Victor Wembanyama wants victories, not individual feats, after he joined Michael Jordan in the NBA record books.

Wembanyama became just the second NBA rookie, after Jamaal Tinsley in 2001, to post at least five points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocks in a single game. He is just the second player to have five blocks and as many steals in successive games, after the great Jordan.

However, his efforts proved fruitless for the San Antonio Spurs, who lost 113-108 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Wembanyama finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals and five blocks. He is just the 15th player in the NBA to record a 5x5.

But for the overall number one draft pick, wins are the priority.

"To me, it's secondary," Wembanyama said. "Hopefully in the future, and think this is a good performance, but as of today, I can't be satisfied with a loss."

LeBron James returned from injury to score 30 points for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis had 28 points and 13 rebounds.

"Of course it was challenging [going against] one of the best duos in the league," Wembanyama said of facing two of the NBA's star players.

"But still, I think it's a lot of teams we beat if we play this way.

"But I think it came down to maturity at the end because each and every one of us was making a mistake each of the times.

"Little mistakes, missing a layup, turning the ball over. We went down, we went back to down four, down seven multiple times and that's when we did mistakes. So yeah, it's maturity."

Even though the Spurs have lost 10 of their last 11 games, James believes the sky truly is the limit for Wembanyama.

"He doesn't have a ceiling," James said.

"He can do whatever he wants to do with his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts in the work. Just from the outside looking in, I'm not with him on a day-to-day basis, but I said a long time ago how special he was, and it's literally that simple.

"There are guys in our league that you have to account for any time you get around the rim or around the perimeter in our league history, and he sits right at the top of it, [if not] around the top, with all the greats.

"He's one of them to have like a stellar rookie season. Guys that have come in and [dominated]. But, it's, can you sustain it? We've had guys that have come in and [have] just been really damn [good]."

The Lakers returned to winning ways following their loss to the Golden State Warriors, but coach Darvin Ham was not entirely satisfied with the performance.

"You want your team to constantly look within and try to make plays and force the other team to put you in uncomfortable positions," Ham said.

"Not you put yourself in those uncomfortable positions, whether it's not sprinting back in transition or allowing teams to get two or three offensive rebounds. Or, you know, fouling because we're not in position because we're not doing our work early. And then going down the other end and not trusting the execution.

"We've got a bunch of weapons, but they're useless if we don't do the little things, sprinting hard when we get the ball in transition, not turning it over, maintaining spacing, making sure we get hits on screens to create an advantage and making the simple, easy play."

LeBron James has been ruled out of the Los Angeles Lakers' road game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday as he continues to nurse an ankle problem.

James has been suffering from peroneal tendinopathy in his left ankle, and the issue caused him to miss the Lakers' 138-122 road win over the Utah Jazz before the All-Star break.

The NBA's all-time leading scorer did feature in Sunday's All-Star Game, but he was limited to just 14 minutes on the court as the Western Conference All-Stars lost 211-186 to their Eastern Conference counterparts.

James said before Sunday's game that he would use the break to undergo treatment on his ankle, also suggesting his status for Thursday's trip to Chase Center was uncertain.

On Wednesday, the Lakers announced he had officially been downgraded to out, causing him to miss his eighth game of the season.

James had 36 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists as the Lakers beat the Warriors in a double overtime classic last month, and the 39-year-old is averaging 24.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game this season.

Prior to the trade deadline earlier this month, the Warriors reportedly enquired about James' availability, only to be knocked back by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

James said last week that he wishes to finish his glittering career in Los Angeles, though he is yet to decide whether to take up his $51.4million player option for 2024-25.

Thursday's matchup could prove crucial to the playoff hopes of both teams, with the Lakers emerging from the mid-season hiatus at 30-26 and the Warriors having a 27-26 record. 

LeBron James has outlined his desire to finish his storied career with the Los Angeles Lakers, despite recent reports linking him with a trade.

While James' average of 24.8 points per game this season is down on last term's 28.9, the NBA's all-time leading scorer has continued to impress while playing through a niggling ankle injury in his 21st season in the league.

He has only missed seven of Los Angeles' 56 games thus far in 2023-24, helping the team win the inaugural NBA in-season tournament in December. 

