Recent acquisition Buddy Hield scored 24 points and the Philadelphia 76ers held on late to end the Cleveland Cavaliers' nine-game winning streak with Monday's 123-121 victory.

Despite still being without injured reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, Philadelphia handed the red-hot Cavaliers just their second loss in their last 19 games behind hot-shooting efforts from Hield and Kelly Oubre Jr. 

Hield, making his third appearance since being acquired by the Sixers from the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, finished 5 of 8 from 3-point range and 9 of 13 overall from the field. Oubre hit 10 of his 14 field goal attempts while also collecting 24 points.

The win was Philadelphia's second straight following a 1-8 stretch from Jan. 25-Feb. 9, during which the team lost Embiid for an extended period due to a knee injury that required surgery.

Cleveland got 36 points and six assists from All-Star Donovan Mitchell and 21 points and 10 rebounds from Jarrett Allen, but couldn't match the Sixers down the stretch after taking a 102-100 lead with seven minutes remaining.

Hield scored the final eight points of a 13-2 run that gave Philadelphia a 113-104 advantage with 4:28 left to play, and the 76ers led 120-110 with 1:25 to go following an Oubre 3-pointer.

The Cavs responded with a 9-0 spurt to pull within 120-119 on Mitchell's 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining, and had a chance to win at the buzzer when Darius Garland launched a 3-point shot that just missed the mark.

Garland ended with 21 points and nine assists, while Tyrese Maxey recorded 22 points and nine assists for Philadelphia.

Timberwolves dominate second half in rout of Clippers

The Minnesota Timberwolves got 24 points from Karl-Anthony Towns and a big third quarter to pull away for a 121-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers and pad their lead atop the Western Conference.

Anthony Edwards added 23 points, 12 of which came during a dominant third quarter in which the Timberwolves outscored Los Angeles by a 40-19 margin.

Minnesota entered Monday's clash owning a slim half-game advantage on the Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets, who were handed a 112-95 defeat by the Milwaukee Bucks, in the tightly bunched West standings. 

The Clippers kept it close until the latter stages of the third quarter, as the Timberwolves held a 70-69 edge with under five minutes left in the period.

Minnesota took over from there, as it closed out the quarter on a 19-3 run to take a commanding 89-72 lead into the fourth. Towns had eight points during the pivotal spurt.

The Timberwolves maintained a lead of 15 points or more throughout the final period en route to posting a second straight win and giving Los Angeles a second loss in its last three games.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George led the Clippers with 18 points each, while James Harden finished with 17 points and six assists. 

Bucks use defence to get past champion Nuggets

The Milwaukee Bucks got 36 points and 18 rebounds from Giannis Antetokounmpo and another strong performance from their much-maligned defence to hand the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets a 112-95 loss.

Milwaukee entered Monday's marquee matchup ranked 23rd in the NBA in scoring defence at 119.3 points allowed per game, but held the formidable Nuggets to their second-lowest shooting rate of the season at 38.3 per cent.

The Bucks have yielded under 100 points in consecutive games for the first time this season. Milwaukee lost five of its first six outings under new head coach Doc Rivers prior to Friday's 120-84 rout of the Charlotte Hornets.

Nikola Jokić amassed 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., Denver's second and third-leading scorers on the season, were a combined 4 of 16 from the field, however.

Murray managed just three points on 1-of-5 shooting before sitting out the second half due to inflammation in his lower legs.

The Bucks had built a comfortable 60-44 lead at that point as Antetokounmpo racked up 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting over the first two quarters. The Nuggets never got their deficit under 13 points the rest of the way and are now mired in a two-game losing streak.

 

Luka Dončić scored a franchise-record 73 points to tie for the fourth-most in NBA history in the Dallas Mavericks’ 148-143 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

Doncic surpassed his previous career high of 60 points after scoring a team-record 41 in the first half.

He joined Wilt Chamberlain and David Thompson as players to score 73 points. Chamberlain, who owns the NBA record with 100 points, also had a 78 and a 73-point game, while Kobe Bryant scored 81 on Jan. 22, 2006.

