LeBron James helped the Los Angeles Lakers end their losing streak, while Jimmy Butler inspired the Miami Heat.

James' double-double of 28 points and 11 rebounds saw the Lakers snap their four-game losing run with a 102-93 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

Dennis Schroder contributed 22 points, while Montrezl Harrell (17 points) and Alex Caruso (10) finished with double-digits off the bench.

Butler was in fine form as the Heat overcame the Utah Jazz, who have the best record in the NBA, 124-116.

He went 12-of-22 from the field for his 33 points, while also contributing 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Miami (16-17) had five players in double-figures for points, including Goran Dragic (26).

Donovan Mitchell finished with 30 points for Utah (26-7).

 

Green guides Warriors, Lowry shines

Draymond Green posted a triple-double of 11 points, 19 assists and 12 rebounds in the Golden State Warriors' 130-121 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Green was the first Warriors player to reach 19 assists since Baron Davis in 2008.

For the Hornets, Malik Monk had 25 points in 25 minutes, including five three-pointers. He has at least 20 points and four three-pointers off the bench in three consecutive games. The only other Charlotte reserve to do that in three-plus straight is Dell Curry (March 1995), as per Stats Perform.

Kyle Lowry did likewise for the Toronto Raptors, his 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists seeing them past the Houston Rockets 122-111.

Kemba Walker poured in 32 points as the Boston Celtics overcame the Indiana Pacers 118-112.

The Los Angeles Clippers thrashed the Memphis Grizzlies 119-99, with Kawhi Leonard (30 points, nine rebounds and seven assists) starring.

 

Rockets crash to another loss

The Rockets slumped to their 10th consecutive defeat with the loss to the Raptors. Victor Oladipo (27 points) and John Wall (21) combined for 48 points, but they went 18-of-42 from the field in total.

 

Brilliant Butler

Butler was in incredible form to get Miami past Utah.

Friday's results

Boston Celtics 118-112 Indiana Pacers
Toronto Raptors 122-111 Houston Rockets
Sacramento Kings 110-107 Detroit Pistons
Miami Heat 124-116 Utah Jazz
Phoenix Suns 106-97 Chicago Bulls
Los Angeles Clippers 119-99 Memphis Grizzlies
Oklahoma City Thunder 118-109 Atlanta Hawks
Golden State Warriors 130-121 Charlotte Hornets
Los Angeles Lakers 102-93 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Mavericks at Nets

The Brooklyn Nets (22-12) have won eight straight and will take on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks (15-16) on Saturday.

LeBron James was left helpless as the Utah Jazz destroyed the Los Angeles Lakers, 114-89, with the defending champions slipping to a fourth straight loss.

James was the game's top scorer with 19 points while six Jazz players hit double-figures, with Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson dropping 18, and the NBA leaders raced away with this contest between two championship contenders.

Utah stormed to a 16-point half-time lead before restricting the Lakers to a season-low 17-point third quarter, and the hosts once again set the bar high from downtown, shooting 22 threes, including a franchise-high 14 in the first half.

The lifeless Lakers offered little resistance while slipping to their biggest loss of the season as the Western Conference leaders cruised to a 22nd win in 24 games.

The Jazz's league-leading 15-2 home record improves them to 26-6 overall.

With Anthony Davis joined by Dennis Schroder on the sidelines, Montrezl Harrell (16 points) and Markieff Morris (12 points) were the only other Lakers players to hit double-figures as their record fell to 22-11.

Gallinari writes Hawks and NBA history

Danilo Gallinari set an Atlanta Hawks franchise record of 10 three-pointers in the 127-112 win against the Boston Celtics.

The Italian veteran had the best shooting day of his career, burying 13 of his 16 attempts from the field, while putting up a personal-best 38 points. 

Siakam ineffective for Raps

Pascal Siakam was only able to put up five points from his 24 minutes on court in the Toronto Raptors' 116-108 defeat by the Miami Heat.

The Raps center landed one of six field-goal attempts, sinking one of his three from distance and adding a pair of free throws, before being benched in the fourth quarter.

