Joel Embiid flexed his muscles with arguably the best game of his career, with a season-best 59-point haul in the Philadelphia 76ers' 105-98 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Embiid was dominant in every facet, with his 59 points coming on 19-of-28 shooting, making 20-of-24 from the stripe, while having 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocks.

The Sixers center is the first player since blocks became official in 1973-74, to record 50-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, five-plus assists and five-plus blocks in a game.

Embiid is also the first player since Damian Lillard in 2019 to have more than half of his team's points in a game.

The Cameroonian erupted in the fourth quarter with 26 points, taking him into fifth spot for the best scoring performances in franchise history. It was a career-best points haul for 28-year-old Embiid.

Tyrese Maxey was Philadelphia's next best with 18 points and four steals, with James Harden still out with a foot injury.

The Jazz had no answers to Embiid, who had scored 42 points on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks, with Malik Beasley scoring 18 off the bench while Lauri Markkanen had 15 points with 10 rebounds.

Garland briefly holds season-high points haul

Darius Garland piled on 27 fourth-quarter points for a career-high 51 points, but he could not lift the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Minnesota Timberwolves, losing 129-124.

Garland's 51 points, which included 10 triples, was briefly a league season-high, before Embiid's monster game for the Sixers.

The Timberwolves led by 24 points late in the third before the Cavs rallied, led by Garland, who became the fourth Cleveland player to reach 50 points.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 29 points with 13 rebounds, while D'Angelo Russell added 30 points with 12 assists.

AD lifts Lakers without LeBron to snap skid

Anthony Davis stepped up in LeBron James' absence, scoring 37 points with 18 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped their five-game losing run with a 116-103 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Davis shot 15-of-25 from the field, while bringing down 10 offensive rebounds among his 18 for the game, with Lonnie Walker adding 25 points, making four-of-five from beyond the arc.

Kevin Durant was a lone hand on offense for the Nets with Seth Curry, Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving all absent. Durant scored 31 points with nine rebounds and seven assists.

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry hit 27 points as the Golden State Warriors' winless road run (0-7) extended to 0-7 after being downed 122-115 by the Sacramento Kings.

Joel Embiid flexed his muscles with arguably the best game of his career, with a season-best 59-point haul in the Philadelphia 76ers' 105-98 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Embiid was dominant in every facet, with his 59 points coming on 19-of-28 shooting, making 20-of-24 from the stripe, while having 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocks.

The Sixers center is the first player since blocks became official in 1973-74, to record 50-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, five-plus assists and five-plus blocks in a game.

Embiid is also the first player since Damian Lillard in 2019 to have more than half of his team's points in a game.

The Cameroonian erupted in the fourth quarter with 26 points, taking him into fifth spot for the best scoring performances in franchise history. It was a career-best points haul for 28-year-old Embiid.

Tyrese Maxey was Philadelphia's next best with 18 points and four steals, with James Harden still out with a foot injury.

The Jazz had no answers to Embiid, who had scored 42 points on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks, with Malik Beasley scoring 18 off the bench while Lauri Markkanen had 15 points with 10 rebounds.

Garland briefly holds season-high points haul

Darius Garland piled on 27 fourth-quarter points for a career-high 51 points, but he could not lift the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Minnesota Timberwolves, losing 129-124.

Garland's 51 points, which included 10 triples, was briefly a league season-high, before Embiid's monster game for the Sixers.

The Timberwolves led by 24 points late in the third before the Cavs rallied, led by Garland, who became the fourth Cleveland player to reach 50 points.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 29 points with 13 rebounds, while D'Angelo Russell added 30 points with 12 assists.

AD lifts Lakers without LeBron to snap skid

Anthony Davis stepped up in LeBron James' absence, scoring 37 points with 18 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped their five-game losing run with a 116-103 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Davis shot 15-of-25 from the field, while bringing down 10 offensive rebounds among his 18 for the game, with Lonnie Walker adding 25 points, making four-of-five from beyond the arc.

Kevin Durant was a lone hand on offense for the Nets with Seth Curry, Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving all absent. Durant scored 31 points with nine rebounds and seven assists.

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry hit 27 points as the Golden State Warriors' winless road run (0-7) extended to 0-7 after being downed 122-115 by the Sacramento Kings.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver insists Kyrie Irving is not antisemitic after the pair met at the league's headquarters in New York.

