The Golden State Warriors stormed home with a strong final quarter led by Stephen Curry to halt the Utah Jazz's winning run with a 123-116 victory on Saturday.

The Warriors fought back from a 16-point deficit in the third quarter with a 37-25 final period, going 13 of 18 from the field.

Curry finished the game with 28 points including six three-pointers with six rebounds and nine assists, while Andrew Wiggins contributed with 25 points.

Donovan Mitchell scored 20 points with nine assists, Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 19 rebounds while Bojan Bogdanovic netted 20 points including four triples for the Jazz who had won six in a row.

The result improves the Warriors to 28-7 while the Jazz are 26-10 in the Western Conference.

 

DeRozan does it again

DeMar DeRozan became the first player to hit a game-winning buzzer beater in successive games since 1997-98 as the Chicago Bulls won 120-119 over the Washington Wizards. DeRozan finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Zach LaVine had 35 points for the Bulls. Bradley Beal had 27 points and 17 assists for the Wizards.

Giannis Antetokounmpo started the year with a triple-double as the Milwaukee Bucks claimed their sixth straight win, beating the New Orleans Pelicans 136-113. Antetokounmpo scored 35 points with 16 rebounds and 10 assists.

Nikola Jokic scored 34 points with 11 rebounds and Facundo Campazzo delivered 22 points and 12 assists as the Denver Nuggets won 124-111 over the Houston Rockets.

 

Nets beaten as stars shooting off

The Brooklyn Nets stars were back together but they were humbled by the depleted Los Angeles Clippers 120-116. Kevin Durant shot 11 of 24 from the field for his 28 points while James Harden went nine of 22 from the field. Harden did have 34 points with 12 rebounds and 13 assists.

Joel Embiid bossed the Eastern Conference-leading Brooklyn Nets despite the return of Kevin Durant as the Philadelphia 76ers center scored 34 points in a 110-102 win on Thursday.

Embiid finished with 34 points, including three triples, six rebounds, three steals and one block as tension boiled over between him and Durant who exchanged words late in the game and gestured demonstrably after the final buzzer based on their history.

Durant returned from protocols with 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while James Harden recorded a triple-double with 33 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.

The 76ers got home in a tight encounter with a 26-20 final quarter helping them to their third straight win and fourth in a row on the road.

Brooklyn's record moves to 23-10 while the 76ers improve to 19-16 as the east heats up.

 

Champions clinch fifth win in a row

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks were in the mood with a 136-118 victory over the Orlando Magic. The 2021 NBA Finals MVP scored 33 points with 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks for the reigning champions.

Jrue Holiday (25 points, five rebounds, seven assists) and Khris Middleton (22 points, three triples, six assists) made valuable contributions as the Bucks claimed their fifth consecutive win to improve to 24-13.

Bradley Beal returned from protocols with 29 points, six rebounds and 10 assists while Kyle Kuzma had 25 points with 10 rebounds as the Washington Wizards won 110-93 over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin Love top scored for the Cavs, who were without Darius Garland in protocols, with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

 

Mills errant from range

Australian guard Patty Mills had an unhappy time in the Nets' loss to the 76ers, shooting one of eight from beyond the arc and 20 percent from the field for five points.

The Brooklyn Nets can count on Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge again after they were cleared to return from NBA health and safety protocols.

Durant, who was in a rich vein of form, has sat out the Nets' previous three games, while Aldridge has not featured in the past five.

They could be back on court for Thursday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center, the first of a run of three at home for the Nets.

Kyrie Irving has also been released from the shackles of the same COVID-19 protocols, the NBA said on its official website.

Because Irving is unvaccinated and cannot play home games due to local restrictions in New York City, his return to action must wait.

Irving has not played all season but could be in the frame to be involved in the trip to the Indiana Pacers on January 5 or at the Chicago Bulls a week later.

The Nets lead the way in the Eastern Conference with a 23-9 record, after following up a Christmas Day win over the Los Angeles Lakers by beating the Clippers on Monday.

 

James Harden, freshly out of protocols, played lead roles in both those wins with hauls of 36 and 39 points, and now he is set to have elite support.

