LeBron James inspired the Los Angeles Lakers to end their four-game losing run with 56 points in a 124-116 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

James' 56-point haul was his most as a Laker and also meant he became the fourth player aged 37 or older to score 50 or more points in a game, alongside Michael Jordan (2001), Kobe Bryant (2016) and Jamal Crawford (2019).

The four-time NBA MVP made 19-of-31 from the field along with six-of-11 from beyond the arc, while he dished off three assists, including a key late pass for Carmelo Anthony's three-pointer. James also had 10 rebounds.

Russell Westbrook added 20 points for the Lakers, while Stephen Curry scored 30 points including four three-pointers for Golden State.

The result snaps the Lakers' skid and improves their record to 28-13, but it leaves the Warriors having lost four in a row, while they have only won twice in their past 10.

 

Harden absent as Heat move clear

Eastern Conference leaders Miami Heat made a statement with a 99-82 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers who were missing James Harden. The 76ers, playing on back-to-back nights, managed Harden's left hamstring complaint. Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler scored 21 points each as the Heat moved three games clear of the east's second-placed 76ers. Joel Embiid had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the 76ers.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 36 points with 15 rebounds and five assists as the Minnesota Timberwolves won 135-121 over the Portland Trail Blazers. Emerging star Anfernee Simons had 38 points for the Blazers.

Ja Morant scored 25 points with seven assists as the Memphis Grizzlies continued their strong run with a 124-96 win over the Orlando Magic. Desmond Bane added 24 points with 10-of-15 shooting.

 

Kings blew big lead against Mavs

The Sacramento Kings blew a 19-point lead as they lost 114-113 to the Dallas Mavericks who were without All-Star Luka Doncic with a toe strain. Dorian Finney-Smith hit a three-pointer with 3.3 seconds left, while Spencer Dinwiddie scored a season-high 36 points. De'Aaron Fox had an equal career-high 44 points for the Kings.

Kevin Durant returned from injury with 31 points but the Brooklyn Nets' struggles continued with a 113-107 defeat to the Miami Heat.

Durant had missed the past 21 games due to an MCL sprain sustained on January 16, with the Nets going 5-16 in his absence, and they led by 16 points in the first half upon his return, but could not sustain it.

The 2014 NBA MVP had a three-point attempt with 57 seconds left which would have put the Nets in the lead but he missed and the Heat scored from the ensuing possession via Bam Adebayo.

Adebayo finished the game with 30 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, while Tyler Herro came off the bench to contribute 27 points, four rebounds and eight assists.

Durant shot 10-of-21 from the field for his 31 points, including two three-pointers, with four rebounds and four assists.

The result leaves the Nets at 32-32 with a .500 record, while the Heat are top of the Eastern Conference with a 42-22 record.

 

Tatum leads Celtics final-quarter charge

The Boston Celtics continued their strong form as Jayson Tatum scored 21 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter in a 120-107 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Ja Morant maintained his own hot streak, with 38 points, four rebounds and seven assists.

Luka Doncic produced a dominant display with 41 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Golden State Warriors for the second time in five days, 122-113. Stephen Curry managed 21 points with nine assists for the Warriors who have lost seven of their past 10 games.

The Chicago Bulls suffered their third straight defeat with Trae Young scored 39 points with 13 assists as the Atlanta Hawks won 130-124.

 

Struggling Lakers beaten by Clippers

The Los Angeles Lakers slumped to their fourth consecutive loss going down to the Los Angeles Clippers 132-111 after being blown apart in a 40-18 third quarter. LeBron James shot eight-of-18 from the field for his 26 points with four turnovers, while Reggie Jackson scored 36 points for the Clippers.

LeBron James is adamant the Los Angeles Lakers are still capable of ending their season on a high, despite falling to a sixth defeat in seven games on Tuesday.

The Lakers lost 109-104 to the Dallas Mavericks at Crypto.com Arena to slide to a season-worst seven games below .500, leaving them ninth in the Western Conference.

James led the scoring with 26 points, one more than Mavs star Luka Doncic, but it was not enough for the 27-34 hosts as their poor run continued.

