Stephen Curry moved within two three-pointers of breaking Ray Allen's all-time NBA record as the Golden State Warriors edged the Indiana Pacers 102-100 on Monday.

Curry finished the game with 26 points including five triples to close in on Allen's record of 2,973 three-point attempts made. The two-time MVP will look to break the mark on Tuesday against the New York Knicks.

Domantas Sabonis scored 30 points with 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who led late before Curry, who shot at 33 percent from beyond the arc, hit his fifth three-point attempt to narrow the margin.

Curry had another attempt from beyond the arc rim out, with Kevin Looney's putback giving Golden State the lead with 13.4 seconds left.

Gary Payton II's defense on Caris LeVert forced a late turnover to seal the win for the Warriors who improve to 22-5, ahead of Curry's next attempt at breaking the record in New York.

 

Tatum downs depleted Bucks

Jayson Tatum hit seven three-pointers as he finished with 42 points in the Boston Celtics' 117-103 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. The reigning champions lost Khris Middleton to a left knee hyper-extension in the third quarter, while Giannis Antetokounmpo was kept relatively quiet with 20 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

The Philadelphia 76ers missed Joel Embiid who was out with rib soreness, going down 126-91 to the Memphis Grizzlies, while reigning MVP Nikola Jokic led the Denver Nuggets past the Washington Wizards 113-107 with 28 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists.

Trae Young scored 41 points with nine assists but it could not prevent the Atlanta Hawks from losing 132-126 to the resurgent Houston Rockets. Eric Gordon netted 32 points for Houston who came from 19 points down with a 38-21 fourth quarter.

 

CP3 struggles as Suns stumble

Chris Paul could not find his stride against his former franchise, struggling for nine points shooting at under 30 percent with eight assists in the Phoenix Suns' 111-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Suns, who are 21-5, were without Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker.

Khris Middleton suffered a hyperextended left knee in Monday's 117-103 loss to the Boston Celtics which the Milwaukee Bucks are praying is not a serious injury.

Middleton landed awkwardly upon contact with team-mate Rodney Hood attempting to rebound late in the third quarter, before limping off the court moments later after trying to play on.

Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said they would wait until Tuesday to make a determination on the severity of the injury to the 2020-21 NBA champion.

"I think we're terming it a left knee hyper-extension," Budenholzer said at the post-game news conference.

"We'll know more tomorrow but I think there's some hope it's not serious, but you've got to wait and give it time."

Middleton had four points with eight rebounds and three assists on the night, succumbing to injury after 24 minutes on court.

The 30-year-old small forward is averaging 18.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game this season. Middleton averaged 20.4 points in the Bucks' title-winning season.

The defeat to the Celtics leaves the reigning champions with an 18-11 record and third spot in the Eastern Conference.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 41 points on Friday and had a triple-double on Sunday but managed only 20 points with eight rebounds and three assists.

"I think we've got to space around him a little bit better," Budenholzer said. "Move him a little bit more. It was a tough night for us, sometimes that happens."

Budenholzer also refused to blame the Bucks' recent heavy schedule with three games in four days.

"Credit to Boston, they played well tonight," he said. "I think we weren’t at our best. Whatever the reasons are, we've got to be better."

Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr both admit they regret fueling the focus around the two-time MVP breaking Ray Allen's all-time three-point record.

Curry drained five three-pointers as the Warriors defeated the Indiana Pacers 102-100 on Monday to move within two triples of breaking Allen's all-time record of 2,973 for three-point attempts made.

The Warriors guard shot at 40 percent from the field against the Pacers, including five of 15 from three-point range to finish with 26 points.

Curry has gradually closed in on the record, although Curry and Kerr both fueled the hype last week when he was 16 three-pointers off the record, when they said it was possible he could do it in one game.

The 33-year-old came out and shot six of 17 from beyond the arc against the Portland Trail Blazers in the next game, followed by three of 14 from three-point range against the Philadelphia 76ers, and admitted regret at the "extra tension" those comments created.

"Those shots I took, those first four [against Portland] I missed all four, I would shoot those whether it was Game 1, Game 82, the playoffs," Curry told reporters after Monday's shootaround prior to the Pacers game.

"That's how you approach the game. It just had a different context to it. It feels a little bit different now knowing we're right there. It will happen when it happens and I'll enjoy it when it does."

Curry added: "I realise how much work's gone into it, but there is a lot of tension and emotion. "Even from the last home game, the schedule's kind of provided a little extra emphasis, seeing if I could do it before we came on this road trip.

