Cam Thomas starred off the bench as the depleted Brooklyn Nets came from behind to defeat the Washington Wizards 125-123 on Saturday.

Already without Ben Simmons and talisman Kevin Durant, the Nets were dealt a further blow when Kyrie Irving was ruled out due to a calf problem.

Irving's injury came just a day after news broke of his wish to leave the Nets, with the point guard having handed in a trade request.

The former Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics star was not in attendance at the Barclays Center, though that decision was a joint one with the team's management.

A bleak end to the week looked set to be compounded as the Warriors held a healthy 23-point lead, yet the Nets fought back partly thanks to Thomas' efforts.

He scored a career-high, game-leading 44 points, while Edmond Sumner chipped in with 29 as the Wizards – who lost to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday – became the first team in the past 25 seasons to throw away 20+ point leads on consecutive days.

Kristaps Porzingis top scored for the Wizards with 38 points.

James gets closer but Pelicans end losing streak

LeBron James is now just 36 points away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing NBA record, yet his efforts were not enough for the Los Angeles Lakers against the New Orleans Pelicans.

James added 27 more points to his total on Saturday, though the Lakers lost 131-126 to a Pelicans team that had suffered 10 straight defeats.

While Anthony Davis was the Lakers' standout performer with a double-double of 34 points and 14 rebounds, Brandon Ingram's 35-point haul led the Pelicans, who moved onto .500 for the season.

Curry concern for Warriors

Stephen Curry scored 21 points, added six rebounds and provided seven assists but hobbled out of the Golden State Warriors' 119-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Curry must now await results of an MRI scan, which is set to take place on Sunday, to determine the severity of the issue.

Reigning NBA champions Golden State nevertheless got the job done without him in the final quarter, getting over the line against a Dallas side missing their star man Luka Doncic.

Draymond Green's 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists were crucial, with Spencer Dinwiddie's game-high 25 points not enough for the Mavs, who have lost seven in 11.

Nuggets tie with Celtics

The Boston Celtics lost for the fourth time in six games on Friday and the Denver Nuggets capitalised to tie level as joint-NBA leaders.

Denver beat the Atlanta Hawks 128-108, with Nikola Jokic (14 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists) claiming his 18th triple-double of the season while Jamal Murray turned on the style with his season-best tally of 41 points.

The Nuggets are now tied with the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics on 37-16 for the season and have won 19 of their last 20 home games.

The Los Angeles Lakers "hardly ever discuss" LeBron James' hunt for the NBA points record, according to coach Darvin Ham.

James scored 26 points, added seven rebounds and provided seven assists as the Lakers fought back to beat the Pacers 112-111 on Thursday.

That haul moved James onto 38,325 points across his illustrious career, 62 short of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record.

It means James is likely to break the record against the Oklahoma City Thunder next week.

Ham, however, says the Lakers do not treat it as too big of a deal.

"I think it's an amazing feat," Lakers coach Darvin Ham told reporters.

"When it happens, kudos to Bron for all his longevity and not just longevity, but longevity at the top of the list at an elite level.

"But our day-to-day, we hardly ever discuss it unless we're asked about it. For us, it's just, how can we get our team in the best position to make a run?"

James, though, did not look to downplay the importance of the record.

"I think it's one of the greatest records in sports, in general. It's like the home run record in baseball," he said.

"It's one of those records that you don't ever see or think will be broken.

"You see guys like Hank Aaron, who had [baseball's home run record] for so long. You see guys like Sammy [Sosa] and Mark McGwire and you start climbing it and it's like, 'Oh, this could really happen.'

"It's a fun thing as a sports person. It was fun watching those guys chasing it."

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 31 points and 14 rebounds, and it was his 11-foot shot with 35 seconds left put Los Angeles ahead, before he made a crucial block from Tyrese Haliburton.

Davis missed out on selection for the All-Star Game, though that was of little concern.

"I'm here to win, to try to compete for championships, not to get into All-Star Games," Davis said.

"My wife is ecstatic. She already texted me, 'So, where we going [during All-Star break]?'"

The Los Angeles Lakers trailed by 14 early in the fourth quarter before storming back to defeat the Indiana Pacers 112-111 on the road.

