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.

James Harden revelled in the "great accomplishment" of surpassing the 20,000 point-mark in the NBA on Saturday.

The Houston Rockets star posted 32 points in his side's 139-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, adding 12 rebounds and eight assists for good measure. 

A haul of 20,022 places Harden 45th on the all-time list, although Kareem Abdul-Jabbar' 38,387 remains a distant prospect.

"It's a great accomplishment obviously," Harden said. "I have a bigger picture and bigger goals, but it's pretty cool."

The 30-year-old revealed that he took the game ball and gave it to his mother for safe keeping.

"She has everything,'' he said. "Every goal and achievement that I have, she has it. I gave it to her, and she'll put it in a safe place.''

Russell Westbrook offered glowing praise of his team-mate.

"To be able to do that on a very, very high level is something we don't take for granted," he said.

"Growing up in LA and being able to see him progress over the years, to me, is just a blessing to see as his friend, and I'm truly happy for him."

Russell Westbrook felt like he was back at home as he was given a rousing reception on his return to Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

The 2016-17 NBA MVP and eight-time All-Star was given a standing ovation before the Houston Rockets were beaten 113-92 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

There were chants of "MVP" for Westbrook from the Thunder faithful in his first appearance at his old stomping ground since ending an 11-year spell with Oklahoma to join the Rockets last year.

Westbrook scored a game-high 34 points and although he was unable to make a winning return, the point guard savoured the welcome he was given, with a tribute video also played in recognition of the huge impact he made for the Thunder.

"Man, some things you can't put into words, just because I've been here so long, so many great memories, great people," Westbrook said.

"Obviously, the best fans in the world, because they come with it, and tonight they came with it.

"The organisation, Sam [Presti], Mr. [Clay] Bennett, they do an amazing job of just making you feel home. And I felt like I was home."

Westbrook added: "It's special. It's a very, very special thing that meant a lot to me, honestly.

"Coming back here, just making me feel that I was very, very appreciated."

Russell Westbrook returned to his former home but the Houston Rockets fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-92 in the NBA on Thursday.

Westbrook was dealt by the Thunder to the Rockets in the offseason after 11 years, an MVP and eight All-Star appearances with Oklahoma City.

The Rockets star was given a standing ovation as he returned to Oklahoma City for the first time since the trade, but the Thunder emerged victorious.

Westbrook had a game-high 34 points to lead the Rockets away from home, while Danilo Gallinari's 23 points and 11 rebounds fuelled the Thunder.

The Philadelphia 76ers overcame the absence of All-Star Joel Embiid to trump Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics 109-98.

Embiid is set to undergo surgery on a torn ligament in a finger in his left hand, but the 76ers still managed to rally past the Celtics at Wells Fargo Center.

Josh Richardson posted 29 points as the 76ers overturned a double-digit deficit against the Celtics, who dropped their third straight.

 

Career night for Thompson as slumping Cavs snap streak

Tristan Thompson had a career-high 35 points and 14 rebounds as the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to snap a five-game losing streak by topping the Detroit Pistons 115-112 in overtime.

 

Harden fails to fire

James Harden scored 17 points but he was not at his usual best. The Rockets star was just five of 17 from the field and two of nine from three-point range.

Carmelo Anthony was limited to eight points as the Portland Trail Blazers lost 116-102 at the Minnesota Timberwolves. The veteran was three of 10 from the field, while he missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.

 

All smiles

Westbrook returned to OKC as an opposition player but he was showered in love by the Thunder fans before and after the game.

 

Thursday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 109-98 Boston Celtics
Cleveland Cavaliers 115-112 Detroit Pistons (OT)
Minnesota Timberwolves 116-102 Portland Trail Blazers
Oklahoma City Thunder 113-92 Houston Rockets

 

Lakers at Mavericks

Western Conference leaders the Los Angeles Lakers (30-7) are on the road against the Dallas Mavericks (23-14) on Friday. The Lakers are riding a six-game winning streak, though they could be without star Anthony Davis due to a gluteus maximus contusion.

Russell Westbrook led the way as the Houston Rockets downed Kawhi Leonardo's Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 in the NBA on Thursday.

Westbrook posted 40 points and 10 rebounds to inspire the Rockets' win in Los Angeles, where Houston rallied.

