Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant have been named as team captains for the 70th NBA All-Star game on March 7.

Serving as a team captain for the fourth straight year, James received the most votes to earn his 17th All-Star appearance, and is joined in the Western Conference starters pool by Golden State Warriors’ three-point specialist Stephen Curry, who is selected as an All-Star for the seventh time.

Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers is named an All-Star for the fifth time, while Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic makes a third appearance, and the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic is called up for a second time to round off the starters pool from the west.

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant will sit out Thursday's clash with NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers due to a left hamstring strain.

Durant will miss his third consecutive game, having also been sidelined for wins over the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings.

The former NBA MVP also missed three games due to the league's health and safety protocols before returning for his reunion with the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

Durant is averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game for the star-studded Nets this season.

Fellow Nets star Kyrie Irving is also listed as probable to face LeBron James' Lakers due to lower back tightness after he was absent from Tuesday's 128-124 win against the Suns.

The Nets trailed the Suns by 21 points at half-time before rallying to win. It was the largest half-time deficit overcome to triumph in franchise history, per Stats Perform.

The Nets (18-12) are second in the Eastern Conference, behind the Philadelphia 76ers (18-10), following four consecutive wins.

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant will miss at least two games due to a mild left hamstring strain.

The Nets confirmed the injury on Sunday, a day after Durant returned from the NBA's health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic to help Brooklyn past the Golden State Warriors 134-117.

Durant, who posted 20 points against former team the Warriors in his first game back in the Bay Area, will sit out Monday's clash with the Sacramento Kings and Tuesday's game against the Phoenix Suns.

Former NBA MVP and two-time champion Durant is averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game for the Nets this season.

Durant, who sat out his first season in Brooklyn due to an Achilles injury sustained in the 2019 NBA Finals during his time with the Warriors, has missed nine of 28 games in 2020-21.

The star-studded Nets (16-12) are third in the Eastern Conference following back-to-back wins.

Kevin Durant was grateful for the warm reception and tribute video upon his first return to the Golden State Warriors as he led the Brooklyn Nets to a 134-117 win on Saturday.

Durant spent three seasons with the Warriors, winning two NBA Championships and was named Finals MVP twice.

He was absent last season after undergoing surgery on a torn Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, and then opted to leave as a free agent in July that year.

Saturday's contest was his first return to face the Warriors after sitting out 2019-20, and he went on to play an important role with 20 points, second only to Kyrie Irving (23) on the Nets' side.

Durant was impressed with the focus the Nets displayed, but he went on to revel in the tribute and reception afforded to him by his former team.

"We came out and played a great game," Durant said afterwards. "We were focused from this morning in shootaround, and it was a good vibe all day.

"The tribute video was cool. I think about those moments daily. Every single moment that I have had in this league, I think about it and try to analyse it and get better.

"My time here in Golden State was so much fun. It was such a big learning experience, especially learning basketball in a different philosophy. I'm going take to that with me for the rest of my life."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was in charge throughout Durant's three-year spell in the Bay Area and felt the tribute video was the least they could do, and a similar acknowledgement will take place once fans are allowed back in attendance.

"This is something that is such a no-brainer," Kerr said. "When Kevin came here and gave us three years of just incredible basketball, the least we could do is welcome him back with open arms.

"He's a guy that gave everything to us for three years then left with a devastating injury. There should be a lot of love, he did so much for us.''

Victory leaves the Nets third in the Eastern Conference.

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.

 

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."

Kevin Durant left the Brooklyn Nets' clash against the Toronto Raptors in the third quarter due to the NBA's health and safety protocols.

Durant exited Friday's game after a strange sequence of events, which saw him come off the bench for the first time in his career.

The 2014 NBA MVP was initially named to start but was later removed from the lineup.

Durant was then cleared to enter the game late in the first quarter, with ESPN reporting he had gone through contact tracing.

But his outing ended in the third quarter, again due to COVID-19 protocols.

"Free me," Durant tweeted.

Durant had eight points, six rebounds and five assists in his 19 minutes on the court.

"It's tough to lose Kevin Durant twice in one night," Nets head coach Steve Nash told ESPN.

"It wasn't easy but we've got to be adaptable, this is the type of season it's going to be, we have a lot going on in our world. We've got a lot of guys who can step up."

Kevin Durant came off the bench for the first time in his NBA career after missing the start of the Brooklyn Nets' clash against the Toronto Raptors due to health and safety protocols.

Durant was initially named to start on Friday, but was later removed from the lineup due to the protocols.

ESPN reported the 2014 NBA MVP was going through contact tracing, and Durant ended up entering the game late in the first quarter.

After 866 NBA starts, it marked the first time he had come off the bench.

The Nets trailed 34-23 after the first quarter against the Raptors.

