Dirk Nowitzki feels Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons has the potential to develop into one of the NBA's best players.

Australian Simmons, the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, appeared in his second straight All-Star Game in Chicago at the Weekend.

The 23-year-old is averaging 16.9 points, 8.3 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game for the 76ers, while he also leads the NBA in steals.

Earlier in this campaign he drained his first regular-season three-pointer - with Simmons' shooting from beyond the arc often used as a stick to beat him with - and 2007 NBA MVP Nowitzki believes that is the only facet of his game preventing him from moving into the elite echelon.

"I love Ben. I got to meet him a couple of times. His potential… the sky's the limit," said Nowitzki, who was speaking at the Laureus Awards in Berlin, where he won the Lifetime Achievement prize.

"He's super, super athletic, he's got a great touch. He sees the floor, gets his guys involved. Eventually, I think we all know, he needs to improve his shot.

"If he improves his shot he can be one of the best in the league, best in the game.

"Just right now people are playing off him a little bit and making him shoot.

"He's got the touch, the feel for the game that if he works hard, keeps improving the way he has – he's still young – he's going to be fun to watch for a long, long time."

Nowitzki brought the curtain down on his decorated 21-year NBA career after last season having been named to 14 All-Star Games and also winning the 2011 NBA Finals with the Dallas Mavericks, where he spent his entire career.

Despite Nowitzki's departure, the future looks bright for Dallas thanks to two other Europeans - 20-year-old Slovenian Luka Doncic and 24-year-old Latvian Kristaps Porzingis.

Doncic has already taken on Nowitzki's mantle as Dallas' star and he was named as a starter for the All-Star Game in just his second season.

"Amazing," Nowitzki added of Doncic.

"He was voted a starter at 20 years old. He's been so much fun to watch and hopefully he'll stay in Dallas for his whole career and we'll have a lot of fun watching him, hopefully for a long, long time.

"The way he plays, the way he reads the game, the way he scores – he's a great all-round player. He's super fun to watch.

"They're young still. Luka's only 20, Kristaps is 24. Hopefully those guys can build something and be together in Dallas for a long, long time and play on a high level.

"Of course, eventually they would like to bring a championship to Dallas, that would be amazing. We'll just see how they play off each other and grow together."

On receiving Laureus' Lifetime Achievement Award, Nowitzki added: "Of course it's a great honour to get the award for my lifetime achievement.

"I played more than 20 years in the NBA. I was trying to move the game forward.

"It's nice to feel that you're respected and accepted for what I achieved during my career. For me it's a huge honour. I'm glad to be here."

Paul George claimed the Los Angeles Clippers fell victim to some "home-court cooking" after Tuesday's defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers.

A Ben Simmons triple-double inspired the 76ers to a 110-103 victory at Wells Fargo Center, where George endured a rough evening.

The six-time NBA All-Star was just three of 15 from the field and one of four from three-point range for 11 points in 35 minutes.

But he felt the Clippers were up against it in more ways than one, with the visiting side penalised for eight more personal fouls than the Sixers.

"I thought we played well, we lost by seven," he said. "There was some home-court cooking tonight, to say the least.

"I mean, it was 19 to 11. You all figure out what those numbers are. It was 19 to 11."

George believes both teams have the quality to make it to the Finals, with the 76ers fifth in the Eastern Conference and the Clippers third in the Western.

"You got two good teams, two teams that are playing for something obviously, and it's a feel-out," he said.

"They could be a team that gets hot and make it to the Finals and we could be a team that gets hot and makes it to the Finals. Definitely going to be two teams that are feeling each other out."

A Ben Simmons triple-double inspired the Philadelphia 76ers to a 110-103 victory at home to Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA.

Simmons posted his second successive triple-double, finishing with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the 76ers in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

It was his sixth triple-double of the season and 30th of his career as the 76ers – who already boast the NBA's best home record at 25-2 – won their third straight to improve to 34-21 for the campaign.

Josh Richardson scored 17 of his 21 points in the final quarter, while Joel Embiid contributed 26 points at Wells Fargo Center.

Clippers superstar Leonard had 30 points for the visitors, who fell to 37-17 in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets snapped the Boston Celtics' seven-game winning streak.