The Rockets (19-9) trailed by 15 points at half-time but used a 36-point third quarter to emerge triumphant at Staples Center.

James Harden contributed 28 points and 10 assists – the Rockets star breaking Calvin Murphy's franchise assist record in the process.

Paul George's 34 points and Leonard's 25 and nine rebounds were not enough for the Clippers (21-9) on home court.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 in their highly anticipated showdown.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's 34 points and 11 rebounds led the Bucks to the NBA's best record at 25-4 in Milwaukee.

LeBron James recorded a triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, while Anthony Davis had 36 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers (24-4).

 

Dinwiddie has career night

Spencer Dinwiddie posted a career-high 41 points but not even that could stop the Brooklyn Nets from losing 118-105 to the San Antonio Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge put up 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs.

Donovan Mitchell's 30 points led the Utah Jazz past the Atlanta Hawks 111-106. Trae Young scored 30 of his own for the Hawks.

 

Lakers get nothing from bench

Starters James, Davis, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope really carried the Lakers in Milwaukee. They were the only players to reach double-digit points – the team's bench only contributing four points via Dwight Howard (2) and Rajon Rondo (2).

 

Giannis from distance!

Antetokounmpo had a career-high five-pointers, including this gem from the beyond the arc against the Lakers.

 

Thursday's results

Utah Jazz 111-106 Atlanta Hawks
Milwaukee Bucks 111-104 Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio Spurs 118-105 Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 Houston Rockets

 

Mavs at 76ers

After losing for the first time at home this season, the Philadelphia 76ers have the chance to bounce back against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Russell Westbrook has been amazed by James Harden's heroics since joining the Houston Rockets, declaring "nobody else" in the NBA can match his team-mate's exploits.

Harden came to the fore again on Monday when his 36 points, six rebounds and five assists led the Rockets to an emphatic 132-108 home win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Such has been his astonishing form in the early part of the 2019-20 season, that display led to his league-leading scoring average dropping to 39.2.

Westbrook also impressed with a triple-double of 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists and called on fans to realise what they were witnessing from Harden was something extraordinary.

"I think that a lot of people like to normalise greatness when you see it over and over again, but it's not normal because there's nobody else that can do it," Westbrook said, per ESPN, after the Rockets' win moved them to 11-3.

"If it was normal, everybody would do it.

"He's put himself in position to be one of the best offensive scorers of all time because of the way that he's able to score the ball at a high level in a variety of ways."

Portland, who are set to sign Carmelo Anthony, dropped to 5-9 and head coach Terry Stotts joked of Harden: "For him, he had a subpar night!"

Harden himself attempted not to dwell on his ballooning personal statistics, declaring "I just want to win games" as he took another step towards a third consecutive scoring title.

Houston head coach Mike D'Antoni, meanwhile, was on the same page as Westbrook.

The Rockets have won eight straight games, with Harden scoring at least 35 in all of them.

"It's unbelievable, I'm at a loss for words," D'Antoni said of Harden. "What he does, you can't do that. I've never seen it.

"I know I've said he's the best offensive player I've ever seen. Well, he is. I haven't coached everybody, but he's so good at what he does.

"You might like it, you might not like it - I don't know how you don't like it. I don't think we've ever seen it like this."

The returning Clint Capela added 22 points and 20 rebounds for the rampant Rockets, who look to make it nine in a row on the road against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

LeBron James posted a triple-double as the in-form Los Angeles Lakers topped the San Antonio Spurs 103-96 in NBA action on Sunday.

James record his second successive triple-double courtesy of 21 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers to their fifth consecutive victory.

Star team-mate Anthony Davis chipped in with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Dwight Howard had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers – who improved to 5-1.

The Spurs were led by Dejounte Murray's 18 points and 11 rebounds in An Antonio, where Rudy Gay added 16 points off the bench.

Kawhi Leonard put up 30 points as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the visiting Utah Jazz 105-94 – the home team using a 40-point final quarter to get the win.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler impressed in the Miami Heat's 129-100 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Butler had 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals for the Heat, who raced out to a 46-14 lead after the opening quarter and never looked back to register a third straight win.

James Harden scored 29 points for Houston, while Russell Westbrook was held to just 10 on three-of-11 shooting.

