The Sacramento Kings delivered their most complete performance of the season as they snapped a long winless run against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Sacramento won 129-94 on Tuesday, defeating the Bucks for the first time since February 2016.

That 15-game losing streak was the longest active such run of any team in the NBA.

De'Aaron Fox led the Kings with 29 points, while Domantas Sabonis had 22 points and 11 rebounds. He has now set a new Kings single-season record, with what was his 47th successive double-double. 

As good as the Kings' offense was, however, Fox wanted to praise the defense.

"I think defensively we did a great job," Fox said.

"I think that fuelled our offense. Obviously, we scored 130 points, but even if we didn't play that well offensively, if we have an even below-average game, score 110, we still win this game by 15.

"I think this was one of the most complete games that we've played this year."

Speaking of his teammate Sabonis, Fox added: "Night in, night out, he's come up big for us.

"I think people are immune to it. No one outside of basically us talks about it. But that's obviously a hard thing to do and there's not many people have done it. He comes ready to play every night."

While Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 13 rebounds, Bucks coach Doc Rivers said his team did not deserve anything but a defeat, and he took full responsibility.

"We deserved it tonight," said Rivers.

"It's my fault. I didn't get them prepared the way I should mentally. At shootaround, guys were talking about planes leaving.

"As a staff, we talked about it after shootaround that if our focus is not better than this morning, it's going to be a long day. And it was a long day. So that's on us."

Anthony Edwards scored 37 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied from a 22-point deficit for a 118-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker added a season-high 28 points and Mike Conley scored 23 with five 3-pointers for the Wolves, who bounced back from consecutive losses to pull within one game of the Northwest Division lead.

Kawhi Leonard left with back spasms between the first two quarters, the Clippers said. He played the entire first quarter, but he was seen leaving the arena during the second quarter.

Faced with a 57-35 deficit midway through the second quarter, Minnesota cut the Clippers’ lead to 63-55 at halftime and took control in the second half for the team’s largest comeback since November 2012.

Paul George scored 22 points for Los Angeles, which has dropped two straight for only the second time since Christmas.

Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert returned from a one-game absence with a right hamstring injury but then apparently injured his ribs or sternum at some point in the second half, heading to the locker room in pain.

Kings finally beat Bucks

De’Aaron Fox scored 29 points and Domantas Sabonis had 22 with 11 rebounds as the Sacramento Kings defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, 129-94, for their first win in the series in over eight years.

Sacramento posted its first win over Milwaukee since Feb. 1, 2016, with the 15-game losing streak being the longest active streak for any team.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 13 rebounds as the Bucks finished a 1-3 California swing.

Hart stars in Knicks’ rout of 76ers

Josh Hart registered his fourth triple-double of the season and OG Anunoby scored 14 points in his return from an 18-game absence as the New York Knicks rolled to a 106-79 drubbing of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Hart had 20 points, a career high-tying 19 rebounds and 10 assists, and Jalen Brunson added 20 points and nine assists for the Knicks, who bounced back from Sunday’s loss to the 76ers.

Anunoby played his first game since Jan. 27 due to a right elbow injury that required surgery. New York improved to 13-2 in games that he has played in since his acquisition from Toronto on Dec. 30.

Kelly Oubre Jr. had 19 points and Tyrese Maxey added 17 after missing the previous four games due to a concussion. Philadelphia has lost four of its last five games.

Damian Lillard is confident his relationship with Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is growing stronger after the pair dismantled the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lillard had 35 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists, while Antetokounmpo finished with 34 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds as the Bucks beat the short-handed Clippers 124-117 on Sunday.

They turned on the style in the fourth quarter, with Antetokounmpo and Lillard playing a direct role in 31 consecutive points for the Bucks.

The duo are only the second pair of teammates to finish with at least 30 points and 10 assists in the same game since 1980.

"I think it's getting much better," said Lillard, who joined the Bucks from the Portland Trail Blazers last year.

"To start the season, I think a lot of people wanted it to just click and happen right away.

"But I think any time you put two guys together who have always been the decision-maker, always had their hands on the ball for years and years and years, it's going to take time for us to learn how to play with each other."

