In a Christmas Day slate full of noteworthy performances, Luka Doncic was the star atop the Christmas tree.

Doncic scored 50 points, eclipsing 10,000 for his career, and added six rebounds and 14 assists as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns 128-114 in the NBA’s Christmas night cap.

Doncic went 8 of 16 from 3-point range and made all 12 of his free throw attempts as he reached the 10,000-point milestone in 358 career games, the seventh-fastest in NBA history.

Rookie center Dereck Lively II added 20 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double, while Derrick Jones Jr. contributed 23 points.

Grayson Allen led the Suns with 32 points while Kevin Durant (4 for 11) and Devin Booker (6 for 14) had poor shooting nights.

Celtics get first Christmas win over Lakers

Kristaps Porzingis had 28 points and 11 rebounds, Jayson Tatum scored 25 despite an off shooting night and the Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers 126-115.

The Celtics’ win was their first ever against the Lakers on Christmas Day, overcoming a 40-point, 13-rebound performance from Anthony Davis.

LeBron James had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Lakers dropped to 2-6 since winning the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament.

Jokic shines in win over Warriors

Nikola Jokic flirted with a triple-double and made all 18 of his free throw attempts, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 120-114 win over the Golden State Warriors.

Jokic had 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists for the defending champions as the Nuggets won a season-high fifth consecutive game and improved to 12-2 at Ball Arena this season.

Jamal Murray led Denver with 28 points.

The Warriors’ leading scorer was Andrew Wiggins, who netted 22 off the bench.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without two star players for the next several weeks after announcing significant injuries to point guard Darius Garland and forward Evan Mobley on Friday.

Garland suffered a fractured jaw after colliding with Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis on Thursday. Garland finished the game, but a scan on Friday confirmed the injury. The 2021-22 All-Star selection will undergo a procedure to repair his jaw and will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

Mobley has missed Cleveland’s last four games, listed on the injury report with left knee soreness. The Cavs announced Friday that the third-year big man will undergo arthroscopic surgery on the knee and will be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks.

Garland and Mobley have combined to score nearly 37 points per game this season, and their absence will place an even greater offensive burden on the shoulders of Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus and Caris LeVert.

The loss of two core players is a massive blow for a team off to a middling start this season.

After a disappointing first-round play-off exit to end last season, the Cavs opened this campaign 4-6. The team appeared to find its footing over the next few weeks, rising above .500, but Cleveland has dropped its last three games and sits at 13-12.

Garland was the fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft and is averaging 20.7 points – second on the team behind Mitchell – and 5.9 assists this season.

Mobley was the third overall pick in 2021 and immediately made a splash as an All-Rookie selection. He is scoring 16.0 points per game this season and is averaging career highs with 10.5 rebounds, 1.67 blocks and 57.3-percent shooting from the field.

Mobley is the Cavs’ best defender, and he was an All-Defensive Team selection last season.

Kristaps Porzingis will be absent as the Boston Celtics aim to seal their place in the last four of the NBA's in-season tournament.

Porzingis has missed the Celtics' last three games after sustaining a calf injury in a defeat to the Orlando Magic on November 24.

And the Latvian, who joined Boston from the Washington Wizards in the off-season, will not recover in time to face the Indiana Pacers on Monday.

Porzingis is averaging 18.9 points, just slightly below his career average (19.6), across his 15 games this season. Tyrese Hailburton, meanwhile, is a doubt for the Pacers.

The winner of Monday's quarter-final will head to Las Vegas for the semi-finals.

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum grabbed 69 points between them as the Boston Celtics cruised to a third straight win with a 126-107 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Brown scored 36 points and Tatum 33, Kristaps Porzingis adding 15 on his return to Washington after an off-season move between the clubs.

It is the second successive season the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference finals last time out, have begun with three straight wins.

Their efforts were eclipsed by Dejounte Murray, who matched his career-best haul with 41 points as he helped the Atlanta Hawks come from 19 points down at half-time to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-113.

Steph Curry shrugged off the absence of Klay Thompson with a knee injury as he inspired the Golden State Warriors to a 130-102 win at the New Orleans Pelicans.