Doncic shot 25 of 33 from the field, was 8 of 13 from 3-point range and made 15 of 16 free throws. He also had 10 rebounds and seven assists in 44 ½ minutes.

No other player has ever had as many points, rebounds and assists in the same game as Doncic did.

His milestone game came in his original NBA home, at least for a few minutes. Doncic was drafted by the Hawks with the No. 3 overall pick in 2018 before having his draft rights traded to Dallas for Young with the No. 5 pick and a 2019 first-round pick used to select Cam Reddish.

Josh Green had 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. was the only other Dallas player in double figures with 13 points. The Mavericks snapped a three-game skid and sent the Hawks to their fourth straight loss.

Trae Young led Atlanta with 30 points and Jalen Johnson added 25.

Pacers rally to spoil Booker’s big night

Obi Toppin snapped a tie on a putback with 3.4 seconds remaining and the Indiana Pacers overcame Devin Booker’s 62 points in a 133-131 win, snapping the Phoenix Suns’ seven-game winning streak.

Booker scored 50 or more points for the second time this season and seventh time in his career, falling eight shy of matching his career-high 70 set at Boston on March 24, 2017.

Pascal Siakam scored 31 points and Toppin finished with 23 and 11 rebounds to help Indiana win its second straight without All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton.

The Pacers fell behind 54-37 in the second quarter but whittled the deficit down to 80-70 at halftime. They trailed 114-105 entering the fourth but tied it twice in the final 90 seconds before Toppin’s basket won it.

Harden powers Clippers past Raptors

James Harden had 22 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his 75th career triple-double to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to their fourth straight win, 127-107 over the Toronto Raptors.

Harden, who notched his first triple-double this season, ranks eighth all-time in that category. He has at least 20 points and 10 assists in each of his last three games.

Paul George scored 21 points and Russell Westbrook added 20 as the Clippers won for the 12th time in 14 games.

Scottie Barnes scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for the Raptors, who lost their fourth straight and ninth in 11 games.

Tyrese Haliburton tallied 31 points and 12 assists and the Indiana Pacers erupted for 47 points in the third quarter to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks, 142-130 for their fifth straight win on Wednesday.

Bennedict Mathurin added 16 points and Obi Toppin and Bruce Brown each added 15 as Indiana beat Central-leading Milwaukee for the second time in three days and improved to 4-1 in the season series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, while Damian Lillard had 23 points with five assists. Milwaukee has lost two straight for the first time since Nov. 9 and 11.

The Pacers entered the third quarter trailing 68-66 but went on a 21-6 run – capped by Haliburton’s 3-pointer – and opened a 113-97 lead after the period.

The Bucks couldn’t get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

Surging Clippers cool Suns

Paul George scored 33 points and Kawhi Leonard added 30 as the Los Angeles Clippers won their fourth straight game, 131-122 over the Phoenix Suns.

James Harden had 22 points and 11 assists to help the Clippers improve to 13-2 in their last 15 games.

Devin Booker scored 35 points on 11-of-15 shooting and Bradley Beal added 21 but just 7 of 20 and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.

Kevin Durant missed his second straight game due to soreness in his right hamstring and the Suns had a four-game winning streak stopped.

Kings outlast Magic in double overtime

Malik Monk and Keegan Murray hit 3-pointers in the second overtime and the Sacramento Kings overcame a franchise-record 25 3-pointers by the Orlando Magic in a 138-135 win.

Monk finished with season highs of 37 points and seven 3-pointers and Murray had 31 points on 14-of-22 shooting with 11 rebounds. Domantas Sabonis notched his seventh triple-double of the season with 22 points, 23 rebounds and 12 assists.

Paolo Banchero scored a career-high 43 points with six 3-pointers to lead Orlando but missed a potential tying 3 at the final buzzer.

Jalen Suggs added 24 points, including six 3s, for the Magic.

Paul George and James Harden were relieved to see Kawhi Leonard return from a four-game absence and help the Los Angeles Clippers stay hot with a win over the Miami Heat.

