Portuguese star when he went back to Camp Nou with Los Blancos in the seasons following his controversial move. 

Wayne Gretzky: Edmonton Oilers to Los Angeles Kings, 1988

In 1988, the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings agreed a deal that shook the NHL to its core. The trade left Canada in disbelief, with a member of the country's parliament even proposing the federal government block the trade or buy Gretzky's contract and sell it to another Canadian team. "The Great One" would go on to enjoy eight successful years in Los Angeles before spells with St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers.

LeBron James recognised the Los Angeles Lakers have to do a better job of finding Anthony Davis following Monday's 115-107 reverse to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Davis returned from a one-game absence as a result of a calf injury and had a quiet night, putting up just 13 points.

Only two of those came from 17 minutes in the first half and James said it is the team's duty to get Davis involved.

"We always gotta do a better job of finding him, looking for him, that's on us," he said.

Head coach Frank Vogel concurred, saying: "We didn't do a good enough job making sure he was involved in the offense in the first half. 

"It was a little bit better in the second half, it was one of those nights, we were kind of stuck in mud a little bit.

"I've got to make sure I get him the ball in opportunities where he can be aggressive."

Davis offered an update on his calf and said he has to show more aggression to score points.

"The calf is feeling good," he said.

"I gotta score the ball, simple as that. Obviously I was trying to make plays, find rhythm with the team. 

"I tried to find my rhythm back into the system, but gotta be more aggressive, go out and score the basketball, simple as that do whatever it takes to win the game."

James finished the game with 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists and felt the only difference between the teams was how they finished their plays.

"Both teams just settled in, I knew we were playing a very good team, knew it wouldn't be a blowout, both teams settled in and it came down to execution," he said.

It was a team effort from the Trailblazers, with Damian Lillard putting up 31 points - 21 of which came in an inspired second half - while CJ McCollum had 20 points and 11 assists, and Gary Trent Jr matched his career high seven three-pointers as part of his 28 points.

"It makes us just a little bit more confident to be coming on the road and continuing to grow, continuing to build on our effort," Lillard said. 

"We're just getting more comfortable with each other, and we're bringing our energy."

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