Golden State Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a sprained right thumb.

The Warriors confirmed the thumb sprain on Saturday following an MRI, with Russell to be re-evaluated in a fortnight.

Russell hurt his thumb in the third quarter of Friday's 105-100 NBA loss to the in-form Boston Celtics.

It is another blow for the Warriors, who have been ravaged by injuries during their woeful 2-11 start to the season.

Stephen Curry broke his hand in October, while fellow All-Star Klay Thompson is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained during last season's NBA Finals.

The Warriors acquired Russell from the Brooklyn Nets in a sign-and-trade after Kevin Durant's departure in free agency.

LeBron James insists he has no plans to call time on his NBA career, comparing himself to New England Patriots great Tom Brady.

James was the star of the show for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, scoring 29 points and providing 11 assists in a 99-97 victory.

Prior to the encounter at the Staples Center, the 34-year-old - a 15-time All Star and a three-time NBA champion - was asked if retirement had crossed his mind.

However, James dismissed the suggestion, likening himself to NFL star Brady, who is still going strong at the age of 42 and holds the record for the most number of Super Bowl wins with six.

"I'm not at the conclusion of my story," James explained to reporters.

"So no, not the way I feel right now. Me and Tom Brady are one in the same. We're going to play until we can't walk no more."

Following James' comments, Brady responded on his official Twitter account, tagging the Lakers star.

"I'm playing until I can't dunk anymore!" The quarterback tweeted.

James responded in kind: "Well I'm playing until I can't throw TD [touchdown] passes anymore!"

Kemba Walker has claimed his will to win is the reason for his streak of tallying up crucial points in fourth quarters this season.

Walker came back on from the bench to score a sublime three-pointer as the Boston Celtics made it 10 successive wins in NBA with a 105-100 win over the Golden State Warriors.

The three-time All Star netted 20 points in total on Friday, with five rebounds and five assists, while he has a 49.1 per cent shot accuracy in fourth quarters and 53.6 per cent of his three-pointers have come in the final stage of games.

"I just want to win so bad, I just will those shots in a lot of the time," Walker told reporters when asked about his fourth-quarter form.

"I just want to win and when it's winning time, my competitive nature just increases in those kinds of situations.

"I make 500 [three-pointers] the night before the game. I trust in my work. That's it. And the reason I do that is because if I am having an off night, I know it's an off night, I know it's not because I'm not working.

"My first halves haven't really been too great. I just try my best to just stay positive, and just continue to shoot.

"Fourth quarter, it's just winning time."

The Celtics lead the way in the Eastern Conference with a 10-1 record this season.

LeBron James said former head coach Luke Walton did great under the circumstances at the Los Angeles Lakers prior to his exit following the 2018-19 season.

The Lakers and Walton agreed to mutually part ways in April after a tumultuous season, which saw Los Angeles miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive campaign.

An injury to James on Christmas Day derailed Walton and the Lakers, while persistent trade rumours had a negative impact on some of the young players as Los Angeles eyed a trade for Anthony Davis.

Prior to Walton's return to Los Angeles for the first time since leaving the Lakers as Kings coach, James told reporters on Friday: "I mean, throughout everything that was going on, we were two of the guys that just tried to remain positive and patient, even with the circumstances that we had.

"I mean, we were right where we wanted to be on December 25th, went up into Golden State and played against a very good team and had a very good game. And then the injury happened and I'm out six-and-a-half weeks.

"I don't think anyone could have predicted that, including myself and including Luke. And we were just behind the eight ball. But throughout it all we just tried to remain positive, even throughout with the young guys, with the older guys and whatever the case may be. So, I think he did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances."

Asked about James' comments, Walton said: "Um, I agree with LeBron. [There's] a longer answer and I've spent time reflecting on last season but for now, couple of hours before a game, it is more focused on tonight's task and our game planning and rotations and things like that."

After a forgettable debut season with the Lakers following his arrival from the Cleveland Cavaliers – injury restricting James to just 55 games last term – the 34-year-old is flourishing alongside Davis in 2019-20.