 

Doncic fuels Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic scored 29 and added 15 assists and 14 rebounds — his second straight triple-double — to key a 131-111 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Porter has game to forget

Chicago Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. hit one of 10 shots in a 108-95 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

 

Windmill!

De'Aaron Fox stole the ball and had plenty of time to plan the perfect dunk for the Sacramento Kings, who beat the New York Knicks 113-92.

 

Sunday's results

Indiana Pacers 108-95 Chicago Bulls
Miami Heat 129-100 Houston Rockets
Sacramento Kings 113-92 New York Knicks
Los Angeles Lakers 103-96 San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Mavericks 131-111 Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Clippers 105-94 Utah Jazz

 

76ers at Suns

The Phoenix Suns have been a minor surprise, winning their last two despite the suspension of center Deandre Ayton. The Philadelphia 76ers are still perfect, but have had a couple of close calls against the Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers.

Brooklyn faced adversity early against Houston on Friday night, but they rebounded to claim a 123-116 victory at Barclays Center.

The Nets fell into a hole early and trailed by as much as 15 in the first half before it found scoring from some surprising places.

Taurean Prince unexpectedly led the way offensively with a team-high 27 points for Brooklyn while Garrett Temple chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Brooklyn still called Kyrie Irving's number down the stretch and he sealed the game with a step-back dagger on a corner 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. He finished with 22 points on the night.

James Harden continued his ridiculous run at the charity stripe, tallying 36 points and eight rebounds while sinking 14 free throws. But he struggled from deep and made only two of his 16 long-range shots.

Houston has made a name for itself by shooting a large number of threes, but shooting at a 25 percent clip against a Brooklyn team that converted 59.4 percent from downtown didn't help their chances.

The Rockets dropped to 3-2 in the western conference, while the Nets improved to 2-3 in season 2019-20.

Kemba makes himself at home in the Garden

Kemba Walker scored 33 points in the Celtics' 104-102 win over the Knicks at TD Garden.

Russell Westbrook totalled 27 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals against Brooklyn.

Andre Drummond tallied 25 points and 24 rebounds as the Pistons fell to the Bulls 112-106.

Lopez and Garland wayward

Brook Lopez went 1-of-7 from the field and scored three points in the Bucks' 123-91 rout of the Magic.

Cleveland's Darius Garland missed all 10 of his shots and notched just two points in his team's 102-95 loss to the Pacers.

Tatum ices the game for the Celtics

Jayson Tatum scored 24 points and nailed the decisive basket as the Celtics snuck past the Knicks.

 

 

76ers at Blazers

Philadelphia is undefeated but they face a talented Portland team without Joel Embiid who is serving a two-game suspension for a skirmish with Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns. How will the 76ers respond without their dominant post presence and defensive stud down low? Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum certainly won't make things easy for the Eastern Conference powerhouse.

James Harden almost scored 60 points as the Houston Rockets won a high-scoring thriller against the Washington Wizards, while the Golden State Warriors' season went from bad to worse after Stephen Curry broke his hand.

Harden posted 59 points to lead the Rockets to a stunning 159-158 victory over the Wizards in NBA action on Wednesday.

MVP in 2017-18, Harden was 18-of-32 shooting while going 17 of 18 from the free-throw line as the Rockets registered a franchise-record score.

Rockets team-mate Russell Westbrook had another triple-double, scoring 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

Wizards star Bradley Beal had 46 points of his own on 14-of-20 shooting, including seven of 12 from beyond the three-point line.

Curry, meanwhile, suffered a broken left hand in Golden State's 121-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns midweek.

The Warriors star landed heavily on his wrist in the third quarter and did not return as Golden State lost for the first time in four games.

It is another huge blow for the Warriors, who are already without injured All-Star Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant – who left for the Brooklyn Nets.

As for the Los Angeles Clippers, they lost 110-96 to the Utah Jazz after resting superstar Kawhi Leonard.

 

Siakam soars as Raptors roar

Pascal Siakam recorded 30 points for defending champions the Toronto Raptors, who topped the Detroit Pistons 125-113. Andre Drummond had 21 points and 22 rebounds in a losing effort.

