LeBron James scored a season-high 39 points with seven three-pointers to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to their fifth win from their past six games, beating the San Antonio Spurs 143-138 on Saturday.

James, in his second game back from a groin injury, scored 23 of his 39 points in the second half, shooting seven-of-12 from beyond the arc along with having 11 rebounds and three assists. The four-time MVP's seven three-pointers was a joint career high.

The Lakers were without Anthony Davis due to a minor calf contusion, with guard Dennis Schroder contributing 21 points and six assists.

Russell Westbrook also came off the bench to add 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists, linking up with James to set up a one-handed dunk just before half-time.

Westbrook was left bloodied after he suffered a deep cut to his forehead in the third quarter after an elbow from Zach Collins but played on.

The win improved the Lakers' record to 7-11, while it consigned the Spurs to their eighth-straight defeat, slumping to 6-15 overall.

The Spurs' losing streak is their equal fourth worst in franchise history. Their worst is 13 straight from 1989.

Keldon Johnson top scored for San Antonio with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Tre Jones added 23 points with 13 assists.

DA and Booker lift Suns past Jazz

Deandre Ayton scored 29 points with 21 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns held off the Utah Jazz 123-122 for their fourth consecutive victory to improve to 13-6.

Devin Booker contributed 27 points on eight-of-27 field shooting, scoring 10-of-11 from the free-throw line, with 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Suns, who trailed by 10 at quarter-time. Nine of Ayton's 21 rebounds were offensive as he brought up a rare 20/20 double-double.

The Suns only managed six-of-22 from beyond the arc but the Jazz could not capitalise, giving up 12 turnovers. Jordan Clarkson top scored for Utah with 22 points.

Doncic's Mavs beaten by Raptors

The Dallas Mavericks lost their third straight game as Luka Doncic was kept to 24 points in a 105-100 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Raptors small forward O.G. Anunoby scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, top scoring alongside Fred VanVleet with 26, while Chris Boucher added a season-high 22 points with 13 rebounds.

NBA leading scorer Doncic shot eight-of-15 from the field and two-of-four from beyond the arc for the Mavs, with seven rebounds, nine assists and two steals.

Los Angeles Clippers franchise player Paul George has been diagnosed with a hamstring strain, ruling him out of at least Monday's clash with the Utah Jazz, and likely more.

George led the Clippers in scoring last season, and continues to lead this season as Kawhi Leonard makes his way back from a long-term injury.

Against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, George was ruled out of the game at half-time after putting up 21 points in 15 minutes, with the Clippers calling it knee soreness as his team cruised to a 119-97 blowout win.

George was listed as questionable until hours before Monday's fixture against the Clippers, when the team released a new injury report with the news of his hamstring strain.

After Saturday's win, Clippers head coach Ty Lue told reporters he did not think it was a significant injury.

"He's doing okay," he said. "I haven't seen what they [medical staff] said about what happened to him, but I just know he had a little tweak."

George was also recorded telling team owner Steve Ballmer that he has "a little soreness, but it's okay".

The typical recovery time for a hamstring strain is at least two weeks, although his status as questionable just two days after suffering the injury bodes well for his projected time on the sidelines.

The surprisingly successful Utah Jazz will be without veteran point guard Mike Conley for at least the next two weeks after he was diagnosed with a sprained knee.

Conley, 35, is averaging just 10.2 points per game this season for his lowest figure since his rookie season back in the 2007-08 season, but his 7.9 assists per game is setting a new career-high.

His leadership and ball distribution have helped the Jazz to 12-6 record – the best in the Western Conference – in a season where they were expected to bottom-out after trading away max-contract talents Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in the offseason.

During Utah's 118-113 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, Conley left the game after playing only eight minutes, going down awkwardly with a non-contact knee injury.

Usually a sign of significant damage, Conley dodged a bullet when it was revealed on Sunday by The Athletic's Shams Charania that he had only suffered a knee sprain, and could be back in as little as two weeks.

