Steve Kerr revelled in the "crazy" luxury of being able to bring Chris Paul and Klay Thompson off the bench as the Golden State Warriors continued their fine form on Tuesday.

Golden State have hit their stride in February to move back into playoff contention in the West, despite missing veteran point guard Paul.

The 38-year-old was traded to the Warriors by the Washington Wizards at the start of the season, having previously been moved on by the Phoenix Suns, but had been restricted to 32 games and 11 starts prior to returning against the Wizards.

Paul made his comeback from the bench following his recovery from surgery on a left hand fracture, and he was joined in the second unit by Klay Thompson.

Those options in reserve were especially useful to Kerr in this 123-112 win as superstar starter Stephen Curry was held scoreless through the first half.

Curry finished with 18 points, but he was outshone by Thompson, who had 25, while Paul played a key role in the decisive third quarter in which the Warriors outscored the Wizards 38-17.

"What a luxury to come off the bench with Chris Paul and Klay Thompson," coach Kerr said. "That's crazy."

"You've got two Hall of Famers in the backcourt coming off the bench," Thompson added. "That's such a rare feat, so we take pride in that.

"[Paul] makes my life much easier, much easier. Just his ability to read the game, hit me in stride, on time, on target, he's probably one of the best in history at doing that."

Kerr continued: "We've been playing pretty well over the last month or so, but we've really been looking forward to getting Chris back.

"You could see why tonight. He's a plus-17 in 21 minutes, always in control of the game. The way we closed the third quarter was really important, and he was at the helm."

Paul is not getting carried away just yet but acknowledged that strength in depth and affirmed his commitment to taking on whatever role Kerr asks of him.

"It's one game, one game," Paul said. "We've still got a lot of work to do as a team, as a unit.

"We have so much depth, so many different ways that we can play, that it's going to take us a little while to figure it out. But obviously, you want to figure it out and win at the same time.

"We've got a really good group of guys on this team, and [Kerr is] going to need different things every night.

"You know one thing about me though: I know who I am and what I'm capable of. You know what I mean? There ain't any question about that. I'll always be ready, and I think he knows that."

Golden State Warriors point guard Chris Paul is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six weeks after fracturing his left hand in Friday’s 113-109 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Paul sustained the injury when he tried to grab a long rebound and collided with Detroit’s Jaden Ivey. He could be out through the NBA All-Star break.

“That’s tough, I feel so bad for Chris, I know he’s had a couple of hand surgeries before I believe, maybe on the other hand,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday.

”I saw him holding it and instantly was worried. Just got the word after walking off the floor. So I feel terrible for Chris and obviously guys will step up and be ready to play.

“We've got to hold down the fort without him."

Golden State acquired the 38-year-old Paul in the deal that sent Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards last July.

The 12-time All-Star and former NBA Rookie of the Year is averaging 8.9 points, 7.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 32 games (11 starts) this season.

Chris Paul will undergo surgery after fracturing his left hand in the Golden State Warriors' win over the Detroit Pistons.

During the third quarter of the Warriors' 113-109 victory on Friday, Paul injured his hand while attempting to grab a rebound, making contact with the Pistons' Jaden Ivey.

Paul went back to the locker room following the incident, and the Warriors have since announced the 38-year-old will have surgery next week.

Paul has averaged 8.9 points, 7.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game this season, and Golden State head coach Steve Kerr is disappointed for the 12-time All-Star.

"I feel so bad for Chris," Kerr told reporters. "I know he's had a couple of hand surgeries before, I believe, maybe on the other hand. I saw him holding it and instantly was worried.

"[I] just got the word after walking off the floor. I feel terrible for Chris, and obviously, guys will step up and be ready to play. We've got to hold down the fort without him."

Stephen Curry acknowledged he and his team-mates will have to step up in Paul's absence, saying: "Especially over the last two years or so, I'm able to adjust to whatever is out there. I know that's another challenge now going back to another different lineup with CP out.

"He's such a cerebral player. He knows how to manage the game, getting us organised. CP is a great addition to that flow.

"I've got to be able to make the adjustments, Klay's [Thompson] got to do the same, for us to continue to be aggressive [without Paul]."

NBA referees are too "emotional", according to former player Gilbert Arenas.

A controversial incident on Wednesday led to Golden State Warriors' Chris Paul being ejected from his team's game with the Phoenix Suns, thrown out by referee Scott Foster, with whom Paul has endured a long feud.