Entering Friday's clash with the Kings, Lakers superstar James had been averaging 23.9 points, 11.1 assists and 8.0 rebounds.

"LeBron, he's one of the greatest players of all time if not the greatest," Walton added. "So I'm sure last year getting hurt, not making the playoffs, I mean, he's going right now. And this team kind of follows that lead. They're playing incredibly well, their defence and offence starts with him. He looks really good."

Anthony Davis is not willing to follow in the footsteps of Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard and sit out games as the Los Angeles Lakers big man prepares for his return.

Davis sat out Wednesday's win over the lowly Golden State Warriors due to shoulder and rib soreness, but the Lakers star is set to face the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

Much has been made about load management this season, with Leonard missing three games already in 2019-20 following his absence from the Clippers' loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.

While the Lakers improved to 9-2 without Davis midweek, the star recruit has no plans for more rest.

"What, like, load management? No," Davis said on Friday. "Obviously, it's great [to win].

"If something comes up where somebody has to sit out, then fine, but I don't think anyone on this team is probably going to sit out."

He added: "Went through shootaround today. Felt good."

Davis had strapping on his right shoulder prior to the start of Tuesday's 123-115 victory over the Phoenix Suns and had tape on his ribs by the end of the match at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

The six-time NBA All-Star played on after a blow to the ribs in the first quarter, before heading to the locker room to get taped up ahead of the final period.

X-rays taken after the game came back negative and Davis was re-evaluated again prior to being ruled out of the Warriors showdown.

"Not really much you can do but just let it heal," Davis told reporters. "I want to play. But obviously saying that, the training staff will probably be more reluctant to [let me play].

"If it's still bothering me a little bit, [they'll] have me sit out. Or if it's feeling good, I'm going to play ... Just to know that the way the team played when I sat out, I don't have to be in a rush to get back."

Davis has hit the ground running since arriving from the Pelicans in a blockbuster trade, averaging 26.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists with the Lakers this season.

"It's super tough," Davis said. "It's a long season. It's early in the season. You don't want to continue to play through something and then it gets worse. So it's always sitting in the back of your head. But at the same time, you want to play.

"So you've got to listen to your body, be honest with the training staff and try to do what you can. Kind of do what's best for the betterment of the team."

Kristaps Porzingis had little issue with the treatment he received from New York Knicks fans as the Dallas Mavericks star was given a frosty reception on his return to Madison Square Garden.

Porzingis, a first-round pick of New York in 2015, was traded to the Mavericks in January after a meeting reportedly led Knicks officials to believe he wished to be dealt elsewhere.

Thursday's game marked Porzingis' first back at the Garden and a warm welcome was not forthcoming from the home crowd, who loudly booed him as the teams were introduced ahead of a contest the Knicks won 106-103.

"That was pretty loud, their fans are really passionate of course, it was no different tonight," Porzingis told reporters.

Asked if it was fair for him to be jeered given he left in a trade, Porzingis replied: "I don't know if it was fair or not, it's what they know, it's what they've heard, the fans.

"I'm not gonna try to win them over now. It is what it is. I understand where they’re coming from."

Porzingis shook off the taunts to score 20 points and tally 11 rebounds, though Knicks forward Marcus Morris thought the crowd affected the former fourth overall pick.

"It looked like he was a little rattled too," Morris said. "It kinda helped us."

Paul George described his Los Angeles Clippers debut as "terrible" despite earning a rave review from Doc Rivers for his 33-point effort.

George played for the first time as a Clipper on Thursday following his July trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, having undergone offseason shoulder surgeries. 

The six-time All-Star went 10 for 17 from the field and three for five from three-point range to lead all scorers for the Clippers but could not prevent them falling to a 132-127 defeat at the Smoothie King Center.

Clippers coach Rivers described George's display as "sensational". However, the former Indiana Pacers star was less impressed with his own showing, particularly on the defensive end.

