Kevin Durant is set to undergo an MRI after exiting the Brooklyn Nets' 102-101 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday with a knee injury.

Durant sustained the injury with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter when Jimmy Butler fell back into the Nets forward after having his shot blocked by Ben Simmons.

The 2014 NBA MVP remained in the game initially but appeared concerned by the knock and headed for the locker room when the Nets called a timeout 30 seconds later.

"He didn’t finish the game," Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters. "Just right knee, he'll get evaluated tomorrow. Then hopefully we'll have some more info for you.

"Most likely it will include imaging just to make sure we're good."

Durant had injured the MCL in his left knee in January last year, missing approximately a month and half while rehabbing.

The 12-time NBA All-Star is averaging 30.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists this season for the Nets, who have rallied after a slow start to be 27-13 and second in the Eastern Conference.

"He's in good spirits as we all are," Nets team-mate Kyrie Irving said of Durant. "The strength of our team is us picking each other up.

"Just being ready for whatever's thrown at us... I think one of the greatest qualities of our team is our bench and the way we support each other, despite who's in the lineup.

"Now it's time to go out and exemplify that until we find out the timeline with K and when he could be available again. So we just got to be mature about it."

Kevin Durant hailed Kyrie Irving's ability to handle the pressure like a "walk in the park" after he stepped up when the Brooklyn Nets needed him in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Irving was 7-for-22 shooting at Smoothie King Center on Friday, but sunk a mammoth three-pointer with only 43 seconds to play as the Nets secured a 108-102 win on the road.

Star duo Irving and Durant missed 32 shots between them, but Brooklyn made it 13 wins out of 14 on the back of a loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Seven of Irving's 19 points came in the final 72 seconds of the contest and Durant, who scored a game-high 33 points, saluted his team-mate's composure when the game was in the balance.

"He approaches it like it's a minute into the game," Durant said. "That's how calm and relaxed he is.

"Even though the stakes are different at the beginning of the game and the end of the game, I still believe that he's the same regardless of what the time is on the clock.

"He plays that way, calm and cool, under control under pressure in the tight moments. It feels like just a walk in the park for him.

"The great ones understand that each possession is important and if you stay even keeled throughout the whole game, you're usually in solid shape in the fourth."

Irving feels his ability to focus on the job in hand is crucial.

"Basketball's just a very simple art form," Irving said. "So if I don't bring all my extra distractions or anything that I'm going through mentally into the game, then I feel like we have a great chance of winning every ballgame."

The Nets are second in the Eastern Conference at 26-13 behind the 27-12 Boston Celtics.

Kevin Durant was philosophical after the Brooklyn Nets saw their 12-match winning streak ended, saying the team ran into "special players" against a hot Chicago Bulls side.

The Nets headed into Wednesday's contest as the in-form team but fell to a 121-112 defeat in Chicago, where six Bulls players finished with double figures for points.

DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams put up 22 apiece, while Nikola Vucevic scored 21 to go with 13 rebounds and Ayo Dosunmu and Zach Lavine finished with 17 and 13 points respectively.

Durant acknowledged the Bulls have "three elite scorers, from all angles of the floor" in reference to DeRozan, LaVine and Vucevic, and added: "Their top two guys [DeRozan and LaVine] were 12 for 31 for 35 points. 

"We can live with that. But Pat Williams made some shots and easy rolls to the rim. Ayo is playing great this year and put pressure on the rim.

"I felt like a lot of times we chased them a bit, and that was just consistent throughout the whole game, us just playing from behind.

"I think we definitely put our foot on the gas in spurts but they made shots. They're talented players, special players. When you've got your whole five in double figures, it's tough to stop that."

Defeat leaves the Nets third in the Eastern Conference but with an identical 25-13 record with the Milwaukee Bucks and just a game back from the table-topping Boston Celtics, who own the best record in the NBA.

For Durant, there were still plenty of good things to take out of the defeat.

