The NBA has handed out bans to Austin Rivers, Mo Bamba and Jalen Suggs for their roles in an on-court brawl during the Orlando Magic's 127-120 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

Rivers and Bamba became involved in an altercation late in the third quarter, with both men throwing punches before Magic guard Suggs pulled Rivers to the ground.

All three players were ejected in the aftermath of the incident, with Timberwolves duo Jaden McDaniels and Taurean Prince joining them after getting too involved in the melee. 

Bamba will face the most severe punishment after the league said he continued to "engage with Rivers in a hostile manner" outside the locker rooms following the brawl.

The Orlando center will serve a four-game suspension without pay, while Rivers has been given a similar three-game ban.

Bamba's team-mate Suggs will miss one game for escalating the confrontation by grabbing Rivers around the neck, the league said, with that ban to be served when the Magic face the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

McDaniels, meanwhile, has been fined $20,000 for his actions, which included running into the melee to push Bamba from behind. 

A fight broke out between Austin Rivers and Mo Bamba during Friday's game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic, resulting in five ejections.

The situation occurred late in the third quarter as Rivers took exception to some words from the Magic bench, and while the play continued, Rivers stayed down the other end of the court jawing with Bamba before punches started to fly.

It appeared Rivers and Bamba were the only players to throw punches, before Magic guard Jalen Suggs was also ejected for pulling Rivers to the ground, while the Timberwolves' Jaden McDaniels and Taurean Prince were also given their marching orders for getting too involved.

The Magic went on to win the game 127-120 away from home in a well-balanced performance, with 10 players scoring at least nine points each, led by Cole Anthony with 20 off the bench.

Rivers was still fired up after the contest, posting an Instagram story about Bamba saying "we only know about you from an old rap song" – referencing Sheck Wes' 2018 hit titled Mo Bamba.

His post read: "Buddy I went at you one-on-five! With no backup! You needed your team-mates otherwise you would of been choked out.

"We only know you from an old rap song, not hoops… and Orlando my city, ask around and actually find out. They don't mess with you there… facts!"

He deleted that post after a short period of time, and he explained the situation further when addressing the media afterwards.

"I’m just like, 'Yo, what are you doing?'," Rivers said. "I went up to him and I pressed him, and at that point, it can go one of two ways. 

"I didn’t think we were going to get in a fight, but when you stand up that fast and put your hands up – he threw a punch and missed, thankfully. At that point I've got to protect myself. Ain’t no one worried about him."

Orlando center Moritz Wagner said it is difficult to know what to do when a situation like that breaks out, but he was proud of his team-mates supporting each other.

"You obviously want to have your teammate's back and at the same time, you’ve got to be a professional," he said. "So, that’s a challenge for a young team like us. 

"I think this time around we did a good job compared to last time [when Wagner was ejected against the Detroit Pistons in December]. So, yeah, I don't really know. It's a weird dynamic. 

"You don't really want to be in those situations and it's not really the best look… at the same time, there is something in me that appreciates the team sticking together like that."

The incident comes the night after both Dillon Brooks and Donovan Mitchell were ejected for a skirmish between the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers, with Brooks receiving a one-game suspension for instigating it.

The Splash Brothers found their range as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 64 points including 10 three-pointers in the Golden State Warriors' 129-117 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

Curry top scored with 35 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field, making four-of-eight from beyond the arc, with seven rebounds, 11 assists and two steals at Chase Center.

Thompson finished with 29 points but nailed six-of-14 three-point attempts, along with eight rebounds.

Donte DiVincenzo made another strong impression off the bench, playing 33 minutes for 12 points with two-of-five three-pointers and 11 assists.

As a team, Golden State shot at 55.6 per cent from the field (50-of-90), while they had 40 assists compared to Toronto's 24.

The win improves the Warriors' home record to 19-6, while they nudge over .500 with a 25-24 overall record to move up seventh in the Western Conference.

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet scored a team-high 28 points on five-of-10 three-point shooting with 10 assists, while Scottie Barnes chipped in with 24 points.

Giannis dominates as Middleton comeback continues

Giannis Antetokounmpo held off another Indiana Pacers' late charge as the Milwaukee Bucks won 141-131 fuelled by the Greek's 41 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Antetokounmpo made five-of-eight free-throws in the final four minutes as the Bucks held on. Jrue Holiday contributed 20 points with nine rebounds and nine assists.

Khris Middleton continued his gradual return to full fitness, scoring 17 points in 15 minutes off the bench, while Myles Turner top scored for Indiana with 24 points.