Sixteen of Lillard's points came in the final quarter, with Antetokounmpo stating the Bucks have been working on finishing strong down the stretch.

"It's how we work in practice," he said.

"We got a lot of good shots down the stretch. Tonight it worked, and it's something we're going to have to do moving forward."

The Bucks bounced back from back-to-back defeats, while the Clippers – who were without Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook – lost for the second time in the space of four games.

Coach Tyronn Lue, though, credited the Bucks' star performers.

"Those two guys, they're great players, and we understand that," Lue said.

"They had a good game. I thought Dame set the tone early and then took over the game late.

"Once he got going, it was hard to stop him. We tried to blitz, tried to do some different things, but he had it going and made some big shots."

D'Angelo Russell described himself as a "killer" after his career-best 44-point haul lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to a dramatic victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, as LeBron James sat out another game due to ankle discomfort. 

James missed his ninth game of the season on Friday as he continues to battle the niggling injury, but the Lakers overcame his absence with a stirring 123-122 win at Crypto.com Arena.

The Bucks held a one-point lead with 39 seconds remaining, with Giannis Antetokounmpo recording 34 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists while Damian Lillard backed him up with 28 points.

However, Russell scored 21 of his points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead jumper with 5.9 seconds remaining on the clock, to put the hosts up one.

There was more drama to come in the dying moments as Spencer Dinwiddie blocked Lillard's attempted buzzer-beater to preserve the win, improving the Lakers to 35-30.

Russell's nine 3-pointers were a joint-career best, while he also dished out nine assists. Speaking after the win, the 28-year-old said he always had confidence in his ability to deliver in clutch moments. 

"On the floor, I've always felt like I was capable of doing things. Getting hot makes it a little more exciting," Russell said. 

"Off the floor, obviously you all know what I've been through. Public humiliation has done nothing but mould me into the killer that you all see today. 

"I never lack confidence. I never fear confrontation. I want all the smoke. I just feel confident in what I bring to the basketball game, so whatever room I walk in, I'm confident."

Lakers team-mate Austin Reaves – who added 18 points – said: "D-Lo just stepped up and won us the game, and obviously with Spence with the defense on that last possession. 

"Just seeing D-Lo take over the game, I constantly kept telling him in timeouts, 'take us home'."

While the victory was a crucial one for the Lakers' playoff chances, the Bucks sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 41-23 record, and coach Doc Rivers knows the defeat will have little impact on their long-term ambitions.

He does, however, hope it serves as part of a learning curve, saying: "You want to win all these games, but that's the stuff that we're going to keep doing more and more until it becomes us. 

"There was a stretch where Damian and Giannis were playing a two-man game, and it was unstoppable. We want to encourage that more and more.

"It is a missed opportunity, but if we had won, that doesn't change anything. We're trying to go and get better. 

"I thought we had the game in our hands, and we let it go. That happens, and it'll happen again, and we'll win some the other way, too."

The Lakers are back in action against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Crypto.com Arena on Sunday, while the Bucks remain in Los Angeles to face the Clippers on the same day. 

D’Angelo Russell scored 21 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead jumper with 5.9 seconds left, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame LeBron James’ absence in a 123-122 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

After Russell’s basket put the Lakers up one, Spencer Dinwiddie blocked Damian Lillared’s step-back jumper before the buzzer to preserve a stirring win for the Lakers.

Russell matched his career high with nine 3-pointers, handed out nine assists and scored the Lakers’ final eight points in the final 1:13 to help them rally from a late deficit.

Anthony Davis had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Austin Reaves added 18 points as the Lakers won without James, who sat out to rest his sore left ankle.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 34 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists for his 43rd career triple-double and Lillard scored 28 points, but Milwaukee lost its second in a row after coming out of the All-Star break with six consecutive wins.

Depleted Cavaliers outlast Timberwolves

Darius Garland scored 34 points and Jarrett Allen scored 10 of his career-high 33 in overtime and also grabbed 18 rebounds to lead the injury-thinned Cleveland Cavaliers to a 113-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Allen made a career-best 15 free throws, 14 after halftime and his dunk early in overtime put the Cavaliers ahead for good.

