Kevin Durant feels privileged to see LeBron James' exploits up close as the four-time NBA champion chases Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time points record.

James finished with 21 points on his return from an adductor injury in the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, as he inches closer to Abdul-Jabbar's NBA record of 38,387 points.

The 18-time All-Star is the NBA's second-highest scorer with 37,332 points to his name, and Durant is excited by the prospect of seeing the 37-year-old make history.

"To be the number one in anything, there's eight billion people in the world, we just figured that out last week, so to be the number one of all time at scoring the basketball, I'm sure it's going to be a range of emotions for him," Durant said on Friday.

"But to be in an era where we see this live is pretty cool as well. You probably can't even describe the emotions and feelings him and his family and his friends are going to go through, but it's cool to see it up close."

Durant sits 18th on the list with 26,110 points, putting him within 1,000 of six other players, but the 34-year-old is not thinking about his standing among the greatest to play the game.

"I never really thought of it," he said. "I heard the talks, especially early on in my career when I was doing stuff the LeBrons, the Michael Jordans have done in the league, as far as scoring.

"I know how tough it is to consistently do this year in and year out, day in and day out. A lot of stuff is out of your control. 

"But I just try to come in and be the best version of myself I can be, and whatever happens, happens."

Asked whether there was any particular player on the list he was aiming to beat, Durant added: "I never thought of it that way. 

"It's always about just keep adding, keep building up good days every day. Being consistent in who I am as a player, and seeing what happens at the end of the road. 

"I'm just grateful to get up and do something like this every day. Just keep adding to my skill and keep building my database for the game, I guess.

"That's what I look forward to every day. Whoever I pass and whatever records I break for myself, it is what it is. But I'm just trying to get up and be available, be the best I can every day."

Durant had a game-high 36 points as the Brooklyn Nets went down to a 128-117 loss against the Indiana Pacers.

Two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was once again the best player on the floor to lead his Milwaukee Bucks to a 117-102 victory against the breakout Cleveland Cavaliers.

Both teams entered the contest as a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference, and despite a 29-point effort from offseason trade acquisition Donovan Mitchell, the Cavs had no answer for the Bucks' future Hall-of-Famer.

Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting, hitting 10 of his 14 free throws while adding nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks. 

While usual running-mate Jrue Holiday was not at his sharpest, shooting four-of-13 for his nine points, it was veteran center Brook Lopez who turned out to be the Bucks' second star.

Lopez scored eight points without missing a field goal, hitting both of his three-point attempts, and he was a force defensively, blocking six shots for the second time this season, and it was the fifth time from his 17 games that he has blocked at least five shots.

His 2.6 blocks per game is a new career-high in his 15th season, and the second-best figure in the league, trailing only Myles Turner (2.8) of the Indiana Pacers. 

Along with Antetokounmpo, the pair are anchoring the best defense in the league, conceding 105.9 points per 100 possessions – almost two points per 100 possessions better than any other team.

With the win, the Bucks are now 13-5 and 10-2 at home, while the Cavaliers fall to 12-7, and remain the third seed.

Lakers make it four wins from five

The return of LeBron James has helped the Los Angeles Lakers win their fourth game from their past five outings, defeating the San Antonio Spurs 105-94.

After missing five games with an adductor injury, James was more than a little rusty as he committed nine turnovers for only the ninth time in his 1377-game career. However, he still chipped in 21 points on eight-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds and five assists.

Enjoying his best statistical start to a season since arriving with the Lakers, Anthony Davis scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting, grabbing 15 rebounds to increase his career-high average to 12.6, and he blocked three shots.

Pacers keep on winning

The Indiana Pacers are meant to be in a rebuilding year, but after their 128-117 win against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday they now own the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Myles Turner continued his career-best season with an efficient 23 points on nine-of-11 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking two shots, while pick-and-pop partner Tyrese Haliburton had 15 assists and four steals to go with his 21 points. Haliburton leads the league in assists at 10.9 per game, and is the only player averaging over 9.4.

