The Brooklyn Nets claimed a statement Eastern Conference victory over the Milwaukee Bucks to extend their win streak to eight games with a 118-100 triumph on Friday.

Kevin Durant top scored for the Nets with 24 points along with five rebounds and six assists, while Nic Claxton starred with 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

All five Nets' starters reached double-figure scoring, achieving that feat for the sixth time this season. The Nets' eight-game win streak matched the franchise's most since their relocation to Brooklyn a decade ago.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points with 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Bucks but did not have a shot in the fourth quarter, with Ben Simmons dulling his output

Simmons finished the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

The Nets have surged into contention this month, improving to a 21-12 overall record after a 9-1 December. The Bucks are second in the east with a 22-10 record.

Antetokounmpo hurt his hand in a fall but X-rays revealed no major damage, according to head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Harden matches franchise assists record in 76ers win

James Harden matched the Philadelphia 76ers' franchise record for assists as part of a triple-double in their 119-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers to sweep a seven-game homestand.

Harden finished the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 21 assists, matching Wilt Chamberlain and Mo Cheeks' franchise record for assists, as the 76ers rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit.

Joel Embiid top scored with 44 points with seven rebounds, while Kawhi Leonard continued his improved scoring form with 28 points and five assists for the Clippers.

Doncic scores season-high in Mavs win

Luka Doncic scored a season-high 50 points as the Dallas Mavericks overcame the Houston Rockets 112-106 with the Slovenian adding 17 in the fourth quarter.

Doncic shot 17-of-30 from the field including six three-pointers for his second career 50-point game, with his career best being 51 against the Clippers in February this year.

The Mavs point guard also had eight rebounds and 10 assists, while Jabari Smith Jr top scored for the Rockets with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The Brooklyn Nets claimed a statement Eastern Conference victory over the Milwaukee Bucks to extend their win streak to eight games with a 118-100 triumph on Friday.

Kevin Durant top scored for the Nets with 24 points along with five rebounds and six assists, while Nic Claxton starred with 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

All five Nets' starters reached double-figure scoring, achieving that feat for the sixth time this season. The Nets' eight-game win streak matched the franchise's most since their relocation to Brooklyn a decade ago.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points with 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Bucks but did not have a shot in the fourth quarter, with Ben Simmons dulling his output

Simmons finished the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

The Nets have surged into contention this month, improving to a 21-12 overall record after a 9-1 December. The Bucks are second in the east with a 22-10 record.

Antetokounmpo hurt his hand in a fall but X-rays revealed no major damage, according to head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Harden matches franchise assists record in 76ers win

James Harden matched the Philadelphia 76ers' franchise record for assists as part of a triple-double in their 119-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers to sweep a seven-game homestand.

Harden finished the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 21 assists, matching Wilt Chamberlain and Mo Cheeks' franchise record for assists, as the 76ers rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit.

Joel Embiid top scored with 44 points with seven rebounds, while Kawhi Leonard continued his improved scoring form with 28 points and five assists for the Clippers.

Doncic scores season-high in Mavs win

Luka Doncic scored a season-high 50 points as the Dallas Mavericks overcame the Houston Rockets 112-106 with the Slovenian adding 17 in the fourth quarter.

Doncic shot 17-of-30 from the field including six three-pointers for his second career 50-point game, with his career best being 51 against the Clippers in February this year.

The Mavs point guard also had eight rebounds and 10 assists, while Jabari Smith Jr top scored for the Rockets with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Kevin Durant says the Brooklyn Nets treated Friday's 118-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks as "bigger than a regular season" after extending their win streak to eight games.

The Nets claimed a confidence-boosting victory over the 2021 NBA champions, moving Brooklyn to a  21-12 record, while the Bucks are only slightly ahead in the Eastern Conference with a 22-10 record.

Durant scored 24 points, extending his run of games with plus 50 per cent field-goal shooting to 12, while Nic Claxton added 19 points with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

There were contributions all round for Brooklyn, with Kyrie Irving scoring 18 points with nine rebounds and six assists, while Ben Simmons had 12 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals. T.J. Warren chipped in 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.

All five Nets' starters reached double figures, marking the sixth time they have achieved that this season.

After a tumultuous start to the season where they commenced with a 1-5 record and had off-court issues involving Irving to deal with, the Nets have rallied to become genuine contenders.

