The Denver Nuggets must be at their best from the first minute as they aim to defend their NBA title, so says Jamal Murray.

Denver, led by the imperious Nikola Jokic (29 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) overturned a double-digit deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 112-103 on Sunday.

The reigning NBA champions are fourth in a competitive Western Conference, in which three of the top four teams are all on 35 wins.

However, Murray, who chipped in with 21 points and 10 assists, wants to see the Nuggets sharpen up from the off, and not have to work their way back into games as often.

"I think we should just be a little bit more on point to start the game, not to have to kick it into another gear," Murray said.

"I think we've just got to be a little more conscious, a little more aware of the task at hand each and every night that we're going to get their best shot.

"We can give our best shot, as well, from the start."

It was a sentiment echoed by coach Michael Malone, who pointed out his team's defensive improvement throughout the game.

"Our defense got better as the game went along," Malone said.

"We had zero defense. We had a little bit of defense. We got a lot more defense. And we had great defense."

While the Trail Blazers sit next to last in the West, with a 15-35 record, Anfernee Simons - who contributed 26 points to their total - took plenty of positives.

"I thought we played well for the majority of the game, all the game, to be honest with you," Simons said.

"They're a good team. They made runs. They’re a championship team. They're a veteran team.

"We rolled out with a lot of young guys and sometimes that's just what happens.

"So, I'm just glad that we stuck with it and continued to play hard. Overall, I'm pretty happy about how we played today."

Nikola Jokic recorded his league-leading 15th triple-double this season and Jamal Murray fell a rebound shy of one as the Denver Nuggets took down the Portland Trail Blazers, 120-108 on Friday.

Jokic had 27 points, a season-high 22 rebounds and 12 assists for his 120th career triple-double, a total bettered only by Russell Westbrook (198), Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138) in NBA history.

Murray finished with 13 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, while Aaron Gordon scored 18 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 16 points. The Nuggets have won five straight and 12 of 13 against the Blazers.

Scoot Henderson scored 30 points and Anfernee Simons had 29 for Portland, which played without Jerami Grant, who was a late scratch due to lower back tightness.

Clippers’ Westbrook hits milestone in win

Russell Westbrook scored 23 points to become the 25th player in NBA history to reach 25,000 in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 136-125 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Westbrook, who shot 10 of 13 from the field and handed out nine assists, joined teammate James Harden on the list of players to score 25,000 points. Harden reached the milestone in December.

Kawhi Leonard scored 21 of his 33 points in the first half and Paul George added 18 as the Clippers won for the seventh time in eight games.

Jalen Ivey scored 28 points and Bojan Bogdanovic had 26 for the Pistons, who dropped to 4-41 after a 2-1 start to the season.

Sabonis breaks Robertson’s record in Kings’ win

Domantas Sabonis tallied 26 points and 12 rebounds to break Oscar Robertson’s single-season franchise record with his 30th straight double-double to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 133-122 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Sabonis, who added seven assists, surpassed Robertson’s mark set from Dec. 6, 1961-Jan. 30, 1962.

De’Aaron Fox had 25 points and six assists and Malik Monk added 23 points, six assists and five rebounds to help Sacramento win for the fifth time in six games.

Bennedict Mathurin scored 31 points for the Pacers, who shot 54.1 percent from the field but were hurt by 21 turnovers to fall to 4-8 in their last 12 games.

Damian Lillard has opened the door for a future move to the Portland Trail Blazers after an emotional return to his former home with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 33-year-old was the face of the Blazers' franchise for his first 11 seasons in the NBA and was treated to a lengthy ovation before Wednesday's game.

A number of video tributes were played on the video screen for Lillard during timeouts at Moda Center, where the Bucks went on to lose 119-116 in a second straight loss under new coach Doc Rivers.

Lillard, who was traded to the Bucks in October as part of a three-way deal, was not shy in later letting the crowd know where his heart lies.