Kevin Durant was not to blame for the Nets' loss, scoring a game-high 38 points (15-of-31) with eight rebounds and eight assists, while Ben Simmons scored 20 points on perfect eight-for-eight shooting.

Kyrie Irving was thrilled with the Brooklyn Nets' response to the "internet uproar" from Tuesday's 115-106 loss to the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers in Wednesday's 112-98 road win over the Toronto Raptors.

Irving led the way for the Nets with a team-high 29 points, including 19 in the third quarter, as they bounced back after being "embarrassed" by the 76ers who were missing Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey.

The win improved the Nets to 9-10, fueled by a 39-25 third quarter where Irving scored three triples.

"We're in the business of winning," Irving told reporters after the game.

"We'll take this one, especially after last night's loss, and the whole internet going up in an uproar in terms of how embarrassed we should be, which is true.

"We just wanted to make sure we paid attention to detail tonight. We came out and responded."

Nets teammate Ben Simmons, who had his fifth straight game with 10 points or more, praised Irving for his role in the win.

"Just being Kyrie, that's what we want him to do, just be himself," Simmons said. "Have that confidence to come out and take those shots and be who he is.

"He's an incredible player, an incredible teammate, I'm glad he had a night like tonight."

Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said his side had learned and applied valuable lessons from losses to short-handed opponents lately, including their 116-103 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers missing LeBron James along with the 76ers.

"It really was a standard that we have to have for each other," Vaughn said. "A big piece of that is holding each other in a higher standard.

"I thought from the beginning of the game you saw that, a lot more talk from each other, a lot more communication and demand from each other which was great to see."

Kevin Durant was held to only 12 points for the game, but passed Kevin Garnett to be 18th on the NBA all-time points scorers' list.

Kevin Durant feels "everybody" wants to see the Brooklyn Nets fail after Ben Simmons' homecoming against the undermanned Philadelphia 76ers ended in a disappointing 115-106 road defeat on Tuesday.

The 76ers were missing Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey through injury, but they were able to catch fire from deep, shooting 50 per cent from the three-point line (16-of-32).

In a hostile environment for the Nets, the Philadelphia crowd aggressively booed Simmons every time he touched the ball, although he performed well, collecting 11 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

For the 76ers, Tobias Harris stepped up into an increased workload and delivered a team-high 24 points on 10-of-21 shooting, while De'Anthony Melton, Georges Niang and Shake Milton combined for 54 points on 12-of-19 from long-range.

It was a golden opportunity for the full-strength Nets to pull their record even at 9-9, but they are now two games below .500 at 8-10.

When asked if he felt the crowd took extra delight in getting one over Simmons and the Nets, Durant said he feels every away crowd has added animosity towards his team.

"It's a lot of emotions [for Simmons coming back to Philadelphia], you always want to play well," he said. "You know the fans are going to be involved… and bring their best. 

"But that's at every arena, everybody wants to see our team fail – nobody likes Ben, nobody likes 'Ky' [Irving], nobody likes myself – so it might be like that at every road arena.

"It's just something we've got to deal with, but I thought [Simmons] did a great job at handling it and playing his game. We had a chance to win, but we just didn't."

Durant added that he did not feel the Nets played a poor defensive game, but were too slow to adjust to the 76ers' hot shooting.

"It's the same s***," he said. "They had 20 more shots than us, and seven more three-pointers. That's the game.

"[We have to] just go do it. Just go do what we need to do. Rebound, box out, move the ball, guard up one-on-one.

"They shot 43 per cent from the field, which is not bad. But they shot 50 per cent from the three-point line, and a lot of those were crossover, step-back threes – they're just back-breakers. 

"I wouldn't necessarily say we had a horrible defensive night, but they out-rebounded us – 20 offensive rebounds – and they made 16 threes, and it looked bad.

"We would make them shoot a tough shot, they get a rebound and hit a three. We botch a switch maybe, and a guy gets a little bit of space and he shoots over a contest. They knocked them down tonight.

"Early on we should have seen they were hot, so we had to get up into them and force them inside the three-point line.

"But they played free, and they had nothing to lose, so those shots are just going to feel better when they leave their hands. We had to make them miss tonight, and they hit them, you have to give them credit."

