The NBA has fined Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue $35,000 following his comments over the officials in Wednesday's win over the Golden State Warriors.

Lue was shown on video claiming the officials were "cheating" in a game the Clippers won 130-125.

The Clippers coach was ejected during the fourth quarter, though LA still came back to win.

Lue was then videoed shouting to his players and staff: "Where the refs at now? Cheating. That's all they be doing."

On Friday, the NBA fined Lue for "public criticism of the officiating and for questioning the integrity of game officials."

 

Stephen Curry labelled the Golden State Warriors as "very average" after they gave up a big lead against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Warriors looked set to claim a sixth straight win after a strong first three quarters against the Clippers on Wednesday.

However, despite at one stage holding a 15-point lead, and a 13-point advantage heading into the final quarter, the Warriors could not hold on.

It is the sixth time this season that Golden State have lost after holding a 15-point lead - only the San Antonio Spurs have a poorer record.

And Curry, who finished with 41 points, bluntly said: "We're very average. 

"Very average doesn't get it done in this league. We need to make a run, hopefully, we bounce back tomorrow and after the All-Star break hit a stride where we win every game [at home] and steal a few on the road.

"We've been very average so far, so we have to regain that home-court fear that we have grown accustomed to in the past."

The Warriors blew a 22-point lead against the Clippers earlier in the season, and held an 11-point lead when their coach Tyronn Lue was ejected midway through the fourth quarter.

Yet the Clippers then went on a 36-22 streak, and Curry acknowledged the Warriors came up against an in-form side.

"They're a really good team that has some confidence, and we're still trying to prove that we're that type of team," Curry said.

While the Clippers are third in the Western Conference, the Warriors are 10th, just above the playoff line.

"Either way, how tonight would have gone, we would say the same thing about tomorrow, we're trying to keep the streak going and not have any missteps," added Curry.

"Now, it's the same mission but a different mindset of bounding back and just feeling good going into a six-day break. It's a very, very, very, very important game, to say the least."

Norman Powell hit four 3-pointers over the final 7:03 and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from 12 down in the fourth quarter to end the Golden State Warriors’ five-game winning streak, 130-125 on Wednesday.

James Harden had 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Paul George scored 24 points before fouling out as the Clippers won their fifth straight on the road despite missing Kawhi Leonard, who sat out with a left leg injury.

Stephen Curry scored 41 points and went 9 for 19 from 3-point range and became the first player in NBA history to make at least seven 3s in four straight games. He notched his sixth 40-point game of the season.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was denied his 500th regular season win and Golden State suffered just its second loss in the last nine games.

The Clippers had lost six straight on the Warriors’ home floor.

 

Surging Celtics rip Nets

Payton Pritchard scored 28 points and Derrick White had 27 as the Boston Celtics pounded the Brooklyn Nets 136-86 for their sixth straight win and a sweep of their home-and-home series.

Jayson Tatum added 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as the Celtics gave coach Joe Mazzulla his 100th victory.

Boston, which enters the All-Star break with a league-best 43-12 record, made 22 of 44 from 3-point range and won by at least 50 points for the fifth time in team history.

The Celtics won their 10th in the last 11 meetings against the Nets, who have lost five of six overall.

 

Irving keeps Mavericks red hot

Kyrie Irving had 34 points and Luka Dončić added 27 before leaving early in the fourth quarter as the streaking Dallas Mavericks rallied for a 116-93 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Doncic, who also had nine rebounds and eight assists in 31 minutes, left three minutes into the fourth holding his neck. A team spokesman said the Dallas superstar received treatment.

The Mavs erased a 15-point deficit to win their season-high sixth straight.

Victor Wembanyama scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half and grabbed nine rebounds as the Spurs lost for the eighth time in nine games.

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."

Russell Westbrook is "so grateful" to be on the Los Angeles Clippers team after he tallied up 25,000 NBA points.

Westbrook became the fourth active player in the NBA, and the 25th player overall, to hit the 25,000 milestone when he nailed a running layup with 2:44 left during Friday's 136-125 win over the Detroit Pistons.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Clippers teammate Harden are the other active players to have passed the landmark.

Westbrook, meanwhile, is just the second player in NBA history with 25,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 8,000 assists, after James.

"I'm so grateful to be on this team," said Westbrook, who finished with 23 points. "I don't take any of this for granted."

"Thanks to God man, for allowing me to play the game I love, and be grateful for that. It's a blessing.

"Grateful to be able to play the game of basketball and use my platform to be able to share, impact and inspire people."

Westbrook's basket sparked jubilant celebrations on the Clippers' bench.

"It's a fun group," he added. "We've got good guys, we all hang out, all have fun.

