The Utah Jazz continued their impressive NBA run with a win over the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Los Angeles Lakers extended their own streak.

The Western Conference-leading Jazz improved to 21-5 courtesy of a 129-115 victory over the Bucks on Friday.

Rudy Gobert (27 points), Joe Ingles (27), Donovan Mitchell (26) and Jordan Clarkson (25) all had 25-plus points for Utah, who have won six straight games.

Gobert also pulled down 12 rebounds in his double-double, while Ingles went seven-of-nine from three-point range, with the Jazz's 21-5 start their best 26-game record in franchise history.

Giannis Antetokounmpo starred for the Bucks with 29 points and 15 rebounds, but Milwaukee (16-10) slipped to back-to-back defeats.

The Lakers extended their winning streak to seven with a 115-105 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Anthony Davis (35 points and nine rebounds) and LeBron James (28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists) again led the way for the Lakers (21-6).

 

Mavs win fourth straight as Rozier shines for Hornets

The Dallas Mavericks won a fourth straight game with a 143-130 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Luka Doncic had a double-double of 46 points and 12 assists, while Kristaps Porzingis poured in 36 points. It marked the first time in NBA history a pair of foreign-born team-mates each had 35-plus points in a game, as per Stats Perform. Zion Williamson had 36 points for the Pelicans.

Terry Rozier's 41 points lifted the Charlotte Hornets past the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-114.

Kawhi Leonard posted 33 points as the Los Angeles Clippers improved to 19-8 with a 125-106 success over the Chicago Bulls.

Saddiq Bey had a double-double of 30 points and 12 rebounds in the Detroit Pistons' surprise 108-102 win against the Boston Celtics. He was the first Pistons rookie with 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds since Grant Hill in 1995.

 

Misery for Wizards

The Washington Wizards dropped a second straight game, beaten by the New York Knicks 109-91. The Wizards shot at just 38.2 per cent from the field.

 

Porzingis in form

Porzingis went eight-of-13 from three-point range in the Mavericks' win, including hitting one from the logo.

Friday's results

Charlotte Hornets 120-114 Minnesota Timberwolves
New York Knicks 109-91 Washington Wizards
San Antonio Spurs 125-114 Atlanta Hawks
Dallas Mavericks 143-130 New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Clippers 125-106 Chicago Bulls
Detroit Pistons 108-102 Boston Celtics
Denver Nuggets 97-95 Oklahoma City Thunder
Utah Jazz 129-115 Milwaukee Bucks
Los Angeles Lakers 115-105 Memphis Grizzlies
Portland Trail Blazers 129-110 Cleveland Cavaliers
Orlando Magic 123-112 Sacramento Kings

 

76ers at Suns

The Philadelphia 76ers (18-8) take on a Phoenix Suns (15-9) team riding a four-game winning streak on Saturday.

Zach LaVine and Coby White proved unstoppable from downtown as the Chicago Bulls delivered a record-breaking display, while Luka Doncic's superb triple-double powered the Dallas Mavericks.

The Bulls exploded to post an all-time franchise best total of 25 three-pointers as Chicago halted the New Orleans Pelicans' four-match winning streak, 129-116, at the United Center.

LaVine delivered 20 points in the first quarter before going on to drop 46 in total, draining nine of his 14 three-point shots, while White added 30 points including eight of 17 buckets from distance.

The duo became the first team-mates in NBA history to each hit eight three-pointers in the same game as the Bulls came back from eight points down at the half to blow away the Pelicans.

The scorching-hot LaVine also became the first Chicago player to post 120 points in a three-game stretch since Michael Jordan in 1997 as the Bulls improved to 10-14.

Doncic posted his 32nd career triple-double as the Mavericks edged a nail-biting 118-117 triumph over the Atlanta Hawks to extend their winning streak to three.

The Slovenian star dropped 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as Dallas trailed by nine at the start of the fourth quarter but finished strongly to close out the win and take their record to 12-14.

Atlanta's John Collins was the game's top scorer with 33 points, while Trae Young notched 25 points and 15 assists, but the Hawks could not find the decisive play in a wild final 90 seconds.