Jaylen Brown insists he does not endorse the protesters who gathered outside Barclays Center to welcome Kyrie Irving's return from suspension for the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

Irving had sat out eight straight games after being punished for sharing a social media post about a book and film with anti-Semitic tropes.

He returned to the fold against the Memphis Grizzlies, a game that saw approximately 100 members from Israel United in Christ gather outside the venue, chanting and handing out flyers headlined "The Truth About Anti-Semitism" and "The Truth about Slavery".

The group has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Boston Celtics guard and NBPA vice-president Brown retweeted a social media video of the group with the caption "Energy".

Brown later backtracked on the post insisting he "was not aware of what specific group was outside of Barclays Center" and reiterated that stance when speaking after Monday's defeat to the Chicago Bulls.

"I saw a large group of our people from our community showing support for [Kyrie] and his return," Brown said.

"Me being proud of that support and being proud of our community for doing that does not mean I endorse or celebrate some of the things that were being done or being said.

"My instinct when I saw this was I didn't notice which group it was. I just noticed the support, and that's what I commented on. I reemphasise that I don't think that everything that is said or being done or being said is something I endorse or represent."

Brown added he wanted to promote "brown and black people standing together on our issues rather than seeing images of violence in our media, music and movies that we don't entirely promote or profit from".

Brown has criticised the Nets' handling of Irving's suspension and the terms set out for him to return to court.

"I've been in contact as a union member, as a former team-mate just to show support for the situation that [Irving's] been going through," Brown added.

"Being exiled from the game, of course, emotionally is a lot on our league, but it's a lot on everyone who's a fan of this game.

"Kyrie's contributed in a lot of ways to the game of basketball, so for him to be able to come back and be on the floor last night, I thought was something to celebrate.

"I thought that was something to support. The NBA, the Brooklyn Nets decided whatever the disagreements were or the concern was, was obviously handled and we were moving on. I was supporting that decision."

Ben Simmons has little doubt what is in store for him when he returns to the Philadelphia 76ers this week, having finally found form with the Brooklyn Nets.

An ugly stand-off between Simmons and the 76ers eventually came to an end in February when he was traded to the Nets in the deal that took James Harden to Philly.

The messy exit was in the best interests of both parties, but Simmons acknowledged there will be little love lost from a typically boisterous Philadelphia crowd when the teams meet on Tuesday.

"In Philly?" Simmons replied with a sarcastic smile when asked if enough time had elapsed that he might not get an unfriendly reception. "Come on now. I know what's coming."

Despite his expectations of hostility, Simmons talked up the passion of Philadelphia sports fans.

"One thing about Philly fans, they're incredible. They're diehard Philly. I respect that about the city. It's a sports town," Simmons said. 

"I was 18 years old coming into Philly, so it's really the only place I've lived as an adult. I've got a lot of love for that city.

"People don't know that, but a lot of my best friends are from Philadelphia. My brother still lives in Philadelphia. So, regardless of the [basketball] situation, and whatever happened happened, but I've got a lot of love for that city. I look forward to going down there and playing."

For Simmons, the timing of the game could hardly be better given he is starting to find his groove again.

Coming off a season-best performance against the Portland Trail Blazers last time out, Simmons went even better with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists as the Nets downed the Memphis Grizzlies 127-115 on Sunday.

It means he has 37 points, 21 rebounds and 12 assists over his past two games. It took him until the 10th game this season to even put up a double-figure points return, while the last time he had a 20-point game was with the 76ers in the first round of the 2021 playoffs.

"It takes time," Simmons said about his improvement. 

"I'm just trying to build my consistency. Stay focused on what I can do. I know what I can do. I know what I'm capable of. I'm not surprised [I'm playing well]."

Kyrie Irving never doubted he would return for the Brooklyn Nets after his team-imposed suspension, while he declined to answer questions about the Israel United in Christ group that turned out at Barclays Center in support of him.