Silver held a meeting with 30-year-old Irving, with the Brooklyn Nets guard having faced a backlash for sharing a social media post about an allegedly antisemitic book and film a fortnight ago.

Silver, who is Jewish, had previously said he was disappointed Irving had not provided a "qualified apology" for the post, before the Nets suspended him for five games, with the player later apologizing.

"We had a direct and candid conversation," Silver told The New York Times on Thursday. "He's someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group."

Silver, who said there is "no doubt" Irving is not antisemitic, added: "Whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content."

The NBA commissioner conceded that the whole episode had caused "enormous damage" to seven-time All-Star Irving, along with the Nets and the league.

The NBA and the Nets were criticized for not sanctioning Irving sooner, with the franchise-imposed ban coming one week after the original post.

"I feel that we got to the right outcome here in terms of his suspension," Silver said. "In retrospect, we may have been able to get there faster. I accept that criticism.

"But I felt it was important to understand the context in which it was posted to understand what discipline was appropriate, not in any way to excuse it but to understand what discipline was appropriate."

Silver added that the Nets, in consultation with the NBA, will decide when Irving is free to return to the team, having been suspended indefinitely but for a minimum of five games.

That five-game span will elapse after the Nets' next game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, which is followed by Sunday's game with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Nets are working with Irving on the terms of his return, which they have publicly shared, although Lakers star LeBron James weighed in on that on social media on Thursday, claiming his former teammate should be free to play having apologized. Silver declined to be drawn on James' tweet.

LeBron James avoided a serious groin tear but is "doubtful" for the Los Angeles Lakers' game with the Sacramento Kings on Friday, according to head coach Darvin Ham.

James limped out of the Lakers' 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers with 5:41 remaining in the fourth quarter on Wednesday and told reporters after the game he felt he had strained his groin.

The four-time NBA MVP missed 17 straight games in the 2018-19 season due to a torn left groin.

James underwent an MRI on Thursday, which revealed he did not suffer a tear, but has a left adductor strain.

"It's not torn, that's the biggest thing, that he didn't tear anything," Ham told reporters. "It was good news.

"I'm sure it's painful. Doubtful, day-to-day, whatever - I'm just happy there wasn't anything torn."

The Lakers have struggled to a 2-9 start to the season but James has provided strong output, averaging 24.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game.

James' injury comes with the Lakers set to face the Kings on Friday, followed by the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, before a five-day break until their next game against Detroit Pistons on November 18.

The Lakers suffered their fifth straight loss in a game where James has scored 30 or more points against the Clippers on Wednesday.

LeBron James believes Kyrie Irving's apology following his suspension for posting anti-semitic material on Twitter should be enough to warrant his return to the court.

Irving initially failed to apologise for a social media post about a book and movie with alleged anti-semitic views, nor "unequivocally say he has no anti-semitic beliefs".

The 30-year-old, who was handed a minimum five-game suspension by the Nets, belatedly issued an apology on Instagram after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had expressed his disappointment at the lack of one.

James previously said he did not condone the behaviour of his former Cleveland Cavaliers team-mate, though he now feels Irving has educated himself and should be allowed to return to the NBA court.

"I told you guys that I don't believe in sharing hurtful information, and I'll continue to be that way, but Kyrie apologised and he should be able to play," the Los Angeles Lakers star posted on Twitter on Thursday.

"That's what I think. It's that simple. Help him learn – but he should be playing."

James also suggested the demands on Irving, who has reportedly been presented with a list of requirements to see his suspension overturned, are "excessive".

"What he's [been] asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive [in my opinion]," he said. "He's not the person that's being portrayed of him."

LeBron James is set for scans after feeling a "groin strain" in the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers' 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

James limped off the court with under six minutes remaining and did not return, wincing in pain and grabbing his groin area. The Lakers said at the time he was experiencing "left leg soreness".

The four-time MVP, who scored 30 points in the game, confirmed that the issue will need medical evaluation.

"I feel good besides for the injury," James said. "I'll get pictures on it tomorrow and go from there.

"But I didn't do anything extreme on the play, it was just when I landed I felt a little spasm or strain in my groin.

"Immediately I came out after the next play down I went to the free-throw line."

James missed 17 straight games during the 2017-19 season with a left groin tear, but he insisted this is "not as bad".

The loss left the Lakers with a 2-9 record, having lost four straight games by double-digit margins, and being without James for a stretch would be a major dent to their hopes of pushing back into contention for the playoffs.

