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.

LaMelo Ball is "fearless" and his shooting is only going to improve after the rookie starred in the Charlotte Hornets' 119-94 triumph over the Houston Rockets, says head coach James Borrego.

The 19-year-old had a game-high 24 points to go alongside 10 assists and a career-high seven three-pointers in Monday's contest.

Consequently, Ball joined Stephen Curry (2010) and Jason Kidd (1995) as the only rookies with seven-plus threes and 10-plus assists in a game and is the youngest to do so.

Borrego initially had concerns over Ball's shooting style, given the way his release point is at his chest not above his shoulders, but those fears were allayed by a trip to watch him at a workout in Los Angeles.

"When we went there, there was just a confidence about him and his shot," Borrego said. 

"As I sat there with [Hornets GM] Mitch [Kupchak] I looked over and said 'he's going to be fine'. The kid is confident and believes it is going in. And that is at least half the battle.

"Whether he's at the line or two feet behind the line, it's almost effortless.

"[LaMelo] oozes confidence. He's going to continue that. He's fearless. He's going to continue to shoot it. 

"He's got great confidence in [his shot] and he's going to keep getting reps and better shots as he goes. It's a great weapon to have and it sets up a lot of his game with the way he can get to the rim."

Ball himself added on his shooting style: "I stick with it. I say, 'this is how I shoot'.

"I'm confident in it and I feel good letting it go. I came here and they tried to adjust it a little, but I'm like, 'Ah, this is how I shoot'."

LeBron James was inspired by Tom Brady's latest Super Bowl achievement, but the Los Angeles Lakers star has no timetable regarding how much longer he plans to play in the NBA.

At the age of 43, Brady – considered by many as the greatest of all time – won a seventh ring after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Super Bowl LV glory against the Kansas City Chiefs.

It means the superstar quarterback now has more rings than any NFL franchise and was particularly impressive given it was his first season with Tampa after a golden era playing for the New England Patriots.

James himself continues to dominate in the twilight years of his NBA career, and recorded a sublime triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists as the Lakers earned a 119-112 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

Asked about Brady and his own career, James replied: "I mean he's one of the GOATs. 

"I've been watching him my whole life, or it seems like my whole life. I've been watching him 20 years now or however long he's been in the NFL. 

"I watched him when he was in Michigan, watched him quite a while now, just to see him go out and see the things he's done in his career, for him to win another one in the fashion that he won it was pretty cool. 

"It was very inspiring for a guy like myself. But it's two different sports, two different positions. I don't know how long I'll play the game, how much more I'll be able to give to the game. 

"But the way I feel right now, we'll see what happens. I have no timetable on it. I don't have no year of 30-this or 40-that. The game will let me know, we'll figure it out then."

The Lakers' win over the Thunder came just two days after the double-overtime triumph over the Detroit Pistons, following which James joked "my heart's not sustainable for two overtimes".

"It needed overtime in order for us to win this game," James added. "We did enough things to close in regulation but they forced us to take another five minutes. 

"I'm good with one! I get home a little earlier, my heart don't feel as bad it did the other night."

LeBron James was the star of the show again as NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-112 in overtime.

James posted a triple-double after just three quarters, eventually leading the streaking Lakers past the visiting Thunder in Los Angeles on Monday.

The Lakers superstar finished with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists in the absence of team-mate Anthony Davis (Achilles).

Montrezl Harrell contributed 21 points off the bench as the Lakers won their fifth game in a row.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander forced overtime with free throws, but his double-double of 29 points and 10 assists was not enough for the Thunder – who were outscored 9-2 in OT.

Thunder team-mate Hamidou Diallo also recorded a double-double (20 points and 11 rebounds).

 

LaMelo dazzles

LaMelo Ball posted a game-high 24 points, 10 assists and a career-high seven three-pointers as the Charlotte Hornets topped the Houston Rockets 119-94. He joined Stephen Curry (2010) and Jason Kidd (1995) as the only rookies with seven-plus threes and 10-plus assists in a game.

Draymond Green put on a show for the Golden State Warriors, who lost 105-100 to the San Antonio Spurs. He became the sixth player in franchise history to reach 3,000 career assists. Green also had his third double-double of the season (10 rebounds and 10 assists). Curry scored 32 points for the beaten Warriors.

The Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to five games thanks to two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Antetokounmpo put up 30 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, while Middleton dropped 29 points, a career-high 12 assists and eight rebounds. The Bucks were 125-112 winners over the Denver Nuggets, who were led by Nikola Jokic's 35 points and 12 rebounds.

Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam each scored 32 points as the Toronto Raptors rallied past the Memphis Grizzlies 128-113. Norman Powell contributed 29 points for the Raptors, while Jonas Valanciunas' double-double of 27 points and a season-high 20 rebounds were not enough for the Grizzlies.

A season-high 36 points from Devin Booker fuelled the Phoenix Suns' 119-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, while the NBA's leading scorer Bradley Beal finished with 35 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 105-101 win against the Chicago Bulls.

 

Murray struggles in Denver

While Jokic starred, Nuggets team-mate Jamal Murray was inefficient in a loss to the Bucks. In 37 minutes, he was just four-of-17 shooting from the field, while he only made one of seven three-pointers for 11 points.

P.J. Tucker was scoreless for the Rockets after going 0-of-three from the field in 23 minutes.

 

Harrell says no!

With the Lakers looking to close out another win, Harrell produced an emphatic block to deny the Thunder late in OT.

Monday's results

Charlotte Hornets 119-94 Houston Rockets
Washington Wizards 105-101 Chicago Bulls
Toronto Raptors 128-113 Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks 127-122 Minnesota Timberwolves
San Antonio Spurs 105-100 Golden State Warriors
Phoenix Suns 119-113 Cleveland Cavaliers
Milwaukee Bucks 125-112 Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers 119-112 Oklahoma City Thunder (OT)

 

76ers at Kings

The Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers (17-7) travel to the Sacramento Kings (12-11) on Tuesday. The Kings have won four straight games.

Anthony Davis will miss the Los Angeles Lakers' clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday due to an Achilles injury.

NBA champions the Lakers listed star Davis as out with tendonosis of his right Achilles tendon.

Davis, coming off a championship-winning season with the Lakers, posted 30 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks in the team's 135-129 double-overtime victory against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

The 27-year-old is averaging 22.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Lakers this season.

The Lakers (18-6) - in the midst of a four-game winning streak - are second in the Western Conference, behind the in-form Utah Jazz (19-5).

Derrick Rose has been traded to the New York Knicks by the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr, it has been confirmed.

The Pistons also received a 2021 second-round draft pick via the Charlotte Hornets.

In New York, former MVP Rose reunites with Tom Thibodeau, who coached him at the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves.

It is Rose's second stint with the Knicks after the 2016-17 season, when he struggled in the triangle offense during Phil Jackson's reign as president of the franchise. He was subsequently picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency following the fourth knee operation of his career.

Rose, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $7.7million, averaged 17.2 points and 5.2 assists in 65 games for the Pistons, though his performances this season have not lived up to the promise he showed in 2019-20.

Smith made just three appearances for the Knicks in 2020-21 and reportedly volunteered to play in the G League bubble to get more minutes on the floor.

He will hope to avoid that after joining the Pistons, whose 5-18 record is the worst in the NBA.

The NBA-leading Utah Jazz won for the 15th time in 16 games after defeating the Indiana Pacers 103-95.

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell fell just one rebound shy of a triple-double – finishing with 27 points, 11 assists and nine boards to inspire Sunday's victory.

The Jazz improved their NBA-best record to 19-5 as the slate of five league games took place before the NFL's Super Bowl LV, despite the absence of injured star Mike Conley.

Rudy Gobert contributed 16 points and 16 rebounds for the in-form Jazz, while Domantas Sabonis led the slumping Pacers with 20 points.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Clippers were upstaged by the Sacramento Kings 113-110.

The Clippers had won both games against the Kings this season by a combined 56 points. Since the start of 2010-11, the Clippers were 33-7 against the Kings – the best record by any team against a divisional opponent in that span, per Stats Perform.

But Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers were stunned in Los Angeles, where De'Aaron Fox's 36 points, seven assists and four rebounds fuelled the Kings to a fourth successive victory.

Kings team-mate Buddy Hield added 22 points and nine rebounds, while Richaun Holmes put up 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Leonard's double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds was not enough for the Clippers, who suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

 

Beal stars again but Wizards fall

It was a familiar story for Bradley Beal. The star guard led the way with 31 points however the struggling Washington Wizards went down 119-97 to the Charlotte Hornets. Terry Rozier (26) and Gordon Hayward (25) combined to score 51 points for the Hornets.