"I'm just in a space of like, this is where I am now," he said. "I'm in Milwaukee. I wanted the opportunity to contend, and our team has an opportunity to contend for this year and years to come, and I'm living in that. 

"But definitely, when I was traded, I see a day where I'll be in a Trail Blazer uniform again before I'm done.

"You just feel the appreciation and the love. It was like, 'man, this is a big deal'. Everybody in the building just showed me that type of love and acknowledgement from during my time here. So, I appreciated it.

"I'm not going to cry, nothing like that. I'm not a big crier, but I'm not going to hide the emotions that I feel from it. I think it's a moment that means a lot to me and a lot of other people."

Lillard had 25 points on 9-of-23 shooting – 3 of 13 from 3-point range – with seven assists, six rebounds and four turnovers.

Even before his standing ovation and various other tributes, the eight-time NBA All-Star – who averaged 32.2 points per game with the Blazers last season – talked of his love for Portland on the eve of the game.

"I loved the organization. I loved everybody I went to work with every day," he said. "And I think what made it the hardest is it wasn't a wasn't a broken relationship. 

"So coming back, being able to be here, I'm in a great situation. The reason it all came about in the first place was for a chance to win it all. We couldn't be at that place at the same time. So I come back with love, and I'm excited to be back."

Anfernee Simons ultimately spoiled Lillard's big return with a go-ahead floater with 17.1 seconds remaining, while Giannis Antetokounmpo registered 27 points and eight rebounds, as the Blazers made it back-to-back victories.

"It was a fun night, celebrating a great player, a great person," Simons said. "We came in here knowing we've got stuff we want to accomplish as well. We came in wanting to win the game."

The Bucks are now 32-16 for the season and are second in the Western Conference ahead of facing the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, while the 15-33 Blazers are 14th in the West and take on the Denver Nuggets on Friday.

Anfernee Simons spoiled Damian Lillard’s return to Portland with a go-ahead floater with 17.1 seconds remaining to lift the Trail Blazers to a 119-116 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

Lillard had 25 points on 9-of-23 shooting – 3 of 13 from 3-point range – with seven assists, six rebounds and four turnovers in his first game back in Portland since he was traded to Milwaukee in September.

He was the face of the Blazers’ franchise for his first 11 seasons in the NBA and was treated to a lengthy ovation before the game and tributes played on the video scoreboard during timeouts.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and eight rebounds and Khris Middleton added 21 and eight assists as the Bucks lost their second straight under new coach Doc Rivers.

Simons finished with 24 points and Deandre Ayton had 20 and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who won their second straight to close a three-game homestand.

 

Durant leads Suns past Nets in return

Kevin Durant poured in 33 points in his return to Brooklyn and Jusuf Nurkic had 28 with 11 rebounds to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 136-120 win over the Nets.

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.

Devin Booker scored 22 points and Eric Gordon added 17 for the Suns, who won for the ninth time in 11 games.

Cam Thomas scored 25 points and Mikal Bridges, who came to Brooklyn in the Durant trade, had 21 as the Nets failed to win three straight for the first time since early December.

 

Mitchell’s big night keeps Cavaliers hot

Donovan Mitchell scored 20 of his 45 points in the fourth quarter and Darius Garland had 19 in his return from a broken jaw as the Cleveland Cavaliers held off the lowly Detroit Pistons, 128-121.

Jarrett Allen had 14 points and 11 rebounds for his franchise-record 16th straight double-double to help the Cavaliers win for the 11th time in 12 games and improve to an NBA-best 16-4 since Dec. 16.

Danilo Galliari scored 20 points and Cade Cunningham added 19 and seven assists for Detroit, which was seeking consecutive wins for the first time since Oct. 27-28.

Garland was 7 of 12 from the field in 20 ½ minutes in his first action after missing 19 games. He sustained the injury in a collision with Boston’s Kristaps Porzingis on Dec. 14.

Chauncey Billups lamented a "perfect storm" as the Portland Trail Blazers fell to a 139-77 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

The 62-point margin of defeat was the joint-fifth largest in NBA history and marked a record victory for the Thunder in franchise history.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander registered 31 points at Paycom Center and Jalen Williams 21, while Josh Giddey had a triple-double.

