Klay Thompson is back in full-team practice for the first time in more than two years and believes his return can help the Golden State Warriors win the NBA title.

Thompson was a key member of championship-winning teams in 2015, 2017 and 2018 but sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear as the Warriors' 'three-peat' bid failed against the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Finals.

The guard then suffered an Achilles tendon injury while recovering, meaning he missed the entirety of two seasons prior to 2021-22.

But Thompson is now close to his long-awaited return, with his 19.5 career points per game and 41.9 per cent three-point shooting set to boost a Warriors team already leading the league.

Back practising alongside his team-mates on Tuesday, Thompson said: "It's so exciting. Just to be running up and down the court and playing basketball, it's truly a blessing and it makes coming to work so easy.

"The boring stuff's behind me and now it's just getting back in game shape. I've got to stay patient because I can be an overeager person to get out there and play, but I'm just incredibly grateful to be out there.

"The work the training staff and I have done over the last two years is really paying off, and it's hard to put into words how grateful I am to be playing basketball again."

After two tougher years following Thompson's injury and Kevin Durant's departure, Golden State are an outstanding 15-2. Only in 2015-16, when they had won each of their first 17 games, have the team enjoyed a better start.

The need for Thompson to return is not as desperate as had been imagined, as Stephen Curry is averaging 28.4 points in an MVP-calibre season while Andrew Wiggins (19.1) and Jordan Poole (18.4) have each also provided consistent scoring.

But adding Thompson into the mix is only going to improve the Warriors' chances, the man himself believes.

"We're 15-2. That's a great indicator of [being able to win a title]," he said.

"And our defence, I think it's top three in the league [allowing 101.1 points per game, ranked first], as well as our offense [scoring 114.2 points per game, also ranked first] – and I'm not even out there yet. Think about that. Really think about that.

"I'm more motivated than ever as well. I want a championship so bad. More than anything."

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will not rush back his most reliable second man, though, explaining: "We don't have a target date.

"What we have is a number of weeks ahead of us for certain where we're going to play it out, keep letting him scrimmage as often as possible so that he'll build that endurance.

"And I would think within a few weeks we'll be able to finally sort of get a target date, but we don't have one right now."

The Memphis Grizzlies scored the final seven points of the game for a stunning 119-118 road defeat of the Utah Jazz on Monday.

After Bojan Bogdanovic made a pair of three-pointers to give Utah a 108-112 lead with 1:28 to play, Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. combined to make four free throws and Jackson hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 5.7 seconds to play as Memphis (9-8) pulled out the win.

Utah (11-6) missed their final four shots of the game and also turned the ball over twice in the final 20 seconds. 

Morant had 32 points to lead all scorers and added seven assists, while Desmond Bane scored 28 and Jackson finished with 26. 

Bogdanovic led the Jazz with 24 points and Rudy Gobert contributed 23 on nine-of-10 shooting while grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds and blocking five shots. 

 

Durant, Nets hold off Cavaliers

Kevin Durant had 27 points and nine rebounds while James Harden chipped in 14 points and 14 assists for the Brooklyn Nets in a 117-112 road victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting off the bench for Brooklyn (13-5) as Darius Garland led Cleveland (9-9) with 24 points and 11 assists as he made only nine of 27 shots from the field. 

Tyrese Maxey scored 24 and Andre Drummond collected 23 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers (10-8) pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 102-94 defeat of the Sacramento Kings (6-12) despite playing without Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Seth Curry. De'Aaron Fox led the Kings with 23 in Alvin Gentry's first game as interim head coach. 

Jaylen Brown scored 19 points in 23 minutes as he returned to the Boston Celtics lineup after missing the previous eight games with a right hamstring strain. Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 30 as the Celtics (10-8) defeated Houston 108-90, sending the Rockets (1-16) to their 15th consecutive loss as they fell to 0-11 on the road. 

The Phoenix Suns held off a late charge by the San Antonio Spurs to prevail 115-111 for their 13th consecutive win. Devin Booker had 23 points to lead the Suns (14-3) while Deandre Ayton added 21 points and 14 rebounds. 

 

Bulls draw blanks from field

The Chicago Bulls entered Monday level with the Nets for the best record in the Eastern Conference but could not find their shooting touch in an ugly 109-77 home defeat against the Indiana Pacers. The Bulls (12-6) made 31 of 85 shots from the field (36.5 per cent), including just six of 28 (21.4 per cent) from three-point range. They scored 30 points in the second quarter but just 47 in the other three combined as Indiana (8-11) built an earl lead, then ran away with it in the second half. 

