Luka Dončić notched a triple-double by halftime and finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in three quarters in the Dallas Mavericks’ 147-97 rout of the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

Doncic grabbed a rebound with 71 seconds left in the first half and assisted on Dereck Lively II’s dunk 12 seconds later to complete the 60th triple-double of his career. That moved him past Larry Bird into sole possession of ninth on the career list.

The Dallas superstar had the first 25-point first-half triple-double in NBA history. Doncic shot 14 of 25 from the field and was 6 of 12 from long range.

Kyrie Irving added 26 points for Dallas, which had its highest-scoring game of this season and came up two points shy of the highest-scoring game ever in regulation.

Ochai Agbaji scored 21 points for the Jazz, who played without top scorers Lauri Markkanen (hamstring) and Jordan Clarkson (thigh).

Grizzlies’ Bane goes off as Pistons lose again

Desmond Bane poured in 32 of his career-high 49 points in the second half and the Memphis Grizzlies sent the Detroit Pistons to their 18th straight loss, 116-102.

Detroit’s streak is the longest single-season run in franchise history and the longest in the NBA since the Houston Rockets’ 20-game slide in 2020-21. The Philadelphia 76ers hold the NBA record with a 26-game drought in 2013-14.

Bane shot 19 of 31 from the field and 4-of-8 from 3-point range while sinking all seven free-throw attempts. He added eight assists and six rebounds.

The Pistons held a 69-61 lead midway through the third quarter, but Bane scored the next seven points.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 22 points for Detroit, which was outscored 34-18 in the fourth quarter.

Embiid drops 50 in 76ers’ win

Joel Embiid scored a season-high 50 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 131-126 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Embiid hit the 50-point mark for the sixth time in his career, falling nine points short of his career best set on Nov. 13, 2022, against Utah.

He was 19 of 24 from the floor with a 3-pointer on two attempts and 11 of 13 from the foul line. He also had seven assists and six turnovers in just over 38 minutes.

Tyrese Maxey added 26 points as the 76ers averted a third straight loss.

Luka Doncic said he was simply exhausted after the Dallas Mavericks failed to capitalise on an NBA-record 30-point run in Saturday's "rollercoaster" defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A depleted Mavericks side found themselves facing a 24-point deficit at one stage, but Doncic played a talismanic role to drag his team back into contention.

Dallas took the lead with a 30-0 run in the fourth quarter, the best in the NBA in the PXP era (since 1996-97), which took them from 111-87 down to 117-111 up.

Doncic finished with a game-high 36 points while also adding 15 rebounds and 18 assists, but his terrific performance wasn't enough as the Thunder rallied again for a 126-120 victory. 

Having played his part in a thrilling contest one day after becoming a father for the first time on Friday, Doncic struggled to hide his fatigue.

"It was the happiest day of my life with the baby, but then today's game was a big rollercoaster too," Doncic said after the game.

"I'm so sad we didn't win this game, but man, we gave a big, big effort. I was a little bit exhausted."

Doncic was frustrated by his finish to the game after committing two turnovers in the last 87 seconds, with the first the result of a travelling call which infuriated the four-time All-Star.

"My view is it probably was a travel, but those travels happen about, in my opinion, 20 times a game," he said. 

"So a minute and a half to go, if you're going to call that travel for the first time in the game… you can't do that. 

"I don't think so. I think those travels happen a lot of times in one game and the NBA doesn't call the travels, so I was really surprised."

The Mavericks are now 11-8 after suffering back-to-back defeats, and they will look to respond when they welcome the Utah Jazz to American Airlines Center on Wednesday.

Jason Kidd claimed Luka Doncic is "taken for granted" before he walked out of his press conference following the Dallas Mavericks' win over the Houston Rockets.

The Mavericks, whose owner Mark Cuban is reportedly close to selling a major stake in the franchise, beat the Rockets 121-115 on Tuesday to prevent Houston from advancing in the NBA's in-season tournament.

Doncic, who played just three days after sustaining a thumb sprain, had 41 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, playing a key role at both ends of the court.

"Sometimes we take him for granted, and we shouldn't," said Kidd. "He's about winning, too. It just happens that he's a walking triple-double.

"Tonight, he had some great looks, but I think he's not looked upon, or you guys haven't really talked about his defense. He's competing defensively. He's taking the challenge.

