Rick Carlisle lamented an "ugly" performance from the Indiana Pacers after his team lost to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Pacers went down 151-127 to the Clippers on Monday, suffering a fourth straight defeat.

Since losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the final of the NBA's in-season tournament, Indiana have won just one game, with that victory coming against the struggling Detroit Pistons.

And Carlisle pointed to a mentality shift being required if the Pacers are to turn things around.

"Tonight was ugly. It's just something that's not acceptable," he said after the Clippers game.

"I don't care how talented they are, or anything else, we just allowed them to really do whatever they wanted to do. I've got to take responsibility for not having these guys ready to play.

"We've got a huge target on our back because of winning some games in the tournament. The Pacers aren't sneaking up on anybody.

"But our mindset, if it's shifted to just simply trying to outscore teams and away from any kind of emphasis defensively, that's got to stop. If it means massive lineup changes, then that's what will happen."

"We're missing some of our best defenders right now, that doesn't help. But it's not a valid excuse. We're making a lot of mistakes, and we just need to do it better and we need to do it harder."

Carlisle did, however, refuse to accept full responsibility for the slump, putting the onus on the Pacers' star players.

"Our best players have to understand and they have to believe that the little things are important," he added.

"That concentration and focus are extremely important. And so when the best players believe it, they preach it and it becomes gospel. It can't just be the coach."

Tyrese Haliburton, who managed just eight points, echoed Carlisle's sentiment, saying: "I think that we got to where we were by just playing harder than people. And we’re not doing that right now. So the switch has to flip here, pretty quick."

While the Pacers are on a skid, the Clippers are in fine form, having now won their last eight games. It is the team's longest winning streak since a 10-game run in the 2015-16 season.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden ran the Pacers ragged, with the latter scoring 18 of his game-leading 35 points in the fourth quarter.

"It was fun to watch," Leonard, who had 28 points, said of Harden's fourth-quarter charge.

"We're not trying to play the score. We're trying to win the quarters. And even if we have 20 points, we've still got to do our jobs and be efficient."

Harden, who also added nine assists, said: "We're playing very, very well right now, so we just have to stay consistent in what we do. Every game is a new challenge for us as a unit.

"We're figuring it out, we're coming together, our chemistry is building game by game. There's a long way to go but we're definitely headed in the right direction."

Anthony Davis does not believe the Los Angeles Lakers are suffering a "championship hangover" since their NBA Cup success despite another defeat against the New York Knicks.

A big night from LeBron James, who had 25 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in a triple-double for the Lakers, was backed up by 32 points and 14 rebounds from Davis at Crypto.com Arena.

But New York's Jalen Brunson scored 29 points, Julius Randle had 27 points and 14 rebounds, and Immanuel Quickley added 20 points as the Knicks prevailed 114-109 on Monday, improving to 15-11.

It was the Lakers' third loss in four games since winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament. 

The team unveiled their championship banner for the NBA Cup success ahead of the game and Davis is not overly concerned about their post-tournament slump.

"I mean, we are not losing by 20," Davis said. "We are in every game, we are fighting, competing, playing hard.

"I don't think it's a championship hangover. I don't think that it's one of those.

"We go in and have a battle against Dallas. Win against San Antonio. And then obviously let one slip away again against them. 

"And then a fight tonight. I don't think it’s one of those things where we are hungover from the in-season tournament.

"It's tough, because for the whole month of December, we've basically been on the road.

"There's nothing we can really do about it. It's the schedule. We've just got to take care of our bodies and get some guys back, hopefully in the next couple of games. But it's definitely a mental challenge."

LeBron, meanwhile, felt the tournament may have been one of many factors in a difficult spell, pointing out the runner-up Indiana Pacers are 1-4 since losing to the Lakers in the championship game.

He said: "It could be a little bit of everything, I don't know. Have you seen Indiana's record since Vegas?

"I feel like our energy was up and down throughout the course of the game.

"We've been feeling it, definitely. Even through that, we still competed and gave ourselves a chance, but it's a tough one for us."

James enjoyed seeing the banner unveiled and still has fond memories of the tournament, for which he was named the MVP.

