Recent acquisition Buddy Hield scored 24 points and the Philadelphia 76ers held on late to end the Cleveland Cavaliers' nine-game winning streak with Monday's 123-121 victory.

Despite still being without injured reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, Philadelphia handed the red-hot Cavaliers just their second loss in their last 19 games behind hot-shooting efforts from Hield and Kelly Oubre Jr. 

Hield, making his third appearance since being acquired by the Sixers from the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, finished 5 of 8 from 3-point range and 9 of 13 overall from the field. Oubre hit 10 of his 14 field goal attempts while also collecting 24 points.

The win was Philadelphia's second straight following a 1-8 stretch from Jan. 25-Feb. 9, during which the team lost Embiid for an extended period due to a knee injury that required surgery.

Cleveland got 36 points and six assists from All-Star Donovan Mitchell and 21 points and 10 rebounds from Jarrett Allen, but couldn't match the Sixers down the stretch after taking a 102-100 lead with seven minutes remaining.

Hield scored the final eight points of a 13-2 run that gave Philadelphia a 113-104 advantage with 4:28 left to play, and the 76ers led 120-110 with 1:25 to go following an Oubre 3-pointer.

The Cavs responded with a 9-0 spurt to pull within 120-119 on Mitchell's 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining, and had a chance to win at the buzzer when Darius Garland launched a 3-point shot that just missed the mark.

Garland ended with 21 points and nine assists, while Tyrese Maxey recorded 22 points and nine assists for Philadelphia.

Timberwolves dominate second half in rout of Clippers

The Minnesota Timberwolves got 24 points from Karl-Anthony Towns and a big third quarter to pull away for a 121-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers and pad their lead atop the Western Conference.

Anthony Edwards added 23 points, 12 of which came during a dominant third quarter in which the Timberwolves outscored Los Angeles by a 40-19 margin.

Minnesota entered Monday's clash owning a slim half-game advantage on the Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets, who were handed a 112-95 defeat by the Milwaukee Bucks, in the tightly bunched West standings. 

The Clippers kept it close until the latter stages of the third quarter, as the Timberwolves held a 70-69 edge with under five minutes left in the period.

Minnesota took over from there, as it closed out the quarter on a 19-3 run to take a commanding 89-72 lead into the fourth. Towns had eight points during the pivotal spurt.

The Timberwolves maintained a lead of 15 points or more throughout the final period en route to posting a second straight win and giving Los Angeles a second loss in its last three games.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George led the Clippers with 18 points each, while James Harden finished with 17 points and six assists. 

Bucks use defence to get past champion Nuggets

The Milwaukee Bucks got 36 points and 18 rebounds from Giannis Antetokounmpo and another strong performance from their much-maligned defence to hand the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets a 112-95 loss.

Milwaukee entered Monday's marquee matchup ranked 23rd in the NBA in scoring defence at 119.3 points allowed per game, but held the formidable Nuggets to their second-lowest shooting rate of the season at 38.3 per cent.

The Bucks have yielded under 100 points in consecutive games for the first time this season. Milwaukee lost five of its first six outings under new head coach Doc Rivers prior to Friday's 120-84 rout of the Charlotte Hornets.

Nikola Jokić amassed 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., Denver's second and third-leading scorers on the season, were a combined 4 of 16 from the field, however.

Murray managed just three points on 1-of-5 shooting before sitting out the second half due to inflammation in his lower legs.

The Bucks had built a comfortable 60-44 lead at that point as Antetokounmpo racked up 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting over the first two quarters. The Nuggets never got their deficit under 13 points the rest of the way and are now mired in a two-game losing streak.

 

Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points and led a torrid shooting performance from 3-point range that carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to a sixth consecutive win, a 136-110 rout of the Sacramento Kings on Monday. 

Cleveland rolled to its 14th victory in 15 games by going 23 of 41 (56.1 percent) from beyond the arc. Mitchell finished 5 of 11 on 3-point tries and Max Strus was 6 for 10 while adding 22 points.

The Kings got 12 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists from Domantas Sabonis - his 15th triple-double of the season - but couldn't match the Cavaliers' prolific perimeter shooting as Cleveland began pulling away early in the second quarter.

Cleveland scored five straight points to stretch its lead to 46-36 less than two minutes into the second quarter and went into the half owning a comfortable 74-59 advantage behind Mitchell's 19 points.

The Cavaliers remained up by double digits the rest of the way, with their lead expanding to as many as 29 points late.

