Joel Embiid starred for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA on Tuesday, while the Milwaukee Bucks recorded a resounding win.

Embiid made his return from a finger injury and had 24 points and 10 rebounds in the 76ers' 115-104 win over the Golden State Warriors.

The forward also wore a number 24 jersey to honour the late Kobe Bryant, who made it famous during his glittering career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Al Horford chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds for the 76ers, who improved to 31-17.

The Bucks extended their winning streak to nine by thrashing the Washington Wizards 151-131.

Without Giannis Antetokounmpo (shoulder), the Bucks had no problems against the struggling Wizards.

Khris Middleton contributed a career-high 51 points to go with 10 rebounds, while Eric Bledsoe poured in 34.

Super Siakam, Hayward steps up

Pascal Siakam's 24 points and nine rebounds helped the Toronto Raptors past the Atlanta Hawks 130-114. The Raptors have won eight straight.

Gordon Hayward guided the Boston Celtics to a 109-101 victory over the Miami Heat with 29 points and nine rebounds.

Jonas Valanciunas' 23 points and 12 rebounds saw the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Denver Nuggets 104-96.

 

Bad Bullock

Reggie Bullock went two-of-seven from the field for just six points in 28 minutes in the New York Knicks' 97-92 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

 

Kobe tributes continue

The tributes to Bryant continued after his death in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday.

The Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns took an eight-second backcourt violation and 24-second shot-clock violation in honour of the Lakers great, who wore those two numbers during his career.

The 76ers and Warriors did likewise.

Tuesday's results

Charlotte Hornets 97-92 New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers 115-104 Golden State Warriors
New Orleans Pelicans 125-111 Cleveland Cavaliers
Toronto Raptors 130-114 Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics 109-101 Miami Heat
Memphis Grizzlies 104-96 Denver Nuggets
Milwaukee Bucks 151-131 Washington Wizards
Phoenix Suns 133-104 Dallas Mavericks

 

Rockets at Trail Blazers

Sitting fifth in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets (29-17) visit the Portland Trail Blazers (20-27) on Wednesday.

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid made his return from a finger injury and honoured the late Kobe Bryant on Tuesday.

Embiid missed nine games and required surgery after a nasty dislocated finger in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this month.

But the 76ers star returned for a clash against the Golden State Warriors at Wells Fargo Center and he wore number 24, made famous by Bryant during his glittering career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others on Sunday.

The 76ers held a moment of silence before ringing the bell nine times to recognise all nine victims.

The teams then started the game by taking an eight-second backcourt violation and 24-second shot-clock violation in a tribute to Bryant, who wore the two numbers during his career.

Embiid was averaging 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists this season heading into the meeting with the Warriors.

LeBron James was left struggling to comprehend the "crazy" journey that led to him surpassing Kobe Bryant's all-time NBA points tally on Saturday.

Los Angeles Lakers star James leapfrogged the retired Bryant into third among the competition's most prolific scorers when he completed a layup in the third quarter of a 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Though the result somewhat spoiled the milestone, James spoke after the game in detail about his admiration for Bryant and recounted his earliest meetings with the retired Lakers great.

The formative encounters included a brush at a youth basketball camp at age 15 and receiving a pair of shoes from the eventual five-time NBA champion at the 2002 All-Star Game.

"It's too much. The story, it's too much. It doesn't make sense," James told reporters when asked about overtaking Bryant.

"To make a long story short, now I'm here in a Lakers uniform, in Philadelphia, where he's from, where I met him for one of the first times in All-Star week, it's surreal.

"It doesn't make sense, but the universe puts things in your life... things happen organically, and it's not supposed to make sense, but it just happens.

"I'm happy to be in any conversation with Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time greatest basketball players, one of the all-time greatest Lakers. The man's got two jerseys hanging up in Staples Center. It's just crazy."

The 35-year-old found it easier to sum up his appreciation for Ben Simmons, who led the 76ers to victory at Wells Fargo Center with 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

James (29 points) said he looked forward to sitting courtside and observing Simmons when the time comes for him to join Bryant in retirement.

