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."

James Harden said the Houston Rockets are going to win the NBA championship this season.

The Rockets have won the title twice in their history, however, it has been 24 years since the franchise's last in 1995.

Houston went down to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semi-finals last season, having lost to the same opponent in the Conference Finals in 2017-18.

The Rockets were also eliminated by the Warriors in the 2014-15 Conference Finals as their wait for glory continues.

But having added Russell Westbrook and with the Warriors struggling in the absence of injured stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson after the departure of Kevin Durant, Harden believes this is the season for the Rockets.

When ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said it was Harden's greatest opportunity to win an NBA ring, the 2017-18 MVP replied: "Facts. 100 per cent."

Asked if he was going to deliver this season, Harden told ESPN: "Take advantage of the opportunity. Of course. I am, we are… let's get it."

Harden was last season's scoring leader, having also topped the charts in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Prior to Wednesday's clash with the Los Angeles Clippers, the seven-time All-Star has been averaging 37.3 points, 8.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds this season.

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis has been ruled out of the NBA clash with the Golden State Warriors.

Davis has been dealing with shoulder and rib soreness, meaning he will sit out Wednesday's game against the Warriors.

Kyle Kuzma will start in place of Davis, who is expected to return for the Lakers (8-2) against the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

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 the midweek showdown with the struggling Warriors (2-9).

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

Meanwhile, the Lakers will also be without guard Rajon Rondo due to a mild right calf strain.

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon is expected to miss six weeks of NBA action after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey provided the medical update on Wednesday, ahead of Houston's clash with Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Gordon has been averaging 10.9 points and 1.9 rebounds for James Harden's Rockets (7-3) this season.

The 30-year-old Gordon signed a contract extension with the Rockets in the offseason, a deal through to 2023-24 and reportedly worth $75.6million.

Gordon – the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year in 2016-17 – arrived in Houston from the New Orleans Pelicans in 2016.

Trae Young made history in the Atlanta Hawks' 125-121 victory over the Denver Nuggets, but coach Lloyd Pierce was quick to remind him he can improve.

The Hawks guard became the youngest player to register at least 30 points and 10 assists in three straight games with a sensational display at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

Young poured in a season-high 42 points on 13-of-21 shooting – the highlight being a successful jump shot after sending the ball through Will Barton's legs – and supplied 11 assists as Atlanta ended a three-game losing streak.

However, Pierce made sure to highlight one of Young's shortcomings in his post-game news conference.

"I'm not impressed with his free throws," said Pierce. "He went 8-for-11, he's got to go 11-for-11.

"He missed two the other night, he missed three tonight. There's always something. Everyone else can praise him but I've got to stay on him.

"But, no, he was great. The three-ball was rolling. We had 30 assists on 44 made baskets which is an impressive number for us, that's been one of the areas we haven't capitalised on this year.

"Obviously, the three-ball went down tonight and we needed that. [Young is] great in the pick and roll. You have to scheme and we found something that we were able to attack."

The Hawks fought back from 12-0 down in the first quarter and Young was proud to have played a key role in the victory.

"I'm having a lot of fun. My shots are going in right now and hopefully that continues to happen. I'm just trying to do whatever it takes to help our team win and put us in the best position to win," Young told FOX Sports.

"We gutted one out. We actually finished the game. It's tough seeing Kev [Kevin Huerter] go out early – he had a hot start. It's a great team win, especially against a good team on the road.

"We're a resilient team, no matter how far we're down or how far we're up, we're going to keep fighting. I'm happy with the way we played and the way we finished it off."

LeBron James held up the "grit" Anthony Davis is showing by playing through injuries as an example for every member of the Los Angeles Lakers to follow.

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

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 will be evaluated again ahead of Wednesday's game against the Golden State Warriors.

"He wants to play. He wants to play, and we just have to pick it up," James said of Davis, who has been playing through a shoulder issue.

"For him, when he's showing that grit when he's playing with injuries, there's no reason for any of us not to be out there as well. He's been showing everything."

