Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is set to miss six weeks after undergoing surgery on his left hand.

Hayward, 29, fractured the fourth metacarpal in his left hand during the Celtics' 135-115 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

The Celtics confirmed the surgery on Monday and are set to be without Hayward until late December.

"Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward underwent successful surgery today to repair a fourth metacarpal fracture in his left hand," a Celtics statement read.

"The injury occurred during Saturday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs.

"He is expected to return to play in approximately six weeks."

Hayward is averaging 18.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists for the Celtics this season.

LeBron James "just loves to hoop", but has acknowledged the importance of only playing when he is fully fit.

James, who turns 35 next month, has enjoyed a stellar, 17-year NBA career across spells at the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and, currently, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Fellow superstar Kawhi Leonard signed for the Lakers' city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason, after helping the Toronto Raptors to the championship in 2018-19.

Three-time All Star Leonard has stressed the importance of "load management" over recent campaigns, and the subject of how much rest should be afforded to NBA players came to the fore again when the 28-year-old sat out the Clippers' recent clash with the Milwaukee Bucks.

However, James - who has clocked up 46,551 regular-season minutes and 10,049 postseason minutes - has insisted his love of basketball means he will always play when possible, but added he has learned to manage his body as his career has gone on.

"Me, personally, if I'm hurt and if I’m not able to play and I feel like I'll hurt my team, then I won't play. That's the [arrangement] me and my coaching staff have always had," 15-time All Star James told Yahoo Sports.

"You can talk to any of my coaches throughout the course of my career. They get mad at me because I don't like sitting down. You can ask anybody.

"They'll be mad as hell at me because I won't sit down. I just love to hoop, but I've also been fortunate enough to take care of my body, except for last year and a couple of years where I maybe had a couple of bumps and bruises or the last game before the season and we're getting ready for the postseason and you'll take that game off, but you're doing that because you don't want to risk anything going into the postseason.

"I just love to hoop, personally."

Nick Nurse vowed to devise a plan to "make life very difficult" for Kawhi Leonard when the Toronto Raptors do battle with the NBA Finals MVP star on Monday.

Leonard left the Raptors to join the Los Angeles Clippers in July after playing a huge part in Toronto's maiden NBA title triumph.

The champions ended the Los Angeles Lakers' seven-match winning streak with a 113-104 victory at Staples Center on Sunday and will come face to face with Leonard for the first time since his departure at the same venue on Monday.

Raptors head coach Nurse is looking forward to catching up with Leonard but is determined to prevent the three-time NBA All-Star from enjoying his evening.

"It's going to great. It was great to see Danny [Green] tonight and it's going to be great to see Kawhi," said Nurse.

"You go [through] something like that where you're all kind of sealed in together, fighting that out for a couple of months – you get a special experience there.

"In saying that, I'm going to stay up late tonight trying to devise some sort of scheme to make life very difficult for him."

Nurse was impressed with the contribution made by players coming off the bench in an impressive defeat of the Lakers, which moved the Raptors to 7-2.

"Those guys did a great job. I think everybody that stepped out there, they didn't only contribute, they played awesome," said Nurse.

"I'll give credit to some of our bench guys. My first unit went out there and was much more solid, I thought we were executing the schemes better.

"We were doubling [Anthony] Davis and doubling LeBron [James], covering up some easy stuff at the rim and then that next crew came in and they really bothered them. 

"I think Rondae [Hollis-Jefferson] bothered them, Chris [Boucher] was protecting the rim, they weren't giving up any second shots. It was a hard-playing group effort."

President Steve Mills says the New York Knicks are "not happy" with their start to the season but have faith David Fizdale can turn their fortunes around.

The Knicks are 2-8 at the bottom of the NBA Eastern Conference after they were thumped 108-87 by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

There were boos from Knicks fans during their latest loss at Madison Square Garden and Mills is not impressed with the predicament in which they find themselves.

"We're not happy with where we are," Mills said. "This is not where we expected to be at this point – 10 games in."

Mills ruled out making a coaching change, though, as the Knicks office believe Fizdale is the right man to take them forward.

"We have patience, and we believe in [the] coach," Mills said.

"And we believe in the group that we put together, but we also know that, as Scott [Perry, general manager] and I both have said a number of times, we need to find a way to have a consistent level of effort and execution."

Fizdale fronted up to shoulder the blame after the Knicks suffered yet another loss.

"[I have] Got to own that our home consistency is not there," Fizdale said. "I take full responsibility for that."

The Los Angeles Lakers' winning run came to an end in the NBA, while Giannis Antetokounmpo was again dominant for the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.

The Lakers saw their seven-match winning streak ended in a 113-104 loss to the depleted Toronto Raptors.

