Russell Westbrook is "so grateful" to be on the Los Angeles Clippers team after he tallied up 25,000 NBA points.

Westbrook became the fourth active player in the NBA, and the 25th player overall, to hit the 25,000 milestone when he nailed a running layup with 2:44 left during Friday's 136-125 win over the Detroit Pistons.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Clippers teammate Harden are the other active players to have passed the landmark.

Westbrook, meanwhile, is just the second player in NBA history with 25,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 8,000 assists, after James.

"I'm so grateful to be on this team," said Westbrook, who finished with 23 points. "I don't take any of this for granted."

"Thanks to God man, for allowing me to play the game I love, and be grateful for that. It's a blessing.

"Grateful to be able to play the game of basketball and use my platform to be able to share, impact and inspire people."

Westbrook's basket sparked jubilant celebrations on the Clippers' bench.

"It's a fun group," he added. "We've got good guys, we all hang out, all have fun.

"To see the love and support here from the coaches and my teammates, I'm super grateful for that."

Jaden led the Pistons with 28 points, and he had nothing but praise for Westbrook.

"I actually got to work out with Russ before the start of my rookie year," Ivey said.

"He gave me a lot of advice. He's just a great, humble dude. He took me under his wing a little bit."

The Clippers trailed by 14 points in the first quarter, but clicked through the gears as the game wore on, with Kawhi Leonard (33 points) leading the way.

They’re a tough young team, especially at home," said Westbrook. "We had to figure out how to play the right way, using our effort and energy to close out the game."

Pistons coach Monty Williams was frustrated with his team's sloppiness, however.

"You can't have turnovers and some of the undisciplined errors we had against a team like that," said Williams.

"It's something that has hurt us all season long. When we take care of [the ball], we have a better chance of success."

The Clippers are third in the Western Conference with a 32-15 record, while the Pistons remain rooted to the bottom of the East with the league's worst record (6-42).

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

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

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

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

Clippers’ Westbrook hits milestone in win

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

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

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

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

Sabonis breaks Robertson’s record in Kings’ win

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

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

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

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

Damian Lillard 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.

No player in NBA history has spent more minutes on the court than LeBron James, but the latest record means nothing to the Los Angeles Lakers star.

That is because it came in what was James' heaviest career defeat – a 138-94 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.

In his 21-year NBA career, James' previous worst loss came by 42 points in a 136-94 reverse to the Indiana Pacers in February 2019.

As Joel Embiid racked up 30 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the Sixers' rout, James accumulated another 30 minutes on the court.

That took his career total, across both regular season and postseason games, to 66,319 minutes in his career, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 66,297 minutes.

But the record was of little solace to the 38-year-old, who told reporters: "That doesn't mean much to me."

Asked about what the Lakers need to do to ensure heavy defeats do not become a common occurrence, James said: "What needs to change in order for that not to happen again? Um, a lot.

"I don't know how a team [should respond]. I can only speak for myself, and I don't like it."

James' teammate Anthony Davis said: "Feel like we just weren't together. A lot of quick shots, one-pass shots, no-pass shots.

"They started making a lot of shots. And when their lead kind of opened up a little bit – 15, 20, 25 – I think we all tried to be the hero to make the team come back instead of just sticking with it.

"We've got to look at it, embrace it, own it. Guys don't take it personally for whatever's said in the film, and then move on from it."

It was a bad day for both Los Angeles teams, with the Clippers also losing. 

They went down 104-113 to a Denver Nuggets team that was shorn of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon.

Former Laker Russell Westbrook became embroiled in a debate with a fan.

"I mean, it's unfortunate," Westbrook said.

"Fans think they can say whatever they want. I'm not going to say [what was said] now because it's not appropriate, but I'm just protecting myself.

"It's just unfortunate fans think they can get away with saying anything and, personally, I won't allow it. I've [taken] a lot of people saying anything and getting away with it, but I won't stand for it."

James Harden says he is feeling "close to myself" after hitting a clutch three to help the Los Angeles Clippers to victory on Friday.

His best game yet as a Clipper saw him record 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as his new team took a 106-100 win over the Houston Rockets, who Harden played for between 2012 and 2021.