It took Jaylen Brown a while to get heated up Monday in his first game in two and a half weeks, but the Boston Celtics liked what they saw once he got going. 

Brown returned to the Boston lineup after missing eight games with a right hamstring strain and did his part as the Celtics pulled away from the woeful Houston Rockets in the second half for a 108-90 victory. 

Head coach Ime Udoka said before the game that Brown likely would be limited to 24 minutes, and he ended up playing 23, scoring 19 points on six-of-13 shooting from the field. 

The 25-year-old guard missed his first three shot attempts before sinking a jumper midway through the first quarter, but he did not show signs of his usual self until the second half. 

Midway through the third quarter, Brown embarked on a personal 10-0 run capped by a pair of three-pointers just 24 seconds apart to boost the Boston lead to 72-50. 

"He got warm, then got on that flurry in the third quarter," said Udoka. "To have him back in that third quarter to see what he did was a great sign."

Udoka said Brown "still doesn't feel normal, normal" so the team likely will take care to avoid rushing him back to his typical load of about 36 minutes per game. 

Any contribution figures to be a positive for the Celtics, who have now won three in a row for the first time this season as Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 30 points Monday.

All of the Celtics' big-picture plans include Brown as a key piece, though, so seeing him back on the court was a relief. 

"Once he was able to get a couple baskets, you could just see that he felt more comfortable with everything and he opened up," said team-mate Al Horford. "He's such a good player that he'll find his way."

Robert Williams III also returned to the Boston lineup after missing three games with a knee injury. The big man attempted just one shot from the field, and made it, but made his presence felt by racking up 15 rebounds. 

LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart have both been handed suspensions following their chaotic confrontation during the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. 

Four-time NBA champion James received a one-game ban for "recklessly hitting Stewart in the face and initiating an on-court altercation" at Little Caesars Arena, ruling him out of the Lakers' game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. 

Stewart was left bloodied after being caught in the face by James when jostling for position on a free throw. He reacted angrily and attempted to pursue the 36-year-old on multiple occasions, with a large-scale brawl ensuing on the court.

Stewart was suspended for two games without pay "for escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing … James in an unsportsmanlike manner". 

Both players were ejected following the incident in the third quarter of the Pistons' 121-116 loss to the Lakers. 

Luka Doncic's status remains in question as the Dallas Mavericks aim to end their losing streak and quickly avenge a defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Mavs coach Jason Kidd was "hopeful" Doncic could play in LA, yet the Slovenian was absent again on Sunday as the Clippers claimed a 97-91 win at Staples Center. 

Doncic has missed each of their past three games, all of which have ended in defeat, the Mavs having lost back-to-back games to Western Conference champions the Phoenix Suns prior to heading to southern California. 

Eleventh in the NBA in points per game with 24.9, the Mavs did not require any further illustration of Doncic's importance. 

Yet their efforts without him over this three-game stretch have hammered the point home, Dallas ill-equipped to deal with two fellow Western Conference playoff hopefuls in his absence. 

By contrast, the Clippers have impressed of late without Kawhi Leonard, the two-time Finals MVP yet to play a game this season as he recovers from surgery to repair a partial tear of his ACL. 

The Clippers have won seven of their past 10, Paul George unsurprisingly shouldering the burden sans Leonard and putting up 26.4 points per game. 

Having lost to the Clippers in a fascinating seven-game series in the first round of last season's playoffs, the Mavs will surely be desperate for some measure of revenge, but the odds will be stacked against them if they are again without a player considered by some to be the best in the world. 

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Dallas Mavericks - Jalen Brunson

Brunson has taken on the role of facilitator in chief without Doncic. 

The fourth-year point guard is averaging 5.5 assists per game this season and has 27 over his past three games, including 10 in a double-double in the second loss to Phoenix. 

If Doncic is unavailable, Brunson will be relied upon once more as the Mavs' creative force. 

Los Angeles Clippers - Luke Kennard

Kennard is taking advantage of his increased minutes with Leonard on the shelf. 

He is averaging 10.2 points per game and providing significant value from beyond the arc. 

His three-point percentage of 43.9 on 98 attempts is 12th in the NBA but is short of his career high of 44.6, which he set last year. 