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham did not want to speculate on the severity of the injury but admitted there was a balance to be struck in his recovery given the urgency of their situation.

James added: "In order for you to be productive for your teammates you have to take care of your body."

The 37-year-old is averaging 24.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game this season.

The Los Angeles Lakers slumped to their fourth straight double-digit defeat as LeBron James had a late injury scare in a 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

James, who played 32 minutes for 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists, was benched late with "left leg soreness" and did not return after wincing upon drawing a foul.

The Lakers loss was their fifth straight defeat when James has scored 30 points, while it was their ninth consecutive defeat to the Clippers, dating back to 2020. That streak is the second longest in series history.

Paul George fired for the Clippers, with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting along with six rebounds and two blocks, bringing up his sixth straight 25-point game which is the longest run in his time with the franchise. Norman Powell contributed 18 points off the bench.

Anthony Davis scored 21 points with nine rebounds but was shy on offense, while Russell Westbrook managed 14 points with nine assists in 30 minutes off the bench.

The Clippers, who are still without two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, have won five of their past six games and improved to 7-5, while the Lakers are 2-9.

Short-handed Bucks triumph in 2OT

The Milwaukee Bucks overcame the Oklahoma City Thunder in double overtime 136-132 without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday to improve their record to 10-1 and bounce back after their first loss of the season.

Antetokounmpo and Holiday sat out with a sore left knee and sprained right ankle respectively, but Jevon Carter stepped up with a career-high 36 points and 12 assists.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 39 points, drained a triple to give OKC a one-point lead with 0.6 seconds remaining in the first overtime.

Bucks center Brook Lopez, who contributed 24 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, was fouled by Lu Dort on the inbound pass, but missed one of his two free-throws, sending the game to second overtime, where Milwaukee finished the job.

Jazz's surprise start, Doncic's run halted, KD shines

The Utah Jazz continued their surprise start to the season with a 125-119 win over the Atlanta Hawks, moving them to a Western Conference-leading 10-3 record.

The Jazz rallied after blowing a 12-point lead, piling on 40 fourth-quarter points with Lauri Markkanen scoring a season-high 32 points. Malik Beasley scored six three-pointers, including four in the fourth period, for 18 points for the game.

Luka Doncic was held to less than 30 points for the first time this season, scoring 24 points on nine-of-29 field shooting, as the Dallas Mavericks lost 94-87 to the Orlando Magic.

Kevin Durant had a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as the Brooklyn Nets blew out the New York Knicks 112-85 without the suspended Kyrie Irving.

It must not be a great time to be a Los Angeles Lakers fan right now.

Granted, pre-season optimism hits followers of any NBA team, and the glass-half-full theory around the Lakers was that Darvin Ham would be able to get a tune out of a team of superstars that has flattered to deceive since 2020.

So far, that has not happened, and despite still being early in the campaign, things are already threatening to get away from them.

Monday's 139-116 defeat at the Utah Jazz took the Lakers to 2-8 from their first 10 outings, and they are about to face a Clippers side that is hitting form.

Having started their season with a 103-97 win against the Lakers before another victory in Sacramento, Tyronn Lue's team then lost four in a row as people started to question if they were going to go the same way as their neighbours.

However, back-to-back wins against the Houston Rockets followed by successes against the Spurs and the Cavaliers either side of a loss to the Jazz have the Clippers at 6-5 and in seventh place in the Western Conference.

The Lakers are just one place off bottom in the West, having lost their first five games before a brief hint of a turnaround with wins against the Nuggets and the Pelicans was extinguished by three more defeats.

LeBron James did not feature against the Jazz on Monday due to a sore foot, but reports suggest that was the result of playing the night before, so Ham may be able to call on his experience on Wednesday.

While the debates still rage about the use of Russell Westbrook, he scored 22 points in Utah with a team-leading five assists as well as three rebounds, while Anthony Davis' 29 points will likely need to be repeated if they are to have a chance against their local rivals.

Paul George will have something to say about that after his 26 points in the win against the Cavs, on a night in which the Clippers shared the wealth, with six different players reaching double figures for points.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Los Angeles Clippers – Paul George

It was not only against Cleveland that George has thrived this season, boasting an average over his first 10 outings at 25.3 points per game, with Marcus Morris Sr claiming the next highest average with 15.0.

George only scored 15 against the Lakers last month, but he has pushed on to become the league's 14th highest scoring player per game so far in a team that has struggled for high scores.