Harden had previously struggled to make an impact in Los Angeles, losing all five games he had played for the Clippers before Friday's win, in which the 34-year-old made eight of his 11 shots, including the vital three at the end.

Harden believes he is getting back to his former self, saying: "I'm getting real close.

"I'm getting close to myself. Every game I feel like I'm improving."

Russell Westbrook played just 17 minutes in the victory, his fewest since joining the Clippers prior to the All-Star break last season, with head coach Tyronn Lue revealing after the game that Westbrook had requested to come off the bench as the sixth man to help the team end their losing run.

"He wanted to do that, which [is] an ultimate sacrifice for a guy of his caliber," Lue told reporters. "For things he's done in this league, the things he's done for this team.

"So shout out to Russ for wanting to do that. It's a huge part of what we've talked about, just sacrificing wanting to win at a high level."

Paul George also appreciated Westbrook's sacrifice, explaining: "It's tough with his energy and obviously there's a ton of chemistry there.

"We've always played well off one another, but it just takes a lot for his sacrifice and what he did for us going forward to try new things out. [I] can't say enough on the character of Russ and his leadership."

James Harden sees "unlimited possibilities" with the Los Angeles Clippers after making his debut for his new team.

Harden, who joined the Clippers last week in a blockbuster trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, had to wait until Monday to make his bow.

The 10-time All-Star played 31 minutes, finishing with 17 points and six assists, though he could not help the Clippers avoid a 111-97 defeat to the New York Knicks.

Harden is joining an elite lineup of experienced NBA stars at the Clippers, with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook looking to propel the team towards success this season.

"Unlimited possibilities," Harden said when asked what he sees coming from his move to the Clippers.

It was not an easy debut for Harden, with the 34-year-old conceding it was tough to get up to speed having not had a full preseason following his fallout with the Sixers.

"I feel kind of weird out there, but just not really having a preseason game or an opportunity to participate in the full training camp or none of that," he added.

"It was just [being] out there and just basically winging it. Try to go off my basketball instincts and what I've been doing for the last few years or whatnot. I just went out there and playing and thinking the game and trying to make the game easier for everybody else."

Team-mate Leonard, though, was impressed with what he saw.

"He did a good job his first game in a while," Leonard said of Harden.

"It takes time to get his legs under him as far as conditioning. But he did a great job to me, got everybody involved running pick-and-roll very well."

The sentiment was echoed by Clippers coach Ty Lue, who said: "I thought overall just orchestrating, making the right play, making the right pass and pick-and-rolls, he was really good.

"It's going to take him a little time to get in game shape. We understand that, but his presence on the floor was definitely felt."

Harden is set to make his second Clippers appearance on Wednesday when Los Angeles take on his former team the Brooklyn Nets.

James Harden's anticipated first game as a Los Angeles Clipper ended in a loss, as the New York Knicks spoiled the former NBA MVP's debut with his new team with Monday's 111-97 win.

Julius Randle had 27 points and 10 rebounds and RJ Barrett added 26 points in his return from injury as the Knicks handed the star-studded Clippers their second straight defeat following a 3-1 start to the season.

Harden took the court for the first time since being traded to Los Angeles by the Philadelphia 76ers last week. The 10-time All-Star had 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting along with six assists as a part of a starting lineup that included three other accomplished veterans in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook.

The dynamic guard scored five straight points late in the third quarter to give the Clippers a 76-73 lead, but the Knicks countered with a 16-3 run to take an 89-79 advantage with under 9 1/2 minutes left and never trailed thereafter.

Barrett scored 11 points in the fourth quarter after missing New York's previous two games with a sore left knee, while Mitchell Robinson finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds to help the Knicks snap a two-game losing streak.

 

Edwards sparks overtime win as Wolves hand Celtics first loss

Anthony Edwards scored eight of his 38 points in overtime as the Minnesota TImberwolves handed the Boston Celtics their first loss of the season with a 114-109 victory.

Edwards added nine rebounds and seven assists to help Minnesota overcome an off night from fellow star player Karl-Anthony Towns, who managed just seven points in 28 minutes before fouling out in overtime.