James has a $51.4million player option for 2024-25 with the Lakers, but he recently said he was undecided on whether to take up that option.

That led to speculation that he could be available, with his current team fielding calls from the Golden State Warriors and the Philadelphia 76ers ahead of the trade deadline earlier this month.

However, the 39-year-old stayed put, and speaking before his record-extending 20th appearance in the NBA's All-Star Game on Sunday, he gave his clearest indication yet that he sees his future in Los Angeles. 

"I am a Laker and I'm happy. I have been very happy being a Laker for the last six years and hopefully it stays that way," James said. 

"I don't have the answer to how long it is or which uniform I'll be in, but hopefully it is with the Lakers. It's a great organisation with so many greats, but we'll see."

Warriors forward Draymond Green reportedly lobbied team owner Joe Lacob to enquire about a blockbuster trade for James, but he says he played no part in any talks with Golden State.

"I actually heard about it when everybody else heard about it," James told TNT Sports of their interest. 

"Sometimes there's conversations that happen behind closed doors that you don't even know about, I guess until it's real or not, then they'll bring it to you. It never even got to me."

Looking further ahead, James knows the curtain will soon come down on his glittering career, but he is yet to make any decisions regarding the nature of his NBA farewell.

Asked whether he would announce his retirement in advance in order to receive a proper send-off, as opposed to quitting in the offseason, James said: "I'm 50-50, to be honest.

"I was asked this question a couple of days ago; 'Will you take the farewell tour, or will you just Tim Duncan it?'

"There's times when I feel like I owe it to my fans that have been on this journey with me for two decades, to be able to give them that moment where it's every city and they give you flowers or whatever the case may be. That seems cool.

"But on the other side, I've never been that great with accepting praise. It's a weird feeling for me. I don't know how it's going to end, but it's coming. It's coming, for sure." 

Adam Silver will not "anoint" any player to be the next LeBron James when he eventually retires.

Four-time MVP James is set to play in his 20th All-Star game on Sunday at the age of 39, averaging 24.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists so far this season for the 30-26 Los Angeles Lakers.

Though James is still performing well, he is in the latter stages of his career and the talk over who could potentially fill his place as the league's most recognisable player has been growing.

NBA commissioner Silver, though, compared James' potential retirement to that of Michael Jordan, saying players must earn the mantle of James' replacement.

"I would never anoint another player to be the next LeBron James just in the same way when Michael [Jordan] retired," Silver told reporters.

"I remember at the time David Stern [former NBA commissioner] was saying whoever demonstrates on the court that they should be.

"These new players aren't anointed. They demonstrate to the world, they demonstrate to the league that they deserve to be viewed in that same rare position as players like Michael and Kobe [Bryant] and LeBron and others."

Silver pointed to the rise of international talent in the NBA as potentially being able to somewhat fill the boots of James, stating the league is in "fantastic hands".

"Just look at the All-Stars that we're going to be seeing competing [Sunday] night," Silver added.

"Look at the magnitude of the pool of international players coming into this league. Look at the amount of basketball that's being played on a global basis."

LeBron James will be rested against the Utah Jazz after leading the Los Angeles Lakers with 25 points in their 125-111 home win over the Detroit Pistons.

Wednesday's road game in Utah is the second game of a back-to-back and James has been playing with a sore ankle, so he will be granted the opportunity to sit out of the last game before the All-Star break.

LeBron had a game-high points total on 9-for-15 shooting against the Pistons, as all five Lakers starters topped 15 points.

D'Angelo Russell had 21 points and Anthony Davis added 20 with 14 rebounds and six blocks.

Los Angeles has now won five of its last six games and improved to 29-26, with the NBA-worst Pistons (8-45) relatively comfortably brushed aside on Tuesday.

The Lakers racked up a 24-point lead early in the contest and led 71-48 at halftime.

LeBron, who also had eight assists, was full of praise for Davis after the victory, backing him to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.

"Offensively, we are sharing the ball and everybody has been in a good rhythm," he said, per ESPN.

"And then defensively, we've been on a string and if anything breaks down, the Defensive Player of the Year cleans it up for us. So, definitely, we are playing some good ball."

Spencer Dinwiddie had six points and seven assists in his Lakers debut, while Ausar Thompson led the Pistons with 19 points as James Wiseman scored 18 points and added nine rebounds.