But despite the Lakers' ongoing struggles, James is not ready to write off the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign with 21 games of the regular season still to go.

"We still have games to play," he told reporters. "Until you stomp me out, cut my head off, bury me 12 feet under, then I got a chance. So that's my confidence.

"Obviously, at the end of the day, we got to come in here and win ball games and we got to play better but as long as we've got more games to play, we should have a chance.

"I feel like poop right now. But tomorrow is a new day and I'm going to be prepared and ready for the Clippers on Thursday. That's just my mindset. That's just who I am."

James has missed 17 games this season through injury, but the 37-year-old shot down suggestions he will use the final stages of this season as an opportunity to rest up.

"The only way it'll be back to full strength is with rest," he said. "But I don't have the luxury of having rest. It can wait until the off-season."

 

The Lakers made up a 21-point deficit to lead 100-94 with seven minutes to play, but 11 consecutive points ensured the Mavericks claimed an eighth win in 10 outings.

Luka Doncic stepped up by scoring seven of his 25 points in the final quarter and is now averaging 27.5 per game for the season – a tally bettered by only six others.

"We stayed together and just executed the game plan, played the game," Doncic said. "My mentality is to close the game with the best shot possible."

Los Angeles managed only four points in the final seven-plus minutes and head coach Frank Vogel accepted there is a lot to improve on.

"Our guys really competed," he said. "Our helpers really competed, but he had that stretch in crunch time where he scored a few buckets in a row. 

"It wasn't good enough. It hurts. All these guys are hurting in there. We're putting in the work."

Luka Doncic stepped up to help the Dallas Mavericks recover and overcome the Los Angeles Lakers 109-104 in Tuesday's topsy-turvy encounter.

The Mavericks blew a 21-point lead in the space of 12 minutes spanning half-time at Crypto.com Arena and trailed 100-94 with seven minutes to play.

But 11 consecutive points ensured Jason Kidd's side claimed an eighth win in 10 outings, while the out-of-form Lakers slid to a season-worst seven games below .500.

While not at his best, Doncic led the scoring for the Mavericks with 25 points – seven of those in the final quarter – as he went 9 of 21.

LeBron James scored 26 points for the Lakers and Carmelo Anthony had 20, but it was not enough to prevent the hosts from tasting a sixth loss in seven outings.

 


Timberwolves inflict another defeat on Warriors

The Golden State Warriors (43-19) have the second-best record in NBA, but they lost for a sixth time in eight games with a 129-114 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 39 points and nine rebounds, while going 14 for 22 from the floor, as the Timberwolves made it back-to-back victories.

"We're going to be fine long-term. I'm excited about our team and excited about where we can go, but we've just got to weather this storm," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.


Clippers' run goes on, Nets downed by Raptors

The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Houston Rockets 113-100 thanks to Ivica Zubac's 22 points and 12 rebounds for their fourth win in a row as they went 33-31 for the season.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, the struggling Brooklyn Nets lost to the Toronto Raptors for a second time in two days, going down 109-108 in a tight contest at Scotiabank Arena.

Jayson Tatum's 33 points, eight rebounds and seven assists inspired the Boston Celtics to a 107-98 win against the Atlanta Hawks, while the Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 116-113.

Stephen Curry says the Golden State Warriors must "bring an edge" as he and coach Steve Kerr aim to heed the lessons from the shock loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Warriors held a 19-point advantage heading into the final quarter on Sunday, yet ultimately slipped to a 107-101 loss – their fifth defeat in seven games.

Golden State's brilliant start to the season has them comfortably among the top teams in the NBA, with a 43-18 record, though their recent form will be a worry.

For Curry, however, the defeat can provide lessons on what the Warriors have to anticipate as the regular season enters its final stages and the playoffs approach.

"We played great defense for 36 minutes," Curry, who had a double-double of 27 points and 10 assists, said.

"We felt like we had the game under control. For whatever reason, our energy shifted when we missed a couple of shots, empty possessions.

"They come down and score, we start getting deflated, and for no reason.