"It was almost like a perfect storm, to be honest with you," Billups told reporters after the game. "Nothing really worked for us.

"I mean, this was, sheesh – not much really good to say about this one for us. 

"I thought that we generated some pretty good looks in the first half. The fact that we couldn't make pretty much anything deflated us."

Only once before have the Trail Blazers been on the end of a worse defeat – a 65-point loss to Indiana Pacers in 1998.

The victory for Oklahoma City was their third in a row, having also defeated the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards this week.

Coach Mark Daigneault was particularly pleased with how his side adapted after returning home in the early hours of the same day.

"I thought we cleared a couple hurdles tonight," Daigneault said. 

"The first one was the start of the game, how ready we were to play and the energy we were able to generate with a tough schedule.

"It's mind over matter. And then the other hurdle was playing with a lead. I thought we played pretty well with a lead, both ends of the floor."

Oklahoma City's previous record margin of victory was 45 points, which they registered twice in the 2012-13 season.

The 26-11 Thunder are level with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the best record in the Western Conference. Portland are 10-27 and are in 14th.

Bobby Portis and Giannis Antetokounmpo combined to score 20 straight points during a 25-0 run midway through the first half and the Milwaukee Bucks coasted to a 135-102 rout of the NBA-leading Boston Celtics on Thursday.

Portis finished with 28 points and Antetokounmpo added 24 while both players had 12 rebounds. Damian Lillard had 21 points in his return to the Bucks’ lineup after missing a 132-116 loss to Utah on Monday for personal reasons.

Milwaukee led by as many as 43 points and its 75-38 lead at the break was the fourth-biggest halftime advantage in franchise history.

Payton Pritchard scored 21 points for the Celtics, who missed 16 of their first 17 3-point attempts and finished 9 of 34 from deep. Boston was back in action after beating Minnesota in overtime on Wednesday and looked fatigued.

The Celtics allowed their highest point total of the season and dropped their second straight road game.

Giddey leads Thunder to historic rout

Josh Giddey had a triple-double and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder matched the fifth-largest rout in NBA history, 139-77 over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Jalen Williams scored 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting and Giddey finished with 13 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which was on the wrong end of the NBA’s biggest blowout, a 73-point loss to Memphis on Dec. 2, 2021.

The Thunder’s 62-point win shattered their previous record for victory margin of 45 points, set twice during the 2012-13 season.

Portland shot a dismal 27.7 percent from the field and suffered its second-worst loss, having fallen by 65 to Indiana on Feb. 27, 1998.

Irving’s big game lifts Mavericks

Kyrie Irving poured in a season-high 44 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 32 to lead the short-handed Dallas Mavericks to a 128-124 win over the New York Knicks.

Josh Green scored 18 points, the last coming on a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left to give Dallas a 124-120 lead. Irving and Hardaway combined to make four free throws in the final 11.1 seconds to seal the win.

Dallas superstar Luka Doncic sat out with an ankle injury and Dereck Lively II and Dante Exum also missed the game.

Julius Randle scored 32 points and Jalen Brunson had 30 for the Knicks, who had a five-game winning streak snapped and lost for the first time since acquiring OG Anunoby from Toronto on Dec. 30.

Domantas Sabonis notched his ninth triple-double of the season with 37 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 131-110 win over the lowly Detroit Pistons.

Sabonis shot 16 of 21 from the field, made his only 3-point attempt and was 4 of 4 from the free throw line. He moves within two triple-doubles of Denver’s Nikola Jokic for the league lead.

Keegan Murray scored 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting and De’Aaron Fox added 26 for the Kings, winners of five of seven.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with 26 points as the Pistons dropped their fifth in a row since ending their NBA-record 28-game losing streak.

Sacramento trailed by 20 points in the first quarter, led by 15 in the third, were tied in the fourth and then pulled away with a 9-0 run in the fourth.