Los Angeles' defense let them down early on Thursday as they gave up 35 points in the first quarter and another 32 in the second, heading into the long break trailing 67-54.

The Lakers were finally able to hold the Pacers under 30 points in a 30-29 third frame, before their defense woke up in the final period and kept the home side to just 15.

The visiting team did not claim their first lead of the game until LeBron James drained a three-pointer to jump ahead 108-106 with 2:35 remaining, but a jump shot from rookie Andrew Nembhard put the Pacers up by one with under a minute to play.

With the game on the line, Anthony Davis drained a clutch post fadeaway over elite defensive center Myles Turner to retake the lead, and although the Lakers left the door open with a pair of missed free throws from Pat Beverley, Buddy Hield's potential game-winner was off the mark thanks to Beverley's smothering defense.

It was a gutsy comeback to give the Lakers their second win in a row, led by Davis' 31 points on 13-of-27 shooting with 14 rebounds and two blocks. 

Meanwhile, James was efficient with 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting, adding seven rebounds and seven assists. He is now 62 points away from tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring mark.

For the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton enjoyed a strong return from injury after three weeks on the sideline, leading his team in points (26) and assists (12) after being named to his first All-Star team earlier in the day.

Jokic toys with the Warriors

Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic continued his march towards a three-peat as he dominated the Golden State Warriors in the Denver Nuggets' 134-117 triumph.

Jokic finished with 22 points on nine-of-13 shooting with 16 assists and 14 rebounds. Over his past 17 games, he has only finished with fewer than nine assists once, and no player is averaging more than his 11.9 assists over their past 15 games.

It was also another strong performance from Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, scoring 33 points on 12-of-23 shooting with eight assists and five rebounds. Over his past five outings, Murray is averaging 27.6 points and 7.2 assists.

The Nuggets sit four games clear atop the Western Conference at 36-16, while the 26-26 Warriors are ninth.

Mavericks hold on as Doncic leaves hurt

The Dallas Mavericks led the New Orleans Pelicans by 31 points during the second quarter, but ended up getting pushed all the way in a 111-106 victory.

Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic had 27 points in the first half, and made his way up to 31 early in the third period before he suffered a heel injury due to a hard fall, ending his night.

The Mavericks led by 28 when he exited the game, and from that point on the Pelicans closed the contest on a 50-27 run. They ultimately came up short after a controversial refereeing mistake in the final seconds robbed them of a chance to shoot for the tie.

It was the Pelicans' 10th loss in a row as they desperately await the return of Zion Williamson from his hamstring injury, while the Mavericks improved to fifth in the West at 28-25.

LeBron James is completely relaxed about breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record NBA points total after moving another step closer during the Los Angeles Lakers' 129-123 win over the New York Knicks.

James played a starring role on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, becoming the first 38-year-old to ever record a 20-point triple-double as he finished with 28 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

Those 10 assists saw him overtake Steve Nash on the all-time leaderboard for NBA assists, with James now fourth on 10,336.

He remains 908 behind still-active Chris Paul in third, but the record that all eyes are on is overall points.

James' 28 here leaves him 88 off Abdul-Jabbar's record (38,387), meaning he is likely to surpass to his fellow Lakers great either on Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans, or three days later against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Some athletes might get nervous when approaching such a milestone, but James is utterly at ease with the situation due to it essentially being a formality.

"It's not getting heavier," James said.

"I'm going to do it. I mean, it's just a matter of time when I'm going to do it.

"It's not heavy. I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to be in this league for at least a few more years.

"I'm going to do it. It's not heavy at all."

There is also an element of anticipation from James' team-mates, with it set to be a momentous moment for everyone associated with the Lakers when he does break the record.

That is not lost on Anthony Davis.

"The team is very excited," he added. "It's probably going to be a surreal moment for all of us, but probably more so him... Obviously, whatever game it is, we want to be able to win the game."

But much of the focus around James on Tuesday related to his assists and overtaking Nash.

"It's amazing because that's just what I love to do and get my guys involved," James continued.

"Anytime you link with some of the greats – Mark Jackson played here, was drafted here by the Knicks, so it's a super cool thing. And obviously, we know when Nash was [in the league]; I played against him for many, many years. His ability to pass the ball was very uncanny."

Lakers coach Darvin Ham also paid tribute to James, saluting him for ignoring criticism about his game over the years and continuing to play true to himself.

