Devin Booker continued his hot scoring run with a season-high 51 points in only 31 minutes as the Phoenix Suns won 132-113 over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

Booker, who scored 44 points against the Sacramento Kings on Monday, added 26 of his 51 points in the third quarter, including making five-of-five from three-point range.

It was the fourth 25-point quarter in Booker's career, tied with Kobe Bryant for second most in the past 25 years.

Booker shot at 80 per cent from the field, making six-of-seven from three-point range, while he also added four rebounds and six assists before sitting out most of the final quarter.

It marked Booker's fourth career 50-point game, which is the most in franchise history.

Suns center Deandre Ayton contributed 30 points with 14 rebounds and two blocks as Phoenix improved to 15-6.

The Bulls fall to 9-12, with DeMar DeRozan top scoring with 29 points with seven rebounds.

Tatum stars in front of royals with 49-point haul

Jayson Tatum scored a season-high 49 points as the Boston Celtics maintained their perfect home record in November with a 134-121 victory over the Miami Heat.

The Celtics small forward scored 28 of his points in the first half, which is the most in any half this season, while he also had 11 rebounds, three assists and two assists. Jaylen Brown added 26 points with seven rebounds in a game attended by the Prince and Princess of Wales, who sat courtside.

Tatum brought up his fifth 45-point game, which is second behind Larry Bird (19) in Celtics history, having moved ahead of Paul Pierce (four).

Hot Nets above .500 for first time this season

The Brooklyn Nets claimed their fifth straight home win as Kevin Durant scored 39 points in a 113-107 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Durant managed a game-high 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting with five rebounds and five assists, while Kyrie Irving added 15 of his 27 points in the final quarter.

The win improved the Nets to 12-11, moving above .500 for the first time this season on the back of three straight wins.

The Brooklyn Nets announced Ben Simmons will miss at least another three games with a left lateral upper calf strain.

Simmons exited Monday's 109-102 win over the Orlando Magic due to left knee soreness, according to the Nets.

Brooklyn head coach Jacque Vaughn clarified prior to Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards that Simmons was dealing with a new issue, beyond the knee complaint, which saw him miss six games earlier this season.

"It's the knee, but the back of the knee," Vaughn told reporters. "He was grabbing his knee during the game and said he needed to come out.

"It ended up being the back of the knee, so it's the upper part of the calf."

Simmons, who is averaging 8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists this season, will miss upcoming games against the Wizards, the Toronto Raptors (Friday) and the Boston Celtics (Sunday).

The 26-year-old had been enjoying his best run for the Nets over the past fortnight since his February trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, scoring double-digit points in six straight games.

Vaughn added that there was no specific event when Simmons suffered the injury, meaning they could commence his return to play on managed minutes.

Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns was initially diagnosed with a right calf strain after leaving Monday's 142-127 loss to the Washington Wizards in the third quarter.

Towns' injury appeared serious when he went down in a non-contact situation, needing to be helped back to the locker room.

Fortunately, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves have "early optimism" that he has avoided a "substantial injury to his lower right leg".

Towns, 27, was the 2016 Rookie of the Year and has gone on to make three All-Star games in 2018, 2019 and 2022, and is the only center to ever win the Three-Point Contest during All-Star Weekend.

The self-proclaimed "best big-man shooter ever" is averaging 21.4 points per game, which is his lowest figure since the 2017-18 season, as well as a career-low 8.5 rebounds and a career-low 0.7 blocks.

After trading four first-round draft picks to the Utah Jazz for Rudy Gobert in a win-now move, the Timberwolves are just 10-11 through their first 21 games as they tick past the quarter-mark of the season.

Towns' absence will allow the Timberwolves to play a more traditional line-up with Gobert as the only center on the floor, and will place an increased offensive responsibility on fellow former Rookie of the Year Anthony Edwards.

The Miami Heat only had seven available players on Friday, and eventually ran out of steam in a gutsy 107-106 road loss against the Washington Wizards despite a heroic performance from Kyle Lowry.

Miami's top two players, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, were both absent along with a cast of their teammates after a quick succession of injuries, forcing their available players into extended minutes.

Lowry played 46 of a possible 48 minutes in regulation, but a late Kyle Kuzma three-pointer tied the game at 104-104 with 15 seconds left, forcing overtime.

