Damian Lillard was honoured to achieve a feat only previously accomplished by Michael Jordan on the NBA's All-Star weekend. 

Lillard saw off competition from the Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns and the Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young to win the 3-point contest on Saturday, then he dazzled again one day later.

The Milwaukee Bucks guard was named All-Star Game MVP after putting up 39 points as the Eastern Conference All-Stars recorded a 211-186 win over their Western Conference counterparts. 

Chicago Bulls legend Jordan is the only previous player to complete such a double, having taken the 1988 dunk contest before winning the first of his three All-Star MVP trophies.

For Lillard, who was appearing in his eighth All-Star Game but his first as a starter, following in Jordan's footsteps made it all the more memorable. 

"Anytime you're mentioned in the same category as Mike, it's an honour, it's a major accomplishment, even if it's All-Star weekend," Lillard said during his post-game news conference. 

"Because if it was that simple, more people would have done it. I'm a vet in the game at this point. Why not go and try to get an MVP? I've been here enough."

However, a perceived lack of competitiveness in Sunday's All-Star Game – the highest-scoring in history – led to criticism from some quarters. 

The league's all-time leading scorer LeBron James said the All-Star Game "is something we need to figure out", with players unwilling to risk injury in the mid-season exhibition. 

Asked for his views on that debate, Lillard said: "I think it could be more competitive, 200 is a lot to be scored. It shows we didn't go out there and compete like I guess you would want us to. 

"But I think that's just what it is. Guys are talented, they make a lot of shots. We hit a lot of 3s, and that was it."

Lillard joined the Bucks in a blockbuster trader from the Portland Trail Blazers ahead of the season, but his first campaign in Milwaukee has been a turbulent one. 

The Bucks fired coach Adrian Griffin last month, bringing in Doc Rivers after a short interim stint for Joe Prunty. They sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 35-21 record, but have lost five of their last seven games.

"It's been a tough year with the transition to a new team, we've had three coaches since I've been there," Lillard said.

"Anytime you have these types of experiences where you have adversity, that's the time you've got to show who you really are. 

"Keep doing what you do, keep believing, and when you do that, usually it comes back to you. You just can't fold."

The Chicago Bulls will be without Zach LaVine for the rest of the campaign.

LaVine, who has had a stop-start season, will undergo surgery on a foot issue next week.

Bulls coach Billy Donovan confirmed on Saturday that LaVine, who has not played since mid-January due to an ankle sprain, had elected to go under the knife and will miss between four and six months.

"He made a decision he felt was best for his health," Donovan said.

"I really feel like he did everything he could to try to get himself back to playing.

"The discomfort in his foot was at a place where I think he didn't feel like he had any chance to be himself. That was the really frustrating part of it.

"He's kind of been in and out, but certainly you'd like to have a player of his calibre available.

"Now with the news coming out we'll have to play without him. I've always said when you lose really good players, it impacts your team."

Klay Thompson felt the Golden State Warriors "had to win" as they produced an impressive second-half comeback to defeat the Chicago Bulls.

The Warriors rallied for a 140-131 win at United Center, erasing a 13-point halftime deficit with a strong turnaround.

Thompson scored 30 points and there were 27 from Stephen Curry, although 15 of those points came in the fourth quarter as he overcame a slow start.

Golden State improved to 18-20 after Thompson drained seven 3-pointers, with Curry hitting six from deep.

The Warriors dominated the third quarter 48-20 and led by 15 entering the fourth after Chicago had raced ahead in the first half, when they scored a season-high 72 points.

It was a key win with further road games against the Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz up next for the Warriors.

"This was a game we felt we had to win, especially with the upcoming road trip," Thompson said, per NBC Sports Bay Area.

"When our spirit is right, things tend to go our way. Those last two games, we just felt like they were anomalies of the season.

"We have been fighting so hard, with so many close battles lost. We were not discouraged. We know that it is a long season with ebbs and flows.

"Even though we got beat probably a combined 100 [points], we responded."

Curry finished just 8 of 24 from the field, but did have nine assists, while Jonathan Kuminga added 24 points from the bench as Golden State won despite being without Moses Moody, Chris Paul, Gary Payton II and Draymond Green.