Leonard scored 24 points to pass 13,000 for his NBA career as the Clippers won 121-104 against the short-handed Heat on Monday.

George added 23 points, Norman Powell had 22 on 9-of-11 shooting while James Harden scored 15 points and provided 10 assists to aid in the Clippers' third straight victory and 12th in 14 games. 

"You see the performance," Harden said about the return of Leonard, who had been sidelined by a hip contusion.

"Both ends of the ball, just elite. Shotmaking, defensively just being active, creating opportunities in transition. We needed that, for him to get well and get better. We missed him."

George feels Leonard adds so much more than his statistical production.

"He does all the little intangible stuff – it's just so reliable," said George.

"It's great to have 2 back in the lineup. He missed a little over a week and it was going to take a little time for him to catch his rhythm, but I thought he did and looked like himself."

Miami, playing without six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and a few other key contributors due to injuries, held a 35-23 lead after one quarter and was up by as much as 14 points in the second before the Clippers began battling back.

Los Angeles outscored the Heat by a 32-17 margin over the final 9 1/2 minutes of the first half to take a 59-58 edge at the break. Leonard had 13 second-quarter points to spark the comeback and George then scored 12 points in the third as the Clippers extended their lead to 95-85 entering the fourth.

The Clippers have continued to find a way to win since their six-game losing streak in November.

"It is better when you try to figure it out winning than trying to figure out losing and that is what was happening earlier [in the season]," added Harden.

"Every single game, we are trying to find ways to win games. Then towards the end of the season we’ll understand what we’re really good at and what we are not."

Los Angeles is now 20-12 for the season, fourth in the Western Conference ahead of Wednesday's road game against the Phoenix Suns, who have won four straight games.

Bradley Beal scored 21 points as the surging Suns beat the Portland Trail Blazers 109-88, even with Kevin Durant sidelined by right hamstring tightness.

As for the Heat, they will stay in Los Angeles before playing the Lakers on Wednesday.

Bam Adebayo paced Miami with 21 points and 15 rebounds but the Heat have now dropped two straight following a four-game winning streak and are fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Julius Randle had 39 points and nine rebounds, OG Anunoby made a strong debut with his new team and the New York Knicks earned a 112-106 win over the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday to end a three-game losing streak. 

Anunoby was traded to the Knicks from the Toronto Raptors on Saturday and met his new teammates for the first time on Sunday.

Despite needing some occasional help to navigate coach Tom Thibodeau’s system, Anunoby finished with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and pulled down six rebounds.

Randle finished 14 for 24 from the field and made nine of 13 free throws for New York, which trailed by nine points after one quarter before outscoring Minnesota by a 38-17 margin in the second to build a 61-49 half-time lead.

Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves, who had a two-game winning streak halted, with 35 points. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 29 for Minnesota, while Rudy Gobert grabbed 15 rebounds to go along with 10 points.

Bench propels Pacers as Bucks' home winning streak ends

Tyrese Haliburton finished just short of a triple-double as the Indiana Pacers put an end to the Milwaukee Bucks' 15-game home winning streak with a 122-113 victory over their Central Division rival.

Haliburton compiled 26 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds to lead Indiana, which trailed by 15 points late in the third quarter to tie the game at 101-101 with under six minutes left.

The Pacers then embarked on an 8-0 run, with T.J. McConnell scoring six points during the spurt, to take the lead for good. 

McConnell had 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Pacers to a fourth straight win. He finished with 16 points off the bench, while Bennedict Mathurin had 25 along with a career-high 13 rebounds. 

With Mathurin and McConnell leading the way, Indiana's bench outscored Milwaukee's reserves by a 70-16 margin.

The Central-leading Bucks were dealt their first defeat at Fiserv Forum since Oct. 29 despite Giannis Antetokounmpo's 30-point, 18-rebound, 11-assist triple-double.

Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton had 21 points each for Milwaukee, though Bucks star guard Damian Lillard struggled with a 3-of-16 shooting night while being held to 13 points.

Leonard returns to help Clippers top Heat

Kawhi Leonard returned from a four-game absence to score 24 points and help the Los Angeles Clippers stay hot with a 121-104 win over the Miami Heat.