Paul and Foster have clashed numerous times over the years, and the latest disagreement saw the referee slap the 12-time NBA All-Star with two quick technical fouls, leading to the 38-year-old's seventh career ejection.

Arenas, who racked up 11,402 points in an NBA career spanning 11 years, believes referees must do more to control their own emotions amid the chaos.

"Someone should ask Adam Silver [NBA commissioner] this," Arenas said on his Gil's Arena podcast. "If I'm a player, I'm playing a game that's emotional, I'm acting in real time, real deep human emotions.

"And when I don't control my emotions, a ref can give me a technical, which means whatever I said to him, irritated him so bad that he didn't control his emotions and he gave me a tech. So, my emotions led to him being emotional, but he gets to give me a technical and that's fine.

"How? He's supposed to be the most cool and collected m*********** out there. There's no nothing for him. He doesn't leave it with a win or loss. Whatever he does, whatever he makes, he gets it no matter f****** what. What's a ref's record? zero and f****** zero his whole career. There's no win or loss, [yet] that's the most f****** emotional dude in the game."

Miles Bridges' 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left in overtime capped a stunning rally by the Charlotte Hornets, who snapped the Boston Celtics' six-game winning streak with a 121-118 victory on Monday.

The Hornets trailed by 11 points with six minutes remaining in regulation and overcame a 45-point night from Boston star Jayson Tatum to end a run of six consecutive home losses. LaMelo Ball led the comeback with 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, while former Celtic Gordon Hayward scored six of his 20 points in overtime.

Bridges added 14 points and 15 rebounds in his third game back from a suspension for a domestic violence arrest that caused him to miss the entire 2022-23 season and the first 10 games of this one.

The Celtics appeared on the way towards another victory before Charlotte scored the final nine points of the fourth quarter. Ball hit a key 3-pointer during the late run and forced overtime with a driving layup with 7.2 seconds remaining.

Tatum's 3-pointer with 57.6 seconds left in regulation put Boston back up by a 116-114 score, but Ball fed Hayward for a dunk on the ensuing possession and after the Celtics' Jaylen Brown missed a 3-pointer, Bridges buried a 25-foot jumper with time winding down to give Charlotte a 119-116 lead.

Payton Pritchard went 5 of 8 from 3-point range and recorded 21 points off the bench for Boston, while Tatum added 13 rebounds and six assists.

Curry extends 3-point record as Warriors halt six-game skid

Stephen Curry made five more 3-pointers and collected 32 points to get the Golden State Warriors back on track with a 121-116 win over the Houston Rockets.

Curry, the NBA's all-time leader in 3-point field goals made, finished 5 of 9 from beyond the arc to become the first in league history with 13 consecutive games with four or more triples to begin a season. 

Klay Thompson broke out of a shooting slump with 20 points to help the Warriors end a six-game losing streak. Chris Paul added 15 points and 12 assists, while Dario Saric contributed 18 points off the bench. 

Thompson, who ended 5 of 11 from 3-point range, had 12 first-half points as Golden State built a 63-53 lead at intermission. Curry scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter to allow the Warriors to stay in front the rest of the way.

The Rockets lost for the third straight time following a six-game winning streak despite Alperen Sengun's 30 points and 13 rebounds. Fred VanVleet dished out 14 assists for Houston but went just 3 of 13 from the field while being held to 10 points.

Pelicans snap Kings' winning streak with 36-point blowout

Brandon Ingram scored 31 points and Zion Williamson had 26 as the New Orleans Pelicans cooled off the Sacramento Kings with a 129-93 rout.

The Pelicans shot 54 per cent from the field and led by as many as 41 points in ending Sacramento's six-game winning streak. Ingram made all five of his 3-point attempts and shot 11 of 18 overall, while Williamson converted 12 of his 16 field goal tries and added five assists and three steals.

Williamson racked up 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting during a dominant first half as the Pelicans took a 66-53 lead into the break. New Orleans then broke the game open by outscoring the Kings by a 34-16 margin in the third quarter, with Ingram delivering 18 points for the period.

Sacramento shot just 24.4 per cent from 3-point range, including a 2-of-12 performance from leading scorer De'Aaron Fox. 

Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 16 points. Fox ended with a season-low 14 after coming into the contest averaging 31.9 per game. 

The Golden State Warriors have agreed to acquire Chris Paul from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Jordan Poole and two draft picks, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.