SGA racks them up again for OKC

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander recorded his fourth straight 30-point game as the Oklahoma City Thunder down the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-100 after scores were locked at three-quarter time.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 35 points, with eight assists and five rebounds for OKC, who won for the sixth time in eight games to improve to 24-25.

The Cavs were without Donovan Mitchell due to a groin injury, with Darius Garland starring for them with 31 points and 13 assists.

Meanwhile, Ja Morant recorded his fourth triple-double of the season with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the Memphis Grizzlies' 111-100 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Brandon Ingram will return for the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves after missing the past 29 games with a left big toe contusion.

Ingram's return comes amid the Pelicans' five-game losing run which has seen them drop to a 26-22 record and fourth in the Western Conference.

The 25-year-old Pels forward has not played since November 25 against the Memphis Grizzlies when he sustained the injury by kicking the back of another player's foot.

Ingram is averaging 20.8 points on 47.2 per cent shooting, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 15 games this season.

"You watch Brandon in his five-on-five games and you realise how his basketball IQ is at a high level," Pelicans coach Willie Green told reporters.

"His skill set is at a high level. He's going to be knocking some rust off when he does come back. That's a part of it, too.

"But he's efficient, elite basketball player. Guys like him and others like him in the NBA is what makes this league special."

Ingram was named the NBA's Most Improved Player for the 2019-20 season, earning his only All-Star selection in the process.

The ascension of Houston Rockets centrepiece Jalen Green continued on Monday as he scored a career-high 42 points in a 119-114 home win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Green, 20, was the second overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, and he is living up to the hype as one of the game's most electrifying young scorers.

Against the Timberwolves, Green shot 15-of-25 from the field and six-of-12 from long range for his 42 points, four rebounds, four assists with a steal and a block.

The performance came only two games after he tied his career-high 41 points against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, and he is now averaging a team-high 21.7 points per contest with 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

He was not the only young Rockets prospect to show why he is viewed as the future of the franchise, as center Alperen Sengun put together another complete performance in what has been the best month of his career.

Also in his second season after being drafted by the Rockets in 2021, Sengun had 21 points on eight-of-12 shooting while adding seven rebounds and seven assists. It is his playmaking that is the most notable aspect of his growth.

After averaging 2.6 assists per game as a rookie, and no more than 2.8 during the months of October, November and December, he has put together figures of 18.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists during his 11 games since the new year began, including a streak of seven consecutive performances with at least six assists.

Despite the win, the Rockets still own the worst record in the NBA at 11-36, and Houston fans will be desperate to add future number one draft pick Victor Wembenyama to their promising young core.

Bucks become fourth team to reach 150 this season

The Milwaukee Bucks had their biggest offensive explosion of the season as they erupted in a 150-130 demolition of the Detroit Pistons.

Despite the Pistons putting up 130 points of their own and the final score appearing competitive, the reality is they were never a chance as the Bucks opened up a 40-12 lead just eight minutes into the game.

Led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo's 29 points (eight-of-15 shooting), 12 rebounds and four assists, the Bucks tied for the league's second-highest score this season, trailing only the Sacramento Kings' 153-121 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in November.

Bulls make it three wins in a row

The Chicago Bulls tied their longest winning streak of the season as they defeated the Atlanta Hawks 111-100 for their third in a row.

In a clash between two teams on the Eastern Conference playoff bubble it was DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic rising to the occasion on an inefficient night for the recently red-hot Zach LaVine.

DeRozan scored a game-high 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting, adding six assists and three steals, while Vucevic grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds while also chipping in 14 points and seven assists.

The Bulls are now 22-24, one game behind the Hawks (24-24) in the East's eighth seed.

Evan Mobley scored a career-high 38 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers secured a big win in the Eastern Conference, downing the Milwaukee Bucks 114-102.

The 2021 NBA Draft third overall pick shot 19-of-27 from the field with nine rebounds and three assists for the Cavs, who improved to a 29-19 record to sit fifth in the east, with the Bucks third at 29-17.

Cavs point guard Darius Garland added 21 points, including 10 in the third, with 10 assists.

The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo who missed his fifth straight game due to knee soreness. Milwaukee are 6-5 on the season when playing without the MVP contender.

Jrue Holiday led the way for Milwaukee with 28 points, four rebounds and 10 assists, while Bobby Portis added 23 points including five three-pointers with 11 rebounds.

