LeBron James suggested he is still not respected by some opponents after matching a Michael Jordan achievement with a 40-point showing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 20-time NBA All-Star registered a career-high nine 3-pointers in the Lakers' 116-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on Sunday.

That helped James to equal Jordan in becoming the only two NBA players ever to record multiple games of 40-or-more points after turning 39.

James, who went 13-for-17 from the floor and 9-for-10 from deep, felt he proved a point with his performance against the Nets.

"I don't ever have to lean on [3-pointers] because I can do so much," said James, whose 3-point percentage of 41.6 per cent for the season is the best of his career.

"I can score on any level on the floor basically once I cross half court. But being able to have a growth mindset and be able to work on things that the league is changing to, the league is a heavy 3-point shooting league.

"I'm not one of those guys that wants to go out there and shoot 12, 14 or 15 3s per game. But I want to be respected, and teams have to play me from the outside. 

"That's still kind of one thing teams think. 'If we have to give up something, we'd much rather him shoot the ball from the outside'."

James has been nursing an ankle issue for much of this season, but he showed no signs of being below full fitness against the Nets.

"My foot has felt a lot better," James said. "I didn't have much time to really rep a lot last year because I had to make sure I could be on the floor running around or [not] putting much pounding of my foot on the floor. 

"I've had a lot of opportunity to get on the floor. You probably see me before every game out on the floor, working on my game, working on my craft. That's helped out a lot, too. 

"And just trying to stay consistent with my shot, do the same shot every time. And just work. Just work, work, work, work."

James scored 17 of his points in the fourth quarter as he helped the Lakers get over the line after their lead was reduced from 26 points to just eight at one point.

"It's incredible," coach Darvin Ham said. "I told him in the huddle before his last little stretch and we ultimately subbed him out that I was just extremely thankful that he packed the cape on the road trip. We needed all nine of those 3s."

Los Angeles have now won six of their last seven and are 42-33 for the season, placing them ninth in the Western Conference with seven regular-season games to go.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is aiming to control the controllables after he returned to action with a 21-point haul in Thursday's win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Antetokounmpo had missed the Milwaukee Bucks' win over the Phoenix Suns and their defeat to the Boston Celtics with a hamstring issue.

But the two-time NBA MVP wasted little time in getting back to form, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists in a 115-108 victory over the Nets.

"You try to control what you can control," Antetokounmpo said.

"Things like this [injury] are going to pop up now and then.

"Kind of unexpected, but at the end of the day, these are the cards you've been dealt, and you just have to keep on figuring it out, keep on playing through pain, playing through adversity."

Damian Lillard, meanwhile, recorded at least 30 points for a third straight game for the Bucks, as he finished with 30 points and 12 assists.

However, his most important plays were arguably late steals that helped Milwaukee, who occupy second in the Eastern Conference, seal the win.

Lillard said: "I think in my career, I haven't been known as a defender, but down the stretch of games, I've always been able to have a moment or do what I needed to do at the end of the game defensively."

Bucks coach Doc Rivers was effusive in his praise of Lillard, saying: "Dame defensively was phenomenal, all game.

"He's a very competitive guy, and you could see that."

Rivers also explained his decision to give Khris Middleton a rest, after he had played two straight games after missing 16 due to an ankle issue.

"He's been out all these games, and he's playing great," Rivers said. "We just want to keep him where he's at."

The Nets, meanwhile, have now lost five straight games and sit out of the playoff picture in the East as it stands.

Interim coach Kevin Ollie was able to take the positives, however.

"We didn't get a win, but I really believe that we grew tonight," he said.

"That's the message I've been telling them since I took over. I just want them to grow."

For the third time in as many years with the Brooklyn Nets, Ben Simmons will miss the rest of the season with a back injury.

The Nets announced on Thursday that the former All-Star won't play again this season as he attempts to treat his ailing back.