Paul George added 23 points and Norman Powell had 22 on 9-of-11 shooting to aid in the Clippers' third straight victory and 12th in 14 games. 

Miami, playing without six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and a few other key contributors due to injuries, held a 35-23 lead after one quarter and was up by as much as 14 points in the second before the Clippers began battling back.

Los Angeles outscored the Heat by a 32-17 margin over the final 9 1/2 minutes of the first half to take a 59-58 edge at the break. Leonard, who had been sidelined by a hip contusion, had 13 second-quarter points to spark the comeback. 

George then scored 12 points in the third quarter as the Clippers extended their lead to 95-85 entering the fourth.

Bam Adebayo paced Miami with 21 points and 15 rebounds. The Heat have now dropped two straight following a four-game winning streak. 

 

Kawhi Leonard impressed again as the Los Angeles Clippers won their fourth straight NBA game on Monday.

The Clippers held off the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 132-127 to record their ninth win in their last 12 games, a nice recovery from their six-game losing streak at the start of November.

Leonard now has 75 points in his last two games after scoring a team-high 34 against Portland.

There were also key contributions from Paul George (20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists) and James Harden (20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists).

Portland – playing without Deandre Ayton and Malcolm Brogdon – suffered a fourth straight loss despite a career-high 38 points from Anfernee Simons.

Asked about Leonard, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said: "The biggest thing is health and finally getting his rhythm with PG and James starting."

Los Angeles had a 14-point lead late in the first quarter but ultimately had to work hard for the victory.

The Blazers twice held a one-point lead in the closing stages of the fourth quarter having hit a season-high 19 3-pointers in the game.

"I knew it was going to be a tough game for us," added Lue, whose team are now 12-10, eighth in the Western Conference.

"Defensively, we couldn't get stops. They scored every way."

The Clippers are immediately back in action on Tuesday at home against the Sacramento Kings (13-8) to complete a back-to-back.

Leonard had a season-high 41 points in their previous win against the Utah Jazz.

"Offensively the team is in a good rhythm and that is all I care about," Leonard said.

"The ball found me and I made shots. I have played a lot of minutes over the last few games but sometimes you have to. When your best players play longer, you’ll most likely get the win.

"It is about knowing what we are doing and having clarity, using our experience, not being complacent.

"There is still a lot we’re lacking. On defense we didn't play that well. They are a team with great defenders who can turn you over a lot so we were focused on screening hard."

Harden echoed Leonard's view that there is still plenty of work to do.

"We take what the defense gives us, figure it out and attack," he said.

"If you share the ball, you get good results, but it wasn’t as easy as we’d like it to be. We don't have the luxury of overlooking opponents."

After the Los Angeles Clippers fought back from 22 points down for an improbable win over the Golden State Warriors, James Harden said it must serve as a turning point in their difficult season.

The Clippers were staring at back-to-back losses to their neighbours at 70-48 down in the third quarter, just one day after suffering a 120-114 defeat against the same opponents at Chase Center.

However, the Clippers outscored the Warriors 65-42 the rest of the way, with Paul George sinking a decisive three-pointer in the final 10 seconds as they claimed a 113-112 victory.

The Clippers, who have alternated between defeat and victory in their last six games, are now 9-10 after a troubled start to 2023-24.

Former NBA MVP Harden believes he is now beginning to strike up an understanding with fellow stars George and Kawhi Leonard, and he hopes the Clippers can kick on from here.

"Wow, 22…. we don't want to keep going up and down," Harden said when he was made aware of the size of the Warriors' lead. 

"We want to be consistent. I told [George] and [Leonard] before the game, 'let's catch our rhythm'. Let's be good, like we're going to be later in the season. Let's start it now."

George finished with a game-high 25 points, also adding six rebounds and six assists, while Harden and Leonard finished with 21 and 20 points respectively.

"It's big," Leonard said of the win. "We've been trying to be consistent. 

"We are getting better, but very slowly… You know, with how things have been going, it feels great to pull out a win."