Giannis produces fireworks but Suns claim comeback win

The Phoenix Suns kept their momentum rolling, claiming a fourth straight win by edging Milwaukee 125-124 after coming back from 16 points down, but Giannis Antetokounmpo exploded for the Bucks.

The two-time NBA MVP carried his team on his shoulders, scoring a season-high 47 points and claiming 11 rebounds and five assists. Antetokounmpo almost snatched a remarkable victory but his buzzer-beater bounced back off the rim.

Indiana off the pace against Brooklyn

Malcolm Brogdon had a day to forget as the Indiana Pacers were held under 100 points, falling to their fourth straight defeat, in a 104-94 reverse against the Brooklyn Nets.

The Indiana guard had a 29.4 per cent field-goal success rate, scoring five of his 17 attempts, as the 12-13 Pacers could not match Kyrie Irving and James Harden's high-power offense.

LeBron sets up Matthews for key bucket 

With less than a minute remaining in overtime and the Los Angeles Lakers level against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Wesley Matthews came up clutch.

LeBron James drove towards the paint in heavy traffic, before flipping the ball out right for Matthews to sink the key three-pointer.

The Lakers clinched a 114-113 overtime victory to improve to 20-6.

Wednesday's results

Toronto Raptors 137-115 Washington Wizards
Dallas Mavericks 118-117 Atlanta Hawks
Los Angeles Clippers 119-112 Minnesota Timberwolves
Memphis Grizzlies 130-114 Charlotte Hornets
Brooklyn Nets 104-94 Indiana Pacers
Chicago Bulls 129-116 New Orleans Pelicans
Denver Nuggets 133-95 Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Lakers 114-113 Oklahoma City Thunder 
Phoenix Suns 125-124 Milwaukee Bucks

 

76ers at Trail Blazers

Led by the in-form Joel Embiid, the 18-7 Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers go on the road to face another team with a winning record, the 13-10 Portland Trail Blazers, on Thursday.

The Los Angeles Clippers will be without Paul George for their upcoming two-game road trip due to injury.

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue confirmed George's absence for games against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bills as the NBA All-Star deals with a swollen right toe.

George has been sidelined for the Clippers' past two games.

"Staying back home and getting some treatment," Lue said of George on Tuesday. "And we'll re-evaluate when we get back."

The Clippers face the Timberwolves on Wednesday before visiting the Bulls on Friday.

George is averaging 24.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game for the Clippers this season.

The Clippers (17-8) are third in the Western Conference, behind leaders the Utah Jazz (19-5) and defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers (19-6), following back-to-back losses.

Jayson Tatum savoured a "big team win" as the Boston Celtics condemned the Los Angeles Clippers to a second loss in three games.

His 34-point haul drove the injury-hit Celtics to their 119-115 success at Staples Center, with Kemba Walker adding 24 points.

In response, Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 28 points, five assists and 11 rebounds. That meant he exceeded 20 points for an eighth straight game, but he failed to make a three-pointer for just the third time this season, missing with his five attempts.

Tatum's points haul was his second highest of the season and included five three-pointers from 10 attempts.

The 2017 draft third overall pick was satisfied to see the team make up for their previous defeat, a loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

"I think this is a good win, coming off a loss, down a few guys," Tatum said in a post-game news conference.

"But I think from my time being here, regardless of who we have playing, we always feel like we want to give ourselves a chance to win."

The Celtics improved to 12-9 for the season as the Clippers slipped to 17-7, having also lost narrowly to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.

Tatum pointed to Boston delving into their squad, with Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart both ruled out of the game.

"We've got a lot of talented guys on this team that work extremely hard. When you get your number called it's about being ready," he said.

"It was a big team win in that aspect and I'm proud of those guys."

Asked about taking on Leonard, Tatum responded: "I enjoy those matchups obviously. He's one of the best players, he's accomplished so much."

Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated again as the Milwaukee Bucks won a third straight game, while the Boston Celtics edged the Los Angeles Clippers.

Two days after posting a triple-double against the Indiana Pacers, Antetokounmpo had a double-double in a 123-105 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA on Friday.

Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points, 12 rebounds and four assists for the Bucks (14-8).

Jrue Holiday went eight-of-nine from the field for his 17 points, while Collin Sexton (19 points) top-scored for the Cavs.

Jayson Tatum inspired the Celtics to a 119-115 victory over the Clippers.

He finished with 34 points and Kemba Walker chipped in with 24 for Boston, while Clippers star Kawhi Leonard had 28.

Zion reaches 1,000, Nets fall amid Durant drama

Zion Williamson had 18 points in the New Orleans Pelicans' 114-113 victory over the Pacers. He reached 1,000 career points in his 44th career game, becoming the fifth player in the past 40 years to do so in 44 games or fewer – joining Blake Griffin, Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson and Michael Jordan.

Brandon Ingram (30 points, seven assists and six rebounds) led the way for the Pelicans.

Kevin Durant endured a rollercoaster day with the Brooklyn Nets. The star was removed from the starting lineup due to the NBA's health and safety protocols. After being allowed to enter the game in the first quarter, he exited in the third due to contact tracing. Pascal Siakam (33 points and 11 rebounds) guided the Toronto Raptors past the Nets 123-117.

The Utah Jazz hit a franchise-record 26 three-pointers in a 138-121 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Bojan Bogdanovic (31 points) made seven of them, while LaMelo Ball had 34 points for the Hornets.

Nikola Vucevic posted a huge double-double of 43 points and 19 rebounds to guide the Orlando Magic past the Chicago Bulls 123-119. He joined Dwight Howard and O'Neal as the only players to reach 43 points and 19 rebounds in a game for Orlando.

 

Beal's streak comes to an end

After 25-plus points in 17 straight games to begin the season, Bradley Beal's streak came to an end in the Washington Wizards' 122-95 loss to the Miami Heat. Beal was one-of-14 from the field for just seven points in 27 minutes.

 

Jazz red hot

Utah were on a roll from deep against the Hornets. They went 26-of-50 from three-point range in their record performance.

Friday's results

New Orleans Pelicans 114-113 Indiana Pacers
Orlando Magic 123-119 Chicago Bulls
Toronto Raptors 123-117 Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee Bucks 123-105 Cleveland Cavaliers
Utah Jazz 138-121 Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat 122-95 Washington Wizards
Minnesota Timberwolves 106-103 Oklahoma City Thunder
Phoenix Suns 109-92 Detroit Pistons
Boston Celtics 119-115 Los Angeles Clippers

 

Nets at 76ers

The Nets (14-10) are set to be without Durant for a clash against Eastern Conference leaders the Philadelphia 76ers (16-7) on Saturday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to a convincing win in the NBA on Wednesday, while the Dallas Mavericks snapped their losing streak.

Antetokounmpo posted a triple-double of 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Bucks cruised past the Indiana Pacers 130-110.

Milwaukee had seven players in double-figures for points, with Bryn Forbes chipping in with 20 off the bench.

The Bucks improved to 13-8 despite another good performance by Pacers star Domantas Sabonis (33 points and 12 rebounds).

The Mavericks ended a run of six straight losses by overcoming the Atlanta Hawks 122-116.

Luka Doncic led Dallas with a double-double of 27 points and 14 assists as they improved to 9-13.

Embiid, George star

Joel Embiid starred with 34 points and 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers claimed a fourth straight win by beating the Charlotte Hornets 118-111.

Paul George posted 36 points for the Los Angeles Clippers, who eased past the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-99.

Bradley Beal had 32 points as the Washington Wizards edged the Miami Heat 103-100. Beal has had 25-plus points in 17 straight games to start the season, which is the most since 1976-77.

Zion Williamson's 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists saw the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Phoenix Suns 123-101.

 

Oladipo can't lift Rockets

Victor Oladipo went eight-of-24 from the field, and one-of-eight from three-point range, as the Houston Rockets were well beaten by the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-87.

 

Special Zion

Williamson got on the end of an Eric Bledsoe pass for a monstrous alley-oop slam.

