Damian Lillard recognised the importance of his accomplishment after reaching 20,000 NBA points in the Milwaukee Bucks' 132-119 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Seven-time All-Star Lillard is the eighth active player to reach the milestone, having followed LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan and Chris Paul in achieving the feat.

There have been 51 players in NBA history who have reached 20,000, with Lillard doing so in his 794th game, making him the 17th fastest to do it, on a night in which he scored a season-high 40 points.

Lillard increased his career point total to 20,034 on Tuesday, while there was also a triple-double for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo had a career-high 16 assists, 14 rebounds and a season-low 11 points for his second triple-double this season, giving the Bucks a fifth straight win and a 14th consecutive triumph at Fiserv Forum.

"I don't want to fake downplay it like it's nothing," Lillard said after the game about hitting 20,000. 

"I know it's a big deal. It's a great accomplishment. It's a rare space to be in.

"I look at what led up to it. All of the things that I think of in high school, in college and the doubt that I faced over the course of my career, before the NBA – what I wasn't supposed to be, what I wasn't supposed to accomplish, and just my mentality through all those things. 

"Sometimes you don't really see the light at the end of the tunnel. You've just got to have that faith in yourself."

Lillard drained seven 3-pointers in a fantastic performance that saw the Bucks improve to 20-7 for the season, second only to the Boston Celtics (20-6) in the Eastern Conference.

"When you look at Dame, obviously he can shoot the ball," added Bucks coach Adrian Griffin.

"He can stretch the floor. He just puts a lot of pressure on your defense. 

"If you bring your bigs up, he can drive around them. He's strong enough and physical enough to finish at the rim. He just has no weaknesses on the offensive end."

The Spurs played without star rookie Victor Wembanyama (ankle) and lost for the 20th time in 21 games.

"I don't think we are expecting it to be long-term or anything," coach Gregg Popovich said about the injury.

Milwaukee is 5-0 on its season-long, six-game homestand that concludes Thursday against Orlando. San Antonio returns to action in Chicago on the same day.

Ja Morant scored 34 points in his season debut, including a spinning dribble in the lane to set up a game-winning floater as time expired, to lift the Memphis Grizzlies to a 115-113 victory Tuesday over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Morant didn’t look rusty in his return, shooting 12 of 24 from the field with eight assists and six rebounds to help Memphis snap a five-game losing streak.

His point total was the most in NBA history by a player coming back from an absence of at least 25 games.

The Grizzlies went 6-19 during Morant’s suspension for his social media antics with guns.

Jaren Jackson Jr. had 24 points and Desmond Bane added 21 for Memphis.

Brandon Ingram poured in 34 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 22 and 4 rebounds for the Pelicans, who had a four-game winning streak stopped.

Zion Williamson was limited by foul trouble and was limited to 13 points.

Lillard has 40 to power Bucks past Spurs

Damian Lillard scored a season-high 40 points to reach 20,000 and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to their fifth straight win, 132-119 over the San Antonio Spurs.

Lillard increased his career point total to 20,034 to become the 51st player in NBA history – and eighth active player – to accumulate 20,000 points. He is the 17th-fastest player to reach that milestone.

Antetokounmpo had a career-high 16 assists, 14 rebounds and a season-low 11 points for his second triple-double this season and 37th of his career.

Milwaukee is 5-0 on its season-long, six-game homestand that concludes Thursday against Orlando. The Bucks have won 14 straight games at Fiserv Forum for their longest home winning streak since a 20-game run from April 19, 1990-Jan. 8, 1991.

The Spurs played without rookie Victor Wembanyama (sore right ankle) and lost for the 20th time in 21 games.

Warriors outlast Celtics in overtime

Stephen Curry scored 33 points, including seven straight in overtime, and the Golden State Warriors defeated the Celtics, 132-126 to end Boston’s five-game winning streak.

Klay Thompson had 24 points, Jonathan Kuminga added 17 and Trayce Jackson-Davis contributed 10 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists as the Warriors won their third in a row.

Derrick White scored 30 points and Jaylen Brown had 26 points, eight boards and six assists for Boston, which dropped its third straight road game.

Al Horford’s 3-pointer with 36 seconds left in overtime drew the Celtics within 127-126, but Curry drilled a 3 with the shot clock winding down with 12 seconds to play and added a pair of free throws in the closing seconds.