Georges Niang had 16 points and Caris LeVert added 15 and eight assists to help Cleveland win despite missing starters Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Max Strus.

Naz Reid scored a career-high 34 points and Anthony Edwards added 19 on 7-of-27 shooting for the Wolves, who entered with a league-best 21-11 road record.

Minnesota’s loss coupled with Oklahoma City’s win over Miami moved the Thunder into sole possession of the Western Conference lead.

Thunder win to move atop West

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 23 of his 37 points in the second half and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied for a 107-100 victory over the Miami Heat to move into sole possession of the Western Conference lead.

Jalen Williams added 15 points and Josh Giddey had 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Thunder overcame a 14-point deficit to move into first place in the West, one-half game ahead of Minnesota.

Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 25 points and Jimmy Butler had 20, 10 boards and eight assists for Miami, which has lost consecutive games for the first time since a seven-game skid in January.

Steve Kerr pointed to the chemistry within the Golden State Warriors' roster after his team won for a seventh time in 10 games.

Stephen Curry inspired the Warriors on Wednesday, finishing with 29 points, eight rebounds and five assists as Golden State saw off the Milwaukee Bucks in style, winning 125-90.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 23 points on his return to the Bucks' fold, but it was not enough to extend Milwaukee's winning streak to seven.

Kerr has looked to rotate his roster this season, and he believes the competition for places, is helping to drive his team's push for the playoffs, as Golden State moved to a 34-30 record.

"I'm really so impressed with this group, and I have been all year," Kerr told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Chemistry and commitment to each other, the professionalism, staying with it when it's not their turn."

Draymond Green added: "I can't take plays off, there's no reason.

"I think that's one of the beautiful things about this. Everybody should be flying around, you're not playing a million minutes, so give everything you've got."

Despite losing by 35 points, Bucks coach Doc Rivers pointed fingers at Milwaukee's offense, not their defense.

"I really didn't think this was our defense, I thought it was our offense," coach Doc Rivers said.

"I didn't think we played solid offense all night."

Stephen Curry scored 29 points with six 3-pointers and the Golden State Warriors dominated the fourth quarter on Wednesday to end the Milwaukee Bucks’ six-game winning streak, 125-90.

Jonathan Kuminga added 20 points and Trayce Jackson-Davis had 15 with seven rebounds off the bench to help the Warriors rebound from Sunday’s 52-point loss at Boston and improve to 12-3 in their last 15 games.

Golden State matched a season low with 15 points in the third quarter but outscored Milwaukee 32-9 in the fourth.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 23 points and Damian Lillard and Bobby Portis each added 20. The Bucks have lost their last four visits to Golden State.

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins returned from a four-game absence to deal with a family matter and scored three points in 14 minutes.

 

Fox, Sabonis power Kings past Lakers

De’Aaron Fox matched his career high with 44 points and Domantas Sabonis had a triple-double as the Sacramento Kings topped the Los Angeles Lakers, 130-120.

Fox shot 18 of 31 from the field and reached 40 points for the seventh time this season, fourth-most in the NBA.

Sabonis had 16 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists for his fourth triple-double in seven games. He leads the league with 22 triple-doubles, the sixth player in league history with that many in a season.

LeBron James had 31 points and 13 assists and Rui Hachimura added 29 for the Lakers, who had won three of four.

 

Magic rally past lowly Wizards

Franz Wagner scored 28 points and the surging Orlando Magic erased a 21-point deficit to send the Washington Wizards to their franchise record-tying 16th straight loss, 119-109.

Paolo Banchero had 25 points, 10 assists and six rebounds and Jalen Suggs added 19 points for Orlando, which has won five straight and eight of nine to move a season-best 11 games over .500.

The Magic’s comeback was their largest of the season and the sixth-largest deficit overcome to win in franchise history.

Jordan Poole scored 26 points for the league-worst Wizards, who haven’t won since Jan. 29 and last won a home game on Dec. 29.

Damian Lillard cited the Milwaukee Bucks' performance without Giannis Antetokounmpo as proof of the team they are becoming.