"But after that when I get on the floor I'm just playing basketball having a good time, trying to win games in the process. Obviously, I'd like to shoot the ball better, play better. I know that's going to happen and the record will come as a part of that, but just enjoying the process."

Kerr admitted his own regrets after flippantly feeding into the narrative when asked if Curry could break Klay Thompson's record of 14 triples in one game to go past Allen's all-time record.

"There hasn't been stress for our team," Kerr said at the pre-game news conference on Monday. "I would say it's been a slight distraction.

"I told the media in Philadelphia the other night, I fed into it because somebody asked me if Steph could break it at home against Portland with 16 threes and I said, 'Sure,' because nothing Steph does surprises me. But that fed into the narrative - he came out and took 17 threes that night, our crowd was going crazy from the very beginning. And I'm shaking my head thinking, what the hell did I just do?

"I think the most important thing is we just have to settle in and it's going to happen obviously pretty soon. We just have to get into a rhythm.

"We haven't been great offensively over the last five or six games… it's more likely that he'll make more threes if our team's in a good rhythm and we're just playing."

The Chicago Bulls' next two NBA games have been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak.

It was announced by the Bulls on Monday that 10 of their players and additional members of staff are in the league's health and safety protocols.

The NBA confirmed Chicago will not face the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday or the Toronto Raptors two days later.

Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson took the list of Bulls players unavailable due to entering the protocols to seven for a 118-9 defeat to the Miami Heat on Saturday.

The games against the Pistons and the Raptors will be rearranged.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James believes he is "getting better and better" after he set yet another NBA record.

James became the oldest player in league history, at the age of 36 years and 346 days, to register a 30-point triple-double as the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic 106-94.

According to ESPN, James overtook the late Kobe Bryant, another Lakers great, who was aged 36 years and 99 days when he accumulated 31 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in a win over the Toronto Raptors in 2014.

James had 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists on Sunday. He missed a chunk of games through injury at the start of the season, but still ranks third in the Lakers' roster for points (420), behind Russell Westbrook (546) and Anthony Davis (600).

"Who me? How do I continue how I'm playing? Been doing it for 19 years," James told reporters when asked how long he can maintain his recent form.

"Just do what I've been doing. I feel like I'm getting better and better each and every day. I'm getting healthier and healthier.

"That's just my mindset. Don't get involved in how many minutes I played, how many days off.

"I don't confine to that. I think you think negative thoughts or negative energy, it just creeps into your mind. So, I'm as young as I've ever been."

James played both road games in a double-header against the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder last week, collecting 53 points, 15 rebounds and 17 assists across those appearances.

His performance on Sunday was put down to getting plenty of rest upon his return to Los Angeles, though that only came after a trip to Phoenix to see his son in action.

"I slept last night from 12 [a.m.] to 8 [a.m.], I got up, ate breakfast and went back to sleep from 8:30 [a.m.] to 12:30 [p.m.]," James explained.

"Sleep. Sleep and inspiration from my son and his team."

Westbrook, who scored 19 points and had seven rebounds against the Magic, added of James: "When he's just being aggressive, he's aggressive in making the right plays and reads, our team's different.

"Tonight was another night where he imposed his will."

Kevin Durant edged Stephen Curry's season-best mark with 51 points as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Detroit Pistons 116-104 in the NBA on Sunday.

Durant was dominant after the Nets opted to rest fellow superstar James Harden for the first time this season, with the former MVP shooting 16 of 31 from the field, including five three-pointers.

The two-time champion and Finals MVP also had seven rebounds, nine assists, two block and one steal in a remarkable all-round display for the Eastern Conference-leading Nets.

The haul was Durant's eighth 50-point game of his NBA career, while it bettered Stephen Curry's season-best 50 points against the Atlanta Hawks on November 8.

Struggling Detroit challenged the Nets, leading by five points at the final change before a 30-13 fourth quarter for the Nets.

Number one draft pick Cade Cunningham had 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals for the Pistons.

 

Triple-doubles for Giannis and LeBron

Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded his first triple-double for the season with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the Milwaukee Bucks' 112-97 victory over the New York Knicks. Khris Middleton added 24 points with four triples, while Bobby Portis grabbed a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds for the defending champions.

LeBron James also had a triple-double, the 101st of his illustrious NBA career. James scored 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the Los Angeles Lakers as they trumped the Orlando Magic 106-94. The Lakers enjoyed a 23-0 third-quarter run on their way to victory.