"He's just a kid who's grown before our eyes. The last 20 years at this level, has done nothing but play the right way and make the play that's in front of him," Ham said.

"Regardless of how much he's been criticised for a while for not taking the last shots and the overpassing, he's just making the right plays. You saw that again tonight."

LeBron James collected another pair of milestones as he made history in the Los Angeles Lakers' 129-123 overtime victory against the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Playing on the road in Madison Square Garden, James became the first 38-year-old to ever record a 20-point triple-double, finishing with 28 points on 11-of-25 shooting, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

He also came into the contest eight assists away from overtaking Steve Nash for fourth-place on the all-time assist leaderboard, with James dishing assist number 10,336 early in the fourth period. 

James is 908 assists behind the still-active Chris Paul (11,246) – which would take him another 124 games to reach at his current career average of 7.3 per game – while he is 240 games at that pace away from the second-placed Jason Kidd (12,091).

Against the Knicks, the Lakers had to pull themselves off the canvas after their six-point lead with under two minutes left evaporated, as Jalen Brunson tied the game at 114-114 with 24 seconds on the clock.

But the Lakers had the answer this time, holding the Knicks scoreless for a near three-minute stretch in the five-minute extra period to pull away.

There were extremely encouraging signs for Los Angeles in the first game sporting their new-look starting five, with Anthony Davis making his first start since December 16, and his first alongside new trade acquisition Rui Hachimura.

Davis looked back to his best with 27 points (nine-of-16 shooting), nine rebounds and two steals, while Hachimura put together an efficient 19 points (eight-of-12) with nine rebounds and strong defense on Julius Randle.

With the win, the Lakers improved their record to 24-28, and sit just three games out of the Western Conference's six seed.

Kawhi dominates the Bulls on both ends

Any concerns about Kawhi Leonard's prime passing him by have been quashed after the latest standout performance from the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Leonard was clearly the best player on the court in the Los Angeles Clippers' 108-103 road win against the Chicago Bulls, scoring a game-high 33 points (11-of-24) while also snatching a season-high five steals with two blocks.

It was the kind of performance that has earned the 31-year-old three First Team All-NBA and three NBA All-Defensive First Team selections, and it cancelled out one of the more well-rounded games of Zach LaVine's career.

LaVine grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds for the Bulls to go with 18 points (six-of-14) and eight assists, also adding a steal and a block.

Giannis overpowers the Hornets

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo continued to build a convincing case for his third MVP during his side's 124-115 home win against the Charlotte Hornets.

Antetokounmpo led both teams with 34 points and 18 rebounds, shooting a terrific 14-of-24 from the field and a more than respectable five-of-six from the free throw line.

Despite being on the losing side, Hornets franchise player LaMelo Ball produced a head-turning stat line with 27 points (10-of-26), 11 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

The Bucks own the third-best record in the league at 34-17.

The NBA referees' official Twitter account apologised for a "gut-wrenching" mistake after a decisive last-minute officiating error cost the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics.

With the score tied at 105-105, LeBron James was smacked on his shooting arm at the rim by Jayson Tatum as the Lakers star went for glory with under five seconds remaining on the clock.

The four-time MVP and four-time NBA Finals MVP would fall short with his attempted drive before the Celtics snatched a 125-121 triumph in overtime.

James, Anthony Davis and the entire Lakers bench erupted at the last-gasp call, with Patrick Beverley issued a technical foul after bringing over a camera to referee Eric Lewis to review the decision.

Davis said Los Angeles were "cheated", while James expressed confusion at the clear error and the NBA referees took to social media to apologise on Sunday.

"Like everyone else, referees make mistakes. We made one at the end of last night's game and that is gut-wrenching for us," the official account wrote.

"This play will weigh heavily and cause sleepless nights as we strive to be the best referees we can be."

The apology may prove little consolation for James, whose 41 points on Saturday in Boston proved in vain.

Defeat saw the Lakers fall to 23-27, sitting 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference ahead of four road games in the coming week.

Los Angeles will look to bounce back at the Brooklyn Nets on Monday without James and Davis after the Lakers confirmed the pair would be absent on the first night of their back-to-back.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been ruled out of the Los Angeles Lakers' game at the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

James is dealing with left ankle soreness, while Davis has a right foot stress injury, the team confirmed the day before the game.