"We've got to figure out how to maintain our energy when the shots aren't falling. Because, that's what it might be like in a playoff game.

"So I'd like to say it was a good lesson to learn, even though it sucks to have to go through it.

"We've got to bring an edge. Sustain that over 48 minutes and each game we'll have an opportunity to do that, to turn it into a positive and try to build momentum, but it's not going to happen on its own just because the coach says it or because we want it to. We've got to do it."

It was a sentiment echoed by Kerr, whose side's capitulation marked the biggest blown fourth-quarter lead so far this season. 

"We did not maintain our grit down the stretch," said Kerr, who has previously been highly critical of his teams defense across their poor run.

"We just let our momentum get away from us. We can't just say, 'Oh well, when Draymond [Green] and Andre [Iguodala] get back we will be better.' It doesn't matter who's out there. We've got to get better executing under pressure and maintaining competence.

"It's actually good to go through and feel it because this is what it feels like in the playoffs, when you're playing against a really good team."

James Harden recorded his first triple-double for the Philadelphia 76ers who flexed their muscle with a dominant 125-109 win over the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Harden had 29 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists, while Joel Embiid top scored with 37 points along with nine rebounds and four blocks.

Embiid made a season-high 23 free-throws, heading to the line 27 times across the game as the 76ers relentlessly attacked the rim.

The 76ers made 39 free-throws for the game, which was the most of any team this season.

Philadelphia had contributions from beyond their star pair, though, with Tyrese Maxey scoring 21 points with seven rebounds

 

Doncic leads Mavs comeback win

Luka Doncic helped the Dallas Mavericks overcome a 21-point third-quarter deficit to win 107-101 over the Golden State Warriors. The Slovenian had 34 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavs, while Stephen Curry finished with 27 points and 10 assists.

The Utah Jazz claimed their eighth win from their past nine games and condemned the Chris Paul-less Phoenix Suns to their second straight defeat in a 118-114 defeat, with Rudy Gobert scoring 16 points with 14 rebounds.

Kelly Olynyk scored a match-winning buzzer beater in overtime as the Detroit Pistons beat the Charlotte Hornets 127-126, while the in-form Boston Celtics were shocked 128-107 by the Indiana Pacers.

 

Lakers demolished on home court

The Los Angeles Lakers were humiliated 123-95 by the New Orleans Pelicans at home, giving up 23 turnovers for the game, which was the team's most this season. LeBron James and Russell Westbrook combined for 14 turnovers which was their worst return as teammates. The only positive was James scored 32 points, marking his 500th career game with 30 points or more.

James Harden scored 27 points with 13 assists on his Philadelphia 76ers debut and formed a strong partnership with Joel Embiid in a 133-102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

Harden, who crossed from the Brooklyn Nets in an NBA Trade Deadline move earlier this month, almost registered a debut triple-double, with eight rebounds.

Embiid has been in irrepressible form this season, although there had been some concern Harden's arrival may blunt some of his offensive impact, but the center contributed 34 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

The new-look 76ers had immediate cohesion, scoring 65 points in the first half, before a 41-point final quarter with Tyrese Maxey finishing with 28 points while Harden also drained five three-pointers, shooting seven-of-12 from the field.

The 76ers recorded a season-high 19 three-pointers for the game, with head coach Doc Rivers admitting "that was pretty good" when asked post-game if Harden's debut could have gone any better.

 

Lakers fall to Clippers again

Terance Mann led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Los Angeles Clippers won a tight game with the Los Angeles Lakers 105-102, the sixth time in a row they have beaten their local rivals.

LeBron James top scored with 21 but was unable to stop the Clippers from taking charge in the closing moments, with Amir Coffey adding 12 of his 14 points for the night in the fourth quarter.

The San Antonio Spurs edged the Washington Wizards 157-153 in double over-time, with both teams setting season-highs in scoring. Spurs guard Dejounte Murray recorded a triple-double, although he missed potential winning shots in both regulation and the first over-time.