LeBron still expects to be fit for Sunday's All-Star game in Indianapolis, as he prepares to make his record 20th appearance.

"I'm just humbled and very blessed, obviously," he added. "I don't take it for granted, being an All-Star."

Los Angeles remains ninth in the Western Conference, two spots above Utah (26-28), which has lost two straight games.

Jamal Murray shined as the Los Angeles Lakers' three-game winning streak was halted by the Denver Nuggets, who won 114-106 at Crypto.com Arena.

Denver beat Los Angeles for the seventh game in a row, having swept them in the Western Conference finals last season on the way to their NBA championship success.

Anthony Davis scored 32 points and LeBron James added 25 for the Lakers but D’Angelo Russell was out injured after the team opted not to make any moves at the trade deadline.

Russell’s replacement Max Christie also suffered an injury shorty before halftime as the Lakers dropped to 27-26, while the Nuggets (36-16) have now won three straight games, and eight of their last 10. 

Nikola Jokic just missed a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, while Murray scored 29 points and Michael Porter Jr. added 27.

The Nuggets led by 15 at one stage in the second half but the game was level again at 104-104 entering the final two minutes. A 10-0 Denver run proved decisive, ending the Lakers' best winning streak since they lifted the NBA Cup in Las Vegas.

"They made shots and executed," said LeBron. "The ball always ends up in Jamal Murray's hands.

"We tied the game and twice they hit big 3s, so they made more plays offensively than us and were able to win the game.

"Very good teams have an ability to run plays late in the game that they haven't run all game and have certain packages they can go to where they can get a really good shot.

"But it makes it even more dynamic when you have a point guard and center as great as [Murray and Jokic], it definitely helps the play calls when you have those two!"

For LeBron, who also had nine rebounds and seven assists, he was able to focus on the game despite speculation around the trade deadline and a big day which saw the emotional unveiling of Kobe Bryant’s statue.

"I went through my regular game-day routine and focused on the job at hand," he said.

"I knew coming in coming off a 12-day, six-game road trip is difficult on us, but once you get on the floor you have to lock in on an assignment. That’s all that matters.

"Our whole year so far has been about health. We haven't got to the point yet [where everyone is available]."

A busy schedule continues for Los Angeles as it hosts New Orleans on Friday, while Denver is at Sacramento next.

Davis echoed LeBron in citing health as the Lakers’ key issue, but still felt they could have won the contest.

"This is our team, who we are going to have," he said after the trade deadline passed. "Like I said, until we get guys healthy, we kind of have to get back into our groove.

"But this was a very, very winnable game and down the stretch kind of hurt us."

Nuggets coach Michael Malone was glad to see his team hold their nerve in the final moments.

He said: "What I saw in that stretch was poise on offense and executing. 

"Give them [the Lakers] credit, they had all the momentum and they were attacking us, so to outscore that team 10-2 in the last few minutes, that means you’re defending at a high level and you’re rebounding."

Denver has the same record as the Minnesota Timberwolves at the top of the Western Conference, with Los Angeles in the No,9 position.

LeBron James says he loves the players in the current Los Angeles Lakers locker room as speculation about roster changes swirls ahead of Thursday's trade deadline.

The Lakers won 124-118 against the short-handed Charlotte Hornets on Monday, with their third straight victory marking their best run since winning the NBA Cup in Las Vegas.

There is still much debate over how different Los Angeles' team will look by the time it takes to the court at home to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.

D'Angelo Russell is one of the players mentioned in trade talks and he led the team with 28 points and six assists in Charlotte.

Anthony Davis had his third career triple-double with 26 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists, while LeBron had 26 points on 12-for-22 shooting.

LeBron was asked after the game whether the current roster was good enough to win a championship or if he felt changes should be made.

"It's not a question for me," he said, per ESPN. "I love who we have in the locker room and that's all I worry about.

"We are going to go out and prepare ourselves every single night no matter what it is, no matter who's out there on this team. No matter what.

"This is who we have, so there's nothing else to talk about."

Russell is also completely blocking out the speculation after producing an impressive run of performances. The Lakers are 10-6 since he returned from injury in January.

"Show up to work," he said about how he was coping with the trade debates. "That's it. Just play. You can't control that. I don't care at all [about trade speculation].