"Ben Simmons will remain out for the remainder of the season while he consults with specialists and explores treatment options for the nerve impingement in his lower back," the team said in a statement. "Simmons, along with his representatives and Nets medical personnel, are currently in discussions with numerous experts to determine the course of action that will provide him with the best opportunity for long-term sustainable health."

Simmons has missed Brooklyn's last five games because of the injured back, as well as a 38-game stretch earlier this season for the same injury.

In all, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2016 NBA draft appeared in just 15 games this season, with averages of 6.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists.

Acquired by the Nets from the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline in 2022, Simmons has yet to finish a season with Brooklyn.

He missed the entire 2021-22 season, and then sat out 40 games last season.

A foot injury also forced him to miss his entire rookie season, but he was able to recover and quickly showed why the Sixers drafted him first overall.

Over the next four seasons, he averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists while playing in an average of 68.75 games per season.

He was the Rookie of the Year in 2017-18, a three-time All-Star and a two-time All-Defensive team selection before injuries derailed his career.

Under his contract, which expires after next season, he made $37.9million this season and is due to make $40.3million in 2024-25.


The Minnesota Timberwolves "needed a win desperately", according to head coach Chris Finch, whose team beat the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

Minnesota came out on top 101-86 to claim a fifth win in the space of six games, bouncing back from a defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks last time out.

The Timberwolves are now clear at the top of the Western Conference with a 40-17 record, one win better than the 39-17 Oklahoma City Thunder.

But coach Finch said his team "desperately" needed a victory.

"We needed a win desperately," Finch said. "Still not playing really sharp basketball, particularly on the offensive end. But defensively, we were really strong."

Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 29 points, while Karl-Anthony Towns added 28 to Milwaukee's total.

"It was ugly, sloppy. I think by both teams, actually," said Timberwolves center Naz Reid.

"But we [were] able to buckle down in the last quarter and handle business."

The Nets dismissed coach Jacques Vaughn over the All-Star break, though are now 0-2 under interim Kevin Ollie.

"I thought we did a great job coming together as a team and facing adversity," Ollie said. "But we've got to make shots."

Sean Marks says the Brooklyn Nets must improve their "level of compete" after head coach Jacque Vaughn was fired.

Vaughn was dismissed on Monday after the Nets lost 136-86 to the Boston Celtics last week, leaving Brooklyn at 21-33 and 11th in the Eastern Conference heading into the All-Star break.

The Nets had made the postseason in the last five seasons, but a 6-18 run has left the team with it all to do if they are to keep their playoff streak going.

Nets general manager Sean Marks pointed to a perceived lack of effort as one area that must be fixed by the new head coach.

"It's about the level of compete," Marks told reporters. "We're not going to be the most talented team in the league. I'm not an idiot. I totally understand that.

"But at the same time, this is a talented group of young men out there. And my expectations, and I think their expectations, should be to hold each other accountable to do the little things. The effort plays, the loose balls, the contested shots and so forth, diving on the floor.

"These are things that should be expected when you're in a place that we're at right now, where we're clawing and grappling for every single thing we can. That's what I would hope to see over these next 28 games, and that's probably, to be quite frank, some things I haven't seen. The level of effort and the level of compete has not always been there."

Many pointed to the Nets' 144-122 defeat against the Milwaukee Bucks as the reason for Vaughn's firing. The Nets were fined $100,000 for violating the NBA's player participation policy after choosing to both rest and sit a number of key players.

However, Marks said the Bucks drubbing was not the reason for Vaughn's exit, commenting: "I don't think we lost the team that day.

"I appreciate the fact that players want to play. They want to play night in and night out.

"Again, I don't think there was one decision that ultimately affected the record or [making] this decision this day. I think a lot of things went into that."

Kyrie Irving described himself as "at peace" over his time with the Nets after scoring 36 points in a stellar return to Brooklyn as the Dallas Mavericks won 119-107 on Tuesday.