"It's good for us," Durant told reporters. It's good for us to keep stacking days. We respect Milwaukee, we understand how dominant they've been this season.

"We wanted to come out and we understand everyone is watching this game, everybody looked at this as bigger than a regular season game, so I think we tried to approach it that way.

"I know those guys play extremely hard every night, we tried to match that. They play playoff style basketball every game so it was on us to match it and play our brand as well.

"We've been trying to stay at their level as consistently as we can. It's tough to do in the regular season with injuries and the ebb and flow of the season but we tried to stay locked in as much as we can."

Durant called the victory a "great team win" for the Nets given the raft of contributions, creating 30 assists compared to the Bucks' 17, and forcing 18 turnovers.

"We were locked in all night on both sides of the ball," Durant said. "We were able to get a nice cushion early.

"They're a championship quality team so they're going to fight back and get into the game. We were able to make big shots and get big stops. Great team win for us."

The Nets kept Giannis Antetokounmpo scoreless in the final quarter, led by Simmons, as they weathered any late challenge, pulling away to win by 18 points after leading 85-75 at the final change.

"I thought overall the mental approach from guys, we knew they'd make some threes and we didn’t panic," Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said.

"Giannis is going to get through us sometimes and we're not going to over-react. But we be steady throughout the night to put multiple bodies in front of him? That's tough to do, because he's coming downhill at you with force and you're going to get hit. I thought overall our guys responded extremely well."

Jacque Vaughn was unaware his Brooklyn Nets side had achieved a franchise record in their blowout of the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

The Nets routed the undermanned Warriors 143-113 at Barclays Center, putting up a whopping 91 points in the first half alone.

That tally was a record for the Nets and represented the third-best effort ever in the NBA.

Having had to come back from slow first-quarter performances in wins over the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons in their prior two games, it was a welcome change for head coach Vaughn.

"I did not [know it was a record], wow, nicely done huh?" Vaughn said.

"That's what happens when you come to work and you're ready to work from the beginning.

"I definitely consider it progress, it was definitely the message in our walk through."

Kyrie Irving was absent for the Nets due to tightness in his right calf. Vaughn was unsure if he would return on Friday to face the Milwaukee Bucks.

Vaughn said: "No update, he'll come in tomorrow [Thursday] and get assessed again, hopefully looking forward to him playing again on Friday."

Kevin Durant was in fine form against his former team, putting up 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Warriors were still without Steph Curry, while Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins did not feature, but Durant said Steve Kerr's side still had to be taken seriously.

"It's the Warriors - you always respect them whoever is on the floor," he said.

"They have a championship system, championship players. Steph, Klay, Wiggins out – they [still] have that next up mentality. You can't count them out, so we did a good job staying focused to start."

The Brooklyn Nets scored the third most first-half points in NBA history on their way to a 143-113 rout of the short-handed Golden State Warriors at the Barclays Center on Wednesday.

The Nets led 91-51 at half-time, which was also a franchise record first half, led by Kevin Durant who scored 21 of his 23 points before the main break as they claimed their seventh straight win.

The result compelled the Warriors to back-to-back 30-point losses for the first time since 2001 and extended their poor road record to 3-16, leaving them 15-18 overall.

Brooklyn's 46-17 quarter-time lead, which equated to a 29-point differential, was the largest in any period this NBA season.

The Nets were ruthless in the first half, capitalizing on turnovers from the Warriors, who were without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins and playing the second game in a back-to-back after losing 132-94 to the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Brooklyn, who were without Kyrie Irving due to calf tightness, also matched a franchise record with nine players reaching double-figure scoring, including Edmond Sumner (16), Royce O'Neale (14) and Ben Simmons (10).

James Wiseman offered some positivity for Golden State, with 30 points from 28 minutes off the bench, while Jordan Poole struggled on four-of-17 shooting with seven turnovers.

The Nets, who have won 11 of their past 12 games, improved to 20-12, while the Warriors end their six-game road trip with a 1-5 record but can look forward to an eight-game home stand.

Knicks win streak over after Siakam domination

The New York Knicks' eight-game winning streak was ended by the struggling Toronto Raptors as Pascal Siakam scored a career-high 52 points in a 113-106 win.

Siakam scored 34 through the second and third quarters, shooting 17-of-25 from the field along with 16-of-18 from the free-throw line as the Raptors halted their own six-game losing run.