Wednesday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 130-110 Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia 76ers 118-111 Charlotte Hornets
Dallas Mavericks 122-116 Atlanta Hawks
Los Angeles Clippers 121-99 Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards 103-100 Miami Heat
New York Knicks 107-103 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 104-87 Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs 111-108 Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans 123-101 Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings 116-111 Boston Celtics

 

Nuggets at Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers (16-6) return to action with a clash at home to the Denver Nuggets (12-8) on Thursday.

Kyrie Irving used a lacklustre defensive display against the Washington Wizards as motivation to lead the Brooklyn Nets to success against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

The Nets fell to a 149-146 defeat to the Wizards on Sunday, with Irving claiming he "couldn't guard a stick" after Russell Westbrook poured in a game-high 41 points.

The former Boston Celtics point guard responded with a strong display on both ends of the floor against the Clippers, scoring 39 points in a 124-120 success at Barclays Center.

"We just needed to respond, every single night is going to be different. I'm just trying to give what is needed on both ends of the floor," said Irving, who had two blocks and one steal.

"Like I said the other night, I took that personally, just not being able to guard anyone. Tonight I gave up a few drives but I feel like defensively as a team, including with my effort, we just matched it.

"We knew they were gonna bring it, so it was just an exciting game. Great competition for some of the top players in the world to go against each other on TV, so grateful to give the fans what they want."

Irving led a 13-0 run that included buckets from Kevin Durant and James Harden – who became the eighth player in NBA history to reach 50 career triple-doubles – as the Nets established a 10-point lead with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers managed to bring the difference back to one but were unable to stop Brooklyn improving to 14-9 on the season.

"Late in games any coach in America wants the ball in their best players' hands," said Durant, who reached 500 points for the Nets in just his 17th game – a franchise record and the second-best mark all-time for a player on a new NBA team, after Wilt Chamberlain for the Warriors in 1959-60 (14 games).

"We've got three guys who are unselfish and know how to play, and I think we made the right plays down the stretch, especially Kyrie and James, controlling the ball.

"I felt like when those guys [have] got it on top, they've got the defense at their mercy so we've got to continue to be on the same page late in games."

On the Nets' late-game defense, he added: "You're down 10, you're shooting the ball with no conscience, they went in. Sometimes we got hands up on stuff, we gave up an and-one, but it wasn't anything easy I'll tell you that.

"I think they earned every point late in the game and that's what we want at the end of the day."

Head coach Steven Nash was proud of Brooklyn's defensive improvement against the team that entered the game with the best record in the league.

"We have the luxury of offensive talent, but we also have to defend. That is a difficult team to defend and we did a great job," said Nash.

"You know it is kind of tricky when the teams are constantly taking way more shots than you are.

"We'll keep cleaning up and we'll keep getting better. When they put up the effort that they did tonight, we'll be tough to beat."

Paul George felt it was "disrespectful" of the referees to only give him one free throw attempt during the Los Angeles Clippers defeat to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.

Six-time All-Star George was sent to the line for the first and only time when he got an and-one play on Landry Shamet midway through the fourth quarter.

The Nets' superstar trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden combined to go 16-of-16 from the stripe, while Kawhi Leonard was 8-of-9.

"I mean, I think it was disrespectful that I had one free throw attempt today. I am going to leave it at that," said George, who finished the game with 26 points.

The last time George scored as many points with one or zero free throw attempts was in January 2018 against the Denver Nuggets, when he had 43 without a single foul shout.

He continued: "The amount of plays I initiated or created contact, and to get sent to the line one time. Definitely plays I'm gonna have sent in."

Brooklyn responded to George's made free throw with a 13-0 run. A Durant jumper was followed by a three-pointer from Irving, who hit another after adding two points in between.

A step back three from Harden put the Nets in a comfortable position with four minutes and 10 seconds remaining, and although the Clippers got back within one they were unable to avoid a 124-120 defeat at Barclays Center.

Irving scored a game-high 39 points, Harden had a triple-double of 23 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists, and Durant poured in 28 points to make franchise history.

Durant reached 500 points for the Nets in just his 17th game, making him the second-quickest to hit that mark with a new team in the NBA. Only Wilt Chamberlain managed it in less time with the Warriors in 1959-60 (14 games).