His absence could lead to increased opportunity for Collin Sexton, who has been relegated to a bench role since arriving from the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the trade for Mitchell.

Dallas Mavericks MVP hopeful Luka Doncic has always given the Los Angeles Clippers nightmares, and Tuesday was more of the same in a 103-101 home win.

Of the 30 NBA teams, only the Detroit Pistons have felt Doncic's wrath more than the Clippers, averaging 32.4 points in five games against Detroit, and 31.7 per game in a healthier 13-game sample size against Los Angeles.

That number went up again after the 23-year-old Slovenian sensation dropped a game-high 35 points on 11-of-22 shooting, adding 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and the game-sealing three-pointer.

Leading 99-98 with 30 seconds remaining, Doncic gathered a loose-ball and drilled a deep three to jump ahead by four, putting the game to bed.

While Doncic was clearly the best player on the floor for the Mavericks – scoring over 30 points for the 11th time in 13 games this season – starting wing Dorian Finney-Smith was just as important to the final result, drilling a red-hot seven-of-13 threes to chip in 21 points.

For the Clippers, Paul George was not bad on the surface, posting 23 points (seven-of-13 shooting), seven rebounds and six assists, but he committed a career-high 10 turnovers after never having more than eight in his previous 859 games.

Brunson, Reddish get it done for the Knicks

After a scorching 10-3 start to the season, the Utah Jazz have now lost their past three games after going down 118-111 at home against the New York Knicks.

Knicks starting point guard Jalen Brunson was game's most valuable player, scoring 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting with eight assists and three steals, and it was another terrific showcase from Cam Reddish.

Fresh off his season-high 26 points during the Knicks' last time out, Reddish was awarded his fifth start of the campaign after starting no games last season. 

He repaid the faith with another efficient showing, scoring 19 points on seven-of-13 shooting as he begins to fulfill the potential that saw him rated as one of the best prospects in the world heading into his draft year.

Kings score 153 points in regulation

The Sacramento Kings put up the biggest score in the league this season with a 153-121 drubbing of the Brooklyn Nets, scoring at least 36 points in every quarter.

It is eight points more than Oklahoma City in second place, after their 145-135 victory against the New York Knicks on Sunday.

They shot 60.2 per cent from the field (56-of-93), 48.8 per cent from long range (20-of-41) and had seven players in double-figures, led by Terence Davis off the bench with 31 (12-of-16 shooting).

It was the first time this season Ben Simmons has scored at least 10 points, finishing with 11, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 20 minutes off the Nets bench.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers has never seen anything like Joel Embiid's performance at both ends in Sunday's 105-98 win over the Utah Jazz.

Embiid scored a career-best 59 points, with a joint career-high seven blocks, along with 11 rebounds and eight assists.

The Cameroonian scored 26 of Philadelphia's 27 final quarter points and more than half their total score, a feat not achieved in the NBA since Damian Lillard in 2019.

"I've seen a guy score a lot of points," Rivers told reporters. "I haven't seen guys score a lot of points, rebound, and then the blocked shots. That was impressive.

"He was just getting everything. I've never seen a more dominating performance when you combine defense and offense."

Embiid's teammates were left in awe too, with Matisse Thybulle labelling his stat line as "pretty ridiculous".

"It’s absurd. Actually, my friends were texting me after the game and they were like 'It's like a 2K stat line' and it's not one of those things you see in a real basketball game," Thybulle said.

"It's like when you pick one player on 2K and just do everything with him. It's pretty ridiculous if I'm being honest. It's amazing."

Embiid's 59 points is the best in the NBA this season, exceeding Darius Garland's mark of 51 set earlier on Sunday in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 129-124 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Despite his monstrous performance, Embiid played down the significance of his individual display.

"This is not about me. We did it as a team," the 28-year-old center said. "Obviously, the coaches put me in those positions, and obviously, my teammates fed me the ball. I thought we had great spacing around everything we were doing.

