Dillon Brooks says the departure of wantaway Memphis Grizzlies team-mate Andre Iguodala cannot come some enough.

Iguodala has not spent a minute on court for the Grizzlies following his arrival from the Golden State Warriors in the offseason.

The 36-year-old swingman could be on the move before Thursday's trade deadline, with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers said to be among the potential destinations for the veteran.

It has been reported the three-time NBA champion and 2015 Finals MVP could sit out the rest of the season if he does not get a switch away from Memphis.

Grizzlies shooting guard Brooks wants to see the back of Iguodala as soon as possible and go head-to-head with the 2012 All-Star to show him what he is missing.

He said: "A guy that's on our team doesn't want to be on our team.

"I can't wait until we find a way to trade him so we can play him, and I can show him what really Memphis is about."

He added: "Andre Iguodala is a great player. I feel like he's doing the right thing for his career, but we don't really care.

"It's not a distraction at all. I laugh at that type of stuff."

Brooks' team-mates Ja Morant and De'Anthony Melton seemingly backed his remarks when they were posted on Twitter.

Ben Simmons accused the Philadelphia 76ers of being "soft" after Jimmy Butler inspired the Miami Heat to a resounding 137-106 victory on Monday.

Butler was ruthless against his former team, finishing with 14 of 20 from the field, sinking two of two from the three-point line and all eight of his free throws in 29 minutes at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The 30-year-old's points tally of 38 was a season's best as the 76ers suffered their heaviest defeat of a three-game losing streak.

"We were soft," said Simmons, who had a game-high four turnovers. "The physicality side of things, we gotta step that up. That comes with experience, also just comes with personality.

"Don't get bullied. Fight over screens, get through screens. If you gotta knock somebody over, knock 'em over. If you gotta hit somebody in the face and knock 'em down so they don't score, hit 'em in the face."

"Our defense was poor," accepted 76ers coach Brett Brown. "When you create three turnovers for a game, it's just not a reflection of who we are.

"I think we're the third or the fourth-best defensive team in the NBA. And we weren't even close to that tonight."

Miami had only three turnovers throughout, a joint-lowest number for any side in the NBA this season, as they improved to 34-15.

"I'm never worried about offense," said Butler. "Hell, I'm never worried about defense. All I'm ever worried about is winning."

The Los Angeles Clippers edged the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA on Monday, while Jimmy Butler inspired the Miami Heat.

Facing his former team, Kawhi Leonard top-scored for the Clippers with 22 points in the 108-105 victory.

Paul George had a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, to go with eight assists, in the Clippers' win.

LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points) and DeMar DeRozan (26) almost saw San Antonio to a surprise result.

Butler lifted the Miami Heat to a 137-106 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

He had 38 points and seven rebounds, while Goran Dragic contributed 24 points and six assists as Miami improved to 34-15 and left Philadelphia at 31-20.

Porzingis shines, Tatum tremendous

Kristaps Porzingis' 38 points and 12 rebounds helped the Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks past the Indiana Pacers 112-103.

For the Pacers, Domantas Sabonis finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Jayson Tatum powered the Boston Celtics past the Atlanta Hawks 123-115 thanks to 28 points and seven rebounds.

Kevin Love's double-double of 33 points and 13 rebounds was not enough for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who went down to the New York Knicks 139-134 after overtime.

 

Jackson, Doumbouya struggle

Reggie Jackson went one-of-16 from the field and Sekou Doumbouya was two-of-15 in the Detroit Pistons' 96-82 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

Young from deep

Trae Young hit a shot from the logo in the Hawks' loss to the Celtics. He finished with 34 points.

Monday's results

Orlando Magic 112-100 Charlotte Hornets
New York Knicks 139-134 Cleveland Cavaliers
Dallas Mavericks 112-103 Indiana Pacers
Golden State Warriors 125-117 Washington Wizards
Boston Celtics 123-115 Atlanta Hawks
Brooklyn Nets 119-97 Phoenix Suns
Miami Heat 137-106 Philadelphia 76ers
Memphis Grizzlies 96-82 Detroit Pistons
Sacramento Kings 113-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Clippers 108-105 San Antonio Spurs

 

Bucks at Pelicans

The high-flying Milwaukee Bucks (42-7) take on the New Orleans Pelicans (20-30) at the Smoothie King Center on Tuesday.