In Antetokounmpo's absence, Milwaukee turned to three-point shooting with regularity, but shot 14-of-39 from beyond the arc.

On Antetokounmpo's continued absence, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said: "There's still just things he's working on, I think body-wise, to get to that point where; there's a big difference between practicing and playing a game.

"I know I've said it pretty much every day – we continue to be confident and feel like this is kind of the things we've managed and dealt with for most of his career. So we'll just continue to take it day-by-day. He's getting good work in, good lifts."

Celtics win but pick up injuries

The Boston Celtics won 106-104 over the Toronto Raptors but lost guard Marcus Smart and center Robert Williams to ankle and knee injuries respectively.

Jaylen Brown top scored with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Boston, for whom Jayson Tatum sat out the game with a sore left wrist.

Grant Williams and Malcolm Brogdon played increased minutes, scoring 25 and 23 points respectively off the bench, while Pascal Siakam had 29 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors.

Edwards stars as Rockets sink to new low

Former NBA Draft top overall pick Anthony Edwards scored a season-high 44 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves past the struggling Houston Rockets 113-104.

Edwards shot 17-of-29 from the field with eight three-pointers for the Wolves, who improved to a 24-24 record. Edwards also had six rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks, while D'Angelo Russell contributed 23 points.

The defeat condemned the Rockets to their 13th straight loss, which is the longest streak this season. Houston gave up 23 turnovers that led to 30 Wolves points.

Jayson Tatum grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds during the Boston Celtics' 121-118 overtime victory against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

It was a gritty all-round performance from Tatum as he also finished with 34 points, six assists and three steals, imposing his will on the game despite shooting an inefficient nine-of-27 from the field and committing seven turnovers.

Like Tatum, his All-Star team-mate Jaylen Brown also shot just 33 per cent from the field (six-of-18), but veteran center Al Horford picked up the slack, scoring 20 points on eight-of-13 shooting while adding 10 rebounds and three blocks.

As was a theme on the night, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry struggled from the field, shooting nine-of-25 for his 29 points, supplementing his outing with seven assists, four steals, four rebounds and two blocks. Klay Thompson (eight-of-16) and Jordan Poole (10-of-25) chipped in 24 points each.

With the win, the Celtics improved their league-leading record to 34-12, while the Warriors fell under .500 at 22-23, including a horrific 5-17 record on the road.

Russell leads late Timberwolves comeback

Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell nearly scored as many points as the entire Toronto Raptors team in the fourth quarter of a 128-126 comeback win.

Russell had 16 in the last period – including 14 in a row for the Timberwolves – while the Raptors could only muster 17 points, allowing the home side to claw back from what was a 14-point margin with 10 minutes remaining.

The former All-Star finished with 25 points on eight-of-15 shooting, adding six assists and two steals, while role-player Kyle Anderson continued to flourish in his expanded minutes with 20 points (eight-of-nine), 10 rebounds and six assists.

Suns snap losing run with Nets win

In the battle of two short-handed teams, the Phoenix Suns ended their three-game losing streak in a nail-biting 117-112 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Suns were up by 24 at one point, but Kyrie Irving got hot in the fourth quarter to finish with 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, for the Nets who were without Kevin Durant.

Deandre Ayton stepped up for Phoenix, missing Devin Booker and Chris Paul, with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Mikal Bridges added 28. Cam Johnson added 19 points on his return from injury.

Nikola Jokic wants to be remembered as a "really good team player" after making franchise history in the Denver Nuggets' 122-118 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The two-time reigning NBA MVP contributed 31 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Nuggets improved to 32-13 on the season to sit top of the Western Conference.

Jokic now has 3,686 career assists, surpassing the tally of Alex English who had 3,679 in Nuggets colours. Moreover, he has reached his tally in 568 games as opposed to English's 837.

English himself paid tribute to Jokic's achievement, intimating he foresees a third MVP accolade in the near future, posting on Twitter: "I knew that eventually my all-time assist record would be broken. I'm honored to see that it's 2 time, I mean 3 time MVP of the NBA do it. Congrats big fella."

Jokic was typically humble when asked what it meant to earn a piece of Nuggets history.

"When you have a lot of assists, it just shows that you're a good team player," he said.

"That's something I want to be. I want everybody to remember me as a guy who was a really good team player."

Team-mate Jamal Murray, who nailed a game-tying three-pointer with a little over two minutes remaining, then hit the bucket that put the Nuggets into a lead they did not let go of, said of Jokic: "We clapped a little bit. That's a lot of passes. That's pretty impressive."