He added: "I think it's awesome. To be able to acknowledge wins throughout the course of a marathon, that's pretty cool. 

"That's the first, the inauguration of it. We were able to win it. So, for our fans that didn't get an opportunity to be in Vegas, they got an opportunity to kind of share that celebration with us, share that moment, something that will live on forever for sure here. So, it was a good moment."

Coach Darvin Ham was happy to reflect on the NBA Cup success, with the Lakers (15-12) now preparing for a three-game road trip that starts against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

"It's great for the organization," he said.

"Obviously, [the tournament is] something that's going to be around. It's only going to get bigger and better. 

"I think it's really, really cool that we're doing that. Especially being the first to win the inaugural in-season tourney.

"It's been a great shot in the arm in terms of us rising to the occasion from a competitive standpoint and it furthermore creates and sustains a foundation that we're trying to set in terms of getting through the regular season and then, ultimately, into the playoffs.

"I think it's huge. The intensity in which everyone played. You could feel it. It's great. 

"Anytime you can get highly competitive basketball with the best athletes in the world, I think it's great for the fans, great for the organizations and ultimately great for the NBA.

"Now we have just got to push through this time. It's normally like that in December and January. So, we will be fine, we will watch it on film as we prepare to also get ready for this three-game trip."

Los Angeles is eighth in the Western Conference and also faces Minnesota and Oklahoma City this week after their game in Chicago.

LeBron added: "We want to finish out December the right way. Obviously, it's been a killer for us with the travel and games and things of that nature. There is no rest for the weary.

"We just got to mentally stay locked in and get ready for Chicago first."

James Harden scored a season-high 35 points to lead the scorching Los Angeles Clippers to an eighth consecutive win with Monday's 151-127 blowout of the Indiana Pacers.

Kawhi Leonard added 28 points and Paul George had 27 as the Clippers' two other stars also had big nights to keep the league's hottest team rolling. Harden chipped in nine assists as well, while Ivica Zubac compiled an 18-point, 16-rebound double-double.

The Clippers took control with a 10-0 second-quarter run that gave them a 67-57 lead with under 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half, then headed into the break with a 77-66 advantage.

Los Angeles then outscored the Pacers by a 37-28 margin in the third quarter to stretch the margin further, and Harden ended any hopes of an Indiana comeback by putting up 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the fourth.

The Pacers lost their fourth straight game despite a career-high 34 points from Bennedict Mathurin. Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana's leading scorer for the season, dished out 11 assists but was held to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. 

Nuggets blow out Mavericks in clash of West contenders

Jamal Murray scored 22 points, Aaron Gordon tied a season high with 21, and the Denver Nuggets cruised to a 130-104 win over the short-handed Dallas Mavericks in a showdown between two of the Western Conference's top teams.

The defending NBA champion Nuggets shot 56.3 per cent from the field and led from start to finish en route to a fourth victory in five games. Reggie Jackson delivered 20 points off the bench on 9-of-12 shooting, while Gordon finished 7 of 9 and Murray was perfect on four attempts from 3-point range.

Dallas got 38 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists from Luka Dončić, but couldn't overcome the absence of fellow star Kyrie Irving as well as key contributors Josh Green and Dereck Lively and lost for the second time in three games.

Gordon had 16 first-half points as the Nuggets took a 68-59 lead into the break, then extended their advantage to 20 points after a 10-0 run late in the third quarter put the Mavericks at a 94-74 deficit.

Denver then rested its entire starting lineup in the fourth quarter while building a lead as large as 36 points.

Bulls continue surge, snap 76ers' six-game winning streak

Coby White racked up 24 points, eight rebounds and nine assists as the Chicago Bulls continued their recent hot play and cooled off the Philadelphia 76ers with a 108-104 victory.

Chicago has now won six of its last nine games following a 5-14 start despite two-time All-Star Zach LaVine being sidelined by a foot injury. Nikola Vucevic had 23 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls, who had a 12-point lead after three quarters reduced to one late before holding on.

The 76ers had a six-game winning streak halted despite another huge performance from Joel Embiid, who totalled 40 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. 

Tyrese Maxey added 29 points and eight assists, but no other Philadelphia player managed more than eight points.