"But again, when you're that good, someone has to pick at something. Unfortunately, you guys don't see the game totally all the time but he's competing defensively.

"For him to get on the floor, it just shows that he's all about winning, too."

Defiance was a theme of Kidd's post-game news conference, as the coach lashed out at reporters for being overly critical of the time it has taken Kyrie Irving and Doncic to form a formidable partnership.

"Maybe it's the things that you guys thought should have happened day one. It takes time – failing is alright, it's not a bad thing to fail for a pro athlete, as you can learn and get better from it," he said.

"Those two are the best in the world and we feel very comfortable with those two having the ball. Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't – and we learn from it.

"Write some positive s***. It's alright to write positive stuff, people will read positive s***. You don't have to be negative, the world's already negative enough. Let's see some positive stuff on positive people who are doing their job on a nightly basis."

Irving finished with 27 points, with 22 of those coming in the second half.

"Yeah, he can go off [at] anytime," Doncic said of Irving.

"There were a couple of insane layups, which isn't insane for us because we see it all the time. But his play has been amazing, and his leadership has been amazing. We are just happy to have him on our team."

Luka Doncic underwent an X-ray on his left hand after taking a blow to it during the Dallas Mavericks' 107-88 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.

Doncic's hand hit James Harden's knee during the early stages of the first quarter, and the 24-year-old immediately clutched it in pain.

He went on to score 22 points in the first half before being examined at half-time, though the X-ray reportedly came back as negative and Doncic finished the game with 30 points as the Mavericks ultimately succumbed to defeat.

After the game, Doncic told reporters: "I don't think it's broken. We will see further tomorrow in Dallas."

"I hit his knee, but yeah, I saw the picture [of the play]. It's not good to see."

Doncic was wearing a wrap on his left hand and thumb following the loss, and the Mavericks will nervously wait to see if the four-time All-Star will be able to play in Dallas' home game against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 40 points and Damian Lillard added 27 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 132-125 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday in a marquee matchup featuring superstars.

Antetokounmpo shot 18 of 26 from the field and grabbed 14 rebounds to go with seven assists, as he bounced back from scoring 16 points Friday at Charlotte.

Pat Connaughton scored 16 points, including a 3-pointer with 67 seconds left to extend the Bucks’ lead to 130-125.

Kyrie Irving scored 39 points and Luka Dončić had 35 with nine boards and nine assists. The duo combined to shoot 31 for 54 from the floor.

 Gilgeous-Alexander scores 40 in Thunder’s OT win

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 40 points and Chet Holmgren has his best game as a pro with 36 points, 10 rebounds and five assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder handed the Golden State Warriors their sixth straight loss, 130-123 in overtime.

Andrew Wiggins sank a 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation to put Golden State up 117-114, but Holmgren’s 3 with one second remaining forced overtime.

The Thunder outscored the Warriors 13-6 in the extra period, with Gilgeous-Alexander scoring eight straight points.

Wiggins finished with 31 points and Stephen Curry had 25 in his return from a right knee injury, but Golden State dropped to 1-6 on its home court.


Bulls rally to end Heat’s winning streak

DeMar DeRozan hit a key basket late and the Chicago Bulls overcame a 21-point deficit for a 102-97 victory, ending the Miami Heat’s seven-game winning streak.

Chicago fell behind by double digits for the third straight game and trailed 22-1 midway through the first quarter but managed to rally to end a three-game skid.

DeRozan scored 23 points and his 18-foot fadeaway with 22 seconds left put the Bulls ahead for good.

Jimmy Butler had 25 points for Miami, which didn’t trail until the game’s final minute. He missed a pair of 3-pointers in the final seconds.

Nikola Jokic scored 33 points and fell an assist shy of a triple-double as the Denver Nuggets sent the Dallas Mavericks to their first loss of the season, 125-114 on Friday in the inaugural In-Season Tournament.

Michael Porter Jr. had 24 points and nine rebounds and Jamal Murray added 18 points and 13 assists to help Denver bounce back from its first loss of the season.

Jokic shot 14 of 16 and grabbed a season-high 14 boards, coming up an assist short of his 108th career triple-double.

Luka Doncic also just missed a triple-double with 34 points, 10 boards and eight assists and Kyrie Irving scored 22 points for Dallas, which opened the season 4-0.