RJ Barrett scored 46 points including six three-pointers but the New York Knicks went down 115-110 to the Miami Heat, while Donovan Mitchell scored 33 points and Rudy Gobert had a double-double (14 points and 17 rebounds) as the Utah Jazz beat Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks 114-109.

 

Suns streak halted

The table-topping Phoenix Suns' eight-game winning streak came to an end, going down 117-102 to the lowly New Orleans Pelicans. Devin Booker top scored with 30 points for the Suns, who were without injured veteran guard Chris Paul. CJ McCollum scored 32 points for the Pels as he continues to thrive following his trade.

Luka Doncic took criticism of his weight at the start of this NBA season to heart and has since been "unstoppable", according to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

For the second season running, Doncic was the preseason MVP favourite; for the second season running, the Mavs superstar was accused of turning up for work out of shape.

Doncic himself acknowledged he "maybe" relaxed "too much" after leading Slovenia in a sensational deep run at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 22-year-old vowed to "trim down" and "do better" and has done exactly that – reportedly now at a similar weight to his rookie year.

The Mavs were 17-18 up until the end of December, with Doncic featuring in only 21 games and averaging 25.6 points, 8.5 assists, 8.0 rebounds and a plus/minus of -4.0.

In 2022, the team are 18-6, carried by their main man's 29.3 points, 9.4 assists and 10.3 rebounds per game, along with a plus/minus of 9.1. He has not missed a game since January 7.

This calendar year, Doncic ranks third for total points (674), second for total assists (217) and sixth for total rebounds (236) – a response, Cuban suggests, to early-season criticism.

"I think he was humbled a little bit," Cuban told The Ticket. "I think he didn't like being called out for his weight and other things, and it finally clicked that there's a level of discipline that's required.

"All athletes at his level go through it at some level, where things are just easy and you're always used to being the best and you're always used to getting all the accolades.

"Then when something doesn't go according to expected, it makes you reconsider.

"He knows what he needs to do, and it finally clicked that if he's going to be the best – and I know he wants to be the best – there's certain things he has to control.

"Once he got a handle on those things, it's just been 'Katie, bar the door'. He's just been unstoppable."

Jason Kidd has run out of ways to describe Luka Doncic who, according to the Dallas Mavericks coach, "just gets better".

Doncic was at the top of his game on Thursday, as he scored 49 points in a 125-118 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 22-year-old became the first player in NBA history to score 40+ points, have 15 or more rebounds, provide at least five assists, make five or more threes and have a plus-minus of +20 or better, all in a single game.

Doncic averages 27.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game from 44 appearances this season, leading the Mavs in each of those categories.

"Luka set the tone early and often," Kidd told reporters. "We can sit here and talk about him all day. The things that he does on the court for himself and his team-mates are incredible.

"We've used every noun and adjective to describe his game. He just gets better."

Doncic's points tally was just two shy of the career-high 51 he set against the Los Angeles Clippers on February 10. 

The Slovenian has now had 45 points or higher in three of his last four games, but Doncic was actually underwhelmed by parts of his display.

"I didn't really notice, but my career-high in points [before] was about 44 or 45 points. I definitely felt good for two quarters, but the last quarter was just very bad," he said.

"There were too many bad shots, but we still got a win, so I'm happy."

Team-mate Maxi Kleber, however, did not share Doncic's frustration.

"What he's doing right now is unbelievable," Kleber said. "He's just gifted as a team-mate. It's fun to watch."

Joel Embiid had 42 points as he inspired the Philadelphia 76ers to a 123-120 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

With James Harden having arrived to bolster the 76ers' championship bid, but still missing due to a hamstring injury, Embiid served up a reminder of just how crucial he is with another supreme display on Thursday.

This time, it was reigning NBA champions the Bucks who were on the receiving end of a masterful showing from the 27-year-old, who also tallied up 14 rebounds and five assists.

The Bucks came close, though, and had their own MVP to thank for that – Giannis Antetokounmpo helping himself to a double-double of 32 points and 11 rebounds, while also contributing nine assists.

Embiid, fittingly, put Philadelphia ahead for good with a 10-foot shot in the final quarter. 