The Nuggets are next in action against the Indiana Pacers, who are 23-23 and ninth in the Eastern Conference, on Friday.

The Memphis Grizzlies' achieved a franchise record 11th straight win with Desmond Bane and Ja Morant starring in a thrilling 115-114 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.

Darius Garland had a three-point shot on the buzzer blocked by Dillon Brooks, after Steven Adams tipped in with 16 seconds left after Morant's miss.

Bane top scored for the Grizzlies with 25 points, including five-of-eight three-point shooting. Morant added 24 points with eight assists for Memphis, who improved to 31-13, along with 20-3 at home.

Morant had spent time in the locker room in the first quarter after copping a knee to his neck, but re-entered the game in the second quarter.

Game-winner Adams scored 13 points with 10 rebounds and four assists, while Jaren Jackson Jr had an excellent all-round game with 15 points, seven rebounds, two steals and four blocks.

Memphis also managed an 11th consecutive game with 115 or more points.

The Cavs were missing Donovan Mitchell due to a groin strain, with Garland top scoring with 24 points on five-of-11 three-point shooting along with 14 assists.

Caris LeVert added 23 points with four rebounds and six assists, with power forward Evan Mobley scoring 18 points and bringing down 15 rebounds with two blocks. The Cavs are now 28-18.

Trae downs Doncic as Hawks win fourth straight

The Atlanta Hawks continued their run of momentum with their fourth straight win in a 130-122 victory over Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks.

Dejounte Murray scored 30 points, making four-of-six three-pointers, while John Collins added 19 along with 18 from Trae Young plus 12 assists, as the Hawks secured a season-best four-game winning streak to move above .500 at 23-22.

Doncic, who was traded as a top-five pick for Young at the 2018 NBA Draft, scored 30 points for the Mavs, but only 11 after quarter-time, while he gave up seven turnovers.

Jokic adds another franchise record in Nuggets win

Nikola Jokic recorded his 14th triple-double of the season as he surpassed Alex English for the most assists in franchise history in the Denver Nuggets' 122-118 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The MVP candidate finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists, going past English's 3,680-assist franchise record with a dime for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Jamal Murray added 28 points for the Nuggets, who secured their eighth straight win and 15th successive victory at home to remain top in the west, at 32-13.

Jayson Tatum scored a season-high 51 points to propel the Boston Celtics to a 130-118 win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

With fellow Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown out with an injury, Tatum produced the seventh 50-point performance of his career, shooting 15-of-23 from the field, seven-of-12 from deep and 14-of-14 from the free throw line.

In doing so, Tatum set the Celtics' franchise record for most regular season 50-point games with his fifth, and also added nine rebounds and five assists, while Derrick White contributed 19 points (five-of-11 shooting) and eight assists as he filled in for Brown in the starting line-up.

Jalen McDaniels was impressive for the Hornets, scoring a season-high 26 points on nine-of-15 shooting, while LaMelo Ball was inefficient for his 25 points (eight-of-23) and six assists.

With the win, the Celtics improved their streak to seven games and their league-best record to 33-12. They also own the NBA's best road record at 16-7.

Curry heroics deliver rare road win for the Warriors

Golden State Warriors icon Stephen Curry put on a show in his side's 127-118 away victory against the Washington Wizards.

Trailing 106-105 with less than six minutes on the clock, Curry went on to match the Wizards the rest of the way, scoring 12 of his 41 points while the home side could only put up 12 points as a team.

He shot 12-of-28 from the field for 41 points and seven rebounds, while Jordan Poole shot 12-of-20 for 32 points and seven rebounds.

It was a rare good night away from home for the now 22-22 Warriors, who at 5-17 own the second-worst road record in the league, while their 17-5 home record is tied for the fourth-best.

Jazz rookie shines as Rudy Gobert replacement

The Utah Jazz appear to have unearthed another towering defensive presence at center as rookie Walker Kessler dominated in a 126-125 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Kessler, the 22nd pick in the most recent NBA Draft, is already one of the league's best shot-blockers, sitting fourth in blocks at 2.0 per game and fourth in blocks-per-36 minutes at 3.6 per game.

It was only the ninth start from his 43 appearances this season, and he put up 20 points (nine-of-13), 21 rebounds (nine offensive), four assists and two blocks in a comprehensive performance.

The Los Angeles Clippers have opted to rest All-NBA duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the second leg of their back-to-back against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

It is a curious decision after neither player eclipsed 18 minutes in Thursday's 122-91 blowout loss against the Denver Nuggets, where they both sat out the entire second half.