Irving, acquired from the Nets exactly one year ago, shot 15 of 24 from the field, was 4 of 11 on 3-pointers and handed out five assists.

Luka Doncic fell just short of a 10th triple-double this season with 35 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.

Dallas improved to 28-23 with its second straight win before Thursday's road game in New York.

After the win, Irving faced a string of questions over his time spent with the Nets, with his return coming after Kevin Durant also made a winning return to Brooklyn last week.

"I don’t think about it too often now, I’m pretty much at peace with what happened and the time I spent here," said Irving.

"I wish a lot of the guys well. Obviously, it was emotional and you could see my emotions running on out there but after that, I was just pretty much focused on winning the basketball game.

"It was just like any other basketball game, but it felt like I was home."

Pressed on his Brooklyn exit after impressing in his second game back after missing six with a sprained right thumb, Irving added: "It was time to get my own peace of mind and go somewhere where I was able to thrive.

"I did not want to be in a situation where I didn't have to worry about behind-the-back talk or the media talk or not knowing how to handle real-life circumstances that has nothing to do with the game of basketball. 

"While I was here, I learned a lot of lessons. I've made my peace again and I just want to move forward."

The Nets only won one playoff series with Durant and Irving, who spent three-and-a-half years in Brooklyn.

However, they almost defeated the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2021, a battle that took place while James Harden and Irving were both short of full fitness.

Irving said: "Things could have changed, and you look back at the past and you have 20-20 vision then this could've gone right or if this would've happened…

"If I didn't get injured versus the Bucks, do I still ask for a trade? If KD's foot wasn't on the 3-point line, are we talking about a different legacy here? If James doesn't ask for a trade – all of the woulda, coulda, shoulda, wouldas.

"Everything that I've learned about myself has come from being in the city and being in Jersey. It was a childhood dream to play for the Nets.

"Obviously I fell short in terms of the championship aspirations, but for me, I think it was bigger than a championship here.

"I had to really take some moral stances. There were some political things that were going on here as well and there were some things that I did on my accord that I look back on and they were mistakes. And I have to be accountable for those things. 

"I'm not perfect. But one thing I can say is I've been able to learn from things and continue to push forward."

Mikal Bridges scored 28 points and Royce O’Neal added 18 for Brooklyn, which cut a 23-point deficit to 107-101 with roughly five minutes left before Irving hit two straight 3s for a 113-101 advantage.

The Mavericks are eighth in the highly competitive Western Conference standings.

Irving added: "Hopefully after this night, we can just put that to rest, just move forward and I can look forward to the rest of my career and just handle it in Dallas and going after my second championship."

Kyrie Irving scored 36 points in a stellar return to Brooklyn and Luka Doncic fell just short of a triple-double in the Dallas Mavericks’ 119-107 win over the Nets on Tuesday.

Irving, acquired from the Nets exactly one year ago, shot 15 of 24 from the field, was 4 of 11 on 3-pointers and handed out five assists in his second game back after missing six with a sprained right thumb.

Doncic had 35 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists to come up short for his 10th triple-double of the season.

Mikal Bridges scored 28 points and Royce O’Neal added 18 for Brooklyn, which cut a 23-point deficit to 107-101 with roughly five minutes left before Irving hit two straight 3s for a 113-101 advantage.


Brunson hurts ankle in Knicks’ win

Jalen Brunson had 27 points and eight assists before leaving with an ankle injury and Donte DiVincenzo had 32 points as the New York Knicks held off the Memphis Grizzlies, 123-113.

Brunson appeared to injure his ankle when he was fouled by G.G. Jackson with 5:31 remaining. The Knicks did not have an update postgame.

Isaiah Hartenstein had 17 points and eight rebounds and Precious Achiuwa added 17 as the Knicks won for the 10th time in 11 games to move to 16-3 in their last 19.

Vince Williams Jr. led seven players in double figures with 19 points, but Memphis lost its sixth straight game to match a season high.