Jaden McDaniels hit a game-tying 3-pointer late in regulation and finished with 20 points for Minnesota, which also received 14 points and 12 rebounds from Rudy Gobert en route to its third straight win.

Boston entered the game as the NBA's lone remaining unbeaten team following a 5-0 start. The Celtics got 32 points and five steals from Jayson Tatum and 26 points from Jaylen Brown, but shot just 28.2 per cent from 3-point range as well as a season-low 39.1 per cent overall. 

The Celtics held a 105-103 lead after Tatum hit two free throws with 3:56 left in overtime, but Minnesota's Mike Conley buried a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession before Edwards capped a pivotal 9-0 run with three consecutive baskets that put the Timberwolves up for good at 112-105 with 1:30 remaining in the extra session.

 

Adebayo's triple-double propels Heat past Lakers

Bam Adebayo delivered a massive performance with 22 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Miami Heat overcame a late scoring drought to hold on for a 108-107 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Adebayo became the first Heat player to record a triple-double with at least 20 rebounds, and Miami received 28 points from Jimmy Butler and 22 from Tyler Herro to record its second straight win following a four-game losing streak.

The Heat prevailed despite nearly blowing a 10-point lead with four minutes to play and not making a field goal over the final 4:15 of the contest.

The Lakers scored the game's final nine points and had a chance to win in the final seconds, but Cam Reddish was off the mark with a jumper and Butler grabbed the rebound right before time expired.

LeBron James finished with 30 points on 13-of-23 points to pace the Lakers, while Austin Reaves just missed a triple-double after compiling 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Los Angeles has now dropped the first two outings of its current four-game road trip and played the entire fourth quarter without star forward Anthony Davis, who sustained a groin spasm during the game and was limited to nine points in 25 minutes. 

 

 

Russell Westbrook is thrilled to be reuniting with James Harden and P.J. Tucker at the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers are acquiring Harden and Tucker in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Filip Petrusev is also joining the Clippers, with Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum and KJ Martin heading the other way.

Harden, who was in attendance as the Clippers beat the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, had been in a dispute with the 76ers, and missed their opening game of the season – a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks – and their second fixture, a win over the Toronto Raptors.

The 10-time All-Star played alongside both Tucker and Westbrook at the Houston Rockets, and the latter, who refused to confirm the trade before it was made official, could not hide his delight.

"Right now, James and P.J. are off-limits. I got nothing for you until it's official," Westbrook smiled, as per ESPN.

Asked if he was happy, Westbrook said: "Yeah. I mean, s***, why wouldn't I be?

"Yeah, excuse my language, but definitely, definitely happy."

As for the Sixers, Tyrese Maxey is set to inherit the point forward role Harden occupied in the roster.

"I think our group has been prepared," Maxey said. "I think we've done a good job of keeping the main thing the main thing, and I think that's what's gotten us all to a solid start.

"We have some really good guys that are focused, that are determined to go out there and play and show what we can do, and [a] coach that's keeping our mind in the right place."

Maxey also had a special word of thanks for his former teammate.

"I texted him and I told him I love him, told him I appreciate him," Maxey added of Harden. "One thing that he really installed in me is confidence. I've always been a confident person, but he made me be even more confident than I already was, and all I can do is appreciate him for that.

"He took me under his wing, taught me a lot of things as far as just being a professional in this league and how things go. So I appreciate him and I love him. Same thing with Tuck. Love those guys."

Philadelphia coach Nick Nurse, meanwhile, seems ready to move on from the Harden drama.

"I got to get ready for Thursday, and I got to coach the guys we got," he told reporters. 

"I really like where we are right now. I mean, there's so much I'm learning about this group. I think there's so much improvement we have to make in a lot of ways, and I'll let Daryl and [76ers general manager Elton Brand] and the boys worry about all that stuff, and I'll coach the guys here on a daily basis."

Nikola Jokic opened his season with another triple-double and Jamal Murray scored 21 points as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 119-107 on Tuesday after raising their NBA championship banner.

Jokic had 29 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his 106th career triple-double, which trails only Russell Westbrook (198), LeBron James (107) and Jason Kidd (107) on the career list.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 20 points, Aaron Gordon added 15 and Michael Porter Jr. contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds for Denver, which went 16-4 in the playoffs last season, including a sweep of the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.