"Obviously I've been here before, I played for the Lakers before, so I know what the requirements are to be successful here are. 

"So, if you're part of the future here you'll be successful. If you're not, you'll get traded. And I've been traded before here. So, my approach is just a little different.

"I really just genuinely, humbly don't care because I know I can't control it, one. And, two, I just won't allow my mind to go there. 

"I like to focus on this and you can see how I've been focusing on basketball and not comments and what's trending on social."

Miles Bridges produced a career-high 41 points and rookie Brandon Miller scored 33 points for the Hornets, but it was not enough to prevent them from suffering their eighth straight loss since trading Terry Rozier.

The Lakers are 27-25, ninth in the Western Conference, and would need to improve to at least sixth to avoid the play-in tournament.

After going 4-2 on their six-game road trip, Los Angeles now has three straight home games against Denver, New Orleans and Detroit.

"When we put our minds to it, we can beat any team in this league," added Davis.

"We lost two we felt like we should have won, and we won two that the people in Nevada thought we should lose. When we buckle down defensively and play the right way we are a tough team to beat."

LeBron James' immediate future with the Los Angeles Lakers is in no doubt, so says the superstar's agent.

There had been speculation that James, 39, could leave the Lakers ahead of next week's trade deadline.

But his agent Rich Paul insisted that those rumours are wide of the mark.

"LeBron won't be traded, and we aren't asking to be," Paul told ESPN.

James missed the Lakers' win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday due to injury. He posted an hourglass emoji on social media following a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, which only increased the speculation over his future.

The four-time NBA champion has a $51.4 million player option in his Lakers contract for next season.

LeBron James is unable to explain the Los Angeles Lakers' inconsistent form after his side went down 138-122 to the Atlanta Hawks.

The Lakers have followed up wins over the Chicago Bulls and the Golden State Warriors with losses to the Houston Rockets and now the Hawks.

With a record of 24-25, the Lakers find themselves ninth in the Western Conference ahead of facing the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

LeBron posted an underwhelming 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists at State Farm Arena on Tuesday as his side fell to a fourth defeat in seven.

"We could, on any given night, beat any team in the NBA," he told reporters. "Then on any given night, we can get our a** kicked by any team.

"That's just the [facts]. What's our record? Under .500? What, 24-25? That's where we are."

The Lakers now have to lift themselves for their trip to the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics, before then facing the New York Knicks.

James is hoping to hit back in those games and regain some momentum after quickfire double-digit defeats.

"When I'm healthy enough to play, I just try to perform at a high level," he said. "I want to help my team-mates do great things out there.

"Win, lose or draw, I want to be satisfied with the way I approach the game."

Trae Young starred for the Hawks with 26 points, which included knocking down his first six attempts from the 3-point range.

De'Andre Hunter added six points in his 16 minutes on the court as he made his comeback after six weeks out, missing 19 games in total.

Atlanta are now 20-27 for the season and face the Phoenix Suns next up as they search for a third-straight win.

"Any team can do it one night or two nights in row," Young said. "We've just got be consistent with it.

"Hopefully we can string together some wins that propel us forward to where we want to go and need to be."

Anthony Edwards claimed the Minnesota Timberwolves were "playing eight-on-five" due to the "terrible" officiating in their win over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the top of the West.

The T-Wolves opened up a lead to the Thunder at the top of the conference courtesy of a 107-101 victory in which Edwards scored 27 points.

But rather than revel in that win, Edwards focused on the referees after the game, furious with one particular call that saw a potential foul go unpunished after he drove to the basket inside the final two minutes.

The former first overall pick accepted he would be punished for his comments but did not appear to care.

"I'm going to take the fine, because the refs did not give us no calls tonight," he told the television broadcast, adding to ESPN: "The refs were bad tonight. Yeah, they were terrible. We were playing eight-on-five."

Edwards could at least take comfort in the result, saying: "The cat got their tongue tonight, so it's all good. It's not fair, but it's all good."

The 22-year-old was not alone in taking issue with the officiating in the NBA on Monday as Anthony Davis argued Dillon Brooks should have been ejected in the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Houston Rockets.

