Detroit Pistons coach Monty Williams was left unimpressed by the Phoenix Suns issuing a statement following Isaiah Stewart's arrest.

Pistons center Stewart was arrested after he punched Phoenix's Drew Eubanks before Wednesday's meeting between the Suns and Detroit.

Stewart, who was already out of the game due to an ankle injury, was issued with a citation and released, reported ESPN, citing Phoenix police.

Eubanks, meanwhile, helped the Suns win 116-100. The Phoenix center said the altercation with Stewart took place as he was coming into the arena, explaining an argument sparked before security intervened.

In a statement, the Suns said: "The attack on Drew Eubanks was unprovoked, and acts of violence such as this are unacceptable.

"We unequivocally support Drew, and will continue to work with local law enforcement and the NBA."

Williams, who was sacked by the Suns last season, questioned his former team, however.

"The thing is to get all of the information. The NBA will do an investigation," Williams said.

"For me to come here and make a statement would be a bit irresponsible. I know the Suns said it was unprovoked; I think that is irresponsible for sure. You really don't know.

"That did not need to happen. There is a time for the information to be gathered, and then you can make a statement."

A Pistons statement added: "We are in the process of gathering information about what happened and what provoked it, and responding to the NBA and local authorities."

Suns talisman Kevin Durant, who finished with 25 points, said: "Keep the game first. There's a lot of noise. 

"It's unfortunate what happened before the game, it's supposed to be a brotherhood. But I also understand, dudes get into stuff. We try to avoid that in this league, hopefully we can move on from it. We all support Drew."

Jusuf Nurkic hit out at Draymond Green after the pair exchanged words and taunts during the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry-inspired win over the Phoenix Suns.

The resurgent Warriors won 113-112 thanks to Curry's 33-foot 3-pointer in the dying seconds on Saturday.

But while Curry wrote the headlines, and received high praise from all involved, including former teammate Kevin Durant, Green and Nurkic were involved in a verbal tussle.

Green has been careful with his behaviour since he returned from an indefinite NBA suspension in January. He had been banned because he had hit Nurkic in the face during a clash between the Warriors and the Suns in December.

But Nurkic does not believe Green has learned any lessons.

"It's sad," he said. "He didn't learn anything. It's just a matter of time.

"He's going to hit somebody else again. I take everything back, what I said. He doesn't deserve a chance."

Nurkic taunted Green by slapping the floor twice with a "too small" gesture during the third quarter, with the Warriors star returning the favour when he scooped the ball over the Suns center two minutes later.

"You can't be a nothing defender if you're going to do that," Green said of Nurkic.

"You probably outweigh me by 70 pounds and you get put in the rim? Got to be more careful.

"I thought I was great tonight. He tried to get in my head, and it didn't work. If he wants me to walk around quiet, like him, I'm never going to do that. Quiet guys don't win.

"He can keep rocking with that same horse that he rode in on. He can ride his a** right out of here on that same horse. It's not working."

Curry laughed off Nurkic's comments.

"He's given us a lift every game he's been back," Curry said of Green. "He connects, obviously, our defense, but you can talk about his defense every game.

"What he did offensively tonight, especially in the fourth quarter, he gave us great energy in the sense of having that competitive spirit you need to win a game like tonight, to meet the moment.

"Draymond knows how to walk the line that he needs to walk. This is probably the best game that you've seen it.

"You can tell when someone is in your head when you go out of your way to celebrate. Then Draymond comes back at him. All of the talk, Draymond was in his head, plain and simple."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr likewise defended Green.

"That month off, that suspension was real," Kerr said. "[Draymond] knew that his career was on the line or is on the line. He understands that he's got to be the guy he's been the last nine years, not the one he's been the last year. I see him doing that."

Ultimately, it was Curry's quality that settled the contest. The two-time MVP finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists, with his match-winning moment coming when Bradley Beal missed an attempted steal, after Brandin Podziemski had picked out Golden State's talisman.

"He's the best to ever shoot it," Beal said. "So you know the result after that."