Without the likes of Kyle Lowry (thumb) and Serge Ibaka (ankle), the Raptors got past the Lakers thanks to Pascal Siakam (24 points and 11 rebounds) and Fred VanVleet (23 points and 10 assists).

Lakers star LeBron James went five-of-15 for 13 points, while he also finished with 15 assists and 13 rebounds.

Anthony Davis contributed 27 points for the Lakers (7-2).

Antetokounmpo starred with 35 points and 16 rebounds to help the Bucks edge the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-119.

 

Embiid lifts 76ers as Booker, Rubio shine

Joel Embiid had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers ended a three-game losing run by beating the Charlotte Hornets 114-106.

Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio starred for the Phoenix Suns. Booker had 27 points and nine assists and Rubio a double-double of 22 points and 12 assists in a 138-112 thrashing of the Brooklyn Nets.

Trae Young had a double-double of 35 points and 10 assists, but the Atlanta Hawks suffered a 124-113 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

 

Morris unable to lift Knicks

Marcus Morris went three-of-12 for nine points in the New York Knicks' 108-87 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Jokic steps up again

Nikola Jokic hit his second game-winner in as many matches, seeing the Denver Nuggets edge the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-98 after overtime.

Sunday's results

Denver Nuggets 100-98 Minnesota Timberwolves
Indiana Pacers 109-102 Orlando Magic
Philadelphia 76ers 114-106 Charlotte Hornets
Milwaukee Bucks 121-119 Oklahoma City Thunder
Cleveland Cavaliers 108-87 New York Knicks
Phoenix Suns 138-112 Brooklyn Nets
Portland Trail Blazers 124-113 Atlanta Hawks
Toronto Raptors 113-104 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Raptors at Clippers

Kawhi Leonard faces his former team, the Raptors (7-2), when the Los Angeles Clippers (6-3) host Toronto on Monday.

Ben Simmons said he feels "great" after watching the Philadelphia 76ers return to winning ways as the star guard recovers from a shoulder injury.

Simmons was courtside to see the 76ers snap a three-game losing streak by topping the Charlotte Hornets 114-106 in the NBA on Sunday.

The All-Star hurt his shoulder in a loss to the Utah Jazz and has since missed games with the Denver Nuggets and Hornets.

"I feel great," Simmons said. "Woke up on a beautiful Sunday, excited to see my team play."

While Simmons was unavailable, fellow All-Star Joel Embiid was on the court to help lead the 76ers past the Hornets in Philadelphia.

After a difficult road trip following a two-game ban for a fight with Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, Embiid posted 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds against the Hornets.

Embiid's fitness has often been questioned and 76ers head coach Brett Brown told reporters: "We're trying to get Joel in increasingly better and better and better shape.

"I thought [Charlotte's Cody] Zeller made him run a lot in the first half.

"But our pace is always something we want to look at first."

After improving to 6-3 for the season, the 76ers are back on home court when they welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-5) on Tuesday.

Dion Waiters has been suspended for 10 NBA games without pay by the Miami Heat for conduct detrimental to the team.

The guard had already been banned for one game last month for what Heat president Pat Riley described as "unacceptable incidents".

Waiters has been hit with a bigger sanction after reportedly suffering a panic attack on the team plane, having allegedly taken a THC-infused edible.

Miami did not give details of why the 27-year-old has been banned, but said his conduct was not acceptable.

A Heat statement said: "We are very disappointed in Dion's actions this season, that include the very scary situation on Thursday night, and grateful that the outcome wasn't worse.

"There have been a number of instances this season in which Dion has engaged in conduct detrimental to the team.

"Accordingly, he will be suspended without pay for 10 games, including the Lakers game last Friday, and will be eligible to return after the Golden State Warriors game on Nov. 29.

"We are proud of how our players have started the season. We expect all of our players, including Dion, to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards, and to show professionalism and respect for team-mates, the team, fans and the NBA community."

Waiters has not appeared for Miami this season.

Paul George is "tired of rehabbing" as he nears a return from a pair of off-season shoulder operations that have postponed his Los Angeles Clippers debut.

Six-time NBA All Star 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.

However, two minor shoulder surgeries set the small forward back and he is yet to feature for his new team.

Having returned to practice on Saturday, George insists he is now raring to go, though he is willing to be cautious with his comeback in order to ensure his long-term fitness.

"I still got some stuff," George told the Los Angeles Times. "From a health standpoint, I feel great.

"But I think with rhythm especially, with where these guys are at right now in their season, they're flowing right now, so I just want to come in with an easy transition.

"I'm tired of rehabbing. It sucks. But, you know, I'm here for the long run. I'm here for the long haul."