Victor Wembanyama vowed that the San Antonio Spurs will "keep working our a** off" after they ended their long wait for a win.

The Spurs overcame LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers 129-115 on Friday.

That brought up just their fourth win of the season, and their first since November 2, ending an 18-game losing run.

"Kind of felt like a playoff game to me," No.1 draft pick Wembanyama said. "But, of course we have to feel good about it.

"We love that feeling. We want to repeat it, so yeah, we're going to keep working our a** off."

Wembanyama's teammate Zach Collins added: "We know we've been trending in the right direction, so nobody's shocked as far as the players go. 

"We just knew we had to catch a couple breaks, make some more shots. We knew our defense was getting better, so we feel good about it."

Wembanyama had 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Devin Vassell led the Spurs with a career-high 36 points.

James, who was missing from the Lakers starting lineup as Los Angeles defeated the Spurs on Wednesday, could not inspire Darvin Ham's team, who were without Anthony Davis.

"That's going to be challenging on us," James said when asked how the Lakers regroup for a home game against the New York Knicks on Monday.

"We've got to mentally and physically prepare ourselves. We've got to take care of our bodies. We've got to get our sleep. We've got to get our nutrition. We've got to hydrate.

"Whatever we've got to do to refuel, we've got to do, because the games are going to continue to come."

Jalen Brunson poured in a career-high 50 points and hit all nine of his 3-point attempts Friday in the New York Knicks’ 139-122 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Brunson was 17 of 23 from the field and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line with nine assists, six rebounds and five steals in 35-plus minutes.

He is the first player in franchise history to score 50 points while making all nine 3s.

Julius Randle had 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists to help New York snap a three-game road skid.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Devin Booker added 28 for the Suns, who lost guard Bradley Beal to an ankle injury in the first quarter.

Phoenix could be without a member of its All-Star trio for another extended period. Durant, Booker and Beal have played just one game together this season before Friday.

76ers extend Pistons’ losing streak to 22

Joel Embiid had another big game against the Detroit Pistons with 35 points and 13 rebounds on Friday and the Philadelphia 76ers sent the Detroit Pistons to their franchise-record 22nd straight loss, 124-92.

The Pistons, who lost at home to Philadelphia on Wednesday, surpassed the franchise record set at the end of the 1979-80 season and start of 1980-81. Detroit's slide is the sixth-longest single-season skid in NBA history.

The 76ers hold the overall losing streak record with 28 straight, set at the end of 2014-15 and start of 2015-16.

In three wins this season against the Pistons, Embiid has averaged 36.3 points and 13.3 rebounds. He is the first NBA player with at least 675 points and 200 rebounds in the first 20 games of a season since Wilt Chamberlain in 1964-65.

Philadelphia more than doubled Detroit in the second quarter, outscoring the Pistons 35-17 en route to a 61-39 lead at halftime.

James Wiseman had 20 points for Detroit, which dropped to 2-23.

Spurs beat Lakers to snap 18-game slide

Devin Vassell scored a career-high 36 points and Victor Wembanyama had 13 points and 15 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers, 129-115 to end an 18-game losing streak.

The victory was the first for San Antonio since defeating Phoenix on Nov. 2 and snapped the longest losing streak in franchise history, topping a 16-game slide last season.

LeBron James returned after a one-game absence with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lakers felt the loss of Anthony Davis, who sat out with a hip injury after he scored 37 points in a 122-119 win over the Spurs on Wednesday.

Los Angeles was also without starters D’Angelo Russell and Cam Reddish.

Anthony Davis was impressed by Victor Wembanyama after the Los Angeles Lakers almost surrendered a big lead before holding off the San Antonio Spurs, who were inspired by the French rookie sensation.

Despite a big night from Wembanyama, Davis scored 37 points, adding 10 rebounds and four steals, to secure the Lakers a 122-119 victory, extending the Spurs' franchise-record losing streak to 18.

Davis rolled his ankle in the opening seconds but stayed in the game and went on to shoot 10 for 15 from the field and score 24 points in the first half.

Taurean Prince had 17 points and Austin Reaves added 15 to help the Lakers win for the fifth time in six games despite missing LeBron James, who sat out the first of two straight games in San Antonio because of a left calf injury. The two teams will do battle again on Friday.

Wembanyama had 30 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks, but the Spurs have remained winless since Nov. 2. He became the first rookie with 30 points, 10 boards and six blocks in a game since Spurs superstar Tim Duncan in 1998.