Curry scored 42 points, opening with a pair of three-pointers from 25 feet and wrapping his scoring up from 31 feet.

The Dallas Mavericks remain unbeaten as Luka Doncic grabbed a triple-double with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a 125-110 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Nikola Jokic also recorded a triple-double – his second of the season – with 27 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets saw off the Utah Jazz 110-102.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points for the Milwaukee Bucks as they avenged being eliminated by the Miami Heat in last year’s play-offs with a 122-114 win, despite 35 points from Tyler Herro.

Cam Thomas scored 33 points as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Charlotte Hornets 133-121 for their first win of the season, while Nikola Vucevic inspired the Chicago Bulls as they came from behind late to inflict a first defeat on the Indiana Pacers, 112-105.

The Portland Trail Blazers also claimed their first win, Jerami Grant scoring 22 points as they beat the Toronto Raptors 99-91, while 32 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Detroit Pistons.

The Milwaukee Bucks will be "tough to stop" in the Eastern Conference race this season after pairing star point guard Damian Lillard with two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

That's according to former Buck Michael Carter-Williams, who believes the Boston Celtics may emerge as Milwaukee's closest rivals after picking up Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis.

After 11 years with the Portland Trail Blazers, Lillard joined the Bucks in a huge three-team trade in the offseason.

He made an immediate impact as Milwaukee began their 2023-24 campaign with a 118-117 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

Lillard finished with a record-breaking 39 points on his Bucks debut, surpassing Terry Cummings' 34 points on his first outing for the team back in 1984, while Antetokounmpo added 23 points and 13 rebounds.

With those two stars linking up, free agent Carter-Williams – who represented Milwaukee between 2015 and 2016 – expects his former team to enjoy an exciting season.

"They're both amazing players. The things that they do on the court are tough to stop," Carter-Williams – who will play in the G League in Mexico City as he awaits an NBA offer – told Stats Perform.

"You put those two together, it's a tough combination, and they're immediately one of the best combos in the league. 

"It's going to be interesting to see what they can do and like I said, they're both huge talents so they're going to be tough to stop."

Carter-Williams was surprised to see Lillard land in Milwaukee, but he says the team had to do everything possible to secure him in the huge trade. 

"I was shocked," he said. "I didn't see that coming, I thought it was going to be Miami or Toronto, or there was one other team in the mix.

"I didn't see him going into Milwaukee, but the trade made sense. Obviously, it's tough to give up Drew [Timme] but when you're getting a guy like Damian, I think anybody besides Giannis is liable to get traded."

After Antetokounmpo was taken by the Bucks as the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, Carter-Williams had the chance to play alongside him during his formative years. 

Reflecting on his time as a team-mate of Antetokounmpo, Carter-Williams said: "It was great, especially seeing him play early on in his career and watching his development.

"Every day, you could see him slowly getting better and better and just to watch his work ethic… he's an unbelievable person. 

"He's a better person than he is a basketball player and I think that's what makes him unique. 

"Watching him play has been great, as a friend, as a fan, as a team-mate, it's been awesome to see."

Milwaukee's offseason moves have seen them touted to improve on 2022-23, when they topped the East but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat.

Boston also went down to Miami in the playoffs after finishing second in the East, and they have subsequently strengthened by adding former Bucks guard Holiday and Porzingis from the Washington Wizards.

Carter-Williams expect last season's top two to battle for supremacy in the Eastern Conference again, saying: "I like the Bucks and the Celtics in the East. 

"The Celtics getting Porzingis and Jrue are two huge pickups for them. I like them coming out of the East, in the West, we'll see how things shake up. 

"I think if Anthony Davis and LeBron [James] can be healthy, I think they [the Los Angeles Lakers] are a tough team, they have built a nice little roster over there.

"Then there's Denver, who you can't count out, they got [Nikola] Jokic and they just won it so I think those two are at the top in the West."

The Celtics moved to 2-0 for the season by beating Miami 119-111 on Friday, with Holiday and Porzingis finishing with 17 points apiece. 

Kristaps Porzingis called it an "awesome" feeling after dropping 30 points to lead the Boston Celtics to victory over his former team, the New York Knicks.