Green is working on his conditioning after his recent suspension.

"I can't wait until Draymond is back," added Thompson. "We are not the Warriors without him.

"Hopefully within these next couple of games, maybe Memphis or Utah would be great. I think he makes the biggest impact defensively."

The Bulls fell to 18-22 despite a game-high 39 points from DeMar DeRozan, while Zach LaVine and Coby White scored 25 points each.

"They did a great job adjusting, coming out and changing up the game plan," DeRozan said about Warriors' turnaround. 

"You can never count them out no matter how big of a lead we have."

The Warriors are 12th in the Western Conference as they fight to reach the playoff positions in the standings.

"It is nice to win a game like that where I know individually I can shoot the ball better but we won a game collectively," Curry said. 

"We have a standard that we want to live up to for ourselves. 

"We are not going to win every game, but you just want to play better and I think we did that."

Coach Steve Kerr was impressed with the response after the Warriors were booed in the big home losses against the Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans this week.

He said: "The whole group, the whole team, was just committed to 'Let's go out and win'.

"I'm very proud of them. They have taken a lot of heat; we have all taken a lot of heat this past week. Deservedly so. But this is what you do as a pro. A lot of these guys are champions. You have got to respond, and they did.

"We got off track emotionally and spiritually the last couple of games. Our fans could feel it. We got booed for the first time since I've been here, 10 years. 

"And, as I said, both nights we deserved it because our energy and our competitive spirit were not there. We found that again."

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poured in 36 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the NBA-leading Boston Celtics, 127-123 on Tuesday for their fifth straight win.

Josh Giddey had 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Thunder, who have won eight of nine. During that stretch, they have beaten defending champion Denver twice, ended the Clippers’ nine-game win streak, beat West-leading Minnesota by 23 and now the Celtics.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 34 points and Jayson Tatum added 30 as Boston had a six-game winning streak snapped.

Oklahoma City opened a 108-90 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Celtics rallied to cut the deficit to 121-119.

Giddey hit a pair of free throws with 12.1 seconds left to put the Thunder up 4 before Porzingis hit a deep shot in the left corner with 3.7 seconds left to make it a two-point game.

Gilgeous-Alexander sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with 2.8 to play.

Embiid leads 76ers in return

Joel Embiid tallied 31 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in his return from a sprained right ankle to lift the Philadelphia 76ers to a 110-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Embiid, who missed all four games on the 76ers’ holiday road trip, was 10 of 20 from the field and notched his seventh career triple-double in the third quarter. He extended his franchise records with 15 straight 30-point games and 14 consecutive games of 30 points and 10 rebounds.

Tyrese Maxey had 21 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 16 for the 76ers, who have won three straight and seven of eight at home.

DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 16 points and Andre Drummond had 11 with 17 rebounds.

Rozier helps Hornets snap 11-game skid

Terry Rozier scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter after missing a game due to illness as the Charlotte Hornets stopped an 11-game skid with a 111-104 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Rozier shot 13 of 24 from the field and handed out six assists, while Miles Bridges added 27 points for Charlotte, which played without rookie Brandon Miller (bruised left hip), LaMelo Ball (right ankle sprain), Gordon Hayward (left calf strain), Mark Williams (bruised lower back) and Frank Ntilikina (left tibia fracture).

De’Aaron Fox scored 30 points for Sacramento and Domantas Sabonis had 23 with 19 rebounds for his 15th straight double-double, tied for the NBA’s longest streak this season.

Anthony Davis knows there is "no help coming" for the Los Angeles Lakers, who must find a way to overturn their poor form.

The Lakers have won just one of their five games since they beat the Indiana Pacers to claim the inaugural NBA in-season tournament trophy in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Their latest defeat came on Wednesday at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, with DeMar DeRozan leading his team to a 124-108 triumph.

LeBron James had 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, but it was not enough as the Lakers slumped to a third straight loss.

"We all hate losing," said Davis, who finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

"There's no break coming. No help coming. There's no cavalry. We've got to do it within this locker room.

