The Phoenix Suns recorded their eighth consecutive victory as they defeated the Utah Jazz 105-97 with Devin Booker producing another 40-point game on Wednesday.

Booker had 43 points, 12 rebounds and four assists after a first-quarter scoring blitz as the Suns opened up an early 39-18 lead.

Chris Paul (21 points) added some key points down the stretch as the Jazz rallied in the last quarter.

The 25-year-old shooting guard recorded his 16th career 40-point game, moving past Amar'e Stoudemire for most in Suns franchise history, sitting ahead of Tom Chambers and Walter Davis too.

The victory means the table-topping Suns improve to 38-9 overall and 8-0 on the road this calendar year.

 

Hornets break records in Pacers rout

The Charlotte Hornets set a franchise record for single game scoring and produced the highest points total this season as they downed the Indiana Pacers 158-126. The Hornets hit 24 three-pointers, with LaMelo Ball (29 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists) and Kelly Oubre Jr (39 points) starring.

The Cleveland Cavaliers underlined their credentials as contenders with a 115-99 win over the champions Milwaukee Bucks. The Cavs moved above the Bucks with their eighth win in their past nine games, with Kevin Love scoring 25 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks.

Ja Morant was exceptional with 41 points, five rebounds and eight assists as the Memphis Grizzlies won 118-110 over the San Antonio Spurs, while Nikola Jokic (26 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists) led the Denver Nuggets past the depleted Brooklyn Nets 124-118. James Harden was out with hamstring tightness.

 

Bulls wayward but winners

The Chicago Bulls only managed seven three-pointers, shooting at 26.9 percent from beyond the arc yet they won 111-105 over the Toronto Raptors. The Bulls had lost six of seven but have steadied to win their past two, with DeMar DeRozan having 29 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Billy Donovan praised his short-handed Chicago Bulls side for coping with the "defensive pressure" applied by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Monday's narrow 111-110 triumph.

The high-flying Bulls have been faltering in recent matches and had lost six of seven heading into the contest but managed to see it out against the Thunder to improve to 29-17 for the season.

DeMar DeRozan was rested, while Lonzo Ball (bruised knee) and Alex Caruso (fractured wrist) were absent in a match where the Bulls had to withstand heavy fourth-quarter pressure.

"Two of our primary ballhandlers in Lonzo and Alex are not here," said head coach Donovan, a former Thunder coach who had a 243-157 record with Oklahoma.

"And when you get into these situations in the fourth quarter where teams turn up the defensive pressure and pick up full court, you've got to be able to handle it."

Nicola Vucevic had 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulls, while rookie Ayo Dosunmu put 24 for a season high and Zach LaVine contributed 23.

LaVine had not played since January 14 due to a bruised left knee and was happy to be back out on court for a Bulls side that lost by 19 points to the league-worst Orlando Magic last time out.

"It felt good," LaVine said. "I got tired of just sitting at home watching. I'm about as healthy as I can get, but it just sucks sitting at home and not being able to help."

Chris Paul inspired the Phoenix Suns to a 115-109 victory over the Utah Jazz as the NBA leaders matched their best start to a season in franchise history.

Devin Booker top-scored for the Suns with 33 points, but it was Paul's season-high 27 that got his side out of a hole against a shorthanded Jazz.

The visitors led 87-85 at the end of the first quarter at Footprint Center and moved to 95-91 early in the second quarter as they went in search of just a third win in 10 games.

But point guard Paul stepped up for the Suns by making his first five shots in the fourth quarter, including a couple of 3-pointers, as the hosts responded with 14-2 to take the win.

Monty Williams' side are now 37-9 for the season, equalling their franchise record from 2006-07, ahead of facing the same opponents again on Wednesday.

 


Cavs hold off Knicks thanks to Garland

Darius Garland tied LeBron James' streak of 10-or-more assists in five straight games for a Cleveland Cavaliers player over the past decade in a tense 95-93 win over the New York Knicks.