"I mean as good a defense we played all night, the fact of the matter is they have some of the best iso players in the world: Kyrie, James and KD," said George.

"I thought there was a stretch where we played great defense, were in their face, and it was almost like each one of them took turns in making a shot.

"They're just tough to guard, they're super confident in their shotmaking ability, [and] defense I thought couldn't be any better on some of those possessions."

Head coach Tyronn Lue felt George let not getting calls from the officials have too much of an impact on his production during the early stages.

Asked if he felt that affected George's rhythm, Lue responded: "Yeah, but it shouldn't. We talked about playing through the officiating, no excuses.

"Some calls should have gone his way but they didn't, and so we've just got to keep playing. I thought he got his composure back in the second half and he played through it, so it's a learning lesson for us."

The Brooklyn Nets' stars delivered in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers, while Fred VanVleet made history for the Toronto Raptors.

The Nets' 'Big Three' – Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving – led Brooklyn past the Clippers 124-120 in the NBA on Tuesday.

Harden posted a triple-double of 23 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds, while Irving had a game-high 39 points and Durant finished with 28.

With his 50th career triple-double, Harden became the eighth player in NBA history to achieve that mark, joining Oscar Robertson (181), Russell Westbrook (151), Magic Johnson (138), Jason Kidd (107), LeBron James (95), Wilt Chamberlain (78) and Larry Bird (59).

The Nets improved to 14-9 with victory over a Clippers (16-6) side also expected to contend come season's end.

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard had 33 points and Paul George chipped in with 26.

VanVleet dominated with a record-breaking 54 points in the Raptors' 123-108 win over the Orlando Magic.

The guard broke DeMar DeRozan's franchise record of 52 points in a game.

VanVleet was 17-of-23 from the field and 11-of-14 from three-point range, while adding three rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

He became the first player in NBA history to have 50-plus points, 10-plus three-pointers made, three-plus blocks and three-plus steals in a game, as per Stats Perform. He was also the first guard with 50-plus points, three-plus blocks and three-plus steals in a game since Michael Jordan in April 1987.

Curry magic not enough, Sabonis stars

Stephen Curry made seven three-pointers and had 38 points and 11 rebounds, but the Golden State Warriors went down to the Boston Celtics 111-107.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 27 points and nine rebounds.

Domantas Sabonis' double-double of 32 points and 13 rebounds saw the Indiana Pacers past the Memphis Grizzlies 134-116.

Damian Lillard finished with 32 points as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Washington Wizards 132-121. Bradley Beal had 37 points for the Wizards.

 

Griffin below his best

Blake Griffin struggled from the field, shooting four-of-13 for 11 points in 29 minutes in the Detroit Pistons' 117-105 loss to the Utah Jazz.

 

Melo moves

Carmelo Anthony posted 21 points off the bench in the Trail Blazers' win. He moved up to 13th on the all-time scoring list.

Tuesday's results

Toronto Raptors 123-108 Orlando Magic
Brooklyn Nets 124-120 Los Angeles Clippers
Indiana Pacers 134-116 Memphis Grizzlies
Portland Trail Blazers 132-121 Washington Wizards
Boston Celtics 111-107 Golden State Warriors
Utah Jazz 117-105 Detroit Pistons

 

Pacers at Bucks

The Pacers (12-9) will aim for a second straight win when they take on Giannis Antetokounmpo (averaging 27.3 points, 11 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season) and the Milwaukee Bucks (12-8) on Wednesday.

Nikola Jokic helped the Denver Nuggets end the Utah Jazz's 11-game winning streak in the NBA with 47 points in a 128-117 victory.

The Jazz had been the league's in-form team, but Jokic's dominant double-double display snapped their streak on Sunday.

Jokic matched a career high after going 17 for 26 from the field while making all four of his three-point attempts, having scored 33 points in the opening quarter.

The MVP candidate also collected 12 rebounds as Bojan Bogdanovic led the visiting Jazz with 29 points in Denver.

Meanwhile, the lowly Washington Wizards completed an unlikely comeback against the Brooklyn Nets, who were stunned 149-146 in an insane finish.