"Obviously he is extremely talented," Davis said after the win, per the Los Angeles Times.

"He is a three-level scorer, as we have seen. It was fun playing against him. He is being talked about a lot, from his time overseas into summer league and then obviously now. 

"Obviously the team is struggling, but he is playing extremely well. He is able to keep them in games."

Lakers coach Darvin Ham added: "Wembanyama doesn’t stop competing. When the game was hanging in the balance, he made some big plays for them."

San Antonio outscored Los Angeles 45-30 in the final quarter to produce an exciting finish to the game. They trailed by 20 points early in the fourth but had reduced the deficit to 117-116 with 22 seconds remaining.

Ham knows the winners of the NBA Cup must become more ruthless.

"We got to add common sense to our talent," he said. "It's not so much about who we're playing, what their record is. 

"It's about us and the way we want to represent ourselves every time we step out on the floor: trying to get better, trying to build winning habits and be consistent at those winning habits. So, we are fortunate to get that W.

"Whenever you can get a win in this league against whoever, you have to be thankful. But that said, there's a lot of things we can take away that we know good damn well we need to get better at.

"Once the momentum got on their side, it seemed like they rolled it to the very end. But we hung in there. We gutted it out.

"Obviously, we are comfortable with the result, with the ‘W,’ but we’ve definitely got to get better at some things, and we will."

Playing without LeBron, the Lakers almost lost Davis too in the early stages, but he stayed in the game to produce a decisive performance.

"Giving my team a chance to win," he said. "I know when I’m on the floor playing, my team has a higher chance of winning than me being out because of my presence defensively and my presence offensively.

"We are trying to win basketball games. I was finding my shot. Of course, being more aggressive.

"But when my teammates are doing a good job, I think it’s easier for me to operate when guys are making their shots."

The Lakers are 15-10 and fifth in the Western Conference standings. This was just their fifth road win in 13 games this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in a franchise-record 64 points on Wednesday in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 140-126 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Antetokounmpo surpassed the team record of 57 points set by Michael Redd in 2006 in a loss to the Utah Jazz. The previous career high for the Milwaukee superstar was 55 points in a victory over the Washington Wizards on Jan. 3.

He was 20 of 28 from the field in this one, 24 of 32 on free throws and had 14 rebounds.

Damian Lillard added 21 points and Bobby Portis had 13 for the Bucks, who lost to the Pacers in the semifinals of the In-Season Tournament on Thursday.

Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner each scored 22 points for Indiana, which had won four in a row, excluding a loss to the Lakers in the championship game of the tournament on Saturday.

Antetokounmpo was tackled by Aaron Nesmith on a play underneath with 10:10 left, setting off a brief exchange involving several players. Nesmith was called for a flagrant-1, and Nesmith and Portis were assessed technical fouls.

Embiid, 76ers deal Pistons 21st straight loss

Joel Embiid scored 30 of his 41 points in the first half as the Philadelphia 76ers sent the Detroit Pistons to their 21st straight loss, 129-11 on Wednesday to open a home-and-home series.

The Pistons, who haven’t won since Oct. 28, matched the longest losing streak in franchise history, set at the end of the 1979-80 season and the start of 1980-81. It is the sixth-longest single-season losing streak in NBA history.

Only the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2013-14 76ers (26 in a row), along with the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies, the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets and the 2010-11 Charlotte Bobcats (23 straight) have lost more consecutive games in a season.

Philadelphia holds the overall mark of 28, set at the end of 2014-15 and start of 2015-16.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with a season-high 33 points on 11-of-19 shooting.

Former Piston Tobias Harris had 21 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 17 for the 76ers, winners of four straight.

Davis, Lakers hold off Wembanyama, Spurs

Anthony Davis scored 37 points and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame Victor Wembanyama’s big night in a 122-119 victory, extending the Spurs’ franchise-record losing streak to 18.

Davis rolled his left ankle in the opening seconds but refused to exit and went on to shoot 10 for 15 from the field and score 24 points in the first half.

Taurean Prince had 17 points and Austin Reaves added 15 to help the Lakers win for the fifth time in six games despite missing LeBron James, who sat out the first of two straight games in San Antonio because of a left calf injury.