"We've got everyone back now. We've just got to find a way to get in the win column."

Without injured All-Star Zach LaVine, it was another accomplished display from the Bulls, who had a poor start to the campaign but are now hitting form.

"We were going through it," said DeRozan, who scored 27 points, adding seven rebounds and nine assists.

"Sometimes you've got to go through it so you can find a different type of motivation that you can come together with. The best relationships come out of that."

The Bulls are 7-3 in LaVine's absence due to right foot inflammation, though coach Billy Donovan still wants his talisman back healthy as soon as possible.

"Anytime you lose a really, really great player, and a talented, gifted player like Zach, it always hurts you. I'm certainly hopeful when he gets himself healthy he can get back to where he was," he said.

"I think with what he was dealing with his foot for a long period of time, I'm not so sure that he was ever right."

While the Lakers endure a skid, their city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers maintained their league-best form.

The Clippers extended their winning run to nine games as Kawhi Leonard's 30 points lifted them to a 120-111 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Luka Doncic recorded his sixth triple-double of the season but it was not enough for the Mavs, who fell foul of another fine Clippers display.

"It's going to take time for them to find the rhythm, find the continuity, find the chemistry," said Norman Powell, who scored 21 points off the Clippers' bench.

"It's no summer league, summertime pickup basketball where you're doing whatever you want.

"There's a system in place, and everybody's got to figure out their role and how it goes."

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.

 

Nikola Jokic accepted he "crossed the line" after being ejected from the Denver Nuggets' road win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, a decision which prompted boos from the opposing fans. 

Jokic was ejected with just over a minute remaining in the second quarter, but Reggie Jackson stepped up with a team-high 25 points as Denver rallied in his absence for a 114-106 win.

The two-time NBA MVP was tossed after yelling at official Mousa Dagher while asking for a foul call, with ESPN reporting that he told Dagher: "Call the foul, mother******". 

The pool report said Jokic was thrown out for "profane language that warranted an ejection", and while Jokic accepted he was in the wrong, he said other officials would not have called a technical for that offence.

"Sometimes it's not even a technical," Jokic said after the game. "I crossed the line, I understand, but sometimes that word doesn't cross the line. It is what it is."

Jokic's ejection led to boos from the Chicago crowd, and the Bulls were expecting a large contingent of Serbian fans to be in attendance on Jokic's only visit to United Center this regular season.

"It's the second-biggest Serbian population here," Jokic pointed out. "Belgrade is the first, and Chicago is the second. So, maybe they came to see me!"

While Denver coach Michael Malone was pleased to see Jokic's team-mates step up, he said the team must ensure that he stays in games for the duration.

"I think everybody was surprised it was a one-tech toss," Malone said. "Maybe I have to do a better job because if he's getting fouled or he thinks he's getting fouled, let me take the tech.  

"That's my job as a head coach because I don't want him being put in that position where he is getting thrown out. It's not good for him and more importantly it's not good for the team.

"We can talk about how great our bench was tonight, but in the big picture, we need Nikola available. He knows that, and we just have to work on how we engage and how we communicate with the referees."

Jokic was not the subject of the only high-profile ejection across the NBA on Tuesday, with Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green tossed for the third time this season in a 119-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Green was ejected in the third quarter after receiving a Flagrant 2 foul for hitting Jusuf Nurkic in the face, with the incident coming less than a month after he was banned for five games for putting the Minnesota Timberwolves' Rudy Gobert in a headlock.

Green must now wait on a league review to discover whether he will face another suspension, and he apologised for catching Nurkic in the aftermath of Golden State's loss.

"I am not one to apologise for things I do, but I do apologise to Jusuf because I didn't intend to hit him," Green said. "I sell calls with my arms. I was selling the call, I swung and unfortunately I hit him."

While Suns coach Frank Vogel called Green's behaviour "reckless" and "dangerous", the 33-year-old insisted he didn't intend to strike Nurkic.

"If I intended to do that, then I would feel awful about not being there," Green added. "But my intentions were just to sell the foul.

"You guys have known me long enough, if I intended to do something, I am not apologising. But I did make contact with him, so I do apologise. It's a hard hit."