Both men played in Saturday's overtime loss to the Boston Celtics, in which James scored 41 points.

For James, his absence in Brooklyn may well mean a historic NBA moment comes in front of a home crowd in Los Angeles.

The four-time MVP now has 38,271 career regular season points, putting him just 116 behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record.

Averaging 30.2 points per game this season, James would only require four more games to pass Abdul-Jabbar at his current rate of scoring.

The Lakers have four games in this coming week – all on the road.

After that, the Lakers return to Staples Center on February 7 to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game in which James will likely be targeting the record.

The Los Angeles Lakers are furious after an obvious foul on LeBron James' potential game-winner was missed, with the Boston Celtics going on to secure a 125-121 victory in overtime.

Playing in Boston, James was spectacular with a game-high 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting, adding nine rebounds and eight assists, but the game was tied at 105-105 after Jaylen Brown's and-one with four seconds remaining.

The four-time MVP and four-time NBA Finals MVP would be the player entrusted with the last shot for the Lakers, and after driving left and getting all the way to the rim, James was smacked on his shooting arm by Jayson Tatum with under one second on the clock.

But the foul went un-whistled, with James, All-NBA team-mate Anthony Davis and the entire Lakers bench erupting in fury as the game was sent to overtime.

Los Angeles guard Patrick Beverley was issued a technical foul after bringing over a camera to the referee in an effort to show crew chief Eric Lewis the clearly botched call, and the Celtics went on to score 20 in the extra period, led by Brown with 11 of his 37 total points.

Speaking after the loss, Davis made it clear he felt cheated by the referees.

"It was bull**** at the end of the day," he said. "It’s unacceptable, and I guarantee nothing will happen to the ref. We got cheated tonight, honestly. 

"[Beverley] got all ball on Brown, [but they] called a foul. LeBron, they smack across his arm. Unacceptable, to be honest. The refs were bad – they were bad tonight."

James echoed those sentiments, saying this is not the first time this season he has felt disrespected by officials.

"You saw my reaction… it’s challenging," he said. "I don’t get it. 

"I'm attacking the paint just as much as any other guy in this league that’s shooting double-digit free throws a night. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it."

He added: "You guys seen some of the games we lost this year, with late-game missed calls. I don’t understand what we're doing. 

"I watch basketball every single day. I watch these games every single game, and I don’t see it happen to nobody else. It's just weird."

Head coach Darvin Ham joined the chorus of discontent.

"The best player on Earth can’t get a call – it’s amazing," he said. "You have to call a cat a cat, you can’t look at something and try to pretend it’s not what it is. 

"He’s a guy that tries hard to play the right way. Doesn’t flop, plays downhill, plays a strong, physical brand of basketball. 

"Just because he doesn’t flop or doesn’t flail and he’s not screaming when he’s shooting the ball like I see a ton of other players doing, he gets penalised for it.

"As much as you try not to put it on officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult. I don't want to see another Last 2 Minute report – they can save that. It doesn't do no one any good."

In an Instagram story, where he included a still photo of the foul, Lakers guard Dennis Schroder also voiced his frustration.

He wrote: "The refs gotta start getting fined for their mistakes! They also giving technical fouls to people who are reacting to their mistakes.

"The replay center should also use replay to get these calls right, especially on an important play like the OBVIOUS foul on LeBron at the end of the game.

"This needs to stop… to lose 3-5 games this season off of referees' mistakes is really hard."

In an uncommon occurrence, crew chief Lewis confirmed the botched call immediately after the game finished.

"There was contact," he said. "At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play."

The loss has the Lakers fall to 23-27, sitting 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference.

LeBron James' 41 points were not enough to prevent his Los Angeles Lakers from going down 125-121 in a controversial overtime loss on the road against the Boston Celtics.

In the latest edition of the league's most decorated rivalry, James was a man on a mission, finishing 15-of-30 from the field, six-of-12 from deep and five-of-six from the free throw line as the only Lakers player to score more than 16.

He added nine rebounds and eight assists, and he should have been awarded potential game-winning free throws after he was clearly hit on the arm while driving for a layup with under a second remaining in regulation.