James Harden registered 42 points and Russell Westbrook had 36 points to go with 10 rebounds as the Rockets trumped the Celtics 116-105 in Houston.

Gordon Hayward top scored with 20 points for the Celtics against the Rockets, who ended a run of back-to-back losses.

 

Zion stars as Pelicans soar

Zion Williamson produced another dominant performance. The star rookie had a season-high 31 points and nine rebounds in just 28 minutes as the New Orleans Pelicans topped the Portland Trail Blazers 138-117.

Zach LaVine put up 41 points but the Chicago Bulls still lost 126-114 at the Washington Wizards, who were led by Bradley Beal's 30.

The San Antonio Spurs snapped a five-game skid by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-106 thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge's 25 points and 14 rebounds.

 

George struggles in Philadelphia

Paul George never got going against the 76ers. The Clippers star was just three of 15 from the field and one of four from three-point range for 11 points in 35 minutes. He did have 12 rebounds for a double-double, but it was far from George's usual best.

After back-to-back games of 30 or more points off the bench, Furkan Korkmaz was drafted into Philadelphia's starting five at the expense of Al Horford. However, Korkmaz had a game to forget. In 23 minutes, he was scoreless – 0 of five from the field, while he missed all four of his attempts from beyond the arc.

 

Simmons… somehow

The Australian All-Star put on a show in Philadelphia. This incredible piece of improvisation sent the 76ers on their way.

 

Tuesday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 110-103 Los Angeles Clippers
Washington Wizards 126-114 Chicago Bulls
New Orleans Pelicans 138-117 Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs 114-106 Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets 116-105 Boston Celtics

 

Raptors at Nets

Riding a franchise-record winning streak, NBA champions the Toronto Raptors (40-14) will look to make it 16 straight victories when they visit the Brooklyn Nets (24-28) on Wednesday. The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers are also in action.

Joel Embiid expressed his love for the Philadelphia 76ers and their fans after being booed, shushing supporters and posting a cryptic social media post.

Amid criticism of NBA championship hopefuls the 76ers, Embiid was the target of boos in Sunday's 118-111 win over the Chicago Bulls in Philadelphia, where the All-Star responded by shushing the crowd following a three-pointer.

On Monday, Embiid sparked doubts over his future when he posted a photo of himself shushing 76ers fans, with the caption: "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain".

That drew a response from former 76ers team-mate and Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler, who said: "I know a place where villains are welcome".

Embiid replied, "Damn right my brother."

Shortly afterwards, Embiid then wrote: "Made for this… If I can take it then you can too. PHILA TOUGH!!! #AllLove".

Embiid addressed the backlash on Tuesday after helping the 76ers past the Los Angeles Clippers 110-103 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

"They've been going at me, I went back at them," a smiling Embiid told reporters post-game. "We're all human beings, if I can take it, then everybody else can take it too.

"We move on, we learn from it, we move on. I've got to do a better job, they've got to do a better job. I understand where they come from, but then again, if you dish it, you've got to be able to take it back."

Drafted by the 76ers with the third pick in 2014, Embiid added: "It's all love. I love my city. I've been here for a long time now, we have a special relationship, and I’m happy to be here. I can't wait for the future, especially this year. I think we can accomplish something great."

"Tonight, I could've shushed them again, but it was all about having fun again. Just getting back to my myself, like I said last game, I'm back to doing whatever I want and say," continued Embiid, who posted 26 points and nine rebounds against the Clippers.

"That's how I used to be and I was dominating that way. This year, I made a decision to change and I guess it hasn't worked out so it comes with the good and bad. If it helps us win, then I'm going to be that guy."

The Los Angeles Clippers handed the Cleveland Cavaliers the worst home loss in their history, while Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant posted his first NBA triple-double.

Lou Williams scored 25 points as the Clippers crushed the Cavaliers 133-92 in Cleveland on Sunday.

Cleveland's previous worst home loss was a 39-point defeat against the Chicago Bulls in 2012.

Paul George contributed 22 points for the Clippers, who were playing without star Kawhi Leonard (sore knee) following Saturday's embarrassing 142-115 loss to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves.

Andre Drummond started his first game for the Cavs since being traded by the Detroit Pistons at the deadline and he posted 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Grizzlies sensation Morant had a night to remember as Memphis defeated the Washington Wizards 106-99.