The Bucks won 113-106 on Monday, despite star man Antetokounmpo missing out due to left Achilles tendinitis.

Despite trailing by 15 points in the second half, the Bucks rallied, with Lillard finishing with 41 points while Bobby Portis contributed 28 and 16 rebounds.

Milwaukee have now won six straight games as they settle in under new coach Doc Rivers.

"It just shows who we're becoming," Lillard said.

"Nobody talked about who wasn't playing before the game. That just shows what's expected, the standard that we're starting to have, and who we're becoming as a team.

"We just trusted each other. Defensively, we've trusted our communication. We've depended on the next guy to do his job, and the same offensively.

"Because our team is seeing the results that we're getting from playing that way, even when it's not going our way at points in the game, we trust it. It's just coming back in our favour."

Portis added: "Guys needed to step up in their roles.

"I just feel like it was one of those times for me just to step up and be a little more aggressive than I probably was before."

Antetokounmpo has only missed three games this season, though Rivers is unsure whether the two-time NBA MVP will be fit to feature against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

"It's been on and off the last two or three games," Rivers said of Antetokounmpo. "This morning he actually looked good, we'll just figure it out from there."

The Clippers, who will be without Russell Westbrook until April after he fractured his hand against the Washington Wizards last week, have now lost for the third time in five games, though they remain well-placed in the upper echelons of the Western Conference.

"When they went to that zone, I think we got a little jump shot-happy rather than keep attacking the basket and getting into the paint," Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said of his team's failure to hold onto their lead.

"I think we were in the bonus pretty early in the fourth quarter. They did a good job of going to the zone, and then we didn't handle it well."

Damian Lillard poured in 41 points and helped lead a fourth-quarter rally as the Milwaukee Bucks withstood Giannis Antetokounmpo's absence and remained unbeaten since the All-Star break with Monday's 113-106 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Despite Antetokounmpo sitting out with left Achilles tendinitis, the Bucks moved to 6-0 following the break behind Lillard and Bobby Portis, who scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter after Milwaukee trailed by as many as 15 in the third.

Portis added a season-high 16 rebounds for Milwaukee, which took the lead for good with a 15-0 run that erased a 96-90 deficit with under 5 1/2 minutes left.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Lillard and Patrick Beverley began the spurt, which Portis capped with four consecutive points that gave Milwaukee a 105-96 advantage with under two minutes to go. 

The Clippers, who shot just 35 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to Milwaukee's 61.9 per cent, never got closer than five points down the rest of the way.

Los Angeles owned a 74-59 lead just past the midway point of the third quarter, but the Bucks scored the period's final five points and pulled to within 81-73 entering the fourth on Malik Beasley's triple in the final seconds.

The Clippers, who were coming off Sunday's 89-88 road win over the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves, got 29 points each from Paul George and James Harden. Kawhi Leonard finished with 16 points, but was held to one in the fourth quarter while going 0 for 4 from the field.

Lakers continue surge, knock Thunder out of first in West

It was a better night for Los Angeles' other team, as the Lakers continued their recent strong play by knocking the Oklahoma City Thunder out of first place in the Western Conference with a 116-104 victory.

D'Angelo Russell recorded 26 points and Anthony Davis had 24 along with 12 rebounds as the Lakers improved to 10-4 since Feb. 1. Los Angeles currently stands in ninth place in the West but is now just two games behind the sixth-place Phoenix Suns, with the top six teams guaranteed a first-round play-off series.

The Thunder, who were coming off a 118-110 win over Phoenix on Sunday, shot just 39.4 per cent and fell a half-game behind Minnesota for the West's top spot after the Timberwolves registered a 119-114 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.

All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 20 points but finished 5 of 13 from the field.

The Lakers seized control with a 12-0 run to build a 37-27 lead with seven minutes left in the second quarter, and went into the break owning a 52-43 advantage behind 10 points from Russell and Austin Reaves. 

Davis then took over in the third quarter, as the All-Star forward netted 15 points in the period as Los Angeles stretched its lead to 89-72 entering the fourth. 