With four of their five starters reaching the 40-minute mark in overtime, fatigue caught up with the visitors as they failed to hit a single field goal in the extra period.

Their only two points came from two Lowry free throws, capping his 24-point, 15-assist, 10-rebound triple double in 51 minutes of play.

Kristaps Porzingis scored the only basket of overtime, giving him 20 points and 17 rebounds, while Bradley Beal top-scored for the Wizards with 27 on nine-of-18 shooting.

The win for the Wizards moves them to 9-7, while the Heat fall to 7-9 as they desperately await healthy reinforcements.

Suggs delivers dagger in Magic win

Second-year point guard Jalen Suggs is beginning to fulfill the potential that saw him as a top-five pick in the 2021 draft, hitting the game-winning three-pointer in a 108-107 win against the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls received polarizing performances from their two star wings, with Zach Lavine struggling mightily on his way to one-of-14 shooting, while DeMar DeRozan stepped up with 41 points on 16-of-30 shooting.

DeRozan's big game had the Bulls up 103-107 with under 30 seconds remaining, but two made free throws for Suggs were followed by two misses by Bulls center Nikola Vucevic, giving the Magic a chance to steal it.

Suggs was determined to be the one taking the last shot, stepping back confidently for a three-pointer and nailing it to finish with 20 points (seven-of-16 shooting) and eight assists. It is the first time this season Suggs has posted back-to-back 20-point games, and he has at least six assists and five rebounds in each.

Embiid finishes Maxey's strong start against the Bucks

The Philadelphia 76ers had a different star in each half of their 110-102 home win against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Tyrese Maxey was the focal point early, putting up 24 points on nine-of-12 shooting, with five assists and four rebounds, before rolling his ankle in the shadows of halftime.

He did not return after the break, and Joel Embiid stepped up in his absence, scoring a game-high 32 points (12-of-26 shooting) with 11 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks. It is the third game in a row Embiid has had at least 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

Stephen Curry scored 50 points but could not prevent the Golden State Warriors' winless road run from extending to eight games after a 130-119 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

The defeat means the Warriors are 0-8 on the road this season, and slump to 6-9 in the 2022-23 campaign, which is a tie for fourth worst 15-game start to a season by an NBA champion.

Golden State's 0-8 road start is the worst ever by a defending champion in NBA history. The eight-defeat run is also a tie for third for longest road losing streak by a defending champion in their title-defense season.

The Warriors' defense was an issue once again, having allowed 124.3 points per game on the road this season which is the worst in the NBA. The Warriors' opponents have scored 120 or more points six times in 15 games this season.

The Suns improved to 9-5, with point guard Cameron Payne top scoring with 29 points including six three-pointers alongside Devin Booker with 27 points. Mikal Bridges added 23 points with five triples along with eight rebounds and nine assists.

Phoenix, who were without Cameron Johnson (knee), Chris Paul (heel) and Jae Crowder, knocked down a season-high 21 three-pointers, which is the most allowed by the Warriors this season, shooting at 52.5 per cent from beyond the arc.

Curry posted 50 points on 17-of-28 field shooting with seven-of-11 from three-point range with nine rebounds and six assists. Klay Thompson added 19 points but the Warriors' bench combined for only 17 points.

Celtics extend winning run to eight games

The short-handed Boston Celtics secured their eighth straight win with a 126-101 victory over the Atlanta Hawks where seven players scored double digits for the winners.

Jayson Tatum had a career-high six assists in the first quarter and finished the game with 19 points, with seven rebounds and eight assists, while Jaylen Brown top scored for Boston with 22 points. Derrick White dished off 10 assists and Al Horford hauled down 11 rebounds.

During the Celtics' eight-game win streak, they have the NBA's best offensive efficiency (123.2), three-point field goals made (16.4) and assists-turnovers ratio (2.3).

SGA comes up clutch again for OKC

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored an equal career-high 42 points, including draining a last-gasp three-pointer to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Washington Wizards 121-120.

Bradley Beal had hit a two-pointer to put the Wizards up 120-118 with 6.1 seconds left, but Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 19 points in the third quarter, had time to hit a step-back triple with 1.1 seconds remaining.

Over the last two seasons, Gilgeous-Alexander has scored four go-ahead or game-tying field goals in the final five seconds, which is more than any other player in the NBA. Nine players have two.