Morant put up 27 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds to help the Grizzlies see off the Wizards in Washington.

 

Furkan stars off the bench… again

There is no stopping Furkan Korkmaz at the moment. After posting a career-high 34 points against the Grizzlies, Korkmaz had 31 in the Philadelphia 76ers' 118-111 victory over the Chicago Bulls. He was 12 of 17 from the field and six of 11 from three-point range. Ben Simmons recorded his fifth triple-double (19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) of the season on Australian Heritage Night in Philadelphia, while Joel Embiid scored 28 points and 12 rebounds.

Trae Young came up big for the Atlanta Hawks, who prevailed 140-135 against the New York Knicks after double overtime. Young had 48 points and 13 assists – the ninth time he has scored at least 40 points this season. John Collins added 32 points and 16 rebounds for the Hawks. The Knicks were led by Julius Randle's 35 points and 18 rebounds.

The Boston Celtics won their seventh straight game behind a balanced performance from their starters, who all had double-digit points, headlined by Jayson Tatum (26, 11 rebounds) and Kemba Walker (27).

Russell Westbrook (39 points) and James Harden (28 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) starred but the Houston Rockets lost 114-113 at home to the Utah Jazz. Jordan Clarkson contributed 30 points off the bench for the Jazz.

 

Horford struggles again

Much has been made about Al Horford and his impact, or lack thereof, in Philadelphia. The high-profile recruit did not score a point against the Bulls. He was 0 of six from the field and missed both shots from beyond the arc in 30 minutes of action.

Austin Rivers did not make a shot from the field after 19 minutes. The Rockets guard was 0 of four from the floor, while he missed both of his three-point attempts.

 

Bojan stuns Rockets

With 1.6 seconds remaining, Bojan Bogdanovic nailed a buzzer-beating three to silence the Rockets in Houston.

 

Sunday's results

Boston Celtics 112-111 Oklahoma City Thunder
Memphis Grizzlies 106-99 Washington Wizards
Atlanta Hawks 140-135 New York Knicks (Double OT)
Philadelphia 76ers 118-111 Chicago Bulls
Utah Jazz 114-113 Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers 133-92 Cleveland Cavaliers
Portland Trail Blazers 115-109 Miami Heat

 

Timberwolves at Raptors

Amid a franchise-record 14-game winning streak, reigning champions the Toronto Raptors (39-14) welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves (16-35) to Scotiabank Arena on Monday.

Reigning NBA champions the Toronto Raptors extended their winning streak to 13 games, while the Philadelphia 76ers claimed a crucial victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Raptors (38-14) stayed hot with a 115-106 win away to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday – a franchise record 10th straight road victory.

Serge Ibaka fuelled the Raptors with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Fred VanVleet (20 points) and Kyle Lowry (16 points, 11 assists) made solid contributions.

Lowry moved third on Toronto's all-time list for scoring, surpassing Vince Carter, before leaving the game with whiplash.

Eastern Conference rivals the 76ers snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Grizzlies 119-107 in Philadelphia.

Struggling on the road, the 76ers impressed again at Wells Fargo Center thanks to 22 points and 10 assists from Ben Simmons.

A stiff neck limited Joel Embiid to 10 points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes.

 

What the Furk?

Forget about Simmons, Embiid and Tobias Harris, it was the Furkan Korkmaz show in Philadelphia. Korkmaz had a career-high 34 points. The Turkish import made 13 of 17 shots, including seven of nine three-pointers.

All-Star Jayson Tatum posted 32 points to lead the Boston Celtics past the Atlanta Hawks 112-107. John Collins had 30 points for the visiting Hawks.

Kelly Oubre Jr. (39) and Devin Booker (33) combined for 72 points as the Phoenix Suns crushed the Houston Rockets 127-91.

 

Brown headlines Pistons' struggles

The post-Andre Drummond error started with a loss for the Detroit Pistons and starter Bruce Brown was among those to struggle in the 108-101 loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder. Brown was one of nine from the field for just four points in 33 minutes.

Only two Grizzlies starters reached double-digit points – Ja Morant (15) and Jonas Valanciunas (14, 10 rebounds). Jaren Jackson Jr. (six points), Dillon Brooks (nine points) and Kyle Anderson (six) struggled.