Suns’ star trio delivers in win

Devin Booker scored 32 points and Kevin Durant had 28 and 10 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns pushed past the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks, 114-106.

Bradley Beal added 25 points and 10 rebounds and Jusuf Nurkic had 10 points with 10 boards as the Suns won their third in four games despite missing 20 of 28 from 3-point range.

Giannis Antetokoumpo led Milwaukee with 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but the Bucks dropped to 1-4 since hiring coach Doc Rivers.

Damian Lillard missed the game with a sprained ankle and starting center Brook Lopez was out for personal reasons. Forward Khris Middleton left in the first quarter with a sprained ankle.

Kevin Durant likes where the Phoenix Suns are trending after pouring in 33 points to seal a victorious return to Brooklyn.

The Suns won 136-120 over the Nets, as Durant shot 10 of 16 from the field and added eight assists in his first game in Brooklyn since being traded to Phoenix nearly a year ago.

Jusuf Nurkic had 28 with 11 rebounds, Devin Booker scored 22 points and Eric Gordon added 17 for the surging Suns.

The win at Barclays Center was the Suns' ninth win in 11 NBA games before they play the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night and the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

"We were just floating from two to three games under .500 and .500 for most of the year," Durant said after the game, per ESPN. 

"Now we look up, we're 28-20 with a good opportunity to be 10 games over .500 with our next two games on the road. 

"So, we're going home at the 50-game mark, hopefully we can be 30-20, and I like where we are. 

"It's a grind throughout the whole season, especially with the new group, new coaching staff, new team, guys in and out the lineup. You got to build some continuity, and we are on our way to that."

There was huge hype around Durant’s return to his former team, but Suns coach Frank Vogel was impressed by how he focused on the job at hand.

"Hell of a performance," said Vogel. "He put the team first.

"He went out and competed, played team-first basketball, had eight assists and several other plays where made the extra pass and allowed his teammates to play through his double-teams.

"He played a team-first type of game and ended up with 33 and eight."

Durant spent almost four years at Brooklyn, playing alongside James Harden and Kyrie Irving. But the stars only played 16 games together and the Nets won just one playoff series.

The two-time NBA champion gave his reflections on that time but said he did not ponder what might have been, instead focusing on the facts of his time in a Nets jersey.

Durant said: "No, I don’t think about what could have been, that's just a pointless exercise, in my opinion. What happened. That's what I thought about: what actually happened, the reality of it.

"We didn't have enough time together. That's just it. Guys wanted to go their separate ways. 

"We tried our hardest to salvage everything together. We had three or four different teams [from] when I signed here until when I left. 

"But at the end of the day, I enjoyed coming to work, playing for, being a part of this community and playing, representing Brooklyn; regardless of what went on, what was said or how I felt, I still came to work.

"I was an All-Star every year. I was the leading vote-getter every year in All-Star games. Sold a lot of jerseys. [Averaged] 50-40-90, averaged 30, [made] All-NBA. 

"I mean, was that successful? You know what I mean? But team success is a different thing.

"You'd like to put the team, how the team does, you'd like to put that on one of the best players and call it a failure, but if you want to talk about me individually, you can just look at the work that I put in here.

"I think I've grown as a player. I'm on my way to mastering the game. I think coming here helped me, pushed me far closer to that. So that's what I try to take from my time here."

The Nets played a tribute video for Durant before the game and he had a mixture of cheers and boos from the home crowd over the course of the night.

"That wasn't going to stop me from just doing my job regardless," Durant said about the video.

"But there's class people here. They appreciate everybody who donned the jersey and that shows a great organization. I respect that."

Cam Thomas scored 25 points and Mikal Bridges, who came to Brooklyn in the Durant trade, had 21 but the Nets (19-28) failed in their bid to win three straight for the first time since early December.

They next play at Philadelphia on Friday.

Nikola Jokic scored 31 points as part of his league-leading 13th triple-double of the season and Jamal Murray also had 31 points to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 114-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

Jokic sealed Denver’s third straight win with a 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds remaining. He leads all active players with 118 triple-doubles.