Wembanyama had 30 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks, but the Spurs have remained winless since Nov. 2. He became the first rookie with 30 points, 10 boards and six blocks in a game since Spurs superstar Tim Duncan in 1998.

Detroit Pistons head coach Monty Williams conceded a franchise-record losing streak "hurts like you can't believe", although the San Antonio Spurs face a similar plight of their own.

Williams' Pistons were 131-123 losers against the Indiana Pacers on Monday as Detroit fell to their 20th straight loss in NBA.

That marks the worst single-season losing run in Detroit's franchise history and the longest in NBA records since the Houston Rockets fell to 20 straight defeats in 2020-21.

The Pistons have lost 21 in a row before, although that came between the end of the 1979-80 season and the start of the 1980-81 campaign, but Williams was somewhat encouraged with his team's showing against the Pacers.

"As much as this losing hurts us, and it hurts like you can't believe, I see a lot of growth," Williams said.

"I'm encouraged by some of the things we saw tonight. We just need to build on them."

Williams suggested the Pistons' approach towards halftime was their downfall as the Pacers' Bennedict Mathurin added five of his 30-point game in a 9-0 run to close the second quarter.

"I thought the way we closed to half-time was something that kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit," Williams added.

"We're still learning that everything we do in the meat of the game has an effect on the end."

Cade Cunningham and Ausar Thompson were rare bright sparks, scoring 23 and 20 points respectively for the Pistons, whose 20-game run equalled the sixth-longest single-season losing streak in NBA history,

San Antonio have endured similar woes, too, setting their own franchise record after a 17th consecutive defeat following a 93-82 at the hands of the Rockets.

Victor Wembanyama led the way with 15 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks but was 1-of-6 on his three-point attempts for the Spurs, whose offense went missing in their time of need.

"They played their ass off. They played a great game," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "You've got to make a shot in the NBA. You can't shoot five for 41 from three.

"They did a hell of a job defensively, in that regard. Really proud of them. But just feel badly that it's hard to know what to do when you're missing that many shots. It just makes it very, very difficult."

Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell combined to go for just 1-of-18 from deep, although the latter believes San Antonio's fortunes will soon change.

"If we could have made a couple more shots, it would've been a totally different game," Vassell said. "I like where we're going.

"We were trending in the right direction. If we would've made some shots, I think it would've been a totally different game."

Johnson echoed his team-mate's sentiment, although with an added sense of frustration after the Spurs' 82 points set a record low for any NBA side in a game this season.

"We know that we put in the work for it. We believe in each other and I wouldn't want to do it any other group than the group we got," Johnson said.

"We are a young team. We had great opportunities tonight and we had great opportunities at other games. We didn't really hit shots so we know we got to kind of hang our hats on the defensive end.

"I'm excited to get back out there Wednesday and put another great performance team-wise and hopefully get [a] win."

Victor Wembanyama vowed the San Antonio Spurs will continue looking for "a good recipe" after his historic performance failed to prevent his team matching their franchise-record losing run.

At 19 years and 38 days old, the first overall draft pick became the youngest player in NBA history to post a 20-20 game, managing 21 points and 20 assists at home to the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

However, that performance was not enough to prevent a 121-112 defeat as the Bulls rallied after the interval, with Patrick Williams, Demar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Coby White all managing 20 points or more for Chicago.

San Antonio has now tied their all-time record losing streak of 16 games, while their 3-18 record is the worst they have ever managed through 21 games of a season.

Wembanyama – whose 20-20 game came when he was four days younger than previous record holder Dwight Howard – says it is still a case of trial and error after he starred from the center position against the Bulls.

"Experimenting in different areas of the game is always something important and interesting to me," Wembanyama said. 

"Every game is different, but we're going to see and try until we find a good recipe.

"When our opponents are down at half, of course they're going to try and have a reaction. We've got to expect that every time, because our first half was pretty solid, especially defensively. 

"There are ups and downs during the game, but we've got to get our downs less and less."

San Antonio's losing steak still stands three games short of that being endured by the Detroit Pistons, who are 2-20 after going down by a 123-91 scoreline against the Orlando Magic, their 19th straight loss.

Franz Wagner scored 27 points and Paolo Banchero added 24 for Orlando, with the Pistons now enduring the longest single-season losing streak in their franchise history and their second-longest overall.

Detroit previously lost 21 in a row across the end of the 1979-80 season and the start of 1980-81.