White had 16 first-half points as Chicago took a 55-44 lead into the break. Chicago was up 81-69 entering the fourth quarter before the 76ers rallied late to pull within 105-104 on a Maxey 3-pointer with 33.2 seconds left.

Embiid misfired on two shots afterward, though, and Chicago's DeMar DeRozan sealed the game by making three of four free throws in the final stages.

 

Bradley Beal won't play another game for the Phoenix Suns until the calendar flips to January.

Beal will miss the rest of December because of a right ankle sprain sustained in Friday's loss to the New York Knicks. He will be re-evaluated in early 2024.

He was injured in the first quarter when shooting a 3-pointer, which he made. Upon landing, he fell on the foot of the Knicks' Donte DiVincenzo, who was called for a Flagrant 1 because he didn’t give Beal space to land.

This is the latest setback for the 30-year-old Beal, who has been dealing with a sore back since the onset of the season and has appeared in just six games.

He is averaging 14.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists after averaging 27.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists over the previous five seasons.

The Suns acquired the three-time All-Star over the summer hoping to create a super team with fellow All-Stars Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. But injuries to Durant and Booker have resulted in the trio playing just two of a possible 26 games together.

Phoenix, which has two wins in its last six games, is in fourth place in the Pacific Division after reaching the Western Conference semi-finals each of the past three seasons.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo has more records in his sights after he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's rebounds haul.

Antetokounmpo overtook Abdul-Jabbar's rebound record for the Milwaukee Bucks as he grabbed the 7,162nd rebound of his career during Sunday's 128-119 win over the Houston Rockets.

The two-time MVP finished with a double-double of 26 points and 17 rebounds as the Bucks made it four straight wins since their loss to the Indiana Pacers in the NBA's in-season tournament.

With another franchise record in the bag, Antetokounmpo has no plans to slow down in chasing more achievements.

"It's a big honour," said Antetokounmpo, who also holds franchise records for blocks, triple-doubles, games, minutes, free throws made and field goals.

"I don't think anybody assumed the skinny kid from Greece that was drafted and supposed to play in the G-League was going to be in a position to break a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar record.

"I want to keep on playing the game at a high level. I want to keep on taking care of my body and I know if I do that, sometimes you break records.

"But at the end of the day, I'm beyond blessed to be the all-time leader in rebounds, but I got to keep going and keep moving forward."

One team record that has evaded Antetokounmpo so far is for successful 3-pointers. That is held by his teammate Khris Middleton, who has 1,253 to his name.

Middleton has no plans to let that record go, either.

"Hell nah. Hell nah," he chuckled. "Now he's got everything, except for the three-ball."

The Bucks are second in the Eastern Conference, behind the Boston Celtics, whose superb home record continued with a 114-97 win over the Orlando Magic.

Boston are now 14-0 at home. It is their second-best start at home in a season, behind the 1957-58 campaign, in which a Bill Russell-led team opened with 17 straight victories. 

"For a visiting team to come into this building and beat us, it's got to be a special night for them and we totally believe that," said Kristaps Porzingis, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Jaylen Bronw had 31 points, with Jayson Tatum collecting 23.

"I think we're starting to play what I would call Celtic basketball," said coach Joe Mazzulla.

"From a mentality standpoint, from a toughness standpoint, from defensive standpoint and identity."

Steve Kerr was happy that other players stepped up as Stephen Curry's NBA record for successive games with a made 3-pointer ended on Sunday.

The Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 118-114, but Curry was unable to make any shots from distance.

It ended his record run of 268 games with a successful 3-pointer, as the 35-year-old went 0-for-8 from range. It was the first time he failed to make a 3-pointer in a regulation game since November 8, 2018.

Curry had shot 6-of-8 from 3-point range in a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, and is the all-time leader in that regard, with 3,505 3-pointers across his career.

But coach Kerr knows the Warriors must not be so reliant on the two-time league MVP.

"We can't rely on Steph to bail us out on every single night," Kerr said.

"It was a tough night for him. But that's what a team is supposed to be about, everybody filling in for each other, different guys stepping up each night. 

"That's a great sign, because he's carried us for long enough this year. We need to give him more help."