That suggests room to grow for the former Detroit Piston, and the Clippers will hope he can show that development on Tuesday and in the rest of what will be a challenging season minus their best player. 

KEY BATTLE - Porzingis or George to the fore

The previous game between the teams may have lost some of its lustre with Leonard and Doncic sitting out, but Porzingis and George did their best to set up a thrilling finale.

After trading buckets late in the fourth quarter at Staples Center, it was the Clippers who came out on top.

Porzingis finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and two blocks and has finally shown signs of consistency recently. Across the Mavericks' past 10 games, the Latvian has played eight times and averaged 23.1 points on 50.4 per cent shooting from the field, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

He will need to be on top of his game for Dallas to stand a chance, with the red-hot George, who is sixth in the league in scoring and shooting 44.1 per cent, sure to take charge and make the Mavs pay if Porzingis comes up short.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The Clippers' win on Sunday means they have now won two of their past three in the regular season against the Mavs and will hope it starts a run of victories over Dallas, having won four in a row between February 2019 and August 2020.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has hailed his side's growing offensive balance and says teams that "throw the kitchen sink at defending Stephen Curry are going to pay".

The Warriors moved to 15-2 with Sunday's 119-104 win over the Toronto Raptors, where Curry only managed 12 points, shooting one of six from beyond the arc and 20 percent from the field.

However, Jordan Poole (33 points including eight three-pointers) and Andrew Wiggins (32 points with six triples) stepped up offensively, like they did in Saturday's 105-102 win over the Toronto Raptors which Curry missed with a hip issue leaving Kerr pleased.

"The biggest thing is the balance," Kerr said during the post-game news conference. "The scoring balance means teams can't throw everything at Steph. That's what was happening last year. It's continued this year but we have more overall shooting this year.

"It means if teams are going to throw the kitchen sink at Steph, they're going to pay."

Forward Draymond Green only managed four points against the Raptors, but had 14 rebounds and eight assists.

Green, who has been with the Warriors since 2012, said he had some level of surprise at the side's start to the season but admitted they have not had the "toughest schedule in the world".

"I'm wouldn't necessarily say surprised that it's going well, but a little surprised that it's going as well as fast as it is," Green said.

"Everyone talks about our schedule. There's some truth to that. We haven’t had the toughest schedule in the world.

"But you can only play who they put out there in front of you. Regardless of who we're playing, we're handling our business the way it should be handled."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has hailed his side's growing offensive balance and says teams that "throw the kitchen sink at defending Stephen Curry are going to pay".

The Warriors moved to 15-2 with Sunday's 119-104 win over the Toronto Raptors, where Curry only managed 12 points, shooting one of six from beyond the arc and 20 percent from the field.

However, Jordan Poole (33 points including eight three-pointers) and Andrew Wiggins (32 points with six triples) stepped up offensively, like they did in Saturday's 105-102 win over the Toronto Raptors which Curry missed with a hip issue leaving Kerr pleased.

"The biggest thing is the balance," Kerr said during the post-game news conference. "The scoring balance means teams can't throw everything at Steph. That's what was happening last year. It's continued this year but we have more overall shooting this year.

"It means if teams are going to throw the kitchen sink at Steph, they're going to pay."

Forward Draymond Green only managed four points against the Raptors, but had 14 rebounds and eight assists.

Green, who has been with the Warriors since 2012, said he had some level of surprise at the side's start to the season but admitted they have not had the "toughest schedule in the world".

"I'm wouldn't necessarily say surprised that it's going well, but a little surprised that it's going as well as fast as it is," Green said.

"Everyone talks about our schedule. There's some truth to that. We haven’t had the toughest schedule in the world.

"But you can only play who they put out there in front of you. Regardless of who we're playing, we're handling our business the way it should be handled."

Anthony Davis defended Los Angeles Lakers team-mate LeBron James after his ejection in the wild win over the Detroit Pistons, insisting the NBA superstar is not a "dirty dog".

James was ejected for an elbow to Pistons center Isaiah Stewart's eye, which was deemed a flagrant 2 foul, with the incident setting off a wild brawl in the Lakers' rallying 121-116 victory.

Stewart, who was also tossed from the game, was left bloodied from his right eye and incensed, repeatedly attempting to charge at James, having to be restrained and escorted off the court by coaches and team-mates amid chaotic scenes.

James and Stewart had jostled for position for a rebound from Jerami Grant's free throw early in the third quarter, when the four-time MVP's left elbow struck the Pistons big man's eye.