Davis returned to the game with eight minutes, 41 seconds remaining and finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers bounced back from a 113-104 defeat to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

"I took a shot – not sure on what play or when it was – and I just wanted to get it taped up, wrapped up," said Davis.

"It was kinda bothering me a little bit so I just got it taped up, wrapped up to keep it secure or whatever. I just decided to get back on the floor as soon as possible.

"I just want to play. Like I said, it's tough for me to lead from the sideline.

"The more I can be on the floor to help this team win, that's what I try to do. I know what our goal is, I know what we're trying to do. So the more I can try to stay on the floor, the more steps we move toward our goal."

Asked if he will be able to play against the Warriors, Davis added: "We'll see how the shoulder and the ribs feel tomorrow when I get up and we'll go from there."

The Los Angeles Lakers bounced back to winning ways in the NBA, while Trae Young led the Atlanta Hawks to victory on Tuesday.

Coming off a loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Lakers responded by beating the Phoenix Suns 123-115.

Anthony Davis (24 points and 12 rebounds) and LeBron James (19 points and 11 assists) had double-doubles for the Lakers (8-2).

The Lakers are top of the Western Conference ahead of two teams on four-game winning streaks – the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.

Young, 21, starred to help the Hawks past the Denver Nuggets 125-121.

The guard had 42 points – going eight-of-13 from three-point range – and 11 assists to continue his brilliant start to the season.

Embiid lifts 76ers as Butler shines

Joel Embiid had a double-double of 27 points and 16 rebounds in the Philadelphia 76ers' 98-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Miami Heat were too strong for the Detroit Pistons 117-108 as Jimmy Butler contributed 20 points and 13 assists.

The Jazz continued their winning run, getting past the Brooklyn Nets 119-114 thanks to 30 points from Donovan Mitchell.

 

Terrible Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder were thrashed by the Indiana Pacers 111-85.

 

Wonderful White

Coby White set a Chicago Bulls record for most threes in a quarter by hitting seven in the fourth in a 120-102 win over the New York Knicks.

Tuesday's results

Indiana Pacers 111-85 Oklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia 76ers 98-97 Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat 117-108 Detroit Pistons
Chicago Bulls 120-102 New York Knicks
Atlanta Hawks 125-121 Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers 123-115 Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz 119-114 Brooklyn Nets
Sacramento Kings 107-99 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Clippers at Rockets

All eyes will be on the Toyota Center as two contenders, the Houston Rockets (7-3) and Los Angeles Clippers (7-3), meet.

The Golden State Warriors have suffered another injury blow after it was confirmed guard Damion Lee has sustained a hand fracture.

Six-time NBA champions the Warriors are without a host of players due to injury, with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson headlining the list of absentees.

While Thompson has been out since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in June, two-time NBA MVP Curry broke his left hand on October 30 during a defeat to the Phoenix Suns.

Curry is set to undergo surgery, but claimed on Monday he expects to return before the end of the season.

The Warriors, who have appeared in the NBA Finals every year since 2015, have struggled at the start of this campaign, with Monday's defeat to Utah Jazz leaving the team 2-9.

Their 108-122 loss to Utah also brought more bad news, with the Warriors confirming on Tuesday that Lee had suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his right hand. The team added the 27-year-old will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Kawhi Leonard was happy to receive special attention from his former Toronto Raptors team-mates as he overcame a mixed individual night in a valuable win for the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers moved to 7-3 for the season with a 98-88 victory over the defending NBA champions at Staples Center on Monday.

Leonard, the Finals MVP with the Raptors last season, had his worst game since joining the Clippers, as he had a career-high nine turnovers and shot only 2-of-11 from the field.

He was harassed by the Raptors (also now 7-3) throughout, often double-teamed and trapped as well as being challenged at half court.