"That's pretty much how I'm going to be when I'm done playing," he said.

"Being able to come back and watch this beautiful game, hopefully there's somebody playing the game at a high level.

"Like that guy across the hallway, Ben Simmons, I can sit and watch him and see how much he continues to grow, watch him and see him continue to do what he does, because he's growing every day."

Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers ruined a memorable moment for Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, while the Utah Jazz defused Luka Doncic on Saturday.

Four-time MVP James passed Kobe Bryant and rose to third for all-time NBA points during the third quarter in Philadelphia, but the Lakers failed to crown the occasion in style as they lost 108-91.

Simmons stole the limelight, scoring 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and eight assists.

The 76ers, still missing Joel Embiid, withstood a fourth-quarter Lakers recovery before sealing their fifth victory in six games.

The Dallas Mavericks, meanwhile, led for three quarters before collapsing to a 112-107 loss to the Jazz, who have now won four straight.

Rudy Gobert registered a double-double with 22 points and 17 rebounds, while Donovan Mitchell's 25-point haul included two clutch three-pointers in Utah's fourth-quarter comeback.

 

Irving ignites the Nets

Kyrie Irving snapped the Brooklyn Nets out of a five-game losing streak as he put up 45 points in 121-111 overtime win against the Detroit Pistons.

Brooklyn rallied back from a double-digit deficit to take a late lead, only for Derrick Rose to force an extra period with a brilliant finish at the basket with 1.9 seconds left on the clock.

The Nets, though, eventually pulled away in OT thanks to strong performances from Irving and Jarrett Allen (20 points, 15 rebounds).

Karl-Anthony Towns dropped 37 points but the Minnesota Timberwolves suffered a 113-104 defeat against the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder, while Zach LaVine (40 points, 10 rebounds) guided the Chicago Bulls to a 118-106 victory over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Doncic goes cold beyond the arc

MVP candidate Doncic had 25 points for the Mavs but the new All-Star struggled from three-point range against the Jazz, hitting just two of his 10 attempts.

 

LeBron betters the Black Mamba

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) were the only men left leading James (33,655) on the all-time points tally following his third-quarter layup at Wells Fargo Center.

 

Saturday's results

Utah Jazz 112-107 Dallas Mavericks
Brooklyn Nets 121-111 Detroit Pistons (OT)
Chicago Bulls 118-106 Cleveland Cavaliers
Oklahoma City Thunder 113-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
Philadelphia 76ers 108-91 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Rockets at Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets (31-14) have the chance to avenge Wednesday's road loss to the Houston Rockets (28-16) when the teams square off at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James moved past Kobe Bryant and into third for for most all-time points in the NBA.

James needed just 18 points to surpass Bryant during the Lakers' clash against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

The star leapfrogged Bryant (33,643) during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center.

Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) have scored more NBA points than James.

James was averaging 25.2 points, 10.8 assists and 7.7 rebounds heading into the clash with the 76ers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Eastern Conference starters:

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

Western Conference starters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LeBron, Davis drive Lakers

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

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

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

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

 

Difficulty for Draymond

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

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

 

Zion sends New Orleans into frenzy

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

Wednesday's results

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

 

Lakers at Nets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Westbrook heroics not enough as OKC complete comeback

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

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

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

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

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

 

Lowry misses out in Atlanta

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

 

Brown posterises LeBron!

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

Monday's results

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

 

Clippers at Mavericks

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

Brett Brown heaped praise on Ben Simmons after the Philadelphia 76ers star's "incredible" triple-double display against the Brooklyn Nets.

Simmons posted 34 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in the 117-111 win at Barclays Center on Monday.

The performance continued a fine run of form that has come at the right time for the 76ers, who remain without Joel Embiid after the All-Star center underwent surgery on his injured left hand on Friday.

"Ben was ridiculously dominant tonight," 76ers coach Brown told reporters after beating Brooklyn.