"Everyone in the league knows LeBron's not a dirty guy," said Davis, led the Lakers' comeback with 30 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and four steals. "As soon as he did it, he looked back at him and said 'my bad, I ain't try to do it'.

"I don't know what [Stewart] was trying to do. I know nobody on our team, one through to 15, was having it. We wanted to protect our brother.

"I've never in 10 years seen a player try to do that... It was uncalled for. You got a cut above your eye, accidental, it wasn't on purpose.

"We weren't going to allow him to keep charging our brother like that. I don’t know what he was trying to do. We just wanted to get the win for him."

The Lakers were trailing by 12 points at the time of the incident but went on to win behind Davis' big performance on the road.

Davis became the first Laker with a 30/10/5/3/5 game since Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal in 2001.

Russell Westbrook (26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds) was important down the stretch too, with 15 points, five rebounds and six assists in the fourth quarter alone, as the Lakers dominated with a 37-17 final quarter.

Amid the chaos of the brawl, Westbrook received a technical foul which left him dumb-founded post-game, stating he was an easy target for the referees.

"I didn't know I had a tech… woah, that's interesting," Westbrook told reporters. "For being Russell, I guess? I don’t know why but whatever.

"They had to put it on somebody. I'm an easy person to put s*** on. Why not me?"

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel hailed his side's response to the incident, reeling in the Pistons' game-high 17-point lead to claim a win that helped the championship-chasing franchise improve to 9-9 for the season.

"To me, it's one of those things that can change the momentum of your season," Vogel said. "To see guys rally around a team-mate that just got ejected like that in a strange circumstance.

"We played with incredible guts, started the fourth quarter down by 15. That's the determination that this team is going to need. That's how hard we've got to play to get Ws. "That's a heck of a win for us."

The Los Angeles Lakers overturned a 17-point deficit and a chaotic third-quarter brawl which led to LeBron James' ejection to trump the lowly Detroit Pistons 121-116.

James was ejected after an elbow to the eye of Pistons center Isaiah Jackson, who reacted angrily, leading to a wild melee in Detroit on Sunday.

Jackson repeatedly charged at James and had to be restrained by team-mates and coaches. Both players were ejected, with the latter's elbow deemed a flagrant 2 foul.

The Lakers were trailing by 12 points at the time of the incident early in the third quarter, before Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis led a rally on the road.

Westbrook (26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds) had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds in a final period dominated by the visiting Lakers 37-17.

Davis had 30 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and four steals – the star becoming the first Laker with a 30/10/5/3/5 game since Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal in 2001.

James, in his second game back after an abdominal injury laid him off for two and a half weeks, played 21 minutes for 10 points and five assists before his ejection as the Lakers improved to 9-0 for the season.

Number one draft pick Cade Cunningham registered his first career triple-double for the Pistons with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

 

Suns maintain hot streak

The Phoenix Suns recorded their 12th straight win as Cam Johnson had a career-high and game-high 22 points off the bench, including four triples in a 126-97 rout of the Denver Nuggets, who were without MVP Nikola Jokic (shoulder) for the second successive game. Chris Paul (nine points and 10 assists) has had 47 games with 10-plus assists and 0 turnovers since entering the league in 2006. He has the most such games since 1985.

Paul George hauled the Los Angeles Clippers past the Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks 97-91 with 29 points and six assists. The Mavs were still without Luka Doncic (knee/ankle).

DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points in the Chicago Bulls' 109-103 victory over the New York Knicks. Julius Randle posted 34 points for the beaten Knicks, who led entering the final quarter.

 

Mild Curry returns

Stephen Curry returned from a minor hip issue but was well down on his usual output with only 12 points, making two of 10 field-goal attempts and one of six beyond the arc in the Golden State Warriors' 119-104 triumph over the Toronto Raptors.

Anthony Davis defended Los Angeles Lakers team-mate LeBron James after his ejection in the wild win over the Detroit Pistons, insisting the NBA superstar is not a "dirty dog".

James was ejected for an elbow to Pistons center Isaiah Stewart's eye, which was deemed a flagrant 2 foul, with the incident setting off a wild brawl in the Lakers' rallying 121-116 victory.

Stewart, who was also tossed from the game, was left bloodied from his right eye and incensed, repeatedly attempting to charge at James, having to be restrained and escorted off the court by coaches and team-mates amid chaotic scenes.