James Harden says he is feeling "close to myself" after hitting a clutch three to help the Los Angeles Clippers to victory on Friday.

His best game yet as a Clipper saw him record 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as his new team took a 106-100 win over the Houston Rockets, who Harden played for between 2012 and 2021.

Harden had previously struggled to make an impact in Los Angeles, losing all five games he had played for the Clippers before Friday's win, in which the 34-year-old made eight of his 11 shots, including the vital three at the end.

Harden believes he is getting back to his former self, saying: "I'm getting real close.

"I'm getting close to myself. Every game I feel like I'm improving."

Russell Westbrook played just 17 minutes in the victory, his fewest since joining the Clippers prior to the All-Star break last season, with head coach Tyronn Lue revealing after the game that Westbrook had requested to come off the bench as the sixth man to help the team end their losing run.

"He wanted to do that, which [is] an ultimate sacrifice for a guy of his caliber," Lue told reporters. "For things he's done in this league, the things he's done for this team.

"So shout out to Russ for wanting to do that. It's a huge part of what we've talked about, just sacrificing wanting to win at a high level."

Paul George also appreciated Westbrook's sacrifice, explaining: "It's tough with his energy and obviously there's a ton of chemistry there.

"We've always played well off one another, but it just takes a lot for his sacrifice and what he did for us going forward to try new things out. [I] can't say enough on the character of Russ and his leadership."

Paul George was frustrated with the officiating crew as the Los Angeles Clippers’ losing streak continued at the Denver Nuggets.

James Harden is still waiting for his first win in a Clippers jersey despite the team putting in an improved performance, losing 111-108 in a competitive NBA In-Season Tournament game on Tuesday.

Nikola Jokic had 32 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists for the hosts, who held off the Clippers despite George scoring 35 points, tying his season high as Harden added 21.

Los Angeles has lost five straight games with Harden since acquiring him last month. They are 0-6 on the road this season, 0-2 in the tournament and 3-7 overall.

The Nuggets took 32 free throws compared to the Clippers' 24 with Jokic making all 14 of his free-throw attempts.

George went to the line five times, which he felt was nowhere near enough, and was whistled for a technical foul for arguing with the referees shortly before halftime.

"We played great," George said, per ESPN. "It's tough, the adversity of playing against the extra three [officials]. 

"I thought they were awful. But, [against the] defending champs, we [were able to] to play better and there's a lot to be positive about. 

"I'm not one for moral victories, but I thought we showed more of a sign of a team that's close to getting it over the hump."

George, who also had seven rebounds, was asked to elaborate on his comments on the refs.

He added: "It was bad. Five free throws is very disrespectful on this night. So many times I got hit on layups, 3-pointers, it was constant.

"Jump shots, getting hit, smacked on the forearm. I mean, it was poor, a poor job. They [are] calling something on one end, they got to call it on the other.

"But, again, we [have] got to be able to beat these guys on their floor and not rely on that."

Harden sank three of his eight 3-point attempts as the Clippers produced their best performance since his arrival.

"I kept reiterating, I didn’t have a training camp or a preseason, so kind of learning on the fly," Harden said.

"Also getting myself into James Harden shape. This was definitely another step in the right direction and just keep improving."

The Nuggets' Reggie Jackson thinks it is only a matter of time until the Clippers put it all together.

"They’re still figuring it out," he said about George, Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook. 

"You can see it, they’ve got a lot of talents that overlap. When you have superstars, superstars can do a lot of things. They gave us a great punch."

Denver is 9-2 for the season, 7-0 at home and 2-0 in the tournament, even with point guard Jamal Murray still out with a hamstring injury.

Both teams are back in action on Friday with the Clippers hosting the Houston Rockets while the Nuggets are on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 33 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to their seventh straight win, 104-101 in an In-Season Tournament game on Tuesday that featured three early ejections.

Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels were ejected after an altercation early in the first quarter.

Thompson and McDaniels became embroiled in a shoving match near midcourt following a Minnesota possession. Green rushed in and pulled Rudy Gobert away from behind with his arm around the center’s neck.