"We understand how we want to play every night," he said. "I feel like the league is always on notice with the talent we have on our team. 

"I don't think anybody takes us for granted when they're preparing for us each night. I think we found some things that were good for us on both ends of the floor and want to be consistent with executing those things as we move forward."

The Bulls, who are 10th in the conference, had lost their past two games prior to halting the Nets' charge.

Curiously, their record against the top three in the East this season stands at 6-1, but against teams who are under .500 they are 4-8.

"To come out here after those two tough losses and beat one of the hottest teams in the NBA, it's good," LaVine said. "I think we came out with the right attention to detail. We withstood their run at the end, and we beat them collectively.

"Because you know if you don't come in here and you don't have your A-game you're going to get blown out.

"I think that's the difference in our record. We come out here with the same attention to detail like we've all talked about I think that will flip around a lot of things."

Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded his second triple-double of the season as the Milwaukee Bucks blew a 21-point second-half lead before rallying for a 104-101 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

Antetokounmpo finished the game with 30 points on seven-of-18 shooting, making 15-of-21 from the free-throw line, along with a season-high 21 rebounds and 10 assists with one block.

The dominant display came in the second game of a back-to-back after his 55-point performance against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. Antetokounmpo is the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972 to drop 200-plus points, 80-plus rebounds and 30-plus assists over a five-game span.

The Greek forward drove to the basket and laid off a crucial assist for Grayson Allen's go-ahead triple with 11.6 seconds remaining in OT.

Allen had earlier given up a flagrant 1 foul on a four-point play as Gary Trent Jr shot a three-pointer to make it 97-92 with 29.1 seconds remaining. Trent also nailed a 27-foot three-point jumpshot to tie the game at 97-97 sending it to OT.

The Raptors were plagued by poor OT shooting as Antetokounmpo set up Allen twice to clinch the game.

Milwaukee had led 90-69 with 3:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, before Toronto's 28-7 run was sparked by Fred VanVleet, who finished with 28 points and 12 assists along with Trent Jr with 22 points for the game. Scottie Barnes had 19 points for the game, all after three-quarter time.

Brook Lopez had 19 rebounds with nine points for the Bucks, who were missing Jrue Holiday (non-COVID illness) and Khris Middleton (knee).

The result improves the Bucks' record to 25-13 and second in the Eastern Conference, while the Raptors are 12th with a 16-22 record.

Nets winning run ended by Bulls

The Brooklyn Nets' 12-game winning streak was ended by the Chicago Bulls 121-112 despite Kevin Durant's 44 points.

Durant shot 15-of-22 from the field, including five-of-10 from three-point range, but the Bulls had a rounded team effort with all five starters reaching double digits, led by Patrick Williams and DeMar DeRozan, who both scored 22 points with seven rebounds.

Center Nikola Vucevic had 21 points with 13 rebounds, helping the Bulls go on an 8-0 fourth-quarter run when Durant was rested, with Ayo Dosunmu laying down a big dunk for 106-95 with 6:46 left.

Schroder leads short-handed Lakers to victory

Dennis Schroder led the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers past the Miami Heat 112-109 with 14 of his season-high 32 points coming in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers, without LeBron James (non-COVID illness) and Anthony Davis (foot), were also helped by Russell Westbrook with 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds off the bench. Thomas Bryant also scored 21 points.

LA fought back from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit, despite Bam Adebayo's 30 points and 13 rebounds, along with Jimmy Butler contributing 27 points.

The Brooklyn Nets will look to extend their winning streak to 13 games when they travel to take on the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

Brooklyn's current 12-game run is the best streak in the NBA this season, and they are showing no signs of slowing down, with their past two victories against the San Antonio Spurs (139-103) and the Charlotte Hornets (123-106) coming by a combined 53 points.

Over that 12-game span, the Nets have gapped the field as the best offensive team in the league. In fact, their 124.2 points per 100 possessions is 6.0 points better than the second-placed Portland Trail Blazers (118.2).