Fred VanVleet added 28 points for Toronto, while Julius Randle scored 30 with 13 rebounds for the Knicks, with R.J. Barrett draining four triples in his 30-point haul.

Mitchell's Cavs down Giannis' Bucks

Not even a trademark Herculean Giannis Antetokounmpo performance was enough for the Milwaukee Bucks, who went down 114-106 to Donovan Mitchell's Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Greek forward scored a season-high 45 points with 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks as the Bucks rallied in the fourth quarter but fell short.

Mitchell was key for the Cavs with 36 points, four rebounds, six assists and two steals, while Darius Garland added 23 points and Jarrett Allen had 19 points with eight rebounds.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr concedes his side have hit "rock bottom" after conceding a massive 91 first-half points in their 143-113 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.

The Nets' first-half haul was the third largest in NBA history, while the result condemned Golden State to back-to-back 30-point losses for the first time since 2001, having lost to the New York Knicks 132-94 on Tuesday.

The reigning champions were without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins for the defeat, which leaves the Warriors at 15-18, with an abysmal 3-16 road record, ending their six-game road trip with just one win.

"Our spirit is fine," Kerr told reporters. "Our energy is good. The guys are committed.

"We're just right now at that point that pretty much everybody goes during in an 82-game season, most teams anyway, [where] you hit rock bottom with injuries, schedule, fatigued, whatever it is.

"You take it on the chin, the whole key is how you respond to that. I have no doubt our guys will respond but we've got to clean up the execution. Turnovers are a killer."

The Warriors trailed by as much as 44 points at the Barclays Center, with the Nets leading 91-51 at half-time.

Golden State gave up 21 turnovers for the game, with shooting guard Jordan Poole responsible for seven of those, finishing the game with 13 points on four-of-17 shooting.

"You can't play defense recovering from a turnover so that was the biggest issue to start the game," Kerr said.

"We were just trying too hard to make plays and getting out of control and then they made everything. They were phenomenal in the first half. I think they were 13 from 19 from three."

On Poole, Kerr added: "He forced it tonight. He got in a rush. We're going to live with Jordan's mistakes. He's a young player, he's still learning a ton. He's a great talent.

"Really proud of his development, but the development continues. Part of that development is having the best guy on him with Steph Curry out."

James Wiseman, who was second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, offered a bright point for the Warriors with 30 points from 28 minutes off the bench, having had an indifferent season to date.

"James did a great job tonight," Kerr said. "It was fun to see him let loose and get some minutes and make the most of it. He did a lot of good things offensively… But when you lose by 30, it's small consolation."

Kevin Durant top scored for the Nets with 23 points with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Kyrie Irving was absent with calf tightness. Ben Simmons contributed 10 points with four rebounds and eight assists.

Kevin Durant was so "in the zone" against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday that he lost count of his shooting numbers.

Durant scored 43 points as the Brooklyn Nets won 124-121 at Little Caesars Arena, including a career-best quarter as he put up 26 in the third.

It was an important period of the game for the Nets, who trailed 71-54 at half-time, and Durant admitted he had struggled to keep up with his own statistics as he helped turn things around.

"I usually know how many shot attempts [I have]," he said. "But when I forget, that's when I really know I'm super, super in the zone.

"I don't know for sure what my shot attempts or my points [were]. I felt like the ball was coming to my hands so fast so I couldn't even process it in my mind and I looked up, 'Damn, I got 39.' I didn't think I had that much. But it was good to get back in the game and give us some momentum and energy."

The Nets sit on 19-12 after winning six in a row, and coach Jacque Vaughn described it as an "efficient night" after Durant also moved to 16th in the NBA's all-time scorers' list, surpassing John Havlicek and Paul Pierce.

"When the water started running, it started pouring," Vaughn said. "The teams throw everything at [Durant], so that piece of it, I think it warrants that conversation.

"Just because at the end of the night, you look at the stat sheet and it's an extremely efficient night... You just see it in a variety of ways, which means his game is getting better still, which is pretty difficult to say but there's some truth behind it."

Kyrie Irving also impressed, scoring 38 as the pair recorded a combined total of 81 for Brooklyn, and he credited Durant with being able to get the best out of him.

"Numbers show," Irving said. "When we're out there it doesn't necessarily feel like that because he makes it look so easy or he gets it in a myriad of ways -- when he gets on stretches like this, you want to play well alongside of him, that's really how I feel. I want to play well alongside him."

Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic became just the third player in NBA history with 40 points, 25 rebounds and 10 assists in a game in the Denver Nuggets' 119-115 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

Jokic finished with 40 points, 27 rebounds and 10 assists for his 81st career triple-double, joining Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor as the only players to achieve the aforementioned stat line.

The Serbian is the first player to reach that mark since Chamberlain in 1968. Chamberlain managed that milestone four times in his decorated career.

The Nuggets center pulled down 20 rebounds before half-time in a dominant display in the paint, leading Denver to an 18-11 overall record. Jokic's 27 rebounds were a career-high, and it was his fifth triple-double of the season.

Jokic received strong support from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 20 points, four rebounds and five assists while Jamal Murray dished off 11 assists. Aaron Gordon chipped in with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hornets fall to a 7-23 record, with LaMelo Ball scoring 31 points including four triples on 100 per cent three-point shooting in his third game back from injury.

Banchero stars as Magic topple Celtics

This season's top overall NBA Draft pick Paolo Banchero scored 31 points as the Orlando Magic claimed their sixth straight win and toppled the Boston Celtics 95-92.

Banchero produced his third 30-point game, shooting six-of-seven from beyond the arc, while Admiral Schofield contributed 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.

The win means the Magic completed a sweep of consecutive games in Bolton and extended their win streak to their longest since March 2019.

KD leads Nets rally for sixth straight win

Kevin Durant scored 26 of his 43 points in the third quarter to carry a 17-point comeback for the Brooklyn Nets in a 124-121 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Kyrie Irving added 38 points as the Nets secured their sixth straight win.

The Minnesota Timberwolves broke their franchise single-game scoring record in a 150-126 rout over the Chicago Bulls led by Anthony Edwards' season-high 37 points and 11 assists.

The Golden State Warriors won for the first time this season without the injured Stephen Curry (shoulder), with Jordan Poole scoring a career-high 43 points in a 126-110 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Kyrie Irving's game-winner gave the Brooklyn Nets their fifth win in a row, and ninth from their past 10, after defeating the Toronto Raptors 119-116.

Irving was terrific on the offensive end, scoring a team-high 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting, with five assists and only one turnover. 

His big moment came after Scottie Barnes' two free throws tied the game at 116-116 with eight seconds to play, and after a smart foul from Fred VanVleet, the Nets had the ball out of bounds with just three seconds to find a shot.

But that would be all Irving would need, taking a few dribbles to his right before pulling it back for a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

Kevin Durant was at his efficient best, shooting 10-of-15 from the field for his 28 points, while Ben Simmons finished with 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.

It was the second consecutive strong outing from VanVleet in a loss, scoring 39 points on 14-of-24 shooting just two days after scoring 39 on 13-of-25 shooting against the Sacramento Kings.

The Nets began the season 1-5, but have recovered strongly to 18-12 and now occupy the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference through 30 games.

Embiid improves league-leading scoring average

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid scored a game-high 34 points in Friday's 118-106 win against the Golden State Warriors.

Embiid entered the game averaging 33.4 points per game – the best figure in the league – and improved it ever-so-slightly to 33.5 as he shot 11-of-23 from the field, adding 13 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks.

He is narrowly ahead of Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic in second (33.0 points per game), with Embiid currently on track for the scoring title, and perhaps even league MVP, having finished runner-up in each of the past two seasons.

Edwards and the Timberwolves fight off SGA

The Minnesota Timberwolves had to deal with the third-leading scorer in the NBA, but got the job done thanks to a mature performance from franchise centerpiece Anthony Edwards.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, averaging 31.0 points per game, scored a game-high 35 on 11-of-23 shooting, with seven rebounds and five assists, but none of his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates scored more than 14 in the 112-110 loss.

For the Timberwolves, Edwards played a strong team game as he shot at least 50 per cent from the field (eight-of-16) and from three-point range (two-of-three) for his 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

He was supported in fine fashion by Naz Reid, who finished one point away from his career-high with 28, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving says there will be "no more distractions" for the team after they seized a 112-100 road win against the Washington Wizards on Monday.

The New York outfit improved to 17-12 for the season with a commanding victory at Capital One Arena, led by a 30-point haul for Kevin Durant.

The result helped the Nets further distance themselves from their early season controversy, when Irving was suspended over a series of tweets linking to an anti-semitic documentary, before initially refusing to apologise.