Paul was traded to Washington over the weekend in the deal that sent Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns. The rebuilding Wizards saw no need to keep the 38-year-old point guard, who is still searching for an NBA title to complete his impressive career.

The Wizards will reportedly receive guard Ryan Rollins, a protected first-round pick in 2030 and a 2027 second-rounder, along with a 24-year-old scorer in Poole.

Poole signed a four-year, $140million extension with the Warriors last offseason after Golden State won the 2022 NBA title.

Later that offseason, teammate Draymond Green punched Poole during practice.

Poole averaged a career-high 20.4 points last season, but his efficiency dropped and he scored just 10.3 points per game in the playoffs as the Warriors were eliminated in the second round by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Paul joins forces with Stephen Curry on a title-contending roster that includes veterans Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney.

Green, who has helped the Warriors win four titles since 2015, declined a $27.5million player option earlier this month and will become an unrestricted free agent on June 30.

Majority owner Joe Lacob and newly crowned general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. have publicly declared the Warriors’ desire to bring Green back on a new contract.

“I'll reiterate, we really want Draymond back,” Dunleavy told reporters on Monday. “What he means to this organization and this team in terms of trying to win at the highest level, we feel like we have to have him.”

Chris Paul's time in the Valley of the Sun is over.

The Phoenix Suns informed Paul on Wednesday that he will be waived, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.

The 38-year-old future Hall of Famer will become a free agent after spending the last three seasons with the Suns.

With two years left on a four-year, $120million contract, Paul was due to make $30.8million this season but only $15.8million of that was guaranteed.

By clearing cap space, the Suns will now build around Kevin Durant and Devin Booker as they again try to capture the franchise's first championship under new coach Frank Vogel.

Despite being near the end of his career, Paul will still be considered one of this summer's top free agents, as he can still efficiently run an offense and excels at finding open teammates.

In his first season in Phoenix in 2020-21, he helped the Suns reach the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.

With Paul running the point, Phoenix won a franchise-record 64 games in 2021-22, but the season ended at the hands of the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-finals.

This season also ended with the Nuggets again eliminating the Suns in the conference semis with Paul missing the final four games of the series after injuring his groin in Game 2.

A 12-time All-Star, Paul finished the 2022-23 season with a career-low 13.9 points per game, but still showed a proficiency at distributing the ball, with an average 8.9 assists to rank fourth in the NBA.

With career averages of 17.9 points, 9.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals, he is the only player in NBA history to average at least 15 points, nine assists, four rebounds and two steals.

His 11,501 career assists and 2,544 career steals are both third most in NBA history, trailing only John Stockton and Jason Kidd in both categories.

The fourth overall pick of the 2005 draft, Paul was named Rookie of the Year in 2005-06 and has been selected to the NBA All-Defensive first team seven times. The 18-year veteran has also been an All-NBA first-team selection four times, a second-team selection five years and a third-team selection twice.

 

Chris Paul hobbled off with an apparent groin problem in the Phoenix Suns' loss to the Denver Nuggets.

The Suns lost 97-87 on Monday, with the Nuggets moving into a 2-0 lead in the series.

There was further concern as Paul left the game in the third quarter, and the Suns can now only hope for the best in regard to his status.

"All we can do is hope he has a speedy recovery," said Devin Booker, who scored 35 points.

"We're going to be behind him. We're going to hold it down while he is out, or if he's out, and just take it from there."

Monty Williams added: "He just came up where he couldn't push off of it or anything.

"We're not quite sure what it is right now, but it seems to be something in the groin area. We'll find out more [on Tuesday].

Should Paul fail to recover, Booker said he is ready to shoulder extra responsibility.

"I mean, the playoffs is a lot, a lot comes with this, so you just have to embrace it," he said.

"Embrace the challenge, embrace the opportunity that we have right now, even down 0-2.

"Get back home, protect our home court and go from there. But a lot is on all of our plates, and that's everybody throughout the playoffs right now."

Chris Paul said he has "never played with this much talent" after helping the Phoenix Suns to an imposing 3-1 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers in their first-round playoff series.

The Suns are among the favourites to reach the Conference Finals from the West given a stacked roster that now includes Kevin Durant alongside Paul and Devin Booker.

Paul (19 points), Durant (31 points) and Booker (30 points) all contributed in Saturday's 112-100 victory, which leaves the Suns one win away from progressing.

At 37, Paul – who spent seven years at the Clippers – has been around the block but this crop of Phoenix stars is among the best he has seen assembled.

"I've never played with this much talent," said Paul, who drained 12 of his points in the fourth quarter. 