That gap is greater than the distance between the Trail Blazers and the 24th-ranked Minnesota Timberwolves (112.9).

Their offensive firepower has been ignited by some unbelievable, and perhaps unsustainable efficiency by their All-NBA duo.

Over the past 12 games, Kevin Durant is shooting 59.2 per cent from the field – well above his career-best field goal percentage of 53.7 from his 2016-17 and 2020-21 campaigns. It is the same story for Kyrie Irving, who has led the team with 29.3 points at 54.3 per cent shooting, which would both comfortably set new career-highs.

The all-time record for team three-point percentage in a season belongs to the 1996-97 Charlotte Hornets at 42.7 per cent, while during this stretch the Nets have shot the three-ball at an unprecedented 44.2 per cent.

Unless that pair – who are both in their 30s – as well as the Nets as a whole are truly about to shatter their own personal and franchise records, they will, at some point, have to come back down to earth.

However, there is no indication the Bulls will be the team equipped to stand in their way.

During the Nets' winning streak, the Bulls have had the third-worst defense in the NBA, conceding 119.2 points per 100 possessions.

A big part of that has been their inability to rebound and finish off their defensive possessions. They are allowing 16.8 second-chance points per game – the second-most – while at the same time being the league's worst offensive rebounding team, grabbing only 21.9 per cent of their own misses.

The Bulls have also been the absolute worst team in the league at restricting three-pointers, allowing an average of 15.7 made threes per game at an efficient 38.6 per cent.

But while the three-pointer has been the Nets' best friend and the Bulls' worst enemy, it is also the most volatile method of scoring, and teams will generally regress to the mean over the course of an 82-game season.

It means the Nets will not keep shooting this well, and the Bulls will not continue to get lit up from long range at this rate – and while it is impossible to predict when things will begin to swing in the opposite direction, both teams are due for a change of fortune.

 

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Brooklyn Nets – Kyrie Irving 

While Durant is the Nets' undisputed best player, Irving is the X-factor, and his strong games generally coincide with wins.

Irving is shooting 52.6 per cent from the field and 43.7 per cent from deep in the 18 wins he has been a part of, while those figures plummet to 44.9 per cent from the field and 24.7 per cent on three-pointers in his nine losses.

Chicago Bulls – Zach Lavine

It is a similar story for the Bulls, who have DeMar DeRozan as their consistent centrepiece, but rely on Zach Lavine to bring the additional firepower to a team lacking in three-point threats.

For the season, the Bulls are hitting just 10.6 three-pointers per game – the fourth-worst figure in the league – but in the 15 wins Lavine has played in he has hit 3.5 threes per game at a red-hot 46.1 per cent clip. It is a stark difference to his 2.2 made threes at 30.6 per cent in his 18 losses.

KEY BATTLE – Who can control the paint?

It seems clear that whoever catches fire from long range will likely emerge victorious, but with so much volatility attached to high-volume three-point shooting, it may come down to whichever team gets the easiest baskets.

A diet of lay-ups, dunks and free throws will always be the most sustainable form of offense, and the Nets are a team that lack much true size beyond starting center Nic Claxton.

If Bulls center Nikola Vucevic can impose his will on Claxton early and perhaps get him into foul trouble, it could open up the paint and force Ben Simmons to play extended minutes as the Nets' primary rim protector, which is not where he shines defensively.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The Bulls have won three of their past four meetings with the Nets, including the most recent fixture on November 1, coming away 108-99 victors after holding Irving to just four points.

Donovan Mitchell shattered the Cleveland Cavaliers' franchise record with 71 points in his side's 145-134 home victory against the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

The Cavaliers' previous record for most points in one game belongs to Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, who both had a 57-point game in a Cleveland uniform in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Mitchell also came through in a pivotal moment late in the fourth quarter to force overtime after being fouled with three seconds remaining, trailing by three. He made the first free throw, before missing the second and getting his own offensive rebound and putting it back in to tie the game.