Irving made his NBA return after eight games out due to suspension for sharing a social media post about a book and film with antisemitic tropes, scoring 14 points in 26 minutes in a 127-115 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

The All-Star's return to the NBA came after a lengthy remediation process that split opinions, involving the Nets, the league, the NBPA and Irving, who also met with key community members.

"Never had a doubt," Irving responded after the game when asked if he feared the situation may mean he would never play for the Nets again.

On his return, Irving added: "I felt good. I missed my teammates, missed the coaching staff… It felt good to get this game out of the way. Now we can move forward with the rest of the season."

Prior to the game, approximately 100 members from Israel United in Christ group were outside the venue, chanting and handing out flyers headlined "The Truth About Anti-Semitism" and "The Truth about Slavery".

The group has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center yet appeared to be in support of Irving's social media post that led to his suspension.

"I think that's a conversation for another day. I'm just here to focus on the game," Irving said when asked about the group's presence.

When asked again, he added: "Again I'm just here to focus on the game."

Boston Celtics swingman and NBPA vice-president Jaylen Brown retweeted a social media video of the group, writing "energy".

Brown later backtracked on the post, but did not delete it. He wrote: "I was not aware of what specific group that was outside of Barclay’s Center tonight. I was celebrating the unification of our people welcoming the return of Kyrie to the court, first glance I thought it was a known fraternity the (C/Que’s) Omega psi phi (step’n) showing support."

The Splash Brothers were at the peak of their powers in the Golden State Warriors' 127-120 road win against the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Fresh off his first NBA Finals MVP, Stephen Curry continued his remarkable season with 33 points (11-of-20 shooting, seven-of-14 from three-point range) and a season-high 15 assists. It was one assist shy of his career high, set back in 2013 and matched in 2014.

But the story was his backcourt partner Klay Thompson, who is shooting a career-worst percentage from both the field (36.3 per cent) and from long-range (33.6 per cent) this season.

He began to right the ship with a stunning 43-point performance, hitting 10 of his 13 three-point attempts on his way to 14-of-23 shooting. It is the sixth game of his career with at least 10 three-pointers in a game, and he also owns the all-time record with 14.

For the Rockets, the third overall selection from this year's NBA Draft, Jabari Smith Jr, showed exactly why he was so highly coveted. The long-armed, six-foot-11 power forward scored a season-high 22 points on eight-of-14 shooting, hitting three long-balls.

The win is the Warriors' first on the road this season from nine attempts, giving them an 8-9 record, while the Rockets fell to 3-14.

Durant makes history in Irving's return

Kevin Durant became the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 25 points in the first 17 games of a season in Sunday's 127-115 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies.

In the return of Kyrie Irving from his team-imposed suspension, Durant led the Nets with 26 points on nine-of-16 shooting, adding seven rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a block. The last player to score at least 25 in their first 17 games of a season was Rick Barry back in the 1966-67 campaign.

The Nets also benefited from Ben Simmons' best game since arriving with the team, scoring a season-high 22 points on 11-of-13 shooting with eight rebounds and five assists, boasting a game-high plus/minus of plus 19.

Irving was quiet in his return, hitting five-of-12 shots for 14 points and zero assists with four turnovers.

Fox leads the Kings to sixth win in a row

The Sacramento Kings have now won six games in a row after a 137-129 shootout against the Detroit Pistons.

Sacramento have scored at least 120 points in each of their wins on this streak, highlighted by a 153-point outing against the Nets, which is the most points scored by any team this season.

De'Aaron Fox top-scored with 33 points on 11-of-18 shooting, adding seven assists. After never previously shooting better than 48 per cent in a season, Fox is 55.4 per cent from the field this campaign, and a career-best 37.5 per cent from three.

Kyrie Irving is available again after an eight-game ban ahead of the Brooklyn Nets hosting the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

The 30-year-old NBA star had been serving a suspension imposed by the Nets on November 3 for sharing a social media post on a book and film that featured anti-semitic tropes.

Irving verbally apologised for the post for the first time on Saturday, saying he was "deeply" sorry to the Jewish community.

The Nets initially listed Irving as "questionable" for the Grizzlies clash at Barclays Center, before confirming on Sunday he would be available.