Now, the seven-time All-Star says the team are keeping their focus firmly on the court and know they have the players on hand to succeed this term.

"Man, let's just go win ballgames," he said. "That's it, that's really what the attitude is.

"We know the talent we have. This is our group. No more excuses, no more distractions."

Having been held back from building an early lead, the Nets raced out to 88-71 in the third quarter, and never let the Wizards get within eight after that.

Durant, who also posted nine rebounds and six assists, noted the visitors were aware letting their foot off the pedal could have proven dangerous.

"We talked about this being a trap game," he added. "If we'd have played too relaxed, with no sense of urgency, we definitely would have lost this game."

The Nets are now 5-1 across December, and have gone unbeaten over their last four matches, with trips to the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons next on the agenda.

The Brooklyn Nets continued their hot run of form on Monday as they defeated the Washington Wizards 112-100 on the road for the eighth win from their past nine outings.

Kevin Durant's under-the-radar MVP campaign took another step in the right direction with a game-high 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting, adding nine rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block.

For the season, he is averaging exactly 30.0 points per game – the sixth-highest figure in the league – while his 55.9 per cent field goal shooting is a new career-high in his 15th campaign, and he is eighth in the league for blocks at 1.7 per game.

Durant was supported well by Kyrie Irving with 24 points (seven-of-17 shooting), six rebounds and five assists, while Ben Simmons contributed 10 points (five-of-nine), eight rebounds and five assists in 23 productive minutes.

After beginning the season with five losses from their first six games, the Nets are now fourth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 17-12, and they can make it nine wins from 10 when they travel to take on the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

Jackson sets new career-high

Jaren Jackson Jr had six blocks in his first nine minutes of action against the Atlanta Hawks, going on to finish with a career-high eight in a 128-103 win.

The former fourth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft showed exactly the kind of defensive upside that, when coupled with his sweet shooting stroke, makes him one of the sport's most versatile big men.

He added 15 points and seven rebounds to go with his eight blocks, and he is also hitting 1.9 three-pointers per game at a 37.3 per cent clip.

The Grizzlies are now 18-9 and occupy the second seed in the Western Conference.

Luka outduels Shai to move the Mavs above .500

Luka Doncic raised his league-leading points per game figure to 33.1 as he dropped 38 in the Dallas Mavericks' 121-114 home win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With his 38 points on 13-of-27 shooting, Doncic has now eclipsed 30 points in 19 of his 25 games this season, while his 8.8 assists per game has him fourth in the league, chipping in another eight with his 11 rebounds against the Thunder.

It was also a terrific display from the Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored a game-high 42 points on 14-of-23 shooting to raise his average to 31.2 per game – now second in the league.

Dallas are now 14-13, and are tied for the eighth seed in the West.

Splash brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 66 points as the Golden State Warriors claimed arguably their best win of the season, beating the Boston Celtics 123-107 on Saturday.

The Celtics had won eight of their past nine games, including a statement win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, but the reigning champions shut down the NBA's number one offensive team while the splash brothers were on song.

Curry finished with 32 points including six-of-11 from beyond the arc, with four off the dribble, while Thompson scored a game-high 34 points with four triples. The Warriors are 14-0 all-time when Curry and Thompson both score 30-plus points.

It was a rare night of frustration for the NBA-leading Celtics, who fall to 21-6 overall, with Jayson Tatum kept to 18 points with seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. Jaylen Brown scored a team-high 31 points.

Curry and Thompson led the way, but center Kevon Looney pulled down 15 rebounds while Jordan Poole added 20 points.

The win means the Warriors are 12-2 at Chase Center this season and have won 11 of their past 17 games, improving to 14-13 overall.

Thomas stars as short-handed Nets claim shock win

The short-handed Brooklyn Nets recorded an admirable 136-133 victory over the Indiana Pacers, with Cam Thomas coming off the bench to score a career-high 33 points.

The Nets were without eight players, including All-Stars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons, but Thomas stepped up along with Australian guard Patty Mills with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Tyrese Haliburton scored 35 points for the Pacers, but Thomas and Mills were crucial in the fourth quarter, as the Nets made it three straight wins and six from their past seven games.

Jokic records triple-double in Nuggets victory

Nikola Jokic led the Denver Nuggets to a 115-110 win over the Utah Jazz with his fourth triple-double of the season and 80th of his NBA career.