Durant leads the Nets in scoring this season with an average of 29.7 points per game, alongside 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists. 

The Nets have had three recent games postponed due to their roster being hard hit by absentees.

There is a "good chance" Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant will leave the NBA's coronavirus protocols this week, according to head coach Steve Nash.

The 11-time All-Star entered the health and safety protocols on December 18, but he could be out and ready to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

Kyrie Irving, who went into protocols on the same day as Durant, is further away from a return to action.

"I think there's a good chance Kevin will be [fit for Thursday]," Nash told reporters.

"With Kyrie, I'm not so sure but it's coming. He's already been in protocols since December 18; he's got to be getting close."

Brooklyn earlier stated that Irving will re-join the NBA championship-chasing franchise for road games outside of New York and Toronto.

Irving is yet to play for the Eastern Conference-leading Nets this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which has prevented him from practising or playing with the team – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

At the start of the season, the Nets announced they would not accept Irving playing on a part-time basis and thus overlooked him for selection until he is vaccinated.

But due to injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak, Brooklyn have opted to bring Irving back.

Fred VanVleet starred as the Toronto Raptors won 119-100 over the Golden State Warriors who rested star guard Stephen Curry on Saturday.

VanVleet finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists as the Raptors blew the Warriors away in the first half, leading 63-42.

Curry (rest), Draymond Green (right hip), Andre Iguodala (right knee), Otto Porter Jr. (left foot) and Andrew Wiggins (left knee) were all absent for Golden State and returned to California to avoid potential COVID-19 exposure and quarantine in Canada.

The Raptors made their absence count, shooting 45 of 90 from the field, becoming the first side the Warriors have allowed this season to shoot at 50 percent or better.

The Warriors' sixth defeat of the season leaves them second in the Western Conference with a 24-6 record.

 

Wizards end Jazz run

Bradley Beal scored a season-high 37 points and had seven assists and five rebounds as the Washington Wizards ended the Utah Jazz's eight-game winning streak 109-103. Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points for the Jazz, while Rudy Gobert had 19 rebounds with 11 points.

Cedi Osman came off the bench to top score for the Cleveland Cavaliers with 23 points as they won 119-90 over the Milwaukee Bucks, who were missing Giannis Antetokounmpo due to COVID protocols.

Luke Kennard's (27 points, seven rebounds) heroics could not lift the Los Angeles Clippers to victory, going down 104-103 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were led by rookie Josh Giddey (eight points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists).

 

Weakened Nets lose to struggling Magic

The depleted Brooklyn Nets, missing star trio Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden due to COVID protocols, were beaten 100-93 by the lowly Orlando Magic for their sixth win of the season. The loss was the Nets' ninth.

Kevin Durant is the latest Brooklyn Nets star to enter the NBA's coronavirus protocols.

Durant was already ruled out of Saturday's game against the Orlando Magic due to an ankle injury.

The Nets revealed the 11-time All-Star would not have been able to play in that match even without that issue, however, after he joined a lengthy list of absentees who have entered the health and safety protocols.

That list is now up to nine, one of which is point guard Kyrie Irving.

Brooklyn earlier stated that Irving will re-join the NBA championship-chasing franchise for road games outside of New York and Toronto.

Irving is yet to play for the Eastern Conference-leading Nets this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which has prevented him from practising or playing with the team – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

At the start of the season, the Nets announced they would not accept Irving playing on a part-time basis and thus overlooked him for selection until he is vaccinated.

But due to injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak, which has sidelined superstar and former MVP James Harden, Brooklyn have opted to bring Irving back.

Kevin Durant felt as if the Philadelphia 76ers underestimated the Brooklyn Nets due to their COVID-19 outbreak ahead of Thursday's 114-105 victory.

The Nets had just nine players available for selection ahead of the visit of Eastern Conference rivals the 76ers.

Nets coach Steve Nash commented beforehand about being concerned with how much game time Durant was having to play, describing it as "not safe or unsustainable" – though the depleted nature of their squad did not give him much of an option but to play him.

Before Thursday's win, Durant ranked second in minutes per game (36.9) in the NBA this season, and he racked up another 39 against the 76ers.