Thompson’s jersey was ripped during the scuffle, which led to Green’s second ejection of the season and two free throws by Gobert.

Towns also had 11 rebounds and Anthony Edwards scored 20 points for Minnesota, which defeated Golden State for the second time in three days following a 116-110 win on Sunday.

Brandin Podziemski had 23 points and Dario Saric added 21 for the Warriors, losers of three in a row.

Golden State was already without leading scorer Stephen Curry, who was ruled out with right knee soreness.

Nuggets keep Clippers winless with Harden

Nikola Jokić scored 32 points and just missed a triple-double as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 111-108 in an In-Season Tournament game.

Jokic had 16 rebounds, nine assists and made all 14 free-throw attempts, including two with 13 seconds left that helped thwart the Clippers’ comeback try.

Paul George matched a season high with 35 points and Harden had 21, as the Clippers lost their sixth in a row.

Haliburton stars as Pacers cool 76ers

Tyrese Haliburton had 33 points and 15 assists and Obi Toppin added 27 points to help the Indiana Pacers snap the Philadelphia 76ers’ eight-game winning streak, 132-126 in an In-Season Tournament game.

Myles Turner scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter for Indiana, which has won four of five and bounced back from Sunday’s 137-126 loss to Philadelphia.

Joel Embiid scored 39 points and De’Anthony Melton had 30 as the 76ers suffered their first loss since a season-opening defeat at Milwaukee.

Haliburton was 11 of 18 from the field and 7 for 12 from 3-point range. He had 32 assists and no turnovers in two games against Philadelphia.

Ty Lue is sure the Los Angeles Clippers will soon find a way to make things work with James Harden in the team.

The Clippers lost for a third straight game on Friday, going down 126-144 to the Dallas Mavericks.

That was despite a fast start from Los Angeles, who had built a 12-point lead with 1:53 remaining of the first quarter.

"What's the worst that you can be?" Lue asked when reflecting on the rest of his team's display, as they were put to the sword by Luka Doncic's 44 points.

Yet the Clippers coach feels wins will soon come as Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook gain some rhythm with Harden.

"I'm telling you, it's going to be good," said Lue, who rested his starters in the final quarter given the Clippers were trailing by 26 points.

"That's all right. We'll be all right. They better take advantage of it now."

Leonard echoed the sentiment, with the two-time NBA champion saying: "I'm still confident.

"I still feel like we're learning each other, the whole players and coaching staff, and you see a little bit of good things in the game tonight, even last game, having some good leads.

"We're just not sustaining it and once we figure it out, we're going to keep it rolling. So we've all got to stay afloat and stay confident and keep pushing one another to keep that mindset on the goal.

"We have four guys on the floor that are used to having a ball, used to finding a rhythm just by feeling and touching it all game.

"Just playing more, you'll start to figure out, OK, this guy needs this spot here or he got it going, let me buy in into another part of the game where I can make us win."

Leonard led the Clippers with 26 points, with Harden and Westbrook each chipping in with 14. George, though, could only score eight points, adding three rebounds and two assists, in his 23 minutes on the court.

"I feel like you got to learn to just adjust," George said. "It's not from a 'like' standpoint, it's just he's trying this out, too.

"We're all trying to try this out and so I don't know. I don't know, I'm out there to try to just learn on the fly, figure it out on the fly as we all are.

"So I'm rolling with what T-Lue sees out there and again, at some point it's going to work and nobody's going to talk about the rotations and guys on the floor and personnel."

Harden, too, acknowledged it will take time to fully adjust.

"Just getting used to it," he said. "There's just so many great talented players on this team, I got to find a way to still be aggressive, generating shots or creating shots for myself, as well.

"The first quarter felt really good on both ends of the ball, and then from there it went downhill. So trying to find a balance of not trying to step on anyone's toes, but just trying to still be aggressive and be myself.

"It's a process, but it's definitely a little frustrating. We do like to win games."

James Harden sees "unlimited possibilities" with the Los Angeles Clippers after making his debut for his new team.

Harden, who joined the Clippers last week in a blockbuster trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, had to wait until Monday to make his bow.