Russell Westbrook sat out and the Houston had a night to forget. While James Harden recorded 32 points, his Rockets team-mates struggled. Houston only made 29 of 85 shots at 34.1 per cent.

 

Beal with the game-winner!

Bradley Beal was the hero for the Washington Wizards, who stunned the Dallas Mavericks 119-118 at the buzzer.

 

Friday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 119-107 Memphis Grizzlies
Boston Celtics 112-107 Atlanta Hawks
Oklahoma City Thunder 108-101 Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors 115-106 Indiana Pacers
Washington Wizards 119-118 Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns 127-91 Houston Rockets
Sacramento Kings 105-97 Miami Heat
Utah Jazz 117-114 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Lakers at Warriors

The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and in-form Raptors are in action on Saturday, however, all eyes will be on the Los Angeles Lakers. After being upstaged by the Rockets at Staples Center, LeBron James and the Lakers (38-12) travel to the lowly Golden State Warriors (12-40).

Joel Embiid acknowledged he needs to "smile a little more" and readjust his mindset after the Philadelphia 76ers went down 112-101 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 76ers lost for a fourth straight NBA game on Thursday, all on the road, and Embiid endured a mixed display, scoring just four first-half points and ending with 19 from 6-of-26 shooting.

Embiid later said his troublesome left hand, which he had surgery on last month, was causing some issues but insists that was not the reason for his patchy showing.

"I'm trying to get back to the fun Joel, smile a little more," Embiid told reporters. 

"The whole season I told myself I was going to be serious. I felt like everyone looked at [me] in a way that I'm moody or I might not care. I do. I want to win. 

"But at the same time I try to have a different attitude. Obviously, it hasn't been working. Gotta go back to that fun Joel, fun personality. [But] still locked in. Try to help us any way I can."

Team-mate Al Horford said the 76ers are trying to "find ourselves" as they aim to come out of a rut.

"I think it puts a lot of things in perspective," he said. "And desperation. We've lost four in a row now. 

"It's like finding ourselves. Trying to figure it out. I think good is going to come out of this."

Russell Westbrook scored 41 points as the new-look Houston Rockets upstaged the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers 121-111 in NBA action.

While Rockets team-mate James Harden struggled, Westbrook was red hot in a stunning performance to take down rivals the Lakers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Robert Covington made his debut for the Rockets, who traded away center Clint Capela prior to the deadline in a bid to become smaller and faster on the court, and he impressed with 14 points – including four three-pointers.

Double-doubles from LeBron James (18 points, 15 assists) and Anthony Davis (32 points, 13 rebounds) were not enough for the Lakers.

The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks defeated the struggling Philadelphia 76ers 112-101 earlier on Thursday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo produced another dominant performance with 36 points and 20 rebounds as the Bucks improved to 44-7 for the season.

Antetokounmpo had 30-plus points and 15 or more rebounds for the fifth consecutive game and the 14th time this season. Antetokounmpo also became just the fifth player in Bucks history to record a 30-20 game and the first since 1996.

 

Zion flexes muscles… again

Zion Williamson continues to star. The 2019 number one pick posted his fourth consecutive 20-point game – the longest streak among rookies this season. Williamson finished with 21 as the New Orleans Pelicans topped the Chicago Bulls 125-110.

Damian Lillard put up 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past the San Antonio Spurs 125-117.

 

More woes for 76ers & Embiid

Much had been made about Philadelphia's form on the road and their chemistry, or lack thereof. And the 76ers crashed to their fourth straight loss – dropping to 9-19 away from home. Joel Embiid put up 19 points and 11 rebounds but it was a rough night for the All-Star. Cutting a dejected figure, Embiid was just six of 26 from the floor and three of 10 from three-point range. The 76ers struggled with 37.4 per cent shooting, hitting just 37 of 99 shots.

Harden was far from his best in Los Angeles. Harden was three of 10 from the floor and one of six from beyond the arc for 14 points in 35 minutes.

 

LeBron with the reverse jam!

James turned back the clock with a monster dunk against the Rockets.