Curry had just seven points from 31 minutes on the court, but Klay Thompson delivered for the Warriors with 28 points, while Andrew Wiggins contributed 25 from the bench.

Jerami Grant led the game for Portland, with 30 points, while also chipping in with seven rebounds and six assists.

"I feel great, trying to be efficient every night, that’s the goal," Thompson said in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area.

"Not scoring 50, but just making the most [of chances], taking the shots, and I think I just did well from the last game. Just a great all-round effort."

Stephen Curry's NBA record for consecutive games with a made 3-pointer ended at 268 games on Sunday in the Golden State Warriors' 118-114 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Curry went 0-for-8 from 3-point range, failing to make a 3-point shot in a regulation game for the first time since November 8, 2018.

His 3-point streak began on December 1, 2018, at Detroit. The two-time league MVP also owns the NBA's second-longest 3-point streak at 157 games.

Curry, who just shot 6-of-8 from 3-point range in a 124-120 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, is the all-time leader in made 3-pointers with 3,505 - 532 more than Ray Allen, who is second on the all-time list.

 

The Boston Celtics completed a five-game homestand Sunday just like they started it over a week ago - with a win.

The Celtics pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Magic 114-97 to improve their NBA-best home record to 14-0.

The only better home start in franchise history came from the 1957-58 club, which won its first 17 games in Boston.

It was the fifth straight victory for the Celtics, as they improved to 20-5 to move a half-game ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves for the league's best record.

 

Jaylen Brown scored 17 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter for Boston, which used a 20-3 run over a six-minute stretch in the final period to put the game away.

Brown hit five of the Celtics' 17 3-pointers, while Jayson Tatum was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and finished with 23 points.

Boston now embarks on a four-game California trip before returning home to host the Detroit Pistons on December 28.

Paolo Banchero led Orlando with 36 points and 10 rebounds, but the only other Magic player to score in double figures was Jalen Suggs, who added 13 points.

Orlando (16-9) failed to reach triple digits for just the second time all season in losing for the fourth time in six games following a nine-game winning streak.

 

Pelicans drill franchise-record 22 3-pointers in rout of Spurs

The New Orleans Pelicans missed the first two 3-point shots they attempted in the opening minutes against the San Antonio Spurs.

They didn't miss too many more after that.

The Pelicans set a franchise record with 22 3-pointers in an emphatic 146-110 win over the San Antonio Spurs for their fourth straight victory.

After missing those first two 3-point tries, New Orleans (16-11) connected on 22 of 40 shots from beyond the arc the rest of the way and led by as much as 40 points to send the Spurs to their 19th loss in 20 games.

CJ McCollum led the Pelicans with 29 points while going 6-of-7 from 3-point range and Brandon Ingram added 26 points and made 5-of-7 3-point tries.

 

Victor Wembanyama was the lone bright spot for the Spurs (4-21), who lost by more than 35 points for the third time this season.

Wembanyama had 17 points and 13 rebounds for his eighth consecutive double-double - the longest stretch by a teenager, surpassing the previous NBA record set by Dwight Howard in 2005.

 

Antetokounmpo passes Abdul-Jabbar to become Bucks' career rebounding leader in win over Rockets

Giannis Antetokounmpo became the Bucks' all-time leader in yet another statistic in Milwaukee's 128-119 win over the Houston Rockets.

Antetokounmpo finished with 26 points and a season-high 17 rebounds to surpass Kareerm Abdul-Jabbar to become the franchise's career rebounding leader.

Antetokounmpo moved past Abdul-Jabbar midway through the fourth quarter when he grabbed Tari Eason's missed shot for his 14th board of the game, giving him 7,162 rebounds with the Bucks.

The two-time NBA MVP is also the Bucks' all-time leader in points and assists, and is now one of just four players in league history to lead a franchise in points, rebounds and assists, joining Michael Jordan (Chicago), LeBron James (Cleveland) and Kevin Garnett (Minnesota).

 

Damian Lillard had game highs of 39 points and 11 assists and Khris Middleton scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Milwaukee, which pulled away for its fourth straight win. It also marked the 13th straight home win for the Bucks, who improved to 14-1 in Milwaukee.