The 10-time All-Star played 31 minutes, finishing with 17 points and six assists, though he could not help the Clippers avoid a 111-97 defeat to the New York Knicks.

Harden is joining an elite lineup of experienced NBA stars at the Clippers, with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook looking to propel the team towards success this season.

"Unlimited possibilities," Harden said when asked what he sees coming from his move to the Clippers.

It was not an easy debut for Harden, with the 34-year-old conceding it was tough to get up to speed having not had a full preseason following his fallout with the Sixers.

"I feel kind of weird out there, but just not really having a preseason game or an opportunity to participate in the full training camp or none of that," he added.

"It was just [being] out there and just basically winging it. Try to go off my basketball instincts and what I've been doing for the last few years or whatnot. I just went out there and playing and thinking the game and trying to make the game easier for everybody else."

Team-mate Leonard, though, was impressed with what he saw.

"He did a good job his first game in a while," Leonard said of Harden.

"It takes time to get his legs under him as far as conditioning. But he did a great job to me, got everybody involved running pick-and-roll very well."

The sentiment was echoed by Clippers coach Ty Lue, who said: "I thought overall just orchestrating, making the right play, making the right pass and pick-and-rolls, he was really good.

"It's going to take him a little time to get in game shape. We understand that, but his presence on the floor was definitely felt."

Harden is set to make his second Clippers appearance on Wednesday when Los Angeles take on his former team the Brooklyn Nets.

James Harden's anticipated first game as a Los Angeles Clipper ended in a loss, as the New York Knicks spoiled the former NBA MVP's debut with his new team with Monday's 111-97 win.

Julius Randle had 27 points and 10 rebounds and RJ Barrett added 26 points in his return from injury as the Knicks handed the star-studded Clippers their second straight defeat following a 3-1 start to the season.

Harden took the court for the first time since being traded to Los Angeles by the Philadelphia 76ers last week. The 10-time All-Star had 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting along with six assists as a part of a starting lineup that included three other accomplished veterans in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook.

The dynamic guard scored five straight points late in the third quarter to give the Clippers a 76-73 lead, but the Knicks countered with a 16-3 run to take an 89-79 advantage with under 9 1/2 minutes left and never trailed thereafter.

Barrett scored 11 points in the fourth quarter after missing New York's previous two games with a sore left knee, while Mitchell Robinson finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds to help the Knicks snap a two-game losing streak.

 

Edwards sparks overtime win as Wolves hand Celtics first loss

Anthony Edwards scored eight of his 38 points in overtime as the Minnesota TImberwolves handed the Boston Celtics their first loss of the season with a 114-109 victory.

Edwards added nine rebounds and seven assists to help Minnesota overcome an off night from fellow star player Karl-Anthony Towns, who managed just seven points in 28 minutes before fouling out in overtime.

Jaden McDaniels hit a game-tying 3-pointer late in regulation and finished with 20 points for Minnesota, which also received 14 points and 12 rebounds from Rudy Gobert en route to its third straight win.

Boston entered the game as the NBA's lone remaining unbeaten team following a 5-0 start. The Celtics got 32 points and five steals from Jayson Tatum and 26 points from Jaylen Brown, but shot just 28.2 per cent from 3-point range as well as a season-low 39.1 per cent overall. 

The Celtics held a 105-103 lead after Tatum hit two free throws with 3:56 left in overtime, but Minnesota's Mike Conley buried a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession before Edwards capped a pivotal 9-0 run with three consecutive baskets that put the Timberwolves up for good at 112-105 with 1:30 remaining in the extra session.

 

Adebayo's triple-double propels Heat past Lakers

Bam Adebayo delivered a massive performance with 22 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Miami Heat overcame a late scoring drought to hold on for a 108-107 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Adebayo became the first Heat player to record a triple-double with at least 20 rebounds, and Miami received 28 points from Jimmy Butler and 22 from Tyler Herro to record its second straight win following a four-game losing streak.

The Heat prevailed despite nearly blowing a 10-point lead with four minutes to play and not making a field goal over the final 4:15 of the contest.