The Wizards trailed by five points with just 10 seconds remaining but produced an incredible rally to upstage the James Harden-less Nets.

Bradley Beal nailed a deep shot from beyond the arc after Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving made a pair of free throws, before the Wizards stole the ball as the Nets tried to inbound – Russell Westbrook nailing a three-pointer to put Washington ahead.

Beal then sank two free throws to give the Wizards – who went on an 8-0 run in the final 8.1 seconds – their first win since January 11, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Twice in the past two days has a team won in regulation after trailing by five-plus points inside the final 10 seconds – the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. It only happened twice in the previous 2,871 days – the Chicago Bulls in 2019 and Boston Celtics in 2016, per Stats Perform.

Westbrook finished with 41 points and 10 rebounds, while Wizards team-mate Beal put up 37 points at home to the Nets.

The Nets, without former MVP Harden due to a thigh contusion, were led by Kevin Durant (37 points), Joe Harris (30 points) and Irving (26 points) as they had their four-game winning run snapped.

 

Raptors roar thanks to Siakam

Pascal Siakam's 30 points and 10 rebounds led the Toronto Raptors past the Orlando Magic 115-102, ending a three-game losing streak. Kyle Lowry (12 points and 14 assists) also posted a double-double.

No Joel Embiid, no worries for the Philadelphia 76ers, who rallied to top the Indiana Pacers 119-110. Embiid sat out due to back tightness but Tobias Harris (27 points) and Ben Simmons (21 points) stepped up after the 76ers used a 37-15 final quarter to beat the Pacers. Simmons was nine-of-12 from the field in 35 minutes.

Andre Drummond joined LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Tyson Chandler and LaMarcus Aldridge as the only active players with 9,000 career points and 8,000 career rebounds. He finished with 25 points and 22 rebounds in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 109-104 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

 

Mitchell struggles on return

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell missed two games while in concussion protocol. Back in the line-up against the Nuggets, he had 13 points in 31 minutes. Mitchell was just three-of-12 from the field, while he nailed only three of his eight three-point attempts.

It was a tough outing for Orlando's Evan Fournier, who was two for 12 from the field and just one-of-six from beyond the arc in an 11-point display.

 

Durant with authority!

The Nets lost but former MVP Durant still provided plenty of highlights, including a monstrous dunk against the Wizards.

 

Sunday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 119-110 Indiana Pacers
Toronto Raptors 115-102 Orlando Magic
Washington Wizards 149-146 Brooklyn Nets
Minnesota Timberwolves 109-104 Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Clippers 129-115 New York Knicks
Denver Nuggets 128-117 Utah Jazz

 

Lakers at Hawks

Defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers (15-6) are on the road against the Atlanta Hawks (10-9) on Monday.

Paul George was "super relieved" that both he and Kawhi Leonard were healthy after entering the NBA's contact tracing protocols – and the duo showed the Los Angeles Clippers exactly what they had been missing on Friday.

Having sat out two games due to guidelines put in place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the superstars were cleared to return to action for the Clippers at the Orlando Magic.

George had 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the convincing 116-90 victory on the road, while Leonard contributed 24 points.

They combined for 35 points in the first half as the Clippers improved to 15-5 for the season, meaning they sit behind only the in-form Utah Jazz – who have won 10 in a row – in the Western Conference standings.

"I was super relieved that we were both healthy, first and foremost," George told the media. "We had been playing so well that it was unfortunate that we had to take the hiatus, but safety is first."

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue was able to rest both George and Leonard in the fourth quarter with the Clippers in complete control.

Speaking after the win, Lue said having the pair back was "huge", considering they make life so much easier for the rest of the roster.

"I think on a night when guys were a little tired, just having their presence was big for us," Lue said.

"It was huge. Just making plays for everybody else, making the game easy.

"When teams double-team Kawhi or PG on the post-ups or pick-and-roll, it just makes it easier because our guys are getting open shots, so we needed those guys."

The Clippers went 1-1 without George and Leonard at the start of a six-game road trip; they are back in action on Sunday, taking on the New York Knicks.