But Leonard felt the experience proved beneficial and produced some good moments as the game progressed, eventually finishing with a line of 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

"They made me better," Leonard told reporters. "As soon as I walked across half court, they were trying to get the ball out of my hands, sending an extra defender. 

"[Opponents] are going to do it at times in the playoffs and regular season and they [Clippers team-mates] are going to knock down the open shot. That's what wins games: open shots. We came out with the win. 

"They did a great job on me - but I'm glad they did. It made me better and it's going to make my team-mates better as well.

"It's even better coming out with a win. My team-mates made shots. It wasn't one of those nights for me."

Leonard acknowledged facing the Raptors is always going to feel a little different given he remains on good terms with head coach Nick Nurse and much of the roster.

But he was keen to leave last season's NBA title and his subsequent free agency decision in the past.

"We grew a relationship," Leonard added. "It's just fun being able to compete against guys you were with last year. 

"From that aspect, it's a little bit more competitive because you do talk to them. So I can tell them that we won the game.

"But no, why would I think about last season? It's over now, we won. 

"Like I said before, I had a great time here and it's the next chapter. I can't live in the past and be so excited that I won [a championship]. 

"I won with a different team, a different unit. They want to have that same feeling and I do as well. I'm a Clipper right now and I'm trying to win."

Nick Nurse felt the Toronto Raptors did a good job of keeping Kawhi Leonard quiet and outplayed the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, despite eventually going down to a 98-88 defeat.

Leonard scored 12 points, claimed 11 rebounds and laid on nine assists in his first clash against the Raptors since his departure after playing a huge part in Toronto winning a first NBA title last season.

Nurse had vowed to stay up late and make plans to make life difficult for the NBA Finals MVP after the reigning champions beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

And the Raptors head coach thought his side were effective in limiting the impact made by Leonard at Staples Center, albeit without reward.

Asked if it was strange seeing Leonard on the other side, Nurse replied: "A little bit.

"We obviously went full guns on all the coverages of him to make life difficult for him and we did a good job on him, but he got some good transition buckets in the fourth, made some big shots for them when they needed him, which is what he does."

Nurse believes the Raptors, who lost OG Anunoby to an eye injury early on, were unfortunate to suffer a loss which leaves them at 7-3 for the season, all three of their defeats coming on the road.

He said of Toronto's performance: "They were good. Our guys played their guts out, we totally outplayed them I thought.

"We were playing harder, we were executing better, we were creating a lot of problems for them but just not quite enough."

 

Stephen Curry "definitely" expects to be ready to play again this season, with the point guard aiming for an early spring return for the Golden State Warriors.

Two-time NBA MVP Curry suffered a broken left hand on October 30 during a defeat to the Phoenix Suns, undergoing surgery to correct the issue.

Golden State plan to re-evaluate the injury in February, although Curry – who has won three titles in his career with the Warriors – is confident of making a comeback, declaring that "the rest of the season is not lost".

"I definitely expect to be ready to play. I don't know when – at some point in early spring," Curry told the media.

"It's just a matter of the rehab process. I've never broken anything and dealt with a hand injury like this, so as you go through all the examinations and that type of stuff, and obviously surgery was required to make sure the hand heals properly, that's a tough, tough blow.

"But [there is an] understanding there is a time frame where we can measure the rehab process, then figure out what the rest of the year looks like.

"I'm excited that, potentially, the rest of the season is not lost."

The 31-year-old confirmed he is likely to undergo further surgery before the end of the year, adding: "As part of the rehab, I have to get a second procedure done, at the beginning of December probably, and remove some of the pins that they put in there."

Without Curry and fellow long-term absentee Klay Thompson, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in June, the Warriors have struggled badly at the start of the new campaign.

A home loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday leaves them with a 2-9 record, an unusual situation for a franchise that has appeared in the NBA Finals every year since 2015.

"I love to play basketball," Curry said. "I love having fun. I know Klay does too.

"We're like some caged animals right now, ready to get unleashed back to what we do. Selfishly speaking, it should be fun for both of us, just to play basketball."

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