Myles Turner had 22 points and Pascal Siakam added 16 with 10 rebounds in his first home game since the Pacers acquired him from Toronto last week.

Indiana lost its third in a row overall and eighth straight against Denver.

The Nuggets took a 93-81 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Pacers took the lead 103-102 on Ben Sheppard’s 3-pointer with 3:42 left.

Jokic’s layup with 1:38 to play gave Denver the lead for good and Murray’s running finger roll 22 seconds later made it 111-107.

McCollum sinks 9 3-pointers as Pelicans erupt

CJ McCollum matched his season high with 33 points and went 9 for 13 from 3-point range as the New Orleans Pelicans set a franchise scoring record in a 153-124 win over the Utah Jazz.

Zion Williamson added 17 points and a career-high 11 assists and Herb Jones scored 22 points for the Pelicans, who surpassed their previous franchise record of 149 points in a win over Sacramento in October 2018.

McCollum shot 11 of 17 from the field and New Orleans connected on half its attempts from long range (23 of 46) as part of a 57.7 percent overall shooting effort.

Brunson, Randle team up to keep Knicks hot

Jalen Brunson had 30 points and Julius Randle flirted with a second straight triple-double as the New York Knicks rallied for a 108-103 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Donte DiVincenzo scored 11 points and OG Anunoby added 10 for the Knicks, who have won four straight and improved to 10-2 since acquiring Anunoby from Toronto.

Randle finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and seven assists after he had 18 points, 16 boards and 10 assists in Saturday’s win over the Raptors.

Mikal Bridges scored 36 points with a career-high seven 3-pointers for the Nets, who entered the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead, just two nights after squandering an 18-point advantage in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.


Paul George warned that the Los Angeles Clippers never know when they are beaten after their unanswered points streak in Sunday's win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Having gone into the fourth quarter trailing by 15 points, the Clippers reeled off a 22-0 run to close out the game and triumph 125-114.

It brought up their 10th win in the space of 12 games in stunning fashion.

Kawhi Leonard led the epic comeback, scoring 14 of his 21 points during the Clippers' 22-0 run over the game's final 5:17, with Los Angeles improving from 44.7 per cent shooting across the first three quarters to 75 per cent in the final period.

"That was first of a kind, with a slow start and then get red-hot at the end," said George, who finished with 12 points.

"We're going to always compete to the very end. The great thing about this group is we don't ever believe that we're down and out of it."

After scoring 24 points and adding 10 assists against his former team, James Harden said: "They came out and punched us in the mouth and in that fourth quarter we played Clipper basketball, got some stops and the rest is history.

"It was like a party. The energy was 100. That right there is home-court advantage."

Mikal Bridges led Brooklyn with 26 points but scored just six after half-time, and he offered few excuses for the Nets' capitulation.

"Just got to be better for the whole 48," Bridges said. "Definitely not fun.

"We were stuck, didn't know what to do or how to break it."

The Clippers are fourth in the Western Conference with a 27-14 record, with a clash against their city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers next up.

Kevin Durant registered a career-high 16 assists to go with 27 points and 10 rebounds in his 18th career triple-double on Wednesday, leading the Phoenix Suns to a 129-113 win over the Houston Rockets.

Durant shot 9 of 16 from the field and 3 of 7 from 3-point range as Phoenix snapped a three-game losing streak with it first road victory since Nov. 26.

Eric Gordon also scored 27 points in his first game back in Houston since being traded in February. He had 17 points in the Suns’ 43-point second quarter.

Alperen Sengun had 24 points and Jalen Green added 23 for the Rockets, who have lost four of six following a five-game winning streak.

Gilgeous-Alexander, Williams help Thunder win

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams scored 36 points apiece and Williams sank a pair of key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 129-120 victory over the New York Knicks.