 

Dort beats the clock and comes up clutch 

Luguentz Dort's three-point buzzer-beater earned the Oklahoma City Thunder a dramatic 102-99 win over the San Antonio Spurs, after a career-high 42 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The Canadian becomes only the third player in franchise history to sink a game-winning three since the move to Oklahoma, joining Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Wednesday's results

Atlanta Hawks 127-112 Boston Celtics
Golden State Warriors 111-107 Indiana Pacers
Cleveland Cavaliers 112-96 Houston Rockets
New Orleans Pelicans 128-118 Detroit Pistons
Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 San Antonio Spurs
Miami Heat 116-108 Toronto Raptors
Chicago Bulls 133-126 Minnesota Timberwolves
Charlotte Hornets 124-121 Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz 114-89 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Pelicans at Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led the Milwaukee Bucks (19-13) to third in the east and they host the Zion Williamson-inspired New Orleans Pelicans (14-17) on Thursday.

James Harden's triple-double fuelled the streaking Brooklyn Nets to a 127-118 win over the Sacramento Kings in the NBA.

Harden recorded his sixth triple-double since joining the Nets from the Houston Rockets in January, finishing with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists as Brooklyn extended their winning streak to seven games on Tuesday.

The former MVP is averaging 27.7 points, 9.4 rebounds and 11.1 assists per game with a .500 field goal percentage during Brooklyn's seven-game winning run. Per Stats Perform, the last NBA player to reach all those numbers over a seven-game span was Magic Johnson in 1988.

Bruce Brown scored 13 of his career-high 29 points in the final quarter, while Nets team-mate Kyrie Irving put up 21 of his own at home to the slumping Kings – who have lost eight games in a row.

 

Jokic goes off in Denver, Giannis stars

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic scored 41 points to inspire his team to a 111-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo helped the Milwaukee Bucks past the Minnesota Timberwolves 139-112 thanks to his 37 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and two steals.

The Golden State Warriors topped the New York Knicks 114-106 behind Stephen Curry's game-high 37 points on the road.

Kawhi Leonard (32 points) and Paul George (30 points) combined as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Washington Wizards 135-116.

 

Baptism of fire for debutant Finch

How big is the challenge facing new Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch? Look no further than the loss to the Bucks. Minnesota have lost five consecutive games and nine of their last 10 to own the NBA's worst record of 7-25. Former Raptors assistant Finch replaced Ryan Saunders on Monday.

Fred VanVleet was just four of 14 from the field for 12 points in the Toronto Raptors' 109-102 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers, but he was only three-of-13 shooting from the field.

 

Doncic calls game

Luka Doncic delivered in a clutch moment for the Dallas Mavericks, who edged the Boston Celtics 110-107. Doncic nailed a three-pointer with 0.1 seconds remaining to break a tie against Boston. He posted 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

 

Tuesday's results

Cleveland Cavaliers 112-111 Atlanta Hawks
Detroit Pistons 105-93 Orlando Magic
Brooklyn Nets 127-118 Sacramento Kings
Golden State Warriors 114-106 New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers 109-102 Toronto Raptors
Dallas Mavericks 110-107 Boston Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks 139-112 Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets 111-106 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Clippers 135-116 Washington Wizards

 

Lakers at Jazz

It is the hunted against the hunters on Wednesday. Defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers travel to the NBA-leading Utah Jazz midweek. A run of three consecutive losses has left the Lakers (22-10) third in the Western Conference, behind the Jazz (25-6) and neighbours the Clippers (23-10).

The high-flying Brooklyn Nets made it six straight wins in the NBA with a 112-108 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Brooklyn were missing star Kevin Durant (hamstring) once again, but James Harden (37 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists) and Kyrie Irving (28 points and eight assists) stepped up in his absence.

The Nets held a 10-point lead at the final break but roared on by billionaire owner Steve Ballmer in the front row, the Clippers pushed hard in the last.

With the Nets leading 110-108 with 10 seconds to play, Clippers star Kawhi Leonard (29 points and 13 rebounds) was called for a tough offensive foul on former MVP Harden, spurning their final chance at victory.

