Gregg Popovich quipped all you can do is "get good pictures" when LeBron James is in full flow after the Los Angeles Lakers superstar blew the San Antonio Spurs away on Tuesday.

James scored a game-high 36 points to go with nine assists and seven rebounds in a resounding 129-102 victory for the Lakers at Staples Center.

The four-time NBA MVP was mobbed by his team-mates after landing a fifth three-pointer in the space of just three minutes during the fourth quarter.

Spurs coach Popovich had a short and sharp answer when asked what can be done when James is in that sort of form.

He said: "Make sure you get good pictures? We tried to prevent it. If we could prevent it, we would have."

Anthony Davis lapped up his team-mate's masterclass. 

"When the guy gets hot like that, it's always fun to watch him," said the forward.

He added of the impromptu Lakers celebration: "It wasn't the plan. We all just kind of ran over there and jumped on him."

Defeat for the Spurs came on the back of a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and DeMar DeRozan is concerned by the impact the defeats will have.

"As a competitor, it's what you want to play against," said DeRozan, who poured in 28 points.

"I don't look at it like it's being tough. It's part of the job, part of the game, and as a competitor you want to compete against the best. You worry about the toll afterwards."

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks past Zion Williamson's New Orleans Pelicans 120-108, while LeBron James inspired the Los Angeles Lakers.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo put up 34 points and 17 rebounds as the Bucks improved to 43-7 for the season and 20-4 away from home.

The Bucks led by 19 points in the third quarter before withstanding a Pelicans rally in New Orleans on Tuesday.

Pelicans sensation and rookie Williamson scored 20 points – Brandon Ingram topscoring for New Orleans with 32 of his own.

James posted 19 of his 36 points in the final quarter as the Lakers topped the San Antonio Spurs 129-102 in Los Angeles.

Lakers superstar James hit a stunning five three-pointers in three fourth-quarter minutes to propel the hosts at Staples Center, where he added nine assists and seven rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 28 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

 

Harden stars as Rockets soar

James Harden had 40 points and 11 assists to guide the Houston Rockets to a 125-110 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The Rockets were without Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela – reportedly set to join the Atlanta Hawks – but they still extended their winning streak to three games.

Nikola Jokic's 29 points and 13 rebounds set the tone for the Denver Nuggets, who downed the Portland Trail Blazers 127-99.

 

Anthony struggles

Carmelo Anthony has been a fine addition for the Trail Blazers, however, the veteran endured a tough night in Denver. Anthony was 0 of five from the field and missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc for two points in 26 minutes.

Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge also struggled. He finished with just seven points on three of 10 shooting in 30 minutes.

 

LeBron lights up LA

Sit back and enjoy this three-point burst by James.

 

Tuesday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 120-108 New Orleans Pelicans
Houston Rockets 125-110 Charlotte Hornets
Denver Nuggets 127-99 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers 129-102 San Antonio Spurs

 

Heat at Clippers

After thrashing Eastern Conference rivals the Philadelphia 76ers, the Miami Heat travel to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. The Jimmy Butler-led Heat (34-15) have won back-to-back games to be fourth in the east, while the Clippers (35-15) are second in the Western Conference.

LeBron James revealed he decided to wear number two in the NBA All-Star Game in honour of Gianna Bryant and for his own daughter, Zhuri.

The tributes will continue for Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, during the All-Star Game later this month.

James' team will wear Gianna's number two, while Giannis Antetokounmpo's side will don the 24 Kobe made famous during his glittering NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers star James said he had been asked about which number he wanted his team to wear in Chicago on February 16.

"They asked me which number did I want to wear, the 24 or the two, for my team and I picked two," he told a news conference on Monday. "Giannis is going to wear 24 for their team."

Asked why he chose two, James replied: "Zhuri", referring to his five-year-old daughter.

James' Lakers are back at the Staples Center on Tuesday, hosting the San Antonio Spurs.

The three-time NBA champion said the Lakers needed to stick together during what would be an emotional season in the wake of Bryant's shock death.

"Every game is going to be emotional," James said.