Luka Doncic labelled his past two performances as "awful" and conceded fatigue was a factor after back-to-back losses and back-to-back sub-30-point games for the Dallas Mavericks.

The Slovenian guard had started the season with nine straight 30-point games – a mark only previously topped by Wilt Chamberlain's outrageous 23-game streak in 1962-63 – but that has run ground to a halt in his past two games as the Mavericks have fallen to 6-5.

Michael Jordan was the last player to achieve six straight 30-point games to start a season, back in 1986-87, putting 23-year-old Doncic in esteemed company.

But Doncic's production has dropped off, managing only 22 points on eight-of-21 shooting in the Mavs' 113-105 loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday, having dipped below the 30-mark for the first time this season in Wednesday's 94-87 defeat to the Orlando Magic, where he scored 24.

"I've been awful for two games now," Doncic told reporters. "These two games are on me. We got to figure [it] out. These two games we were supposed to win, but we didn't, so I've got to figure it out."

Doncic's remarkable start had led to questions on whether he could maintain it physically, and he conceded fatigue was one of many factors that had contributed to his drop-off in the past two games.

"It's good defense, fatigue, high level everything," Doncic said. "I had a real busy summer [Slovenia reached the EuroBasket 2022 quarter-finals], I think that came after me.

"I'm just feeling more tired in the court in these last two games. But that's not an excuse. I think it's a little bit of everything."

The sensational nature of Doncic's early-season production did not concern him, however.

"I don't watch these statistics," Doncic said. "Nowadays you have a statistic for everything. Whoever drinks one espresso and scores five points gets the record. I don't follow it."

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd spoke pre-game about the side's need to spread the load more, which will likely take on greater urgency after Dallas' successive losses.

"Nothing yet," Doncic replied when asked if Kidd had brought that up with the team. "We had back-to-back [games], we haven’t had much time. We're going to discuss it for sure."

Kidd added after the game: "If we keep this up, then he will not be human if he gets past Christmas. So, one or the other is going to show: he's human or not – and we believe he's human."

Doncic is averaging 33.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game this season. His scoring production is well up on his NBA career average of 26.7.

Donovan Mitchell's spectacular start to life with the Cleveland Cavaliers continued against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, scoring 33 points in a 114-100 win.

Mitchell's 33 points was a game-high, and he delivered his production efficiently, hitting 10-of-17 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line.

Through his first eight games with the Cavs since being acquired from the Utah Jazz in an offseason trade, Mitchell is averaging 31.1 points and 7.1 assists per game – both comfortably above his career-highs (26.4 points and 5.3 assists).

He was supported strongly by fellow All-Star Darius Garland, who chipped in 24 points (seven-of-18) and seven assists, while Kevin Love contributed a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) in 20 minutes off the bench.

For the Lakers, LeBron James was strong with 27 points on 13-of-23 shooting, adding seven rebounds and four assists, and Russell Westbrook posted 19 points (six-of-13) with 10 assists as he continues to produce well in a sixth-man role.

Cleveland are now 8-1, and are one of only two teams, along with the 9-0 Milwaukee Bucks, who are yet to record their second loss.

VanVleet steps up in Siakam's absence

With the Toronto Raptors' top option Pascal Siakam out for at least the next two weeks, Fred VanVleet stepped up and led his team to a 113-104 victory against the Chicago Bulls.

VanVleet finished with 30 points on nine-of-22 shooting, and also added 11 assists in an offensive masterclass from the diminutive point guard, posting a plus/minus of plus 27 in his 39 minutes. That means in the nine minutes VanVleet was on the bench, the Raptors were outscored by 18.

Starting in the place of Siakam was rookie Christian Koloko, and he made a big impression as he blocked six shots with his 11 points and seven rebounds.

Alex Caruso produced a noteworthy performance for the Bulls, finishing with an unconventional double-double as he collected 11 rebounds and 11 assists, while shooting one-of-11 for four points.

Bane, Morant carry the Grizzlies 

Desmond Bane and Ja Morant combined for nearly half of the Memphis Grizzlies' points in their 103-97 win against the Washington Wizards.

While Morant struggled with his efficiency, only hitting nine of his 27 shots on his way to 23 points, Bane was terrific, scoring 28 on nine-of-16 shooting. 

The Grizzlies are now 7-3, and Bane has been at the centre of their early success, elevating himself to potentially an All-Star level in his third season as he is averaging 24.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 46 per cent from long-range.