The first fan returns of the NBA’s All-Star voting for 2021 were revealed on Thursday, and the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant and the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James lead their respective conferences. 

Durant leads all vote getters with 2,302,705 votes, while James has garnered 2,288,676. 

Among guards, the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry leads the Western Conference with 2,113,178 votes, while 1,273,817 fans have selected the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal in the East. 

The Nets’ Kyrie Irving is second among East guards in voting, while the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid are second and third among East frontcourt players. 

In the West, the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard are second and third in voting behind James among frontcourt players, while the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic is second among guards. 

The starting five for the All-Star teams will be made up of two guards and three frontcourt players. 

Fan voting makes up 50 per cent of the formula that determines the All-Star starters, with 25 per cent coming from a media panel and 25 per cent based on votes from players. 

In addition to the starting five, the All-Star team reserves will consist of a pair of backcourt players, three frontcourt players plus two additional wild cards. 

Voting runs through February 16, and the starters will be announced two days later. The reserves, who are selected by the league’s head coaches, are revealed on February 23. 

It’s still uncertain at this point if there will be an All-Star Game or if the voting is merely a way to recognise those individuals playing at an All-Star level.

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."

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash urged his team to play with more pride after their stunning capitulation at the hands of the lowly Washington Wizards.

The Nets somehow lost 149-146 to the Wizards, who went on a remarkable 8-0 run in the final 8.1 seconds on Sunday.

Washington 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 their first win since January 11, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Westbrook (41) and Beal (37) became the first pair of Wizards team-mates to score 37-plus points in a single game since the team moved to Washington in 1974.

"The most important thing is individual pride, making every possession count and mean something," first-year coach Nash said afterwards.

"I think too many possessions didn't mean enough for us tonight. We've got to sit down in a stance and guard and make it difficult, and if we can cut out three or four of those paint attempts or baskets, we win the game.

"But you hope you can clean up a heck of a lot of them and I think more than anything it's just a little bit of pride and a little bit of desperation to guard the ball and keep them out of the paint."

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.

The star-studded 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.

Durant added: "They shot 20 more shots than us. They had 25 points off our turnovers, and they made timely shots. Got to give them credit. They played extremely desperate all night, physical, trying to get in the passing lanes, just trying to muck the game up.

"They needed a win. They hadn't won in a while, so you've got to give them credit. Tough loss for us."

On the final offensive possession, Durant said: "Russ [Westbrook] was sitting on top-side and Kyrie lobbed that up, then Bradley Beal was just sitting there waiting on it, then they had another guy sitting in the paint. We got a wide-open layup to lead the game because everybody was so focused on me right there.

"Coach drew up a good play and he was able to get somebody creeping for a layup, we just didn't finish it. But yeah, the ball was supposed to come to me for sure, but you see how they reacted, and we was able to get something good, we just didn't finish."

Kevin Durant will sit out the Brooklyn Nets' showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder to rehabilitate his Achilles.

Durant, who has returned this season after sitting out the entire 2019-20 NBA campaign due to an Achilles injury, posted a game-high 32 points in Brooklyn's double-overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

Now the two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP has been kept out of Friday's clash against the Thunder in Oklahoma.

Durant – who injured his Achilles during his time with the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals – has played in 15 of the Nets' 20 games this season.

The 32-year-old is averaging 30.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in 2020-21.

Durant recorded his 15th consecutive 20-plus point game to start the season against the Hawks midweek – only Wilt Chamberlain (56 games), Adrian Dantley (20 games) and Dominique Wilkins (19 games) have better streaks in NBA history.

Steve Nash's star-studded Nets (12-8) have won three games in a row to sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, behind the Philadelphia 76ers (13-6).

 

 

 

The Philadelphia 76ers topped LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers in a nail-biting finish, prevailing 107-106 against the reigning NBA champions.

NBA leaders the Lakers had won a franchise-record 10 consecutive away games to open the season heading into Wednesday's showdown in Philadelphia.

But the Eastern Conference-leading 76ers (13-6) handed the Lakers their first road loss thanks to Tobias Harris' 15-foot jumper with 2.4 seconds remaining.

The Lakers rallied from a 100-86 with less than five minutes remaining in the final quarter, using a 13-0 run to hit the front for the first time since the opening period.

But Harris and the 76ers had the final say in a thrilling finish at Wells Fargo Center, where the forward had 24 points and Joel Embiid posted 28 of his own.

James led the visiting Lakers (14-5) with a game-high 34 points and star team-mate Anthony Davis contributed 23 points.

James Harden and Kevin Durant put on a show again as the star-studded Brooklyn Nets outlasted the Atlanta Hawks 132-128 in overtime.