"You're going to look up in the rafters, you're going to see that eight, that 24, you're going to see the decal on the floor.

"Every game is going to be emotional, but obviously time heals all, it's going to continue to help us every game, every day.

"We're going to continue to lean on each other, lean on the crowd, the crowd is going to lean on us and we've got to continue to push forward because that's what he'd want us to do."

LeBron James registered a triple-double to earn the Los Angeles Lakers an uplifting win on Saturday, while Kyrie Irving suffered an injury scare.

The Lakers needed a boost against the Sacramento Kings after paying emotional tributes to Kobe Bryant and subsequently losing to the Portland Trail Blazers less than 24 hours earlier.

Their star man delivered at Golden 1 Center, James posting 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a 129-113 victory that snapped a three-game slump.

Irving sent a shock through the Brooklyn Nets when his right knee bent awkwardly under Bradley Beal (34 points) in the fourth quarter of a 113-107 road loss to the Washington Wizards.

The Nets described the injury as a knee sprain and Irving, who received treatment on the floor, said he needed further assessment.

"Just got to get an MRI. X-rays were negative. Just go home and see what's going on," the Brooklyn guard told reporters.

"I've done some pretty decent things to my knees in the past. The most important thing was my ACL, just making sure it was fine. It was just a weird, weird, weird, weird fall. I just felt a lot stretching and tension afterwards. Just a bad fall."

 

Lillard extends incredible scoring streak

After blitzing the Lakers at Staples Center on Friday, the red-hot Damian Lillard continued his brilliant form to help the Trail Blazers top the Utah Jazz 124-107.

Lillard dropped 51 points on 17-of-29 shooting as he became the first player in NBA history to average 45 points and 10 assists across a six-game span.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 52 points as they shared the floor for the first time since January 2 in the Los Angeles Clippers' 118-106 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jaylen Brown put up 32 points and Jayson Tatum added 25 to inspire the Boston Celtics to a comfortable 116-95 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Dallas Mavericks overcame a two-game hiccup thanks in part to Jalen Brunson, who scored a season-high 27 points to sink the Atlanta Hawks 123-100.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers lost forward T.J. Warren to a third-quarter head injury en route to a 92-85 defeat at the hands of the New York Knicks.

 

Gobert wilts against Whiteside

Named an All-Star for the first time this week, Rudy Gobert was given a dose of reality in the Jazz's lacklustre loss to the Trail Blazers.

Hassan Whiteside, the Frenchman's direct opponent, pulled down 10 more rebounds and tallied 11 extra points at Moda Center.

 

LeBron's brilliant pass

The league's eighth greatest assist provider displayed his vision with a classy cross-court dime for Avery Bradley.

 

Saturday's results

Los Angeles Clippers 118-106 Minnesota Timberwolves
New York Knicks 92-85 Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat 102-89 Orlando Magic
Washington Wizards 113-107 Brooklyn Nets
Golden State Warriors 131-112 Cleveland Cavaliers
Dallas Mavericks 123-100 Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics 116-95 Philadelphia 76ers
San Antonio Spurs 114-90 Charlotte Hornets
Los Angeles Lakers 129-113 Sacramento Kings
Portland Trail Blazers 124-107 Utah Jazz

 

Pelicans at Rockets

Zion Williamson and the improving New Orleans Pelicans (20-29) take on James Harden's Houston Rockets (30-18) in one of Sunday's four games.

LeBron James feels Kobe Bryant was the happiest he had ever been following his retirement from basketball, as it allowed him to devote time to his family.

Bryant ended his 20-year NBA career in 2016 at the age of 38, having won five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was also named the league's MVP in 2008 and was an 18-time All-Star.

The Lakers legend spent much of his post-playing days with his wife and four children before his death on Sunday. The 41-year-old, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, was one of nine people killed in a helicopter crash in California.

James gave an emotional speech inside the Staples Center on Friday prior to tip-off in the team's first game since Bryant's death, describing him as a "brother".

The 35-year-old knows all too well the sacrifices that have to be made to reach the top in professional sport, as he explained to the media after the 127-119 defeat against the Portland Trail Blazers.