"Like I said, all the credit goes to my teammates just being in the right spots and trusting me and giving me the ball."

Embiid shot 19-of-28 from the field including making a three-pointer, which reinforced to him that it was going to be his game.

"When I finally made a three [I knew it was going to be a big game] because I’ve been shooting the ball so bad this year from three," he said.

"It was early in the game. I saw how they were guarding me. Just like last night, I'll take that every night. If they’re not gonna double team as much, I hope every team does it so I'll take it, but from the beginning... Obviously, in the fourth quarter with the game being so close, I just wanted to do whatever it took."

Joel Embiid flexed his muscles with arguably the best game of his career, with a season-best 59-point haul in the Philadelphia 76ers' 105-98 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Embiid was dominant in every facet, with his 59 points coming on 19-of-28 shooting, making 20-of-24 from the stripe, while having 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocks.

The Sixers center is the first player since blocks became official in 1973-74, to record 50-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, five-plus assists and five-plus blocks in a game.

Embiid is also the first player since Damian Lillard in 2019 to have more than half of his team's points in a game.

The Cameroonian erupted in the fourth quarter with 26 points, taking him into fifth spot for the best scoring performances in franchise history. It was a career-best points haul for 28-year-old Embiid.

Tyrese Maxey was Philadelphia's next best with 18 points and four steals, with James Harden still out with a foot injury.

The Jazz had no answers to Embiid, who had scored 42 points on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks, with Malik Beasley scoring 18 off the bench while Lauri Markkanen had 15 points with 10 rebounds.

Garland briefly holds season-high points haul

Darius Garland piled on 27 fourth-quarter points for a career-high 51 points, but he could not lift the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Minnesota Timberwolves, losing 129-124.

Garland's 51 points, which included 10 triples, was briefly a league season-high, before Embiid's monster game for the Sixers.

The Timberwolves led by 24 points late in the third before the Cavs rallied, led by Garland, who became the fourth Cleveland player to reach 50 points.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 29 points with 13 rebounds, while D'Angelo Russell added 30 points with 12 assists.

AD lifts Lakers without LeBron to snap skid

Anthony Davis stepped up in LeBron James' absence, scoring 37 points with 18 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped their five-game losing run with a 116-103 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Davis shot 15-of-25 from the field, while bringing down 10 offensive rebounds among his 18 for the game, with Lonnie Walker adding 25 points, making four-of-five from beyond the arc.

Kevin Durant was a lone hand on offense for the Nets with Seth Curry, Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving all absent. Durant scored 31 points with nine rebounds and seven assists.

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry hit 27 points as the Golden State Warriors' winless road run (0-7) extended to 0-7 after being downed 122-115 by the Sacramento Kings.

Joel Embiid flexed his muscles with arguably the best game of his career, with a season-best 59-point haul in the Philadelphia 76ers' 105-98 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Embiid was dominant in every facet, with his 59 points coming on 19-of-28 shooting, making 20-of-24 from the stripe, while having 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocks.

The Sixers center is the first player since blocks became official in 1973-74, to record 50-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, five-plus assists and five-plus blocks in a game.

Embiid is also the first player since Damian Lillard in 2019 to have more than half of his team's points in a game.

The Cameroonian erupted in the fourth quarter with 26 points, taking him into fifth spot for the best scoring performances in franchise history. It was a career-best points haul for 28-year-old Embiid.

Tyrese Maxey was Philadelphia's next best with 18 points and four steals, with James Harden still out with a foot injury.

The Jazz had no answers to Embiid, who had scored 42 points on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks, with Malik Beasley scoring 18 off the bench while Lauri Markkanen had 15 points with 10 rebounds.

Garland briefly holds season-high points haul

Darius Garland piled on 27 fourth-quarter points for a career-high 51 points, but he could not lift the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Minnesota Timberwolves, losing 129-124.

Garland's 51 points, which included 10 triples, was briefly a league season-high, before Embiid's monster game for the Sixers.