"I thought I was terrible, I've got a lot to get back to, just from my performance, my defense, just for the flow of the game," George told reporters. 

"I haven't had a lot of time just getting a feel for this speed. It's good to get this one under my belt, this was essentially like my first preseason game.

"It's the best my shoulder's felt in a really long time, I knew coming into tonight shooting wouldn't be a problem.

"A lot of the [defensive] breakdowns happened just because of my lack of being out there with those guys, communication, a lot of those breakdowns were basically on me, I look forward to watching the film and learning from that.

"We'll move forward, we'll learn and we'll start to get our chemistry down."

Kawhi Leonard did not feature against New Orleans as part of his well-documented load management, while Patrick Beverley was also missing because of a calf issue.

George will team up with Leonard when the Clippers face the Atlanta Hawks at the Staples Center on Saturday.

"I'm excited for this whole team together, play with Pat [Beverley], with Kawhi," George added. "I'm looking forward to this team being at full strength."

Paul George made his long-awaited debut but the Los Angeles Clippers were upstaged 132-127 by the New Orleans Pelicans in NBA action on Thursday.

George played his first game for the Clippers since arriving from the Oklahoma City Thunder to team up with Kawhi Leonard in Los Angeles – a pair of shoulder operations delaying the six-time All-Star's bow.

The Clippers recruit scored 33 points in 24 minutes, however, he had the ball stolen away by Jrue Holiday three times in the final minutes as the Pelicans spoiled his debut.

George's haul in New Orleans marked the third highest total for a Clippers debut in franchise history.

The Clippers (7-5) – who were without Leonard for the third time this season due to load management – crashed to back-to-back defeats.

Holiday led the Pelicans (3-8) with 36 points, while team-mate Derrick Favors had 20 points and a career-best 20 rebounds.

 

Giannis stars in Milwaukee

Another game, another big performance from reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Milwaukee Bucks star put up 38 points and 16 rebounds to see his team past the Chicago Bulls 124-115. Eric Bledsoe chipped in with a season-high 31 points.

Bulls rookie Coby White became the youngest player in NBA history to hit five three-pointers in consecutive games. The 19-year-old finished with a team-high 26 points.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 20 points and 11 rebounds in his first game back in New York since leaving the Knicks. However, the Knicks prevailed 106-103 at Madison Square Garden. Mavs star Luka Doncic registered his fifth triple-double of the season – 33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

 

Curry quiet in Mavs loss

Seth Curry was one of five from the field and did not make any of his four three-point attempts as the Mavs guard finished with just two points in 23 minutes.

 

Young through the legs

Trae Young left his opponent red-faced as finished with a floater. However, the Atlanta Hawks lost 128-112 to the Phoenix Suns.

Thursday's results

Miami Heat 108-97 Cleveland Cavaliers
New Orleans Pelicans 132-127 Los Angeles Clippers
Milwaukee Bucks 124-115 Chicago Bulls
New York Knicks 106-103 Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns 128-112 Atlanta Hawks
Denver Nuggets 101-93 Brooklyn Nets

 

Kings at Lakers

Anthony Davis is expected to return from shoulder and rib soreness for the Los Angeles Lakers' visit of the Sacramento Kings on Friday. The Lakers are looking to improve to 10-2, while the Kings (4-6) are eyeing a third consecutive win.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is "probably the best athlete to ever walk this planet" according to Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

Kerr watched James lead the Lakers past the struggling Warriors 120-94 on Wednesday after the four-time NBA MVP posted 23 points and 12 assists.

A three-time NBA champion and Finals MVP, James has enjoyed a stunning start to the season with the Lakers, having struggled in his maiden Los Angeles campaign.

Kerr – who won three titles playing alongside Michael Jordan at the Chicago Bulls – paid James the ultimate compliment after the 15-time All-Star took down the Warriors in LA midweek.

"I think I've said it before I mean, probably the best athlete to ever walk this planet when you think about his strength, power, speed, durability," Kerr said on Thursday.