Harden posted 31 points and 15 assists and Durant scored 32 points, while Kyrie Irving finished with 26 points away to the Hawks in Atlanta midweek.

Former MVP Harden became the first Nets player with a 30-point, 15-assist game since Stephon Marbury in 2000, and Durant recorded his 15th consecutive 20-plus point game to start the season.

 

Simmons with another triple-double

76ers All-Star Ben Simmons put up 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a winning effort. It moved Simmons up to 13th on the all-time list for triple-doubles (31) – tied with Luka Doncic and Hall of Famer John Havlicek.

Two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo's 24 points and 18 rebounds lifted the Milwaukee Bucks past the Toronto Raptors 115-108.

The Utah Jazz celebrated their 10th straight win – 116-104 over the Dallas Mavericks – behind Rudy Gobert's 29 points and 20 rebounds. Doncic's 30 points were not enough for the Mavericks.

Bradley Beal had 47 points in a losing effort as the struggling Washington Wizards were beaten 124-106 by the New Orleans Pelicans, who were led by Zion Williamson (32 points) and Brandon Ingram (32 points).

Chris Paul registered 32 points but the Phoenix Suns still went down 102-97 to his former team the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

Robinson headlines Miami's woes

The Miami Heat are struggling to reach the heights of last season, which saw them make a run to the NBA Finals. Miami have lost four in a row following a 109-82 rout at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. Duncan Robinson was just three-of-11 from the field, making only two-of-10 three-point attempts for eight points in 36 minutes.

 

Sabonis stays hot

Domantas Sabonis was dominant yet again as the Indiana Pacers defeated the Charlotte Hornets 116-106. He recorded his sixth career triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

 

Wednesday's results

Indiana Pacers 116-106 Charlotte Hornets
Cleveland Cavaliers 122-107 Detroit Pistons
Sacramento Kings 121-107 Orlando Magic
Brooklyn Nets 132-128 Atlanta Hawks (OT)
Denver Nuggets 109-82 Miami Heat
Philadelphia 76ers 107-106 Los Angeles Lakers
Milwaukee Bucks 115-108 Toronto Raptors
San Antonio Spurs 110-106 Boston Celtics
New Orleans Pelicans 124-106 Washington Wizards
Oklahoma City Thunder 102-97 Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz 116-104 Dallas Mavericks
Golden State Warriors 123-111 Minnesota Timberwolves
Chicago Bulls-Memphis Grizzlies (postponed)

 

Lakers at Pistons

James and the Lakers will look to bounce back when they continue their season-long seven-game road trip against the lowly Pistons (4-13) in Detroit on Thursday.

James Harden insisted the best is yet to come for the Brooklyn Nets and their 'Big Three' as the former NBA MVP familiarises himself with fellow superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

The Nets have emerged as serious championship contenders after acquiring Harden in a blockbuster trade from the Houston Rockets earlier in January, teaming him up with Durant and Irving.

There have been teething problems – Harden, Durant and Irving are all dominant ball-handlers – but the Nets completed a sweep of the Miami Heat thanks to Monday's 98-85 win.

Harden posted 20 points and eight assists, Durant had 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Irving put up 16 points of his own at Barclays Center.

Asked about figuring out his role with the Nets, having only spent a matter of weeks in Brooklyn, eight-time All-Star Harden said: "I was in I was in a role for eight years, controlling the ball, dominating the ball. Now it's a different experience for me, but it's still great.

"It's still basketball at the end of the day. And I'm lucky to be able to do more than just one thing on the basketball court. So, it's fun. Like I said before it's a game within the game, you got to pick and choose when to be aggressive, when it gets your shooters going, when to let KD and Kyrie get going.

"Once we get a rhythm and flow and we kind of start to feel each other out more, it'll be a lot easier for us, and our team will have a lot more flow throughout the course of the game.

"Right now we're trying to find it, and we show a really good glimpses of it, but it'll be more consistent."

Two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant – also a league MVP – stayed hot as the Nets took down the Heat again.

Durant registered his 14th consecutive double-double, becoming the fourth player in league history to do so alongside Wilt Chamberlain, Adrian Dantley and Dominique Wilkins.

On former Oklahoma City Thunder team-mate Harden, Durant added: "Feels like he just transferred to a new school and he's trying to figure out the curriculum.

"And it's going to take some time to figure out who your teammates are, what your rotations are in the game, when to be aggressive, when to score, pass.

"As a scorer and the focal point of your offense, sometimes the balance between score and pass -- you got to figure that out each night."

Brooklyn's first-year head coach Steve Nash said of Harden: "Would I like James to be more aggressive? Yes. Will he be more aggressive in time? I think so.

"I think once he gets more comfortable with his team-mates, when he gets in better shape, when he's adapted to this whole new environment, we'll see an improved James scoring the ball."

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