The Dallas Mavericks won for the first time this season without star Luka Doncic, easing past the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-84, while Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points with 10 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Portland Trail Blazers 116-111.

 

Randle silenced as Knicks beaten

Julius Randle's struggles this season continued against the Bucks, managing only eight points with seven turnovers. Randle shot two of nine from the field.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash labelled Kevin Durant "incredible" after scoring an NBA season-high 51 points in the team's 116-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

The Eastern Conference-leading Nets took down the lowly Pistons thanks to Durant, who shot 16 of 31 from the field, including five three-pointers in a dominant offensive display in the absence of rested team-mate James Harden.

Durant's 51 points usurped Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry's 50-point mark for the previous top individual score this season, while the former also had nine assists and seven rebounds.

"Kevin was incredible," Nash said at the post-game news conference. "Not an easy night. They played extremely hard. Tonnes of energy.

"We were playing different line-ups. I think there were different guys out there at different times trying to find the spacing and the spots, where to be, so there are some challenges there for us.

"For him to be able to score 51, nine assists, seven rebounds, two blocks and a steal, it's incredible."

The haul was Durant's eighth 50-point game of his NBA career, while it was the 10th 50-point game in Brooklyn's franchise history.

Durant dominated the second and third quarters for the Nets, scoring 35 of his team's 55 points during that stretch, as the struggling Pistons challenged.

"I felt like we started the game with a nice energy and then the second quarter they upped the pressure a bit," Durant told reporters.

"I felt like we turned it over a lot in the second and third quarter. I just tried to keep the ball in our hands and take a shot every time as I was turning it over too. I was able to make some."

Nash added that he could not remember such a dominant period by one individual.

"I'm sure it's happened but I can't remember it. He was just outstanding," Nash said.

"I thought his leadership and a willingness to keep us in it, also his defense, was unbelievable."

All-Star guard Zach LaVine is the latest Chicago Bulls player to enter the NBA's health and safety protocols amid a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.

LaVine and team-mate Tony Brown Jr. entered the NBA's health and safety protocols on Sunday, bringing the Bulls' total to nine players since the start of December.

The pair follow DeMar DeRozan, Coby White, Javonte Green, Matt Thomas, Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson in being sidelined.

Once players enter protocols, they must quarantine for 10 days or until they return two negative PCR tests within a 24-hour window.

The Bulls (17-10) are not in action again until Tuesday when they host the Detroit Pistons, where they may have only nine available players.

White and Green will have completed their mandatory isolation period by Tuesday and could be cleared to play.

Under NBA rules, a minimum of eight players are required for a team before postponing a game during an outbreak.

LaVine is enjoying an excellent season, averaging 26.0 points, 4.2 assists and a career-high 5.3 rebounds per game.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd confirmed Luka Doncic will miss multiple games as the star continues to struggle with a sore left ankle.

Doncic sprained his left ankle against the Denver Nuggets on November 15 and missed the following three games.

The Slovenian guard re-aggravated the ankle in Friday's 106-93 defeat to the Indiana Pacers and Kidd confirmed he will sit for Sunday's game with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Monday's clash against the Charlotte Hornets.

Dallas (12-13) have a busy upcoming schedule, with a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, and it remains unclear how long Doncic will be sidelined.

"He continues to get treatment, and we'll see how he feels for Wednesday's game," Kidd told reporters.

The Mavericks have lost all four games with Doncic absent this season, having also missed a December 4 defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies with ankle soreness.

Doncic is averaging 25.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists this season.

The 22-year-old had a career-best scoring return in the 2019-20 season with 28.8 points per game.

Kevin Durant has been fined $25,000 for aiming obscene language at a fan during the Brooklyn Nets' 113-105 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Durant powered in 31 points against the Hawks on Friday but has been punished for an apparent verbal spray towards a member of the crowd during the second quarter.

The NBA's president of league operations Byron Spruell announced the fine on Sunday in a statement that said: "Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant has been fined $25,000 for directing obscene language toward a fan.

"The incident took place with 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter of the Nets' 113-105 win over the Atlanta Hawks on December 10 at State Farm Arena."

It is not the first time that Durant has been in trouble with the NBA this season either, given the 33-year-old was fined the same amount at the end of October.

The forward's previous misdemeanour occurred against the Indiana Pacers, when he was reprimanded for "forcefully throwing the game ball into the spectator stands" during the third quarter of the Nets' win.