Harrison Barnes led Sacramento with 22 points while finishing 6 of 10 from 3-point range. The Kings closed out a seven-game road trip in which they had won five of their first six outings and six of seven overall coming into Monday's clash.

Irving, Doncic lead Mavericks past ailing 76ers

Kyrie Irving and Luka Dončić combined for 42 points in the duo's first appearance together in two weeks to propel the Dallas Mavericks to a 118-102 win over the staggering Philadelphia 76ers.

Irving racked up 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting to go along with eight assists in his return from a six-game absence caused by a sprained right thumb. Doncic had 19 points and eight assists to help Dallas end a two-game skid and deal the ailing 76ers their sixth loss in seven games.

It was just the 23rd time in the Mavericks' 50 games this season they had a healthy Irving and Doncic together in the lineup.

Playing their third straight game without reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, who will undergo left knee surgery and is out indefinitely, the Sixers received 19 points from Kelly Oubre Jr. and 17 from Tobias Harris.

All-Star Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia's second-leading scorer behind Embiid, had 15 points but was just 6 of 16 from the field.

The 76ers did manage to lead 33-26 after one quarter and 57-53 at the half, but Doncic hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:57 left in the third quarter to spark an 8-2 run that gave the Mavericks a 77-72 edge near the end of the period.

Dallas then dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the 76ers by a 41-28 margin with its bench providing most of the offence, as reserves Jaden Hardy and Grant Williams each recorded 10 points in the final 12 minutes. 

Leonard's 36 points help Clippers cap trip with win over Hawks

Kawhi Leonard scored 13 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the Atlanta Hawks and completed a successful road trip with a 149-144 victory.

James Harden added 30 points and 10 assists as he and Leonard powered Los Angeles to a ninth win in 10 games. The Clippers went 6-1 on an 11-day trek away from Crypto.com Arena while the venue hosted the Grammy Awards. 

In a fast-paced fourth quarter that saw both teams combine for 90 points, the Clippers outscored Atlanta by a 21-10 margin over a late stretch to move ahead for good.

Leonard began the run with a putback of his own miss that gave Los Angeles a 124-123 lead with 4:52 left, and Harden capped it when he was fouled after hitting a 26-foot jumper with 1:06 to go. He made the free throw to complete the 4-point play and extend the margin to 143-133.

The Hawks put forth a late rally and got to within 147-144 on Bogdan Bogdanović's 3-pointer with 26.7 seconds remaining, but Harden sunk two free throws on the ensuing possession to keep Atlanta at bay.

De'Andre Hunter had 27 points and seven rebounds off the bench to lead Atlanta, which had a four-game winning streak snapped. Trae Young finished with 25 points and 12 assists in the loss. 

 

Tyronn Lue and Kawhi Leonard both hailed the Los Angeles Clippers' mindset after a hard-fought 103-95 win over the Miami Heat.

The Clippers won for an eighth time in nine games as they moved to 33-15, and kept hold of third place in a fiercely contested Western Conference.

Leonard's double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds led the Clippers, while James Harden contributed 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

"It's just having that mindset that we're going to try to win every game," Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said as his team improved to 25-5 since the start of December.

"I give guys credit. They've been doing that. We have a lot of talent.

"We have a lot of guys willing to sacrifice to do whatever it takes to win, and that's what we did."

Leonard suggested the Clippers were not at their very best, but still managed to get the job done.

"You get those mental blocks at this stage but we've been staying afloat," he said.

"Appreciate everybody coming out and playing and staying locked-in. Those are the things that I'm happy about."

The Heat, meanwhile, have lost eight of their last 10 outings. They have scored less than 100 points on 12 occasions this season.

"We have to figure out how to make it flow," Bam Adebayo said. "You have to make it flow or it's not going to work. We've been in worse situations."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra added: "There are some things offensively you can do with better pace and better intention.

"That's not exclusive to us. And we'll work on that and we'll get better."

Nikola Jokic recorded his league-leading 15th triple-double this season and Jamal Murray fell a rebound shy of one as the Denver Nuggets took down the Portland Trail Blazers, 120-108 on Friday.

Jokic had 27 points, a season-high 22 rebounds and 12 assists for his 120th career triple-double, a total bettered only by Russell Westbrook (198), Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138) in NBA history.

Murray finished with 13 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, while Aaron Gordon scored 18 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 16 points. The Nuggets have won five straight and 12 of 13 against the Blazers.