 

Thursday's results

New York Knicks 105-103 Orlando Magic
New Orleans Pelicans 125-119 Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee Bucks 112-101 Philadelphia 76ers
Portland Trail Blazers 125-117 San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets 121-111 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Raptors at Pacers

Can the red-hot Toronto Raptors (37-14) extend their winning streak to 13 games? The defending champions are on the road against Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers (31-20) on Friday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo expressed his satisfaction with the Milwaukee Bucks not trading at the deadline, insisting "we're the best team in the NBA".

The NBA-leading Bucks did not make any moves prior to Thursday's deadline, opting to keep faith in the team who continue to dominate this season.

After the Bucks improved to 44-7 thanks to a 112-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Milwaukee, reigning MVP Antetokounmpo told reporters: "I think a lot of teams are getting players so they can play against us, so they can guard us better. 

"But I think we're the best team in the NBA; we have the best record in the NBA.

"For me, I think there should not be any change. Thank God there wasn't. I think the guys we have, the chemistry we have on the team is amazing right now.

"The guys we have are playing great. These are the guys I've been going to war with all season and I'm happy we have the same team."

Antetokounmpo produced another dominant performance with 36 points and 20 rebounds against the visiting 76ers.

The 'Greek Freak' had 30-plus points and 15 or more rebounds for the fifth consecutive game and the 14th time this season. Antetokounmpo also became just the fifth player in Bucks history to record a 30-20 game and the first since 1996.

"It's crazy," Antetokounmpo said. "I'm happy that we're winning and we're playing good. But I can get a lot better.

"I can be smarter; I can be sharper. I can make better passes on time, make three-point shots and two-point shots. That's the mindset I have."

 

Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard headline Team LeBron, while Team Giannis includes Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam for the NBA All-Star Game.

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo finalised their teams for the showcase event, which will take place at the United Center in Chicago on February 16.

James used the number one pick to draft Los Angeles Lakers team-mate Anthony Davis to Team LeBron, while reigning MVP Antetokounmpo countered by selecting Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Team LeBron's starting five consists of James, Davis, Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard, Dallas Mavericks sensation Luka Doncic and Houston Rockets star James Harden.

Antetokounmpo, Embiid, Toronto Raptors star Siakam, Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker and the Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young are the starters for Team Giannis.

Team LeBron reigned supreme last year – James' squad winning 178-164 over Team Giannis in Charlotte.

 

Team LeBron

Starters: LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks), James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Reserves: Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder), Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers)

Team Giannis

Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
Reserves: Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)

Ben Simmons accused the Philadelphia 76ers of being "soft" after Jimmy Butler inspired the Miami Heat to a resounding 137-106 victory on Monday.

Butler was ruthless against his former team, finishing with 14 of 20 from the field, sinking two of two from the three-point line and all eight of his free throws in 29 minutes at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The 30-year-old's points tally of 38 was a season's best as the 76ers suffered their heaviest defeat of a three-game losing streak.

"We were soft," said Simmons, who had a game-high four turnovers. "The physicality side of things, we gotta step that up. That comes with experience, also just comes with personality.

"Don't get bullied. Fight over screens, get through screens. If you gotta knock somebody over, knock 'em over. If you gotta hit somebody in the face and knock 'em down so they don't score, hit 'em in the face."

"Our defense was poor," accepted 76ers coach Brett Brown. "When you create three turnovers for a game, it's just not a reflection of who we are.

"I think we're the third or the fourth-best defensive team in the NBA. And we weren't even close to that tonight."

Miami had only three turnovers throughout, a joint-lowest number for any side in the NBA this season, as they improved to 34-15.

"I'm never worried about offense," said Butler. "Hell, I'm never worried about defense. All I'm ever worried about is winning."

The Los Angeles Clippers edged the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA on Monday, while Jimmy Butler inspired the Miami Heat.

Facing his former team, Kawhi Leonard top-scored for the Clippers with 22 points in the 108-105 victory.

Paul George had a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, to go with eight assists, in the Clippers' win.

LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points) and DeMar DeRozan (26) almost saw San Antonio to a surprise result.

Butler lifted the Miami Heat to a 137-106 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

He had 38 points and seven rebounds, while Goran Dragic contributed 24 points and six assists as Miami improved to 34-15 and left Philadelphia at 31-20.