The Nets have beaten all five Pacific Division teams on the road over their last 5 games. According to Stats Perform, Brooklyn are the first NBA team to beat an entire division on the road in consecutive games since the Milwaukee Bucks did so against the Pacific Division over their last five games of the 1972-73 season.

Brooklyn wrapped up a 5-0 road trip – their longest undefeated single trip in franchise history.

The Nets improved to 20-12 in the Eastern Conference – a half-game adrift of leaders the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Clippers slipped to 22-10.

The Los Angeles Clippers ended the Utah Jazz's winning run in the NBA on Friday, while Joel Embiid and Jamal Murray posted 50-point games.

The Clippers snapped the Jazz's nine-game winning streak with a 116-112 victory in a clash between two NBA championship contenders.

Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Clippers with 29 points as they improved to 22-9.

Donovan Mitchell had a game-high 35 points, but the Jazz's winning run came to an end, with the Western Conference leaders now 24-6 this season.

Embiid's career-high 50 points, 17 rebounds and five assists helped the Philadelphia 76ers past the Chicago Bulls 112-105.

He is the first 76ers player to score 50-plus points since Allen Iverson in 2005.

Murray, meanwhile, was spectacular in the Denver Nuggets' 120-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The guard was an incredible 21-of-25 from the field, and eight-of-10 from three-point range, for his 50-point haul.

Murray and Embiid were the first NBA pair with 50-plus points on 65 per cent-plus shooting on the same day since Tom Chambers and Patrick Ewing on March 24, 1990, as per Stats Perform.

Nikola Jokic had a triple-double of 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the Nuggets' win.

 

Giannis leads Bucks, Curry's Warriors fall short

Giannis Antetokounmpo's double-double of 29 points and 19 rebounds saw the Milwaukee Bucks past the Oklahoma City Thunder 98-85.

Stephen Curry had 29 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, but the Golden State Warriors were beaten by the Orlando Magic 124-120.

Magic star Nikola Vucevic finished with a triple-double of 30 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.

Despite a double-double from Trae Young (31 points and 11 assists), the Atlanta Hawks went down to the Boston Celtics 121-109.

 

Wayward VanVleet

Fred VanVleet went four-of-20 from the field for just 12 points in 37 minutes, but the Toronto Raptors still got past the Minnesota Timberwolves 86-81.

 

Edwards' incredible dunk

Anthony Edwards was three-of-14 from the field for just seven points in 34 minutes in the Timberwolves' loss, yet the 2020 top draft pick produced a monstrous dunk.

Friday's results

Orlando Magic 124-120 Golden State Warriors
Denver Nuggets 120-103 Cleveland Cavaliers
Boston Celtics 121-109 Atlanta Hawks
Philadelphia 76ers 112-105 Chicago Bulls
Phoenix Suns 132-114 New Orleans Pelicans
Memphis Grizzlies 109-95 Detroit Pistons
Milwaukee Bucks 98-85 Oklahoma City Thunder
Toronto Raptors 86-81 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Clippers 116-112 Utah Jazz

 

Heat at Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers (22-8) look to bounce back from their loss to the Brooklyn Nets when they host the Miami Heat (12-17) on Saturday in what is a rematch of last year's NBA Finals.

Joel Embiid's return fuelled the Philadelphia 76ers' to a drought-ending 118-113 win over the Houston Rockets in the NBA on Wednesday.

Embiid had scored 35 points in back-to-back games before back tightness caused him to miss Monday's defeat to the high-flying Utah Jazz – a third straight loss – but the three-time All Star came back in style.

The star center claimed a 31-point, 11-rebound double-double, adding nine assists, as the 76ers dug deep against the Rockets to condemn Houston to a seventh defeat in a row midweek.

Philadelphia's win improved the 76ers to 19-10 atop of the Eastern Conference, while Western Conference leaders the Jazz extended their winning run to nine games with a 114-96 triumph against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Jazz have won 20 of their past 21 games to set the pace in the NBA this season.

Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers made it a 3-0 road trip with a 126-124 win against the New Orleans Pelicans as Damian Lillard scorched to 43 points and 16 assists after dropping the winning three-pointer in the final seconds.

Pelicans star Zion Williamson hit back with a career-high 36 points for the hosts, but Portland snatched a sixth consecutive win.

Draymond Green fumed at how NBA players are being treated by teams and the league after Andre Drummond was pulled out of the Cleveland Cavaliers' game with the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors cruised to a 129-98 win on Monday with Green registering 16 assists, tying his career high, and Steph Curry going off for 36 points.

But after the game Green talked little about the impressive outing and instead focused on the treatment of players.

The Cavs made a late call to sit center Drummond, who watched the game in street clothes, while they attempt to trade him.

Blake Griffin is in the same situation with the Detroit Pistons, with the team looking at moving him or buying him out.

Green was seen speaking to Drummond before tip-off and was frustrated when he faced the media after the game, also referencing a host of other players including James Harden.

"I would like to talk about something that's really bothering me," Green said. "And it's the treatment of players in this league.

"To watch Andre Drummond, before the game, sit on the sidelines, then go to the back, and to come out in street clothes because a team is going to trade him, it's b*******.

"Because when James Harden asked for a trade, and essentially dogged it, no one's going to fight back that James was dogging it his last days in Houston, but he was castrated for wanting to go to a different team.

"Everybody destroyed that man. Yet a team can come out and say, 'Oh, we want to trade a guy', and then that guy has to go sit, and if he doesn't stay professional, then he's a cancer and he's not good in someone's locker room, and he's the issue.

"We're seeing situations of Harrison Barnes getting pulled off the bench or DeMarcus Cousins finding out he's traded in an interview after the All-Star Game, and we continue to let this happen."

In previous seasons, Green was fined for giving his opinion that Devin Booker should leave the Phoenix Suns while Anthony Davis was punished for publicly requesting a trade.

He added: "I got fined for stating my opinion on what I thought should happen with another player, but teams can come out and continue to say, 'Oh, we're trading guys, we're not playing you.' Yet we're to stay professional.

"We talk all of this stuff about: 'You can't do this, you can't say this publicly.' Anthony Davis got fined I think $100,000 for demanding a trade, but you can say Andre Drummond's getting traded publicly and we're looking to trade him publicly, and he's to stay professional and just deal with it?

"And then when Kyrie Irving says, 'Oh, my mental health is off,' everybody goes crazy about that too. Do you not think that affects someone mentally?

"As much as we put into this game to be great, to come out here and be in shape, to produce for fans every single night, and most importantly, to help your team win, do you think that doesn't affect someone mentally?

"At some point, the players must be respected in these situations, and it's ridiculous, and I'm sick of seeing it."

Green and the 15-13 Warriors are at home against the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Blake Griffin's tenure with the Detroit Pistons appears to be over. 

The Pistons have agreed to hold Griffin out of the lineup while the franchise considers either trading the six-time All-Star or possibly buying out his contract, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. 

"After extensive conversation with Blake's representatives, it has been determined that we will begin working to facilitate a resolution regarding his future with the team that maximizes the interests of both parties," Pistons general manager Troy Weaver told ESPN on Monday.

"We respect all the effort Blake has put forth in Detroit and his career and will work to achieve a positive outcome for all involved." 

The trade deadline is March 25 but finding a team willing to take on Griffin's hefty contract could be tricky, considering he is owed a remaining $36.6million this season, in addition to $39m in 2021-22. 

"I am grateful to the Pistons for understanding what I want to accomplish in my career and for working together on the best path forward," Griffin told ESPN in a statement. 

The Pistons have the NBA's fourth-youngest roster age at 24 years, 342 days. The team is looking to rebuild and give more minutes to its younger players, including 21-year-old rookie Saddiq Bey – the 19th pick of the 2020 draft.  