Anunoby helps Knicks stay hot

OG Anunoby scored 23 points and Julius Randle added 20 with eight assists and seven rebounds as the New York Knicks won their fifth in a row, 112-84 over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Anunoby scored 16 points in the first quarter to help the Knicks open a 19-point lead. He shot 6 of 7 from the floor – 4 of 5 from 3-point range – and might have approached his season high of 29 points but the starters played sparingly in the second half.

New York is unbeaten since acquiring Anunoby from Toronto on Dec. 30.

Quentin Grimes had 17 points and Miles McBride had 16 as the Knicks moved a half-game ahead of Miami, Orlando, Indiana and Cleveland for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Davis shines in Lakers’ win

Anthony Davis scored 20 of his season-high 41 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Toronto Raptors, 132-131.

Davis was 13 of 17 from the field and 13 of 14 from the free throw line while adding 11 rebounds and six assists. He made all eight free throw attempts in the final minute as the Lakers held on despite late 3-pointers by Toronto’s Dennis Schröder and Gary Trent Jr.

LeBron James had 22 points and 12 assists to help the Lakers win their second straight after a four-game skid.

Scottie Barnes scored 26 points and RJ Barrett added 23 with 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who had won three of four.

  

San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama would play every week if the choice was his but respects the minutes restriction imposed as coach Gregg Popovich continues to be cautious.

Number one draft pick Wembanyama suffered a "freak" ankle injury in an incident involving a ballboy in a pre-game warm-up before the 144-119 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks last week.

The 19-year-old stepped on a ballboy's foot after a driving layup, subsequently rolling his injured right ankle, but returned to action on Thursday before sitting out of Friday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

San Antonio listed Wembanyama as out due to resting, despite the priority being protecting his ankle, as the Trail Blazers triumphed 134-128.

"He's got a minutes restriction and he can't play back-to-backs for a couple of weeks until they take another picture and check out his foot again," Spurs coach Popovich said.

"When we sat him in Dallas, he wasn't happy, but I'm glad he wasn't happy.

"He's a competitor. All these guys at this level, they didn't get here by being noncompetitive. So, he'd rather be playing. It frustrates him more than anything."

Wembanyama had 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and seven blocks in 24 minutes on Thursday against Portland, becoming the third rookie with 30 points, five assists and five blocks in a game and joining Spurs Hall of Famers David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

The future NBA star remains content to respect the medical staff's mandated advice, despite his wishes to feature on the court every game.

"We communicate a lot with the medical staff and I've made it clear that I want them to sit me out," Wembanyama said.

"I'm going to trust them if they want me to sit out, but only if I really need to.

"If they force me pretty much. If it was up to me, I'd play every game. But I respect my role. They're professionals. I'm a professional. I try to do my job the best I can."

The Detroit Pistons etched their name into the history books Tuesday, setting the NBA single-season record with their 27th straight loss, 118-112 to the Brooklyn Nets.

Cam Johnson scored 24 points and Mikal Bridges added 21 for the Nets, who handed the Pistons their 26th consecutive loss on Saturday.

Cade Cunningham poured in 37 of his 41 points in the second half and shot 15 of 21, but Detroit broke a tie with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers hold the overall mark at 28 straight losses, a skid that started in 2014-15 and carried over into 2015-16.

The Pistons’ next chance to end the streak is Thursday at league-leading Boston.

Cunnigham made a pair of layups to draw the Pistons within 112-110 with less than a minute remaining, but Dorian Finney-Smith sank a baseline 3-point to put the Nets up 115-110 with 38 seconds left.

Alec Burks then missed a 3-pointer and Bridges hit two free throws for a 117-110 advantage.

Grizzlies win in OT, improve to 4-0 since Morant’s return

Ja Morant scored 31 points and the Memphis Grizzlies rallied for a 116-115 win in overtime against the New Orleans Pelicans to improve to 4-0 since he made his season debut a week earlier.