Houston (13-10), meanwhile, saw its five-game winning streak come to an end as it dropped to 2-9 on the road.

Fred VanVleet led the Rockets with 22 points and six assists, while Alperen Sengun added 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Keegan Murray scored a career-high 47 points as the Sacramento Kings continued their good form with a 125-104 win over the Utah Jazz, but the forward's coach Mike Brown thinks he is "barely scratching the surface" of his potential. 

The Kings eased to a fourth win in their last five games on Saturday, with the Jazz unable to respond after allowing 44 points in the third quarter.

Murray scored a franchise-best 26 points in the third period, while his 12 three-pointers across the course of the contest were also a record for a Sacramento player.

Murray had Klay Thompson's single-game league record of 14 three-pointers in his sights until he missed with two late attempts, meaning he had to settle for becoming just the seventh player to make a dozen or more threes in one outing.

Brown, however, believes there is still more to come from last year's fourth overall draft pick.

"I thought Keegan was playing the right way," Brown said. "Nothing was really forced. Our guys didn't really force anything to him. They just hit him when he was open.

"He's just barely scratching the surface because he's been asked to do something that he's never been asked to do at the highest level.

"With his work ethic, his determination, his skill set and all that other stuff, he's got a chance to be a high-level player in a lot of different areas. 

"Everybody's just seeing a little bit of it now, so there's a ton of room to grow, for sure."

Saturday's win saw Sacramento improve to 15-9 for the season, with Domantas Sabonis adding 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, registering his 20th double-double of the season.

The Jazz, meanwhile, saw their winning streak snapped at two games, and coach Will Hardy accepted there was little they could do to stop Murray in that vein of form.

"Keegan never let us off the hook," he said. "Every time you make a mistake, he makes the shot. 

"The percentages will tell you that's not necessarily realistic either, but it was one of those nights. He's obviously a very good young player, so hats off to him."

Stephen Curry "flipped the switch" as the Golden State Warriors halted their slump with a 124-120 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, with Steve Kerr admitting the two-time MVP had carried his team.

The Warriors approached their meeting with the Nets having suffered three straight defeats to slide to 10-14, while they also lost Draymond Green to an indefinite suspension this week following his third ejection of the season.

They then found themselves behind with just over nine minutes to play, but Curry scored 12 straight fourth-quarter points as he finished with 37, shooting seven-of-seven in the final period.

Klay Thompson added 24 points including two vital three-pointers in the closing stages, but for head coach Kerr, it was all about Curry's contribution.

"Steph has had to carry this team, let's be honest," Kerr said. "Then with the Draymond news, he was emotionally spent in the last few days. 

"It was a slow start tonight. Then, as he's done so often, he flipped the switch. You can kind of see when it happens right away. He was incredible.

"Steph was sublime down the stretch. That was unreal. We've seen him do this over and over again but it never ceases to amaze me, what that guy is capable of."

Looking back on Curry's explosive finish to the game, Kerr added: "That gave us confidence.

"I think that's the biggest issue when you're struggling, maybe you're a little spent. You have to find confidence. So I think Steph just infuses us with confidence."

Curry's performance came after the four-time NBA champion emerged for his warmup around two hours before tipoff, around 45 minutes earlier than his usual warm-up slot.

The 35-year-old said that was to ensure he had time to find his groove, while refusing to take all the credit for the Warriors' much-needed win.

"It was just a call of trying to get some space before the game, a little more time to get right, and it paid off," Curry said. 

"It's not just me. I can't go win a game by myself. I can play well, and I have to play well. I know that. But I don't [play] the game by myself. 

"There's definitely pressure and I live for those moments, but there are guys getting opportunities to step up. Confidence is starting to build." 

Keegan Murray poured in a career-high 47 points and made a franchise-record 12 3-pointers Saturday to power the Sacramento Kings to a 125-104 win over the Utah Jazz.

Murray shot 16 of 23 from the field and was 12 of 14 from long range while grabbing eight rebounds. His previous career high was 30 points set at Houston on Feb. 6.

The second-year forward sank 12 of his first 13 3-pointers and had Klay Thompson’s NBA record of 14 in his sights but missed his final two attempts. He became the seventh different player to make 12 or more 13 3s in a game.