"He played some four, I played him at five, he had the ball. He was just multi-skilled, used all over the place in multiple positions. Ball handler, screen setter, post target, he was on the five man defensively.

"He was just incredible."

Simmons was earlier named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, having impressed throughout what is now a four-game winning streak.

"I'm just trying to win," the Australian told NBC in an on-court interview. "I know Joel is out so a lot of guys have got to step up. I take a lot of responsibility, just being a leader.

"Offensively I've got to pick it up, so I'm glad we could get this one."

Philadelphia return to action on Wednesday in a road game against the Toronto Raptors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sixers end road woes

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

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

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

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

 

Carmelo struggles in OKC

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

 

From Noel to Bazley

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

 

Saturday's results

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

 

Pacers at Nuggets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Doncic delights as Sabonis shines

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

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

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

 

Kuzma struggles

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

 

Mykhailiuk from deep

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

Wednesday's results

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

 

Celtics at Bucks

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

Joel Embiid said "I'm trying to win a f***** title" as the Philadelphia 76ers star craves NBA glory following last season's heartbreaking playoff exit.

The 76ers are championship contenders in 2020 after re-signing Tobias Harris and adding Al Horford and Josh Richardson to a roster headlined by All-Stars Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Embiid is seen as the key to Philadelphia's title hopes and the popular center is hellbent on winning a ring after being left in tears when the 76ers suffered a buzzer-beating defeat to eventual champions the Toronto Raptors in last season's Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Recovering from a finger injury, Embiid – whose 76ers last won a championship in 1982-83 – wrote in The Players' Tribune: "You know, we all came into this year talking about how bad we want a title. We're pretty good at talking, myself included. But it's not enough just to talk it. You gotta walk it. You gotta bring it every single night. And that includes me, too. 

"Listen, I know it sucks that I'm out. Nobody feels worse than me about it. But it's just a finger. It's nothing. Compared to what I've been through, it's nothing man. 

"I'm going to be back. And we're going to get this thing right. And we're going to be a problem in the playoffs, I promise you. But I have to say it now — the one thing I'm not going to do is change who I am as a basketball player. 

"I got nothing but love for the legends of the game like Shaq [Shaquille O'Neal] and Charles [Barkley]. So I respect what they're saying about my game. But I'm never going to be the kind of traditional big like Shaq was in the '90s. You can't go down to the post every single time down the floor and have success in this league. Not in 2020. Not with the way the game has evolved. Not with the way teams double-team now. You have to be able to spread the floor and pass the ball and get buckets all over the court.

"It doesn't matter if you're a guard or a 7-footer, you need to be versatile to win in this league. You need to be unpredictable. Yes, I idolised guys like Dream [Hakeem Olajuwon]. I watched hours and hours of Dream every single day, literally. Everybody knows that story. But you know who I love watching now? KD [Kevin Durant], [James] Harden, even point guards like Steph [Curry] and CP3 [Chris Paul]. For me, that's where the game is the most interesting right now. 

"Above everything, I'm a student of the game. That's the only way I was able to pick it up in such a short amount of time. You can't just be a Big on the block anymore. You need to be a basketball player.

"If we're going to win a title, I gotta be a little bit of Dream, and a little bit of [Allen] Iverson, and a little bit of Kooooobeeeeeeeeeeeeee [Kobe Bryant]. That's the way I'm always going to see myself. 

"And I know you guys on TV want me to score 35 on the block every night. I know it. I hear you. But I gotta be honest with you. This isn't 1995. This is 2020. I'm not working every single day to be the next Dream. There's only one Dream. There's only one Shaq. I'm not trying to be the best Big ever. I'm trying to be the best basketball player in the league, and I really believe I can be that. 

"I'm done with the trash talking and the memes and all that. Once I'm holding that trophy in my hands, maybe I'll be back to my charming self. For now, I got one thing on my mind. I'm not trying to win a debate. I'm trying to win a f***** title."

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.

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