The 21-year-old point guard recorded 12 assists in total and added a critical late 3-pointer as the Cavs held off a late charge from the Knicks, who trailed 86-71 with 9:41 left in Ohio.

Kevin Love led the scoring with 20 points, nine of those coming in just over a minute in the third quarter, as the Cavs went 10 games over .500 for the first time since the days of James in 2018.


Pelicans power past Pacers

Elsewhere in Monday's action, the New Orleans Pelicans trailed for a large portion of the game but had enough in the tank to beat the Indiana Pacers 117-113.

Josh Hart played through the pain barrier to inspire the Pelicans with 22 points and 10 rebounds, adding to Devonte' Graham's 22 points.

The Chicago Bulls put a poor run of six defeats from seven games behind them by beating Oklahoma City Thunder 111-110 in a tense encounter.

Nikola Vucevic's 26 points and 15 rebounds were nearly not enough as the Thunder, who trailed by 28 points, missed a 3-pointer through Shai Gilgeous-Alexander late on to level the contest.

LeBron James had a double-double but it was not enough for the fast-finishing Los Angeles Lakers to overcome his former side the Miami Heat who won 113-107 on Sunday.

The Heat led by 23 points but the Lakers charged home with 37-24 points down the stretch.

James finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the Lakers, while Russell Westbrook had 24 points and nine rebounds.

Jimmy Butler starred for the Heat, breaking James' franchise record for triple-doubles with his 22 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

The Heat are top of the Eastern Conference with a 30-17 record, while the Lakers drop below .500 with a 23-24 record.

 

Embiid continues scoring streak

Joel Embiid continued his hot streak with a double-double as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Antonio Spurs 115-109. Embiid had 38 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, extending his 14-game run of 25 points or more.

Luka Doncic had a double-double with 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Dallas Mavericks won 104-91 over the Memphis Grizzlies, for whom Ja Morant had 35 points and 13 rebounds, while the Golden State Warriors won 94-92 over the Utah Jazz, despite only 11 fourth-quarter points.

Jayson Tatum scored 51 points, including 48 in the first three quarters, as the Boston Celtics won 116- 87 over the Washington Wizards, while DeMar DeRozan had 41 points as the short-handed Chicago Bulls' slide continued with a 114-95 loss to the lowly Orlando Magic.

 

Harden subdued as Nets cut down

James Harden shot four-of-13 for the game as the Brooklyn Nets were downed 136-125 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Harden only managed 13 points, while Kyrie Irving had 30 points with six rebounds and five assists.

Grayson Allen has been handed a one-game suspension for a foul on Alex Caruso that resulted in the Chicago Bulls guard fracturing his wrist. 

Caruso was ruled out for six to eight weeks after landing awkwardly following "unnecessary and excessive contact" from Allen during the Milwaukee Bucks' 94-90 win over the Bulls. 

Allen was adjudged to have committed a Flagrant 2 foul and he was ejected from the game following the hard foul on the Chicago star as he drove to the rim in the third quarter. 

An NBA statement read: "Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen has been suspended one game without pay for having made unnecessary and excessive contact against Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso, resulting in substantial injury to Caruso. 

"Allen will serve his suspension on Wednesday, January 26 when the Bucks face the [Cleveland] Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, OH." 

The Bulls were already without starting guard Lonzo Ball, who is out for up to two months with a knee injury. 

Caruso has averaged 8.4 points, 3.9 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 27.7 minutes for the Bulls this season.

The Chicago Bulls have announced that guard Alex Caruso will miss six to eight weeks due to a wrist injury sustained in a controversial moment in Friday's 94-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Caruso will undergo surgery early next week for a fractured right wrist, having been fouled by Milwaukee's Grayson Allen, who was subsequently ejected.

The former Lakers guard joins Lonzo Ball on the sidelines for the 28-16 Bulls, who have lost five of their past six games.

Caruso's agent Greg Lawrence called Allen's foul, deemed flagrant 2 by the officials, a "cheap shot" given the significant injury it had caused. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan had labelled Allen's act as "dangerous" after the game.