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."

Zion Williamson must not go prolonged stretches in the fourth quarter without touching the ball, fumed New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry after their 117-109 loss to the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets triumphed at Toyota Center on Sunday, with James Harden pouring in 40 points as Houston came from behind in a fourth quarter that saw the Pelicans score just 16.

Williamson, the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was making his sixth appearance in the league, having undergone right knee surgery in October.

The 19-year-old forward has quickly proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with, though, and logged 21 points and 10 rebounds against Houston.

However, Gentry was irate his team failed to find Williamson more regularly as they fell away in the final period and blamed himself.

"We didn't execute and we didn't do what we were supposed to do. That being said, Zion can't go four minutes without touching the basketball and that's on me," said Gentry.

"That's something that I've got to make sure that will never happen again. So I take responsibility for that. And if we're not gonna get it to him and not gonna execute, then we've got to have different people in the game. That's on me also."

Gentry denied the suggestion it was down to a lack of chemistry with Williamson still in the early stages of his rookie season, while also criticising the "absurd" and "ridiculous" total of 21 turnovers from his team.

"You've got to throw [Zion] the damn basketball, it has nothing to do with playing together or figuring it out," said Gentry.

"He has advantage and we've got to find a way to get him the basketball better, so I'm not buying the playing together or figuring out or anything like that. We have to have him have touches in the fourth quarter, if not there's no reason for us to have him in the game. And that's not going to happen either.

"I like our chances when he's got it down there because I think he's going to make the right play, and we didn't do that. You can't have 30 points off your turnovers and think you're going to beat a good basketball team.

"You can get away with it every now and then, but we're shooting 64 per cent for most of the first half and we're trailing in the game and so that just tells me that what we were doing as far as execution and turning the ball over is absurd, it is just ridiculous. It really was. It's as disappointed as I've been this year from the standpoint of doing what we're supposed to."

Harden was impressed by Williamson after his first game against the Duke product. Asked for his assessment of the Pelicans star, Harden told ESPN: "Beast.

"He's gonna be really good. This is only like his 10th game playing, he has a feel for the game, obviously he's strong, so he's gonna be great.

"He's really good. Very, very explosive. Athletic, as we all know. He has a good feel for the game."

James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo starred in respective wins for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA on Sunday.

Harden guided the Rockets past the New Orleans Pelicans 117-109 with 40 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The star guard went 12-of-24 from the field, while Russell Westbrook (22 points) and Ben McLemore (22) were also strong contributors.

Zion Williamson continued the fine start to his NBA career, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds in his sixth game for the Pelicans.

The Bucks bounced back from their loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday by cruising to a 129-108 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Like Harden, Antetokounmpo fell just short of a triple-double, finishing with 30 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists.

Khris Middleton, meanwhile, went nine-of-15 from the field for his 25 points.

 

Jokic, Drummond shine

Nikola Jokic had 39 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, but the Denver Nuggets fell to the Detroit Pistons 128-123 after overtime.

Andre Drummond led the way for Detroit – who lost Derrick Rose to groin soreness – with 21 points and 17 rebounds.

Terence Davis poured in a career-high 31 points, going 12-of-15 from the field, in the Toronto Raptors' 129-102 win over the Chicago Bulls. Defending champions Toronto tied a team record with their 11th straight win.

 

Bulls duo struggle

Tomas Satoransky and Luke Kornet both went three-of-11 from the field in the Bulls' loss to Toronto.

 

Zion, Lonzo combine

Lonzo Ball tossed an alley-oop to Williamson during the Pelicans' defeat.

Sunday's results

Detroit Pistons 128-123 Denver Nuggets
Houston Rockets 117-109 New Orleans Pelicans
Milwaukee Bucks 129-108 Phoenix Suns
Toronto Raptors 129-102 Chicago Bulls

 

Spurs at Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers (34-15) will try to close the gap to the Lakers (37-11) atop the Western Conference when they host the San Antonio Spurs (22-26) on Monday.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving will be out for at least a week after suffering a medial ligament sprain in a loss to the Washington Wizards.