"These last three years, out of all the success he had – five rings, multiple MVPs, All-Star Game MVP of this league, first team for all-life, all-world, all-basketball – felt like these last three years were the happiest I've ever seen him," James said of Bryant.

"Being able to just be with his daughters, be with his family, because when we're playing this game of basketball, we give so much to it. This is my 17th year, so I know.

"Unfortunately, your family comes to the wayside at times, because when you want to be great at something, when you want to be the best at something, you become so driven that you won't let anything stand in the way of it. Not even your own family sometimes.

"We get compared all the time to greatness, and that makes us even more driven and shadowed away from our own family. That's the difficult part that we deal with as professional athletes and when you want to be great.

"To see him these last three years, and to see the #girldad these last few days, it just puts everything in perspective. Yes, it's a beautiful game, it's taken us all over the world and given us so many things that we can never ever complain about, or never be in another position to accomplish this, from you guys writing the stories to playing the game, we are all covering it all over the world.

"But, at the end of the day, we all punch our clocks. Either we're done for the day, or done doing what we are doing, but just make sure you hug the s*** out of your family.

"If you've got kids, tell them you love them. Try to make it to as much as you can, and don't feel bad if you happen to go to one of your loved one's events, or something like that, and sacrifice your job.

"I didn't feel bad in Boston when I went to go and see my son two hours away in Springfield and we [the Lakers] had a game that night and got our ass kicked. I didn't feel bad at all."

LeBron James shed tears, Usher sang 'Amazing Grace' and Staples Center fell silent in reverence to Kobe Bryant as the Los Angeles Lakers returned to the floor on Friday.

Fans crowded outside the venue and those inside, including the players, donned replica Bryant jerseys amid heartfelt tributes to a franchise legend and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

An emotional video played on the big screen and a 24.2 second moment of silence was taken to honour all seven victims of Sunday's helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

James read their names and gave a speech asking for the event to be a "celebration" of Bryant before the on-court action against the visiting Portland Trail Blazers began.

After a subdued start, Damian Lillard lifted the energy in the third quarter, hitting 23 points en route to a game-high 48 to issue the Lakers a 127-119 loss.

Lillard became the first NBA player to make 40 three-point shots in a five-game span and the first to record at least 35 points, five rebounds, five assists and five three-pointers in five straight games.

Irving inspires Nets, Nuggets upset Bucks

On the other side of the country, an inspired Kyrie Irving paid a personal tribute to his old mentor in fitting fashion.

The Brooklyn Nets guard, who earlier in the week vowed to "carry the torch", shot 19-of-23 from the floor and hit seven three-pointers as he tallied 54 points, five rebounds and five assists in a 133-118 win over the Chicago Bulls.

James Harden (35 points, 16 rebounds) and Russell Westbrook (32 points, nine assists) did likewise, the pair leading the Houston Rockets to a 128-121 victory against the Dallas Mavericks, who were without the injured Luka Doncic.

Giannis Antetokounmpo played his part, putting up 31 points in a double-double at Fiserv Forum, but the Milwaukee Bucks failed to prolong their nine-game winning run, losing to the Denver Nuggets 127-115.

The Toronto Raptors had more success preserving a streak, recording a 10th successive victory thanks to Pascal Siakam's 30 points in a 105-92 road win over the Detroit Pistons.

Zion Williamson posted a career-high 24 points in 29 minutes to outscore draft rival Ja Morant at Smoothie King Center, the New Orleans Pelicans topping the Memphis Grizzlies 139-111.

 

Rubio struggles in Suns loss

The Phoenix Suns might have avoided a late 111-107 home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder had Ricky Rubio made more of his shooting opportunities, the Spaniard going two-of-eight from the floor for eight points in 30 minutes.

 

Lillard too hot for Lakers

The Lakers simply could not stop Lillard, the All-Star reserve delivering a clinic in long-range shooting.