The Miami Heat topped the New York Knicks 109-103 thanks to Bam Adebayo (24 points and 11 rebounds) and Jimmy Butler (17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists).

 

Inefficient Walker

The 2020-21 season has not gone according to plan for Kemba Walker. He was just four-of-20 shooting from the field, while making only four of 11 three-point attempts for 14 points in the Boston Celtics' 100-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Knicks star Elfrid Payton had seven points on three-of-12 shooting against the Heat. He also missed both of his efforts from beyond the arc.

 

Butler and Bam combine

There has been a hangover in Miami following the Heat's memorable run to last season's NBA Finals. But Butler and Adebayo provided a reminder of what they are capable of with a powerful dunk – the former the architect against the Knicks.

 

Sunday's results

Utah Jazz 103-95 Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat 109-103 New York Knicks
Charlotte Hornets 119-97 Washington Wizards
Phoenix Suns 100-91 Boston Celtics
Sacramento Kings 113-110 Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers-Charlotte Hornets (postponed)

 

Thunder at Lakers

The Oklahoma City Thunder (10-12) will make the trip to defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers (18-6) on Monday. LeBron James and the Lakers have won four games in a row.

Steve Kerr feels Stephen Curry is playing the best basketball of his career after his impressive 57-point outing in the Golden State Warriors' defeat to the Dallas Mavericks.

Curry joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only Warriors players to post multiple 55-point games in a campaign with a season-high 11 three-pointers in Saturday's thrilling clash.

It was not enough for the Warriors as Luka Doncic tied his career high of 42 points to inspire his side to a 134-132 victory, snapping a six-game home losing streak.

However, Kerr was blown away by Curry's shot-making ability, with the two-time MVP's 57 points - the second-best total of his career - coming on 19-of-31 shooting from the field.

"He's never played better," Kerr said. "We're talking about a two-time MVP, three-time champion. I've never seen him like this. He just looks so strong to me. 

"He's obviously always been an incredible shooter, but he looks stronger to me just getting by people, fending them off on drives to the rim, finish, and of course the shot-making. 

"It's almost unfathomable what he's doing out there."

Doncic, who is yet to outscore Curry in a head-to-head contest, was also amazed by the Warriors superstar's performance at the American Airlines Center.

"Every time he shot the ball, I thought it was going in," Doncic told ESPN. "It was something unbelievable. He's an amazing player. 

"He changed the game and it's always fun to play against him, and today we got a win, but it's always fun to play against him."

Elsewhere in Saturday's NBA action, champions Los Angeles Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 135-129 in double overtime.

LeBron James had 33 points, eight of those points coming in the second overtime as the Lakers survived a scare against a Pistons side with just five wins all term.

James, who also had 11 assists to make it 10 double-doubles for the season, joked he is getting too old to be taken the distance.

"I was just ready to go," he said. "I'm 36 years old... my heart is not sustainable for two overtimes at this point in my career! 

"I've got a bottle of wine at home ready to be opened, and I delayed it for two overtime periods."

Stephen Curry joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only Golden State Warriors players to post multiple 55-point games in a season, but his team lost to Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks 134-32 in the NBA.

Curry nailed a season-high 11 three-pointers en route to 57 points in a thrilling duel with Mavericks star Doncic on Saturday.  

Former MVP Curry put up his eighth 50-plus point game in his career, however, it was not enough.

Doncic tied his career high with 42 points in Dallas, where he also had 11 assists to snap the Mavericks' six-game home losing streak.

Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic joined Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson as the only Denver Nuggets players with 50-plus point games in the past 20 seasons.

Jokic finished with a career-high 50 points – including 23 points in the final quarter – but the Nuggets still went down 119-114 to the Sacramento Kings.

The MVP candidate also had 12 assists and eight rebounds as the Nuggets dropped their third straight game.

 

Embiid leads 76ers

Joel Embiid became the first Philadelphia 76ers player with eight consecutive 25-plus point games since Iverson in 2006. The three-time All-Star registered 33 points in a 124-108 win over the Brooklyn Nets, who were without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. James Harden led the Nets with 26 points and 10 assists.

Two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Milwaukee Bucks, who eased past the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-99.