Kevin Durant was excited by the style of basketball on display from his Brooklyn Nets in their 128-86 thumping of the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Durant, in the first game since Kyrie Irving's suspension, was at the center of everything the Nets were doing, finishing with team-highs in points (28), assists (11) and rebounds (nine).

As a team, the Nets dished out a season-high 32 assists, making it the first time they have eclipsed 29 in a game this season.

That unselfishness was at the forefront of Durant's mind when discussing the game during his on-court interview, saying his team felt confident in their game-plan and excelled in their execution of it.

"In shootaround we had some good sets that we drew up, and we knew some of that stuff would work against this team," he said. 

"We just stayed in it and moved the basketball all night – everybody touched it, everybody got into the paint – we were able to generate some good offense, and that's how we want to play moving forward.

"That's the name of the game, playing off each other and being able to compliment one another."

His starring performance was highlighted with an emphatic ankle-breaker as he crossed over Washington's Daniel Gafford, nearly making his defender do the splits.

"I really thought he slipped on some sweat there, so I can't take full credit for it," he said. "But I was glad it was able to get us some momentum and give me some space to do my thing. I'm glad I finished the shot too."

Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn also pointed to his side's team-first playing style when asked in his post-game interview what the key was to the blowout win.

"Offensively, the 32 assists really stand out," he said. "Guys were really moving the basketball.

"Kevin [Durant] was a hub for us tonight. He really put them in a tough bind of double-teaming him, then he was a willing passer, and he capitalised whenever he had the opportunities to."

On Durant's nasty crossover, Vaughn said his inner-fan may have come out in his reaction.

"I hope the camera wasn't on me, to be honest with you," he said. "I enjoy the game of basketball, and [Durant] is a special human being, a special player in this league. He enjoys the game of basketball, and he's fun to watch." 

The win leaves the Nets with a 3-6 record through nine games, although they have now won two of their past three.

Big performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez carried the Milwaukee Bucks to a 110-108 victory against the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

With their win, the Bucks are now 6-0, and the NBA's last remaining unbeaten team.

Two-time MVP Antetokounmpo led the way with a game-high 31 points on 12-of-23 shooting, and he delivered in an important stretch of the game.

After the Bucks came out of halftime with a 60-52 lead, the Pistons got on a quick run, cutting the margin to one at 62-61, before Antetokounmpo scored his team's first 10 points of the third quarter to steady the ship.

He was supported well by Holiday, who scored 25 points with an efficient long-range shooting performance, finishing seven-of-15 from the field while hitting five of his 11 three-point attempts. He also added 10 assists and seven rebounds

Meanwhile, Lopez was a force in the middle of the paint, scoring 26 points (10-of-16) with nine rebounds and two blocks.

For the Pistons, Cade Cunningham was excellent with 27 points (11-of-23), seven assists and six rebounds, while the fifth overall pick from this year's NBA Draft, Jaden Ivey, had seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to make it a game down the stretch.

Harden narrowly misses career-high 

James Harden was one assist shy of his career-high as he dished out 17 in the Philadelphia 76ers' 118-111 win over the Washington Wizards.

His 17 assists matched his regular-season high, becoming the 10th time he has reached that figure, while he had 18 assists in a playoff game for the Brooklyn Nets against the Boston Celtics in the first round of 2021.

Against the Wizards, Harden also added 23 points (eight-of-17 shooting) and seven rebounds, with Tyrese Maxey finishing as their top-scorer with 28 on 12-of-22 shooting.

Washington's Kristaps Porzingis was the game's highest scorer with 32 points (10-of-17), nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Durant and the Nets get back in the win column

The Brooklyn Nets snapped a four-game losing streak when they defeated the Indiana Pacers 116-109.

Superstar duo Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving led the way as Ben Simmons missed the game with swelling in his knee.

Durant finished with a game-high 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting, while adding nine rebounds and seven assists. Irving was not far behind, posting 28 points (nine-of-19) with six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Second-year wing Chris Duarte was impressive for the Pacers, scoring 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting, hitting five-of-10 from long range.

Delon Wright is set to be out indefinitely with a hamstring strain, the Washington Wizards have confirmed.

The guard suffered the injury during the final quarter of Tuesday's victory against the Detroit Pistons, having played 16 minutes and put up five points.