Fortunately for Brooklyn, Durant will not be suspended for any matches and the Nets will be delighted to keep their star in action, given he is averaging 28.5 points per game across 24 outings in the 2021-22 campaign.

Brooklyn, who hold a slender lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for the best record in the Eastern Conference, were due in action later on Sunday in a game against the Detroit Pistons.

Nikola Vucevic would like to be able to do more to help the Chicago Bulls amid their coronavirus outbreak but has no explanation for his shooting woes.

The Bulls lost two more players to health and safety protocols ahead of Saturday's defeat to the Miami Heat, meaning they now have seven players out due to COVID-19.

Among them is DeMar DeRozan, whose team-high 26.4 points per game this season have helped transform Chicago into contenders in the East.

Two-time All-Star Vucevic missed seven games earlier in the year after returning a positive test, although his below-par displays so far in 2021-22 mean the former Orlando Magic center was not quite such a big miss.

Through the first three weeks of the season before his lay-off, Vucevic shot 39.5 per cent from the field and averaged 13.6 points.

There has been slight improvement since the 31-year-old's return, shooting 41.3 per cent and scoring 17.0 points, boosted by a 30-point game against the Charlotte Hornets, but his marks for the season (40.4 per cent shooting, 15.2 points per game) remain well down on 2020-21 (47.7 per cent, 23.4).

Among players to play in 70 per cent of team games, only Jonas Valanciunas (59.2 to 51.7) has suffered a larger decline in field-goal shooting percentage from this season to last, while Bradley Beal (31.3 to 22.5) is the sole NBA star to see a greater drop-off in points output.

The 118-92 loss to the Heat saw Vucevic's worst shooting game of the season, making just three of 15 attempts from the field (20.0 per cent) for 10 points.

"I don't really have an explanation for what's going on with my shot," the 49.3-per-cent career shooter said afterwards.

"It's something I was always very consistent with, really good throughout my whole career, around a 50-per-cent shooter, so I don't know."

The Bulls' overall improvement – now 17-10 after last year's 31-41 record, representing the league's third-largest increase in winning percentage – had largely hidden Vucevic's poor form until now.

"It's tough when you want to go out there, play well and help the team win," he said. "You want to do your job. It's obviously frustrating.

"I have a lot of pride in myself and put in the work and everything, but it's just not working for me right now.

"I've never been through a slump like this, and I just have to work myself out of it. There's no other way.

"Obviously I'm not playing well right now, I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do, not doing my job, and I've just got to figure it out – it's plain and simple."

He added: "There are games where maybe I didn't play as well, but we were winning and it's not that big of a deal.

"When you lose and you don't play well, you feel like it's even more of your responsibility, your fault."

Coach Billy Donovan has sympathy for his players amid the uncertainty around the team, although he wants more from Vucevic.

"Everybody's probably a little bit out of sorts right now, just because we keep losing players and we're throwing different guys in and need more from different guys," he said.

The coach at least knows Vucevic's performances are not for a lack of effort.

"With some of the scoring that's missing from our team, we're going to need him and Lonzo to pick up the slack in different ways," Donovan added.

"I thought he had some pretty decent looks. But I trust him and believe in him – maybe I wouldn't feel that way if I didn't see him working."

Stephen Curry says the lure of breaking Ray Allen's all-time three-pointers record did not play a part in his poor shooting night in the Golden State Warriors 102-93 loss the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Curry shot six of 20 from the field, finishing with 18 points and making only three of 14 attempts from beyond the arc.

The two-time MVP's three triples moved him within seven three-pointers of breaking Allen's all-time NBA record of 2,973 three-point attempts made.

"If you take away the context of these last couple of games, I've played the exact same way," Curry said at the post-game news conference. "You’ve got to make shots and understand the opposition is not going to want that [breaking the record] to happen on their home floor.

"They defend accordingly. For the most part [I am] trying to keep it out of my head and just play basketball and take the shots I normally take and play the game I normally do.

"There was obviously a lot of attention on it which is well deserved as it's an all-time NBA record and one that been around for 10-11 years.

"I appreciate the attention on it. It'll happen when it happens. I'll continue to keep winning NBA games in the process."

Curry has made 24 three-pointers in his past five games as he closes in on the NBA record with attention swirling about the milestone held by Allen since 2011 when he surpassed Reggie Miller's mark of 2,560.