Porzingis was drafted by the Knicks with the fourth overall pick of the 2015 draft, spending four years at Madison Square Garden before he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Latvia native would go on to play for the Washington Wizards before joining the Celtics in a three-team trade prior to this season, and on his return to a hostile Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Porzingis played a starring role for his new team on debut.

Porzingis finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, scoring nine straight points in the fourth quarter to seal a 108-104 victory which got Boston, one of the favourites to reach the NBA Finals, off to a winning start to the new NBA season.

His 30 points were the most ever for a Celtics debut, leaving Porzingis ecstatic with his start in a new uniform and at the performance against his old team, as Jayson Tatum also impressed with a game-high 34 points.

Porzingis said: "Honestly, it’s an awesome feeling to come back now being a Celtic and to play here.

"Playing here at the Garden is always special as the home team, obviously, but also on the road here it's really fun too. Even getting booed and getting all that, it's still cool, I really like that and enjoyed that.

"At one point it got really crazy when the fans got into it and they made the comeback. But we stayed poised, we stayed calm and we were able to finish out the game. 

"Most importantly, we won the game and [I am] very excited about what we have ahead of us."

The Celtics are at home to the Miami Heat on Friday in a repeat of last season's Eastern Conference finals, which Boston lost in a thrilling seven-game series.

Miami started its season with a dramatic 103-102 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday all made their debuts with new teams as the NBA preseason began to ramp up with six games on Sunday.

Beal scored 11 points in 14 minutes as the Phoenix Suns opened their preseason with a 130-126 overtime win over the Detroit Pistons. The three-time All-Star joined a star-studded Suns roster in June after being acquired from the Washington Wizards, the team he spent his first 11 seasons with.

Another Suns newcomer, Grayson Allen, paced Phoenix with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting off the bench. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker each had 12 points as part of a starting five that also included Beal.

Porzingis, also traded out of Washington in the offseason, scored 17 points in his first outing as a Boston Celtic to help his new team to a 114-106 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 7-foot-3 veteran standout is part of a remade Celtics roster that also includes Holiday, whom the Celtics acquired last week from the rebuilding Trail Blazers after briefly being obtained by Portland in the blockbuster trade that sent Blazers icon Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Holiday came off the bench to play 22 minutes, though he shot just 2 of 10 from the field for six points.

Payton Pritchard sparked Boston with 26 points just hours after signing a four-year, $30 million extension. The fourth-year guard finished 6 of 11 from 3-point range.

Lillard did not play in the Bucks' preseason opener, a 105-102 win over the Chicago Bulls in which Marjon Beauchamp led Milwaukee with 18 points and nine rebounds.

The Bucks also sat Giannis Antetokounmpo, though the two-time MVP's older brother, Thanasis, contributed 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

Elsewhere around the league, Gary Trent Jr. scored 22 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 112-99 win over the Sacramento Kings in Vancouver; Utah's Kris Dunn made all seven of his field goal attempts for 15 points as the Jazz posted a 101-96 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Honolulu, and Jake LaRavia scored the final five points of overtime as the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the Indiana Pacers, 127-122.

Jarace Walker, the eighth overall pick of this year's draft, had 19 points and nine rebounds in his Pacers debut. 

 

The Boston Celtics announced Wednesday that they have signed forward Kristaps Porzingis to a two-year contract extension.

While terms of the deal were not announced, multiple reports indicated that the deal would pay Porzingis $60 million over the next two years. The extension will go into effect after the upcoming season, during which Porzingis will earn $36 million.

The extension comes two-plus weeks after the Celtics acquired the 7-foot-3 Porzingis in a three-team trade with the Washington Wizards and San Antonio Spurs.

Porzingis had a career year last season with the Wizards, averaging a personal-best 23.2 points to go with 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 blocks in 65 games.

Boston hopes the versatile native of Latvia can play a major role alongside all-NBA forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Porzingis, who has also played for the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, has averaged 19.6 points and 7.9 rebounds in 402 career games.

 The Boston Celtics are acquiring Kristaps Porzingis in a three-team deal that will send Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies and Tyus Jones to the Wizards, according to reports on Wednesday. 