Jokic finished with 31 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists in a dominant display that helped the Nugs improve their record to 15-10.

Jamal Murray supported the reigning MVP well, with 30 points, four rebounds and five assists.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving eclipsed 30 points each in the Brooklyn Nets' 120-116 home win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

It was also the return of Ben Simmons after a five-game stint on the sidelines, starting and contributing six points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals in 21 productive minutes.

Durant top-scored with 34 points on 14-of-25 shooting, while Irving was just as good, scoring 33 on 11-of-21 shooting while chipping in 11 rebounds.

Mostly known for his offense, Durant blocked two shots, raising his season average to 1.7 per game – the eighth-best figure in the league.

Trae Young was solid for the Hawks with 33 points (12-of-25 shooting) and nine assists, but he committed a game-high eight turnovers. He is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 25 points (27.2) and nine assists (9.5).

With the win, the Nets have now taken six of their past seven, improving their record to 15-12 after starting the season 1-5.

Pelicans stay top of the West

Entering the game as the top two teams in the Western Conference, the New Orleans Pelicans rode a terrific Zion Williamson performance to a 128-117 win against the Phoenix Suns.

Williamson was unstoppable offensively, scoring a game-high 35 points on 13-of-17 shooting, adding seven rebounds and four assists. Of his 20 games this season, it is the ninth time he has scored at least 25 points on 60 per cent shooting.

There are 14 players shooting 59 per cent or better from the field this season, and of those, only Anthony Davis is averaging more field goal attempts per game (17.5) than Williamson's 15.4.

Embiid's early dominance almost goes to waste

Joel Embiid tied the Los Angeles Lakers' whole team in the first quarter with 20 points each, but the Philadelphia 76ers needed an overtime period to come away with a 133-122 win.

Embiid was eight-of-nine from the field in the first quarter for his 20 points, going on to finish with 38 on 14-of-19 shooting, 12 rebounds and five assists. Teammate De'Anthony Melton helped out with a career-high 33 points on 11-of-16 shooting, hitting eight of his 12 three-point attempts.

Anthony Davis continued his strong form with 31 points (nine-of-13 shooting) and 12 rebounds, but he missed a potential go-ahead free throw in the final seconds, before the Lakers were outscored 13-2 in overtime.

Brooklyn Nets point guard Ben Simmons could be back on court on Friday after missing recent games with knee and calf issues.

Simmons exited the win over the Orlando Magic last week due to left knee soreness, while it later emerged he was also dealing with a left lateral upper calf strain.

Speaking after training on Tuesday, the Australian gave a positive update, suggesting that while he will remain out for Wednesday's clash with the Charlotte Hornets, he is aiming to be back for the Nets' game with the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

"I'm excited where I'm at right now," Simmons said. "So I'm looking for Friday to get back on the court.

"It's a lot of load for coming back from a back injury and then also the knee, so I'm glad I had this time to build some muscle around it, and we'll work on it."

Simmons, who is averaging 8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists this season, has already missed games against the Washington Wizards, the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics.

Having missed a lot of basketball in recent times, the 26-year-old suggested he might have the manage his time on the court.

"I think we're definitely going to look at it a lot different," he added. "I don't know if it's measuring minutes, maybe not back-to-backs, whatever it is. I think that's going to be a joint thing with the training staff and myself, and letting them know how I'm feeling."

Sportswear giant Nike has cut ties with Kyrie Irving, having initially suspended its relationship with the Brooklyn Nets guard after he shared antisemitic material on social media.

Irving missed eight games after his decision to share a social media link to a book and film featuring antisemitic tropes led the Nets to suspend him last month.

The 30-year-old returned to the court on November 21 following a lengthy remediation process which attracted criticism from many onlookers.

Irving's signature endorsement agreement with Nike – who manufacture his signature brand of "Kyrie" sneakers worn by many players across the NBA – was initially set to expire in October 2023.

The company suspended its sponsorship deal with Irving in the immediate aftermath of the social media post, saying it was "deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation".

Nike subsequently cancelled the release of its "Kyrie 8" sneaker, and the company has now confirmed its relationship with Irving has come to an end.

In a one-line statement provided to ESPN, Nike said: "Kyrie is no longer a Nike athlete."

In a subsequent tweet, the seven-time NBA All-Star said: "Anyone who has even spent their hard-earned money on anything I have ever released, I consider you family and we are forever connected." 

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