He went on to outscore the Bulls 13-4 by himself in the extra period, finishing 22-of-34 from the field, seven-of-15 from deep and 20-of-25 from the free throw line while adding 11 assists and eight rebounds.

Mitchell blew his own career-highs out of the water, having never previously scored more than 46 points in a regular season game, although he had games of 57 and 51 in the Utah Jazz's 2020 playoff series against the Denver Nuggets.

He scored or assisted on 99 of the Cavaliers' 145 points – the second most all-time, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point performance in 1962 where he contributed to 104 points.

Mitchell joins Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor, David Robinson, David Thompson and Devin Booker as the only players to reach the 70-point figure.

It overshadowed a terrific performance from Chicago's DeMar DeRozan, who scored a team-high 44 points on 16-of-32 shooting with four assists and four steals.

LeBron carries the Lakers in vintage display

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James willed his side to a 121-115 road win against the Charlotte Hornets with his second consecutive 40-point game.

After putting up a season-high 47 points his last time out against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, James almost matched it against Charlotte, scoring a game-high 43 points on 16-of-26 shooting with 11 rebounds and six assists.

He was the only Lakers player to score more than 18 points, as Thomas Bryant played strong supporting role with 18 points (nine-of-17 shooting) and 15 rebounds.

The Lakers have now won three of their past four to improve to 16-21 – four games behind the Sacramento Kings (19-16) in the Western Conference's sixth seed.

Nets make it 12 in a row

The Brooklyn Nets own this season's longest winning streak after rattling off their 12th in a row with a 139-103 drubbing of the San Antonio Spurs.

Brooklyn's two offensive centrepieces were both at the top of their game. Kevin Durant scored 25 points on wildly efficient 10-of-14 shooting with 11 assists, while Kyrie Irving scored his game-high 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting.

The highlight of the game came when Irving crashed the offensive rebounds on a Yuta Watanabe miss, rising up for a surprising put-back dunk that sent the Barclays Center crowd into raptures.

Brooklyn are now 25-12 after beginning the season 1-5, and trail the Boston Celtics (26-11) by one game in the race for the league's best record.

Donovan Mitchell shattered the Cleveland Cavaliers' franchise record with 71 points in his side's 145-134 home victory against the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

The Cavaliers' previous record for most points in one game belongs to Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, who both had a 57-point game in a Cleveland uniform in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Mitchell also came through in a pivotal moment late in the fourth quarter to force overtime after being fouled with three seconds remaining, trailing by three. He made the first free throw, before missing the second and getting his own offensive rebound and putting it back in to tie the game.

He went on to outscore the Bulls 13-4 by himself in the extra period, finishing 22-of-34 from the field, seven-of-15 from deep and 20-of-25 from the free throw line while adding 11 assists and eight rebounds.

Mitchell blew his own career-highs out of the water, having never previously scored more than 46 points in a regular season game, although he had games of 57 and 51 in the Utah Jazz's 2020 playoff series against the Denver Nuggets.

He scored or assisted on 99 of the Cavaliers' 145 points – the second most all-time, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point performance in 1962 where he contributed to 104 points.

Mitchell joins Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor, David Robinson, David Thompson and Devin Booker as the only players to reach the 70-point figure.

It overshadowed a terrific performance from Chicago's DeMar DeRozan, who scored a team-high 44 points on 16-of-32 shooting with four assists and four steals.

LeBron carries the Lakers in vintage display

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James willed his side to a 121-115 road win against the Charlotte Hornets with his second consecutive 40-point game.

After putting up a season-high 47 points his last time out against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, James almost matched it against Charlotte, scoring a game-high 43 points on 16-of-26 shooting with 11 rebounds and six assists.

He was the only Lakers player to score more than 18 points, as Thomas Bryant played strong supporting role with 18 points (nine-of-17 shooting) and 15 rebounds.

The Lakers have now won three of their past four to improve to 16-21 – four games behind the Sacramento Kings (19-16) in the Western Conference's sixth seed.