Murray surpassed the previous team record of 11 3-pointers, set by Buddy Hield on Nov. 25, 2019, against Boston.

He also set a franchise record with 25 points in the third quarter, eclipsing Mitch Richmond’s record in the fourth quarter against Houston on Dec. 15, 1995.

Sacramento hit 22 of 45 from beyond the arc to win despite the absence of leading scorer De’Aaron Fox, who sat out with right shoulder irritation.

Domantas Sabonis had 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Kings.

Colin Sexton led the Jazz with 28 points.

 

Embiid shines again as 76ers pound Hornets

Joel Embiid continued his torrid stretch with 42 points and 15 rebounds and the surging Philadelphia 76ers dealt the short-handed Charlotte Hornets the worst loss in franchise history, 135-82 on Saturday.

Tyrese Maxey added 21 points for the 76ers, who have won six straight.

Embiid has averaged 40 points on 61.9 percent shooting and 12.8 rebounds during that six-game run.

Charlotte played without starters LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Mark Williams and two key reserves in P.J. Washington and Cody Martin. Top scorer Terry Rozier left in the third quarter after he caught an elbow to the nose.

Brandon Miller led the Hornets with 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting.

Charlotte’s previous largest loss was a 50-point defeat to Milwaukee on Jan. 10, 2000.

 

Pistons’ losing streak reaches 23

Damian Lillard scored 33 points and Bobby Portis added a season-high 31 as the Milwaukee Bucks had no trouble sending the Detroit Pistons to their 23rd straight loss, 146-114.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists in his first game since scoring a franchise-record 64 points Wednesday.

Cade Cunningham scored 25 points for the Pistons, who have matched the NBA’s third-longest single-season losing streak. The 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies, 1997-98 Denver Nuggets and 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats also lost 23 in a row.

The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers share the record for longest single season slide at 26 straight defeats.

Milwaukee never trailed, led by as many as 34 and matched its highest point total of the season despite resting Lillard and Antetokounmpo for the entire fourth quarter.

Joel Embiid "just wants to dominate" in every single game after he starred again for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 76ers put the Detroit Pistons away with the minimum of fuss on Friday, winning 124-92.

Embiid, last season's NBA MVP, tallied up 35 points and added 13 rebounds as the Sixers recorded a second win over Detroit in the space of two days.

With that haul, Embiid became the first player to have 675 points and 200 rebounds across his first 20 games of a season since Wilt Chamberlain in the 1964-65 campaign.

"It's great to be in that class," Embiid said when that statistic was put to him after the game.

"I just want to dominate every single night."

Tyrese Maxey complimented Embiid with 19 points, and he said of his teammate: "He is getting better, which is scary.

"He made a layup today that I like to do where he made a Eurostep and laid it high off the glass. He's 7-foot-2 and he runs the floor at the same speed I do. It's scary."

Sixers coach Nick Nurse added: "You got to give our guys credit.

"They played hard and they made improvements defensively on the stuff we saw from the last game that we tried to work on the last couple days. Whoever hit the floor was out there trying to do the stuff we worked on and it paid off."

While Philadelphia have a quick turnaround as they face the Charlotte Hornets, the Pistons are licking their wounds after a franchise-record 22 straight losses.

Only four teams have lost more successive games in a single season.

"It's deflating," Detroit coach Monty Williams said. "It is what it is. It's a lot of repetitive games."

Victor Wembanyama vowed that the San Antonio Spurs will "keep working our a** off" after they ended their long wait for a win.

The Spurs overcame LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers 129-115 on Friday.

That brought up just their fourth win of the season, and their first since November 2, ending an 18-game losing run.

"Kind of felt like a playoff game to me," No.1 draft pick Wembanyama said. "But, of course we have to feel good about it.

"We love that feeling. We want to repeat it, so yeah, we're going to keep working our a** off."

Wembanyama's teammate Zach Collins added: "We know we've been trending in the right direction, so nobody's shocked as far as the players go. 

"We just knew we had to catch a couple breaks, make some more shots. We knew our defense was getting better, so we feel good about it."