All of Los Angeles’ starters scored in double figures, led by James’ 21 points in 29 minutes as his playing time was being monitored at the start of his 21st season.

Denver led by as many as 18 points, but the Lakers whittled the lead down to three on James’ 3-pointer with 9:42 remaining.

James’ basket got Los Angeles within 103-96 with just over five minutes to play, but the Nuggets responded with a 10-3 run featuring 3s by Murray and Porter.

Booker sparks Suns past Warriors

Devin Booker scored 32 points and the Phoenix Suns got past the Golden State Warriors 108-104 in Kevin Durant’s return to the Bay Area in a back-and-forth season opener for the Pacific Division powerhouses.

Booker shot 13 of 21 and had eight assists and six rebounds, while Jusuf Nurkic added 14 points and 14 boards – including a key driving layup in the closing seconds - in his Suns debut.

Josh Okogie sank a baseline jumper with 69 seconds left, and Eric Gordon drained a 3-pointer with 45 seconds to play before Stephen Curry’s 3 drew Golden State within 106-104 with 31 seconds to go.

Nurkic’s layup made it a four-point game and Paul’s missed 3 ended the Warriors’ hopes.

Durant scored 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting with 10 rebounds in his first game in front of Bay Area fans since leaving the Warriors after the 2019 NBA Finals.

Curry had 27 points and Chris Paul had 14 points, nine assists and six rebounds in his Warriors debut facing his most recent team.

Basketball star Russell Westbrook has revealed he is a part of the consortium led by 49ers Enterprises which is poised to take full ownership of Leeds.

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Westbrook, who won the NBA’s most valuable player award in 2017, has followed American golfers Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in becoming a minor stakeholder in Leeds.

Westbrook, according to Forbes the 14th highest-paid athlete in the world, said he had invested in the Yorkshire club at a sports and entertainment summit held by Sportico.

The 34-year-old said: “I was lucky enough to have conversations with some of the partners in this deal, who already have ownership, the 49ers.

“So I was lucky enough to talk through that with friends, talking with my business partner as well about different things and having conversations, figuring out if this was the right deal and how we could make it different.”

Westbrook, who signed with the Clippers from the Los Angeles Lakers in February, is a nine-time NBA All-Star.

Three-time major winner Spieth has confirmed he and Thomas had become minority stakeholders in Leeds earlier this week, but fellow golfer Rickie Fowler pulled out of a deal when the club were relegated from the Premier League in May.

Leeds’ joint-owners 49ers Enterprises, the financial arm of NFL franchise San Francisco 49ers, have bought former chairman Andrea Radrizzani’s majority 56 per cent shareholding.

The English Football League is currently carrying out its owners and directors test before it sanctions the 49ers’ full takeover.

Russell Westbrook believes the Los Angeles Clippers were missing "the best in the world" as Kawhi Leonard sat out a Game 3 defeat to the Phoenix Suns.

Devin Booker scored 45 points as the Suns beat the Clippers 129-124 on Thursday to take a 2-1 lead, and only the Phoenix star is scoring more points so far in the postseason (36.3 per game) than Leonard (34.5).

But Leonard was not on the floor, watching instead from the sideline due to a knee injury.

The setback was only reported hours before the game in Los Angeles, although it was quickly clarified it was not related to the ACL injury that saw him miss the whole of last season.

Leonard could be back for Game 4, but his absence was a blow – especially as the Clippers came so close to beating the Suns even without him.

"I just feel sorry for him," team-mate Westbrook said. "He probably was playing his best basketball in a while, probably the best in the world, honestly. It just sucks just for him mentally.

"But it was good to see him be around and communicate with us on the bench. Hopefully we can see how he's feeling and see what's next.

"If he's not back, we have to rally around each other, support each other, find ways to make something happen. It's a series. First to four. Get ready for Saturday afternoon."

Coach Ty Lue added of the injury: "It's very deflating. I think more so for Kawhi.

"You have a guy who's coming off ACL, hasn't missed a rehab session, eats right, eats clean, does everything he can for his body, works extremely hard to get to this point. Then you have something like this happen.