The Mavericks were without coach Jason Kidd, who didn’t make the trip due to a non-COVID-19 illness. Top assistant Sean Sweeney took his spot on the bench.

Dallas' loss leaves 4-0 Boston as the league’s lone remaining unbeaten team.


Curry’s last-second layup lifts Warriors

Stephen Curry scored 30 points and made the winning layup with 0.2 seconds left to propel the Golden State Warriors to a 141-139 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the teams’ first In-Season Tournament game.

Curry’s basket was initially waved off because of offensive goaltending, but it was overturned, and the Warriors notched their second straight last-second win. Klay Thompson hit a jumper with less than a second remaining in Wednesday’s win over Sacramento.

Dario Saric had 20 points and Andrew Wiggins added 17 to help Golden State win its fifth straight since a season-opening loss to Phoenix.

Lu Dort led the Thunder with 29 points – including 6 of 6 from 3-point range - and Chet Holmgren had a career-high 24 on 7-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds and five assists.

Oklahoma City played without leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who sat out with a sprained knee.


Bucks overcome Brunson, Knicks

Damian Lillard scored six straight points down the stretch on his way to 30 points and the Milwaukee Bucks got past the New York Knicks, 110-105 to open the inaugural In-Season Tournament.

Milwaukee survived Jalen Brunson’s 45 points and blew a 14-point lead before Lillard sank a 3-pointer to give the Bucks a 104-103 lead with 1:03 left.

Lillard converted a three-point play 25 seconds later to make it 107-103 and sealed the win with two free throws in the waning seconds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Milwaukee, which has alternated wins and losses in each of its five games this season.

Brunson was 17 of 30 from the field and fell three points shy of his career high, set against Cleveland on March 31.

Luka Doncic amassed 35 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to help the Dallas Mavericks continue their strong start to the NBA season with Monday's 125-110 road win over the slumping Memphis Grizzlies. 

Coming off a 49-point effort in a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, Doncic followed up by making 6 of 12 attempts from 3-point range and going 11 of 22 overall from the field to lead the way as the Mavericks improved to 3-0.

Derrick Jones added 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 points on a night Dallas played without its other star guard, Kyrie Irving, due to a left foot sprain.

Memphis, which had the Western Conference's second-best record at 51-31 last season, fell to 0-4 despite 30 points each from Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane. The Grizzlies also got 23 points and nine assists from Marcus Smart in a losing cause.

The short-handed Grizzlies have opened the season without a pair of starters in All-Star Ja Morant and center Steven Adams. Morant is serving a 25-game suspension by the NBA for conduct detrimental to the league, while Adams is not expected to play in 2023-24 after recently undergoing knee surgery.


Jokic powers 4-0 Nuggets past Jazz

Nikola Jokic recorded the 107th triple-double of his illustrious career with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the unbeaten Denver Nuggets to a 110-102 win over the Utah Jazz.

Jokic made 12 of 16 field-goal attempts and added a pair of blocks while tying LeBron James and Jason Kidd for fourth on the NBA's all-time list in triple-doubles. 

Denver also got an efficient shooting night from Aaron Gordon, who finished 12 of 16 from the field while compiling 21 points and seven rebounds. Jamal Murray chipped in 18 points and 14 assists as the defending NBA champions moved to 4-0.

Lauri Markkanen paced Utah with 27 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, while Walker Kessler tallied 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting along with 13 rebounds.

The Jazz led for just 16 seconds and trailed by as many as 17 points to fall to 1-3.


Curry's hot hand sparks Warriors' rout of Pelicans

Stephen Curry drained seven 3-pointers and finished with 42 points as the Golden State Warriors continued their recent roll with a 130-102 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans.

With long-time backcourt mate Klay Thompson unavailable with a sore right knee, Curry carried the Warriors' offence by going 15 of 22 from the floor and 7 of 13 on 3-point tries. The two-time NBA MVP added five assists to help the Warriors to a third straight victory following a season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Curry has now made 24 3-pointers during the Warriors' 3-1 start, the most by any player through four games of a season in NBA history. 

Moses Moody started in place of Thompson and scored 13 points, with Chris Paul and rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis also contributing 13 points off the bench in a game Golden State broke open in the second half.