The Timberwolves led by 24 points late in the third before the Cavs rallied, led by Garland, who became the fourth Cleveland player to reach 50 points.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 29 points with 13 rebounds, while D'Angelo Russell added 30 points with 12 assists.

AD lifts Lakers without LeBron to snap skid

Anthony Davis stepped up in LeBron James' absence, scoring 37 points with 18 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped their five-game losing run with a 116-103 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Davis shot 15-of-25 from the field, while bringing down 10 offensive rebounds among his 18 for the game, with Lonnie Walker adding 25 points, making four-of-five from beyond the arc.

Kevin Durant was a lone hand on offense for the Nets with Seth Curry, Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving all absent. Durant scored 31 points with nine rebounds and seven assists.

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry hit 27 points as the Golden State Warriors' winless road run (0-7) extended to 0-7 after being downed 122-115 by the Sacramento Kings.

The Los Angeles Lakers slumped to their fourth straight double-digit defeat as LeBron James had a late injury scare in a 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

James, who played 32 minutes for 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists, was benched late with "left leg soreness" and did not return after wincing upon drawing a foul.

The Lakers loss was their fifth straight defeat when James has scored 30 points, while it was their ninth consecutive defeat to the Clippers, dating back to 2020. That streak is the second longest in series history.

Paul George fired for the Clippers, with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting along with six rebounds and two blocks, bringing up his sixth straight 25-point game which is the longest run in his time with the franchise. Norman Powell contributed 18 points off the bench.

Anthony Davis scored 21 points with nine rebounds but was shy on offense, while Russell Westbrook managed 14 points with nine assists in 30 minutes off the bench.

The Clippers, who are still without two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, have won five of their past six games and improved to 7-5, while the Lakers are 2-9.

Short-handed Bucks triumph in 2OT

The Milwaukee Bucks overcame the Oklahoma City Thunder in double overtime 136-132 without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday to improve their record to 10-1 and bounce back after their first loss of the season.

Antetokounmpo and Holiday sat out with a sore left knee and sprained right ankle respectively, but Jevon Carter stepped up with a career-high 36 points and 12 assists.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 39 points, drained a triple to give OKC a one-point lead with 0.6 seconds remaining in the first overtime.

Bucks center Brook Lopez, who contributed 24 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, was fouled by Lu Dort on the inbound pass, but missed one of his two free-throws, sending the game to second overtime, where Milwaukee finished the job.

Jazz's surprise start, Doncic's run halted, KD shines

The Utah Jazz continued their surprise start to the season with a 125-119 win over the Atlanta Hawks, moving them to a Western Conference-leading 10-3 record.

The Jazz rallied after blowing a 12-point lead, piling on 40 fourth-quarter points with Lauri Markkanen scoring a season-high 32 points. Malik Beasley scored six three-pointers, including four in the fourth period, for 18 points for the game.

Luka Doncic was held to less than 30 points for the first time this season, scoring 24 points on nine-of-29 field shooting, as the Dallas Mavericks lost 94-87 to the Orlando Magic.

Kevin Durant had a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as the Brooklyn Nets blew out the New York Knicks 112-85 without the suspended Kyrie Irving.

LeBron James will miss the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Utah Jazz on Monday due to foot soreness.

James scored 27 points in the Lakers' 114-110 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

But the four-time NBA MVP had been struggling with illness last week, as well as being troubled by a foot problem.

The Lakers announced that James will not face the Jazz at Vivint Arena in the first game of the week.

Guards Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker will also miss the meeting with Utah due to illness.

The Lakers (2-7) have made a poor start to the season, with only the Houston Rockets (1-9) keeping them off the bottom of the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham did not hold back when discussing his side's poor performance in their 130-116 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday, calling their defense "inept at best".

The Jazz came out of the blocks on fire, putting up 40 points in the first quarter and another 35 in the second to lead 75-62 at halftime.