The Lakers' margin grew to as much as 25 points in the final quarter before the Thunder scored the game's final 13 points with the outcome already determined.

Bulls stun Kings with furious late comeback

Coby White put up a career-high 37 points and helped ignite a big second-half comeback that carried the Chicago Bulls to a stunning 113-109 road win over the Sacramento Kings.

Chicago trailed by 22 points late in the third quarter before outscoring the Kings by a 36-18 margin in the fourth to deal Sacramento a third loss in four games. DeMar DeRozan had 19 of his 33 points in the final period, while White tallied 24 of his points in the second half.

After closing out the third quarter on a 10-2 run to cut their deficit to 91-77, the Bulls continued to chip away in the fourth. They outscored the Kings by an 18-5 count over the final 5 1/2 minutes and held Sacramento without a point over the last 2:20.

White's layup off a Sacramento turnover tied the contest at 109-109 with 1:32 left, and after the Kings gave the ball away on their next possession as well, White again drove the lane and scored to put Chicago ahead with 47.6 seconds to go.

The Bulls would miss their next two shots, but got a late offensive rebound before DeRozan was able to seal the victory with two free throws with 3.5 seconds left.

De'Aaron Fox led the Kings with 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return from a two-game absence, while Domantas Sabonis grabbed 21 rebounds to go along with 18 points before fouling out with 2:57 remaining.

 

 

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 46 points as he became the player with the most wins in the Milwaukee Bucks' history on Friday, with the Chicago Bulls beaten 113-97 at United Center.

For Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, however, the focus is squarely on preparing for the postseason as the Bucks eye their third NBA Championship.

Antetokounmpo surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season, also adding 16 rebounds and six assists, as the Bucks recorded their fifth straight victory.

The win was the 489th of Antetokounmpo's Bucks career including both regular-season and playoff games, taking the two-time NBA MVP clear of Sidney Moncrief as the winningest player in franchise history.

"Everybody has to be on the same page, and I feel like the last couple of games, we're doing that and that's why our defense has taken a step," Antetokounmpo said after the win. 

"Hopefully, we can keep it up. Right now, it's just about trust. We've just got to trust one another. That's it, win or lose, we have to have the same trust."

For coach Rivers, who has led the team to an 8-7 run since replacing Adrian Griffin in January, all that matters is ensuring Milwaukee are ready for the postseason.

"We're winning games, but for us, it's not about that right now," Rivers said. "Our whole key is getting ready. That's the first thing I told the players. 

"We still have work to do, we're still pushing, we've got to get better. It's nicer to get wins than to lose, but we're not where we want to be yet."

Milwaukee, who sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, are back in action against the 38-20 Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. 

They then embark on a four-game California road stretch on Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. 

Jayson Tatum scored 32 points and the Boston Celtics overcame Luka Dončić’s second straight triple-double in a 138-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks for their 10th consecutive win on Friday.

Jaylen Brown had 25 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 24 as seven Celtics scored in double figures.

Doncic had 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his 12th triple-double of the season and 68th of his career.

NBA-leading Boston knocked down 21 3-pointers and shot 55.3 percent (52-of-94) from the field to remain unbeaten since a loss to the Lakers on Feb. 1.

The 10-game streak is the longest for the Celtics since a 10-game run during the 2019-20 season.

Kyrie Irving scored 19 points against his former team but shot 9 of 23 as Dallas lost for the third time in four games.

Antetokounmpo powers streaking Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 46 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Chicago Bulls 113-97 for their fifth consecutive win.

Antetokoumpo shot 16 of 22 from the field, made 2 of 3 from long range and sank 12 of 16 free throws in his eighth 40-plus point game this season.

Patrick Beverley scored 14 points and Brook Lopez added 12 for the Bucks, who improved to 8-7 under Doc Rivers and moved into a virtual tie with Cleveland for first place in the Central Division.

Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan became the 35th player in NBA history to accumulate 23,000 points. He scored 12 points – all but two in the second half – and was 5 of 13 from the field after missing his first six shots.

Coby White led the Bulls with 22 points and Nikola Vucevic added 17 with nine rebounds.