Tristan Thompson posted 23 points and 10 rebounds in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 117-111 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and 13 rebounds as the Orlando Magic were 95-83 winners against the New York Knicks.

Kemba Walker put up 32 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Boston Celtics overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 116-105.

 

Wiggins highlights Timberwolves' woes

Andrew Wiggins had decent offensive numbers with 19 points, but the Minnesota Timberwolves were minus-27 with him on the floor in a 117-95 loss to the unbeaten Philadelphia 76ers.

 

Sabonis sizzles

Domantas Sabonis had 29 points and a nifty move to the basket in the Indiana Pacers' 118-108 win over the Nets.

 

Wednesday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 117-95 Minnesota Timberwolves
Cleveland Cavaliers 117-111 Chicago Bulls
Orlando Magic 95-83 New York Knicks
Toronto Raptors 125-113 Detroit Pistons
Boston Celtics 116-105 Milwaukee Bucks
Indiana Pacers 118-108 Brooklyn Nets
Portland Trail Blazers 102-99 Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets 159-158 Washington Wizards
Utah Jazz 110-96 Los Angeles Clippers
Charlotte Hornets 118-111 Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns 121-110 Golden State Warriors

 

Nuggets at Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans are still trying to get their first win of the season and they welcome a talented and deep Denver Nuggets team for the late game on Thursday.

Russell Westbrook was delighted to pass Magic Johnson on the NBA's all-time triple-doubles list but insisted he does not take a place in history for granted.

Houston Rockets star Westbrook posted 28 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in a 126-123 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.

The 2017 MVP's latest show-stopping efforts took him to outright second on the triple-doubles list on 139, now trailing only Oscar Robertson (181).

"It's a blessing. I give nothing but thanks to the man above for allowing me to be able to go out and play and compete," Westbrook said. "It's something I never, ever take for granted.

"I know, nowadays, getting triple-doubles seems like normal, but I take pride.

"It takes a lot of energy, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of things I do off the floor to put myself out there to compete every single night and play at a high level.

"For me, that's a great accomplishment. Growing up, I was never thinking I'd be playing in the NBA. Now, to be in the history books is a blessing for me and something I don't ever take for granted."

Asked if he had heard from Johnson, Westbrook replied with a smile: "No, no, no - not yet. I'm pretty sure now, maybe..."

The 30-year-old added he rarely gets the opportunity to reflect on his career achievements but hoped to be able to this time before returning to action against former team the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

"It's crazy, man. For me, it's just surreal," Westbrook said. "Everything happens so quickly. It happened tonight, I broke the record, 'Oh, s***'. Now I get ready for the next one.

"In my mind, I never get the opportunity to sit back and think about some of the things that I've done.

"Tonight will be one of those where I take a second to be thankful and grateful to be able to go and compete and do something like that."

Johnson posted on Twitter: "Congratulations to Russell Westbrook for passing me and having the 2nd-most triple-doubles in NBA history!"

The Los Angeles Clippers suffered their first defeat of the NBA season after losing 130-122 to the Phoenix Suns.

Kawhi Leonard had led the Clippers to back-to-back wins to start the campaign, however, they went down to the Suns on Saturday.

Devin Booker scored 30 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 20 as the Suns snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Clippers.

Leonard put up 27 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the visiting Clippers in Phoenix.

The Miami Heat spoiled the Milwaukee Bucks' home opener after prevailing 131-126 in overtime.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's Bucks held a 21-point lead in the third quarter but still lost to the rallying Heat, who were led by Goran Dragic's 25 points off the bench.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists to go with eight turnovers before fouling out late in overtime.

 

Westbrook surpasses Magic

Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook passed Magic Johnson for second place on the NBA's all-time triple-doubles list with his 139th. Westbrook had 28 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in the 126-123 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Trae Young might not have won Rookie of the Year last season, but he might be the NBA's MVP through two games (take that for what you will). The Atlanta Hawks guard scored 39 points while adding nine assists and seven rebounds in a 103-99 win over the Orlando Magic.

Kemba Walker scored 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting in the Boston Celtics' 118-95 victory against the New York Knicks.

 

Osman underwhelms despite Cavs win

Cedi Osman's four-year extension with the Cavaliers netted Cleveland one point and one rebound in 28 minutes in a 110-99 win over the Indiana Pacers.