The Wizards confirmed Wright would undergo reassessment on the injury in mid-November, though reports from ESPN suggested he could be out for at least six to eight weeks.

"Delon Wright will be out indefinitely with a grade two strain of his right hamstring," the Wizards said in a statement.

"Wright suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game vs. Detroit. He will be re-evaluated in approximately three weeks."

The 30-year-old arrived as a free agent in the off-season, having spent last campaign with the Atlanta Hawks.

Devin Booker continued his prolific start to the season as the Phoenix Suns flexed their offensive muscle with a 134-105 win over Western Conference rivals Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

Booker, who turns 26 on Sunday, became the first player in franchise history to have three 30-point games in the first four of a season, finishing with 34 on 10-of-19 shooting from the field with seven assists and three steals.

Deandre Ayton added 16 points with 14 rebounds, including 11 in the first half, while Chris Paul had 16 points with seven rebounds and nine assists.

The Suns, who improved to 3-1, shot at 41 per cent from the field, making 12-of-29 three-pointers, with Paul draining four-of-five from beyond the arc. Phoenix outscored the Warriors 62-39 in the second half.

The reigning champions, who moved to 2-2, continued their worrying defensive start to the season, having conceded 109 or more points in all four of their games this season, averaging 124 points against per game.

Stephen Curry managed 21 points to end his 30-point run to start the season, shooting seven-of-17 from the field and four triples.

Jordan Poole was productive off the bench with 17 points, including 14 in the first half. Klay Thompson was ordinary again with two points, shooting none-of-five from three-point range.

Pels triumph over Doncic's Mavs despite key outs

The New Orleans Pelicans overcame the absence of Zion Williamson (hip) and Brandon Ingram (concussion) along with a Luka Doncic masterclass to win 113-111 over the Dallas Mavericks.

Doncic scored 37 points on 16-of-30 shooting, with 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Mavs, but the undermanned Pels triumphed, led by Trey Murphy with a team-high 22 points with 100 per cent shooting. 

C.J. McCollum struggled to find his range, shooting six-of-20 for 14 points but eight Pels players reached double-figure scoring as they improved to 3-1 to start the season. 

Doncic became the first Mav to ever open a season with three straight 30-point games. The Slovenian is also only the second player in NBA history with 100-plus points, 25-plus rebounds and 20-plus assists through the first three games of a season.

SGA's OKC down short-handed Clippers

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander produced a dominant all-round display with 33 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder cruised past the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers 108-94.

The Clippers were without former NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard due to knee soreness along with seven-time All-Star Paul George with illness, with the defeat seeing them slip to 1-3.

Gilgeous-Alexander went at 50 per cent from the field, making two-of-two from beyond the arc, with five rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and three steals in a masterful display, while Tre Mann scored 16 of his 25 points in the first half.

A stunning 49-point outburst from Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant carried his side back from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat the Houston Rockets 129-122 on Friday.

Morant had 18 points and six assists in the first half, but the rest of the Grizzlies were struggling, falling into a 42-26 hole early in the second quarter before trimming the margin to 70-62 at halftime.

The second pick from the 2021 NBA Draft, Jalen Green, showed why Rockets fans are so excited as he piled up 33 points on 13-of-21 shooting while going four-of-five from long range, but Morant was matching him step-for-step before running away late.

Memphis won the fourth quarter 34-22 as the Rockets ran out of gas, with Morant finishing 17-of-26 from the field, and five-of-six from long range, while adding eight assists, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal. He had 31 in the second half, and only a missed free throw in the fourth quarter kept him from scoring 50.

In an eye-catching performance, second-year center Alperen Sengun tallied 23 points (nine-of-13 shooting) with 12 rebounds in 27 minutes off the Houston bench.

Beal wins it for the Wizards

The Washington Wizards are now 2-0 after a Bradley Beal game-winner with seven seconds remaining handed his side a 102-100 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago trailed by nine points with less than five minutes to play, but from that point on DeMar DeRozan dropped 11 of his 32 points (11-of-23 shooting), tying things up at 98-98 with a minute remaining after a pair of free throws.

Beal answered back with a layup, and DeRozan leveled the score again with a dunk, before Beal sank the dagger to finish with 19 points (nine-of-14 shooting) and eight assists. DeRozan had a chance to win it with a three-pointer on the buzzer, but could not deliver.