"Where people are doubling off of me. I've never seen so many open shots.

"It's something that I'm getting used to. Trying to figure out when to pick your spots, when to be aggressive. We're figuring this thing out on the fly. I'm just happy that a few of them fell tonight."

The Suns were sloppy at the start of the second half, giving up seven straight points in the opening minute, leading to Paul aiming a few choice words at the team from the bench.

"I think the way the third quarter started, I was p*****. We all was," Paul added. 

"We were on the bench sort of going at each other. But it's healthy. Just trying to get us going. I tried to get myself going defensively. The shots, they're going to come."

One potential concern is a lack of depth, with Durant (45), Booker (42) and Paul (38) racking up big minutes – indeed the former two players are clocking an average of 43 minutes in the playoffs.

But Durant gave short shrift to the idea of being overworked.

"How'd I look tonight?" Durant said. "I felt great. I missed a lot of time this season. 

"I want to be out there every minute. I wish I could play 48 every game."

Durant also had high praise for Clippers star Russell Westbrook, who had a game-high 37 points.

Westbrook endured a tough spell at the Clippers' rivals the Los Angeles Lakers, but Durant said he is among the best in the business.

"People going to always criticise when you're successful and doing your thing for this long. Russ has been resilient his whole life. He comes to work, doesn't say much. Just come hoop," Durant added.

"When he retires, people are going to really tell the truth about his game. Right now, the fun thing to do is to make a joke out of Russ. But the way he's been playing since he got with the Clippers is showing everybody who he really is."

Kevin Durant said Devin Booker "can do everything at an elite level" after scoring 38 points on 64 per cent shooting in the Phoenix Suns' first round playoffs Game 2 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Booker was in scintillating form, making 14-of-22 from the field including four-of-seven from the beyond the arc, with nine assists as the Suns triumphed 123-109 to level the series after two games at Footprint Center in Arizona.

Durant contributed 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting with five assists, but was quick to praise his team-mate.

"He's an all-around player," Durant told reporters about Booker. "He can do everything at an elite level on a basketball court."

Booker's display came after a minor dip in offensive output late in the regular season where he averaged 24 points in their final six games, failing to have any 30-point games during that stretch.

Suns head coach Monty Williams insisted he was never worried about Booker's form and added to the praise.

"Book scores in a number of ways and when he's going like that, I think the team feeds off his high level play," Williams told reporters.

Booker scored or assisted 28 of the Suns' 33 third-quarter points as they pulled clear after scores were locked 59-59 at half-time.

"I was planning on taking him out the first two minutes of the fourth, then he got going, and then I said 'one more play', then 'one more play' and he kept hitting shots, so I just let him go," Williams said.

"When he's attacking like that, knocking down big shots from outside it just keeps everybody off balance."

Game 2 was Phoenix's ninth win from 10 games with Durant in the side, having been traded in from the Brooklyn Nets in February.

Williams added: "I thought the spacing was a lot better. Just having the balance of [Booker] and Kevin being able to get to their spots with a live ball helps. I thought Chris [Paul] did a really good job of putting the ball in Book's hands and saying 'you go'."

Kevin Durant is unmoved by his winning start to life with the Phoenix Suns, knowing there is "a whole new season about to start" in the playoffs.

The Suns won 119-115 on Thursday against a Denver Nuggets team missing Nikola Jokic and several other starters.

Phoenix, by contrast, were at full strength, with Durant starting his eighth game for the team, joining Chris Paul and Devin Booker in the lineup.

Durant is 8-0 since joining the Brooklyn Nets; the last player to move teams and win their next nine starts was Kawhi Leonard on the Toronto Raptors in 2018.

That Raptors team ended up winning the title, beating Durant's Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, and the Suns superstar's focus now is on postseason success.

"We've played a couple of teams that weren't full strength," Durant said. "I don't make too much of it.

"It's a whole new season about to start, so what we're doing right now is cool, record-wise, but we want to keep building good habits and stay healthy. That's the only thing that's important to me."

Even in victory, coach Monty Williams was frustrated by an "inconsistent" performance, while Paul called it a "weird" game.

The veteran point guard had a key role to play in the win, however, making a career-high seven threes.

"I should have made more," Paul said. "I was just trying to take those shots.

"That's why these games are important: it's a new way – I've never really played with guys who are getting doubled like this.

"It's not just [a case of] wait until the playoffs and find our rhythm; you need to use these games to do that."