While the Lakers were able to muster a solid third period, winning the frame 33-25 and trimming the lead to 100-95 heading into the fourth quarter, they failed to keep that momentum up and gave up another 30 points in the last.

Utah's 130 points is the biggest score a team has put up against the Lakers this season, with no team managing more than the Golden State Warriors' total of 123 on opening night.

Speaking to the media after the loss, Ham said it was incredibly disappointing to see his team lose the momentum they have been trying to build as they entered the contest off back-to-back wins.

"We took a huge step backwards tonight," he said. "Giving up 75 points in the first half, giving them at least three 30-plus point quarters, we can't play like that.

"We were good during different small stretches, but the overall picture that was painted, by us defensively, sucks.

"That's got to be in your DNA, and it's a process to get it to be that way – where you want to defend at a high level night-in and night-out.

"It's not comfortable, but it's fun. It has to be fun, you have to enjoy getting stops and holding teams to one possession. Rebounding the ball, getting hits, whether you retrieve the ball or not.

"Just the little things of the game – keeping the ball in front of you, getting down in your stance, sprinting back in transition.

"Unfortunately we have a huge laundry list of things we can show them – that we're going to show them tomorrow.

"This is the first game where I felt like we really weren't there defensively."

When asked about any offensive struggles in the fourth quarter, Ham reinforced that this loss had nothing to do with that side of the ball.

"There's 60,000 points in our locker room, so I'm not worried about our offense," he said.

"We've got to defend. We scored enough points tonight to win a game, but our defense was inept at best."

One Lakers player who did perform well was Russell Westbrook, with the maligned former MVP actually drawing "M-V-P" chants from the home crowd at one point.

He finished with a team-high 26 points on nine-of-14 shooting, hitting three-of-five from long range while adding six assists and two steals, but he said the energy from his side was not there from the jump.

"They just started off playing a lot faster than us," he said. "[We were a] step slow, and it showed. We tried to pick it up in the second half, but we put ourselves in a bad position early."

The Lakers are now 2-6 through their first eight games, and will host the 7-1 Cleveland Cavaliers in their next fixture on Sunday.

Jason Kidd says it is "special" to be mentioning Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic in the same conversations as greats Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan after a seventh straight 30-point game to start the season.

Only on three occasions has a player achieved such a feat, with Chamberlain accounting for two of those – the last of which was in 1962-63. The only other player to have accomplished it was Jack Twyman.

The legendary Michael Jordan was the last player to do six games with 30 points at the start of the season back in the 1986-87 campaign.

Doncic put up 33 points and 11 assists as the Mavs defeated the Utah Jazz 103-100 to move to 4-3 for the season and head coach Kidd waxed lyrical about his go-to man.

"I think it's special when you talk about M.J. and Wilt," Kidd said. 

"It's rare air. We get to see that on a nightly basis, so that's pretty cool. A 23-year-old kid that's at this level.

"It just shows the focus that he has. He's carrying the team and putting the team in position to win."

For his part, Doncic is focused on helping the team succeed rather than celebrating his brilliant streak.

"I don't know. I'm trying to win games," Doncic said. 

"The player that scores more, you're going to win the game. I think today was one of the best games that I've played. Not forcing a lot. Sharing the ball.

"I always hear Wilt Chamberlain, so he's always there. It's great. I just wished to play in the NBA. This is really a dream for me. Couldn't be happier just to play basketball, to do my job, and that's it."

Dejounte Murray showed exactly why the Atlanta Hawks pulled the trigger on their big offseason trade, carrying his new team to a 112-99 road win against the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

Murray, 26, was a first-time All-Star this past season with the San Antonio Spurs, before the Hawks traded for him in a deal centred around three first-round draft picks.

There were eyebrows raised at the time about if Murray could fit and produce next to another All-Star point guard in Trae Young, but he continued to exceed expectations in a starring performance against the Knicks.

He finished with a game-high and career-high 36 points on 14-of-27 shooting, hitting five of his 12 three-point attempts while adding nine assists, six steals and four rebounds. 