Leonard has officially been listed out due to "injury management", while George may have picked up a niggling injury as he is listed out due to his hamstring.

Their absence leaves the Clippers in a difficult situation as they head to Minnesota undermanned and on a four-game losing streak, although they remain in the thick of the playoff picture at 21-19 – currently sixth in the Western Conference.

Leonard has only played in 17 of the Clippers' 40 games so far, but after easing his way back into things in October and November, he began to look like himself in December.

In his 11 games this past month, Leonard averaged 20.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest while shooting 49.1 per cent from the field.

Meanwhile, George has made 30 appearances this campaign, averaging 23.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists, and remains on track for what would be his eighth All-Star selection.

LeBron James celebrated his 38th birthday with 47 points in a near triple-double as the Los Angeles Lakers downed the Atlanta Hawks 130-121 on Friday.

James scored 47 points on 18-of-27 shooting from the field with 10 rebounds and nine assists, showing the four-time NBA MVP is evergreen.

The 18-time All-Star scored 16 points in both the second and fourth quarters on his way to a season-high points haul.

The Lakers rallied back from a 15-point deficit before getting the edge in a tight fourth quarter, with James' three-pointer giving them a 103-101 lead which they never surrendered.

James iced the game with a pair of free-throws amid chants of "MVP! MVP!" from the State Farm Arena crowd, who appeared to be willing to switch allegiance for the star on his birthday.

Thomas Bryant scored 19 points with a  season-high 17 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook added 14 points and 11 assists off the bench.

Trae Young returned from a calf contusion for the Hawks to top score with 29 points and eight assists, while Dejounte Murray contributed 20 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

The result improves the Lakers to a 15-21 record, having lost nine of their past 13 games entering the game. The Hawks fell to 17-19 having lost their past three.

Giannis drops another 40-point game

Giannis Antetokounmpo powered an almighty third-quarter comeback from the Milwaukee Bucks, who won 123-114 over the Minnesota Timberwolves, dropping 40 points for the fourth time in six games.

The Bucks trailed 61-50 at half-time, but won the third 39-22 led by Antetokounmpo, who finished the game with 43 points on 14-of-23 shooting with 20 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

Milwaukee had good contributions off the bench from Bobby Portis with 22 points and 14 rebounds and Joe Ingles with 14 points and 10 assists. Anthony Edwards top scored for the Wolves with 30 points and 10 rebounds.

McCollum hits franchise-record 11 threes

C.J. McCollum scored a franchise-record 11 three-pointers on his way to 42 points as the New Orleans Pelicans downed the Philadelphia 76ers 127-116.

McCollum shot 11-of-16 from beyond the arc in a dazzling display, well supported by Zion Williamson with 36 points on 13-of-19 shooting with five rebounds.

Joel Embiid was strong for the 76ers with 37 points on 14-of-22 shooting with eight rebounds and five assists, while James Harden added 20 points including four triples and 10 assists.

The Brooklyn Nets now own the NBA's longest active winning streak after extending it to nine games with Monday's 125-117 road victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Making it even more impressive is the fact that the Cavaliers came into the contest with the third-best home record in the league at 16-3, but had no answer for the Nets' offensive firepower early.

Brooklyn built a 65-49 lead at half-time, and despite a big performance from Cavs point guard Darius Garland down the stretch, the Nets were never truly threatened.

Kevin Durant (10-of-18 shooting) and Kyrie Irving (11-of-19) had 32 points and five assists each for the Nets, while Ben Simmons finished with nine rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one block to go with his four points.

T.J. Warren continues to shine off the bench since returning from a long-term injury, contributing 23 points (nine-of-14), eight rebounds and two steals.

Garland was clearly the Cavaliers' best, scoring 46 points (14-of-20) with eight assists, while it was the first time this season Donovan Mitchell has had consecutive games of 15 points or fewer.

The win improves the Nets' record to 22-12 after beginning the campaign 1-5, leapfrogging the Cavaliers (22-13) into the Eastern Conference's third seed.  

Clippers complete miraculous comeback

The Los Angeles Clippers came from 14 points down with under three minutes remaining to defeat the Detroit Pistons 141-132 in overtime.

Detroit led 126-112 with 2:52 on the clock before the Clippers launched a 16-2 run from that point to force the game to overtime, and their momentum carried into the extra session, winning it 14-3.