The Lakers scored the game's final nine points and had a chance to win in the final seconds, but Cam Reddish was off the mark with a jumper and Butler grabbed the rebound right before time expired.

LeBron James finished with 30 points on 13-of-23 points to pace the Lakers, while Austin Reaves just missed a triple-double after compiling 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Los Angeles has now dropped the first two outings of its current four-game road trip and played the entire fourth quarter without star forward Anthony Davis, who sustained a groin spasm during the game and was limited to nine points in 25 minutes. 

 

 

James Harden "wants to be part of something bigger than himself" with the Los Angeles Clippers, so says the team's president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank.

Harden, a 10-time All-Star and one-time league MVP, has joined the Clippers in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 34-year-old had fallen out with the Sixers leadership and requested a move away from Philadelphia.

Harden had branded the Sixers' president of basketball operations Daryl Morey "a liar" in August.

Now in his hometown of Los Angeles with the Clippers, Harden is targeting "something really special", according to Frank.

"James Harden should have been an All-Star last year," Frank said, as per ESPN.

"But he's a 10-time All-Star. He has an elite skill set, and all he cares about is one thing: He wants to win a championship for the LA Clippers.

"He wants to be part of something bigger than himself. He's had all the individual awards. He's about doing something really special."

Harden is in line to make his debut against the New York Knicks on Monday, and Paul George – one of the Clippers' star names along with Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook – revealed he has previously spoken with the former Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets guard about how they can make things work in LA.

"I mean, we've talked leading up to it," George said after the Clippers' 130-125 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"[That's] the reason why he's here. We wanted him here. We all said we think we can make it work, [that] we'll figure it out.

"But we obviously got to practice. We got to play for us to really get on the same page and understand how to play on the floor with one another.

"What better story to be told than for four Southern Cal guys to do what's never been done before and be champions?"

Leonard, a two-time NBA champion, suggested the four stars in the Clippers roster will have to make sacrifices to fit in for the team.

"I think we still have to come in kind of like with a selfish mindset," Leonard said.

"Meaning we can't look over our shoulder and say this guy is going to win the game, or this guy's going to win the game for us.

"We still have to step on that floor like we are out there by ourselves, and from there, it is going to be sacrifice. It's only one basketball, and we just got to figure it out from there.

"But I think we all are old enough to understand what we want to do here and we'll see what happens."

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will continue to lead the Los Angeles Clippers next season.

That is according to Clippers president Lawrence Frank after their elimination from the NBA playoffs at the hands of the Phoenix Suns, going down 4-1 in the first round.

During his end of season address, Frank insisted Leonard and George remain important to the organisation's ambitions, with both averaging 23.8 points per game in the regular season, though only made 52 and 56 appearances respectively.

"When we traded for Paul and signed Kawhi as a free agent in 2019, it wasn't for one or two years, wasn't three or four," Frank said. "Every year you have those guys, they give you a chance. And so it's about surrounding those guys to continue to improve your chances.

"Kawhi's a ceiling raiser. When you study past NBA champions, they have a top-five guy on their team, and Kawhi has shown that when healthy he can be the best player in the world. Paul is an eight-time All-Star now. So we're going to continue to build around those guys and look for every which way [to improve around them]."

Frank also said Leonard will be ready to go next season despite a torn meniscus, which meant he could not play in any of their last three games against the Suns, all defeats, while George has not played since March 21 after suffering a knee injury.

"Regardless of the treatment [for the meniscus], Kawhi will be ready for next year," Frank said. "The really encouraging thing is the ACL's firmly intact, which is great. So this is a meniscus tear. And then over the whatever next couple weeks, figure out what's going to be the best source of treatment."

Both Leonard and George are entering their fifth season with the Clippers, and have $48million player options for the 2024-25 campaign.

"Those guys are great players and they're great partners and we want to keep them as Clippers for a long time," Frank added. "And so we'll look forward to those [extension] conversations.

"And the No. 1 goal is 'How can we build a sustainable championship team?' And those guys have been great partners, so at the appropriate time, we look forward to sitting down with them."

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