But the Celtics got the call in Boston, and it would be Jaylen Brown stepping up in the extra period to deliver a win for the home fans.

Brown scored 11 of his team-high 37 points in overtime, finishing 13-of-23 from the field with nine rebounds, picking up the slack for team-mate and MVP candidate Jayson Tatum.

Tatum had a respectable stat line of 30 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals, but he shot a dismal eight-of-25 from the field, while Sixth Man of the Year contender Malcolm Brodgon chipped in a game-changing 25 points (eight-of-15), six rebounds, four assists and two steals off the bench.

For the Lakers, it was Anthony Davis' second game back after five-and-a-half weeks on the sideline dealing with a foot injury, and he came off the bench again for 16 points (six-of-15), 10 rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Celtics, and improved their league-leading record to 36-15. 

The Lakers fell to 23-27, and although they sit 13th in the Western Conference, they are only three games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves in the sixth seed.

Clippers extend winning streak to five

The Los Angeles Clippers are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season after making it five in a row with Saturday's 120-113 victory against the Atlanta Hawks.

The Clippers were led by their resurgent two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting while adding eight rebounds and four assists.

There were fears Leonard's prime had been stolen from him by injuries after scoring a total of 50 points in his first five games of this campaign, but over his past 10 fixtures he sits eighth overall in points per game at 29.3.

Over that span he is shooting 55.6 per cent from the field, 47.2 per cent from deep and 92.5 per cent from the free throw line while adding 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game, improving the Clippers' record to 28-24.

Kyrie stays red-hot in New York showdown

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving posted his sixth consecutive game with at least 30 points and six assists to defeat the New York Knicks 122-115 at home.

Irving, who was named an All-Star starter mid-week, scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting with nine assists, six rebounds and two steals.

Over his past six games, his 36.3 points per game is eclipsed only by Portland Trail Blazers icon Damian Lillard (38.3), while Irving's 7.8 assists would also be a new career-high as he shoulders a massive workload in the absence of injured superstar Kevin Durant.

LeBron James' jersey from Game 7 of the Miami Heat's triumphant 2013 NBA Finals has been bought in New York for $3.68million, making it the third most expensive game-worn jersey ever sold by Sotheby's.

The figure comes in behind Michael Jordan's 1998 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls jersey at $10.91m and Diego Maradona's Argentina jersey from the 1986 World Cup game where he scored the 'Hand of God' goal against England, at $9.28m.

The highest previous figure for a game-worn James jersey was $630,000 from the 2020 All-Star Game.

The Heat clinched the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 with James scoring 37 points with 12 rebounds and four assists.

James won his fourth NBA MVP crown during the 2012-13 season along with the 2013 NBA Finals MVP, the second of four in his career.

"Today's tremendous result comes at a pivotal time in LeBron James' career, where he is in arm's reach of clinching the all-time points record," Sotheby's expert Brahm Wachter said.

James (38,210) is on track to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA all-time points scoring record (38,387) in the next fortnight.

Anthony Davis felt great on his return from a foot injury but concedes it was a "long five-and-a-half weeks" on the sidelines.

The All-Star returned for the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time since December 17 as they won 113-104 over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

Davis, who had been sidelined with a fractured bone spur and stress reaction in his right foot, played 26 minutes off the bench in his return, scoring 21 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks.

The center had been in near career-best form prior to the injury, averaging 27.4 points per game as well as a career-high 12.1 rebounds, with his successful return a major boost for the Lakers who improved to 23-26 with Wednesday's win.

"I felt great. I felt good out on the floor," Davis told Spectrum Sportsnet after the game. "The foot feels fine. It was good to be out there with the guys battling. It was good because it was a close game. We really had to battle until the last four, five minutes, it was a good test for me going into this road trip.

"Overall, I'm happy to be back on the court with these guys. It's been a long five-and-a-half weeks, so it feels good to come back and get the win and ultimately be back out on the floor."

Davis checked into the game with 4:22 left in the first quarter, playing on a managed workload.

"Anytime you come back, that first game, that first practice whatever, you're always tender," Davis said. "You want to test it out, see how it feels in live action, in a real game where it matters.

"That's the ultimate test and for that first 30 seconds to a minute I wanted to see if I felt anything or if anything would flare up. When I didn’t feel anything, my mind was like, 'it's time to go'."