Chet Holmgren added 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting as the Thunder followed Tuesday’s triumph over Western Conference-leading Minnesota with their fifth win in six games.

Williams scored 17 points on 6 of 7 from the field in the fourth quarter, including eight points and two 3s during a 10-2 run after the Knicks cut their deficit to five with 4:37 remaining.

Julius Randle had 25 points and Jalen Brunson added 24 for New York, which had won three of four.

Antetokounmpo, Bucks handle undermanned Nets

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and the Milwaukee Bucks pulled away for a 144-122 win over the short-handed Brooklyn Nets.

Khris Middleton added 27 points and 10 boards and Cameron Payne and Malik Beasley each hit five 3-pointers as the Bucks improved to 10-2 this month.

Milwaukee shot 23 of 51 from 3-point range and 58.4 percent (52 for 89) overall to bounce back from a Christmas Day loss to the Knicks.

The Nets rested three starters (Spencer Dinwiddie, Nic Claxton and Cam Johnson) and barely played two others one night after a victory in Detroit extended the Pistons’ losing streak an NBA-record 27.

The Detroit Pistons etched their name into the history books Tuesday, setting the NBA single-season record with their 27th straight loss, 118-112 to the Brooklyn Nets.

Cam Johnson scored 24 points and Mikal Bridges added 21 for the Nets, who handed the Pistons their 26th consecutive loss on Saturday.

Cade Cunningham poured in 37 of his 41 points in the second half and shot 15 of 21, but Detroit broke a tie with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers hold the overall mark at 28 straight losses, a skid that started in 2014-15 and carried over into 2015-16.

The Pistons’ next chance to end the streak is Thursday at league-leading Boston.

Cunnigham made a pair of layups to draw the Pistons within 112-110 with less than a minute remaining, but Dorian Finney-Smith sank a baseline 3-point to put the Nets up 115-110 with 38 seconds left.

Alec Burks then missed a 3-pointer and Bridges hit two free throws for a 117-110 advantage.

Grizzlies win in OT, improve to 4-0 since Morant’s return

Ja Morant scored 31 points and the Memphis Grizzlies rallied for a 116-115 win in overtime against the New Orleans Pelicans to improve to 4-0 since he made his season debut a week earlier.

Desmond Bane scored 27 points, including a key 3-pointer in the final minute of regulation and the clinching free throw with 4 seconds left in overtime.

Jaren Jackson Jr. added 19 points, redeeming his missed free throw at the end of regulation with a pair of baskets late in OT that gave Memphis the lead for good.

Morant has averaged 28.8 points in four games since he returned from his 25-game NBA suspension after the Grizzlies were 6-19 in his absence.

Zion Williamson had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, who also lost a double-digit, second-half lead to Memphis in the previous meeting.

Kings’ Fox scores 43 in loss to Trail Blazers

De’Aaron Fox had 43 points but it wasn’t enough as Anfernee Simons scored 29 to lift the Portland Trail Blazers to a 130-113 win over the Sacramento Kings.  

Duop Reath added a career-high 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds off the bench for the Blazers, who got 19 points from Malcolm Brogdon and 17 and 11 assists from rookie Scoot Henderson.

Fox was 16 of 26 from the field and 7 of 15 from long range while adding eight rebounds and four assists. Domantas Sabonis scored 34 points, but no other Sacramento player was in double figures.

The Detroit Pistons broke the record for the longest losing run in an NBA season as they fell to a 27th straight defeat against the Brooklyn Nets.

Having won two of their first three matches this season, the Pistons continued their losing run on Boxing Day as they went down 118-112.

They will match the overall record of 28 defeats – set by the Philadelphia 76ers across two seasons in 2015 – if they lose at the Boston Celtics, who have the NBA’s best record, on Thursday.

Beleagured Pistons fans, who have repeatedly called on owner Tom Gores to sell the team, were given hope of ending the run as they opened a 14-point lead in the first quarter.