For Durant, who played alongside Curry with the Warriors, there was not much more the Suns could have done to deny his former teammate.

"You give him a look like that for the game, he's licking his chops," Durant reflected. "I still think we could've had that steal. It's a tough play. Sometimes guys are just that great."

Kerr added: "We were due. We were due for one of these tight games to go our way. But the guys earned it. It didn’t just happen."

The Warriors have now won their last four games and sit 10th in the Western Conference with a 25-25 record, while the Suns are sixth on 31-22.

Bradley Beal delivered his best game with his new team in his first encounter with his old one.

Beal poured in a season-high 43 points to lead the visiting Phoenix Suns to a 140-112 blowout of the Washington Wizards on Sunday in the three-time All-Star's return to the arena he called home for 11 seasons.

The veteran guard was facing the rebuilding Wizards for the first time since being traded by Washington to the Suns in June. Beal missed the Suns' win over the Wizards in Phoenix in December due to a sprained ankle.

Beal was selected by the Wizards with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft and ranks second in franchise history in points and third in games played.

The 30-year-old had 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first quarter to help stake Phoenix to an early 42-28 lead, then added 12 more in the second as the Suns opened up a commanding 79-58 advantage at half-time.

Phoenix's lead never got to under 19 points in the second half as it coasted to its 10th win in 13 games. The Suns also received 18 points each from Kevin Durant and Jusuf Nurkic, who added 13 rebounds and eight assists. 

Deni Avdija had 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting to lead Washington, which lost its third straight game to drop to 9-40 on the season.

 

Jazz beat Bucks behind dominant fourth quarter

Lauri Markkanen led a balanced Utah attack with 21 points and the Jazz dominated the fourth quarter to rally for a 123-108 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Utah trailed by 16 points late in the third quarter before outscoring Milwaukee by a whopping 40-13 margin in the fourth to halt a three-game losing streak and drop the Bucks to 1-3 since head coach Doc Rivers took over the team last week.

Playing for the second time in as many nights, Milwaukee ran out of gas in the final period as it missed 13 of 17 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter. The Jazz, meanwhile, shot 60 per cent over the final 12 minutes.

Keyonte George had 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and was one of seven Utah players to score in double figures. The rookie added 10 rebounds, while John Collins also posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Down 95-83 after three quarters, the Jazz began the fourth on a 21-7 run to take a 104-102 lead on Markkanen's 3-pointer with 6:26 left. They put the game away soon afterward with an 18-3 flurry that staked Utah to a 122-108 advantage with under two minutes to go. George had eight points during that spurt.

The Bucks lost despite a 33-point, 13-assist effort from Giannis Antetokounmpo and a 27-point performance from Bobby Portis.

 

Clippers stay hot by extending Heat's woes

Kawhi Leonard had 25 points and 11 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away late to hand the still-slumping Miami Heat a 103-95 loss.

James Harden scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 assists as the red-hot Clippers won for the eighth time in nine games. Los Angeles is an NBA-best 25-5 since Dec. 1.

After breaking out of a seven-game losing streak by winning their previous two games, the Heat struggled to an 8-for-30 shooting effort from 3-point range on a night they were without one of their best outside shooters in Tyler Herro, who was scratched due to a headache.

The Clippers, meanwhile, went 16 of 39 (41 per cent) from beyond the arc with Harden leading the way by hitting five of his nine 3-point tries.

Despite its shooting woes, Miami held a 72-71 edge with nine minutes left before the Clippers took control. Los Angeles broke open the game with a 20-6 run, capped by back-to-back Harden 3-pointers, to take a 91-78 lead with five minutes remaining.

The Heat fought back and got to within 99-95 on Jimmy Butler's 3-point play with 13.3 seconds left, but Paul George and Leonard each made two free throws in the closing stages to end any comeback hopes. 

Butler had 21 points and Terry Rozier scored 17 for Miami, which also received 14 points and 13 rebounds from Bam Adebayo.

 

 

Kevin Durant likes where the Phoenix Suns are trending after pouring in 33 points to seal a victorious return to Brooklyn.