Memphis is sending the No. 25 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft and a 2024 first-round pick to the Celtics, while Boston will move the 35th pick in the draft to the Wizards. 

Porzingis had decided to opt into his $36 million player option for the 2023-24 season, according to the report.

He set personal highs with 23.2 points per game and 49.8 percent shooting last season while also averaging 8.4 rebounds – the third-most in his career.

The Knicks selected Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in 2015, and he was with New York until being traded to Dallas in January 2019. The Mavericks then sent Porzingis to Washington in February 2022.

Porzingis has averaged 19.6 points and 7.9 rebounds in 402 regular-season games.

Smart has spent his entire nine-year career with the Celtics, averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds. He started all 61 games he appeared in this season and averaged 11.5 points and a career-high 6.3 assists. 

It’s been a busy offseason for the Wizards, who could start the 2023-24 campaign without their three top scorers.

Washington has agreed to trade Bradley Beal (23.2 ppg) to the Phoenix Suns in a deal that will see Chris Paul land with the Wizards, and Kyle Kuzma (21.2 ppg) has reportedly declined his $13 million player option.

Jones is coming off his best season as an eight-year pro, the last four with Memphis. He set career bests with 10.3 points and 5.2 assists in 2022-23. 

 

In a clash between two of the seven best records in the NBA, the Boston Celtics produced an impressive 132-109 road blow-out win against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

It was shaping up as a shoot-out as both teams started red hot from three-point range, but the Kings could not keep up as the Celtics scored at least 30 points in all four quarters.

Jayson Tatum led the way for Boston with a game-high 36 points on 14-of-25 shooting, adding eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. His All-Star co-pilot Jaylen Brown chipped in an efficient 27 points (10-of-16 shooting) with five rebounds and four assists.

Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis put together his 12th triple-double of the season with 16 points (seven-of-12), 13 rebounds and 12 assists, although his six turnovers were costly.

The win improved the Celtics' record to 50-23, becoming the second team in the league to reach 50 wins this season, while their 24-14 mark on the road is bettered only by the Philadelphia 76ers (22-12).

Sacramento are still sitting pretty at 43-28, holding a five-game buffer in the Western Conference's third seed.

Mitchell poster highlights Cavs victory

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell threw down arguably his biggest dunk of the season to put an exclamation point on a 115-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Mitchell ended up with a game-high 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including five-of-nine from three-point range, highlighted by a monstrous fast-break poster jam over Yuta Watanabe as both leapt off two feet and met chest-to-chest.

After missing 10 days due to an eye injury, Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen looked right back to his best with 12 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, with eight of his rebounds coming on the offensive end.

The victory improves Cleveland's record to 46-28, and while they have been a disappointing 17-20 on the road, they have now won four of their past five away from home.

Top pick Banchero flirts with first triple-double

Orlando Magic top draft pick and overwhelming Rookie of the Year favourite Paolo Banchero nearly posted the first triple-double of his career in a 122-112 home win against the Washington Wizards.

The 20-year-old finished with 18 points (six-of-nine shooting), nine rebounds and eight assists for his second close call of the month. It comes 10 days after he put up 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in an overtime win against the Miami Heat.

Kristaps Porzingis led the Wizards with 30 points (12-of-22 shooting), six rebounds, three assists and two blocks, continuing what has been arguably the best season of his eight-year NBA career.

In a clash between two of the seven best records in the NBA, the Boston Celtics produced an impressive 132-109 road blowout against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

It was shaping up as a shootout as both teams started red-hot from three-point range, but the Kings could not keep up as the Celtics scored at least 30 points in all four quarters.

Jayson Tatum led the way for Boston with a game-high 36 points on 14-of-25 shooting, adding eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. His All-Star co-pilot Jaylen Brown chipped in an efficient 27 points (10-of-16 shooting) with five rebounds and four assists.

Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis put together his 12th triple-double of the season with 16 points (seven-of-12), 13 rebounds and 12 assists, although his six turnovers were costly.

The win improves the Celtics' record to 50-23, becoming the second team in the league to reach 50 wins this season, while their 24-14 mark on the road is bettered only by the Philadelphia 76ers (22-12).