Houston were already well on their way to a 135-119 win when Brooks tussled with LeBron James and left the Lakers superstar on the floor holding his face, while the same Rockets player appeared to shove Jarred Vanderbilt in the air before the LA man was himself ejected following an altercation between the pair.

"You take a hard foul," said Davis. "It's part of basketball.

"But you're just not going to blatantly push someone in their back when they have no control of their body in the air. I think he should have got ejected for that.

"And then obviously you know that him and Bron have their whatever, and from what I saw, it was just a blatant hit on LeBron to the face."

LeBron James is looking forward to talking about his thrilling matchups against Stephen Curry with his grandchildren.

That is how much James relishes going up against the Golden State Warriors star, as the duo served up another wonderful instalment of their long-running rivalry on Saturday.

James and the Los Angeles Lakers came out on top, edging out the Warriors 145-144 in double overtime.

Curry led the game with 46 points, with 15 of those coming across the two OT periods, but James inspired the Lakers with a triple-double of 36 points, 12 assists and a career-best 20 rebounds.

"It's something I'll be able to talk about with my grandkids," James said.

"When you talk about me being able to compete versus one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

"It's been a treat to go against one of the greatest to ever play this game.

"For us to continue to push each other at the state of our careers, you don't take it for granted because you don't know how many times you're actually going to get the moment to actually be on the same floor with such a talent."

James and Curry dominated four successive NBA Finals, and the pair, who have eight championship rings between them, rekindled that fire in magnificent fashion.

However, neither team have been enjoying their best campaigns. The Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference with a 24-23 record, three places ahead of the 19-24 Warriors.

"Every year that we get to do this and go back and forth, the battles, the Finals runs, the playoff battles last year, after the horn sounded tonight there was a little laugh of, I can't imagine a scenario where a game like tonight happens, [with] him in Season 21 and me in Year 15," Curry said.

"You look forward to the battles, but you also appreciate the mutual respect of what it takes to keep doing what you're doing at this level. Only a few people know how hard it is. I'm happy to be in that group."

Klay Thompson, who scored 24 points for the Warriors, is simply happy to have played alongside, and against, two of the NBA's greatest.

"Credit to LeBron for what he's doing at his age. I mean, that guy is a freak of nature in terms of his ability to play at this level for so long. Same with Steph," Thompson said.

"When you're younger, you don't ever really think that basketball will stop because it's what you love. It's all you do.

"But when you get to your thirties, you realise there's an end point to being an athlete. Knowing that, I am very grateful to step on the floor with those guys and play against LeBron."

LeBron James is in his 21st NBA season, and still accomplishing things he's never done before.

James had a career-high 20 rebounds as part of a triple-double and hit two late free throws in the second overtime to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 145-144 road win over the Golden State Warriors in an epic showdown with Stephen Curry on Saturday.

James also had 36 points and 12 assists as part of his 110th career triple-double while playing a season-high 48 minutes.

He became the first Laker to have at least 35 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game in the last 40 seasons.

 Curry scored 10 of his season-high 46 points in the second overtime, and put the Warriors up 144-143 on his season-best ninth 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds to play.

On the Lakers ensuing possession, James drove the lane and drew a foul with 1.2 seconds remaining. He hit both free throws to put Los Angeles up by one point and Curry then missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.

D'Angelo Russell finished with 28 points, and hit a key 3-pointer late in regulation and another clutch 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining in the second overtime.

Anthony Davis exited for a bit in the third quarter due to a hip spasm but returned to finish with 29 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles (24-23), which trailed by as much as 15 points.

The Warriors (19-24) lost for the fourth time in five games despite scoring a season high in points and making a season-best 23 3-pointers.

Klay Thompson drained a tying 3 with 5.9 seconds to play in the first extra period and then hit another with 1:53 to play in the second, but he ended up fouling out 39 seconds later. He finished with 24 points and made six 3-pointers.

 

Clippers roll in Boston for fifth straight win

One month ago, the Boston Celtics trounced the Clippers in Los Angeles.

The Clippers returned the favour.

Los Angeles led by as much as 36 en route to a 115-96 victory over the NBA-best Celtics in Boston.

The Pacific Division-leading Clippers (30-14) rode a 21-0 run in the third quarter to avenge a 37-point home loss to the Celtics on December 23. The Clippers have won five in a row with all victories coming by double digits.