The Suns won 136-120 over the Nets, as Durant shot 10 of 16 from the field and added eight assists in his first game in Brooklyn since being traded to Phoenix nearly a year ago.

Jusuf Nurkic had 28 with 11 rebounds, Devin Booker scored 22 points and Eric Gordon added 17 for the surging Suns.

The win at Barclays Center was the Suns' ninth win in 11 NBA games before they play the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night and the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

"We were just floating from two to three games under .500 and .500 for most of the year," Durant said after the game, per ESPN. 

"Now we look up, we're 28-20 with a good opportunity to be 10 games over .500 with our next two games on the road. 

"So, we're going home at the 50-game mark, hopefully we can be 30-20, and I like where we are. 

"It's a grind throughout the whole season, especially with the new group, new coaching staff, new team, guys in and out the lineup. You got to build some continuity, and we are on our way to that."

There was huge hype around Durant’s return to his former team, but Suns coach Frank Vogel was impressed by how he focused on the job at hand.

"Hell of a performance," said Vogel. "He put the team first.

"He went out and competed, played team-first basketball, had eight assists and several other plays where made the extra pass and allowed his teammates to play through his double-teams.

"He played a team-first type of game and ended up with 33 and eight."

Durant spent almost four years at Brooklyn, playing alongside James Harden and Kyrie Irving. But the stars only played 16 games together and the Nets won just one playoff series.

The two-time NBA champion gave his reflections on that time but said he did not ponder what might have been, instead focusing on the facts of his time in a Nets jersey.

Durant said: "No, I don’t think about what could have been, that's just a pointless exercise, in my opinion. What happened. That's what I thought about: what actually happened, the reality of it.

"We didn't have enough time together. That's just it. Guys wanted to go their separate ways. 

"We tried our hardest to salvage everything together. We had three or four different teams [from] when I signed here until when I left. 

"But at the end of the day, I enjoyed coming to work, playing for, being a part of this community and playing, representing Brooklyn; regardless of what went on, what was said or how I felt, I still came to work.

"I was an All-Star every year. I was the leading vote-getter every year in All-Star games. Sold a lot of jerseys. [Averaged] 50-40-90, averaged 30, [made] All-NBA. 

"I mean, was that successful? You know what I mean? But team success is a different thing.

"You'd like to put the team, how the team does, you'd like to put that on one of the best players and call it a failure, but if you want to talk about me individually, you can just look at the work that I put in here.

"I think I've grown as a player. I'm on my way to mastering the game. I think coming here helped me, pushed me far closer to that. So that's what I try to take from my time here."

The Nets played a tribute video for Durant before the game and he had a mixture of cheers and boos from the home crowd over the course of the night.

"That wasn't going to stop me from just doing my job regardless," Durant said about the video.

"But there's class people here. They appreciate everybody who donned the jersey and that shows a great organization. I respect that."

Cam Thomas scored 25 points and Mikal Bridges, who came to Brooklyn in the Durant trade, had 21 but the Nets (19-28) failed in their bid to win three straight for the first time since early December.

They next play at Philadelphia on Friday.

Anthony Edwards scored 27 points and helped spark a late run that propelled the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 107-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday in a clash of teams that had been tied for the Western Conference lead. 

Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Rudy Gobert amassed 12 points and 18 rebounds as the Timberwolves bounced back from Saturday's one-point loss at Sacramento and dropped the Thunder to third place in the tightly bunched conference standings.

The Denver Nuggets moved a half-game ahead of Oklahoma City and remained a half-game behind Minnesota with Monday's win over the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Oklahoma City had erased a 10-point third-quarter deficit to take a 97-96 lead on two Shai Gilgeous-Alexander free throws with 2:43 left, but Minnesota's Jaden McDaniels hit a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to start a pivotal 9-0 spurt.

The Thunder would miss their next four shots as the Timberwolves began pulling away. Edwards followed McDaniels' trey with a running dunk and McDaniels scored on a tip-in before Towns capped the run with two free throws that put Minnesota up 105-97 with 15.5 seconds to go. 