"To see the love and support here from the coaches and my teammates, I'm super grateful for that."

Jaden led the Pistons with 28 points, and he had nothing but praise for Westbrook.

"I actually got to work out with Russ before the start of my rookie year," Ivey said.

"He gave me a lot of advice. He's just a great, humble dude. He took me under his wing a little bit."

The Clippers trailed by 14 points in the first quarter, but clicked through the gears as the game wore on, with Kawhi Leonard (33 points) leading the way.

They’re a tough young team, especially at home," said Westbrook. "We had to figure out how to play the right way, using our effort and energy to close out the game."

Pistons coach Monty Williams was frustrated with his team's sloppiness, however.

"You can't have turnovers and some of the undisciplined errors we had against a team like that," said Williams.

"It's something that has hurt us all season long. When we take care of [the ball], we have a better chance of success."

The Clippers are third in the Western Conference with a 32-15 record, while the Pistons remain rooted to the bottom of the East with the league's worst record (6-42).

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."

Luka Dončić scored a franchise-record 73 points to tie for the fourth-most in NBA history in the Dallas Mavericks’ 148-143 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

Doncic surpassed his previous career high of 60 points after scoring a team-record 41 in the first half.

He joined Wilt Chamberlain and David Thompson as players to score 73 points. Chamberlain, who owns the NBA record with 100 points, also had a 78 and a 73-point game, while Kobe Bryant scored 81 on Jan. 22, 2006.

Doncic shot 25 of 33 from the field, was 8 of 13 from 3-point range and made 15 of 16 free throws. He also had 10 rebounds and seven assists in 44 ½ minutes.

No other player has ever had as many points, rebounds and assists in the same game as Doncic did.

His milestone game came in his original NBA home, at least for a few minutes. Doncic was drafted by the Hawks with the No. 3 overall pick in 2018 before having his draft rights traded to Dallas for Young with the No. 5 pick and a 2019 first-round pick used to select Cam Reddish.

Josh Green had 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. was the only other Dallas player in double figures with 13 points. The Mavericks snapped a three-game skid and sent the Hawks to their fourth straight loss.

Trae Young led Atlanta with 30 points and Jalen Johnson added 25.

Pacers rally to spoil Booker’s big night

Obi Toppin snapped a tie on a putback with 3.4 seconds remaining and the Indiana Pacers overcame Devin Booker’s 62 points in a 133-131 win, snapping the Phoenix Suns’ seven-game winning streak.

Booker scored 50 or more points for the second time this season and seventh time in his career, falling eight shy of matching his career-high 70 set at Boston on March 24, 2017.

Pascal Siakam scored 31 points and Toppin finished with 23 and 11 rebounds to help Indiana win its second straight without All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton.

The Pacers fell behind 54-37 in the second quarter but whittled the deficit down to 80-70 at halftime. They trailed 114-105 entering the fourth but tied it twice in the final 90 seconds before Toppin’s basket won it.

Harden powers Clippers past Raptors

James Harden had 22 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his 75th career triple-double to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to their fourth straight win, 127-107 over the Toronto Raptors.

Harden, who notched his first triple-double this season, ranks eighth all-time in that category. He has at least 20 points and 10 assists in each of his last three games.

Paul George scored 21 points and Russell Westbrook added 20 as the Clippers won for the 12th time in 14 games.

Scottie Barnes scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for the Raptors, who lost their fourth straight and ninth in 11 games.

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."

Paul George warned that the Los Angeles Clippers never know when they are beaten after their unanswered points streak in Sunday's win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Having gone into the fourth quarter trailing by 15 points, the Clippers reeled off a 22-0 run to close out the game and triumph 125-114.

It brought up their 10th win in the space of 12 games in stunning fashion.

Kawhi Leonard led the epic comeback, scoring 14 of his 21 points during the Clippers' 22-0 run over the game's final 5:17, with Los Angeles improving from 44.7 per cent shooting across the first three quarters to 75 per cent in the final period.

"That was first of a kind, with a slow start and then get red-hot at the end," said George, who finished with 12 points.

"We're going to always compete to the very end. The great thing about this group is we don't ever believe that we're down and out of it."

After scoring 24 points and adding 10 assists against his former team, James Harden said: "They came out and punched us in the mouth and in that fourth quarter we played Clipper basketball, got some stops and the rest is history.

"It was like a party. The energy was 100. That right there is home-court advantage."

Mikal Bridges led Brooklyn with 26 points but scored just six after half-time, and he offered few excuses for the Nets' capitulation.

"Just got to be better for the whole 48," Bridges said. "Definitely not fun.