The Oklahoma City Thunder scored a team-record 83 points in the first half as they edged the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-118. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander posted 31 points to the Thunder.

The Chicago Bulls defeated the Orlando Magic 118-92 behind Zach LaVine's 39 points on the road.

LeBron James had 33 points and 11 assists and Anthony Davis added 30 points as NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers prevailed 135-129 against the Detroit Pistons in double overtime.

 

Oladipo struggles

Victor Oladipo ended the Houston Rockets' 111-106 loss to the San Antonio Spurs with nine points on four-of-14 shooting from the field. He also missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.

In 34 minutes of action, Rodney Hood was three-of-10 from the field and made just one of six three-point shots for seven points as the Portland Trail Blazers were beaten 110-99 by the New York Knicks.

 

Zion with the slam!

Zion Williamson had the final say against the Memphis Grizzlies. His game-sealing dunk saw the New Orleans Pelicans to a 118-109 win. Williamson had 29 points, while team-mate Brandon Ingram scored 27 points, collected 12 rebounds and tallied a career-high four blocks.

 

Saturday's results

New York Knicks 110-99 Portland Trail Blazers
Sacramento Kings 119-114 Denver Nuggets
Chicago Bulls 118-92 Orlando Magic
Philadelphia 76ers 124-108 Brooklyn Nets
Atlanta Hawks 132-121 Toronto Raptors
Milwaukee Bucks 124-99 Cleveland Cavaliers
San Antonio Spurs 111-106 Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder 120-118 Minnesota Timberwolves
Dallas Mavericks 134-132 Golden State Warriors
New Orleans Pelicans 118-109 Memphis Grizzlies
Los Angeles Lakers 135-129 Detroit Pistons (double OT)

 

Kings at Clippers

Before Super Bowl LV gets underway, the Los Angeles Clippers (17-7)-Kings (11-11) matchup headlines a slate of five early NBA games on Sunday.

Kevin Durant will miss the Brooklyn Nets' clash with Eastern Conference leaders the Philadelphia 76ers due to the NBA's health and safety protocols.

Durant was in doubt for Saturday's showdown in Philadelphia following an unusual series of events on Friday.

The Nets star was named in the starting line-up to face the Toronto Raptors before being removed because of the league's health and safety protocols.

Durant was allowed to enter the game in the opening quarter, only to then exit in the third period – again due to coronavirus protocols – as the Nets lost 123-117.

Former MVP Durant finished with eight points, six rebounds and five assists in 19 minutes against the Raptors.

Prior to Saturday's matchup against the 76ers (16-7), Nets head coach Steve Nash said Durant is eligible to re-join the team on Friday.

Durant has been averaging 29.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game for the Nets (14-10) this season.

 

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.

Steve Nash believes Kevin Durant will miss Saturday's clash against the Philadelphia 76ers, but the Brooklyn Nets head coach is unsure how long the star will be out.

In an unusual series of events, Durant was named in the Nets' starting lineup to face the Toronto Raptors on Friday before being removed due to the NBA's health and safety protocols.

But Durant was allowed to enter the game in the first quarter, only to then exit in the third – again due to coronavirus protocols – as the Nets fell 123-117.

Nash said he was unsure how long Durant, who missed three games in January due to the health and safety protocols, would be sidelined.

"I don't believe he'll come to Philly, but I don't think that necessarily they've decided," he told a news conference.

"It's just a contact-tracing procedure and it's to be determined how much time he'll have to miss, but we're just gathering information still at this point."

Durant finished with eight points, six rebounds and five assists in 19 minutes against the Raptors.

Nash admitted he got distracted by Durant's situation as the Nets slipped to 14-10.

"If I'm honest, I probably didn't handle it great, just trying to juggle all those balls, all that different information, what does it mean," he said.

"I probably got a little distracted about thinking what it means long-term for our team. We've already been playing guys a lot of minutes and if Kevin's not playing are we going to run the remaining guys too many minutes.

"Maybe I got a little bit distracted by the big picture but that's the way this year's going to be. We're going to be in and out of COVID situations and minute pile-ups and all the difficulties that we're going to face this year and it's going to be similar for everyone.

"We just have to try to adapt and be able to bounce back from little setbacks like this and unfortunately we couldn't bounce back to win the game, but we've got to be able to bounce back this next week and play well and keep getting better."

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