Though Pistons coach Monty Williams acknowledged the 15-7 Magic are a tough nut to crack defensively, he wasn't happy with his team's offensive efforts.

"They're a good defensive team but we missed a lot of open shots," Williams said after the defeat. 

"They take away the paint, force you to play outside. We generated only 30 threes and just didn't hit a good percentage. We just had a hard time putting the ball in the basket tonight."

Trae Young scored 45 points and drew a charge with 2.7 seconds left to lift the Atlanta Hawks to a 137-135 win Thursday over the San Antonio Spurs, who lost their 13th straight game.

Dejounte Murray had 24 points and five steals against his former team as Atlanta avoided a third straight loss.

Jeremy Sochan tied his career high with 33 points on 11-of-13 shooting and Victor Wembanyama had 21 with 12 rebounds and four blocks, but the Spurs have remained winless since Nov. 2.

Young scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, going 3 for 5 from the field and 7 for 8 on free throws.

Sochan stole the ball from Saddiq Bey and was driving for the potential tying basket but was called for charging to seal San Antonio’s latest defeat.

The Spurs dominated early, leading by as many as 15 points in the first half.

 

Butler, Heat overcome Haliburton, Pacers

Jimmy Butler scored 36 points and the Miami Heat used a huge fourth quarter to overcome a career-high 44 points from Tyrese Haliburton in a 142-132 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Miami trailed by 13 early and took its first lead early in the fourth quarter, using a 28-6 run to take control in the opener of a two-game series.

The Heat’s 45 fourth-quarter points were the second-most in team history, topped by only a 48-point fourth against New York on March 2, 1989.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 24 points and Josh Richardson added 19 to help the Heat snap a three-game skid.

Haliburton scored 28 points in the first half and had 10 assists, giving him the NBA’s first game of at least 44 points and that many assists since Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point, 11-assist game for Cleveland on Jan. 2.

 

Brunson, Knicks send Pistons to 16th straight loss

Jalen Brunson scored 42 points and Julius Randle had 29 points with 10 rebounds as the New York Knicks extended the Detroit Pistons’ franchise-record losing streak to 16 with a 118-112 victory.

RJ Barrett had 15 points and Donte DiVincenzo added 12, hitting a pair of key 3-pointers down the stretch to help the Knicks win their third in four games.

Cade Cunningham scored 31 points and Killian Hayes contributed 23 as Detroit completed a winless November and lost their 13th straight against New York.

The Pistons haven’t won since a victory over Chicago on Oct. 28 left them 2-1.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stands by his decision to criticise the team's fans over their booing of former franchise favourite Kawhi Leonard, describing their behaviour as "hateful".

Popovich made headlines on Wednesday when he walked over to the scorer's table and grabbed a microphone during the second quarter of the Spurs' 109-102 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers.

With San Antonio's fans loudly jeering their former star Leonard as he lined up a pair of free throws, his former coach Popovich leapt to his defence. 

"Excuse me for a second," Popovich said to the crowd. "Can we stop all the booing and let these guys play? Have a little class. That's not who we are. Knock off the booing."

Popovich later said the boos had risked giving Leonard – who won the NBA Championship with the Spurs in 2014 before departing four years later – additional motivation.

Asked if he regretted the remarks ahead of Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors, Popovich said: "Absolutely not. It's pretty easy to understand.

"I listened to it for a while and it just got louder and louder and uglier and uglier, and I felt sorry for him, and I was embarrassed for our city, for our organization.

"That's not who we are, that's not how we've conducted ourselves for the last 25 years. It's the opposite of the way we've conducted ourselves, the way we've worked in the community.

"It's kind of an indication of the world we live in today. It was hateful. It was really disrespectful, it was just mean-spirited. 

"We're the team that when somebody comes back to town after having been a Spur, we show a video of them. I can remember when Kawhi and Danny Green came back from Toronto, we showed videos of those guys and the crowd didn't react like that." 

The Spurs failed to end their dismal run of form on Friday, seeing their losing streak extend to 11 games as Stephen Curry's 35 points helped the Warriors to a 118-112 win in the In-Season Tournament game at Chase Center.

Curry also matched his season-high tally of seven three-pointers and added six assists, while guard Gary Payton II won plaudits for a terrific leaping block on Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama.

Number one draft pick Wembanyama had 22 points and eight rebounds but only made one of six three-point attempts as San Antonio's miserable run continued. 