Scoot Henderson scored 30 points and Anfernee Simons had 29 for Portland, which played without Jerami Grant, who was a late scratch due to lower back tightness.

Clippers’ Westbrook hits milestone in win

Russell Westbrook scored 23 points to become the 25th player in NBA history to reach 25,000 in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 136-125 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Westbrook, who shot 10 of 13 from the field and handed out nine assists, joined teammate James Harden on the list of players to score 25,000 points. Harden reached the milestone in December.

Kawhi Leonard scored 21 of his 33 points in the first half and Paul George added 18 as the Clippers won for the seventh time in eight games.

Jalen Ivey scored 28 points and Bojan Bogdanovic had 26 for the Pistons, who dropped to 4-41 after a 2-1 start to the season.

Sabonis breaks Robertson’s record in Kings’ win

Domantas Sabonis tallied 26 points and 12 rebounds to break Oscar Robertson’s single-season franchise record with his 30th straight double-double to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 133-122 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Sabonis, who added seven assists, surpassed Robertson’s mark set from Dec. 6, 1961-Jan. 30, 1962.

De’Aaron Fox had 25 points and six assists and Malik Monk added 23 points, six assists and five rebounds to help Sacramento win for the fifth time in six games.

Bennedict Mathurin scored 31 points for the Pacers, who shot 54.1 percent from the field but were hurt by 21 turnovers to fall to 4-8 in their last 12 games.

The Los Angeles Clippers must be able to replicate their regular-season form in the playoffs if they are to prove themselves as the real deal, so says Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard led the Clippers with 26 points in a blowout 115-96 victory over the NBA-leading Boston Celtics on Saturday.

That marked the Clippers' fifth straight win, as they improved to a league-best 22-4 run since the start of December.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue labelled the road trip to Boston, who dealt his team a 145-108 defeat back in December, as a "measuring stick".

By any measurement, their response was emphatic, but Leonard has urged his teammates to remember that it is the postseason that really matters.

"I'm happy that we were able to come in and give the Celtics a loss," Leonard said.

"But it really doesn't mean nothing until you get to the playoffs and you're doing the things we did tonight – executing, making shots, playing good defense.

"It's good that we had carryover from last night coming from Toronto and winning these back-to-back games. But you got to just keep getting better as the year goes on."

James Harden, meanwhile, cited Saturday's display as the Clippers' best performance of the season.

"Against a team that was playing really, really well, especially at home, we've still got some ways to go, but this is a good test for us," he said.

Lue added: "The guys were pretty motivated. When they came to L.A., they did us pretty bad. So, the guys were locked in.

"Just a measuring stick against a great team. We just wanted to kind of see where we're at. We had that on our mind."

The Clippers are third in the Western Conference, two wins behind the Minnesota Timberwolves, who suffered a surprise defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

Victor Wembanyama starred with 23 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs - rooted to the bottom of the West - clinched a 113-112 victory.

"This is the best win we've had," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose team trailed by 15 points before hitting back.

Wembanyama added: "It is definitely a good one and I think tonight we have to feel proud about what we did and get used to the feeling so we can repeat it."

Devin Vassell, who led the Spurs with 25 points, said: "I think we're just growing and maturing.

"There would be times where teams go on a run and we put our heads down and almost get defeated already. Basketball is a game of runs. So right now, we've just been sticking with it. We've been playing 48 minutes."

Kawhi Leonard claimed there is a "different dynamic" to the Los Angeles Lakers when LeBron James is out.

Leonard recorded a triple-double of 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while James Harden had 23 points and 10 assists, as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated a Lakers team shorn of superstar James 127-116 on Tuesday.

James was out with an ankle issue, with the Lakers treating his recovery on a day-to-day basis.

While the Clippers have won 11 of their last 13 games, the Lakers have now lost four road wins on the spin.

Leonard suggested there was a noticeable difference to the Lakers, not that players did not step up in James' absence. D'Angelo Russell led the Lakers with 27 points and Anthony Davis had 26.

"It's a different dynamic with him not being out there," Leonard said.

"You saw guys came in and stepped up and made big shots for him."

Reflecting on the Clippers' display, Leonard added: "Everybody contributed to the win. That's what we've got to do, knock down shots when they're open and tonight we did."

Despite a win that has taken the Clippers, who are fourth in the Western Conference, to a 28-14 winning record, coach Tyronn Lue said there is still plenty to improve on.

"Just overall, [we] didn't play a good mental game and we didn't do a good job with our coverages, especially defensively," Lue said.