 

Friday's results

Toronto Raptors 105-92 Detroit Pistons
Houston Rockets 128-121 Dallas Mavericks
Brooklyn Nets 133-118 Chicago Bulls
New Orleans Pelicans 139-111 Memphis Grizzlies
Oklahoma City Thunder 111-107 Phoenix Suns
Denver Nuggets 127-115 Milwaukee Bucks
Portland Trail Blazers 127-119 Los Angeles Lakers

 

76ers at Celtics

Due to knee soreness, the Boston Celtics (32-15) could be without Kemba Walker for Saturday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers (31-18).

LeBron James unveiled a "Mamba 4 Life" tattoo after the death of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Lakers superstar James, who surpassed five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant for third on the all-time points list on Saturday, has been hit hard by the tragedy.

In a lasting tribute to Bryant, James used Instagram to unveil his tattoo: a black snake, a flower, with the numbers 24 and 8 – worn by the Lakers legend – above the writing "Mamba 4 Life".

James and the Lakers are preparing to play for the first time on Friday since the tragedy – a game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Tuesday's showdown with neighbours the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center was postponed.

It comes as the NBA continues to honour Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven other victims.

On Friday, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced the 2020 All-Star uniforms will pay tribute to the pair.

Team LeBron (James) will wear number two and Team Giannis (Antetokounmpo) number 24 – Gianna and Kobe's basketball jersey numbers respectively.

In addition, both teams will wear jersey patches displaying nine stars, representing those who lost their lives in the crash.

The All-Star Game will take place at the United Center in Chicago on February 16.

Kobe Bryant will be honoured in the format of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, the league announced on Thursday.

The annual All-Star Game takes place in Chicago on February 16, with the East captained by reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the West led by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

And the NBA has confirmed a number of alterations to the format of the game - one of which will honour Lakers legend Bryant who, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, died in a helicopter crash in California last week.

Each of the first three quarters will act as a minigame starting from 0-0, with the winner of each 12-minute period seeing $100,000 donated to their designated community charity in Chicago.

At the end of the third quarter, the accumulative scores will be calculated and a 'target score', which will be 24 points greater than the leading team's tally, will be set for the fourth and final period.

This is a tribute to Bryant, who famously wore the 24 jersey for the Lakers, along with the number eight, during his career.

The fourth quarter has no time limit and will only end when the 'target score' is reached by either team, this time seeing $200,000 given to charity on behalf of the victors.

NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said: "We spent a lot of time considering the right target number to use for the fourth quarter.

"Through the events of this week, it became clear to us that the only appropriate number for this season's All-Star Game is 24."

LeBron James promised to continue Kobe Bryant's legacy as the heartbroken superstar reacted to the Los Angeles Lakers legend's tragic death.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Tuesday's showdown between city rivals the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center has been postponed, with James and the storied franchise still reeling from the news.

James, who surpassed five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant for third on the all-time points list on Saturday, issued his first public comments via social media on Monday.

In an Instagram post, James – a team-mate of Bryant's as the United States won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games – wrote: "I'm Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!

"I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn't think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we'd have. WTF!! I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother!!. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I'll continue your legacy man!

"You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation and it's my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me!

"I got US here! There's so much more I want to say but just can't right now because I can't get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life #Gigi4Life"

The NBA showdown between city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers has been postponed after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

Lakers legend Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Sunday and Monday's games have gone ahead as tributes continue to pour in for the five-time champion and 2008 MVP, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers.

However, Tuesday's blockbuster clash at Staples Center will be rescheduled at a later date, with Los Angeles reeling following Bryant's sudden death.

"The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organisation, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday," the NBA said in a statement.

Bryant, who entered the league with the Lakers in 1996, is regarded as one of the all-time greats following a career spanning two decades at Staples Center.

An 18-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP, Bryant won a pair of Olympic gold medals, helping United States to glory in 2008 and 2012.

LeBron James and the Lakers (36-10) top the Western Conference, ahead of the Utah Jazz and Kawhi Leonard's third-placed Clippers (33-14).

LeBron James was left struggling to comprehend the "crazy" journey that led to him surpassing Kobe Bryant's all-time NBA points tally on Saturday.