Los Angeles Lakers – Anthony Davis

Should he play, it'll probably be James again, who in spite of questions about his age is still averaging 24.3 points per game; but with uncertainty about whether he will feature, as mentioned, Davis will need to perform well either way.

The 29-year-old is currently matching his points per game from last season (23.2), with his rebound numbers slightly up so far (10.3 from 9.9).

KEY BATTLES – Clippers must find points from somewhere

The Clippers may have recovered in recent games, but they are still struggling to score points, with their average of 103.8 the lowest in the NBA by more than three (the Wizards have the next lowest with 107.0).

With Kawhi Leonard still sidelined, the onus will fall on George, but others will need to step up and help him put numbers on the board.

The saving grace is that they come up against a Lakers team averaging 116.3 points conceded this season, with just six teams in the league allowing more against per game.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Recent contests have been dominated by the Clippers, with their opening-game victory last month their eighth in a row against the Lakers, who have not beaten their rivals since July 30, 2020 during their bubble season success.

Darvin Ham vowed "we're going to turn the corner" as "I didn't come here to lose" after the struggling Los Angeles Lakers suffered a heavy defeat against the Utah Jazz.

The Lakers' woeful start to the season took another turn for the worse when they were beaten 139-116 at Vivint Arena.

LeBron James was sidelined due to foot soreness as Los Angeles were consigned to a third straight defeat, slipping to 2-8.

Only the Houston Rockets (2-9) are keeping the Lakers off the bottom of the Western Conference, with Ham enduring a difficult start to his tenure as head coach after replacing the sacked Frank Vogel in June. 

Ham is adamant the good times will return to Los Angeles. 

He told reporters after the Lakers' latest heavy loss: "I would say this, man. And write it, quote it, however, this may be happening now at the outset of what we're trying to force to be a culture change in terms of getting us back to being highly competitive on a highly consistent basis, but it's not going to always be like this.

"We're going to turn the corner. I didn't come here to lose. They didn't bring me here to lose."

Ham believes his side can benefit from going through such a testing period.

"There is a process involved where we have to go through tough times. Like, I want to bottle this up. I want to embrace it.

"I want to have it and store it so when things are turned around and we get too comfortable and we start complaining about some problems that are not even necessarily problems – problems that winning teams go through – I want to be able to reflect on these times."

Indiana Pacers big-man Myles Turner enjoyed one of the best games of his career in his side's 129-122 victory against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.

Turner, who has led the NBA in blocked shots per game on three occasions (2018-19, 2020-21 and 2021-22), also reached a significant milestone as he tallied three blocks to become the second-quickest Pacers player to reach 1000.

While he dominated the defensive end of the court, he also excelled as an offensive threat, scoring a game-high 37 points on 11-of-18 shooting (four-of-seven from long range, 11-of-11 free throws) with 12 rebounds.

All five Pacers starters scored at least 15 points, but Tyrese Haliburton was Turner's partner in the win, scoring an efficient 20 points (seven-of-14 shooting, six-of-10 from three) while dishing 13 assists.

Speaking to the media after the win, Turner indicated he is much happier in his role under coach Rick Carlisle, turning more into a big who can shoot as opposed to just being a big shooter.

"My teammates look for me, and being at the five I have a lot more advantages down low now, especially against teams who are switching more," he said.

When asked about his 1000th blocked shot – which came on a dunk attempt from Zion Williamson – he made it clear where he feels he stands among the game's best rim-protectors.

"It's special man, this is what I do," he said. "I think I'm the best shot-blocker in the world, and I'm going to stay with that confidence.

"It's special that I can do this here at home – regardless of the noise, my heart is in Indy, I think my fans here know that."

His last comment was in reference to consistent chatter linking him with a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers – chatter he contributed to with his appearance on Adrian Wojnarowski's 'Woj Pod' where he laid out why he would be a good fit with LeBron James.

This performance will undoubtedly get the attention of the Lakers, but for now he remains in Indiana, where head coach Carlisle believes he is becoming the player he wants to be.

"[Turner] did damage around the basket at both ends," he said. "It was one of his most impactful games that I've seen since I've been here.

"He just played the game, played a simple game. When they switched on him, he positioned himself to catch the ball and punish them inside. 

"There was nothing he did that was out of character, or that was something he was not capable of doing. That's one of the beautiful things about this game, is when you play within yourself and do things to your strengths, you can be extremely confident, extremely cocky and extremely successful."