Sacramento are still sitting pretty at 43-28, holding a five-game buffer in the Western Conference's third seed.

Mitchell poster highlights Cavs victory

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell threw down arguably his biggest dunk of the season to put an exclamation point on a 115-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Mitchell ended up with a game-high 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including five-of-nine from three-point range, highlighted by a monstrous fast-break poster jam over Yuta Watanabe as both leapt off two feet and met chest-to-chest.

After missing 10 days due to an eye injury, Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen looked right back to his best with 12 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, with eight of his rebounds coming on the offensive end.

The victory improves Cleveland's record to 46-28, and while they have been a disappointing 17-20 on the road, they have now won four of their past five away from home.

Top pick Banchero flirts with first triple-double

Orlando Magic top draft pick and overwhelming Rookie of the Year favourite Paolo Banchero nearly posted the first triple-double of his career in a 122-112 home win against the Washington Wizards.

The 20-year-old finished with 18 points (six-of-nine shooting), nine rebounds and eight assists for his second close call of the month. It comes 10 days after he put up 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in an overtime win against the Miami Heat.

Kristaps Porzingis led the Wizards with 30 points (12-of-22 shooting), six rebounds, three assists and two blocks, continuing what has been arguably the best season of his eight-year NBA career.

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.

The resurgent Phoenix Suns made it 11 wins from their past 14 games with a 120-109 home victory against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

Phoenix, who earlier this season endured a 2-12 run across a 14-game stretch, are now right back in the mix in the Western Conference, buoyed by the impending debut of trade deadline acquisition Kevin Durant.

Against the Kings, the Suns' main three players all performed at an exceptionally high level.

Point guard Chris Paul dished a season-high 19 assists – the second most by any player this season, trailing only James Harden's 21 against the Los Angeles Clippers in December – to go with 17 points on seven-of-15 shooting.

Offensive focal point Devin Booker led the Suns with 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting, and center Deandre Ayton dominated with 29 points (13-of-17 shooting), 11 rebounds, four steals and two blocks.

Both Kings All-Stars delivered, as De'Aaron Fox led the visitors in scoring with a game-high 35 points on 12-of-22 shooting, while Domantas Sabonis had 24 points (seven-of-12), 15 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.

With the win, the Suns improved their record to 32-27 and moved up to the fourth seed in the Western Conference, one game behind the third-placed Kings (32-25).

Bucks extend winning streak to 11 against undermanned Celtics

The Milwaukee Bucks were pushed all the way by a Boston Celtics team missing four starters, ultimately coming away with a 131-125 overtime win at home.

With Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford all out, Derrick White had 27 points (10-of-24), 12 assists and three steals, while Malcolm Brogdon added 26 points (eight-of-17) off the bench in a valiant effort.

But the heroics from the Bucks' All-Star duo pulled them across the line, with 40 points (13-of-21), seven assists and three steals for Jrue Holiday, while Giannis Antetokounmpo racked up 36 points (12-of-26), 13 rebounds and nine assists.

The Bucks (40-17) are now just a half-game behind the Celtics (41-17) in the race for the league's best record.

Blazers waste another explosive Lillard performance

Nobody is averaging more points than Damian Lillard over their past 10 games, and he had another 39 in a 126-101 home loss to the Washington Wizards.

Lillard, who came into the contest averaging 38.2 in his past 10, shot 14-of-30 from the field while adding 10 rebounds and six assists.

But the Wizards were too good, led by their leading scorer this season, Kristaps Porzingis, with 28 points (10-of-15), 12 rebounds and five assists, while Kyle Kuzma bombed away for 33 points (11-of-20) and nine rebounds.

Anthony Davis put up a sensational 55-point haul to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to their fourth straight road win, triumphing 130-119 over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

Davis, who scored 44 points against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Lakers' previous game, could not eclipse his career-high 59 points from 2016 against the Detroit Pistons.

But Davis' 55 points, coming from 22-of-30 field shooting and nine-of-nine shooting from the line, were the second most in a single game this NBA season, behind only Joel Embiid's 59 against the Utah Jazz on November 13.