Desmond Bane scored 27 points, including a key 3-pointer in the final minute of regulation and the clinching free throw with 4 seconds left in overtime.

Jaren Jackson Jr. added 19 points, redeeming his missed free throw at the end of regulation with a pair of baskets late in OT that gave Memphis the lead for good.

Morant has averaged 28.8 points in four games since he returned from his 25-game NBA suspension after the Grizzlies were 6-19 in his absence.

Zion Williamson had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, who also lost a double-digit, second-half lead to Memphis in the previous meeting.

Kings’ Fox scores 43 in loss to Trail Blazers

De’Aaron Fox had 43 points but it wasn’t enough as Anfernee Simons scored 29 to lift the Portland Trail Blazers to a 130-113 win over the Sacramento Kings.  

Duop Reath added a career-high 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds off the bench for the Blazers, who got 19 points from Malcolm Brogdon and 17 and 11 assists from rookie Scoot Henderson.

Fox was 16 of 26 from the field and 7 of 15 from long range while adding eight rebounds and four assists. Domantas Sabonis scored 34 points, but no other Sacramento player was in double figures.

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."

The Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday as Jonathan Kuminga's impressive cameo left Steve Kerr pondering more changes to his lineup.

Stephen Curry overcame a slow start to finish with a game-high 31 points as the Warriors saw off Portland at Chase Center, though their victory was far from a sure thing until Kuminga's third-quarter introduction.

Against the team with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, the Warriors looked lifeless until the 21-year-old entered the fray.

Kuminga starred with 13 points in 17 minutes, stealing the ball from Toumani Camara at a vital moment late on to kick-start a move which ended with a Curry three-pointer, making the result safe.

The Warriors are now 10-11 for the season, with injuries and suspensions – most notably Draymond Green's five-game ban for putting Rudy Gobert in a chokehold – having hampered their attempts to build any lasting momentum.

Golden State have already used nine different starting lineups this year, with only the Miami Heat naming more in the whole league, and Kerr expects the rotation to continue for the time being. 

"The puzzle hasn't fit this year," Kerr said. "We've had a lot of guys playing well, but we may have to think about moving the starting lineup around from game to game depending on who we are facing. 

"I'd still prefer to get something solid, but we haven't established anything this year. We're a quarter of a way through, so there is a lot of thought that has to go into this.

"I've really been patient and hoping to get our starting unit from the last couple of years into a good groove.

"It's easier to play and to coach when everybody knows exactly where they fit in. It's easier to play a role when there is a set rotation and the stars are playing well so the puzzle fits.

"Every night is going to be different with this team, that's what I am figuring out. We don't have roster clarity in terms of who's going to play every single night."

Curry added that the Warriors need greater flexibility in games, saying: "There have been situations this year… obviously we lost some big leads because we haven't been able to adapt quickly enough in those kinds of games. 

"It's the same thing with the coach's decisions that he has to make on a night-to-night basis."

LeBron James is questionable for the Los Angeles Lakers' home game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday after suffering a left calf contusion, the team have announced.

James sustained the injury during the first quarter of Friday's 122-119 in-season tournament road win over the Phoenix Suns, taking a blow from Kevin Durant's knee as he drove to the basket.

The NBA's all-time leading points scorer received treatment on the bench, but composed himself to finish with 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists as Los Angeles ended a three-game losing run.

However, James was seen limping after the win, which brought the curtain down on the Lakers' four-game road stretch, and he subsequently told reporters his shin was sore.

 "It never loosened up," James said of his shin after Friday's game. 

"[It] pretty much locked up right then and there. So I tried to keep my composure, make sure I was okay and try to keep it stretched out and as loose as possible and play the game and be effective.

"[It's] pretty sore right now. Obviously because the adrenaline is calming down and I've iced it, now it's pretty sore."

James was listed as questionable on the Lakers' injury report ahead of Portland's visit to Crypto.com Arena, while Anthony Davis and Jaxson Hayes were deemed as probable.