LeBron James will miss the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Utah Jazz on Monday due to foot soreness.

James scored 27 points in the Lakers' 114-110 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

But the four-time NBA MVP had been struggling with illness last week, as well as being troubled by a foot problem.

The Lakers announced that James will not face the Jazz at Vivint Arena in the first game of the week.

Guards Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker will also miss the meeting with Utah due to illness.

The Lakers (2-7) have made a poor start to the season, with only the Houston Rockets (1-9) keeping them off the bottom of the Western Conference.

Donovan Mitchell's spectacular start to life with the Cleveland Cavaliers continued against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, scoring 33 points in a 114-100 win.

Mitchell's 33 points was a game-high, and he delivered his production efficiently, hitting 10-of-17 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line.

Through his first eight games with the Cavs since being acquired from the Utah Jazz in an offseason trade, Mitchell is averaging 31.1 points and 7.1 assists per game – both comfortably above his career-highs (26.4 points and 5.3 assists).

He was supported strongly by fellow All-Star Darius Garland, who chipped in 24 points (seven-of-18) and seven assists, while Kevin Love contributed a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) in 20 minutes off the bench.

For the Lakers, LeBron James was strong with 27 points on 13-of-23 shooting, adding seven rebounds and four assists, and Russell Westbrook posted 19 points (six-of-13) with 10 assists as he continues to produce well in a sixth-man role.

Cleveland are now 8-1, and are one of only two teams, along with the 9-0 Milwaukee Bucks, who are yet to record their second loss.

VanVleet steps up in Siakam's absence

With the Toronto Raptors' top option Pascal Siakam out for at least the next two weeks, Fred VanVleet stepped up and led his team to a 113-104 victory against the Chicago Bulls.

VanVleet finished with 30 points on nine-of-22 shooting, and also added 11 assists in an offensive masterclass from the diminutive point guard, posting a plus/minus of plus 27 in his 39 minutes. That means in the nine minutes VanVleet was on the bench, the Raptors were outscored by 18.

Starting in the place of Siakam was rookie Christian Koloko, and he made a big impression as he blocked six shots with his 11 points and seven rebounds.

Alex Caruso produced a noteworthy performance for the Bulls, finishing with an unconventional double-double as he collected 11 rebounds and 11 assists, while shooting one-of-11 for four points.

Bane, Morant carry the Grizzlies 

Desmond Bane and Ja Morant combined for nearly half of the Memphis Grizzlies' points in their 103-97 win against the Washington Wizards.

While Morant struggled with his efficiency, only hitting nine of his 27 shots on his way to 23 points, Bane was terrific, scoring 28 on nine-of-16 shooting. 

The Grizzlies are now 7-3, and Bane has been at the centre of their early success, elevating himself to potentially an All-Star level in his third season as he is averaging 24.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 46 per cent from long-range.

LeBron James has spoken out against former team-mate Kyrie Irving, making it clear he does not condone his behaviour.

The Brooklyn Nets point guard has been issued a five-game suspension by his team for posting a documentary featuring anti-semitic material on Twitter, and subsequently falling short of apologising until after he was banned.

Irving has been widely criticised for his actions, with Nike terminating their relationship with the 30-year-old, while his fellow Nets star Kevin Durant believes the entire process has been "unnecessary".

James, who has long been one of the NBA's vocal leaders on social issues, is disappointed with what he has seen from his former Cleveland Cavaliers team-mate.

"It's simple. Me, personally, I don't condone any hate to any kinds, any race, to Jewish communities, to black communities, to Asian communities. You guys know where I stand," he said after the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday.

"I believe what Kyrie did caused some harm to a lot of people. He has since, today, or was it yesterday, apologised. But he caused some harm, and I think it's unfortunate.

"I don't stand on the position to harm people when it comes to your voice or your platform or anything.

"So, it doesn't matter what colour your skin is, how tall you are, what position you're in. If you are promoting or soliciting or saying harmful things to any community that harm people, then I don't respect it. I don't condone it."

The Nets did not struggle in Irving's absence on Friday, as they claimed a 128-86 win over the Washington Wizards, overseen by interim coach Jacque Vaughn.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham did not hold back when discussing his side's poor performance in their 130-116 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday, calling their defense "inept at best".

The Jazz came out of the blocks on fire, putting up 40 points in the first quarter and another 35 in the second to lead 75-62 at halftime.