His performance came at a good time for the Hawks, with Young struggling on his way to 17 points on seven-of-22 shooting after briefly leaving the game due to a nasty scratch to his eye

It is the first time this season Murray has surpassed 26 points in a game – also setting season-highs for field goal makes and attempts, three-point makes and attempts, and steals.

Also finding his footing with a new team, the Knicks' Jalen Brunson was comfortably his side's best performer, finishing with an efficient 20 points (eight-of-15 shooting) and five assists.

Since arriving with the Knicks, Brunson is averaging career-highs in points (18.2), assists (7.2), rebounds (4.2) and steals (1.3).

Bucks remain the NBA's last undefeated team

It was smooth sailing for the Milwaukee Bucks in their 116-91 home win against the Detroit Pistons, moving to 7-0 for the season as the only team without a loss.

Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is making a strong case as the favourite to win his third, continuing his blistering start to the season with 32 points (11-of-24 shooting, 10-of-12 free throws), 12 rebounds, five steals, four assists and two blocks.

He was supported in style by Jrue Holiday, who hit 11 of his 16 shots on his way to 26 points and seven rebounds.

Doncic mounts his own MVP case

Antetokounmpo's biggest challenger for this year's MVP trophy appears to be Luka Doncic, who carried his Dallas Mavericks to a 103-100 win over the Utah Jazz.

In the win, which lifted the Mavericks to 4-3, Doncic shot 60 per cent from the field for his 33 points (12-of-20), leading the game in points and assists (11). Doncic has now scored at least 30 points in each of his team's first seven games, becoming the first player to do so since Wilt Chamberlain in 1962-63.

Still yet to break into the starting lineup after being acquired from the Houston Rockets, Christian Wood put in a strong showing off the bench, scoring 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting with 10 rebounds.

Garland returns in Cavaliers' overtime win

All-Star point guard Darius Garland returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers' lineup and played a big part in their 114-113 overtime win at home against the Boston Celtics.

Having not played since suffering an eye injury in the Cavs' season-opener, Garland did not miss a beat, dishing a game-high 12 assists to go with his 29 points (nine-of-20 shooting) in 42 minutes.

Running-mate Donovan Mitchell showed there were plenty of shots to go around, chipping in 25 points (11-of-27) with six assists in the first real look at the Cavaliers' two-pronged attack using their All-Star backcourt.

The Memphis Grizzlies duo of Ja Morant and Desmond Bane outdueled Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets in a high-scoring 134-124 win on Monday night.

Both Morant (12-of-22 shooting) and Bane (14-of-21) finished with 38 points, combining to hit 12 of their 17 three-point attempts as the Grizzlies rode a 45-point third quarter to the win. The pair's combined total of 76 points set a new Grizzlies record for most points scored by a duo in a single game.

Morant, the reigning Most Improved Player, is firmly in the mix for MVP this season and he added eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals to his gaudy stat-line.

The Nets led 69-64 at halftime as Durant and Irving were also both on their way to big games, with both scoring 37 points as Durant shot 14-of-20 from the field and Irving was 14-of-24 in an offensive exhibition.

But the Grizzlies' third-quarter explosion was too emphatic, with Bane scoring 19 of his points in the period while the Nets had 28 as a team.

Embattled Nets All-Star Ben Simmons struggled, fouling out for the second time in the Nets' first three games, while also committing five turnovers with his eight assists. 

With the win, the Grizzlies are now 3-1, while the Nets fall to 1-2.

Simons catches fire in Trail Blazers win

Fresh off signing his $100million extension in the offseason, 23-year-old Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons produced his first game-winning performance of the season as his third-quarter explosion led a 135-110 home win against the Denver Nuggets.

The Trail Blazers – who at 4-0 join the 2-0 Milwaukee Bucks as the only two remaining unbeaten teams – largely shut down reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic, holding him to nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists as he battled foul trouble all night.

Damian Lillard top-scored with 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting for the Blazers, adding eight assists and six rebounds, but it was Simons' third quarter that separated the teams.