Minnesota owned a 62-52 advantage nearing the midway mark of the third quarter before the Thunder seized momentum with an 11-0 run. Gilgeous-Alexander had six points and Jalen Williams scored the last five of the flurry, which gave Oklahoma City a 63-62 edge with five minutes left in the period.

The Thunder, who were coming off a stunning 120-104 loss to the NBA-worst Detroit Pistons on Sunday, received 37 points and eight assists from Gilgeous-Alexander and 20 points from Williams. 

Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City's third-leading scorer at 17 points per game, was held to just four points on 2-of-9 shooting, however, as the Timberwolves finished with a 46-34 point advantage in the paint.

Jokic has another triple-double as Nuggets spoil Rivers' debut with Bucks

Jamal Murray scored 35 points and Nikola Jokić posted his 14th triple-double of the season to power the Denver Nuggets to a 113-107 win over Milwaukee in Doc Rivers' first game as the Bucks' head coach.

Jokic compiled 25 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists to add to his league-leading triple-double count and help the defending NBA champions keep pace with first-place Minnesota in the West. The Nuggets have now won five of their last six games.

Rivers, who coached the Boston Celtics to an NBA title during the 2007-08 season, was hired shortly after the Bucks dismissed Adrian Griffin on Jan. 23 despite sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 30-13 record. Assistant Joe Prunty coached Milwaukee's last three games and went 2-1.

The veteran coach's tenure started off strong as the Bucks jumped out to a 24-11 lead midway through the first quarter, though the Nuggets ended the period on a 12-0 run to cut their deficit to 26-25 entering the second. 

Denver gradually asserted control and owned an 84-75 advantage early in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks hit three straight 3-pointers during a 13-2 spurt that put them back ahead with under nine minutes to play.

The game remained tight until the Nuggets pulled away with an 8-0 run, which Murray capped with a jumper that gave Denver a 106-97 lead with 3:17 to go.

Giannis Antetokounmpo paced Milwaukee with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting along with 12 rebounds, while Brook Lopez had 19 points and Damian Lillard finished with 18 in the loss. 

Suns bounce back by handing Heat seventh straight loss

The Phoenix Suns kept rolling behind a balanced attack and strong defence that resulted in a 118-105 victory over the reeling Miami Heat, the seventh consecutive loss for the defending Eastern Conference champions.

Eric Gordon scored 23 points off the bench to lead six Phoenix players in double figures in a game the Suns led by as much as 28 points en route to stopping a two-game losing streak.

The Suns also got 22 points from Devin Booker and 20 from Kevin Durant, with both stars finishing with eight rebounds and seven assists each.

Miami went 14 of 36 from 3-point range but was stonewalled from inside the arc, shooting a subpar 39.6 per cent on 2-point attempts in this latest defeat. The Heat have lost seven straight for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

Jimmy Butler led Miami with 26 points and recent acquisition Terry Rozier had 21 in his fourth game with the Heat.

Miami shot just 35.4 per cent in the first half as the Suns built a 62-49 lead at the break, and its shooting woes continued as Phoenix extended the margin in the third quarter. 

Booker had 12 points and the Suns shot over 68 per cent for the period to open up a commanding 100-74 advantage entering the fourth quarter.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd heaped praise on Luka Doncic after his franchise-record 73 points helped them past the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, declaring: "He is the game plan".

The Mavs arrived at State Farm Arena looking to halt a three-game losing run, and Doncic ensured they did exactly that with a historic performance in their 148-143 victory.

He tied Wilt Chamberlain and David Thompson for the fourth-best return in NBA history. Chamberlain also holds the scoring record with a 100-point game and also had a 78-point performance to his name, while Kobe Bryant racked up 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.

Doncic's incredible performance came just four days after the Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid brought up 70 points in a win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Kidd was more than happy to let Doncic take centre-stage and believes the Slovenian will have been frustrated to miss out on a triple-double after adding 10 rebounds and seven assists.