While the Lakers were able to muster a solid third period, winning the frame 33-25 and trimming the lead to 100-95 heading into the fourth quarter, they failed to keep that momentum up and gave up another 30 points in the last.

Utah's 130 points is the biggest score a team has put up against the Lakers this season, with no team managing more than the Golden State Warriors' total of 123 on opening night.

Speaking to the media after the loss, Ham said it was incredibly disappointing to see his team lose the momentum they have been trying to build as they entered the contest off back-to-back wins.

"We took a huge step backwards tonight," he said. "Giving up 75 points in the first half, giving them at least three 30-plus point quarters, we can't play like that.

"We were good during different small stretches, but the overall picture that was painted, by us defensively, sucks.

"That's got to be in your DNA, and it's a process to get it to be that way – where you want to defend at a high level night-in and night-out.

"It's not comfortable, but it's fun. It has to be fun, you have to enjoy getting stops and holding teams to one possession. Rebounding the ball, getting hits, whether you retrieve the ball or not.

"Just the little things of the game – keeping the ball in front of you, getting down in your stance, sprinting back in transition.

"Unfortunately we have a huge laundry list of things we can show them – that we're going to show them tomorrow.

"This is the first game where I felt like we really weren't there defensively."

When asked about any offensive struggles in the fourth quarter, Ham reinforced that this loss had nothing to do with that side of the ball.

"There's 60,000 points in our locker room, so I'm not worried about our offense," he said.

"We've got to defend. We scored enough points tonight to win a game, but our defense was inept at best."

One Lakers player who did perform well was Russell Westbrook, with the maligned former MVP actually drawing "M-V-P" chants from the home crowd at one point.

He finished with a team-high 26 points on nine-of-14 shooting, hitting three-of-five from long range while adding six assists and two steals, but he said the energy from his side was not there from the jump.

"They just started off playing a lot faster than us," he said. "[We were a] step slow, and it showed. We tried to pick it up in the second half, but we put ourselves in a bad position early."

The Lakers are now 2-6 through their first eight games, and will host the 7-1 Cleveland Cavaliers in their next fixture on Sunday.

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner took his opportunity on the podcast of ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski to lay out the case for why the Los Angeles Lakers should trade for him.

Turner, 26, led the NBA in blocked shots per game in the 2018-19, 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. His career average of 2.29 blocks per game is second among all active players, trailing only Lakers star Anthony Davis (2.34).

Of all the players to average at least two blocks per game across the past two seasons, only Memphis Grizzlies big-man Jaren Jackson Jr has also averaged at least one made three-pointer per game.

His unique combination of shot blocking and shooting at a relatively young age has made him an intriguing trade chip for the Pacers, who are well-and-truly in the middle of a total rebuild, led by young point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

There were reports in the offseason about a potential trade between the Lakers and Pacers that would have seen Russell Westbrook and the Lakers' first round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 sent to the Pacers for Turner and shooter Buddy Hield.

Speaking on the Woj Pod, Turner, who is in the last year of his contract, said he believes it is a deal the Pacers should revisit.

"Coming into a contract year as well, you can’t lose me for [nothing]," he said. 

"[The Pacers] can’t have the notion of me playing out this year, they don’t trade me, and it’s like 'okay, say free agency comes around and I don’t re-sign here'. Let’s just be real – that’s just bad on the organisation.

"If they do trade me, and they do get assets for me coming along, they’re doing what’s best for them and doing what they’re paid to do. There’s no hard feelings with that."

He then laid out his case for why he believes he would be a strong fit, and be more appreciated with the Lakers.

"I know what I can provide for a team," he said. "My leadership, my shot-blocking, my three-point ability and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor.

"If I'm the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this with the position that you're in… but as far as pulling the trigger, I get paid to shoot. I'm not paid to make these calls, so I couldn't answer that.

"I just feel like here in the Midwest we don't get the love that I think we deserve... it doesn't get taken in on the national level.

"You are under the microscope out there in the West. When you are doing bad, you're going to hear about it. When you are doing great, you are going to get a lot of love, especially with the love that the Lakers get.

"I think that another aspect that is [appealing is] playing with greatness and playing under LeBron. I feel like he demands a certain level of excellency, especially at this point of his career. It's just one of those things; when you are out there, you got to perform.

"People are going to expect you to go out there and hold on to that legacy that the Lakers have built over the years."

The NBA trade deadline is not until February 9, but with the Lakers starting their season 1-5, they may act with urgency to turn things around.

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