The eight-time All-Star scored 31 of his 55 points in the second half, adding 17 rebounds and three blocks. Davis is the first Laker with back-to-back 40-point games since Kobe Bryant in March 2013.

LeBron James, who had been listed as questionable due to an ankle issue, added 29 points on 12-of-26 field shooting with eight rebounds and six assists but committed five turnovers.

Russell Westbrook came off the bench to contribute a season-high 15 assists with seven rebounds, while guard Lonnie Walker IV added 20 points on four-of-four three-point shooting.

The Wizards were not helped by a game-ending first-quarter injury to All-Star Bradley Beal. Kristaps Porzingis top scored for the Wizards with 27 points on 11-of-25 shooting, while ex-Laker Kyle Kuzma added 26 points with seven rebounds before fouling out.

The victory improved the Lakers to 10-12, having won three games in a row, but they remain 12th in the Western Conference.

Brown helps Celtics snap Nets' streaks

The NBA-best Boston Celtics ended the Brooklyn Nets' four-game winning streak and six-game winning home stand on 34 points from Jaylen Brown as they triumphed 103-92.

Brown led the way for the Celtics with 20 of his 34 points in the first quarter, finishing also with 10 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum scored 29 points on 10-of-19 field shooting with 11 rebounds.

Kyrie Irving struggled against his former franchise, shooting seven-of-21 from the field for 18 points with eight rebounds and five assists. Kevin Durant top scored for the Nets with 31 points but gave up eight turnovers.

Suns extend struggling Spurs' skid

The Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns condemned the San Antonio Spurs to 11 straight losses with a 133-95 blowout win led by Deandre Ayton's double-double.

Suns center Ayton finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Devin Booker added 20 points on seven-of-16 field shooting, with Mikal Bridges making six-of-seven triples in his 20 points.

The struggling Spurs were blown away in a 36-11 second quarter, seeing them close within two defeats of a franchise-worst losing streak, set in 1989.

Frank Vogel led the praise for LeBron James after the four-time MVP scored 50 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 122-109 win over the Washington Wizards.

James reached the half-century mark for the 15th time in his illustrious career, and a second time in the space of three games, to inspire the Lakers' comeback victory.

The 37-year-old was 18 of 25 from the field and made six 3-points in the space of 36 minutes as Vogel's side rallied to snap a two-game losing streak and improve to 29-37.

He is the first Lakers player with 50-or-more points in back-to-back home games since Kobe Bryant in 2007 after hitting 56 against the Golden State Warriors last week.

Adding to his growing list of records, James is also the first player in NBA history to have a 50-point game followed by a triple-double followed by another 50-point game.

Nineteen years on from starting his career at the Cleveland Cavaliers, Vogel is amazed by James' longevity at the top of the sport.

"He's really good at basketball, that LeBron James," Vogel told reporters after the game. 

"I think what stands out to me is the league has never seen a player at his stage of his career do what he's doing. Just an incredible, unbelievable, epic performance."

 

With six rebounds against the Wizards, James moved past Dikembe Mutombo into 12th place on the NBA's career defensive rebounds list with 8,553.

He is just two assists away from becoming the first player ever to reach 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists in NBA history.

Reflecting on another standout display, James said: "We just needed to pick our energy up and get more detailed about how we wanted to attack the Wizards. 

"We did that, especially in the third quarter. I was able to hit a hot streak at one point. I just tried to stay in that zone as long as possible and hit a couple.

"For us to be able to come in in the third quarter, that's been one of our down quarters this year, held them to 23 points in that third and run off 37. It was big for us."

Malik Monk scored 21 points and Talen Horton-Tucker added 15 for the Lakers, helping to inflict a third defeat in four games on the 29-36 Wizards.

Kristap Porzingis's season-high 14 rebounds and 14 points looked as though it would be enough for the visitors until James took over.

"Bron was exceptional tonight, it's hard to stop him," Porzingis said. "Even at his age, he's still capable of doing incredible things like that.

"Once he got going, it was really hard to stop anything he was doing."

The Lakers return to action on Sunday when they face the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns, who have already booked a playoff spot, while the Wizards face the Portland Trail Blazers.

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