"So, it's tough for him, for all the work that he puts in. I feel bad for him."

Russell Westbrook delighted in his match-winning play after a mixed Los Angeles Clippers turn during victory against the Phoenix Suns in the NBA playoffs.

The point guard shot only 3-for-19 during Sunday's 115-110 Game 1 victory in the first round, and was involved in a fan confrontation at half-time.

But eight assists and 11 rebounds, coupled with the clinching defensive block on Devin Booker, saw him still register a vital contribution to start the postseason.

Speaking afterwards, Westbrook spoke of his glee at being able to showcase his all-around skills, particularly in his efforts to close down Booker.

"My whole career, I [have] prided myself every season on doing everything," he said. "Whatever is needed of me to win the game, I'll do it.

"You [have] just got to make sure [Booker] sees you, make sure he knows that you're there. He's a hell of a shot-maker, one of the elite scorers. [You have to] try to make it difficult for him."

With Westbrook posting single-figures with ball in hand, it fell to Kawhi Leonard to lead the way for the Clippers with an excellent 38-point performance.

His turn drew plaudits from his team-mates, with Westbrook adding: "His patience [and] his awareness throughout the game was amazing.

"He's been like that for us since I've been here. We had his back on the defensive end. We'll make sure we find ways to keep making the game easy for him."

The Clippers face the Suns on the road at Footprint Center again on Tuesday, and could take a 2-0 record home to California ahead of Game 3 if they claim victory.

Nikola Jokic recorded a double-double while Jamal Murray top scored as the Denver Nuggets re-discovered their form with a dominant 109-80 blowout of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

The Western Conference top seed Nuggets had gone 7-8 in their final 15 regular-season games, but snapped back into form in Game 1 of their first round playoffs series at Ball Arena.

Denver pulled away with a 32-14 third quarter, highlighted by five three-pointers.

Murray top scored with 24 points, making four-of-10 from three-point range, with eight rebounds and eight assists, while Michael Porter Jr also made four triples in his 18 points with 11 rebounds.

Porter Jr's game was capped by a hammer jam late in the first half as the Nuggets started to pull clear.

Jokic scored 13 points on six-of-12 shooting with 14 rebounds, including five offensive rebounds, and six assists.

Despite his modest stats, the Serbian center was influential in the first half with a no-look pass for Bruce Brown's three-pointer along with a classy spin to glide past Rudy Gobert in the lane.

The Timberwolves were no match for the top seed with Karl-Anthony Towns, who was the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year in Jokic's rookie season, struggling for 11 points on five-of-15 shooting.

Former NBA Draft top overall pick Anthony Edwards only managed 18 points with five assists, while veteran point guard Mike Conley had eight points, four rebounds and three assists.

Clutch Kawhi leads Clippers past Suns

Kawhi Leonard came up clutch with two late three-pointers among his 38 points while Russell Westbrook made a critical block as the Los Angeles Clippers won 115-110 over the Phoenix Suns.

The Clippers put together three straight three-pointers in three plays in the final three minutes, including two from Leonard before kicking out a pass to Eric Gordon to make it 109-103 with 1:33 left.

With Suns cut it back to one point but Westbrook blocked Devin Booker with before making two free-throws to seal the win. Westbrook shot three-of-19 but never stopped, finishing with 10 rebounds including five in offense and eight assists.

Leonard went 13-of-24 from the field with three triples along with five rebounds and five assists, while Gordon added 19 with Paul George still out injured. Kevin Durant top scored for Phoenix with 27 points and 11 assists while Booker had 26 points and Chris Paul added 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Lakers down Grizzlies, Heat shock Bucks

The Los Angeles Lakers claimed an early road win 128-112 over the Memphis Grizzlies with Ja Morant suffering a fourth-quarter hand injury to throw their first round series wide open.

Rui Hachimura scored a playoff career-best 29 points with 21 in the second half as the Lakers rallied back from a 65-59 half-time deficit, pulling clear late after Morant exited with 5:48 remaining at 105-101.

Morant was kept to 18 points with six rebounds, while Jaren Jackson Jr had 31 points with five rebounds and two blocks.

