LeBron James guided the Los Angeles Lakers to a ninth straight win in the NBA, while the Boston Celtics claimed a victory on Monday.

James' 31 points and eight assists saw the Lakers ease past the Cleveland Cavaliers 128-99.

Dwight Howard contributed a double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds off the bench as the Lakers improved to 33-7 this season.

The Celtics made it back-to-back wins by overcoming the Chicago Bulls 113-101.

Boston had four starters manage double-digits in points, with Jayson Tatum leading the way with 21.

 

Gilgeous-Alexander shines as Lillard lifts Trail Blazers

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a triple-double of 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 117-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He became the youngest player in NBA history to record 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game.

Damian Lillard's 30 points and nine assists helped the Portland Trail Blazers past the Charlotte Hornets 115-112.

Nikola Vucevic finished with a double-double of 26 points and 15 rebounds in the Orlando Magic's 114-112 win over the Sacramento Kings.

 

Misery for Morris

Markieff Morris went two-of-12 from the field for just seven points in 18 minutes in the Detroit Pistons' 117-110 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

 

Lillard from deep

Lillard hit a buzzer-beater from near half-court to finish the third quarter.

Monday's results

New Orleans Pelicans 117-110 Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers 101-95 Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics 113-101 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 117-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
Portland Trail Blazers 115-112 Charlotte Hornets
Orlando Magic 114-112 Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Lakers 128-99 Cleveland Cavaliers

 

Cavaliers at Clippers

Things get no easier for the Cavaliers (12-28) as they stay in Los Angeles to face the Clippers (27-13) on Tuesday.

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 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.

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid will undergo surgery on Friday after suffering a torn radial collateral ligament in the fourth metacarpal in his left hand.

Embiid, who was already ruled out of Thursday's NBA showdown against Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics, will be re-evaluated in 1-2 weeks.

The All-Star dislocated his left ring finger in the opening quarter of Monday's 120-113 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Embiid, however, continued and finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in Philadelphia.

"All of a sudden, we're different," 76ers head coach Brett Brown said prior to Thursday's game. "We're just different. I look at this as an opportunity.

"Nobody's crying. This is not a 'woe is me' moment, not for me, at all. And not for my players. We'll take what we have, and what we have, I love."

Embiid has been averaging 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for Eastern Conference contenders the 76ers (24-14) this season.

Joel Embiid will miss the Philadelphia 76ers' matchup against NBA rivals the Boston Celtics due to a finger injury.

Embiid was questionable for Thursday's clash after dislocating his finger in a 120-113 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

The All-Star dislocated his left ring finger in the opening quarter, however, he continued and finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Embiid has been averaging 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for Eastern Conference contenders the 76ers (24-14) this season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Doncic with league-leading triple-double

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nets duo struggle, Washington cold from floor

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

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

 

Trae with the fake

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

 

Monday's results

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

 

Knicks at Lakers

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

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid said he could miss the upcoming NBA clash with the Boston Celtics due to a dislocated finger.

Embiid hurt his finger in Monday's 120-113 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder as the 76ers snapped a four-game losing streak.

All-Star Embiid dislocated his left ring finger in the opening quarter, however, he continued and finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Embiid, though, is questionable for Thursday's showdown against Eastern Conference rivals the Celtics at Wells Fargo Center.

"That's a possibility," Embiid said when asked if he could miss the game. "I want to play. It's a big game. Last time we played them we had great success, but at the end of the day whatever they want me to do. Obviously I'll try to fight it, but they care about me so whatever they want to do ... We'll see."

Embiid added: "They [medical staff] were just talking about the ligament. They're still figuring out what's next."

"It was pretty bad," Embiid continued. "I basically could only play with one hand. It was really bad. But in the midst of the losing streak I just wanted to make sure that I do everything possible to get us a win, and I was glad to get us a win.

"The consequences, you assume them later, but as the leader I wanted to go out and show your team-mates that you want to win and you're going to do whatever possible to do so."

76ers head coach Brett Brown hailed Embiid for returning to the court after sustaining the injury as Philadelphia returned to winning ways.

"For him to go back in and come back out and play, I was shocked I was able to come back out and play," Brown said. "That is a tough return to the court, that is a competitive statement.

"I appreciate him, I respect that, we needed to play well here at home, we haven't been on the right side of the win-loss column lately."

 

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 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 Milwaukee Bucks cruised without star Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA, while the Miami Heat recorded an impressive win on Friday.

Antetokounmpo was sidelined with back soreness, but the Bucks were untroubled in a 112-86 thrashing of the Atlanta Hawks.

Khris Middleton starred with 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Ersan Ilyasova had a double-double of 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Milwaukee improved to 28-5 as they bounced back from their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Miami are third in the Eastern Conference and edged the Indiana Pacers 113-112.