But it was probably just as well considering he tallied a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds – no one on the court bettered him in either respect.

The win improved the Nets to 21-8 and Durant reckoned they caught the 76ers in slack form.

"We played with a great brand of basketball right from the start," he said. "I think they came in too relaxed, they've seen we've only got nine players.

"We came out, hit them early and stuck with it. In the fourth quarter we just had good energy. We fed off that in the first three quarters and then in the fourth we were able to cruise."

On his own personal performance after another gruelling outing, the 33-year-old added: "I just try to do what's required, man.

"I mean, I want to be out there. I want to play. I want to win. So, it starts there. Whatever I've got to do to accomplish those three things, I'm going to do."

"It's basketball at end of the day, it's simple, I've been doing all my life. No matter who's on the floor, opponents or team-mates, I've just got to go out and be me. I'm just grateful I'm available to play."

76ers coach Doc Rivers was not drawn on the idea his team were complacent – instead, he commented on the standard of officiating, convinced Joel Embiid was not being protected enough.

"I thought Joel got fouled the last three post possessions, and-ones, and none was called," said Rivers.

"I don't know how a team can play the fourth quarter of a game where we're driving the ball and posting the ball and they have zero fouls. It's hard to play a quarter in the NBA and commit no fouls. Very surprised by that."

Embiid added: "I mean, they're the home team. I thought we got fouled a few times, especially down there. But, I mean, it's frustrating when they're calling fouls for the other teams down there and you don't get any. I can see what he [Rivers] was talking about."

Kevin Durant was the hero again for the Brooklyn Nets after lifting the shorthanded Eastern Conference leaders past the Philadelphia 76ers 114-105.

The Nets have been ravaged by COVID-19, with superstar James Harden among the absentees after entering the NBA's health and safety protocols.

But Durant carried the Nets on Thursday, scoring 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists to help see off the rallying 76ers in Brooklyn.

With the game tied less than two minutes from the end, Durant came up big via a four-point play, having been fouled on a three-point attempt.

Durant was coming off an NBA season-high 51 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and 34 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in his previous two games.

Joel Embiid put up 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists but the slumping 76ers still fell to their third consecutive defeat.

 

Suns do their thing

The Phoenix Suns capped a balanced performance with a 118-98 victory at home to the Washington Wizards. All five starters, and eight players in total, had double-digit points. Thanks to the win, the Suns moved level with the Golden State Warriors for the NBA lead at 23-5.

The New York Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak via a 116-103 triumph over the Houston Rockets, behind Immanuel Quickley (24 points), Evan Fournier (23 points) and Julius Randle (21 points).

 

Sorry Pistons lose… again

The less said about the Detroit Pistons right now, the better. Detroit were condemned to a 13th successive loss, the Pistons beaten 122-113 by the Indiana Pacers. Detroit (4-23) own the NBA's worst record.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash admitted he is concerned with Kevin Durant's workload, describing it as "not safe or sustainable".

Before Thursday's 114-105 win over Eastern Conference rivals the Philadelphia 76ers, Durant ranked second in minutes per game (36.9) this NBA season.

The shorthanded Nets, who have been hit by a COVID-19 outbreak, have relied heavily on their superstar in 2021-22 – Durant played a season-high 48 minutes in Tuesday's overtime victory against the Toronto Raptors.

Not since 2013-14, during his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder (38.5), has former MVP Durant averaged more minutes per game in his illustrious career.

"It's a really important topic," Nash before the Eastern Conference-leading Nets outlasted the rallying 76ers in Brooklyn, with Durant playing a team-high 39 minutes.

"I don't know we can continue to lean on him the way we have. It doesn't feel right.

"I know he's enjoying it. I know he's enjoying playing at the rate he's playing at and trying to bring his team-mates along with him and all the responsibility that he's accepted and crushed, basically.

"It's just been incredible. But, at the same time, it's not safe or sustainable to lean on him like that. There's gonna be a lot of consideration and we'll have to figure out ways to give him breaks."

Durant was ice-cold against the 76ers, posting 34 points – including a pair of three-pointers, 11 rebounds and eight assists to lift the Nets.