Porzingis shines, Tatum tremendous

Kristaps Porzingis' 38 points and 12 rebounds helped the Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks past the Indiana Pacers 112-103.

For the Pacers, Domantas Sabonis finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Jayson Tatum powered the Boston Celtics past the Atlanta Hawks 123-115 thanks to 28 points and seven rebounds.

Kevin Love's double-double of 33 points and 13 rebounds was not enough for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who went down to the New York Knicks 139-134 after overtime.

 

Jackson, Doumbouya struggle

Reggie Jackson went one-of-16 from the field and Sekou Doumbouya was two-of-15 in the Detroit Pistons' 96-82 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

Young from deep

Trae Young hit a shot from the logo in the Hawks' loss to the Celtics. He finished with 34 points.

Monday's results

Orlando Magic 112-100 Charlotte Hornets
New York Knicks 139-134 Cleveland Cavaliers
Dallas Mavericks 112-103 Indiana Pacers
Golden State Warriors 125-117 Washington Wizards
Boston Celtics 123-115 Atlanta Hawks
Brooklyn Nets 119-97 Phoenix Suns
Miami Heat 137-106 Philadelphia 76ers
Memphis Grizzlies 96-82 Detroit Pistons
Sacramento Kings 113-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Clippers 108-105 San Antonio Spurs

 

Bucks at Pelicans

The high-flying Milwaukee Bucks (42-7) take on the New Orleans Pelicans (20-30) at the Smoothie King Center on Tuesday.

LeBron James registered a triple-double to earn the Los Angeles Lakers an uplifting win on Saturday, while Kyrie Irving suffered an injury scare.

The Lakers needed a boost against the Sacramento Kings after paying emotional tributes to Kobe Bryant and subsequently losing to the Portland Trail Blazers less than 24 hours earlier.

Their star man delivered at Golden 1 Center, James posting 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a 129-113 victory that snapped a three-game slump.

Irving sent a shock through the Brooklyn Nets when his right knee bent awkwardly under Bradley Beal (34 points) in the fourth quarter of a 113-107 road loss to the Washington Wizards.

The Nets described the injury as a knee sprain and Irving, who received treatment on the floor, said he needed further assessment.

"Just got to get an MRI. X-rays were negative. Just go home and see what's going on," the Brooklyn guard told reporters.

"I've done some pretty decent things to my knees in the past. The most important thing was my ACL, just making sure it was fine. It was just a weird, weird, weird, weird fall. I just felt a lot stretching and tension afterwards. Just a bad fall."

 

Lillard extends incredible scoring streak

After blitzing the Lakers at Staples Center on Friday, the red-hot Damian Lillard continued his brilliant form to help the Trail Blazers top the Utah Jazz 124-107.

Lillard dropped 51 points on 17-of-29 shooting as he became the first player in NBA history to average 45 points and 10 assists across a six-game span.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 52 points as they shared the floor for the first time since January 2 in the Los Angeles Clippers' 118-106 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jaylen Brown put up 32 points and Jayson Tatum added 25 to inspire the Boston Celtics to a comfortable 116-95 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Dallas Mavericks overcame a two-game hiccup thanks in part to Jalen Brunson, who scored a season-high 27 points to sink the Atlanta Hawks 123-100.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers lost forward T.J. Warren to a third-quarter head injury en route to a 92-85 defeat at the hands of the New York Knicks.

 

Gobert wilts against Whiteside

Named an All-Star for the first time this week, Rudy Gobert was given a dose of reality in the Jazz's lacklustre loss to the Trail Blazers.

Hassan Whiteside, the Frenchman's direct opponent, pulled down 10 more rebounds and tallied 11 extra points at Moda Center.

 

LeBron's brilliant pass

The league's eighth greatest assist provider displayed his vision with a classy cross-court dime for Avery Bradley.

 

Saturday's results

Los Angeles Clippers 118-106 Minnesota Timberwolves
New York Knicks 92-85 Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat 102-89 Orlando Magic
Washington Wizards 113-107 Brooklyn Nets
Golden State Warriors 131-112 Cleveland Cavaliers
Dallas Mavericks 123-100 Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics 116-95 Philadelphia 76ers
San Antonio Spurs 114-90 Charlotte Hornets
Los Angeles Lakers 129-113 Sacramento Kings
Portland Trail Blazers 124-107 Utah Jazz

 

Pelicans at Rockets

Zion Williamson and the improving New Orleans Pelicans (20-29) take on James Harden's Houston Rockets (30-18) in one of Sunday's four games.