It marked a valuable return to form for the 76ers, who can enter the All-Star break on a high despite Tuesday's dismal 135-87 defeat to the Boston Celtics. They are third in the Eastern Conference with a 35-23 record, while the Bucks sit fifth (36-24).

Doncic downs Pelicans

Anything Embiid or Antetokounmpo can do, Luka Doncic is out to do it better.

The Dallas Mavericks star had 49 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists in a 125-118 defeat of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Doncic has now had 45 points or more in three of his last four games for Dallas, who enter the break in fifth place in the West.

Nets back to losing ways

After snapping an 11-game losing streak with victories over the Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets fell to a 117-103 reverse in Washington.

Rui Hachimura led the way for the Wizards with 20 points, as they moved to 2-2 for their series against the Nets this season.

The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Houston Rockets to win for a third time in their last four games, while the Miami Heat were overtime winners over the Charlotte Hornets.

The Philadelphia 76ers made a statement as Joel Embiid piled on a 40-point triple-double as they won 103-93 over the Cleveland Cavaliers without new acquisition James Harden on Saturday.

Embiid scored 40 points with 14 rebounds and 10 assists for the Sixers, who improve to 34-22. It was only Embiid's fourth career triple-double.

The Cameroonian center's points haul included a highlight-reel dunk, a one-handed throw-down over Jarrett Allen late in the first half.

Embiid also made four of five three-pointers, going at 50 per cent from the field, while he added three steals in an outstanding game as they wait on Harden to be cleared medically to debut.

 

Klay hits season-high

Klay Thompson scored a season-high 33 points, marking a major milestone in his recovery from long-term injury, as the Golden State Warriors won 117-115 over the Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson shot five-of-nine from beyond the arc, with Stephen Curry (24 points, five rebounds, eight assists) taking a backseat. LeBron James had 26 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers.

The Chicago Bulls, sitting second in the Eastern Conference, overcame a sluggish start as DeMar DeRozan scored 38 points with six rebounds and five assists, while Nikola Vucevic added 31 points and 15 rebounds in a 106-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Luka Doncic scored 45 points with 15 rebounds and eight rebounds in a losing cause as the Dallas Mavericks went down 99-97 to the Los Angeles Clippers, while the table-topping Phoenix Suns won their fourth straight with a 132-105 win over the Orlando Magic led by Devin Booker's 26 points and Chris Paul's 15 assists.

 

Nets slump to 11th straight loss

Kyrie Irving led a late Brooklyn Nets charge that fell short as they went down 115-111 to the Miami Heat. Irving scored 29 points, including 20 in the final quarter, with five rebounds and five assists as the Nets slumped to their 11th straight defeat. Bam Adebayo had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat who have won five in a row.

Luka Doncic felt he and Kristaps Porzingis were "building something great" but accepted "it didn't obviously work out" after his Dallas Mavericks team-mate was traded to the Washington Wizards.

Much was expected of Porzingis, who was acquired in a huge trade with the New York Knicks back in 2019, but the Mavericks opted to move on from the giant former All-Star midway through a $158million contract.

During his time in Dallas, Porzingis averaged 20 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per games, but injuries restricted him from ever reaching the sort of performance levels he showed in New York.

He arrived while recovering from an ACL injury to his left knee and sustained meniscus damage in his right knee during the playoffs in his first season.

In total, Porzingis played only 134 games, featuring in 34 of 55 this season – a campaign in which he has battled injuries and illness.

Doncic described the trade, which saw the Mavs acquire guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Davis Bertans, as "shocking" but accepted the reasons behind it.

"Obviously, we're going to miss KP," Doncic said. "We were building something great here. It didn't obviously work out. 

"I wish him the best, and we've got two new guys who are welcome. Bertans is a great shooter. Dinwiddie can put the ball on the floor, and he can score. The NBA is a business.

"He went through a lot with the injuries. I think this year, he was way better. Like I said, the NBA is a business, and I wish him the best in the future."

Doncic added that he has trust in general manager Nico Harrison and governor Mark Cuban to put together a roster capable of challenging for NBA titles.