Griffin was the first overall selection in the 2009 draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, and was named the 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year, while averaging 22.5 points and a career-high 12.1 rebounds. His 63 double-doubles as a rookie trail only the 68 amassed by Shaquille O'Neal for the Orlando Magic in 1992-93 for the most by a first-year player in the last 35 seasons. 

Traded to Detroit during the 2017-18 season – just 33 games after signing a five-year, $171m max deal with Los Angeles – Griffin's Pistons career got off to a promising start.  

He averaged a career-high 24.5 points and was named an All-Star in his first full season in Detroit in 2018-19 while helping the Pistons reach the playoffs. Injuries, however, have plagued him in the past few seasons and his production has declined dramatically. 

He appeared in just 18 games in 2019-20, averaging 15.5 points and a career-low 4.7 rebounds, while averaging a personal-low 12.3 points and 5.2 boards in 20 games this season. 

In his last game for the Pistons on Friday, Griffin finished with 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting with six assists and four rebounds in 35 minutes in a 108-102 win over the Boston Celtics. 

The Denver Nuggets ended the Los Angeles Lakers' winning streak in the NBA, while the Milwaukee Bucks slipped to another loss.

Inspired by a Nikola Jokic triple-double of 23 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, the Nuggets snapped the Lakers' seven-game winning streak with a 122-105 victory on Sunday.

Jamal Murray had a game-high 25 points for the Nuggets (15-11).

LeBron James managed 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, who saw Anthony Davis (15 points in 14 minutes) suffer an Achilles strain.

The Bucks' losing run continued with a 114-109 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with a triple-double of 24 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Bucks were beaten.

Antetokounmpo has 100 points, 43 rebounds and 21 assists over the past three games, yet Milwaukee have lost all three.

He joined Russell Westbrook (November 2016) as the only players in the past 30 years to have 100-40-20 over a three-game span but lose all three.

 

Lillard lifts Trail Blazers, Towns shines

Damian Lillard scored 34 points and had 11 assists to see the Portland Trail Blazers end the Dallas Mavericks' four-game winning streak with a 121-118 success.

Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 44 points and nine assists, but he missed a jump shot that would have brough Dallas level with five seconds remaining.

Karl-Anthony Towns' double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds helped the Minnesota Timberwolves overcome the Toronto Raptors 116-112.

The Washington Wizards upset the Boston Celtics 104-91 on the back of 35 points from Bradley Beal.

Lou Williams posted 30 points and 10 assists in the Los Angeles Clippers' 128-111 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Celtics' slump continues

The loss marked Boston's 10th in their past 15 games. Star Jayson Tatum in particular struggled, going three-of-14 from the field for six points in 23 minutes.

 

Dynamic Doncic

Doncic hit an incredible three-pointer in the Mavericks' loss. He was five-of-eight from three-point range.

Sunday's results

Washington Wizards 104-91 Boston Celtics
Detroit Pistons 123-112 New Orleans Pelicans
Minnesota Timberwolves 116-112 Toronto Raptors
San Antonio Spurs 122-110 Charlotte Hornets
Portland Trail Blazers 121-118 Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder 114-109 Milwaukee Bucks
Phoenix Suns 109-90 Orlando Magic
Memphis Grizzlies 124-110 Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Clippers 128-111 Cleveland Cavaliers
Denver Nuggets 122-105 Los Angeles Lakers

 

76ers at Jazz

The teams leading their respective conferences meet on Monday. The Utah Jazz (22-5) are on a seven-game winning streak ahead of hosting the Philadelphia 76ers (18-9).

The Utah Jazz continued their impressive NBA run with a win over the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Los Angeles Lakers extended their own streak.

The Western Conference-leading Jazz improved to 21-5 courtesy of a 129-115 victory over the Bucks on Friday.

Rudy Gobert (27 points), Joe Ingles (27), Donovan Mitchell (26) and Jordan Clarkson (25) all had 25-plus points for Utah, who have won six straight games.

Gobert also pulled down 12 rebounds in his double-double, while Ingles went seven-of-nine from three-point range, with the Jazz's 21-5 start their best 26-game record in franchise history.