Warriors win again on road

Stephen Curry scored 25 points and Jonathan Kuminga added 24 to lead the Golden State Warriors to their eighth straight road win, 120-105 over the Toronto Raptors, who lost All-Star Scottie Barnes.

Moses Moody had 17 points and Klay Thompson was next with 14 as the Warriors won their third straight and 13th in 15 games.

Barnes broke his left middle finger late in the first half and the Raptors said he would be out indefinitely. He had 10 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes, ending a career-best streak of five consecutive double-doubles.

Golden State overcame some troublesome travel after it had to switch planes following Thursday night’s win over New York. The Warriors endured a long wait on the tarmac, finally arriving at its Toronto hotel shortly after 7 a.m. Friday morning.

The Philadelphia 76ers supporters may have jeered Doc Rivers, but the Milwaukee Bucks coach took the hostile reception in his stride as his new team won big on Sunday.

Rivers was dismissed by the Sixers eight months ago following a disappointing end to a season in which Joel Embiid was named the NBA's MVP.

Yet Rivers came out smiling after his return to Philadelphia on Sunday, with the Bucks having run out 119-98 victors.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (30) and Damian Lillard (24) combined for 54 points as the Bucks followed up their win over the Minnesota Timberwolves with a statement victory over a rival in the East.

And while Rivers received a frosty reception, he was all smiles after the game.

"I didn't even hear it, to be honest. That means I was back at home," he quipped.

"It was awesome. Really. I had three good years here, not talking about basketball, just in life. I enjoyed my stay here and made friends for life here.

"The fans were good, too. There were a couple of hilarious comments. One guy told me that Larry David was looking for me to golf. I thought that was pretty funny."

Reflecting on his tenure in charge of the Sixers, Rivers added: "I'm happy with it overall, I just wish we could've gone further.

"I wish we could have had a chance to have Joel healthy in the playoffs.

"But overall, Joel became an MVP, and we established this team as a championship contender. That wasn't said the year before.

"You think about it, we had the James Harden trade, the Ben [Simmons] stuff. Some was under my control, some was out of my control, but overall, for me, if you don't win a title, you're never exactly happy. That's why we all do this."

The Bucks are 5-7 under Rivers, who replaced Adrian Griffin in January. Antetokounmpo, though, is relishing the challenge under his new coach.

"I love him," Antetokounmpo said. "It's been incredible playing for him. He just explains to me, what he wants from me.

"You respect him because he's been 25 years in the league. You've got to respect what he's done in the league, won a championship, won a lot of games, but when he comes in the locker room, he keeps it simple."

The Bucks are third in the East, four wins ahead of the 76ers with a 37-21 record.

"I thought we were consistent," Lillard said. "We got into the paint, we were willing to make the extra pass to find the open guy and we got quality looks.

"To play good offense you find quality shots and have a lot of mix. I thought that’s what we did."

Rivers added: "We had been putting such an emphasis on defense.

"The last few games we’ve been terrific. When you have Giannis on your team, if you can get stops and get him in transition, Giannis in transition is a problem for everybody."

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks held off the West-leading Minnesota Timberwolves 112-107 on Friday in a matchup of NBA heavyweights.

Damian Lillard had 21 points, 10 assists and a season-high nine rebounds and Malik Beasley scored all 14 of his points in the third quarter as the Bucks improved to 4-10 under new coach Doc Rivers.

Anthony Edwards scored 28 points and hit three 3-pointers in the final two minutes to draw the Wolves within 110-107 with 31 seconds left, but Lillard’s long jumper 22 seconds later sealed the win.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points with 14 rebounds and Rudy Gobert added 12 points and 19 boards for Minnesota, which had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Butler among 4 ejected in Heat’s win

Jimmy Butler was one of four players ejected after a fourth-quarter scuffle and the Miami Heat held off the New Orleans Pelicans, 106-95.

Butler had 23 points and nine rebounds and Bam Adebayo added 24 points for Miami, which snapped New Orleans’ four-game winning streak and made it seven consecutive wins over the Pelicans.

Also ejected for the melee were Heat reserve Thomas Bryant and Jose Alvarado and Naji Marshall of the Pelicans.