The Clippers have made an impressive start in George's absence, winning six of their nine games so far. They go up against last season's champions – and Leonard's former team – the Toronto Raptors in their next outing.

Kemba Walker says the Boston Celtics need other players to "step up" after Gordon Hayward suffered a broken hand on Saturday.

The in-form Hayward was hurt in a collision with LaMarcus Aldridge late in the first half of the Celtics' 135-115 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

After the game, Boston coach Brad Stevens revealed a decision on whether Hayward requires an operation will be made on Sunday, adding: "It sounds like, should he decide that, the surgery option might actually be a better timeline. So we'll see how that all plays out."

Walker acknowledged the injury represented a blow for the 7-1 Celtics, who lead the Eastern Conference, but urged other players to take the opportunities that will now come their way.

"We're definitely going to miss him, but you know, we just need guys to step up," said Walker.

"Now it's our opportunity for other guys until he comes back and we just have to hold the fort down."

No timeline has yet been placed on the recovery of Hayward, who missed the entire 2017-18 season after suffering a horrific ankle injury in the Celtics' season opener.

"It's tough, man," added Walker. "Obviously he's been through a lot with his old injury, and now this."

Hayward had made an impressive start to the season, averaging 20.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game prior to Saturday's contest.

The Boston Celtics extended their winning streak after beating the San Antonio Spurs 135-115, while the Golden State Warriors lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Boston made it seven successive victories since losing their NBA season opener by topping San Antonio away from home on Saturday.

Jaylen Brown posted 30 points for the Celtics (7-1), who lost star Gordon Hayward to a fracture in his left hand, while Kemba Walker added 26.

The slumping Spurs (5-4) were led by DeMar DeRozan and his 22 points on their home court.

In Oklahoma City, the Thunder trumped the struggling Warriors 114-108 thanks to Danilo Gallinari's 21 points.

D'Angelo Russell and his 30 points were not enough for the Warriors, who dropped to 2-8 for the season in the absence of injured stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

 

Harden inspires Rockets

James Harden put up 42 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Houston Rockets beat the Chicago Bulls 117-94. Harden fell just short of his first triple-double of the season.

Luka Doncic had 24 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Dallas Mavericks past the Memphis Grizzlies 138-122. Doncic's performance came through three quarters after being rested for the final period.

 

Pelicans and Hornets combine for sloppy spectacle

The New Orleans Pelicans registered 26 turnovers, while the Charlotte Hornets turned the ball over on 22 occasions. New Orleans came away with a 115-110 win.

 

Harden lights up Chicago

'The Beard' had fun against the lowly Bulls, dishing off this stunning pass to Rockets team-mate Clint Capela.

 

Saturday's results

Boston Celtics 135-115 San Antonio Spurs
New Orleans Pelicans 115-110 Charlotte Hornets
Oklahoma City Thunder 114-108 Golden State Warriors
Houston Rockets 117-94 Chicago Bulls
Dallas Mavericks 138-122 Memphis Grizzlies

 

Raptors at Lakers

Defending champions the Toronto Raptors (6-2) will have their hands full when they face the in-form Los Angeles Lakers (7-1) at Staples Center on Sunday. LeBron James and the Lakers have won seven games on the bounce since losing to the Los Angeles Clippers on Opening Night.

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is looking forward to his reunion with reigning NBA champions the Toronto Raptors.

Leonard led the Raptors to their first NBA title last season before leaving Toronto for the Clippers via free agency.

A two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP, Leonard will reunite with the Raptors when the Clippers face Toronto on Monday and he is relishing the clash.

"It's going to be fun to see the guys," Leonard said. "And just congratulate them and be able to shake hands and compete."

Asked what he will remember about his one and only season with the Raptors after being dealt by the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard added: "The guys, the journey. Also the country. The city was amazing. And it's just so much, you can keep going on and talking about it.

"I never went in with a negative mindset. Playing with Cory Joseph in San Antonio, him being from that area in Toronto, I knew what the city kind of brought... I always felt positive with the trade and the front office.

"I knew it was great already with Masai [Ujiri] being in there. So it was never a negative thing, always open-minded about it."

Three-time All-Star Leonard is averaging 29.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game with the Clippers this season.

"It's not like he left in bad terms, really," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said about Leonard's Raptors exit.

"It's one of those leave-good situations, not one of those leave-awful situations, and let's be honest, in our league it's usually the other way. He's had the rare benefit of being able to leave in a happy state. Has it happened? If it is, it's rare."

Paul George teamed up with Leonard at the Clippers after leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason and he could make his debut on Monday.

However, George – who has been recovering from shoulder surgery – is likelier to debut for the Clippers following the Raptors showdown, with games against the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans to come.