Nets make it 12 in a row

The Brooklyn Nets own this season's longest winning streak after rattling off their 12th in a row with a 139-103 drubbing of the San Antonio Spurs.

Brooklyn's two offensive centrepieces were both at the top of their game. Kevin Durant scored 25 points on wildly efficient 10-of-14 shooting with 11 assists, while Kyrie Irving scored his game-high 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting.

The highlight of the game came when Irving crashed the offensive rebounds on a Yuta Watanabe miss, rising up for a surprising put-back dunk that sent the Barclays Center crowd into raptures.

Brooklyn are now 25-12 after beginning the season 1-5, and trail the Boston Celtics (26-11) by one game in the race for the league's best record.

Kevin Durant believes the trials and tribulations the Brooklyn Nets went through in 2022 have brought the team closer together.

The Nets finished the calendar year with an 11th straight win, with Durant putting up 23 points and Kyrie Irving 28 in a 123-106 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

It leaves the Nets heading in 2023 second in the Eastern Conference but the past year has been one of ups and downs for the franchise.

Irving endured a turbulent year, missing several games having opted not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, only returning full time when New York changed its protocols for playing.

Later in the year, Irving was also suspended for eight games when he posted on social media about a book and a movie with Antisemitic tropes.

Throw in James Harden forcing a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons' arrival the other way, a change in coach from Steve Nash to Jacque Vaughn in November, and Durant himself requesting a trade back in August, the Nets have been at the centre of blockbuster headlines.

But Durant feels the team can now look forward to establishing themselves as a major force.

"It was one of those years you reflect on and you see the turning points in the organisation," Durant said. 

"We've seen different moments that brought us together as a group. You see, at this point now towards the end of the year, you start to see us come together and perform what we've been looking to do these last couple of years, which was a solid team that plays hard every night. 

"So, we went through a lot in this calendar year, but we're looking for bigger and better things in 2023.

"When we came back for this season, the start of the season, there was a lot of talk in the summertime, but for us to bring the group back together and start the year was cool. 

"And then once Jacque became the coach and we started to move forward then, obviously that was a turning point for us. Then we had some stuff that wasn't ideal.

"Guys out the lineup, Kyrie out the lineup, James Harden demanded a trade, there was a lot of stuff that we went through. How we started from an outside perspective, the noise around our team, it's good that we can be about ball going into this new year. We're playing a solid brand right now, so that's the most important thing."

It was a sentiment echoed by Simmons, who is still attempting to hit top form after well documented injury issues.

"A lot of ups and downs," Simmons said. "I don't know. I don't know how to even sum it up. Basketball-wise I think it's been great. 

"Start of the year we had some different expectations, a lot of noise, a lot of different things going on, but I think we had a lot of poise with this season and with all the different things going on so it's been an eventful year."

The preseason uncertainty with the Nets centred on whether Irving would pick up the player option in his contract. When he eventually did so, Durant opted to stay put.

A disappointing start to the season, which followed a first-round sweep to the Boston Celtic's in the 2021-22 playoffs, signalled the end for Nash in November, though.

But Irving credits the arrival of Vaughn as the catalyst for the Nets hitting their stride.

"He gives you an ease. When you come into the locker room nothing's forced, he's not too high or too low," Irving said.

"He's just holding himself to a high standard, exemplifying what a leader should look like. So as our head coach, as our leader, I've been able to learn some things from him.

"And that's just being able to have relationships with everybody and being able to get the best out of everybody. 

"And that's been a lesson for me; I felt like this year was just learning how to get the best out of everybody instead of trying to do it all yourself or trying to overthink the game. 

"We've got good pieces in that locker room, a good coaching staff. The level of play should raise and it should get easier."

Jason Kidd hailed the "incredible" Luka Doncic for "bailing out" the Dallas Mavericks in their win over the San Antonio Spurs on New Year's Eve.