They continue to prop up the Western Conference at 3-13 and are 0-4 in the group stage of the In-Season Tournament ahead of Sunday's difficult road game against the Denver Nuggets. 

Gregg Popovich said San Antonio Spurs fans should not "poke the bear" after his team lost to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Spurs coach Popovich walked over to the scorer's table late in the second quarter when Clippers star and former Spurs player Kawhi Leonard was being jeered by the San Antonio faithful as he prepared for a free throw.

"Excuse me for a second," Popovich said to the crowd. "Can we stop all the booing and let these guys play? Have a little class. That's not who we are. Knock off the booing."

Leonard went on to finish with 26 points, four rebounds and four assists as the Clippers triumphed 109-102, their third straight NBA win.

Asked why he took hold of the mic to speak to the crowd during his side's 10th consecutive loss, Popovich simply told reporters: "I think anybody that knows anything about sports, you don't poke the bear."

Leonard, for his part, shrugged off the jeers.

"If I don't have a Spurs jersey on, they're probably going to boo me the rest of my career," Leonard, who won the first of his two NBA titles in San Antonio, said.

"But I mean it is what it is. Like I said, they're one of the best fans in the league and they're very competitive.

"Once I step out on this basketball court out here, they show that they're going for the other side.

"When I'm on the streets or going into restaurants, they show love. So it is what it is."

James Harden finished with 16 points to move 24th on the all-time NBA list, while Paul George had 24 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers (6-7).

Victor Wembanyama led the Spurs with 22 points and 15 rebounds, but his team fell to 3-12, the worst record in the Western Conference.

De’Aaron Fox scored 16 of his season-high 43 points in the fourth quarter and the Sacramento Kings won their fifth straight, 129-120 over the San Antonio Spurs to remain perfect in the In-Season Tournament on Friday.

Domantas Sabonis had 28 points and Malik Monk added 20 as the Kings won their fourth in a row in San Antonio and moved to 2-0 in the West Group C standings of the tournament.

Victor Wembanyama had 27 points on 12-of-26 shooting and nine rebounds after scoring a season-low eight points in Tuesday’s loss at Oklahoma City.

Zach Collins scored 28 points and Keldon Johnson contributed 20, but the Spurs lost their seventh straight and dropped to 0-3 in the in-season tournament.

Durant stars as Suns beat Jazz

Kevin Durant scored 38 points and came up just shy of a triple-double and Devin Booker had 24 points and 15 assists to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 131-128 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Durant had nine rebounds and nine assists and scored at least 25 points for the 11th straight game, the longest active streak in the NBA.

Durant’s 3-pointer gave Phoenix a 124-115 lead before Utah rallied to get within one in the final minute. He struck again with his sixth 3 of the game with 18 seconds to play.

Jordan Clarkson had a season-high 37 points for Utah and Lauri Markkanen added 21.

Harden hits key 3-pointer as Clippers snap skid

James Harden drilled a tiebreaking 3-pointer while getting fouled with six seconds remaining and the Los Angeles Clippers ended a six-game losing streak with a 106-100 win over the Houston Rockets.

Harden sank a 26-footer from atop the key and completed the rare four-point play to seal his first win since joining the Clippers, who had lost their last five games since acquiring the superstar.

Kawhi Leonard added two free throws in the final second and finished with 26 points, while Harden added 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Alperen Sengun scored 23 points for the Rockets, whose six-game win streak was stopped after allowing Los Angeles to close the game on a 12-1 run.

Victor Wembanyama will be a "real, real problem" in the NBA, so says Rudy Gobert.

Top draft pick Wembanyama has been earning plenty of plaudits from big names around the NBA in the early weeks of his maiden season with the San Antonio Spurs.

The 19-year-old is averaging 19.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, though he could not lift the Spurs to victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

It was Gobert's Wolves who ran out 177-110 winners in the first in-season tournament game for both teams.

And Gobert believes his fellow Frenchman is already proving just how good he could be.

"I think his positioning is way ahead of the positioning of a rookie," Gobert said.

"You can tell that he is well coached and also that he is studying the game. That will only get better throughout the year. He's already affecting [shots], he's already getting in people's minds a bit defensively.

"He's going to be a real, real problem. He's already a problem, but I think he's going to be a real, real problem really soon.

"I'm really happy and proud of the way he's evolving and his progression.