James and Stewart had jostled for position for a rebound from Jerami Grant's free throw early in the third quarter, when the four-time MVP's left elbow struck the Pistons big man's eye.

"Everyone in the league knows LeBron's not a dirty dog," said Davis, led the Lakers' comeback with 30 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and four steals. "As soon as he did it, he looked back at him and said 'my bad, I ain't try to do it'.

"I don't know what [Stewart] was trying to do. I know nobody on our team, one through to 15, was having it. We wanted to protect our brother.

"I've never in 10 years seen a player try to do that... It was uncalled for. You got a cut above your eye, accidental, it wasn't on purpose.

"We weren't going to allow him to keep charging our brother like that. I don’t know what he was trying to do. We just wanted to get the win for him."

The Lakers were trailing by 12 points at the time of the incident but went on to win behind Davis' big performance on the road.

Davis became the first Laker with a 30/10/5/3/5 game since Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal in 2001.

Russell Westbrook (26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds) was important down the stretch too, with 15 points, five rebounds and six assists in the fourth quarter alone, as the Lakers dominated with a 37-17 final quarter.

Amid the chaos of the brawl, Westbrook received a technical foul which left him dumb-founded post-game, stating he was an easy target for the referees.

"I didn't know I had a tech… woah, that's interesting," Westbrook told reporters. "For being Russell, I guess? I don’t know why but whatever.

"They had to put it on somebody. I'm an easy person to put s*** on. Why not me?"

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel hailed his side's response to the incident, reeling in the Pistons' game-high 17-point lead to claim a win that helped the championship-chasing franchise improve to 9-9 for the season.

"To me, it's one of those things that can change the momentum of your season," Vogel said. "To see guys rally around a team-mate that just got ejected like that in a strange circumstance.

"We played with incredible guts, started the fourth quarter down by 15. That's the determination that this team is going to need. That's how hard we've got to play to get Ws. "That's a heck of a win for us."

LeBron James was ejected after elbowing Isaiah Stewart amid wild scenes as scuffles broke out in Sunday's clash between the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers.

Stewart was left bloodied and incensed by the elbow, repeatedly running at Lakers superstar James in the wake of the incident, having to be separated by team-mates and coaches.

James was tossed from the game for a flagrant foul 2, along with Stewart as part of the incident which escalated out of control in Detroit, where Lakers star Russell Westbrook was hit with a technical.

It occurred early in the third quarter when James and Stewart jostled for position upon Jerami Grant's second free throw as the Pistons led 78-66.

James' left elbow struck Stewart in his right eye, with the Pistons center initially approaching the four-time MVP with relative calmness, before boiling over and refusing to leave the court with retribution on his mind.

Stewart would not relent, repeatedly charging at James and was eventually ushered off the court, although he broke free down the tunnel, creating further concern.

After the incident and upon consultation with replays, the referees opted to eject four-time NBA champion James for the elbow.

James had scored 10 points on four-of-seven shooting from the field, to go with five assists, one rebound and two assists in 21 minutes.

The Sacramento Kings fired head coach Luke Walton amid their struggles this season, the NBA franchise announced on Sunday.

Sacramento lost patience with former Los Angeles Lakers coach Walton after losing seven of eight games to drop to 6-11 in 2021-22.

The Kings – who are 12th in the Western Conference and have not reached the playoffs since 2005-06 – promoted associated head coach Alvin Gentry to take over on an interim basis.

"After a thorough evaluation of the season thus far, I decided to make a change to the head coach position," said Kings general manager Monte McNair.

"I want to thank Luke for his efforts and contributions to our team."

Walton – an NBA champion as a player with the Lakers – had a 68-93 record as Kings coach following his arrival in 2019.

The Kings have had 10 coaches since last featuring in the postseason, with Gentry set to be the 11th since Rick Adelman guided the franchise to a 34-35 finish in 2006 and a first-round berth.

Jimmy Butler criticised the Miami Heat's complacency after they blew a 16-point lead in Saturday's defeat to the Washington Wizards.

The Heat had won four straight games coming into Saturday's trip to the capital, but that run has now been bookended by collapses.

Against both the Los Angeles Clippers (17 points) and the Wizards, Miami have led by double digits only to lose. Earlier this season, the Heat let leads of 12 and 11 slip to the Utah Jazz and the Brooklyn Nets respectively, although they rallied again to win on both occasions.