Herb Jones scored 19 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 12 with 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which couldn’t overcome 37.5 percent shooting, including 7 of 32 from 3-point range.

Maxey leads 76ers over Cavaliers

Tyrese Maxey scored 24 points and Cam Payne added 16 off the bench to propel the Philadelphia 76ers to a 104-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Maxey came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of the Sixers’ final 20 points and assisted on a 3-pointer by Buddy Hield that put Philadelphia up by eight in the final minute.

Maxey was the only Sixer to make more than one basket in the fourth quarter and also added four rebounds and two assists.

Jarrett Allen had 24 points and Darius Garland added 20 and nine assists, but Cleveland had a six-game road winning streak stopped while losing for the third time in four games overall.

Damian Lillard was honoured to achieve a feat only previously accomplished by Michael Jordan on the NBA's All-Star weekend. 

Lillard saw off competition from the Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns and the Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young to win the 3-point contest on Saturday, then he dazzled again one day later.

The Milwaukee Bucks guard was named All-Star Game MVP after putting up 39 points as the Eastern Conference All-Stars recorded a 211-186 win over their Western Conference counterparts. 

Chicago Bulls legend Jordan is the only previous player to complete such a double, having taken the 1988 dunk contest before winning the first of his three All-Star MVP trophies.

For Lillard, who was appearing in his eighth All-Star Game but his first as a starter, following in Jordan's footsteps made it all the more memorable. 

"Anytime you're mentioned in the same category as Mike, it's an honour, it's a major accomplishment, even if it's All-Star weekend," Lillard said during his post-game news conference. 

"Because if it was that simple, more people would have done it. I'm a vet in the game at this point. Why not go and try to get an MVP? I've been here enough."

However, a perceived lack of competitiveness in Sunday's All-Star Game – the highest-scoring in history – led to criticism from some quarters. 

The league's all-time leading scorer LeBron James said the All-Star Game "is something we need to figure out", with players unwilling to risk injury in the mid-season exhibition. 

Asked for his views on that debate, Lillard said: "I think it could be more competitive, 200 is a lot to be scored. It shows we didn't go out there and compete like I guess you would want us to. 

"But I think that's just what it is. Guys are talented, they make a lot of shots. We hit a lot of 3s, and that was it."

Lillard joined the Bucks in a blockbuster trader from the Portland Trail Blazers ahead of the season, but his first campaign in Milwaukee has been a turbulent one. 

The Bucks fired coach Adrian Griffin last month, bringing in Doc Rivers after a short interim stint for Joe Prunty. They sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 35-21 record, but have lost five of their last seven games.

"It's been a tough year with the transition to a new team, we've had three coaches since I've been there," Lillard said.

"Anytime you have these types of experiences where you have adversity, that's the time you've got to show who you really are. 

"Keep doing what you do, keep believing, and when you do that, usually it comes back to you. You just can't fold."

Doc Rivers suggested the Milwaukee Bucks had "some guys in Cabo" as he reflected on their shock loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Despite missing several key players, including Scotty Pippen Jr – who was out with a back injury – the Grizzlies won 113-110 on Thursday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 35 points and 12 assists, but his 43rd double-double of the season was not enough.

And Rivers, whose team are third in the Eastern Conference, believes some of his players were already thinking about potential trips away during the All-Star break, rather than focusing fully on the task at hand.

"We had some guys here, and some guys in Cabo," Rivers said.

"First play of the game, we gamble for the 50th time in the corner. Guy drives, we have to help, leads to a 3.

"On our set, two guys forget what we're running. Then we missed a shot and nobody gets back. That's how we start out the third quarter. That tells you all you need to know about where our heads were.

"These are tough games. Yeah, it's a panic game for coaches."

Ziaire Williams and GG Jackson scored 27 points each for the Grizzlies.

"It feels good," Williams said.

"Proud of this team. We've been fighting our tails off every game. It's good to see. One man falls down, and another one steps up. We're just having fun."

The Grizzlies, whose star player Ja Morant is out for the rest of the campaign, sit 13th in the Western Conference, with a 20-36 record.

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