Trae Young almost single-handedly stunned the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA on Thursday, while the Los Angeles Clippers paid tribute to Kobe Bryant.

Named an All-Star starter ahead of Ben Simmons, 21-year-old guard Young outshone his fellow Eastern Conference star as the Atlanta Hawks topped the 76ers 127-117.

Young had a double-double before the first quarter ended and finished with 39 points and a career-high 18 assists in the upset, while Simmons went 10-of-15 from the field for a team-high 31 points.

The Clippers set rivalries aside before their clash with the Sacramento Kings to honour Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the other seven people killed in Sunday's helicopter crash.

Paul George narrated a moving video that was broadcast before 24 seconds of silence while Bryant's old Lakers jerseys, normally covered during Clippers games at Staples Center, were left visible.

Sacramento went on to win 124-103 as Kawhi Leonard, who was involved in the warm-up, failed to play a minute due to lower back tightness.

 

Tatum makes successful Celtics comeback

Jayson Tatum returned after three games out with a groin injury and celebrated his first All-Star nod in fitting fashion, contributing 20 points, six rebounds and two assists as the Boston Celtics topped the Golden State Warriors 119-104.

Nikola Jokic delivered 28 points and 10 assists to drag the injury hit Denver Nuggets to a 106-100 victory against the fast-finishing Utah Jazz, who were led by Jordan Clarkson's 37 points.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal proved a point to those who overlooked him for a place in the All-Star Game in Chicago, posting 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in a 121-107 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

 

Clippers cold after losing Kawhi

The Clippers did not officially rule two-time NBA champion Leonard out of their game against the Kings until midway through the contest.

His absence seemed to unnerve the rest of the team, who combined to shoot just 35-of-92 from the field.

 

Sweet slam a consolation for Cavs

The Cleveland Cavaliers were at least able to enjoy a monster Larry Nance Jr. dunk as they suffered a 115-109 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

 

Thursday's results

Toronto Raptors 115-109 Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards 121-107 Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta Hawks 127-117 Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics 119-104 Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings 124-103 Los Angeles Clippers
Denver Nuggets 106-100 Utah Jazz

 

Trail Blazers at Lakers

Staples Center will be the scene for another emotional outpouring on Friday as the Lakers (36-10) hit the floor for the first time since Bryant's death. The Western Conference leaders take on Carmelo Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers (21-27).

Devin Booker was the most notable omission as six first-timers won NBA All-Star selection among the 14 reserves named on Thursday.

Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook headlined the list of players selected by NBA coaches to round out the roster options for Team LeBron and Team Giannis.

Phoenix Suns guard Booker was denied a place despite averaging 27.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.4 assists through 44 games this season.

Oklahoma City Thunder veteran Paul, Houston Rockets star Westbrook, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz youngster Donovan Mitchell snatched Western Conference guard spots, the latter handed his maiden selection alongside team-mate and fellow first-timer Rudy Gobert.

Brandon Ingram, Bam Adebayo, Jayson Tatum and Domantas Sabonis will also be among the newcomers at United Center in Chicago on February 16.

Suns general manager and three-time NBA champion James Jones questioned Booker's absence.

"I've played with and against multiple All-Stars in this league and Devin Booker is undoubtedly an NBA All-Star," Jones said in a statement.

Frenchman Gobert's inclusion alongside Sabonis (Lithuania), Ben Simmons (Australia) and Nikola Jokic (Serbia) plus starters Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Pascal Siakam (Cameroon) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) lifts the number of international players to eight, a record for an All-Star Game.

The 2020 edition will feature several format changes to honour Kobe Bryant after the Los Angeles Lakers legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Among them will be a 'target score' to chase in a timeless fourth quarter, the figure being the leading team's tally after three periods plus 24 points - representing the number Bryant wore during the second half of his glittering NBA career.

LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Antetokounmpo, the designated captains, will select their teams from the available player pool on February 6.

 

Eastern Conference reserves:

Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)

Western Conference reserves:

Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

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