"We were all over the place. We've just got to continue to keep getting better."

Leonard added: "They're a good transition team and we allowed them to play to their strengths. We just got to be better at that."

Lakers boss Darvin Ham, meanwhile, took positives from the defeat.

He said: "Like I told them just now, a lot of good things we did during this game.

"Our guys competed, competed their butts off. The [Clippers are] going to make you pay [for mistakes], that's how they're built.

"They are in a really good rhythm. But that said, I think the lesson tonight is how we competed, how we competed together. Again, guys taking accountability for mistakes and not making them twice.

"Trying to get better defensively as the game was ticking away. Disappointed in the loss but proud of how our guys competed minus LeBron."

On LeBron's status, Ham added: "Just trying to be proactive with his ankle. He'll probably be day-to-day. But that's pretty much it."

Kawhi Leonard is hopeful that his new deal will help the Los Angeles Clippers keep hold of their other star players.

Leonard, who is enjoying a fine season, has signed a three-year contract extension with the Clippers, reportedly worth $153million.

However, that is less than Leonard was eligible for. The 32-year-old, along with his teammate Paul George, went into the season eligible for a maximum extension of four years, worth $223m, via ESPN.

But Leonard believes taking a hit on this contract will aid the Clippers as they look to keep both George and James Harden, who has impressed since joining Los Angeles in a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles in October. 

After scoring 29 points in a 126-120 win over his old team the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, Leonard told reporters: "With the conversation that I have with them about it, I think for the most part everybody is coming back.

"So with me signing an extension, I think it gives us a chance to sign both of those players."

"It just made sense from both sides," Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said of Leonard's new deal.

"We both wanted the same thing. We wanted Kawhi to be a Clipper for a very long time, and Kawhi wants to be a Clipper for a very long time, and we wanted to put the focus on the team and at the same time it just came together where it just made sense where it was a very fair deal for both sides.

"Kawhi was a great partner. There's harsh penalties for high-spending teams, and Kawhi understood it."

Asked if Leonard's contract extension was an encouraging sign for his own future with the Clippers, George said: "Absolutely. You secure and lock in Kawhi. Definitely leaves the door open for myself, but very, very optimistic something will get done on my behalf, as well."

The Clippers have lost just three of their last 20 games, rising up to fourth in the Western Conference in the process, and coach Tyronn Lue has his sights set firmly on the playoffs.

“I think half of it is great talent, and I think half of it is execution, and we got to be 100 per cent execution with our talent, and that makes for a dangerous team," Lue said.

"When you get to the playoffs it's a whole different animal, and so we've got to start building those habits.

"We're doing it a little bit at a time, but we've got to start progressing a little bit more as far as being better with our execution and what we're trying to do."

The Los Angeles Clippers signed star forward Kawhi Leonard to a contract extension on Wednesday, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting the deal is worth $153million for three years.

Without announcing terms of the contract, Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank issued a statement saying "we're thrilled to continue our relationship with Kawhi.

"He is an elite player, a terrific partner and a relentless worker who knows how to win and makes it his first priority.

“He elevated our franchise from the moment he arrived. We feel fortunate that Kawhi chose to join the Clippers five years ago, and excited to keep building with him."

The 32-year-old Leonard declined his $48.8million player option for 2024-25 as part of the extension and is slated to earn $52million next season and roughly $50million in both 2025-26 and 2026-27.

Leonard signed with Los Angeles in July 2019 after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title.

He was named MVP of the 2019 NBA Finals, the second such honour of his career after guiding the San Antonio Spurs to the championship in 2013-14.

A five-time All-Star and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard leads the Clippers (23-13) this season with 23.8 points and 1.75 steals per game.

He is also tied for second on the team in rebounding (6.1) and ranks fourth with 3.4 assists per game.

Paul George and James Harden were relieved to see Kawhi Leonard return from a four-game absence and help the Los Angeles Clippers stay hot with a win over the Miami Heat.

Leonard scored 24 points to pass 13,000 for his NBA career as the Clippers won 121-104 against the short-handed Heat on Monday.

George added 23 points, Norman Powell had 22 on 9-of-11 shooting while James Harden scored 15 points and provided 10 assists to aid in the Clippers' third straight victory and 12th in 14 games. 

"You see the performance," Harden said about the return of Leonard, who had been sidelined by a hip contusion.

"Both ends of the ball, just elite. Shotmaking, defensively just being active, creating opportunities in transition. We needed that, for him to get well and get better. We missed him."