Wembanyama had 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Devin Vassell led the Spurs with a career-high 36 points.

James, who was missing from the Lakers starting lineup as Los Angeles defeated the Spurs on Wednesday, could not inspire Darvin Ham's team, who were without Anthony Davis.

"That's going to be challenging on us," James said when asked how the Lakers regroup for a home game against the New York Knicks on Monday.

"We've got to mentally and physically prepare ourselves. We've got to take care of our bodies. We've got to get our sleep. We've got to get our nutrition. We've got to hydrate.

"Whatever we've got to do to refuel, we've got to do, because the games are going to continue to come."

Jalen Brunson poured in a career-high 50 points and hit all nine of his 3-point attempts Friday in the New York Knicks’ 139-122 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Brunson was 17 of 23 from the field and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line with nine assists, six rebounds and five steals in 35-plus minutes.

He is the first player in franchise history to score 50 points while making all nine 3s.

Julius Randle had 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists to help New York snap a three-game road skid.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Devin Booker added 28 for the Suns, who lost guard Bradley Beal to an ankle injury in the first quarter.

Phoenix could be without a member of its All-Star trio for another extended period. Durant, Booker and Beal have played just one game together this season before Friday.

76ers extend Pistons’ losing streak to 22

Joel Embiid had another big game against the Detroit Pistons with 35 points and 13 rebounds on Friday and the Philadelphia 76ers sent the Detroit Pistons to their franchise-record 22nd straight loss, 124-92.

The Pistons, who lost at home to Philadelphia on Wednesday, surpassed the franchise record set at the end of the 1979-80 season and start of 1980-81. Detroit's slide is the sixth-longest single-season skid in NBA history.

The 76ers hold the overall losing streak record with 28 straight, set at the end of 2014-15 and start of 2015-16.

In three wins this season against the Pistons, Embiid has averaged 36.3 points and 13.3 rebounds. He is the first NBA player with at least 675 points and 200 rebounds in the first 20 games of a season since Wilt Chamberlain in 1964-65.

Philadelphia more than doubled Detroit in the second quarter, outscoring the Pistons 35-17 en route to a 61-39 lead at halftime.

James Wiseman had 20 points for Detroit, which dropped to 2-23.

Spurs beat Lakers to snap 18-game slide

Devin Vassell scored a career-high 36 points and Victor Wembanyama had 13 points and 15 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers, 129-115 to end an 18-game losing streak.

The victory was the first for San Antonio since defeating Phoenix on Nov. 2 and snapped the longest losing streak in franchise history, topping a 16-game slide last season.

LeBron James returned after a one-game absence with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lakers felt the loss of Anthony Davis, who sat out with a hip injury after he scored 37 points in a 122-119 win over the Spurs on Wednesday.

Los Angeles was also without starters D’Angelo Russell and Cam Reddish.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without two star players for the next several weeks after announcing significant injuries to point guard Darius Garland and forward Evan Mobley on Friday.

Garland suffered a fractured jaw after colliding with Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis on Thursday. Garland finished the game, but a scan on Friday confirmed the injury. The 2021-22 All-Star selection will undergo a procedure to repair his jaw and will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

Mobley has missed Cleveland’s last four games, listed on the injury report with left knee soreness. The Cavs announced Friday that the third-year big man will undergo arthroscopic surgery on the knee and will be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks.

Garland and Mobley have combined to score nearly 37 points per game this season, and their absence will place an even greater offensive burden on the shoulders of Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus and Caris LeVert.

The loss of two core players is a massive blow for a team off to a middling start this season.

After a disappointing first-round play-off exit to end last season, the Cavs opened this campaign 4-6. The team appeared to find its footing over the next few weeks, rising above .500, but Cleveland has dropped its last three games and sits at 13-12.

Garland was the fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft and is averaging 20.7 points – second on the team behind Mitchell – and 5.9 assists this season.

Mobley was the third overall pick in 2021 and immediately made a splash as an All-Rookie selection. He is scoring 16.0 points per game this season and is averaging career highs with 10.5 rebounds, 1.67 blocks and 57.3-percent shooting from the field.

Mobley is the Cavs’ best defender, and he was an All-Defensive Team selection last season.

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