The Nets are top of the Eastern Conference with a 21-8 record, two and a half games clear of defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Brooklyn Nets might have problems just now, but they sit top of the Eastern Conference and continue their home run on Thursday as they host the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center.

Kevin Durant starred with a triple-double in Brooklyn's overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, dragging the Nets to a 131-129 triumph.

The success came after a whirlwind day for the Nets, who had to place seven players, including James Harden, into the NBA's health and safety protocols due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the camp.

Brooklyn sit on 20 wins from 28 games for the season, with a divisional contest against the Sixers (15-14) next up on Thursday.

Philadelphia went down to the Miami Heat on Wednesday, with Gabe Vincent registering 26 points – including a vital fourth-quarter three-pointer – as Erik Spoelstra's side recorded a 101-96 triumph.

None of Miami's three leading average points-scorers – Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro or Bam Adebayo – were in the line-up, but the Sixers were also without Georges Niang due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols - the fifth 76ers star to miss time this season for that reason.

Defeat against the Heat made it consecutive losses for the Sixers, following a 126-91 reverse against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

Philadelphia (15-14) sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a 5-5 record over the last 10 games in what has been a stop-start campaign thus far as they prepare to challenge the Nets.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Philadelphia 76ers – Joel Embiid

Embiid has enjoyed a strong recent record against Brooklyn, winning three of his last five encounters with the Nets and personally scoring at least 33 points in each of those victories.

The four-time All-Star has 496 points, 225 rebounds and 62 assists against the Nets across his career, while only Tyrese Maxey (477) has accumulated more points this season for Philadelphia than Embiid (429).

Brooklyn Nets – Kevin Durant

Durant had a game-leading 34 points against the Raptors, as he completed that triple-double – his second of the season – with 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

The former Golden State Warriors star is averaging 29.6 points from 26 games so far in 2021-22, and if his form continues he seems destined to surpass, or come very close to surpassing, his previous best career average of 32.0 set across 81 games in the 2013-14 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He has a 16-3 career record against the Sixers, averaging 27.3 points per game.

KEY BATTLE – High-scorers could settle the contest

With Durant in such strong form, the Sixers will just be thankful, due to Harden's absence, that they are not facing two players that account for six of the 35 triple-doubles so far this season.

The Los Angeles Lakers (Russell Westbrook – five, LeBron James – two) are the only team with more triple-doubles to their name in 2021-22, and Philadelphia must surely look to keep the Nets on six if they are to clinch victory in Brooklyn.

No Philadelphia player has achieved a triple-double this season, while Embiid has been responsible for eight of the team's 17 double-doubles. Brooklyn are already on 31.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The 76ers certainly have the edge when it comes to recent meetings between the east coast rivals, having won five of the last seven clashes.

However, the Nets won 114-109 at Wells Fargo Center in October, and also won their last home game against Philadelphia back in January.

Kevin Durant said it felt "amazing to be out there" as he inspired the short-handed Brooklyn Nets to victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.

There had been some doubt about whether the game would even go ahead after the Nets' list of players in the league's health and safety protocols grew to seven, James Harden and Bruce Brown ruled out within an hour of tip-off.

Durant had also been questionable due to an ankle problem but powered through a game-changing 48 minutes as the Nets won 131-129 in overtime.

Having mustered a season-high 51 points in the win over the Detroit Pistons last Sunday – the eighth 50-point game of his NBA career – Durant posted a triple-double of 34 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

He is the first forward or center to follow a 50-point game with a triple-double since Wilt Chamberlain back in 1968.

"We had to debate Kevin's situation," coach Steve Nash said. "Obviously, we're talking about a franchise player; we don't want to risk it. So we're probably more cautious than he is, but he really wanted to play, and so that was it."

Durant's inspirational impact came as part of a side featuring four rookies, his 14th career triple-double taking the Eastern Conference leaders to 20-8.

"Man, I can't even explain how I feel," he said. "It's December and we're down seven players and we easily could've punted this game.

"But we saw an opportunity for us to grow and get better, especially the younger guys who haven't played a lot of meaningful games in the NBA, especially against a championship organisation like Toronto. [It] was an amazing test for us.