Injuries have hampered Los Angeles during an underwhelming start to the season, with Friday's victory lifting them to 4-5 after a run of three successive road losses against the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat and Houston Rockets.

Joel Embiid scored 35 points as the Philadelphia 76ers cruised past the winless Portland Trail Blazers 126-98.

James Harden, who has been in dispute with the 76ers, watched on from the bench as the reigning MVP Embiid added 15 rebounds.

Tyrese Maxey also posted a double-double as he finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

The Golden State Warriors fielded Draymond Green for the first time this season as Steph Curry saw off a Houston Rockets comeback.

The Warriors, up by 16 at one point, trailed by two in the fourth quarter before Curry hit four three-pointers inside two minutes to ease them away to a 106-95 win.

Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points with Paul George and Russell Westbrook each adding 19 as the Los Angeles Clippers cruised to a 123-83 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs committed 25 turnovers, five of them from star rookie Victor Wembanyama in his first game outside San Antonio.

The closest game of the night was in Sacramento where the Kings beat the Lakers 132-127 in overtime.

The NBA champion Denver Nuggets made it three wins to start the season as Nikola Jokic scored 28 points in a routine 128-95 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Jokic added 14 rebounds with Michael Porter Jr chipping in with 20 points.

Trae Young grabbed 20 points as eight Atlanta Hawks players reached double figures to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 127-110 for their first win of the season.

Damian Lillard, who scored 39 points in his Bucks debut on Thursday, was held to just six as Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 26 points.

Jrue Holiday is on the move again.

Four days after being traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to Portland, the Boston Celtics have acquired the veteran point guard from the Trail Blazers.

Boston sent point guard Malcolm Brogdon and forward Robert Williams, along with a 2024 first-round draft pick and an unprotected first-round pick in 2029 to Portland for Holiday on Sunday.

Holiday was just acquired by the Trail Blazers on Wednesday as part of the blockbuster three-team trade that saw the Bucks land seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard.

 

The 33-year-old Holiday earned a second career All-Star nod in 2022-23, averaging 19.3 points and 7.4 assists.

Despite the solid offensive numbers, Holiday is considered one of the NBA's best defenders. He is a five-time All-Defensive selection and has been a finalist for defensive player of the year each of the last three seasons.

With the Celtics, he is expected to take over as the team's starting point guard after Marcus Sent was shipped to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade this offseason.

Aside from his four days on Portland's roster, Holiday, who has career averages of 16.4 points and 6.5 assists in 14 seasons, will once again continue playing for an Eastern Conference power, as the Celtics have reached three of the last four conference finals.

Brogdon averaged 14.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 67 games off the bench last season for the Celtics - his first in Boston after spending the previous three with the Indiana Pacers. Brogdon began his career with the Bucks in 2016-17, and is averaging 15.4 points in his seven-year career.

Williams had spent his first five NBA seasons with the Celtics, and averaged 8.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in 35 games in 2022-23.

Damian Lillard has posted an emotional farewell to the Portland Trail Blazers after joining the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 33-year-old point guard, who has spent his entire 11-year career with the Blazers, officially requested his trade out of Portland earlier this summer.

Lillard, whose 32.2 points average last season was the third highest in the NBA, told the Blazers’ fans on X, formerly known as Twitter: “I want to start off by saying this isn’t a goodbye, it’s a see you later.

“My words have always been from the heart when it comes to you Rip City. I consider you my home as well as many of my family members and that won’t change.

“I’ve built my entire adulthood here and made so many friends that I will never forget.

“The moments on the basketball court as great as they have been don’t even compare to the experience I’ve had with all of you.

“The way you embraced me from day one gave me no choice but to reciprocate the love a thousand times and I don’t regret it one bit.”

Lillard, a seven-time All-Star and named among the NBA’s 75 greatest players of all-time in 2021, was traded to the Bucks on Wednesday as part of a three-team deal with the Phoenix Suns.

Lillard will team up with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo at the Bucks, who were quickly installed as favourites to win the NBA title next season.

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