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham reassured that they were confident Davis has fully recovered from the issue, having endured numerous injuries in recent seasons.

"He's gone through some rigorous therapy, weight training, weight-bearing exercises, activity on the court - both individually and some group workouts," Ham told reporters prior to the game.

"We would save him from himself if we thought there was any type of threat or harm that he could do to himself.

"He had these boxes that he had to check, and he's checked all of them, so we feel comfortable with him appearing tonight."

LeBron James achieved a unique NBA feat in scoring 46 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, but he was in no mood to celebrate following a defeat.

With his latest big performance, James became the first player to score 40 or more points in games against all 30 teams.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar is also now only 177 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the long-standing all-time scoring lead.

Averaging 30.2 points per game this season, James is on course to pass Abdul-Jabbar against the New Orleans Pelicans next weekend.

But a downbeat James was not particularly talkative as he was asked to reflect on his latest achievements and that big imminent milestone.

"As [the record] gets closer and closer, I think I'll start to feel it more and more, but I haven't really tried to put myself in that moment," he said.

"I've got to this place by not even thinking about it or not even being in that moment, just trying to play the game the right way.

"Even tonight, as I shot the ball, I was still trying to distribute to my guys to make sure they felt some type of rhythm. That's just always how I've played the game throughout my career.

"We'll see when we get there. We'll see. Will it hit me? Over the last couple of years since we won a championship, there's been a lot of accomplishments happening on a losing effort.

"It's been very difficult to even digest some of my own accomplishments because I don't want to celebrate on losses."

James played his part in trying to ensure he did not have to experience that losing feeling again, making nine of 14 shots from three-point range.

That set a new career benchmark for made threes, although he also tied his high for attempts from beyond the arc.

At 38, James became the oldest player to make nine threes in a game; indeed, no other player has done so aged 35 or older.

This performance came in a season in which James' three-point shooting is down at 30.7 per cent, his lowest mark since his rookie season.

"I don't really get caught up on percentages and things like that if I'm not shooting the ball well, because I put too much work in my craft," he said.

"I know it'll even out at some point. I put a lot of work into it and was able to make a few shots tonight to help us stay in the game."

The Los Angeles Lakers are set to receive a massive boost on the second night of their back-to-back on Wednesday as All-NBA center Anthony Davis returns against the San Antonio Spurs.

Davis has missed the past five-and-a-half weeks after hopping off the floor against the Denver Nuggets on December 16. It was subsequently revealed that he had suffered a fractured bone spur and a stress reaction in his right foot.

During the 20 games he spent on the sidelines, the Lakers have gone 10-10, bringing their overall record to 22-26 after Tuesday's loss to cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Clippers. 

It leaves them with the third-worst record in the tightly bunched Western Conference, but they are only 2.5 games out of the six seed, which is currently occupied by the 25-24 Dallas Mavericks.

The return of Davis – reported by ESPN's Dave McMenamin – is seismic for Los Angeles. The 29-year-old franchise centerpiece was in the midst of his best statistical season in a Lakers uniform before his injury.

He is averaging 27.4 points per game – the most since one of his four All-NBA First Team seasons in 2017-18 – as well as a career-high 12.1 rebounds, which is only bettered by the Sacramento Kings' Domantas Sabonis (12.5).

Davis' eight seasons averaging at least two blocks per game is the most among active players, and he is on track to make it a ninth as his mark of 2.1 this season places him fifth in the league.

After the Spurs come to town, the Lakers head to Boston to take on the Celtics on Saturday, before continuing their tantalising road trip with games against the Brooklyn Nets and a visit to Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.

 

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka made it clear on Tuesday that their trade for Rui Hachimura will not be the end of their dealings before the deadline on February 9.

The Lakers made the first big splash of trade season by sending three second-round picks and bench guard Kendrick Nunn to the Washington Wizards in exchange for their former ninth overall draft pick from 2019.

They remain with two premium trade assets – their first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 – as well as Russell Westbrook's massive contract to potentially balance any salary with a star arriving in Los Angeles.

According to Pelinka, he felt the Hachimura move was the kind of low-risk, high-reward deal that made sense as they continue to pursue bigger fish.