Zion Williamson delivered a season-high 36 points as the New Orleans Pelicans cooled off the NBA-leading Minnesota Timberwolves with a 121-107 victory on Monday.

CJ McCollum scored nine of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to help the Pelicans pull away and bounce back from Thursday's 44-point blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA In-Season Tournament semifinals.

Minnesota entered the matchup with a league-best 17-4 record and had won six consecutive games but played without leading scorer Anthony Edwards due to a hip pointer.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Mike Conley and Naz Reid all had 17 points for the Timberwolves, with Towns adding 12 rebounds. 

Minnesota never led in the second half, however, as the Pelicans ended the second quarter on a 12-3 run to take a 59-52 half-time lead.

New Orleans held a 90-86 advantage after three quarters, then opened the fourth on a 9-0 spurt capped by a McCollum 3-pointer to gain further separation.

The Pelicans also received 20 points from Brandon Ingram and 14 points and 13 rebounds from Jonas Valanciunas.

Bucks bounce back with overtime win over Bulls

Giannis Antetokounmpo compiled 32 points, 12 rebounds and six assists and the Milwaukee Bucks dominated the early stages of overtime to come through with a 133-129 win over the Chicago Bulls.

After Chicago rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to force overtime on DeMar DeRozan's jumper with 3.7 seconds left in regulation, the Bucks opened the extra session with an 8-1 run to build a 126-119 lead and never trailed thereafter.

Brook Lopez and Malik Beasley each had 19 points to help Milwaukee rebound from Thursday's loss to the Indiana Pacers in the NBA In-Season Tournament semfinals.

The Bulls had a four-game winning streak halted despite a monster performance from DeRozan, who put up 41 points and 11 assists. Coby White finished with a season-high 33 points in the loss.

Nuggets hold off Hawks to end three-game skid

Jamal Murray scored 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting and added nine rebounds to help the Denver Nuggets get back on track with a 129-122 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

The reigning NBA champions withstood a career-high 40 points from Atlanta's Bogdan Bogdanović and a fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Hawks to stop a three-game losing streak. Nikola Jokić contributed 25 points and nine assists for Denver, while rookie Julian Strawther hit six 3-pointers while producing a career-high 22 points off the bench.

Bogdanovic had 13 of his points in the fourth quarter with Atlanta's leading scorer, Trae Young, out of the game after being ejected when arguing a no-foul call late in the third.

The Hawks trailed 100-86 at the time of Young's departure and were down by 20 points with under 10 minutes left before rallying late, as Bogdanovic led a 16-5 run that cut the Nuggets' lead to 126-122 with 30.5 seconds left.

Jokic hit two free throws on the ensuing possession, however, and Bogdanovic missed a pair of 3-point tries in the final seconds as the Hawks' bid came up short.

Young had 19 points and nine assists before exiting.

 

Victor Wembanyama vowed the San Antonio Spurs will continue looking for "a good recipe" after his historic performance failed to prevent his team matching their franchise-record losing run.

At 19 years and 38 days old, the first overall draft pick became the youngest player in NBA history to post a 20-20 game, managing 21 points and 20 assists at home to the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

However, that performance was not enough to prevent a 121-112 defeat as the Bulls rallied after the interval, with Patrick Williams, Demar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Coby White all managing 20 points or more for Chicago.

San Antonio has now tied their all-time record losing streak of 16 games, while their 3-18 record is the worst they have ever managed through 21 games of a season.

Wembanyama – whose 20-20 game came when he was four days younger than previous record holder Dwight Howard – says it is still a case of trial and error after he starred from the center position against the Bulls.

"Experimenting in different areas of the game is always something important and interesting to me," Wembanyama said. 

"Every game is different, but we're going to see and try until we find a good recipe.

"When our opponents are down at half, of course they're going to try and have a reaction. We've got to expect that every time, because our first half was pretty solid, especially defensively. 

"There are ups and downs during the game, but we've got to get our downs less and less."