Of those four games, only the Utah victory was at home.

This latest setback was particularly painful due to the late nature of the collapse; the Heat had a 10-point lead with just over four minutes remaining but went down 103-100.

Miami were the victim of three fourth-quarter double-digit comebacks last season, and Butler is concerned the Heat – now 11-6 and behind the 11-5 Wizards in their division – are not dealing well with praise following a strong start.

"[The collapses are] probably because we stopped doing what we were doing to get those leads," he said.

"We tend to get comfortable, and that's a bad thing when you're comfortable. You get complacent and you just think the games going to keep going that way.

"For us, at least, it doesn't."

Butler, who led Miami with 29 points, added: "When everybody's giving you this praise all the time, you think you deserve it. You think you're supposed to be talked about like that – and that's not the case.

"This league is very humbling. It's fragile, and just as soon as you think you're good and you're high on yourself, you get hit like this.

"I don't think we should have lost this game. We did. You can say we'll learn from it, we'll go back to the drawing board. I'm hoping this is the last time that this happens, but I can't guarantee that."

Giannis Antetokounmpo revealed that watching tape of his struggles on the glass had provided the catalyst for his superb showing in the Milwaukee Bucks' win over the Orlando Magic.

Antetokounmpo collected 20 rebounds as the NBA champions claimed a 117-108 victory in Milwaukee, adding 32 points for good measure.

Mike Budenholzer's men have now won three in a row for the first time this season, with Antetokounmpo leading the way.

The Finals MVP became the fifth player to reach 32 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks in a game over the past 40 seasons, following in the footsteps of DeMarcus Cousins, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon.

"I watched a lot of clips and I was losing rebounds," said Antetokounmpo. 

"That frustrates me and I wanted to do a better job, using my body, being in the right spots.

"I know if I can get the rebounds, we can get on the offense; it's faster and I can get myself going that way."

 

Bobby Portis added a season-high 24 points along with 15 rebounds, earning warm praise from Antetokounmpo.

"He creates space on the floor for everybody, not just me but for Khris [Middleton] and Jrue [Holiday], for Grayson [Allen]," said the 26-year-old.

"A lot of guys are worried about him, they know he's capable of making the open shot. He helps us find more driving lanes, he just makes the court bigger. 

"It's great that he's feeling good. When he's open, you pass him the ball and he's probably going to make it.

"We need him to keep playing like this, we need him to keep being aggressive, to keep leading – he's one of the leaders in this team – we need his energy, and we need everything he's doing moving forward."

With the Bucks now 9-8 for the season, Antetokounmpo hopes this winning streak can continue.

"It feels good, but we've got to stay humble and keep getting better," he added.

"Khris is going to keep getting more involved and getting into his spots, Jrue is going to do the same. Bobby is playing great, competing.

"We're getting better and that ends up with wins, but we've got to keep going and get more wins."

Giannis Antetokounmpo's monster performance helped the Milwaukee Bucks top the Orlando Magic 117-108 in the NBA on Saturday.

Antetokounmpo posted 32 points and collected 20 rebounds to fuel the NBA champions at home to the lowly Magic in Milwaukee.

The Finals MVP became the fifth player to reach 32 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks in a game over the past 40 season, following in the footsteps of DeMarcus Cousins, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Bobby Portis added a season-high 24 points along with 15 rebounds as the streaking Bucks (9-8) celebrated their third consecutive victory.

 

 

Lillard leads Blazers

Damian Lillard had a season-high 39 points as the Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the Philadelphia 76ers 118-111. Portland improved to 8-1 at home to his season. The 76ers, who continue to be without MVP runner-up Joel Embiid (COVID protocol), were led by 28 points apiece from Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey.

All-Star pair Rudy Gobert (21 points and 14 rebounds) and Donovan Mitchell (26 points) inspired the Utah Jazz to a 123-105 victory away to the Sacramento Kings.

 

Lowry struggles from the floor

The Miami Heat's prized recruit, Kyle Lowry had an off night in the team's 103-100 loss at Eastern conference rivals the Washington Wizards. The NBA champion was just three-of-12 shooting – making one of only seven three-pointers in a seven-point display.

The Charlotte Hornets had their five-game winning streak snapped by the Atlanta Hawks, who prevailed 115-105. Charlotte tasted defeat, despite big performances from Miles Bridges (35 points and 10 rebounds) and LaMelo Ball (15 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds).

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