At the same time, Paul, averaging 8.9 assists per game this year, finished with only two assists.

Only once this season had Paul previously played more than 15 minutes and finished with as few as two assists, losing by 19 points to the New York Knicks in February.

It was the seventh time in his career he has played at least 15 minutes in a win and not contributed three or more assists.

"I'm not used to it, but it's one of those things where guys are telling me to shoot, telling me to shoot, and I just said 'alright'," Paul said.

"It is weird, but it's whatever it takes. If that means scoring, if that means assisting, I've got to shoot to keep them honest."

Durant added: "We're used to him getting nearly double-digit assists every game, but it's good when you're unpredictable and can switch attacks. We're going to need that going forward."

Nikola Jokic recorded his 28th triple-double of the season as the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets rediscovered some form with a 108-102 road victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

The Nuggets had lost five of their past six games, but improved to 48-24 with the triumph, maintaining a sizeable buffer at the top of the West from the second-placed Sacramento Kings (43-27).

Serbian center Jokic starred with 22 points on nine-of-12 shooting with 17 rebounds and 10 assists, while Michael Porter scored a team-high 28 points with five-of-nine three-point attempts.

Jamal Murray added 25 points, nailing all four of his attempts from beyond the arc, and he posted 20 of his haul in the opening quarter as Denver got a fast start to lead 33-21 at the first break.

The Nuggets were coasting to victory with a 91-71 lead at three-quarter time before the Nets rallied in the fourth, with Porter settling the game with one of his five triples.

The defeat dents Brooklyn's aspirations to claim a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference, falling to 39-32, marginally ahead of the seventh-placed Miami Heat (39-34).

Mikal Bridges top scored for the home side with 23 points on eight-of-18 shooting from the field, while Nic Claxton chipped in 19 points and eight rebounds.

Giannis records triple-double in Bucks win

The Milwaukee Bucks stormed past the Toronto Raptors 118-111 on a 29-16 fourth-quarter charge as Giannis Antetokounmpo brought up his 33d career triple-double.

Antetokounmpo finished with 22 points on 100 per cent shooting from the field with 13 rebounds and 10 assists, while Brook Lopez added a team-high 26 points with Khris Middleton scoring 20.

Lopez scored 17 of his 26 points in the final period, including the first eight of the quarter, with the Bucks going on a game-changing 15-2 run. The NBA-best Bucks are now 51-20.

SGA leads OKC past Suns

Shai Gilgeous-Alezander scored 40 points, came up clutch down the stretch and garnered M-V-P chants as the Oklahoma City Thunder boosted their play-in hopes with a 124-120 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Gilgeous-Thunder hit two free throws with 10 seconds left to hold off the Suns, who had Devin Booker score 46 points, including 30 in the second half, having led 69-57 at half-time. Chris Paul scored 14 points with 13 assists.

OKC (35-36) have four wins from their past five games to stay in the play-in hunt, thanks in large part to Gilgeous-Alexander's perfect 11-of-11 free throws in the second half, while Luguentz Dort added 20 points.

The Milwaukee Bucks underlined their NBA title favouritism as they reached 50 wins for the season with a commanding 116-104 road victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo backed up Monday's 40-point return against the Sacramento Kings with 36 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists at the Footprint Center.

The Bucks have won 20 of their past 22 games, including a 15-game winning streak during that stretch, while the Suns have now lost three consecutive games.

Milwaukee's record is 50-19, pulling clear of the Boston Celtics (47-22) in second in the Eastern Conference, while the 37-31 Suns remain among the mayhem in the tight Western Conference playoffs race.

The Suns had rallied from a 57-48 half-time deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter but the Bucks steadied, with Antetokounmpo's block on Devin Booker's two-point attempt among the highlights.

Bucks center Brook Lopez added 21 points with 10 rebounds, while Jrue Holiday chipped in with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Booker top scored for the Suns, still missing Kevin Durant due to an ankle injury, with 30 points on 13-of-27 shooting, while Chris Paul added 11 points with eight assists. Phoenix only made eight three-pointers for the game.

Nuggets fall to fourth straight defeat

The Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets slumped to their fourth straight defeat despite a third-quarter rally, going down 125-110 to the Toronto Raptors.

Fred VanVleet scored 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting including eight triples as the Raptors flew out of the blocks with a franchise-record 49-point first quarter, improving their record to 33-26.