"I've never seen anybody in my lifetime in any sport who I would consider a better athlete."

James endured a forgettable debut campaign in Los Angeles, where a groin injury restricted the former Cleveland Cavaliers star to 55 games in 2018-19 as the Lakers missed the playoffs for a sixth successive season.

However, the fit-again 34-year-old is a man on a mission this season, with James averaging 23.9 points, 11.1 assists and 8.0 rebounds through 11 games.

Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert underwent thumb surgery on Thursday and is reportedly expected to miss up to six weeks.

The Nets announced LeVert had an operation in New York to repair ligaments in his right thumb, with ESPN claiming he will sit out four to six weeks.

LeVert has made nine appearances this season and averaged 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

Brooklyn appeared set to be without Kyrie Irving due to a "right shoulder impingement" for their game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, but the six-time All-Star has been upgraded from questionable to probable.

The Nets improved the depth in their backcourt options on Wednesday by signing eight-year veteran Iman Shumpert.

Frank Vogel lauded the "terrific" LeBron James after he set the tone for the Los Angeles Lakers' 120-94 defeat of the injury-hit Golden State Warriors.

Lakers superstar James scored a game-high 23 points and laid on 12 assists at Staples Center on Wednesday.

James starred with Anthony Davis ruled out due to shoulder and rib soreness as the Lakers sealed back-to-back wins after seeing off the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

Lakers head coach Vogel was full of praise for the four-time NBA MVP after the Western Conference leaders improved to 9-2.

"Historically he's played really well in the second night of back-to-backs," Vogel said of the 34-year-old forward. "He was terrific early and really the whole night.

"But for him to come in and set the tone for our group, with regards to the importance of this game and how we're going to plan, how we're going to approach it, everybody else followed the lead and really competed.

"We know Golden State is under-manned but you still have to go out and play with energy and perform and LeBron set the tone for our whole team with that."

James took great satisfaction from the Lakers showing their unselfishness by amassing 31 assists on the night and knew he had to step up in the absence of Davis.

"I think we pay attention to detail in our game plan, I think offensively once again had another 30 assists, it's huge for our ball club, everyone involved," James said.

He added: "With AD being out, knowing I had to pick up the load offensively, but I was just trying to set the tone early in the game, see if my shot was going in - and it was. Just trying to be aggressive."

Austin Rivers does not expect to go out for dinner with Doc Rivers anytime soon after calling for his father and Los Angeles Clippers head coach to be ejected in the Houston Rockets' win.

Doc Rivers was ejected for arguing with official Tony Brothers late in the fourth quarter of the Clippers' 102-93 loss to the Rockets in Houston on Wednesday.

The officials had some help from Rockets guard Austin Rivers, who laughed and signalled for Doc Rivers to be given a technical foul.

Austin Rivers continued to troll Doc as he left the court for the locker room before later tweeting: "Welp… thanksgiving is going to be weird…."

Speaking to reporters post-game, Austin Rivers – who played under Doc during his time with the Clippers before joining the Washington Wizards and eventually the Rockets in 2018 – was asked if he enjoyed the technical fouls on his father.

"I did," Austin Rivers said. "I knew it was coming. I could see it. I've seen that look before, many times.

"Once he starts blinking his eyes fast and he starts [imitates Doc getting mad], that's when I know he is about to level up. So I just started telling Tony to get him. They got him. He's out of here."

"I was just trying to help out the situation," Austin Rivers added. "Listen guys, I don't ever like to escalate anything. Y'all don't know me for that. I've always been a peacemaker. That's just 100 per cent Doc's gotta keep his cool."

"I doubt we'll go to dinner or anything like that," he continued. "He actually is sensitive about stuff like that, so we'll see what happens. I love him. It was a really good moment, though. I enjoyed it a lot. I'm not going to lie to you, I really did enjoy that. It was fun."

Doc Rivers said he was aware Austin called for him to receive a technical, adding: "He should".