Kawhi Leonard had a game-high 26 points, while Paul George added 17 points in just 22 minutes for Los Angeles, which scored 64 points in the paint.

With the outcome in little doubt, both teams emptied their bench for the fourth quarter.

The Celtics (35-11) were opening a season-high seven-game home-stand, but came out sluggish, scoring a season-low 21 first-quarter points.

Jayson Tatum was the only Celtic starter in double figures, scoring 21 while the other four Boston starters combined for 17 points on 5-of-37 shooting (13.5 per cent).

It marked the second straight home loss for the Celtics, who opened the season 20-0 in Boston.

 

 Knicks win sixth in row but Randle injured

The New York Knicks' latest win may have come at a cost.

The Knicks extended their winning streak to six games with a 125-109 victory over the Miami Heat, but Julius Randle injured his shoulder late in the fourth quarter.

Randle exited with 4:27 to play after appearing to land hard on his right shoulder after colliding with the Heat's Jaime Jaquez Jr. He was reportedly diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder, and it's uncertain how long he'll be sidelined.

 Jalen Brunson led New York with 32 points and eight assists, and Randle had 19 points and nine rebounds before getting hurt. OG Anunoby also scored 19 for the Knicks (29-17), who improved to 12-2 since the calendar flipped to 2024.

Things have not been going nearly as well for the Heat (24-22), who have lost a season-high six straight games.

Jimmy Butler had 28 points and eight assists for Miami, which is still atop the Southeast Division despite its recent slide.

LeBron James is "humbled" by the support he has received as he credited his fans after being voted as an All-Star for a record 20th time.

James, who scored 25 points and added 12 assists as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Chicago Bulls 141-132 on Thursday, has now surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's tally of 19 All-Star nominations.

The 39-year-old will captain the West, and start alongside Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will captain the East on his eighth All-Star selection. 

Reigning MVP Joel Embiid is set for his seventh All-Star appearance, with Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard and Tyrese Hailburton completing the East's lineup.

"I give credit and a lot of respect to my fans who have been along with me through this whole 21-year journey," James said.

"And voting me in as an All-Star starter for the 20th-consecutive time, just very humbled.

"Very blessed to be able to do what I love to do and just try to give back, give back to the game that's given me over two decades.

"So, to be able to know this is the first time ever in NBA history to have this many All-Star starts or whatever the case might be, it's very cool.

"I've exceeded anything that I ever dreamed about being in the NBA. And I did that a long time ago. Everything else is just kind of extra credit. I'm very humbled by still being able to play the game I love and have these accomplishments along the way."

Lakers coach Darvin Ham joked that James was a "victim of his own success".

Ham said: "Kudos to him, man. He's a victim of his own work and success. It's crazy.

"I was thinking about this to myself, like, 'Damn, he'll never have an All-Star Weekend to himself just not to have any obligations.'

"And do that for 21 years, oof. But that's his work. He put that work in. He's maintained that consistency, that durability. And I'm happy for him."

James is averaging 24.8 points per game across 41 appearances for the Lakers this season, while also contributing 7.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds.

The 73rd NBA All-Star weekend will take place in Indianapolis between February 16 and 18.

LeBron James has added yet another superlative to his legendary career resume.

On Thursday, the NBA unveiled the starters for the 2024 All-Star Game, with James voted an All-Star for a record 20th time. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar previously held the record with 19 selections.

With the Feb. 18 All-Star Game reverting to its traditional East vs. West format, James will be the West captain and will start alongside Kevin Durant (14th selection), Nikola Jokic (sixth), Luka Doncic (fifth) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (second).

Giannis Antetokounmpo (eighth selection) will serve as the captain of the East team and will start alongside Milwaukee Bucks teammate Damian Lillard (eighth), Joel Embiid (seventh), Jayson Tatum (fifth) and Tyrese Haliburton (second).

Starters were selected by a combination vote, with 50 percent weight given to fans, 25 percent to selected media members and 25 percent to fellow players.

New to this season’s voting was the elimination of the center position designation, with the ballot shifting to three frontcourt spots and two backcourt spots in each conference.

The reserves are voted on by the league’s head coaches and will be announced on Feb. 1.

The 73rd NBA All-Star Game will be played in Indianapolis.

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."

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