"I trust them, whatever move they make," he said. 

"I think I have great team-mates. A lot of people can do a lot of stuff, and I'm really good now. I think we're playing great basketball."

Doncic was speaking after a mightily impressive performance in the Mavs 112-105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, in which he scored 50 points for the first time in his career.

In total he had 51, shooting 28 in the first quarter, the most by any NBA player in a quarter this season. He went 10-of-13 shooting, making seven of his 10 three-point attempts.

"When you feel like that, you just don't want to be stopped and keep going," Doncic said. 

"All the shots felt good. I missed two threes – even those felt great. They were switching. They didn't want me to create, so I had to go to work."

It was the fifth time in Mavs history a player had a 50-point performance, and Doncic could have tried to tie or break Dirk Nowitzki's franchise record of 53 but opted to dribble out the final play instead of going for the basket.

"You don't shoot that shot," Doncic explained. "It's disrespectful."

With Porzingis having now departed there is even more onus on Doncic to perform for a Mavs side who are fifth in the Western Conference with a 33-23 record.

Head coach Jason Kidd was asked whether his team could contend without a second recognised star on their roster.

"We'll see. I'm the coach who has to put them in a position to be successful, get paid, find a way to win," Kidd said.

"As we go through this journey, we'll see if we come across a number two guy. It could be the team that we have where there is no real second star. You've just got guys who play roles at a very high level. And you've seen teams win championships that way, too."

The Phoenix Suns outclassed defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday to win 131-107 and stretch their NBA-best record to 45-10.

In a rematch of last season's Finals, won by the Bucks, Phoenix pulled clear in the second half after a competitive opening two quarters in Arizona.

Deandre Ayton top-scored for the Suns with 27 points, finishing on 12-of-14 shooting from the field, while Chris Paul enjoyed a special game: his 17 points and 19 assists brought about his 500th career double-double, a tally only previously reached by three guards in the league's history.

"I'm grateful that I still get a chance to play," he said. "Not just play, but I feel like I play at a high level every night. It's cool."

It was a 15th win from 16 games for the Suns and reinforced their championship credentials against the team who came from 2-0 down to win last year's Finals series 4-2.

"They're the defending champs. We still hurt," said coach Monty Williams. "But from a confidence standpoint, for sure, it was a big game for us. I can admit it now."

The Golden State Warriors, second to the Suns in the West, fell to a second straight defeat for only the third time this season despite a double-double from Stephen Curry.

Julius Randle's 28 points and 16 rebounds, the latter an equal-high for the season, saw the New York Knicks win for the first time in four games in their West Coast trip, Klay Thompson's missed buzzer-beater meaning it finished 116-114.

The Miami Heat remain top of the Eastern Conference, their dominant second-half display seeing them to a 112-97 defeat of the New Orleans Pelicans. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each scored 29 points for Miami, while Kyle Lowry got his first triple-double of the season.

Doncic hits 50 for first time

The latest star turn in the incredible early career of Luka Doncic helped the Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-105 in Texas.

The 22-year-old scored a career-best 51 points, 28 of which came in an astonishing first quarter in which he hit seven of his attempted nine three-pointers.

Marcus Morris Sr. top-scored for the Clippers with 21, while Reggie Jackson posted 18, but there was simply no way back from the damage dealt by Doncic.

"Tonight was just Luka," said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. "That little step-back three, I'll live with that. That's his shot, but if he misses a couple or few of those, then the game is different. But he made them, and that's why he's a great player."

Kuzma triple-double settles clash of busy traders

In a battle of teams at the heart of the trade deadline drama, the Washington Wizards beat the Brooklyn Nets 113-112.

A first career triple-double of 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for Kyle Kuzma proved pivotal for the Wizards, who added Kristaps Porzingis on a busy Thursday in the week they lost Bradley Beal for the rest of the season to a wrist injury.

The Nets, who sent James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in a blockbuster trade involving Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, slipped to a 10th loss on the spin despite Kyrie Irving's 31 points.