George feels Leonard adds so much more than his statistical production.

"He does all the little intangible stuff – it's just so reliable," said George.

"It's great to have 2 back in the lineup. He missed a little over a week and it was going to take a little time for him to catch his rhythm, but I thought he did and looked like himself."

Miami, playing without six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and a few other key contributors due to injuries, held a 35-23 lead after one quarter and was up by as much as 14 points in the second before the Clippers began battling back.

Los Angeles outscored the Heat by a 32-17 margin over the final 9 1/2 minutes of the first half to take a 59-58 edge at the break. Leonard had 13 second-quarter points to spark the comeback and George then scored 12 points in the third as the Clippers extended their lead to 95-85 entering the fourth.

The Clippers have continued to find a way to win since their six-game losing streak in November.

"It is better when you try to figure it out winning than trying to figure out losing and that is what was happening earlier [in the season]," added Harden.

"Every single game, we are trying to find ways to win games. Then towards the end of the season we’ll understand what we’re really good at and what we are not."

Los Angeles is now 20-12 for the season, fourth in the Western Conference ahead of Wednesday's road game against the Phoenix Suns, who have won four straight games.

Bradley Beal scored 21 points as the surging Suns beat the Portland Trail Blazers 109-88, even with Kevin Durant sidelined by right hamstring tightness.

As for the Heat, they will stay in Los Angeles before playing the Lakers on Wednesday.

Bam Adebayo paced Miami with 21 points and 15 rebounds but the Heat have now dropped two straight following a four-game winning streak and are fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Julius Randle had 39 points and nine rebounds, OG Anunoby made a strong debut with his new team and the New York Knicks earned a 112-106 win over the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday to end a three-game losing streak. 

Anunoby was traded to the Knicks from the Toronto Raptors on Saturday and met his new teammates for the first time on Sunday.

Despite needing some occasional help to navigate coach Tom Thibodeau’s system, Anunoby finished with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and pulled down six rebounds.

Randle finished 14 for 24 from the field and made nine of 13 free throws for New York, which trailed by nine points after one quarter before outscoring Minnesota by a 38-17 margin in the second to build a 61-49 half-time lead.

Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves, who had a two-game winning streak halted, with 35 points. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 29 for Minnesota, while Rudy Gobert grabbed 15 rebounds to go along with 10 points.

Bench propels Pacers as Bucks' home winning streak ends

Tyrese Haliburton finished just short of a triple-double as the Indiana Pacers put an end to the Milwaukee Bucks' 15-game home winning streak with a 122-113 victory over their Central Division rival.

Haliburton compiled 26 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds to lead Indiana, which trailed by 15 points late in the third quarter to tie the game at 101-101 with under six minutes left.

The Pacers then embarked on an 8-0 run, with T.J. McConnell scoring six points during the spurt, to take the lead for good. 

McConnell had 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Pacers to a fourth straight win. He finished with 16 points off the bench, while Bennedict Mathurin had 25 along with a career-high 13 rebounds. 

With Mathurin and McConnell leading the way, Indiana's bench outscored Milwaukee's reserves by a 70-16 margin.

The Central-leading Bucks were dealt their first defeat at Fiserv Forum since Oct. 29 despite Giannis Antetokounmpo's 30-point, 18-rebound, 11-assist triple-double.

Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton had 21 points each for Milwaukee, though Bucks star guard Damian Lillard struggled with a 3-of-16 shooting night while being held to 13 points.

Leonard returns to help Clippers top Heat

Kawhi Leonard returned from a four-game absence to score 24 points and help the Los Angeles Clippers stay hot with a 121-104 win over the Miami Heat.

Paul George added 23 points and Norman Powell had 22 on 9-of-11 shooting to aid in the Clippers' third straight victory and 12th in 14 games. 

Miami, playing without six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and a few other key contributors due to injuries, held a 35-23 lead after one quarter and was up by as much as 14 points in the second before the Clippers began battling back.

Los Angeles outscored the Heat by a 32-17 margin over the final 9 1/2 minutes of the first half to take a 59-58 edge at the break. Leonard, who had been sidelined by a hip contusion, had 13 second-quarter points to spark the comeback. 

George then scored 12 points in the third quarter as the Clippers extended their lead to 95-85 entering the fourth.

Bam Adebayo paced Miami with 21 points and 15 rebounds. The Heat have now dropped two straight following a four-game winning streak. 

 

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.

 

Tyronn Lue believes the Los Angeles Clippers are "trending in the right direction".