 

DeRozan dazzles

DeMar DeRozan produced a nice layup through traffic to seal the deal for the San Antonio Spurs with five seconds remaining in a 124-122 win over the Washington Wizards.

Saturday's results

Miami Heat 131-126 Milwaukee Bucks
Philadelphia 76ers 117-111 Detroit Pistons
Atlanta Hawks 103-99 Orlando Magic
Boston Celtics 118-95 New York Knicks
Houston Rockets 126-123 New Orleans Pelicans
Toronto Raptors 108-84 Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers 110-99 Indiana Pacers
San Antonio Spurs 124-122 Washington Wizards
Utah Jazz 113-81 Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns 130-122 Los Angeles Clippers

 

Trail Blazers at Mavericks

The Kristaps Porzingis era is off to a great start in Dallas as the Mavericks are unbeaten through two games. But Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has come out strong, too, and he presents a very interesting backcourt matchup opposite Luka Doncic.

Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook surpassed Magic Johnson on the NBA's all-time triple-doubles list.

Westbrook posted his 139th career triple-double on Saturday to move into second position, leapfrogging Los Angeles Lakers great Johnson.

An eight-time All-Star and 2017 MVP, Westbrook posted 28 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds as the Rockets beat the New Orleans Pelicans 126-123.

Westbrook now trails only Oscar Robertson (181) on that list as he eyes more history.

Giannis Antetokounmpo described his Milwaukee Bucks team-mates as "amazing" for closing out a 117-111 victory over the Houston Rockets after he fouled out on Thursday.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo picked up his sixth foul when the Bucks were leading by six points with five minutes and 18 seconds remaining in their first NBA game of 2019-20 at Toyota Center.

The Greek helped Milwaukee overturn a 16-point half-time deficit by posting 30 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, making him the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1966 to post a 30-point triple-double in a season opener.

Antetokounmpo feels the Bucks took a significant step forward by holding on for the win in his enforced absence.

"I was p***** [to foul out], I'm not gonna lie," he said. "Obviously, a stupid sixth foul - I got under [Clint] Capela. I could have avoided it, but it's an opener and you're so excited. But as a basketball player you have to control your excitement.

"They did an amazing job [to hold on for the win]. Moved the ball, knocked down shots. Brook [Lopez] executed from the post, knocked down shots and made the right plays, so they did an amazing job.

"It feels amazing. Being down 16 and able to come back and nobody was complaining, everyone was focused on the game - at no point did it feel like we gave up. We played harder, defended harder, executed harder and it's game number one. This can only make you better.

"The chemistry is amazing. We need to keep working on that, and you're going to find adversities throughout the season. But at the end of the day, you've got to face moments like this because moments like this make you better."

Russell Westbrook poured in 24 points to go with 16 rebounds, seven assists and two steals on his Rockets debut, while James Harden had 19 points and 14 assists.

Seven-time All-Star Harden shouldered the blame for the loss and hopes to rediscover his usual "swagger" quickly.

"I didn't play well offensively the entire night. Give them credit, they came back and played well that second half but this one is on me. I wasn't as aggressive enough and that's what it was," said Harden.

"It's the first game of the season so I've got to get my rhythm as well. I wish I would just go out there and make every shot, have my swagger like I will be. It will come."

Westbrook added: "I've got to do a better job of helping [Harden] out. Especially when teams we're playing are guarding him like that. That's why I'm here; to make a better career for him, so he doesn't have to create and do everything like he's accustomed to doing.

"When that happens, we've got to do a better job of figuring it out, [we] kind of waited too late to do that."

The Golden State Warriors' first NBA game at Chase Center ended in defeat as the Kawhi Leonard-led Los Angeles Clippers stayed unbeaten.

After 47 years at Oracle Arena in Oakland, the Warriors relocated to neighbouring San Francisco in the offseason.

But their first competitive game in San Francisco did not go according to plan following Thursday's 141-122 loss to the Clippers.

Even without Paul George, the Clippers looked great on both sides of the court as Leonard, Lou Williams and Patrick Patterson all finished with 20 or more points to preserve Los Angeles' perfect start after two games.

Stephen Curry and D'Angelo Russell were good for the Warriors, but Russell did not do much after scoring the Warriors' first 10 points and Curry struggled shooting the ball throughout the game, going two of 11 from three-point range.

Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, became the first player in Milwaukee Bucks history to record a triple-double in a season opener.

Antetokounmpo – the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1966 with a 30-point triple-double in a season opener – finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists as the Bucks overcame a 16-point half-time deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 117-111.

Every single Milwaukee starter finished in double digits in scoring, while Russell Westbrook led the Rockets with 24 points and 16 rebounds in his Houston debut. 

 

Young stars as Hawks fly high

Trae Young had 38 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the Atlanta Hawks' 117-100 win over the Detroit Pistons.

 

Reddish and Harden struggle

Cam Reddish's rookie year is off to a tough shooting start. He scored one point on 0-of-six shooting, including 0 of five from three-point range. He did have seven rebounds, though.

James Harden scored 19 points, but the Rockets star went two-of-13 shooting in the loss to the Bucks.

 

Harden and Westbrook reunite

Harden and Westbrook look like they will at least be fun together in Houston.

 

Thursday's results

Atlanta Hawks 117-100 Detroit Pistons
Milwaukee Bucks 117-111 Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers 141-122 Golden State Warriors

 

Jazz at Lakers

Two teams that added big pieces this offseason face off in Los Angeles on Friday. Mike Conley joins Donovan Mitchell in the Utah Jazz's backcourt, while Anthony Davis teams up with LeBron James and the Lakers. And that is not even the half of it as Danny Green, Bojan Bogdanovic (who may be hurt), Quinn Cook and Dwight Howard are all finding their way with new teams. 

Russell Westbrook and James Harden will be team-mates once again in this NBA season, and the Houston Rockets pair have certainly evolved since their days together at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It has been seven years since Westbrook and Harden wore the same NBA uniform, a series-deciding Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals when the duo each scored 19 points.

Harden's contribution came from the bench - as it often did that season - and he soon moved to Houston to become the main man, a distinction he will be expected to keep despite Westbrook's arrival this offseason.

Here, using Stats Perform data, we look at how productive Westbrook and Harden were together in OKC, and how their roles have changed since.

 

A PRODUCTIVE PARTNERSHIP

In their final year together with the Thunder in 2011-12, Westbrook had the best season of his career in terms of field goal percentage (45.7 per cent), while Harden had what remains his best campaign in terms of both field goal percentage (49.1 per cent) and three-pointers made (39 per cent).

Ten-time All-Star Kevin Durant was on the roster then too, of course, but a deeper dive into the numbers shows just how much better offensively the Thunder were in that campaign when Westbrook and Harden shared the floor.

Per 100 possessions, they averaged more points (113.8 to 102.8), more offensive rebounds (13.2 to 10.2), more assists (19.4 to 19.2) and scored more points off fast breaks (17.7 to 16.0).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was a drop-off defensively when Westbrook and Harden were on court together, as OKC conceded more points on average per 100 possessions (103.4 to 97.8).

HARDEN: FROM SIXTH MAN TO MAIN MAN

In the 2011-12 season, Harden's last with the Thunder, 'The Beard' was voted the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year for his performances off the bench, when he averaged 16.8 points per game.

That first year in Houston, Harden averaged a whopping 25.9 points per game – the increase of 9.1 representing the fourth-largest jump of all time among players who switched teams after averaging at least 15 points per game in the previous season.

Moreover, among all Sixth Man of the Year winners, Harden has the five highest scoring seasons of all time - including last term, when he poured in 2,818 points in 78 games at a staggering average of 36.1.

ALL-ROUND RUSS

It was after Durant's departure for the Golden State Warriors in 2016 when Westbrook ascended from second fiddle to superstar.

Westbrook's numbers greatly improved in his first year without Harden and Durant. He averaged 31.6 points per game (up from 23.5 in the previous season), 10.7 rebounds per game (up from 7.8 in the previous season) and 10.4 assists per game (the same as the previous season).

That season - when Westbrook was named the league's MVP - he averaged a triple-double, a feat he also achieved in the following two campaigns, despite Paul George's presence on the Thunder's roster between 2017 and 2019.

Last season, Westbrook only tried 28.7 shots per 100 possessions when George was out, down from 35 attempts in 2017-18.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.