The 27-year-old guard played out the game but admitted his wrist continued to bother him, impacting his shooting.

James Harden and Dejounte Murray both had triple-doubles as the Brooklyn Nets got past the San Antonio Spurs 117-102 on Friday.

Harden scored 37 points with 10 rebounds and 11 assists with Kevin Durant out with a sprained left MCL as the Nets rallied from a 51-50 half-time deficit to improve to 29-16.

Kyrie Irving contributed 24 points with three rebounds and four assists for the Nets, who are top of the Eastern Conference.

Harden's triple-double was the 66th of his career, moving him to eighth on the all-time list, while Murray – who had 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists – recorded his ninth triple-double of the season and 13th of his career.

 

LeBron leads Lakers past Magic

LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers' second-half response as they fought back from an eight-point half-time deficit to win 116-105 over the Orlando Magic. James finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists, playing the second half at center, while Russell Westbrook contributed 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

The Milwaukee Bucks edged the Chicago Bulls 94-90 in an important game in the Eastern Conference standings. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points with 12 rebounds and three assists as the Bucks overcame Grayson Allen's ejection.

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic recorded another triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists but Ja Morant overshadowed him with 38 points as the Memphis Grizzlies won 122-118 over the Denver Nuggets, while Stephen Curry had 22 points including a game-winning buzzer beater in the Golden State Warriors' 105-103 win over the Houston Rockets.

 

Sixers fluff 24-point lead

The Philadelphia 76ers blew a 24-point lead to lose 102-101 to the Los Angeles Clippers despite Joel Embiid scoring 40 points with 13 rebounds. Reggie Jackson finishing with 19 points and nine assists for the Clippers.

Lonzo Ball will be out for up to eight weeks after he undergoes knee surgery this week, the Chicago Bulls announced on Thursday. 

After sitting out the past three games, the decision has been made for Ball to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee – reportedly to repair a torn meniscus. 

A statement from the Bulls read: "Following an initial period of rest and targeted intervention, Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to return in 6-8 weeks." 

Ball is averaging 13 points, 5.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds for the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls this season. 

Chicago were 6-2 in the eight games Ball has missed this campaign, all of which have come since Boxing Day. 

The Bulls ended a four-game losing streak against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. 

Billy Donovan says the Chicago Bulls' "margin for error is not great" after losing for a fourth straight game in the absence of several key players.

Without the likes of Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso, the Bulls were beaten 119-106 by the in-form Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

Despite losing to the Grizzlies, the Boston Celtics, the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets in successive games, Chicago are top of the Eastern Conference.

The Nets are now 27-15 for the season and have allowed an average of 127 points across those past four defeats, following a run of 14 wins from their previous 17.

And after committing 18 turnovers in an error-strewn performance against the Grizzlies, Donovan accepts an improvement is required.

"For us right now, our margin for error is not great," he said. "Turnovers here, offensive rebound, a couple easy transition points – we're going to have to eliminate those things.

"We've got to be really meticulous and good at taking care of the ball, defensive rebounding and getting back."

DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 24 points on 10 of 24 shooting, on top of his five assists, while Coby White finished with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.

While the shorthanded Bulls are going through a rough patch, White believes there could be long-term gains for his side.

"I feel like this is a chance for us to grow," he said. "We're getting the opportunity now.

"I feel like we're just taking it day-by-day and trying to just grow and develop and get better for the team."

The Grizzlies have won 12 of their last 13 games and are third in the West ahead of a four-game road trip that begins against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

"I thought our guys came out ready," Memphis interim coach Darko Rajakovic said. 

"I thought we did a really good job defensively. To be honest with you, I thought we were supposed to score even more. 

"We missed a couple of chippies, a couple of open looks that we usually make."

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic recorded another triple-double as the Los Angeles Lakers slumped below .500 again following a 133-96 humiliation at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.