Elsewhere, Kevin Porter Jr. put up 30 points as the Toronto Raptors beat the Houston Rockets 139-120, while the Memphis Grizzlies took their winning streak to four, Ja Morant scoring 23 points in a 132-107 rout of the struggling Detroit Pistons.

 

The Brooklyn Nets' losing skid extended to eight games as reigning MVP Nikola Jokic recorded a league-high 14th triple-double in the Denver Nuggets' 124-104 win on Sunday.

Jokic finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, including scoring 23 points in the second and third quarters when the Nuggets reversed a deficit into a 21-point lead.

Brooklyn were without James Harden for the second straight game due to hamstring tightness, with Kyrie Irving scoring 27 points with 11 assists.

The Nets, who are also playing without the injured Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge, have surpassed their longest losing streak since losing seven in a row in late 2019 and early 2020.

Brooklyn are 29-24 and have dropped down to seventh in the Eastern Conference.

 

Double-doubles for Bucks trio

The Milwaukee Bucks won their third straight to improve to third in the east with a 34-21 record after a 137-113 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Jrue Holiday added 27 points and 13 assists. Bobby Portis also had a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Joel Embiid and DeMar Rozan put on scoring masterclasses but the Philadelphia 76ers got up after a fast start 119-108 over the Chicago Bulls. Embiid finished with 40 points with 10 rebounds, while DeRozan had a season-high 45 points along with nine rebounds and seven assists.

Luka Doncic had a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists despite foul trouble as the Dallas Mavericks won 103-94 over the Atlanta Hawks.

 

No shooting magic for Orlando

The struggling Orlando Magic managed five-of-25 from three-point range and 35.8 per cent shooting from the floor in their 116-83 loss to the Boston Celtics. The Magic are last in the east with a 12-43 record.

Nikola Vucevic was tasked with dominating the middle against the depleted Indiana Pacers and the Chicago Bulls center was up to the task.

Vucevic earned a 29th double-double of the season, scoring a season-high 36 points and adding 17 rebounds as the Bulls earned a 122-115 triumph on Friday.

DeMar DeRozan contributed 31 points to the cause against a Pacers side devoid of Goga Bitadze, Malcolm Brogdon, Isaiah Jackson, T.J. McConnell, Myles Turner and T.J. Warren due to injuries, while Domantas Sabonis is unavailable due to health and safety protocols.

The Bulls consequently remain top of the Eastern Conference after winning for the fourth time in six outings, with Vucevic going 16 of 21 from the field.

In credit to the Pacers, they were only trailing 65-62 at halftime and briefly led when Lance Stephenson landed a three-pointer with a little under three minutes of the third quarter remaining, but a 10-0 stretch in the fourth ensured the Bulls were in control.


Mitchell return inspires Jazz against out-of-sorts Nets

Donovan Mitchell missed eight straight games as a result of a concussion but made up for lost time as the Utah Jazz, fourth in the West, outclassed the out-of-form Brooklyn Nets 125-102.

Mitchell ended the game with 27 points on the back of eight-for-10 shooting, while he drained six three-pointers and added six assists in 22 minutes of action. His tally was a franchise record for most points scored under 22 minutes.

Bojan Bogdanovic was a valuable ally with 19 points and 11 rebounds, as the Nets were consigned to a seventh consecutive defeat.

James Harden (hamstring), Kevin Durant (knee), LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) and Joe Harris (ankle) were all again absent for a Nets team who have plummeted to sixth in the East.


Doncic triple-double sparks Mavs comeback

Not for the first time in his career, Luka Doncic was the hero for the Dallas Mavericks as they overturned a 16-point second-quarter deficit to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers 107-98.

Doncic earned a 44th career triple-double, finishing with 33 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists in a game that was paused for 44 minutes during the opening period after it was ruled one of the rims was crooked.

Reggie Bullock made a pair of big three-pointers down the stretch in a 20-point showing, while Jalen Brunson put up 19.

The Mavs snapped a two-game losing streak, while the 76ers - for who Joel Embiid had 27 points and 13 rebounds - have lost two on the spin for the first time since the middle of December.

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