The Brooklyn Nets shared the load in a high-scoring 147-125 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA.

Playing without star Kevin Durant (Achilles), the Nets extended their winning streak to four games on Friday after nine players had double-digit points.

According to Stats Perform, it was just the second time in team history the Nets had nine such players (against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1984) as James Harden led the way with a triple-double of 25 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

Harden became the second Net in the last 25 years with three triple-doubles in a season, while Irving put up 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds on the road.

It was also the second time this season the Nets have scored 145-plus points in a non-overtime game. No other NBA team have achieved it even once this season, and Brooklyn had just one such game in team history entering this season – 147 in 1982.

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles surpassed John Stockton for the most three-pointers made (846) in franchise history in a 120-101 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Ingles was two-of-four from three-point range for 10 points as the Jazz made it 11 consecutive victories to own the NBA's best record at 15-4.

Utah have made 319 three-pointers through 19 games this season – the most ever by any team after 19 fixtures.

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz with a game-high 22 points, while Rudy Gobert added 17 points and 12 rebounds.

 

Young puts on a show as Embiid stars

Trae Young dazzled with 41 points as the Atlanta Hawks took down the struggling Washington Wizards 116-100.

The Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers accounted for the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves 118-94 behind Joel Embiid's 37 points and 11 rebounds from just 27 minutes of action.

Two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 38 points and 11 rebounds but the Milwaukee Bucks were beaten 131-126 by the New Orleans Pelicans. Lonzo Ball recorded a season-high 27 points.

Nikola Jokic has registered 19 consecutive double-doubles to start the season. Since 1976, Jokic and Antetokounmpo (19 in a row in 2019-20) are tied with the second-most double-doubles to open a campaign, trailing only Bill Walton (34 straight). Jokic had 35 points and 10 rebounds in the Denver Nuggets' 119-109 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Kawhi Leonard (24) and Paul George (26) combined for 50 points in their return for the Los Angeles Clippers, who defeated the Orlando Magic 116-90.

 

Nance struggles as Cavs crumble

It was not a good day for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were swept aside 102-81 by the New York Knicks. Larry Nance Jr. finished with just two points in 29 minutes after going one-of-nine from the field, while missing all five of his three-point attempts. Taurean Prince – part of the deal that helped the Nets acquire former MVP Harden from the Houston Rockets – was one-of-seven from the field for three points.

 

DeRozan with the Euro step

DeMar DeRozan posted 30 points and 10 assists on 11-of-14 shooting from the field. The Spurs star also Euro-stepped to the rim for a fine basket against the Nuggets.

 

Friday's results

Charlotte Hornets 108-105 Indiana Pacers
Atlanta Hawks 116-100 Washington Wizards
New York Knicks 102-81 Cleveland Cavaliers
Sacramento Kings 126-124 Toronto Raptors
New Orleans Pelicans 131-126 Milwaukee Bucks
Los Angeles Clippers 116-90 Orlando Magic
Philadelphia 76ers 118-94 Minnesota Timberwolves
Brooklyn Nets 147-125 Oklahoma City Thunder
San Antonio Spurs 119-109 Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz 120-101 Dallas Mavericks

 

Lakers at Celtics

Following back-to-back defeats on the road, defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers (14-6) will look to return to winning ways when they visit the Boston Celtics (10-7) on Saturday.

Los Angeles Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have been cleared to return against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Leonard and George missed the opening two games of a six-game road swing after reportedly entering the NBA's health and safety protocols.

The Clippers went 1-1 in the pair's absence against the Atlanta Hawks (lost 108-99) and Miami Heat (won 109-105).

But Leonard and George are set to take to the court when the Clippers (14-5) visit the Magic (8-11).

Leonard has been averaging 25.9 points, 5.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game in 2020-21, while Clippers team-mate George is averaging 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

The Clippers have gone 8-1 in their last nine games and have outscored opponents by an average of 12.8 points per game, second in the NBA in that span (Utah Jazz, plus-15.6), per Stats Perform. This stretch has come after the Clippers began the season 6-4, outscoring opponents by 0.8 points per game in that period.