The point guard attributed his 30 percent field goal percentage to pressure from the 76ers and Matisse Thybulle, who marked him closely, rather than the impending record.

"They pressured all night long. Thybulle is a pretty hard defender," Curry said. "They were trying to force us into the paint and make the extra pass and we did that early.

"We didn't shoot as effectively as we wanted. We made that third quarter run but then got cold. They slowly walked us down."

Curry's next chance at breaking Allen's record occurs on Monday when the Warriors face the Indiana Pacers.

Stephen Curry says the lure of breaking Ray Allen's all-time three-pointers record did not play a part in his poor shooting night in the Golden State Warriors 102-93 loss the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Curry shot six of 20 from the field, finishing with 18 points and making only three of 14 attempts from beyond the arc.

The two-time MVP's three triples moved him within seven three-pointers of breaking Allen's all-time NBA record of 2,973 three-point attempts made.

"If you take away the context of these last couple of games, I've played the exact same way," Curry said at the post-game news conference. "You’ve got to make shots and understand the opposition is not going to want that [breaking the record] to happen on their home floor.

"They defend accordingly. For the most part [I am] trying to keep it out of my head and just play basketball and take the shots I normally take and play the game I normally do.

"There was obviously a lot of attention on it which is well deserved as it's an all-time NBA record and one that been around for 10-11 years.

"I appreciate the attention on it. It'll happen when it happens. I'll continue to keep winning NBA games in the process."

Curry has made 24 three-pointers in his past five games as he closes in on the NBA record with attention swirling about the milestone held by Allen since 2011 when he surpassed Reggie Miller's mark of 2,560.

The point guard attributed his 30 percent field goal percentage to pressure from the 76ers and Matisse Thybulle, who marked him closely, rather than the impending record.

"They pressured all night long. Thybulle is a pretty hard defender," Curry said. "They were trying to force us into the paint and make the extra pass and we did that early.

"We didn’t shoot as effectively as we wanted. We made that third quarter run but then got cold. They slowly walked us down."

Curry's next chance at breaking Allen's record occurs on Monday when the Warriors face the Indiana Pacers.

Stephen Curry had a wayward shooting game but moved closer to Ray Allen's all-time record as the Golden State Warriors were humbled 102-93 by the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Joel Embiid scored a game-high 26 points along with nine rebounds and four assists for the 76ers, who ended the game with a 41-20 run to improve their record to 15-12.

Curry, who started the game 10 triples away from Allen's all-time NBA record for most three-point attempts made, finished with 18 points including three triples.

As a result, two-time MVP Curry is seven three-pointers away from breaking Allen's mark of 2,973 career triples.

Curry drained two three-pointers late in the second quarter but did not add to his tally until the fourth quarter, shooting a disappointing three-of-14 from beyond the arc. The guard finished the game shooting 30 percent from the field.

 

Jokic stars but triple-double run ends

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic's run of three straight triple-doubles ended but he still managed a double-double with 35 points and 17 rebounds in the Denver Nuggets' 127-112 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Reggie Jackson hit a late two-pointer with 2.2 seconds left to lead the Los Angeles Clippers past the Orlando Magic 106-104, finishing the game with 25 points in Paul George's absence.

The Utah Jazz extended their winning streak to seven games as Donovan Mitchell had 28 points with Ruby Gobert grabbing another double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds in their 123-98 win over the Washington Wizards.

 

Turnovers cost Bulls vs Heat

Point guard Lonzo Ball committed five turnovers and only managed 15 points as the Chicago Bulls lost 118-92 to the Miami Heat. Zach LaVine was also guilty of four turnovers, although he finished with 33 points including seven three-pointers.

James Harden will miss a game for the first time this season after the Brooklyn Nets confirmed he will be rested against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

The 2018 MVP has started all of the Nets' 26 games this season, leading Brooklyn in minutes played with 941, ahead of Kevin Durant (871).

Harden is also coming off another 40-plus-minute game in Friday's 113-105 win over the Atlanta Hawks. The point guard currently ranks sixth in minutes per game (36.2) this season.

“Fourty [minutes]. Three times in a row. 40,” Harden told reporters with a wry grin after Friday's game having clocked up 162 minutes in their past four games.

"I want to win man. I don’t care about nothing else but winning. I don’t care about nothing else. That’s all."

The Nets are top of the Eastern Conference with an 18-8 record while the Pistons are last with a 4-21 record after 11 straight defeats.

Harden, who started the season slow, is averaging 20.8 points, 9.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds.

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