San Antonio's losing steak still stands three games short of that being endured by the Detroit Pistons, who are 2-20 after going down by a 123-91 scoreline against the Orlando Magic, their 19th straight loss.

Franz Wagner scored 27 points and Paolo Banchero added 24 for Orlando, with the Pistons now enduring the longest single-season losing streak in their franchise history and their second-longest overall.

Detroit previously lost 21 in a row across the end of the 1979-80 season and the start of 1980-81.

Though Pistons coach Monty Williams acknowledged the 15-7 Magic are a tough nut to crack defensively, he wasn't happy with his team's offensive efforts.

"They're a good defensive team but we missed a lot of open shots," Williams said after the defeat. 

"They take away the paint, force you to play outside. We generated only 30 threes and just didn't hit a good percentage. We just had a hard time putting the ball in the basket tonight."

Jayson Tatum scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter as the Boston Celtics pulled away from the New York Knicks and earn a 114-98 win on Monday in a matchup of Atlantic Division rivals.

The Celtics outscored New York by a 62-45 margin in the second half en route to their third straight win, though the outcome was in doubt until Boston put together a pivotal run late in the third quarter.

Boston took control with a 12-2 spurt, capped by consecutive 3-pointers from Sam Hauser and Jrue Holiday, and turned a 72-72 deadlock into a comfortable 84-74 lead with the third quarter nearing an end.

Tatum then helped seal the victory by going 6 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter. 

Jaylen Brown added 22 points and six assists for the Celtics, while former Knick Kristaps Porzingis had 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting against his ex-team.

The Knicks had a three-game winning streak snapped and played without leading scorer RJ Barrett due to a migraine. Jalen Brunson paced New York with 26 points and Julius Randle had 25 along with nine rebounds.

Antetokounmpo stars as Bucks beat Bulls to end brief skid

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 35 points and 11 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks got back on the winning track with a 118-109 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Bobby Portis also registered a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench to help the Bucks bounce back from consecutive road losses to Indiana and Orlando, games in which Milwaukee was without star guard Damian Lillard due to a calf injury.

Lillard returned Monday but shot just 3 of 17 from the field while finishing with 12 points and five assists.

Chicago rallied from a 35-18 deficit after one quarter to take a 70-69 lead with 4 1/2 minutes to go in the third. The Bucks responded with a 12-0 run, however, that Antetokounmpo capped with a running dunk that put Milwaukee back up by double digits with under two minutes left in the period.

Antetokounmpo then scored 14 points in the fourth as the Bucks built a lead as large as 17 points late.

Nikola Vucevic led the Bulls with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Zach LaVine added 20 points but went just 2 of 10 from 3-point range.

Fox returns, helps Kings top Cavaliers for Brown's 400th win

De'Aaron Fox had 28 points and six assists in his return to help the surging Sacramento Kings give head coach Mike Brown his 400th career victory with a 132-120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Fox finished 11 of 20 from the field and had just one turnover in 36 minutes in his first outing since missing two weeks with a sprained right ankle. The 2022-23 All-Star was part of a balanced attack for Sacramento, which also received 25 points from Keegan Murray and 23 points and 10 rebounds from Domantas Sabonis.

Kevin Huerter went 6 of 9 from 3-point range in Sacramento's third straight win. 

Brown improved to 400-254 for his career, with the majority of those wins coming in two stints as the Cavaliers' head coach. He directed Cleveland from 2005-10 and again in 2013-14.

Donovan Mitchell led Cleveland, which trailed most of the game and was down by a 110-89 margin after three quarters, with 22 points. Caris LeVert added 21 points and Evan Mobley had 16 along with 12 rebounds.

Zach LaVine knows the Chicago Bulls must swiftly discover a winning formula after Saturday's loss to the Detroit Pistons.

LaVine had a career-high 51 points but it was not enough for the Bulls to avoid a second defeat of the campaign.

Chicago lost 118-102 in Detroit, as they failed to build on their 104-103 defeat of the Toronto Raptors.

The Bulls have made the playoffs just once since the start of the 2017-18 season, and LaVine knows Chicago must expect better.