Nuggets center Jokic finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists and brought up his triple-double in the third quarter, as Denver piled on 73 first-half points before restricting the Lakers to only 36 points in the second half.

LeBron James scored 25 points with nine rebounds and two blocks for the Lakers, while Russell Westbrook had 19 points, five rebounds and three assists.

The defeat means the Lakers, who are still without Anthony Davis due to injury, move to a 21-22 record after losing three games in a row.

Bones Hyland was brilliant off the bench for Denver, who improve to 22-19, with a career-high 27 points including six triples and 10 rebounds.

 

Durant injured as Nets win

Kevin Durant limped out with a knee sprain as James Harden had 27 points, eight rebounds and 15 assists while Patty Mills scored 21 points as the Brooklyn Nets won 120-105 over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Pascal Siakam over-shadowed Giannis Antetokounmpo with a triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Toronto Raptors won 103-96 over the Milwaukee Bucks. Antetokounmpo scored 30 points with six rebounds and four assists.

Jayson Tatum had 23 points with 12 rebounds as the Boston Celtics won 114-112 to condemn the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls to three straight losses, while Darius Garland had 27 points and a career-high 18 assists in the Cleveland Cavaliers' comeback 107-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

Butler struggles as Heat go cold

Jimmy Butler struggled from the field, making one of 11 for his eight points as the Miami Heat's four-game winning streak was ended by the in-form Philadelphia 76ers 109-98. Joel Embiid had 32 points with 12 rebounds for the 76ers.

The Chicago Bulls have received good news with All-Star guard Zach LaVine not expected to miss significant time after an MRI showed no structural damage to his left knee.

LaVine had limped out of the Bulls' 138-96 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday and underwent an MRI on Saturday morning.

The Bulls confirmed that LaVine will be re-evaluated early next week but that the MRI was positive albeit they were unable to provide a timeline on his return to play.

"Obviously very optimistic and very grateful that it wasn't something more," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.

"That's why they wanted to do the MRI, so he'll continue to get therapy and we'll re-evaluate him after a period of time. I don't think it's something that's long-term, which is a good thing.

"The biggest thing is how does he respond to therapy, treatment, those kinds of things. I think once they see how he responds to the therapy there will be a clearer view of when a return date will be possible."

LaVine is averaging 24.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 49 percent from the field across 38 games this season for the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls.

Stephen Curry was "a little concerned" about a hand injury he sustained in the Golden State Warriors' thrashing of the Chicago Bulls on Friday but declared: "I'll be all right."

Curry fell on his right hand during the Warriors' 138-96 rout of the Bulls at United Center – their 10th consecutive victory over Chicago.

The seven-time NBA All-Star, who scored 19 points, was initially worried about the damage he may have done, but says the pain did not last for long.

He said: "Anything that involves the hands, especially the right one, you're a little concerned. But the feeling came back, the strength came back. It hurts, but I'll be all right."

Curry added: "I have some PTSD from [a hand injury sustained] two years ago. When I landed, it felt kind of the same, but we'll get it looked at and figure it out. Should be all right."

Rookie forward Jonathan Kuminga top-scored with 25 points in 26 minutes for Golden State, with Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins finishing with 22 and 21 points respectively.

Klay Thompson was rested as he eases his way back from a long injury lay-off, while Draymond Green could return from a calf injury against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

The Warriors' demolition of Eastern Conference leaders Chicago (27-13) was only their second win in six games and moved them to 31-11, sitting second in the Western Conference behind the 32-9 Phoenix Suns.

 

The Golden State Warriors showed off their newfound depth and flexed their muscle with a 138-96 rout over the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls on Friday.

Three Warriors scored more points than Stephen Curry, who finished with 19 points including four three-pointers in the win without Draymond Green (calf) and Klay Thompson (rest).

Top 10 draft pick Jonathan Kuminga top scored with 25 points, while Jordan Poole added 22 including five triples and Andrew Wiggins contributed 21.