The Clippers overcame the Sacramento Kings 119-99 on Tuesday to make it five straight wins.

Lue's team have now won 10 of their last 13 games, since a six-game losing streak following James Harden's arrival in a big trade from the Philadelphia 76ers.

And Lue feels his team are starting to show just how much quality they have.

"The biggest thing for me is [the players are] just staying with it," Lue said.

"I think early on it was tough for us just trying to figure out how we wanted to play, trying to figure out rotations and all the different things and how James, Paul George, Kawhi [Leonard] and Russell [Westbrook] all play together.

"We still got a long way to go, but we're trending in the right direction. We're doing a lot of good things and we still just got to stay with it and continue to put in the work.

"It's just chemistry, playing together, getting clarity, knowing what to expect coming into games. I think that's what the biggest thing is.

"I know we had a rough start, but we’re just staying the course. I give our players credit just for every single day coming in, every shoot around, every practice, working to get better and trying to understand and find out how they can make each other better."

The Clippers did lose George to groin soreness, though they have Leonard in excellent form, as he took his points total over the last three games to 106.

"It's just chemistry, playing together, getting clarity, knowing what to expect coming into games," said Leonard.

"I think that's what the biggest thing is."

Kawhi Leonard impressed again as the Los Angeles Clippers won their fourth straight NBA game on Monday.

The Clippers held off the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 132-127 to record their ninth win in their last 12 games, a nice recovery from their six-game losing streak at the start of November.

Leonard now has 75 points in his last two games after scoring a team-high 34 against Portland.

There were also key contributions from Paul George (20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists) and James Harden (20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists).

Portland – playing without Deandre Ayton and Malcolm Brogdon – suffered a fourth straight loss despite a career-high 38 points from Anfernee Simons.

Asked about Leonard, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said: "The biggest thing is health and finally getting his rhythm with PG and James starting."

Los Angeles had a 14-point lead late in the first quarter but ultimately had to work hard for the victory.

The Blazers twice held a one-point lead in the closing stages of the fourth quarter having hit a season-high 19 3-pointers in the game.

"I knew it was going to be a tough game for us," added Lue, whose team are now 12-10, eighth in the Western Conference.

"Defensively, we couldn't get stops. They scored every way."

The Clippers are immediately back in action on Tuesday at home against the Sacramento Kings (13-8) to complete a back-to-back.

Leonard had a season-high 41 points in their previous win against the Utah Jazz.

"Offensively the team is in a good rhythm and that is all I care about," Leonard said.

"The ball found me and I made shots. I have played a lot of minutes over the last few games but sometimes you have to. When your best players play longer, you’ll most likely get the win.

"It is about knowing what we are doing and having clarity, using our experience, not being complacent.

"There is still a lot we’re lacking. On defense we didn't play that well. They are a team with great defenders who can turn you over a lot so we were focused on screening hard."

Harden echoed Leonard's view that there is still plenty of work to do.

"We take what the defense gives us, figure it out and attack," he said.

"If you share the ball, you get good results, but it wasn’t as easy as we’d like it to be. We don't have the luxury of overlooking opponents."

After the Los Angeles Clippers fought back from 22 points down for an improbable win over the Golden State Warriors, James Harden said it must serve as a turning point in their difficult season.

The Clippers were staring at back-to-back losses to their neighbours at 70-48 down in the third quarter, just one day after suffering a 120-114 defeat against the same opponents at Chase Center.

However, the Clippers outscored the Warriors 65-42 the rest of the way, with Paul George sinking a decisive three-pointer in the final 10 seconds as they claimed a 113-112 victory.

The Clippers, who have alternated between defeat and victory in their last six games, are now 9-10 after a troubled start to 2023-24.

Former NBA MVP Harden believes he is now beginning to strike up an understanding with fellow stars George and Kawhi Leonard, and he hopes the Clippers can kick on from here.

"Wow, 22…. we don't want to keep going up and down," Harden said when he was made aware of the size of the Warriors' lead. 

"We want to be consistent. I told [George] and [Leonard] before the game, 'let's catch our rhythm'. Let's be good, like we're going to be later in the season. Let's start it now."

George finished with a game-high 25 points, also adding six rebounds and six assists, while Harden and Leonard finished with 21 and 20 points respectively.

"It's big," Leonard said of the win. "We've been trying to be consistent. 

"We are getting better, but very slowly… You know, with how things have been going, it feels great to pull out a win."

Page 1 of 10
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.