The Slovenian superstar had his third 50-point game of the season as the Mavericks held on for a 126-125 road win to close out 2022 on a high note.

Having led by 17 points, it was a frantic closing minute for Dallas with Doncic typically at the centre of the action.

Tre Jones intentionally missed the second of two free-throw attempts after being fouled by Mavs forward Davis Bertans, but Doncic himself purposely missed a couple with only 1.5 seconds remaining in order to prevent the Spurs from having an opportunity to make a game-winning play.

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd was particularly impressed with that game management, saying: "Not easy to win here. 

"But, again, Luka was incredible. He bails us out again by missing the free throws. As much as he wanted to make those free throws down the stretch, [it was] so that they didn't have time to set up a play."

The records continue to rack up for Doncic, who had 60 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists when the Mavs defeated the New York Knicks in overtime on Tuesday.

His average of 35.1 points in the month of December represented the highest scoring average in any month in Dallas' franchise history, while he also became the first NBA player to have 250 points, 50 rebounds and 50 assists in a five-game span.

"It's incredible," said teammate Christian Wood. "In my seven years in the league, I've never seen anybody do what he's able to do. He's on an incredible run. 

"He's playing like an MVP. Clearly one of the best players in the league."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had, tongue-in-cheek, said Doncic would be kept under the 50-point mark.

With a smile on his face Doncic said that was not fuel for the fire, adding: "No, I just wanted to get a win."

Popovich himself talked up his team's performance despite narrowly falling short against Doncic.

"Yeah, we had a good team effort and individual effort on him, but he's an amazing player," Popovich said. "His IQ is off the charts. 

"So, we would rather win than lose like everybody else in the world, but [I'm] really proud of their effort and the way they just kept going even after we got down whatever it was."

The Mavericks start 2023 fourth in the Western Conference with a 21-16 record and begin the new year against the lowly Houston Rockets on Monday.

By contrast, the Spurs (12-24) have the second-worst record in the conference. They face the Brooklyn Nets next time out.

Luka Doncic scored more than 50 points for the third time in his past five games to carry the Dallas Mavericks to a 126-125 victory against the San Antonio Spurs on New Year's Eve.

It was the sixth consecutive win for the Mavericks, which has coincided with a scintillating stretch of play from their Slovenian superstar.

Doncic scored 51 points against the Spurs on 18-of-29 shooting, adding nine assists, six rebounds and four steals. It came just four days after Doncic became the first player in NBA history to post a 60-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist game in a dramatic comeback against the New York Knicks.

The 23-year-old, who has a Rookie of the Year and three All-NBA First Team selections from his first four seasons, is mounting a charge for his first MVP, and has put together arguably the best five-game stretch of his career.

In his past five games, Doncic is averaging 45.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 10.2 assists, and in the process he has overtaken Joel Embiid in the race for the scoring title, now at 34.2 points per game for the season.

Christian Wood was strong in a supporting role against the Spurs, scoring 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting. In his eight appearances since finally being injected into the starting line-up, Wood is averaging 19.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while shooting 50.5 per cent from the field and 38.2 per cent from deep.

The Mavericks are now 21-16 and have jumped up to fourth place in the Western Conference.

Nets make it 11 in a row

The Brooklyn Nets remain the hottest team in the league after rattling off their 11th consecutive win, defeating the Charlotte Hornets 123-106.

Kyrie Irving led the way offensively with 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while Kevin Durant was similarly efficient for his 23 points (nine-of-15). Defensively, Nic Claxton was the anchor, blocking six shots while also hitting six of his seven field goal attempts.

After starting the season 1-5, the Nets are now 24-12, and trail only the Boston Celtics (26-10) in the Eastern Conference.

Morant takes bragging rights in 2019 Draft showdown

The New Orleans Pelicans selected Zion Williamson over Ja Morant in the 2019 NBA Draft, and they received a glimpse at what could have been as Morant guided the Memphis Grizzlies to a 116-101 triumph.