"We were stuck, didn't know what to do or how to break it."

The Clippers are fourth in the Western Conference with a 27-14 record, with a clash against their city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers next up.

The Los Angeles Clippers trailed the Brooklyn Nets by three points after one quarter, 12 points after two quarters and 15 points after three quarters.

The fourth quarter, however, belonged to the Clippers.

The Clippers throttled the Nets in the final period, outscoring them 41-15 and tallied the game's final 22 points to pull out a stunning 125-114 win on Sunday.

Down by 18 points with just under 11 minutes to play, Los Angeles (27-14) closed the game on a 39-10 run en route to its 10th victory in the last 12 games.

Kawhi Leonard led the epic comeback, scoring 14 of his 21 points during the Clippers' 22-0 run over the game's final 5:17.

 

The Clippers shot 44.7 percent through the first three quarters before making 12-of-16 shots (75.0 per cent) in the final period.

James Harden led Los Angeles with 24 points and 10 assists, while Russell Westbrook added 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists off the bench.

The Nets (17-25) started the game hot, jumping out to 16-0 lead over the first 4 1/2 minutes.

But as hot as they started, they were unable to make a basket down the stretch with a 114-103 lead, missing their final nine shots to lose for the 10th time in 12 games.

Mikal Bridges led Brooklyn with 26 points but scored just six after half-time.

 

Durant has 40 as Suns hang on to beat Pacers for fifth straight win

Kevin Durant poured in 40 points to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 117-110 win over the Indiana Pacers for their fifth straight victory.

In his third 40-point game of the season, Durant did most of his damage on mid-range jumpers and became the first player in franchise history to score at least 40 points without attempting a free throw.

The 13-time All-Star made 18-of-25 shots - including 4-of-7 from 3-point range - and grabbed nine rebounds to go with a season high-tying three blocks.

 

The Suns' starting backcourt combined for 51 points, with Devin Booker scoring 26 and Bradley Bead adding 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting.

Phoenix (24-18) led by as much as 14 points, but Indiana used an 11-0 run to pull ahead 105-103 on Buddy Hield's 3-pointer with 3:20 left.

Durant then responded with a 3-pointer of his own on the Suns' next possession, as Phoenix closed the game on a 14-5 run.

Hield led the Pacers with 18 points, and Pascal Siakam had 15 points and seven assists in his second game with Indiana after being acquired from Toronto.

The Pacers (24-19), who were once playing without All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton due to a strained left hamstring, lost for the fourth time in five games following a 9-1 stretch.

 

Jokic scores season-high 42 as Nuggets beat Wizards

Nikola Jokic had his highest scoring game of the season, scoring 42 points while adding 12 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 113-104 win over the Washington Wizards.

The two-time NBA MVP was red-hot shooting, going 15-of-20 from the field and making 12-of-14 free throws.

 

All five Denver starters scored in double figures with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. each scoring 19, Aaron Gordon adding 11 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipping in 10.

The Nuggets (30-14) led by as much as 17 in winning for the fourth time in five games.

The Wizards (7-35), meanwhile, lost their fourth in a row and for the 10th time in 11 games.

Kyle Kuzma paced Washington with 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Tyus Jones had 15 points and 13 assists.

Daniel Gafford had 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in his return after missing the last two games with a head injury.

James Harden is wholly satisfied with life at the Los Angeles Clippers and is hoping to see the key players in the team stick together in the coming seasons.

The Clippers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-117 on Tuesday, winning nine of their last 11 games.

Paul George scored a season-high 38 points, while Harden and Kawhi Leonard chipped in with 16 points each.

Leonard this month signed a new three-year contract, reportedly worth $153million. However, that is less than he would have been eligible for, and Leonard claimed he took a lower offer in order to help the Clippers keep their other stars, like Harden and George.

For his part, Harden is extremely happy with his new team, and like Leonard, hopes to keep the core of the side together for years to come.

"I thought the same thing last year, last team I was on," Harden said when asked if he would like to see out his playing days with the Clippers. "That's why I did all those sacrifices.

"But I'm here, home. We have an opportunity. I want to be able to keep the core together for a few years and I haven't had those opportunities the last few years. So things are going well and I'm happy."

Leonard believes the majority of the Clippers lineup are planning on staying with the team next season.

"With the conversation that I have with them about it, I think for the most part everybody is coming back," he said.

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

The Clippers sit fourth in the Western Conference with a 26-14 record.

They found themselves 79-77 down at the end of the third quarter against the Thunder, but they lodged a comeback in the fourth.

Coach Tyronn Lue said: "We responded well. To hold onto the lead and make our own run says a lot about our team."

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."

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