Giannis Antetokounmpo starred for the Bucks with 29 points and 15 rebounds, but Milwaukee (16-10) slipped to back-to-back defeats.

The Lakers extended their winning streak to seven with a 115-105 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Anthony Davis (35 points and nine rebounds) and LeBron James (28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists) again led the way for the Lakers (21-6).

 

Mavs win fourth straight as Rozier shines for Hornets

The Dallas Mavericks won a fourth straight game with a 143-130 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Luka Doncic had a double-double of 46 points and 12 assists, while Kristaps Porzingis poured in 36 points. It marked the first time in NBA history a pair of foreign-born team-mates each had 35-plus points in a game, as per Stats Perform. Zion Williamson had 36 points for the Pelicans.

Terry Rozier's 41 points lifted the Charlotte Hornets past the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-114.

Kawhi Leonard posted 33 points as the Los Angeles Clippers improved to 19-8 with a 125-106 success over the Chicago Bulls.

Saddiq Bey had a double-double of 30 points and 12 rebounds in the Detroit Pistons' surprise 108-102 win against the Boston Celtics. He was the first Pistons rookie with 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds since Grant Hill in 1995.

 

Misery for Wizards

The Washington Wizards dropped a second straight game, beaten by the New York Knicks 109-91. The Wizards shot at just 38.2 per cent from the field.

 

Porzingis in form

Porzingis went eight-of-13 from three-point range in the Mavericks' win, including hitting one from the logo.

Friday's results

Charlotte Hornets 120-114 Minnesota Timberwolves
New York Knicks 109-91 Washington Wizards
San Antonio Spurs 125-114 Atlanta Hawks
Dallas Mavericks 143-130 New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Clippers 125-106 Chicago Bulls
Detroit Pistons 108-102 Boston Celtics
Denver Nuggets 97-95 Oklahoma City Thunder
Utah Jazz 129-115 Milwaukee Bucks
Los Angeles Lakers 115-105 Memphis Grizzlies
Portland Trail Blazers 129-110 Cleveland Cavaliers
Orlando Magic 123-112 Sacramento Kings

 

76ers at Suns

The Philadelphia 76ers (18-8) take on a Phoenix Suns (15-9) team riding a four-game winning streak on Saturday.

Stephen Curry delivered another dazzling display of three-point shooting as the Golden State Warriors overpowered the Orlando Magic 111-105 in the NBA.

Curry went into the contest on a career-best streak of 12 consecutive games scoring at least four three-pointers, and the two-time MVP wasted no time extending that run to 13 inside the first quarter at Chase Center on Thursday.

James Harden is the only other player in NBA history to nail four threes in 13 straight games, after putting up 40 points, draining 10 of 19 from beyond the arc.

Curry has posted at least 25 points while shooting at least 50.0 per cent from the field in each of his last eight games. According to Stats Perform, it is the longest streak by any guard since Michael Jordan did so in 11 successive games in 1995-96.

Warriors team-mate Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points in support, while Magic star Nikola Vucevic hit a 25-point, 13-rebound double-double in reply.

Kyrie Irving accepts the Brooklyn Nets "look very average" but insisted the rest of the NBA will be on notice when the team finally starts to click. 

The Nets have assembled a star-studded cast with James Harden arriving last month to form an exciting 'Big 3' alongside Irving and Kevin Durant. 

But since Harden's heralded arrival, the Nets have gone 7-6. Tuesday's disappointing 122-111 loss to the Detroit Pistons was their third in a row and they have a 14-12 record for the season, comfortably behind Eastern Conference rivals the Philadelphia 76ers (18-7) and the Milwaukee Bucks (16-8). 

Defense has been a particular concern for the inconsistent Nets, a fact highlighted by the Pistons shooting 56 per cent from the field and 44.8 per cent from the beyond the arc. 

Irving knows the Nets, who were without Durant against the Pistons, are not living up to expectations but remains confident they will get it right as the season progresses.

"I don't think that we go out every single day and sacrifice the time to be average at anything," Irving told reporters.  