Golden State piled on 78 points in the first half, leading by 31 at the main break and never looked back after the Bulls lost Zach LaVine to a knee injury early in the first quarter.

DeMar DeRozan was kept quiet with 17 points, two rebounds and seven assists, while Nikola Vucevic top scored for the Bulls with 19 points along with 14 rebounds.

Chicago, who were humbled 138-112 by the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, slip to a 27-13 record but remain top of the Eastern Conference.

 

Suns and Heat continue stellar records

Devin Booker scored 35 points including five three-pointers while Deandre Ayton had 27 points with 12 rebounds as the ladder-leading phoenix Suns won 112-94 over the Indiana Pacers. The Suns are 32-9 at the halfway mark, which is their second-best record in franchise history after 41 games.

Jimmy Butler returned from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury with 23 points, 10 assists and two steals as the Miami Heat rallied late to win 124-118 over the Atlanta Hawks. The Heat improve to 27-15 and sit second in the east.

Joel Embiid had 25 points, 13 rebounds and six assists as the Philadelphia 76ers got past the Boston Celtics 111-99. Embiid fell five points short of breaking the 76ers franchise record for 30 points or more in nine straight games.

 

Grizzlies winning run ended

The Memphis Grizzlies' 11-game winning streak came to a halt at the hands of Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks 112-85. The Grizzlies struggled from beyond the arc, making seven-of-31 (22.6 percent) from three-point range with Jaren Jackson Jr missing all six of his three-point attempts. Doncic had a triple-double with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

Chicago Bulls' All-Star Zach LaVine will undergo an MRI on his left knee after limping out of the side's 138-96 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

LaVine left the court early on Friday with the Bulls suffering their worst loss of the season in his absence, days after a disappointing defeat to the Brooklyn Nets.

The Bulls are top of the Eastern Conference with a 27-13 record with LaVine averaging 25.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

Bulls head Billy Donovan refused to be drawn on the extent of the injury but conceded the 26-year-old will miss Saturday's game against the Boston Celtics.

"I don't want to sit there and speculate that they've got more concern or not," Donovan told reporters after the game.

"I think they're just looking at it, he came down a bit funny. He's got some discomfort right now and they want to take a look. He didn’t feel like he could return."

He added: "I just don’t know until he gets an MRI. That's all it is right now. We leave tonight to go to Boston and he won't be going with us. We'll know a bit more detail tomorrow."

LaVine suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in 2017 playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

James Harden is excited by what could be as he along with team-mates Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined to score 61 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 138-112 victory against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

Harden managed a double-double of 25 points and a season-high 16 assists, while Durant scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Nets to a comfortable victory at United Center.

Kyrie Irving, who can only play on the road due to COVID-19 vaccine laws in New York, added nine points in his third game back for the Nets.

Speaking after the victory, which took the Nets to a 26-14 record for the season, Harden was asked about his on-court relationship with Durant and Irving.

"We're that good," Harden emphasised. "We have a chance to be that good. We just haven't had enough of it. Last year I think we had 15 games maybe together, and this year only two.

"It felt good tonight on both ends of the ball, to be locked in on the same page and, offensively, sharing the basketball and making each other better."

Durant also faced the media after another stellar showing, having now scored at least 25 points in 12 straight games, and the 11-time NBA All-Star made clear that he is not concerned with what people on the outside think of his team.

"We're trying to make no statements to the league," Durant said. "I mean, who cares what they think? We know what we bring to the table, and it's all about us. But I'm sure people were watching the game tonight."

Meanwhile, the Bulls became the first team in NBA history to win by 45+ points one day and then lose by 25+ the next, having beaten the Detroit Pistons 133-87 on Tuesday.

Coach Billy Donovan praised his team for a run that has seen them reach a 27-12 record so far, acknowledging that they were second best on the day, particularly in the third quarter when the Nets scored more than twice the number of points managed by the Bulls (39-19).

"I think you own it," Donovan said. "I think our guys have worked hard up to this point to be where we are in the standings, and with that there's a greater responsibility."

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