"He's a competitor. He's a winner. All those things that, like I said, the way he works, his mindset, the way he studies the game. You add that to obviously the unique physical tools that he has. And I don't think we're going to see something like that for a while."

Indeed, Gobert thinks it is hard to know just how good Wembanyama might turn out to be.

"His approach, his dedication, the work that he puts in, the work he put in the last three months since the draft is paying off," Gobert said.

"I saw a big difference between summer league and preseason. You can tell he was in the gym, and not just in the gym, but he was doing the right thing.

"It's hard to imagine what [he's] going to be [like] after a couple years of working like he's doing. I can't even imagine how he's going to evolve."

Gobert and Wembanyama swapped jerseys after the game, which the latter finished with 29 points and nine rebounds.

"It feels special," Wembanyama said of his first matchup against Gobert.

"I know every night there's going to be one or two guys who are special to play against. But even more, it's someone that over the years has tried to take care of me and teach me some stuff. It was even more special and challenging."

Victor Wembanyama described his Madison Square Garden debut as "special" but accepted he has much to learn after seeing the New York Knicks spoil his first outing at the iconic venue.

Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs travelled to Manhattan looking to improve on a 3-4 start to the season on Wednesday, but the Knicks comfortably condemned them to a third straight defeat, triumphing 126-105.

The seven-foot-four rookie received some rough treatment from the Knicks, finishing with 14 points, nine rebounds and a block while failing to make his first field goal until the third quarter.

The New York fans revelled in the struggles of this year's first overall draft pick, with a sellout crowd chanting that he was "overrated".

Wembanyama, though, viewed the defeat as part of the Spurs' learning curve and expressed confidence that San Antonio – the youngest team in the league – will soon find their feet. 

"We're learning," he said after the game. "As a young team, any team really, we're going to go through losing streaks sometimes during the season in tough times.

"It's going to happen. But the most important thing is how we bounce back.

"We've got good intentions, and we've learned a lot also from the coaching staff defensively, so we're just trying to apply what they say. 

"But I think what's good is we are bringing energy at all times, so this is a good start. We've got great potential defensively. 

"I know in the past games, especially in Phoenix, we've seen great defensive sequences. We're just all getting it together."

Despite the difficult nature of the game, the 19-year-old enjoyed his first outing at the Garden, adding: "No matter how many times I play here, I hope it will always be special." 

The Knicks weren't afraid to be physical with Wembanyama, with center Mitchell Robinson being the primary defender on six of his field goal attempts, denying him a basket.

Spurs guard Tre Jones is confident Wembanyama will adapt to that kind of attention, adding: "Some teams will try to attack him and whatnot, be very aggressive with him, physical with him.

"It is what it is, and as long as he continues to develop like we know he will, it'll be like that for however long he plays, and so it's something that we'll just get used to."

Phoenix Suns star duo Kevin Durant and Devin Booker had nothing but praise for San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama.

The Spurs beat the Suns 132-121 on Thursday, with the number one overall pick Wembanyama marking his arrival in the NBA with a 38-point performance.

Ten of those points came in the final 4:15 as the French teenager took the game away from the Suns down the stretch.

It marked the Suns' second defeat on the spin to the Spurs, and Durant and Booker, who combined for 59 points, were not afraid to pile the plaudits onto the 19-year-old swiftly emerging as San Antonio's talisman.

"He's an unbelievable talent," said Booker. "Everyone knows that. We're just trying to figure what he is because we've never seem him before.

"We got him early in the season. Hopefully, next time we play him we can make some adjustments to make it tougher. But he has an advantage being 7-4 and being able to shoot over everybody."

Two-time NBA champion Durant added: "I don't see anyone else like him in this game.

"We're both skinny and I know he watched me growing up, but he's his own player.

"His enthusiasm for the game – you can tell that through the TV and playing against him.

"He's his own player, own person. He's going to create his own lane and is much different than anyone else who has played."

Wembanyama has averaged 20.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists across his first five NBA games.

"He's a multi-faceted player – he’ll pass to the open guy," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

"He's got confidence in himself. He made some plays that were unbelievable. That combination is pretty good."

Wembanyama, though, pointed out that it remains a team game.

"Every game is different," he said. "We got our third win. Every game we try to find the spots that we need to hurt them.

"Today, it might have been in this way. Tomorrow, it will be someone else. That is how great teams work. If we want to be great, we need to play with everyone."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.