Morant scored a game-high 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting, adding eight assists and two steals, while Wiliamson could only muster 20 points on six-of-16 shooting and a career-high nine turnovers.

Having only played in 18 of the Grizzlies' 34 games, Jaren Jackson Jr does not qualify for the official league leaderboards, but his six blocks against the Pelicans raised his average to 3.0, comfortably clear of league-leader Brook Lopez (2.6).

Kyrie Irving said stepping up in "winning time" is "all I really know" after he played a big part in the Brooklyn Nets' 108-107 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Irving scored 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets extended their winning streak to 10 games at State Farm Arena on Wednesday.

The influential Irving also provided eight assists as Brooklyn recorded the longest run of victories in the NBA this season.

Irving said: "For me specifically, when the fourth quarter hits, it's winning time.

"That's all I really know. When I'm out there with that group to start the fourth, I know KD [Kevin Durant] is resting a little bit, so I just have to raise my aggression level and raise my efficiency up, and I'm grateful to have the trust of my team-mates and coaching staff.'"

Durant weighed in with 26 points and claimed a season-high 16 rebounds as the Nets continued their charge.

"I think the whole second half we were there for each other,'" Durant said. '"We made a couple of adjustments on a couple of guys and we were able to execute that.

"We were able to slow them down just a little bit."

Hawks coach Nate McMillan could not fault his players after they suffered back-to-back defeats to slip to 17-18.

"I saw fight from our guys tonight," McMillan said. "You can live with that. I thought from start to finish we stepped up and played.

"We didn't think about the guys that were out. The guys that were playing came out and played to win."

Kyrie Irving scored 15 fourth-quarter points to lift the Brooklyn Nets to their 10th straight win – the longest streak this NBA season – with a 108-107 victory over the short-handed Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

Irving finished with 28 points, headlined by 15 in the final period, making five three-pointers with five rebounds and eight assists, as the Nets held on to their three-point three-quarter time lead.

Kevin Durant added 26 points with a season-high 16 rebounds and eight assists, with center Nic Claxton contributing 17 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high six blocks.

The result means the Nets have achieved their longest win streak since 2005-06, moving closer to their franchise record of 14, from 2003-04 and 2005-06.

Brooklyn improved their record to 23-12, having won 14 of their past five games, closing the gap on the top two in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics (25-10) and the Milwaukee Bucks (22-12).

Irving led a 17-3 fourth-quarter run with eight consecutive points as the Nets pulled clear in the last before the Hawks rallied, only for Dejounte Murray to miss a 27-footer on the buzzer.

Murray finished with 24 points and John Collins added 21 for the Hawks, who were without Trae Young and Clint Capela with calf injuries as well as De'Andre Hunter (ankle).

Butler and Bam lead Heat past Lakers

The Miami Heat dominated on offense and defense, keeping the Los Angeles Lakers to their second lowest score of the season, in a 112-98 victory.

Jimmy Butler (27 points and six steals) and Bam Adebayo (23 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks) combined for 50 of the Heat's 112 points, as they improved to 18-17, with all five starters reaching double figures. Tyler Herro added 18 points, including three triples and nine assists.

LeBron James, playing against his former franchise, scored 27 points with nine rebounds and six assists and Russell Westbrook added 15 points on six-of-16 shooting.

DeRozan downs Giannis in OT

Giannis Antetokounmpo had a monster double-double with 45 points and 22 rebounds but could not prevent the Milwaukee Bucks losing 119-113 to the Chicago Bulls in overtime.

Demar DeRozan stuffed his stat sheet too, with 42 points on 15-of-25 shooting, with 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. Zach LaVine added 24 points with four three-pointers.

DeRozan made a crucial steal from an Antetokounmpo's inbound with 11.1 seconds of regulation time remaining down 106-104, setting up Ayo Dosunmu's dunk to send it to OT.

Atlanta Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young will miss Wednesday's clash with the in-form Brooklyn Nets due to a left calf contusion.