"I'm so proud to just be a part of this group and play with these young dudes... man, it was amazing to be out there."

The Philadelphia 76ers are next up for the Nets at Barclays Center on Friday.

Stephen Curry broke the record for most three-pointers made in NBA history as the Golden State Warriors defeated the New York Knicks 105-96.

Curry eclipsed Hall of Famer Ray Allen with his 2,974th three in the opening quarter of Tuesday's contest at Madison Square Garden.

A three-time NBA champion and two-time MVP, Curry – who needed two three-pointers to make history – was congratulated by Allen on the sidelines amid a lengthy celebration in New York.

To put Curry's achievement into context, it took the Warriors 17 seasons to hit that many three pointers after the three-point line was implemented (1979-80 to 1995-96).

Curry finished with 22 points on five-of-14 shooting from three-point range as the NBA-leading Warriors improved to 23-5 for the season.

Julius Randle posted a season-high 31 points, but it was not enough for the Knicks.

 

Durant dazzles again

After his season-high 51 points on Sunday, Kevin Durant was the hero again for the shorthanded Brooklyn Nets, who outlasted the Toronto Raptors 131-129 after overtime. In the absence of James Harden after he entered the league's health and safety protocols as the Nets' list grew to seven players, Durant – questionable prior to tip-off due to an ankle issue – fuelled the Eastern Conference leaders with a triple-double (34 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists). It was Durant's 14th career triple-double. According to Stats Perform, he is the first forward or center to have a 50-point game followed by a triple-double since Wilt Chamberlain in 1968.

Damian Lillard put up 31 points and 11 assists, but the Portland Trail Blazers still lost 111-107 to the Phoenix Suns in overtime. Chris Paul (24 points, 14 assists) and Deandre Ayton (28 points, 13 rebounds) inspired the Suns.

 

New York's Kemba woes?

It has not been a smooth ride for the Knicks since they opted to remove All-Star Kemba Walker from their rotation. The Knicks are 2-7 after deciding not to play Walker, having been 10-9 with the star recruit.

James Harden will not feature in Tuesday's clash with the Toronto Raptors after becoming the latest Brooklyn Nets player to enter the NBA's health and safety protocols.

Harden entered COVID-19 protocols alongside team-mate Bruce Brown prior to the game against the Raptors, the Eastern Conference-leading Nets announced.

Brooklyn now have seven players sidelined due to those protocols, including LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre' Bembry, James Johnson, Jevon Carter and Paul Millsap.

Kevin Durant was in doubt for the matchup because of right ankle soreness, however, the superstar has been cleared to face the Raptors.

The Nets have scored 100 or more points in 12 straight games, only the Minnesota Timberwolves have a longer active streak in the NBA (14), according to Stats Perform.

Brooklyn are 18-4 this season when hitting the century mark and 1-4 when they do not reach 100 points.

Durant scored a season-high 51 points against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, which is the most by any player this season.

The former MVP has seven career 50-point games with the haul in the win over the Pistons being his first for Brooklyn. Kyrie Irving is the only Nets player with multiple 50-point games all-time (two).

The Brooklyn Nets listed Kevin Durant as questionable for Tuesday's game against the Toronto Raptors – and COVID-19 protocols have seen five others ruled out.

Durant has 'right ankle soreness', the Nets said, and that comes two days after he scored a season-high 51 points in the Nets' 116-104 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Kyrie Irving remains away from the team and unavailable having refused to be vaccinated, and Joe Harris is another confirmed absentee after undergoing ankle surgery.

The NBA's strict protocols in pandemic times mean the Nets also must cope without five more members of Steve Nash's squad.

It had been previously announced that Paul Millsap was on that list, before the Nets added LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre' Bembry, James Johnson and Jevon Carter on Tuesday.

Aldridge, Johnson and Bembry were starters, alongside Durant, in Sunday's clash with Detroit.

The clash with Toronto is due to be the first of five games in eight days at Barclays Center for the Nets, whose 19-8 record sees them lead the way in the Eastern Conference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Triple-doubles for Giannis and LeBron

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

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

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

 

Randle silenced as Knicks beaten

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

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