"He is the game plan," Kidd said of Doncic. "The three assists are what he's probably thinking about in the locker room to have a triple-double!"

Doncic himself was focused purely on helping Dallas end their slump, saying: "We've been struggling lately, so the mindset was to go and get a win. We played great."

He was not the only player to put in a huge performance on Friday, with Devin Booker scoring 62 points for the Phoenix Suns, only to finish on the losing side against the Indiana Pacers. 

Obi Toppin's putback broke a tie with just under four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, guiding Indiana to a 133-131 victory and ruining Booker's remarkable display.

"He's a great player," Toppin said of Booker. "But in that fourth quarter, we decided to hit and send another defender to get the ball out of his hands and just scramble out of that. They didn't like it at all. I think it was their worst quarter.

"We needed points so our objective was just to get involved, crash the boards. I saw Bennedict [Mathurin] try to finish over someone and then Pascal [Siakam] was right in front of me, so I just grabbed the ball and put it in."

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.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was reinstated by the NBA from his suspension on Saturday after he missed 12 games following an incident with Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic on Dec. 12.

The league said Green “demonstrated his commitment to conforming his conduct to standards of NBA players” during his suspension, which began Dec. 14. He has met with a counselor as well as had multiple joint meetings with representatives of the league, the Warriors and the National Basketball Players Association.

Those meetings, the league added, will continue throughout the season.

While Green is eligible to return to the lineup on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, he is expected to need approximately a week to ramp up for a return to the court.

Green was suspended for the fifth time in his career earlier this season for putting Minnesota center Rudy Gobert in a headlock during an In-Season Tournament matchup.

Green was given a five-game suspension as the NBA cited past infractions in relation to the punishment.

The 12-year veteran is averaging 9.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 15 games this season.

 

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.

Devin Booker labelled the fit-again Bradley Beal's return as a "game-changer" as the full-strength Phoenix Suns put the Charlotte Hornets to the sword on Friday.

Beal returned to the court after a five-game absence due to an ankle injury, collecting seven assists as the Suns condemned the Hornets to a 10th straight NBA loss with a 133-119 victory.

Booker racked up 35 points, while Kevin Durant had 21 and 11 assists to go with another free-scoring showing, although the former credited Phoenix's roster for a resounding triumph over the struggling Charlotte.

"It's a game-changer, being at full strength," Booker said. "The offense was moving, the ball was hopping around and we were getting the best available shot."

Beal also managed six points and three rebounds in a 30-minute performance, while Jusuf Nurkic had 24 and 16 rebounds, Eric Gordon scored 21 and Grayson Allen posted 16.

"It's just good to be back on the floor," Beal said. "We got the win and finish the game, that's all I cared about tonight."

On the well-rounded scoring, Beal added: "That's what we want, that's the beauty of it.

"There's a lot of threats out there, guys who are very versatile. We can shoot the ball really well."

Phoenix went back-to-back with NBA victories for the first time since a seven-game run that ended on November 29, much to the delight of coach Frank Vogel, who also hailed Beal.

"I loved his floor game tonight," Vogel said about his returning player. "A lot of times [in returning from injury] guys will have a tendency to force, but he let the game come to him.

"We have a team that is selfless. We have a chance to be special."

The Hornets were again without the injured LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, though Terry Rozier led the way with 42 points on 14-of-21 shooting.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford conceded the Hornets "just couldn't stop" the Suns before adding: "With that effort, that approach, really not a good second half [Thursday] night, getting in here late, guys playing big minutes last night. I was proud of them."

Kevin Durant was relieved to play a leading role in ending the Phoenix Suns' three-game losing streak against the Houston Rockets.

He registered a career-high 16 assists to go with 27 points and 10 rebounds in his 18th career triple-double on Wednesday, giving the Suns a 129-113 win.

Durant shot 9 of 16 from the field and 3 of 7 from 3-point range as Phoenix snapped a three-game losing run with its first road victory since Nov. 26.

Eric Gordon also scored 27 points in his first game back in Houston since being traded in February. He had 17 points in the Suns' 43-point second quarter.