The Warriors held a slim 59-57 advantage at half-time before outscoring the Pelicans by a 39-21 margin in the third quarter.

New Orleans had a two-game winning streak to begin the season snapped while playing without second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram, who was held out with a sore right knee.

Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum led the Pelicans with 19 points each.


Luka Doncic reminded the basketball world just how good he is, scoring 49 points as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Brooklyn Nets 125-120.

The Slovenian superstar hit four straight three-point shots in the final quarter, adding 10 rebounds and seven assists to his mammoth scoring effort, while Nets small forward Cam Thomas had 30 points in the losing side.

French rookie Victor Wembanyama secured the first win of his NBA career in style with 21 points and 12 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Houston Rockets 126-122 in overtime.

The 19-year-old proved he is more than ready for the NBA as he hit the game-tying bucket with 20 seconds left in regulation time and added crucial baskets in overtime.

Guard Alex Caruso handed the Chicago Bulls a dramatic victory over the Toronto Raptors, 104-103, with a go-ahead three with just two seconds left of overtime.

Demar DeRozan starred for the Bulls with 18 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter while Scottie Barnes had a triple double for the Raptors with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Steph Curry exploded for the Golden State Warriors with 41 points to get the win over the Sacramento Kings 122-114.

It was the battle of the guards throughout the game with Kings guard De’Aaron Fox trying to keep up with Curry, scoring 39 points.

The Boston Celtics took out last year’s runners up the Miami Heat 119-111, taking revenge on the team who knocked them out in the Eastern Conference finals.

Derrick White starred for the Celtics with 28 points while Tyler Herro matched that for Miami.

Nikola Jokic continued his hot start to the season for the Denver Nuggets with 22 points and 12 rebounds as the NBA champions took down the Memphis Grizzlies 108-104.

The Utah Jazz upset the Los Angeles Clippers 120-118 with forward Lauri Markkanen scoring 35 points with 12 rebounds, while Paul George scored 36 points for the Clippers.

Orlando Magic beat the Portland Trail Blazers, the New York Knicks beat the Atlanta Hawks, Oklahoma City Thunder took down the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Detroit Pistons made easy work of the Charlotte Hornets.

Luka Doncic poured in 49 points and sank a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 26.3 seconds remaining to lift the Dallas Mavericks to a 125-120 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

Cam Thomas’ 3-pointer with 51 seconds left forged a 120-all tie but Doncic answered 25 seconds later when he banked in a 25-foot hook shot from the right sideline while tightly guarded as the shot clock was about to expire.

The Mavericks superstar shot 16 of 25 – including 9 of 14 from deep – and added 10 rebounds and seven assists.

The game was the first between the teams since the February trade that sent 10-time All-Star Kyrie Irving to Dallas in exchange for Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie.

Thomas scored 30 points in his seventh career NBA start, a game after setting a league record by scoring 36 points off the bench in a season opener.

Thomas, though, missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 16 seconds left, and Josh Green sealed Dallas’ win with two free throws three seconds later.

Irving finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 19 points.

Dinwiddie had 23 points and six 3s and Mikal Bridges scored 18 for the winless Nets.


Wembanyama sparks Spurs to OT win

Victor Wembanyama had 21 points, including the tying basket with 20 seconds left in regulation, and the San Antonio Spurs notched a 126-122 win in overtime against the Houston Rockets.

The No. 1 draft pick shook off a slow start and had 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the second half and overtime in his first NBA victory.

Devin Vassell scored 25 points and Keldon Johnson added 20 for the Spurs, who bounced back after a season-opening loss to Dallas on Wednesday.

Wembanyama’s jumper early in overtime sparked a 6-0 run, and he made a pair of free throws with 1:45 left to give San Antonio a 120-115 lead.

Alperen Sengun led the Rockets with 25 points.


Celtics beat Heat in East finals rematch

Derrick White scored 28 points with five 3-pointers and the Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 119-111 on Friday in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals.

Jaylen Brown added 27 points and Jayson Tatum had 22 for the Celtics, who followed Wednesday’s season-opening victory over the Knicks with a win in their home opener.

Miami squandered a 3-0 series lead against the Celtics last season before winning Game 7 in Boston to advance to its seventh NBA Finals.

Tyler Herro led the Heat with 28 points and sank five of his team’s 16 3-pointers. Bam Adebayo added 27 points and Jimmy Butler scored 14 on 3-of-11 shooting.