Meanwhile, the Clippers have won 13 successive games against the Magic – dating back to January 2014. It is tied for the longest active winning streak by any current NBA franchise against any opponent (the Philadelphia 76ers versus New York Knicks and the 76ers against Charlotte Hornets – both 13).

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra insisted his team still have the right spirit and a huge "sense of urgency" after suffering a fifth straight loss, going down 109-105 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

In an NBA first for the shot-clock era, the Clippers won a game despite being outscored by 14+ points in the first and fourth quarters, according to Stats Perform data. 

The Heat fell to 6-12 for the season having been beaten by a Clippers team playing without Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley. 

Spoelstra was also without key players; Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala were among seven who were unavailable. 

The Clippers trailed by 18 early, but then turned the tables and built a lead as high as 19 by the time the third quarter ended.

However, the Heat won the fourth quarter by 15 points and were within three before ultimately losing out in a frantic finale. 

The struggles this season are a stark contrast to last, when they impressively made the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble. 

"When it went good, it was because their hearts are in the right place for sure," said Spoelstra. 

"We are just grinding and trying to figure out how to get over the hump and try and give ourselves our best chance of winning.  

"It is just a matter of consistency to be able to do that throughout the course of the game.  

"Our group has a great spirit and a big-time sense of urgency. It is not a matter of that, it is a matter of finding a way to be consistent throughout. 

"There are a lot of moving parts. That makes it unique. You can’t make an excuse for it. You have to continue to grind, to learn and compete for each other. We just need to be more consistent with it."

Tyler Herro had 19 points as he returned after missing seven games with neck spasms, with Spoelstra hoping more players will follow soon. 

He added:  "We will be getting guys back soon enough. You get Tyler back and there is just a boost to it and that is encouraging.  

"Everyone in the locker room really wants to play better and in a perfect world we want to be in a better place than we are right now and we are not.  

"We just have to continue to grind." 

Nicolas Batum scored 18 points for the Clippers, one of their six players to reach double figures. Tyronn Lue's team improved to 14-5 on the season and have won eight of their last nine games.

The Los Angeles Lakers slumped to back-to-back losses in the NBA, while the Clippers got past the Miami Heat on Thursday.

The Lakers dropped two straight games for the first time this season, beaten 107-92 by the Detroit Pistons.

LeBron James posted a double-double of 22 points and 10 assists, to go with seven rebounds, but the Lakers were beaten.

A day after losing to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers were without Anthony Davis (quad).

Blake Griffin (23 points) and Mason Plumlee (17 points and 10 rebounds) led the Pistons (5-14) to their surprise win.

The Lakers (14-6) are third in the Western Conference, behind the Utah Jazz (14-4) and Clippers (14-5).

Still without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George due to the NBA's health and safety protocols, the Clippers recorded a 109-105 win over the Heat.

They had six players in double-figures for points, with Serge Ibaka (10 points and 13 rebounds) finishing with a double-double.

The Clippers became the first team in the shot-clock era to win a game despite being outscored by 14-plus points in the first and fourth quarters, as per Stats Perform.

 

Awesome Oladipo leads Rockets, Curry's Warriors crushed

Victor Oladipo finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the Houston Rockets' 104-101 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Damian Lillard (30 points, nine assists and four rebounds) led the way for Portland.

Stephen Curry posted 27 points, but the Golden State Warriors were well beaten by the Phoenix Suns 114-93.

 

Warriors' woes

Kelly Oubre Jr. (one-of-11) and Draymond Green (one-of-seven) struggled from the field for the Warriors, combining for just six points.

 

Wood with the dunk

Christian Wood continued his good form with 22 points, including a big dunk, and 12 rebounds for the Rockets.

Thursday's results

Houston Rockets 104-101 Portland Trail Blazers
Detroit Pistons 107-92 Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 Miami Heat
Phoenix Suns 114-93 Golden State Warriors

 

Nets at Thunder

The Brooklyn Nets (12-8) are riding a three-game winning streak ahead of facing the Oklahoma City Thunder (8-9) on Friday. Nets stars Kevin Durant and James Harden are set to come up against their former team.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.