The Suns are back in action against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday and Durant is thrilled to go into a six-game homestand – their longest of the season – with a key road win behind them.

"It was amazing to get back on the winning side," he said.

"It sucks losing. Having a tough stretch in the NBA is one of the worst feelings you can have, regardless of how many games we play in a season."

Phoenix is 15-15 after winning just three of their last 10 games, putting them 10th in the Western Conference.

"Kevin just got into an aggressive mode to score or pass," added Suns coach Frank Vogel.

"Taking the ball in the backcourt, running a high volume of pick and rolls and just being aggressive. He really led us."

Devin Booker had 20 points for the Suns and there were 16 points from Grayson Allen.

Alperen Sengun had 24 points and Jalen Green added 23 for the Rockets, who have lost four of six following a five-game winning streak.

The Rockets fell to 15-14 after Gordon made his mark on his return to Houston, sinking seven 3-pointers.

"It was great to be back here – I had a lot of good memories and a lot of fun here and it was a major turning point in my career, coming to Houston," said Gordon.

Kevin Durant registered a career-high 16 assists to go with 27 points and 10 rebounds in his 18th career triple-double on Wednesday, leading the Phoenix Suns to a 129-113 win over the Houston Rockets.

Durant shot 9 of 16 from the field and 3 of 7 from 3-point range as Phoenix snapped a three-game losing streak with it first road victory since Nov. 26.

Eric Gordon also scored 27 points in his first game back in Houston since being traded in February. He had 17 points in the Suns’ 43-point second quarter.

Alperen Sengun had 24 points and Jalen Green added 23 for the Rockets, who have lost four of six following a five-game winning streak.

Gilgeous-Alexander, Williams help Thunder win

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams scored 36 points apiece and Williams sank a pair of key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 129-120 victory over the New York Knicks.

Chet Holmgren added 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting as the Thunder followed Tuesday’s triumph over Western Conference-leading Minnesota with their fifth win in six games.

Williams scored 17 points on 6 of 7 from the field in the fourth quarter, including eight points and two 3s during a 10-2 run after the Knicks cut their deficit to five with 4:37 remaining.

Julius Randle had 25 points and Jalen Brunson added 24 for New York, which had won three of four.

Antetokounmpo, Bucks handle undermanned Nets

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and the Milwaukee Bucks pulled away for a 144-122 win over the short-handed Brooklyn Nets.

Khris Middleton added 27 points and 10 boards and Cameron Payne and Malik Beasley each hit five 3-pointers as the Bucks improved to 10-2 this month.

Milwaukee shot 23 of 51 from 3-point range and 58.4 percent (52 for 89) overall to bounce back from a Christmas Day loss to the Knicks.

The Nets rested three starters (Spencer Dinwiddie, Nic Claxton and Cam Johnson) and barely played two others one night after a victory in Detroit extended the Pistons’ losing streak an NBA-record 27.

Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said the team can never take Luka Doncic for granted after he brought up 10,000 career points in their Christmas-Day win over the Phoenix Suns.

Doncic reached the milestone in style, scoring 50 points in a 128-114 road win as he became just the fourth player in league history to post a half-century of points on Christmas Day, after Bernard King, Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry.

Having entered the game 11 points short of bringing up five figures, he has reached 10,000 points in just 358 games. Only Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and George Gervin have done so in fewer outings.

Doncic's big moment came early on when he hit a 34-foot three-pointer in the first quarter, and Kidd heaped praise upon his talisman after his dominant outing.  

"As I've always said, we can't take him for granted when he's feeling it," Kidd said. "You're just trying to get him the ball as much as possible. 

"You're also trying to figure out how to get him some rest because we weren't going to take him out there in the second half, so we needed to ask him or someone to be able to run the offense.

"I thought he did a great job of letting other guys bring the ball up, but when he's going like that, you've got to get him the ball, and you trust your quarterback's going to do the right thing."

Asked how it felt to reach the landmark, Doncic said: "Always, when this kind of award comes with a win, it's even more fun.