Neither team led by more than five points at the end of any of the first three periods and there were six ties and six lead changes in the game.

Dallas Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison is confident about re-signing Kyrie Irving despite the side's disappointing late-season slide that saw them miss the playoffs.

The Mavs endured a 7-18 run to end the season, missing the play-in tournament altogether with an 11th-place finish in the Western Conference.

That came after they traded in Irving in February to become a championship contender. The All-Star guard quickly asserted he would not discuss a contract extension publicly following the trade.

Irving is eligible to sign for as much as $272 million over five years at the Mavs, or around $202m for years at another franchise, leading to questions about his future.

Harrison met with Irving on Monday for his exit interview after the Mavs' season ended on Sunday.

"I think the things that he said along the way about how he feels here, how he feels appreciated, how he feels accepted and allowed to be himself - those are the things that he said kind of consistently," Harrison said.

"That's what gives me the optimism that he wants to be here."

The Mavs struggled for synergy in their backcourt with Irving alongside Luka Doncic following the trade, leading to talk that the star-studded pairing is not worth persisting with.

"I think the two work together," Harrison said. "I think Luka and Kai work together.

"I think when we have that talented of a player - that talented of two players - I think they work together.

"I really think it's the players around them… kind of knowing their role with having those two guys out on the floor at the same time. I think that's the thing that we need to work on."

Harrison was also bullish about Doncic's long-term future, with the Slovenian offering assurance after Sunday's game saying he is happy in Dallas.

"Well, I take his words for it," Harrison said. "He says he wants to be here.

"He's under contract, so I don't go to sleep at night worried about, 'is Luka going to be a Maverick?' Because he is a Maverick, and he's under contract.

"Obviously, if that changes, then we'll have to reevaluate it. But I think our job really to keep Luka happy, if you will, is surrounding him by the right players to help him win. And I think Luka's a talent that deserves that."

Dallas Mavericks' All-Star guard Luka Doncic moved to dispel speculation about his long-term future with the franchise, insisting he is happy where he is.

Reports emerged suggesting Doncic could evaluate his future with the Mavericks after they missed the 2022-23 playoffs with their first losing season (38-44) since the Slovenian's rookie year with Dallas.

That came despite the March trade for Kyrie Irving in an effort to make them championship contenders, yet they struggled with a miserable 7-18 run end to the season.

Doncic previously acknowledged publicly that he has been frustrated by their slide, but claimed that was natural given their poor results.

The guard signed a $207million contract extension in August 2021 keeping him tied with the Mavs until 2027, but players have opted out of long-term deals in the past.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban said this week that the Mavs had to "earn" Doncic's loyalty for him to spend his entire career with them.

The Slovenian cooled the concerns after the Mavs' season ended with a 138-117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

"I'm happy here, so there's nothing to worry [about]," Doncic told reporters.

"I saw the report. I don’t know who, somebody said I was going to request a trade. It was funny as I didn’t know it was true. I didn’t say it."

Doncic said he hoped for offseason personnel changes to bolster the Mavs line-up, although he declined to comment on any specific player targets. He also endorsed Irving as his backcourt partner despite their struggles since his arrival.

"Something's got to change, for sure," Doncic said. "I mean, last year we went to Western Conference finals. We were having fun. I always talk about the chemistry we had. It was great. But something's got to change for sure."

On Irving, Doncic added: "I think it's a great fit. Obviously people are going to say no [and] look at the results we are having, but like I said, chemistry and relationships takes time. I wish he can still be here."

The Mavs are under NBA investigation after resting a series of key players for their penultimate game against the Chicago Bulls which they lost 115-112, ending their hopes of making the play-in tournament.

Finishing 11th in the West and missing the play-in meant the Mavs finished with the 10th-best lottery odds, which is important as Dallas owe the New York Knicks a top-10-protected pick, prompting the investigation.

"I didn't like that decision," Doncic said. "That's it."

The Dallas Mavericks entered play Friday facing a must-win game to stay in contention for a play-in spot, but decided as an organisation to give up on their playoff dreams this season.

Facing elimination, the Mavericks decided to sit All-Star Kyrie Irving and four other regulars against the Chicago Bulls in a game with draft implications. They ended up going down 115-112 in a game where superstar Luka Doncic only played the first quarter before sitting out the rest of the way.