LeBron James had 21 points and 11 rebounds with two steals and three blocks, while Anthony Davis contributed 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks. Lakers guard Austin Reaves added 23 points.

Eastern Conference eight seed Miami Heat pulled off an upset 130-117 road win over the Milwaukee Bucks who lost Giannis Antetokounmpo to a lower back contusion before half-time. The Heat lost Tyler Herro to a broken hand but Jimmy Butler stepped up with 35 points and 11 assists.

Russell Westbrook has rubbished the narrative that there is animosity between him and former team-mate Kevin Durant as they prepare to face off in the NBA playoffs first round.

Westbrook and Durant, who played together at Oklahoma City Thunder, will be reunited when the former's Los Angeles Clippers will take on the latter's Phoenix Suns in a clash between the Western Conference's four and five seeds.

The pair were OKC team-mates for eight seasons, forming a strong partnership and competing in the 2012 NBA Finals, before Durant left for the Golden State Warriors in July 2016.

"It will be normal for me," Westbrook told reporters about facing Durant, having faced of 11 times since their split, with Westbrook teams up 6-5.

"I think people still think like there's some beef or something. There's no beef of any [kind], so I think that's the good narrative for media, for people to talk about.

"But there's no beef. I got nothing but respect for him and things he's done with his career and having to see him back from injury.

"There's no beef at all. But he knows I'm going to compete and I know he's going to compete and that's all it is."

Westbrook, who left the Los Angeles Lakers for the Clippers in midseason, was full of praise for Durant, who also made a midseason move from the Brooklyn Nets to the Suns.

"Just his ability - he's always been very efficient," Westbrook said. "But I think his ability to be more efficient and still score the ball at a high rate.

"He's probably one of the best scorers I've seen, just can score at ease and look so effortlessly.

"I think over the years, he's figured out ways to score the basketball at a very, very high rate, and that's kind of what I've seen over the years."

The Los Angeles Clippers secured the five seed in the Western Conference after rallying from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns 119-114 on Sunday.

Norman Powell, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook scored 29, 25 and 25 points respectively for the Clippers, who held off the Golden State Warriors for the five seed, meaning LA will take on the Suns again in the playoffs first round.

Leonard scored the Clippers' final eight points of the game among 12 in the fourth quarter, shooting 11-of-21 from the field, with 15 rebounds and six assists.

Powell continued his fine form off the bench, shooting 12-of-22 for his 29 points with five rebounds, while Westbrook made two three-pointers in his 25 points with seven rebounds and nine assists.

Phoenix sat starters Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton for the game.

Despite that, the Suns put up a good fight, with guard Saben Lee having 25 points with 10 assists, shooting three-of-eight from beyond the arc.

Warriors hit NBA record, LeBron lifts Lakers

Stephen Curry made five three-pointers and shot nine-of-15 for 26 points as the Golden State Warriors routed the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 157-101.

The Warriors could have jumped the Clippers into the five seed if LA lost, but the reigning champions will settle for the six seed, meaning they will take on the Sacramento Kings in the first round.

Curry only played 22 minutes along with Klay Thompson, who scored 20 points, with Golden State piling on an NBA record 55 first-quarter points. Jordan Poole added 21 points including four-of-five triples in 17 minutes and Moses Moody contributed 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting in 29 minutes.

That meant the Los Angeles Lakers finished seventh in the West despite LeBron James scoring eight three-pointers among 36 points in a 128-117 win over the Utah Jazz.

The Lakers will face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in tournament, with the winner to face the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs first round.

Wolves win amid Gobert and McDaniels drama

The Timberwolves jumped the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in seeding for eighth with a 113-108 victory, but it was a game full of drama with Rudy Gobert throwing a punch at teammate Kyle Anderson during a timeout.

Gobert was dismissed for the rest of the game after the second-quarter incident, while top perimeter defender Jaden McDaniels broke his right hand after hitting a wall in frustration.

Despite all that, Anthony Edwards led the Wolves to victory with 26 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and four blocks, while Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 points with eight rebounds.

Brandon Ingram scored 42 points for the Pelicans, who could have finished as high as fifth, but will instead face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a play-in tournament elimination game.

Page 1 of 12
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.