"It was a tough road game, and we won. So, outside of the 10K and 50 points, we won the game. So, I'm really happy.

"I love playing in these environments, especially away. It's fun for me. When you make a shot, the whole gym is quiet, so that's the best feeling in the world."

Doncic's mammoth performance proved Grayson Allen's 32-point haul for the Suns redundant, with Kevin Durant also tacking on 16 for the hosts.

Phoenix are now 14-15 and sit 11th in the Western Conference, having lost five of their last six games including each of their last three in a row.

Star guard Devin Booker said of the Suns' slump: "We just have to get it together. 

"That's on me, that's on coach, that's on KD, all the leaders that we have in here to make sure that we're prepared."

In a Christmas Day slate full of noteworthy performances, Luka Doncic was the star atop the Christmas tree.

Doncic scored 50 points, eclipsing 10,000 for his career, and added six rebounds and 14 assists as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns 128-114 in the NBA’s Christmas night cap.

Doncic went 8 of 16 from 3-point range and made all 12 of his free throw attempts as he reached the 10,000-point milestone in 358 career games, the seventh-fastest in NBA history.

Rookie center Dereck Lively II added 20 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double, while Derrick Jones Jr. contributed 23 points.

Grayson Allen led the Suns with 32 points while Kevin Durant (4 for 11) and Devin Booker (6 for 14) had poor shooting nights.

Celtics get first Christmas win over Lakers

Kristaps Porzingis had 28 points and 11 rebounds, Jayson Tatum scored 25 despite an off shooting night and the Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers 126-115.

The Celtics’ win was their first ever against the Lakers on Christmas Day, overcoming a 40-point, 13-rebound performance from Anthony Davis.

LeBron James had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Lakers dropped to 2-6 since winning the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament.

Jokic shines in win over Warriors

Nikola Jokic flirted with a triple-double and made all 18 of his free throw attempts, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 120-114 win over the Golden State Warriors.

Jokic had 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists for the defending champions as the Nuggets won a season-high fifth consecutive game and improved to 12-2 at Ball Arena this season.

Jamal Murray led Denver with 28 points.

The Warriors’ leading scorer was Andrew Wiggins, who netted 22 off the bench.

Joel Embiid shook off an ankle injury to finish with 31 points and 10 rebounds in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 121-111 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

Embiid scored all 31 points after landing awkwardly trying to block a shot with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter.

He recorded at least 30 points and 10 rebounds for the 13th straight game, the longest in the NBA since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it in 16 consecutive games in 1971-72. Embiid has scored 30 or more in 14 games in a row, the most in the NBA since James Harden’s 32-game run in 2018-19.

Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey each scored 33 points, marking just the second time in franchise history three players have scored 30-plus points in a game. The other was in 1961 when Dick Barnett, Hal Greer and Dolph Schayes did it for the Syracuse Nationals.

Philadelphia has won eight of nine overall and six straight meetings with Toronto.

Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 31 points.

Young makes history in Hawks’ loss

Trae Young had his sixth straight game with at least 30 points and 10 assists, but it wasn’t enough as the Miami Heat got 30 points from Tyler Herro in a 122-113 victory.

Young finished with 30 points and 13 assists for his sixth consecutive game with at least 30 and 10. That ties the second-longest such streak in NBA history, one that only Oscar Robertson has topped.

Robertson had such a streak twice – a six-game stretch in January 1964, then a seven-game run spanning December to January 1965.

Duncan Robinson had 21 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 19 for the Heat, who overcame an 11-point deficit in the third quarter.

Sabonis has triple-double to lift Kings

Domantas Sabonis had 28 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his fourth triple-double of the season as the Sacramento Kings rolled to a 120-105 win over the short-handed Phoenix Suns.

De’Aaron Fox added 23 points and broke Mike Bibby's Sacramento-era assists record in the third quarter.

Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Devin Booker contributed 24 for the Suns, who have lost four of five to fall to .500 (14-14).

Phoenix played without Bradley Beal (ankle), Josh Okogie (hip strain) and Jusuf Nurkic (personal).  

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