Dallas needed to win their final two regular-season games and have the Oklahoma City Thunder lose to the Memphis Grizzlies in their final game for the Mavericks to get the 10th seed in the Western Conference.

Despite being alive for the playoffs, the Mavs chose to instead prioritise their potential assets in June's NBA Draft. They had traded their 2023 first-round pick to the New York Knicks back in 2019 as part of the package for Kristaps Porzingis, and placed a top-10 protection on the pick.

It means if their pick this year lands in the top 10, Dallas will get to keep the pick, but if it is 11th or lower it will get sent to New York.

The decision to punt on the rest of this season boils down to the fact that the Mavericks were tied with the Bulls for the 10th-worst record in the NBA at 38-42, but with Friday's loss they greatly improved their chances of landing in the top 10.

Speaking to the media prior to the game, head coach Jason Kidd emphasised that this was not a decision by himself or the players.

"We were fighting for our lives, and understanding this is a situation we're in," he said. "But the organisation has made the decision to change [course].

"So, you know, we have to go by that and that's something that happens. So the guys that are playing, we got to go out there and put our best foot forward, and we talked about that this afternoon.”

When asked if he agreed with the decision, Kidd said: "Those are my bosses – so yes."

Dallas reached the Western Conference Finals last season and appeared primed to make another deep run after pulling off a blockbuster trade for Irving in February, but the team has wilted down the stretch.

The Mavs are just 5-11 when Irving and Doncic play together, and the team are 9-16 since Irving’s debut.

Despite giving their best effort to lose, Dallas led Chicago 91-85 after three quarters as the Bulls rested Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Beverley, having already locked up the East's 10th seed.

Kyrie Irving led the Dallas Mavericks' second-half rally from a 13 point third-quarter deficit to boost their play-in hopes with a 123-119 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

Irving scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half as the Mavs claimed an important win to improve to 38-42, having trailed 71-60 at half-time at American Airlines Center.

The win sees the Mavs draw level with the 10th-placed Oklahoma City Thunder in the fourth and final play-in tournament spot in the West with two games to play. OKC have the tiebreaker edge.

Dallas play the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs in their final two games, while the Thunder take on the Utah Jazz and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Mavs point guard Irving shot 12-of-23 from the field with six-of-10 from beyond the arc along with four rebounds, eight assists and two steals.

Luka Doncic was outstanding on Dallas' backcourt too, with 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr scored 24 points including five triples.

Irving led Dallas' third-quarter 12-0 run, flipping the game on its head, ending their own three-game losing skid.

De'Aaron Fox scored 28 points with eight assists for the Kings, with Domantas Sabonis recording a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. All five Kings starter scored double-digit points.

Sacramento also had a season-high 22 offensive rebounds, recording 30-14 second chance points.

Clippers claim crunch win over Lakers

The Los Angeles Clippers claimed a critical 125-118 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the race to avoid the play-in tournament, while extending their recent winning run in the Battle of LA to 11-0.

Norman Powell scored a team-high 27 points off the bench, while Kawhi Leonard added 25 points and seven rebounds. The Lakers, playing the second game of a back-to-back, had LeBron James score 33 points with eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Clippers snapped their two-game losing run and ended the Lakers' four-game winning streak, improving to a 42-38 record to sit fifth ahead of the Golden State Warriors (42-38).

The Lakers are 41-39 in seventh alongside the New Orleans Pelicans (41-39), who won 138-131 over the Memphis Grizzlies despite Jaren Jackson Jr's 40 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Bucks and Celtics clinch No.1 and No.2 seeds

The Milwaukee Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo and lost Khris Middleton midgame both due to knee soreness but triumphed 105-92 over the Chicago Bulls to secure the East's number one seed.

The Bucks flexed their muscle without the star duo with Bobby Portis scoring 27 points with 13 rebounds, Brook Lopez adding 26 points and seven rebounds and Jrue Holiday contributing 20 points with eight rebounds and 15 assists.

Milwaukee have locked in top spot with a 58-22 record, while the Boston Celtics won 97-93 over the Toronto Raptors to confirm the East's number two seed with a 55-25 record.