"It's our third year here together, and we know how this business is," said LaVine, who became the first Bulls player with 50 points and no assists since the legendary Michael Jordan against the Miami Heat in November 1996.

"We all love each other. DeMar [DeRozan] is one of my best friends, and we talk all the time, but we have to figure out how to make this work.

"I wasn't happy with the way I was performing and the way the offense was looking. It's upsetting you have a performance like that and lose. It sucks.

"We don't want this to snowball where we have our backs against the wall. We are working every day. We have to figure it out."

LaVine was a late pick for Saturday's game, having overcome back issues to play.

"You know me, I'm going to play," he added.

Zach LaVine poured in a career-high 51 points, but it wasn’t enough as the hot-shooting Detroit Pistons came away with a 118-102 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

LaVine, who was a game-time decision with back spasms, surpassed his previous career high of 50 points, set against Atlanta on April 9, 2021, also a loss.

He shot 19 of 32 from the field – 7 of 13 on 3-pointers – and was 6 of 8 from the free-throw line.

LaVine became the first Bulls player with at least 50 points and no assists since Michael Jordan did it against Miami on Nov. 6, 1996.

Jalen Duran had 23 points and 15 rebounds and Cade Cunningham added 25 and 10 assists as the Pistons ended a 15-game losing streak to the Bulls.

Detroit shot 60.5 percent from the floor in the first half and finished at 52.3 percent (45 of 86).

DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points and Nikola Vucevic had 12 as the only other Bull to reach double figures.

 

76ers coach Nurse gets 1st win

Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey each scored 34 points, and the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Toronto Raptors 114-107 to give coach Nick Nurse his first win against his former team.

Nurse was fired by the Raptors in April after five season that including the 2019 NBA championship. He lost his 76ers coaching debut at Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 points and Tobias Harris had 15 for Philadelphia, which again played without star guard James Harden, who hopes to be traded.

Scottie Barnes led the Raptors with 24 points and Gary Trent Jr. had 17.

 

Nesmith leads Pacers past short-handed Cavaliers

Aaron Nesmith scored 17 of his career-high 26 points in the first half and the Indiana Pacers took advantage of the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers in a 125-113 victory.

Tyrese Haliburton had 21 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds, while Myles Turner added 20 and 12 boards for Indiana, which outscored Cleveland 29-12 in the second quarter.

The Cavaliers were without starters Donovan Mitchell (right hamstring soreness), Darius Garland (left hamstring strain) and Jarrett Allen (left ankle bone bruise).

Evan Mobley had 33 points and 14 rebounds for Cleveland.

Andre Drummond believes reaching 10,000 career rebounds would cement his place as the best rebounder in NBA history, with the Chicago Bulls center closing in on the milestone.

Drummond has 9,968 total rebounds to his name following the Bulls' 124-104 defeat against the Oklahoma City Thunder in their 2023-24 season opener on Thursday.

Having led the NBA in rebounds four times in 11 seasons, Drummond looks certain to reach five figures in the coming weeks, with just 32 more required. 

A struggle for regular minutes has limited Drummond's chances of climbing the NBA's all-time rebounding charts, topped by legendary duo Wilt Chamberlain (23,924) and Bill Russell (21,620).

However, Drummond has previously claimed to be the best rebounder in league history, a belief he reiterated when asked about the importance of hitting the milestone. 

"It puts a lot in perspective for myself and just for the public," Drummond told Stats Perform. "I always tell everybody I feel like I'm the best ever to do it.

"Despite me having – or being about to have – 10,000 rebounds, I think my body of work and my percentages and numbers help prove that.

"Honestly, it just shows the amount of work I put in. Every year I set a goal to be the best rebounder, each and every season.

"To have the honour of reaching 10,000… not too many people have the chance to do that. So I am with a group of high-calibre guys."

Drummond led the league for rebounds in 2015-16 and in three successive seasons between 2017-18 and 2019-20. His 2017-18 average of 16 per game remains his best across a single regular season.

The 30-year-old – who finished Chicago's first game of the new season with five rebounds – has the highest total rebound percentage in NBA history (24.85%).