Irving hurt his right knee in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 113-107 NBA defeat in Washington.

Coming off a season-high 54 points against the Chicago Bulls, Irving became tangled up with Wizards guard Bradley Beal and fell awkwardly on his knee.

The Nets tweeted on Sunday said: "An MRI perform this morning on Kyrie Irving's right knee confirmed last night's diagnosis of a medial ligament sprain. Irving will be re-evaluated in one week."

Irving has already endured an injury-hit campaign, with the Nets guard – who arrived from the Boston Celtics to join fellow recruit Kevin Durant in Brooklyn – missing 26 games due to a right shoulder impingement.

The 2016 NBA champion and six-time All-Star also missed a game with a hamstring injury, while he sat out against the New York Knicks following the tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

Irving is averaging 27.4 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Nets this season.

 

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.

Stephen Curry "has made good strides" but will not return to action before March, Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors said on Saturday.

Two-time MVP Curry continues to undergo rehabilitation on the left hand he broke during the October 30 game against the Phoenix Suns.

The star guard will be assessed again next month with a view to getting him fully fit for the remainder of the season.

"He will be re-evaluated again in four weeks and we are hopeful, based on continued progress, that he will return to action at some point in March," the Warriors confirmed in a statement.

Golden State have struggled badly in the absence of Curry and fellow 'Splash Brother' Klay Thompson, who suffered an ACL injury during last season's NBA Finals.

The reigning Western Conference champions own the worst record in the league at 11-39 despite snapping a five-game losing streak with a 131-112 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

Head coach Kerr was asked about Curry's progress and said: "He's putting in a lot of time with our coaches. More and more conditioning, trying to build his conditioning up. A lot of shots, a lot of ball handling.

"He's made some good strides. The word is [he is] a month away from having another evaluation. We're really hopeful around that time he'll be in play, but we'll determine that March 1.

"Right now he's doing a lot of non-contact stuff, it's all individual work. He needs to progress over the next month to live action – one-on-one, three-on-three, five-on-five. That's all part of the plan." 

Emmanuel Sanders will remember Kobe Bryant at Super Bowl LIV as the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver shared pictures of his custom cleats.

NBA great Bryant, 41, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in California last weekend.

Both the NFL and Super Bowl half-time acts Shakira and Jennifer Lopez are expected to remember Bryant's life in Miami on Sunday when the Niners face the Kansas City Chiefs.

The day before the sport's showpiece event, Sanders revealed details of a personal tribute, uploading images of red and gold cleats with a picture of Bryant, the words 'rest in peace' and the numbers 24 and 8, which adorned his jersey when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Alongside the images, Sanders wrote the Bryant quote: "I'll do whatever it takes to win. Whether it's sitting on the bench waiving a towel. Handing out cups of water to my teammates or hitting the game winning shot.”

Kyrie Irving put his stunning performance against the Chicago Bulls down to having a "Kobe mentality" after he scored a season-high 54 points on Friday.

The point guard made 19 of his 23 shot attempts in the Brooklyn Nets' 133-118 home victory - including hitting 10 in a row in the first half - as he surpassed his 50-point haul against the Minnesota Timberwolves back in October.

Irving revealed he was inspired by friend Kobe Bryant - who died in a helicopter crash last Sunday - after finishing with an astonishing 82.6 shooting percentage from the field.

He was also spurred on by the raucous support inside a sold-out Barclays Center, with chants of "MVP" from the crowd after the 27-year-old made a pair of free throws with just under four minutes remaining.

"I'm just happy to be back playing the game I love the most," Irving said in his on-court interview with YES Network.

"The most beautiful sound is just hearing these fans out here, having my family here, it just makes it all worth it

"The decision to come back home is well worth it. I'm cemented, I'm here, I'm grounded, I'm rooted. Just happy.

"I'm happy for my team-mates as well, they did a great job of giving me confidence. I hit a few shots in the first half and had to keep it going. The Kobe mentality, the Mamba mentality, is to keep going. It's all good."

Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 20 points off the bench while Taurean Prince, Jarrett Allen and Garrett Temple also reached double figures for the Nets, who improved to 21-26 for the season.

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.

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