The Nuggets fall to 46-23 amid their slump, with Nikola Jokic scoring 28 points with eight rebounds and seven assists, while Michael Porter Jr added 23 points with five three-pointers.

Lakers hit franchise record in key win over Pels

Anthony Davis produced a bounce-back display after his "terrible" showing two nights ago with 35 points and 17 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers won 123-108 over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Malik Beasley added 24 points, shooting seven-of-12 from beyond the arc, as the Lakers moved closer to .500 with a 34-35 record to boost their playoffs hopes.

Beasley's three-point shooting helped the Lakers achieve a franchise record for threes made in a half, with 15 as a team before half-time.

Devin Booker made Phoenix Suns history with 44 points in the Phoenix Suns' 132-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, where Kevin Durant's anticipated home debut was delayed due to an ankle injury.

Durant had been named in the Suns' starting line-up but suffered an ankle sprain during the warm-ups and was ruled out of the game on Wednesday at the Footprint Center.

In Durant's absence, Booker put on a show, becoming the first player in franchise history with four straight 35-point games.

Booker finished with 44 points on 17-of-23 shooting from the field, making six-of-10 from beyond the arc in a masterful display from only 28 minutes on court, checking out in the fourth quarter.

The Suns guard had 30 points by half-time in the blowout win which gave fourth-placed Phoenix a cushion on the chasing pack for the Western Conference playoffs spots.

Veteran guard Chris Paul added 18 points with nine assists and four steals, while Terrence Ross scored 24 points in 23 minutes off the bench.

For the Thunder, Lindy Waters III top scored off the bench with 23 points including six three-pointers, while Josh Giddey had 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Doncic injured as Mavs lose to Pels

The Dallas Mavericks lost Luka Doncic to injury as their defensive struggles continued with a 113-106 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, who are still without star center Zion Williamson.

The Mavs slipped to eighth in the west with the defeat and will be sweating on Doncic's fitness, exiting in the third quarter with a strained left thigh after 15 points and eight assists.

C.J. McCollum landed six-of-eight three-point attempts in his 32 points for the Pels, who made 13-of-27 from beyond the arc, compared to Dallas' 16-of-46.

Hawks triumph despite Porzingis career-high

Kristaps Porzingis scored a career-high 43 points, but it was not enough as the Washington Wizards lost 122-120 to the Atlanta Hawks.

De'Andre Hunter's go-ahead three-point play with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter settled the tight win, as new Hawks head coach Quin Snyder saw his side improve to 33-33.

Atlanta guard Trae Young scored 28 points with 10 assists and three steals, while Porzingis was outstanding, shooting 17-of-22 from the field including seven-of-10 from three-point range.

Kevin Durant scored 23 points in his Phoenix Suns debut as Devin Booker stole the show with 37 points in a 105-91 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.

Durant stepped out for the Suns for the first time since his trade last month, having been sidelined with a sprained right knee, shooting 10-of-15 from the field and two-of-four from beyond the arc with six rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

Booker shot 15-of-26 from the field in his 37-point haul with six rebounds and seven assists, while Deandre Ayton scored 16 points with 16 rebounds.

Veteran guard Chris Paul took a back seat, with only two points whilst providing 11 assists as the new-look Suns showed off their multi-dimensional line-up.

The victory snapped the Hornets' five-game winning streak, with the Suns going wire to wire in a strong display, improving their record to 34-29.

Charlotte got within six points at three-quarter time but Durant played his part at the start of the fourth with nine points, registering only 19 minutes for the opening three periods, as Phoenix pulled away.

Tatum and Mitchell record 40-point games

Jayson Tatum recorded his ninth 40-point game of the season as the Boston Celtics overcame Donovan Mitchell's Cleveland Cavaliers 117-113.

Tatum finished with 41 points with improved 13-of-21 shooting including four-of-six three-pointers with 11 rebounds and eight assists, while Al Horford added 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Mitchell shrugged off an apparent quad concern in the third quarter with 44 points, piling only 29 in the second half. That was Mitchell's seventh 40-point game of his season.

Knicks down Nets to continue win streak

The New York Knicks extended their winning streak to seven games as Jalen Brunson scored 39 points in a 142-118 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Brunson hit 30 of his 39 points in the first half, with the Knicks piling on 47 points in the first quarter as they opened up 81-57 half-time lead. The Knicks improved their record to 37-27, sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Cam Johnson scored a season-high 33 points for the Nets, who fall to their fourth straight loss and a 34-28 record as they continue to slide in the east.

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