In just over five-and-a-half minutes, Simons scored 22 of his 29 points, including a stretch where he made six consecutive three-pointers as he helped the Blazers score 80 in the second half. It is the Trail Blazers' first 4-0 start to the season since 1999.

Rockets youngsters hand the Jazz their first loss

Houston Rockets fans received a glimpse into the future in their 114-108 win against the previously undefeated Utah Jazz, with top-three draft picks Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr both delivering strong performances.

Both players shot at least 50 per cent from both the field and long range, and combined to hit all nine of their free throws. 

Green posted 25 points on nine-of-16 shooting, hitting four-of-eight from deep, while rookie Smith had 21 points (six-of-10 shooting, three-of-five from long range), nine rebounds and three blocks.

Vassell flashes star potential for the Spurs

Third-year wing Devin Vassell caught the eye with a starring performance in the San Antonio Spurs' 115-106 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Vassell – the 11th pick from the 2020 draft – has shown significantly more playmaking this season since the departure of Dejounte Murray in a trade to the Atlanta Hawks, and against the Timberwolves he dished off a career-high seven assists.

As well as showing his ability to create for his teammates, the six-foot-six wing with superb defensive skills showcased his all-round game, hitting five-of-10 from three-point range on his way to 22 points, and he also grabbed nine rebounds.

Zion Williamson left the New Orleans Pelicans' 122-121 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday with a posterior hip contusion after a nasty fall and did not return in an injury worry.

The 2019 NBA Draft top overall pick fell hard on the court after Jordan Clarkson blocked his transition dunk attempt with 8:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Williamson writhed on the ground in pain after the heavy fall, checking out shortly after the incident and not re-entering the game.

The 22-year-old power forward did not seek medical treatment on the bench but was not used during overtime.

The Pelicans confirmed after the game that Williamson had "sustained a posterior hip contusion" but head coach Willie Green had no further update on the severity.

"I don’t know as of right now," Green told reporters. "We finished the game, I went right in the locker room and spoke to the team.

"I haven’t spoken to our medical staff yet. We'll get an update soon and talk to you guys from there."

When pressed on whether there was a discussion after Williamson re-entering, Green added: "The word that I got [was] that he wasn’t going back in."

Williamson missed all of last season due to a broken foot, having emerged in 2020-21 with an All-Star year averaging 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

The Pelicans also lost Brandon Ingram to a head injury, with the small forward evaluated for concussion-like symptoms after a collision with teammate Naji Marshall in the first quarter.

The Jazz won the game in overtime with Kelly Olynyk scooping in a go-ahead shot with three seconds to go.

Donovan Mitchell has admitted he "came close" to heading to the New York Knicks, before eventually being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The former Utah Jazz guard and three-time All-Star was part of arguably the biggest trade of the offseason, with the Jazz receiving three unprotected first-round picks.

They include two future first-round pick swaps in guard Collin Sexton and stretch forward Lauri Markkanen, as well as Ochai Agbaji, the 14th selection from this year's NBA Draft.

Mitchell had been one of the most desirable names on the market after it became clear the Jazz were entering a rebuild following their trade of three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Despite being "excited" to be in Cleveland, Mitchell – who is from New York – told ESPN he was close to signing for the Knicks.

"Very close, I won't say more than that, I know a little bit more than most, but definitely very close," he said. "I was truly excited when I got traded [to the Cavaliers], but we were, it was, it was close [to the Knicks]."

He also disputed comments from Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, who claimed earlier in the week that Utah's players last season "didn't really believe in each other".

"I don't think we didn't believe [in each other]," Mitchell riposted. "I said at the end of the season, 'don't trade [Gobert]. Let's figure this out, let's do.' And that didn't happen.

"For [Ainge] to say that after six months around the team, I disagree. But you know, at the end of the day, that's his decision."

The 25-year-old spent five seasons in Utah, averaging 23.9 points per game, as well as 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

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