Los Angeles Lakers star James leapfrogged the retired Bryant into third among the competition's most prolific scorers when he completed a layup in the third quarter of a 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Though the result somewhat spoiled the milestone, James spoke after the game in detail about his admiration for Bryant and recounted his earliest meetings with the retired Lakers great.

The formative encounters included a brush at a youth basketball camp at age 15 and receiving a pair of shoes from the eventual five-time NBA champion at the 2002 All-Star Game.

"It's too much. The story, it's too much. It doesn't make sense," James told reporters when asked about overtaking Bryant.

"To make a long story short, now I'm here in a Lakers uniform, in Philadelphia, where he's from, where I met him for one of the first times in All-Star week, it's surreal.

"It doesn't make sense, but the universe puts things in your life... things happen organically, and it's not supposed to make sense, but it just happens.

"I'm happy to be in any conversation with Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time greatest basketball players, one of the all-time greatest Lakers. The man's got two jerseys hanging up in Staples Center. It's just crazy."

The 35-year-old found it easier to sum up his appreciation for Ben Simmons, who led the 76ers to victory at Wells Fargo Center with 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

James (29 points) said he looked forward to sitting courtside and observing Simmons when the time comes for him to join Bryant in retirement.

"That's pretty much how I'm going to be when I'm done playing," he said.

"Being able to come back and watch this beautiful game, hopefully there's somebody playing the game at a high level.

"Like that guy across the hallway, Ben Simmons, I can sit and watch him and see how much he continues to grow, watch him and see him continue to do what he does, because he's growing every day."

Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers ruined a memorable moment for Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, while the Utah Jazz defused Luka Doncic on Saturday.

Four-time MVP James passed Kobe Bryant and rose to third for all-time NBA points during the third quarter in Philadelphia, but the Lakers failed to crown the occasion in style as they lost 108-91.

Simmons stole the limelight, scoring 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and eight assists.

The 76ers, still missing Joel Embiid, withstood a fourth-quarter Lakers recovery before sealing their fifth victory in six games.

The Dallas Mavericks, meanwhile, led for three quarters before collapsing to a 112-107 loss to the Jazz, who have now won four straight.

Rudy Gobert registered a double-double with 22 points and 17 rebounds, while Donovan Mitchell's 25-point haul included two clutch three-pointers in Utah's fourth-quarter comeback.

 

Irving ignites the Nets

Kyrie Irving snapped the Brooklyn Nets out of a five-game losing streak as he put up 45 points in 121-111 overtime win against the Detroit Pistons.

Brooklyn rallied back from a double-digit deficit to take a late lead, only for Derrick Rose to force an extra period with a brilliant finish at the basket with 1.9 seconds left on the clock.

The Nets, though, eventually pulled away in OT thanks to strong performances from Irving and Jarrett Allen (20 points, 15 rebounds).

Karl-Anthony Towns dropped 37 points but the Minnesota Timberwolves suffered a 113-104 defeat against the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder, while Zach LaVine (40 points, 10 rebounds) guided the Chicago Bulls to a 118-106 victory over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Doncic goes cold beyond the arc

MVP candidate Doncic had 25 points for the Mavs but the new All-Star struggled from three-point range against the Jazz, hitting just two of his 10 attempts.

 

LeBron betters the Black Mamba

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) were the only men left leading James (33,655) on the all-time points tally following his third-quarter layup at Wells Fargo Center.

 

Saturday's results

Utah Jazz 112-107 Dallas Mavericks
Brooklyn Nets 121-111 Detroit Pistons (OT)
Chicago Bulls 118-106 Cleveland Cavaliers
Oklahoma City Thunder 113-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
Philadelphia 76ers 108-91 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Rockets at Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets (31-14) have the chance to avenge Wednesday's road loss to the Houston Rockets (28-16) when the teams square off at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James moved past Kobe Bryant and into third for for most all-time points in the NBA.

James needed just 18 points to surpass Bryant during the Lakers' clash against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

The star leapfrogged Bryant (33,643) during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center.

Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) have scored more NBA points than James.

James was averaging 25.2 points, 10.8 assists and 7.7 rebounds heading into the clash with the 76ers.

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