Bam Adebayo's double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds led the Heat as Jimmy Butler contributed despite struggling from the field.

Butler finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but went three-of-11.

 

Celtics roll on as Adams guides Thunder

The Boston Celtics posted their fifth straight win by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-117.

Jaylen Brown (34 points) and Jayson Tatum (30) were the stars for Boston.

Steven Adams' 14 points, 12 rebounds and three assists helped the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 104-102 overtime win against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Golden State Warriors made it four straight wins as D'Angelo Russell's 31 points guided them past the Phoenix Suns 105-96.

 

76ers' road woes remain

The Philadelphia 76ers are 16-2 at home but slipped to 7-9 on the road after crashing to a surprise 98-97 loss to the Orlando Magic.

 

Flying Jones

Miami's Derrick Jones Jr. delivered an epic alley-oop.

Friday's results

Boston Celtics 129-117 Cleveland Cavaliers
Oklahoma City Thunder 104-102 Charlotte Hornets
Orlando Magic 98-97 Philadelphia 76ers
Milwaukee Bucks 112-86 Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat 113-112 Indiana Pacers
Golden State Warriors 105-96 Phoenix Suns

 

Raptors at Celtics

After back-to-back losses, the Toronto Raptors (21-10) face a test against the Celtics (22-7) at TD Garden on Saturday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Embiid takes down Bucks

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

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

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

 

Giannis struggles from the floor

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

 

Beverley says no to LeBron!

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

 

Wednesday's results

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

 

Spurs at Mavs

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

Brett Brown believes the Philadelphia 76ers are "designed for the playoffs" after celebrating Christmas with a dominant win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 76ers spread plenty of festive cheer on Christmas Day courtesy of a 121-109 victory against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the high-flying Bucks in Philadelphia.

Embiid starred for the 76ers, posting 31 points and 11 rebounds as he upstaged reigning MVP Antetokounmpo at Wells Fargo Center, where Philadelphia led by as many as 29 points.

The Bucks (27-5) rolled into town as the league leaders and the team to beat, and the 76ers (23-10) passed the test.

"I think this team is designed for the playoffs," said head coach Brown, who brought in Al Horford and Josh Richardson in the offseason after Jimmy Butler's move to the Miami Heat.

"I believe that the road we have travelled so far has been erratic at times. Whether it's the infrequency of our five players playing together, whether it's navigating through some zone, at times some lost leads.

"It's like you're under a microscope trying to move this team forward and trying to get it whole. I think that the landing spot is exciting."

Embiid stepped up in Philadelphia's first home Christmas game in 31 years – the All-Star shooting three threes to go with as many assists and two blocks.

"A lot of people have kind of forgotten who I am," said Embiid, who is eyeing the playoffs after the 76ers lost in the Eastern Conference semi-finals last season. "When I'm needed, I'm going to show up."

"You are playing the best in the league," Embiid added. "We came out and showed that we are right there. We still have a long way to go, obviously, but we are right there and we are going to keep on getting better."

It was a tough night for Bucks star Antetokounmpo, who was eight of 27 from the floor and 0 of seven from three-point range for 18 points and 14 rebounds.

"They just played harder than us, better than us," Antetokounmpo said. "There are going to be some nights that you don't make shots. But you got to keep making plays, you got to keep believing in yourselves.

"You cannot back down. I wasn't having my best night tonight, but at the end of the day my team-mates want me to keep shooting the ball. I want to keep shooting the ball."

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Aldridge stars in Spurs shoot-out

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

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

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

 

Griffin a shadow of himself

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

 

Murray with the game-winner

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

 

Monday's results

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

 

Christmas Day feast

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

The NBA has suspended Washington Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas for two games without pay after confronting fans, the league announced on Sunday.

Thomas was ejected in the fourth quarter of Washington's 125-108 defeat against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday for entering the spectator stands.

Wizards veteran Thomas took exception to the antics of fans at Wells Fargo Center, where the incident occurred after the two-time All-Star followed a missed free throw by making his second.

The 76ers have a promotion for which fans are awarded a frozen dessert if an opposing player in Philadelphia misses two free throws in the second half.

"NBA rules state that any player who deliberately enters the spectator stands during a game will be automatically ejected and subject to a fine and/or suspension," NBA executive vice-president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe said.

"This bright-line rule is intended to prevent altercations or other hostile interactions between players and fans, for the benefit of both, and is therefore enforced even in circumstances such as these when the encounter between Thomas and fans did not escalate."

In a statement, the NBA also confirmed "the fans involved in this incident have been banned by the 76ers for one year from Wells Fargo Center events and the ticketholders' seats have been revoked" in accordance with the fan code of conduct.

Thomas appeared to take exception to his suspension, tweeting: "Bull****!"

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