With Kawhi Leonard sitting out the first leg a back-to-back, Paul George was the unquestioned leader, and he delivered with team-highs in points (32), assists (11) and steals (three).

The Clippers have now won six of their past eight to improve their record to 20-15.

Heat spread it around against the Timberwolves

The Miami Heat beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-110 despite not having a single player cross the 20-point barrier.

Eight of the Heat's nine players scored between seven and 19 points in the absence of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, led by Max Strus' 19 on seven-of-12 shooting.

Tyler Herro was effective as a playmaker with eight assists, but struggled with his shooting, missing all eight of his three-pointers. 

Kyle Lowry picked up the slack as the Heat's best player, finishing with 18 points (eight-of-16), nine assists and no turnovers, as well as a steal on the final play to deny the Timberwolves a chance to tie the game.

Luka Doncic felt his ejection during the Dallas Mavericks' defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves was uncalled for after he and head coach Jason Kidd were thrown out by the officials.

The pair were both ejected during the third quarter as the Mavs slipped to a 116-106 loss, moving them to 15-16 for the season.

Doncic's protests for a no call after a possible foul saw him earn two quick whistles from referee Rodney Mott, before Kidd was also sent with two technicals from referee Nick Buchert for his angry response.

The Slovenian played just over 28 minutes before then, amassing 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Having finished second with 18 technicals last season, Doncic acknowledged he likely earned his first, but professed his puzzlement at being handed a swift second.

"I probably deserved the one, but two for sure no," he said. "I deserved the first one, I'm not going to lie. But for sure not the second one.

"I was really shocked when I was ejected. It was confusing. I don't even know what was going on. I heard that I got ejected [and] I was like 'that was [a] surprise'."

Kidd bit his tongue when it came to his own post-match comments, having been left fuming at the call to toss Doncic and then his own ejection, effectively cutting his media conference to the bare minimum.

"I'm here because I have to be here," he said. "I already gave up money, so I don't want to give up any more. So no questions.

"We'll go back and look at the tape and see how we can get better. They were the better team tonight, and we'll go from there."

With another clash against the Timberwolves on Wednesday, Dallas will get the chance to offer an immediate response.

The Mavericks then travel to the Houston Rockets on Friday, before a Christmas Day home game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Anthony Edwards continued to show what he can do as a true top option in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 116-106 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

With Karl-Anthony Towns still out, Rudy Gobert was also ruled out in the hours leading up to tip-off, leaving the home Timberwolves as the underdogs against a full-strength Mavericks outfit.

But after one of the best games of his career against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday – when Edwards had 37 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds – the former number one overall draft pick showed it was no fluke.

Playing against arguably the league's top one-man-show in Dallas' Luka Doncic, Edwards produced an all-round performance with 27 points (seven-of-21 shooting), 13 rebounds and nine assists, helping his side build a 20-point buffer heading into the last quarter.

After only exceeding six assists in two of his first 23 games this season, Edwards has now registered at least seven in five of his past eight outings.

He was supported strongly against the Mavericks by Naz Reid, with the sweet-shooting center taking full advantage of his team's absences and his expanded role. He had 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting with 13 rebounds, after a 28-point, nine-rebound performance on Friday.

Doncic was kept quiet in his 28 minutes, hitting just five-of-17 from the field for 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

The win is the Timberwolves' third in a row, pulling their record above .500 at 16-15 after starting the season 2-6.

Giannis, Lopez dominate the Pelicans' interior

Giannis Antetokoumpo put up his third-highest point total of the season as he dropped 42 in the Milwaukee Bucks' 128-119 win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Both teams entered the contest in the top-three of their respective conferences, but it was the 2021 NBA Champions coming out on top, with Antetokounmpo shooting 12-of-17 from the field and 17-of-22 from the free throw line while adding 10 rebounds.

Brook Lopez was similarly impressive, also shooting 12-of-17 from the field for 30 points, although his league-leading figure in blocks per game (2.8) took a small dip after only blocking one shot against the Pelicans.

Young carries the Hawks' offense

Trae Young had his fifth game of the season with at least 30 points and 10 assists in a close 126-125 victory to snap a six-game Orlando Magic winning streak.

Young finished with 37 points on 11-of-22 shooting, while also dishing 13 assists. None of his teammates scored more than rookie A.J. Griffin's 19 off the bench.

It was comfortably the best game of the season for former number one draft pick Markelle Fultz, scoring 24 points with nine assists and six rebounds as the Magic's starting point guard.

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