While Drummond believes his statistics put him right up there with the very best, he also feels honoured to simply be mentioned alongside the likes of Chamberlain and Russell.

"To be associated with Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, it's a no-brainer not to feel good about yourself," he added.

"Those are the guys who paved the way for guys like myself; strong, brute-force players that do all the dirty work for teams. To be in the same breath as those guys is truly an honour."

Andre Drummond believes London would be a "good place" to move an NBA team and feels now is the right time to expand the league.

The NBA has introduced an in-season tournament for the new campaign, with the Final Four set to be played in Las Vegas in December, leading to some reports the NBA could be looking to expand and place a new team in the Nevada city.

Across the Atlantic, London has also been touted as a potential home to a new franchise.

The NBA last expanded in 2004, taking the number of teams up to 30, and Drummond says it is time to expand again, with London one of the locations the Chicago Bulls center highlighted as a fitting place to put a new team, citing the travel of football teams playing in Europe as an example of how it could work.

"I think it's time [to expand]," Drummond told Stats Perform. "We should do it.

"Even London, because London is close enough. London is like an eight-hour flight. So London will probably be a good place to have a team.

"How far do soccer players travel for games? If they can do it, why can't we? Then we'll be able to shorten the season and then have no more 82-game [campaigns]. Think about it."

London aside, Drummond pointed to Las Vegas and Seattle as ideal locations for new franchises.

Seattle has not had a team since the SuperSonics, winners of the 1979 NBA championship, were moved to Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 season.

"I think we do so much stuff in Vegas already," Drummond added. "Why not just give them a team?

"We bombard their city for almost two months every year, so we might as well put a team there.

"I think Seattle should get the team back. I think their fan base is crazy. I mean, I missed it. I came in two years after but just watching their games there was wild."

The decision to bring in an in-season tournament has split opinion, and Drummond is unsure if there was a need for its introduction, though he says he and his Bulls team-mates are going to take it seriously.

Asked for his views on the tournament, Drummond replied: "I still don't understand it to be honest. I have no idea what it's about.

"Everybody gets a big trophy if you get to the final. So, I guess it gives us an incentive to not have star players sit out because we're playing for something now.

"I think everybody has the mindset to want to win. I don't think anybody is going to take this tournament lightly, there is a big incentive, and we all get something out of it, so why not play?

"We're already doing it so we might as well just play to the best of our ability."

Andre Drummond says it would be a "no-brainer" if LeBron James asked him to join a potential 'Dream Team' for the 2024 Olympics.

Ahead of the Games in Paris next year, James has reportedly been recruiting fellow NBA stars to gauge their interest in suiting up for the United States with the aim of winning a fifth straight men's basketball gold medal for their country.

Drummond was part of the team that won gold at the 2014 FIBA World Cup but was left off the roster for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics and looks an outside shot to be involved in Paris.

However, if James were to call, it would be an easy answer, with Drummond telling Stats Perform: "Yeah, I would go back, I wouldn't think twice. I'll go back.

"Not even just him [James], if anybody from that organisation called me, I would jump because I feel like I owe it to them and I owe it to my country. If I'm requested to service my country, I'm going to do it.

"Especially just the relationship that I have with those people in that organisation. That's a no-brainer.

"Wearing those three letters across the chest is an honour. You're not representing yourself anymore, you are representing the entire nation and it's a surreal thing."

Drummond was left out of the squads for the 2019 and 2023 World Cups, both of which ended with youthful USA teams returning home without a medal.

The Chicago Bulls center believes it is difficult for younger players to adapt to playing overseas.

Drummond also feels the rise of international stars such as Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA exhibits how other countries are improving their national teams, meaning the USA are no longer a dominant force.

"It's a lot different," Drummond explained. "I feel like if you've never played overseas before, and you have never played in front of a hostile crowd, it can become a lot.

"There's a lot that goes into Olympic basketball, and I think nowadays, the international teams have gotten a lot better. If we're all being honest here, I think the players that have come into the NBA have shown that international players are here now. This is their time to showcase themselves.

"So, I don't think any international teams are going to take it lightly on the USA, especially after what we've done to people, year in and year out."

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