"[We] felt like it was an opportunity for us to strike early and address a need in a market that has proven to be a little bit slow," he said.

"It doesn't mean our work is finished – we're going to continue to monitor the situation with the 29 other teams.

"Our job as a front office is always to look to improve our team both now and in the future, and we felt like Rui was the perfect way to do that, and that's why we struck early."

The Lakers have been linked with a number of deals, including a reported trade for Indiana Pacers duo Buddy Hield and Myles Turner prior to the season, but Pelinka said he is saving his bullets for a championship-altering move.

"I think the calculus for the Lakers is to win a championship or not," he said. "There's no in-between or incremental growth. 

"So as we analyze opportunities, we have to do it through that lens. And, I said this at the beginning of the season, if there's an opportunity to get all the way to the end and win a championship, there's no resource we'll hold onto if we feel like that's there.

"The completely unwise thing to do would be to shoot a bullet early and then not have it later when you have a better championship move you can make. That's a really delicate calculus and something the entire front office, we evaluate with all the moves. 

"If we see a move that puts us as a frontrunner to get another championship here, the 18th one here, we'll make it, and if that move doesn't present itself, we'll be smart and make it at a later time."

Lakers superstar LeBron James has let his frustration be known at times this year about the urgency of not wasting the final years of his prime, but Pelinka said he will not let that force him into a sub-optimal move.

"I think LeBron said it really well at the press conference the other night when he said: 'My job is to play basketball, the front office's job is to do their job and build a roster, and coach [Darvin] Ham's job is to coach.'," he said. "I agree with that.

"We all have to do our jobs and do them with excellence and all be together. That's how we operate and will continue to operate."

While the Lakers wait for their next big move, coach Ham shared his excitement about the acquisition of the 24-year-old, six-foot-eight Hachimura.

"I've always been impressed by him," he said. "Just a multi-faceted, strong, athletic, skilled young player that I'm really excited about having the opportunity to add him to our ballclub. I think he's going to bring a lot."

After losing to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, the Lakers are now 22-26 and sit 2.5 games behind the Dallas Mavericks in the race for the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

LeBron James scored 46 points but the Los Angeles Clippers continued their recent dominance over the Los Angeles Lakers with a 133-115 victory on Tuesday.

The Clippers have now won 10 straight against the Lakers and are 36-9 in recent seasons. The win moves the Clippers up to fifth spot in the west with a 26-24 record, while the Lakers are 22-26 and 13th in the west.

Paul George top scored for the Clippers, who made 19 three-pointers at 50 per cent as a team, leading the way with 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting while adding nine rebounds and four assists.

Kawhi Leonard chipped in 25 points with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks as the Clippers found form with a third straight win, and they could receive further reinforcements soon as Luke Kennard (calf) and John Wall (abdominal strain) close in on returns.

James was exceptional for the Lakers, shooting 16-of-29 from the field with nine-of-14 triples, along with eight rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block.

The four-time NBA MVP's 46-point haul moves him to within 177 of tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record at 38,387.

James appeared set for a 50-point game, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter, before the Clippers put the game to bed on an 8-0 run and send James to the bench for good with five minutes remaining.

Another triple-double as Jokic calls game

Nikola Jokic scored the game-winner with 16.2 seconds left as he recorded his 15th triple-double of the season in the Denver Nuggets' 99-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Jokic and Jamal Murray were disconnected down the stretch before linking up for the crucial two-pointer, capping the Serbian's game with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, adding further weight to his claims for a third straight MVP, which would be the first occurrence since Larry Bird from 1984-86.

Murray added 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting with seven assists for Denver, while C.J. McCollum top scored for the Pels with 20 points, but he went zero-of-eight from three-point range.

Celtics suffer back-to-back defeats

The short-handed Miami Heat fought back from 14 points down to inflict back-to-back defeats on the Boston Celtics with a 98-95 victory.

Bam Adebayo top scored with 30 points and 15 rebounds for Miami, who were without Jimmy Butler due to a back injury. The Heat squared the game up at 87-87 in the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run, before going on to win their sixth straight game at home.

Jayson Tatum, who scored 31 points with 14 rebounds, threw a pass that was intercepted by Tyler Herro in the final minute, before Payton Pritchard missed a desperation three-point attempt on the buzzer.

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