"It's going to take time for conditioning," Rivers said. "You don't not play - when did they lose? - yeah, he hasn't played since April and then you walk in a game in November... it's just not done. I don't know, I doubt he plays [Monday], but it's a possibility. It's possible I may play, too, for that matter. I don't know the answer. I really don't."

Boston Celtics star Gordon Hayward fractured his hand against the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA team confirmed.

The Celtics diagnosed forward Hayward with a left hand fracture following an x-ray as Boston topped the Spurs 135-115 on Saturday.

Hayward hurt his hand in the second quarter after making contact with the Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge in San Antonio.

The 2017 All-Star left the court and did not return for the remainder of the game away from home.

Hayward was averaging 20.3 points per game during Boston's 7-1 start to the season amid a seven-game winning streak.

It comes after Hayward suffered a devastating leg injury that cost him almost all of 2017-18.

After leaving the Utah Jazz for the Celtics on a four-year, $128million contract in 2017, Hayward sustained a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle in his left leg less than six minutes into his Boston debut.

Kyle Lowry suffered a fractured thumb and Serge Ibaka sustained an ankle injury in the Toronto Raptors' 122-104 road win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Friday's victory, secured after a superb 44-point showing from in-form Pascal Siakam that matched his career high, came at a cost for the defending NBA champions, who moved to 6-2 for the season.

X-rays confirmed Lowry, 33, suffered a small fracture in his left thumb when he was attempting to steal the ball from Pelicans center Derrick Favors in the first quarter. 

The injury is unrelated to the surgery he had on the same thumb in the offseason and he will now see a hand specialist in Los Angeles on Saturday.

"It felt weird from the rip," said five-time All-Star Lowry, who initially tried to play on after the injury before leaving the game midway through the second quarter. 

"I kept playing through it and kept playing through it. Originally, we thought it was something in the nail bed because the nail bed turned black and blue. It's a little more serious than a nail bed. I'll be fine."

Ibaka was in a walking boot after the game having suffered a severely sprained ankle as he contested a lay-up from Brandon Ingram – who led the Pelicans with 27 points - late in the second quarter. He was visibly in pain as he lay on the court.

Head coach Nick Nurse said: "I didn't see what happened but the report is it is pretty bad."

The Raptors, who have impressed so far without the departed Kawhi Leonard, are now set to be shorthanded as they travel to take on the Los Angeles Lakers (7-1) on Sunday.

Injuries to the two regulars will lead to an even greater reliance on man-of-the-moment Siakam and Lowry said of his team-mate: "He is evolving into a superstar."

Damian Lillard conceded his team record 60-point performance for the Portland Trail Blazers had lost some of its lustre due to defeat against the Brooklyn Nets.

Despite Lillard's setting a new career high, the Nets claimed an impressive 119-115 road win as the Blazers, who reached last season's Western Conference Finals, dropped to 3-6.

The four-time All-Star was sensational in his 40-minute outing, hitting seven three-pointers and converting all 15 of his attempts from the free-throw line.

But somehow his exploits – the highest-scoring performance in the NBA this season - were not enough to earn the Blazers a first home win of the season, Spencer Dinwiddie scoring 34 points off the bench with Kyrie Irving adding 33 for the Nets.

"Anytime you set a record it's obviously an accomplishment, I guess it's not as fun losing," Lillard, 29, said after the game. "It's fine. It's whatever.

"I didn't have a feeling this was going to be one of those nights. I've had that in the past but in the warm-up I was a little bit stiff. I tweaked my ankle the night before [against the Los Angeles Clippers] and got kicked in my leg against the [Golden State] Warriors too.

"When the game started, I think it was just my mind, I was thinking I was going to jump and dive into the game and make my body follow. That is what happened.

"We are in position to win games in the third quarter and the fourth quarter – but you've got to be present mentally and physically.

"You have to do a little bit more than the other team to win games. I think we compete, we're together and we try to do the right things but it's that little bit of wanting it more than the other team.

"Wanting it more doesn't mean playing harder, it means being able to be sharper on one more possession when you are tired and wearing down. We might be last in the league defensively in the fourth quarter. But we must stand together and cannot fold."

Irving was a happy man as the Nets moved to 4-4 on the back of a third win in four games.

"The game could have gone either way as well as Lillard was playing," he said. "Anytime someone has a big performance like that, it can go either way. He can really take over the game like he did."

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson could not come up with a plan to stop Lillard's scoring spree.

He said: "We tried zone, box-and-one, we tried blitz, we threw the kitchen sink at him. He just kept making incredible shots."

And Dinwiddie added: "He got 60, but luckily for us he would have needed 65."

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