Having surrendered that advantage to trail 61-54 at half-time, they hit back to lead 97-92 in the fourth quarter as Cade Cunningham scored 41 points.

Thirteen straight points from the Nets swung the game their way and secured the Pistons an unwanted place in the record books.

Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham said the team cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results after they tied the record for worst single-season losing streak in NBA history.

The Pistons suffered their 26th straight defeat on Saturday, losing 126-115 to the Brooklyn Nets in the first game of a home-and-away double-header either side of Christmas.

That saw them join the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers in losing 26 successive games within a single campaign. 

They are just two defeats away from matching the worst overall losing streak in NBA history, with the Sixers having lost 28 in a row across the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

The Pistons were in the game until the second half, when a 15-0 run from the Nets ended it as a contest. Cunningham, who finished with 22 points, said a new plan may be needed for Detroit to halt their historic slide. 

"Everybody wants to win, everybody hates losing, so it's hard," Cunningham said. "We've got to be realistic as well. 

"We can't just keep saying the same things over and over, like we'll get the next one. There has to be like a plan of action, so we're just trying to figure that out."

The defeat dropped Detroit to 2-27 with three games remaining in 2023. They will round off a miserable year against the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors after Tuesday's rematch against Brooklyn.

Head coach Monty Williams, meanwhile, is trying to remain upbeat, praising his players' resilience and outlining his confidence that an elusive win is not far away.

"Losing is awful in this league and we've had a lot of it," Williams told reporters. "I'm proud of the way they just keep battling every night.

"You have to allow people to be human but the way they come back the next day is something I am blown away at.

"I've been around a lot of teams and not many teams have that type of resiliency. 

"Our guys don't want to be a part of any kind of losing streak whatsoever, but every day they come back with focus and drive and grit trying to win a game."

The Nets improved to 14-15 with Saturday's win, with Mikal Bridges finishing with 29 points as one of seven players in double figures as they snapped their own five-game losing streak.

The Detroit Pistons lost their 26th straight game Saturday, falling 126-115 to the Brooklyn Nets to match the NBA record for longest losing streak in a season.

The Pistons joined the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers to drop to 2-27 in their first season under Monty Williams.

These teams meet again Tuesday in Detroit, with the Pistons nearing the longest overall slide in league history. The 76ers dropped 28 in a row from late in the 2014-15 season through early 2015-16.

Mikal Bridges had 29 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Nets, who had seven players in double figures to snap their five-game skid.

Jaden Ivey scored 23 points and Cade Cunningham had 22 as Detroit remained winless since October 28.

Brooklyn put the game away with a 15-0 run in the third and fourth quarters to open a 21-point lead.

Streaking Bucks handle Knicks

Giannis Antetokoumpo tallied 28 points, seven assists and seven rebounds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to their seventh straight win, 130-111 over the New York Knicks in the opener of a two-game series.

Bobby Portis had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Khris Middleton added 20 points and Damain Lillard contributed 19 points, nine boards and seven assists to help the Bucks win their ninth game in a row against the Knicks.

The teams will meet again on Monday in front of a national TV audience.

Jalen Brunson poured in 36 points for New York after he had 45 points in a loss to Milwaukee on November 3.

The Bucks essentially put the game out of reach with an 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter, turning an 11-point lead into a 114-92 cushion on Portis’ 3-pointer with 6:29 remaining.

Doncic stars in Mavericks’ win as Wembanyama sits

Luka Doncic had 39 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to power the Dallas Mavericks to a 144-119 rout of the San Antonio Spurs, who were without rookie Victor Wembanyama.

Doncic recorded his seventh triple-double of the season and 63rd of his career in just three quarters. It was his 36th triple-double with at least 30 points, one shy of LeBron James for third on the career list.

Wembanyama did not play after the rookie stepped on a ball boy’s foot after taking a few steps following a shot before the game.

The Spurs lost their fourth straight and have dropped 22 of their last 23 games.

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