LeBron James recorded a double-double as the Los Angeles Lakers continued their fine start to the NBA season with a 120-94 victory against the Golden State Warriors.

James starred in the absence of rested team-mate Anthony Davis, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes of action on Wednesday.

JaVale McGee contributed 18 points and 17 rebounds, while Kyle Kuzma posted 22 points as the Lakers improved to 9-2 midweek.

D'Angelo Russell top scored for the lowly Warriors (2-10) with 21 points away to the Lakers in Los Angeles.

James Harden led the way with 47 points in the Houston Rockets' 102-93 win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Harden shone as the Rockets extended their winning streak to five games at the expense of the Clippers.

Kawhi Leonard had 26 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for the Clippers – who saw head coach Doc Rivers ejected during the closing stages in Houston.

 

Wiggins leads Timberwolves

Andrew Wiggins put up 30 points on 12-for-23 shooting as the Minnesota Timberwolves topped the struggling San Antonio Spurs 129-114. Karl-Anthony Towns added 28 points and 11 rebounds to condemn the Spurs to a third straight defeat.

Bradley Beal scored 44 points but the Washington Wizards still lost 140-133 to the in-form Boston Celtics, who have not lost since their season opener – a run of nine successive wins.

Nikola Vucevic registered 25 points as the Orlando Magic outscored the Philadelphia 76ers 32-15 in the final quarter to prevail 112-97.

Pascal Siakam (36) and Fred VanVleet (30) combined for 66 points as defending champions the Toronto Raptors outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers 114-106.

 

Rough night for Westbrook

Westbrook had 17 points and the Rockets won, but it was not a memorable outing for the Houston star. Westbrook was six of 20 from the field and two-for-seven shooting beyond the arc. He has gone six straight games without double digits for rebounds or assists.

 

Morant called game!

Ja Morant produced the game-winning layup with 0.7 seconds remaining to see the Memphis Grizzlies past the Charlotte Hornets 119-117. The rookie and South Carolina native finished with 23 points and 11 assists.

 

Wednesday's results

Orlando Magic 112-97 Philadelphia 76ers
Memphis Grizzlies 119-117 Charlotte Hornets
Boston Celtics 140-133 Washington Wizards
Minnesota Timberwolves 129-114 San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets 102-93 Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers 120-94 Golden State Warriors
Toronto Raptors 114-106 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Clippers at Pelicans

The Clippers travel to the New Orleans Pelicans for what is poised to be Paul George's debut for the Los Angeles franchise. George swapped the Oklahoma City Thunder to team up with Leonard at the Clippers but the All-Star has been recovering from shoulder surgery.

Paul George is likely to make his long-awaited Los Angeles Clippers bow against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.

George sat out Wednesday's 102-93 loss to the Houston Rockets as the star recruit continues to rehabilitate from a pair of offseason shoulder operations.

The two minor shoulder surgeries have postponed George's Clippers debut, however, the six-time NBA All-Star is poised to make his first appearance for Los Angeles.

Asked about George and his potential debut prior to the midweek defeat to the Rockets, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said: "Maybe tomorrow [Thursday] or whenever we play after that."

George – along with 2018-19 champion Kawhi Leonard – joined the Clippers in the close season, with the Oklahoma City Thunder trading the 29-year-old for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five first-round draft picks, and the rights to swap two other first-round picks.

While George is set to make his debut, he may not do so alongside Leonard as the Clippers navigate back-to-back games.

Leonard has already sat out this season due to load management and Rivers added: "Honestly, it has probably been harder than we thought because we are still in the process of getting Kawhi right 100 percent, and then you don't have Paul at all.

"Then you have a select few practices, and you have to make a choice every practice: Do you put Paul in the line-up even though he's not playing, but then you got to play tomorrow with another group, or do you put Paul in the second group, and we have chosen the second group, even the third group at times.

"I don't think he's yet to play even one minute with the starting line-up yet. It's just going to take time."

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