"We look very average, we have the talent that the eye test presents that we should be dominating. We have the experience in terms of some of our guys have been some through certain things, circumstances to be able to battle through. 

"We're the team that is literally battling against so many odds that at this point it's not even a reason to continue to comment on. They are what they are.  

"As a warrior that I am and the energy I have alongside my team-mates, we just have to turn that corner. We haven't done it yet but we will and I'm telling you the league is going to be on notice when that happens. We just have to take it by day by day."

The Nets have lost four of their past five outings, with three of those setbacks coming against teams who have losing records. 

Irving acknowledges the Nets need to address the perception the team is not playing hard enough. 

"I don't accept that, and I don't think our team accepts it as a whole, obviously we don't want that to be what teams think of us," he added.  

"We're seeing it day in, day out where guys and teams are coming out and punching us in the mouth early and we're playing catch up. 

"It happens to be against the guys with the least good records. We gotta call it for what it is, we gotta fix that. It takes maturity, accountability and a realisation of what we need to do moving forward." 

Irving missed the previous loss to the Philadelphia 76ers due to an injury to his right index finger – an issue that is still troubling him. 

"It sucks man," he said. "It's uncomfortable but at the same time I don't want to make excuses. 

"I'm out there, I do a lot of treatment on it, we're down a few players obviously as well. You just want to go out there and compete and worry about the pain later. I'm doing the best I can."

Derrick Rose has been traded to the New York Knicks by the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr, it has been confirmed.

The Pistons also received a 2021 second-round draft pick via the Charlotte Hornets.

In New York, former MVP Rose reunites with Tom Thibodeau, who coached him at the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves.

It is Rose's second stint with the Knicks after the 2016-17 season, when he struggled in the triangle offense during Phil Jackson's reign as president of the franchise. He was subsequently picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency following the fourth knee operation of his career.

Rose, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $7.7million, averaged 17.2 points and 5.2 assists in 65 games for the Pistons, though his performances this season have not lived up to the promise he showed in 2019-20.

Smith made just three appearances for the Knicks in 2020-21 and reportedly volunteered to play in the G League bubble to get more minutes on the floor.

He will hope to avoid that after joining the Pistons, whose 5-18 record is the worst in the NBA.

Steve Kerr feels Stephen Curry is playing the best basketball of his career after his impressive 57-point outing in the Golden State Warriors' defeat to the Dallas Mavericks.

Curry joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only Warriors players to post multiple 55-point games in a campaign with a season-high 11 three-pointers in Saturday's thrilling clash.

It was not enough for the Warriors as Luka Doncic tied his career high of 42 points to inspire his side to a 134-132 victory, snapping a six-game home losing streak.

However, Kerr was blown away by Curry's shot-making ability, with the two-time MVP's 57 points - the second-best total of his career - coming on 19-of-31 shooting from the field.

"He's never played better," Kerr said. "We're talking about a two-time MVP, three-time champion. I've never seen him like this. He just looks so strong to me. 

"He's obviously always been an incredible shooter, but he looks stronger to me just getting by people, fending them off on drives to the rim, finish, and of course the shot-making. 

"It's almost unfathomable what he's doing out there."

Doncic, who is yet to outscore Curry in a head-to-head contest, was also amazed by the Warriors superstar's performance at the American Airlines Center.

"Every time he shot the ball, I thought it was going in," Doncic told ESPN. "It was something unbelievable. He's an amazing player. 

"He changed the game and it's always fun to play against him, and today we got a win, but it's always fun to play against him."

Elsewhere in Saturday's NBA action, champions Los Angeles Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 135-129 in double overtime.

LeBron James had 33 points, eight of those points coming in the second overtime as the Lakers survived a scare against a Pistons side with just five wins all term.

James, who also had 11 assists to make it 10 double-doubles for the season, joked he is getting too old to be taken the distance.

"I was just ready to go," he said. "I'm 36 years old... my heart is not sustainable for two overtimes at this point in my career! 

"I've got a bottle of wine at home ready to be opened, and I delayed it for two overtime periods."

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