Brown and Tatum carry the Celtics

The combination of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum proved too much for the Miami Heat to overcome, with the duo combining for 57 points in the Boston Celtics' 111-104 triumph.

Tatum finished with 29 points on 10-of-22 shooting, getting to the line and hitting all seven of his free throws, while Brown was more efficient from the field, hitting 12-of-18 shots for 28 points after they scored 35 each in Boston's season opener.

The Heat could not survive in the minutes center Bam Adebayo had to sit down, as the big man posted 19 points (eight-of-11 shooting) with eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and a plus/minus of plus 20 in his 35 minutes. Unfortunately for Miami, they were minus 26 in the 12 minutes he was on the bench.

Simmons banks first win as a Net

The Brooklyn Nets won their first game with Ben Simmons as they defeated the Toronto Raptors 109-105 at home.

Simmons was solid without contributing much on the scoreboard, finishing with six points (three-of-five shooting), but he grabbed 10 rebounds, dished eight assists and blocked two shots.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant carried the scoring load, as Irving top-scored, producing 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting while adding seven assists, while Durant hit eight-of-18 shots for 27 points and six assists.

The Golden State Warriors began their pre-season with a 96-87 win against the Washington Wizards in Saitama, Japan thanks to an impressive showing from James Wiseman.

A sold-out Saitama Super Arena watched on as Wiseman top-scored with 20 points from almost 24 minutes on the court.

However, it was understandably Japan's own Rui Hachimura who garnered the most noise from an adoring crowd, registering 13 points for the Wizards and, like Wiseman, a game-high nine rebounds.

After the game, coach of the defending NBA champion Warriors Steve Kerr conceded it had not been the highest-quality contest due to it being so early in pre-season, but told reporters how pleased he was with Wiseman's performance.

"James has had a really good few days of practice," he said of the 21-year-old. "His understanding of spacing and defensive communication, being in the right place, he just has a much better sense of the NBA game now than he did a couple of years ago.

"He's been putting a ton of work in, last year despite injury, he was studying and watching tape and learning from our older guys, so I couldn't be happier for James."

Kerr referenced the "really good atmosphere" and also spoke about the adulation received by Washington's Hachimura, and the potential benefits for the NBA's global appeal as a result.

"You see how popular he is," he said. "When he spoke to the crowd they went crazy, and it was a great moment.

"The game has been a global one for a long time but the more international stars we can get, the more popular the game becomes in that particular player's country, so hopefully we'll have more and more players coming from Japan to the NBA.

"You can see it's a basketball-crazed country, people love it here and it's fun to be a part of."

A second game between the two teams in Saitama will be played on Sunday.

Bradley Beal's five-year, $251million contract with the Washington Wizards includes a no-trade clause that makes the three-time All-Star guard the only player in the NBA to have a "true no trade clause", according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. 

Marks also says Beal is the 10th player in NBA history to have the clause in a deal, joining LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and John Stockton. 

Beal was eligible to negotiate the clause because he has been in the league for at least eight seasons and spent at least the previous four campaigns with his current team.

He has been with the Wizards since they selected him third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. 

Beal's 25.8 points per game since the 2016-17 season is the 10th-highest scoring average in the NBA over that span. He was limited to 40 games in 2021-22 before undergoing season-ending surgery on his left wrist. 

Thomas Bryant is once again a Los Angeles Laker after the free agent centre signed a one-year contract with the team on Wednesday. 

A second-round pick by the Utah Jazz in the 2017 NBA Draft, Bryant was then traded to the Lakers on draft night but only appeared in 15 games with Los Angeles, averaging 1.5 points and 1.1 rebounds. 

He was then waived by the Lakers following his rookie year and signed with the Washington Wizards, where he has spent the past four seasons. 

His last two years with Washington were marred by injury, however, as he appeared in a combined 37 games due to a torn ACL suffered in January 2021.  

Prior to the injury, Bryant was off to an encouraging start to the 2020-21 season, averaging 14.3 points on 64.8-per-cent shooting, along with 6.1 rebounds in starting the first 10 games for Washington. 

Bryant, who turns 25 years old on July 31, played well at times in his return last January, averaging 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 27 games. 

The Lakers are hopeful after another off-season of training that he will be able to regain his prior form and provide frontcourt depth.

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