Malcolm Brogdon came off the bench to score 29 points from 35 minutes, while Jaylen Brown managed 25 points and 11 rebounds with Jayson Tatum out with a bruised left hip.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says re-signing Kyrie Irving is the franchise's top offseason priority while he launched a stunning rebuke at Jalen Brunson's trade to the New York Knicks.

The Mavs are in danger of missing the play-in tournament altogether, heading into Wednesday's slate of games in 11th in the Western Conference with a 37-42 record.

Dallas traded in All-Star Irving to play alongside Luka Doncic in February but the side have gone 8-16 since that move, sliding out of contention. The Mavs are 4-11 when Irving and Doncic have played together on the backcourt.

Irving is eligible to leave in the offseason in free agency and Cuban is eager to ensure he stays with the Mavs, having traded away Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and a several of future Draft pick for him only months ago.

Cuban, however, would not be drawn on whether Irving was a max contract player.

"We want him to stay and I think we have a good shot," Cuban said. "I think he's happy here. He tells me he's happy here.

"I think he's a good guy. Everything I thought I knew about Kyrie because of everything I read was 100 per cent wrong."

The Mavs owner was also confident Doncic would stick with the franchise and spend his entire career in Dallas although he acknowledged "we have to earn that".

Doncic is averaging 28.4 points on 45.7 per cent shooting and a career-high 35.3 per cent from beyond the arc with 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists this season.

Cuban was also pressed on guard Brunson, who left the Mavs in July last year for the New York Knicks in a free agency move on a four-year, $104million deal. Doncic admitted earlier this week that the Mavs miss his presence "a lot".

Brunson has since played a key role as the Knicks have clinched a playoffs spot, with career-highs in 24.0 points on 41.6 per cent three-point shooting with 6.2 assists this season.

The Mavs owner blamed the involvement of Brunson's father Rick - who was hired as a Knicks assistant in June last year - in negotiations before Jalen left in a move that attracted an NBA investigation which determined the Knicks had violated tampering rules.

"Things went south when the parents got involved," Cuban said.

Cuban also took responsibility for the Mavs' slide but remained hopeful of a run into the playoffs.

"It's absolutely my fault for not recognising that," Cuban said when asked about their defensive issues. "[But] I haven't heard the fat lady sing yet."

Luka Doncic accepted responsibility for a Dallas Mavericks defense this season that their Slovenian star believes "anybody can score on".

There was plenty of positivity coming into the season after a surprise run to the Western Conference Finals in 2022, but things have failed to go according to plan.

But while the Mavericks sit 11th in the West with a 37-42 record – one game behind the 38-41 Oklahoma City Thunder in the race for the final play-in tournament spot – they still own the sixth-best offense in the league this season.

Scoring at a rate of 116.0 points per 100 possessions, the Mavericks trail only the New York Knicks (116.8), Denver Nuggets (117.1), Philadelphia 76ers (117.1), Boston Celtics (117.3) and Sacramento Kings (119.0) for the league's best offensive units.

But they also sit 23rd in defense, giving up 115.9 points per 100 possessions, although their stellar offensive play had been enough to keep their head above water prior to the All-Star break.

Since the break – and the trade for Kyrie Irving, where they sent away key rotation pieces Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie – the Mavs have gone 6-13, and while their offense has actually gotten even more efficient (117.5 points per 100 possessions), their defense has cratered even further (118.0).

Doncic called it "a very disappointing season", and pointed to the current group's lack of chemistry – particularly on the defensive end – as one of the main reasons for their late-season collapse.

"I think you don't see that chemistry we had before – I mean, especially last year," he said. "I think that chemistry was at the top, everybody. But chemistry builds not just not right away. It's a long process.

"I don't think the offense is a problem, and I always said this. It's our defensive end. I think anybody can score on us. Whoever it is, anybody can score on us."

But the former Rookie of the Year and three-time All-NBA First Team selection was not looking to point fingers. Doncic highlighted his own packed schedule over the past three years as he spent his offseasons playing for Slovenia internationally, and admitted his defense has reflected his level of fatigue.

"I've been playing basketball for three straight years," he said. "Four weeks in between it was free. 

"Sometimes it's really hard for me to play really hard on both ends. But obviously, the defensive end I gotta be way better. But that's not an excuse.

"I'm still young, age-wise, but it's a lot of basketball. But I've got to be way better. I'm the leader of this team – the one to blame is me."

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