Young joins Hawks center Clint Capela (right calf strain) and forward De'Andre Hunter (left ankle sprain) on the sidelines.

The 24-year-old two-time All-Star injured his calf in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's 129-114 defeat to the Indiana Pacers.

The 17-17 Hawks come up against the 22-12 Nets, amid their nine-game winning streak, the best active run in the NBA.

Young is second in the NBA this season for assists, averaging 9.9 per game, while he led the league last season for total points and total assists. The guard is 11th this season with a 27.3 scoring average.

Brooklyn Nets coach Jacque Vaughn feels his side's focus on court matters alone is key to their form, after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving set up a ninth win in a row.

The pair posted 32 points each in a remarkable double act to ensuring a 125-117 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, which gave the Nets their longest winning streak since 2006.

It marks a sharp contrast from the early season blues the Nets suffered from, with Irving banned for a post that supported anti-semitism and prior head coach Steve Nash dismissed amid poor form.

Vaughn credits the turnaround to keeping his players tightly trained on their performances rather than matters away from the court, indicating that discipline has been the secret of the success.

"I am a simple person," he said. "[I] really try to keep things simple. We stripped our playbook down a little bit, we are simple in what we do.

"[We] have our guys play extremely free of mind. I think there's something important in that if you're going to ask your guys to play hard."

Durant concurred with his coach's assessment, noting the Nets feel like they are in a better headspace under Vaughn's command, while suggesting outside forces were played up in the media.

"To be honest, I think we've always been about ball," he added. "Everybody has a platform, so there are many voices speaking [about] what we do inside our locker room

"I think that's the noise that you hear. But from us, we've always been about the game. We struggled early on, we were always focused on playing basketball."

The Brooklyn Nets now own the NBA's longest active winning streak after extending it to nine games with Monday's 125-117 road victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Making it even more impressive is the fact that the Cavaliers came into the contest with the third-best home record in the league at 16-3, but had no answer for the Nets' offensive firepower early.

Brooklyn built a 65-49 lead at half-time, and despite a big performance from Cavs point guard Darius Garland down the stretch, the Nets were never truly threatened.

Kevin Durant (10-of-18 shooting) and Kyrie Irving (11-of-19) had 32 points and five assists each for the Nets, while Ben Simmons finished with nine rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one block to go with his four points.

T.J. Warren continues to shine off the bench since returning from a long-term injury, contributing 23 points (nine-of-14), eight rebounds and two steals.

Garland was clearly the Cavaliers' best, scoring 46 points (14-of-20) with eight assists, while it was the first time this season Donovan Mitchell has had consecutive games of 15 points or fewer.

The win improves the Nets' record to 22-12 after beginning the campaign 1-5, leapfrogging the Cavaliers (22-13) into the Eastern Conference's third seed.  

Clippers complete miraculous comeback

The Los Angeles Clippers came from 14 points down with under three minutes remaining to defeat the Detroit Pistons 141-132 in overtime.

Detroit led 126-112 with 2:52 on the clock before the Clippers launched a 16-2 run from that point to force the game to overtime, and their momentum carried into the extra session, winning it 14-3.

With Kawhi Leonard sitting out the first leg a back-to-back, Paul George was the unquestioned leader, and he delivered with team-highs in points (32), assists (11) and steals (three).

The Clippers have now won six of their past eight to improve their record to 20-15.

Heat spread it around against the Timberwolves

The Miami Heat beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-110 despite not having a single player cross the 20-point barrier.

Eight of the Heat's nine players scored between seven and 19 points in the absence of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, led by Max Strus' 19 on seven-of-12 shooting.

Tyler Herro was effective as a playmaker with eight assists, but struggled with his shooting, missing all eight of his three-pointers. 

Kyle Lowry picked up the slack as the Heat's best player, finishing with 18 points (eight-of-16), nine assists and no turnovers, as well as a steal on the final play to deny the Timberwolves a chance to tie the game.

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