Irving said he has been on a "learning journey" as part of his suspension and reintegration into the Nets team, before reiterating his sorrow to reporters on Sunday, offering: "my deep apologies to all those who are impacted over the last few weeks".

"I don't stand for anything close to hate speech, or anti-semitism, or anything that is anti going against the human race," he said. "I feel like we all should have an opportunity to speak for ourselves when things are assumed about us.

"And I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take accountability for my actions because there was a way I should have handled all of this.

"... I meant no harm to any person, any group of people. And yeah, this is a big moment for me because I'm able to learn throughout this process that the power of my voice is very strong.

"The influence that I have within my community is very strong, and I want to be responsible for that. In order to do that, we have to admit when you were wrong and instances where you hurt people and it impacts them."

Irving has played just eight games this season as a result of the ban, averaging 26.9 points, as well as 5.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds.

Suspended Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving verbally apologised for his recent social media post for the first time on Saturday, saying he is "deeply" sorry to the Jewish community as a return to NBA ranks looms.

The Nets listed Irving, who has been out for eight games due to a team-imposed suspension for sharing a book and film with antisemitic tropes on social media, as "questionable" for Sunday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Irving said he has been on a "learning journey" as part of his suspension and reintegration into the Nets team.

The seven-time All-Star had previously apologised on social media after the suspension was imposed on him for the "harmful impact of his conduct". Prior to that, Irving had failed to apologise for sharing the post nor unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs on numerous occasions in the immediate days after that.

"I just want to apologise deeply for all my actions throughout the time that it's been since the post was first put up," Irving told SNY. "I've had a lot of time to think. But my focus, initially, if I could do it over, would be to heal and repair a lot of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters.

"I really want to focus on the hurt that I caused or the impact that I made within the Jewish community. Putting some type of threat, or assumed threat, on the Jewish community."

The fall-out for Irving has been significant. Not only was he suspended by his team, Nike announced they had severed relations with him after a decade-long relationship and were dropping his latest signature shoe, the Kyrie 8, from its catalogue.

Irving has met with several representatives from key communities, working with the Nets, the NBA and the NBPA to move towards remediation and a resolution. His meetings included with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who is Jewish.

"It was a learning journey to be honest with you," Irving said. "It was a lot of hurt that needed to be healed, a lot of conversations that needed to be had and a lot of reflection.

"I got a chance to do that with some great people from the Jewish community. From the Black community, from the white community - I've had so many conversations with all of our races and cultures and religious groups of people.

"Just try to find a better perspective on how we live a more harmonious life. I'm a man who stands for peace. I don't condone any hate speech or any prejudice and I don't want to be in a position where I'm being misunderstood on where I stand in terms of antisemitism or any hate for that matter for anybody in this world."

Irving called his initial reaction as self-defense when he failed to unequivocally declare he was not antisemitic during a press conference, when offered numerous opportunities, leading to the team-imposed ban, which had been indefinite without pay but for a minimum of five games.

"I felt like I was protecting my character and I reacted out of just pure defense and just hurt that I could be labeled, or I thought that I was being labeled as antisemitic or anti-Jewish, and I've felt like that was just so disrespectful to ask me whether or not I was antisemitic or not," Irving said.

"Now to the outside world, that may have been seen as a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Which rightfully so, it should've been, 'No, I'm not antisemitic. No, I'm not anti-Jewish.' I'm a person who believes we should all have equal opportunities and that we should all shower each other with love, and that should be at the forefront.

"But it wasn’t in that initial conversation, and I take my accountability and I want to apologise for that, because it came off the wrong way completely."

Suspended Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving verbally apologized for his recent social media post for the first time on Saturday, saying he is "deeply" sorry to the Jewish community as a return to NBA ranks looms.

The Nets listed Irving, who has been out for eight games due to a team-imposed suspension for sharing a book and film with antisemitic tropes on social media, as "questionable" for Sunday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Irving said he has been on a "learning journey" as part of his suspension and reintegration into the Nets team.

The seven-time All-Star had previously apologized on social media after the suspension was imposed on him for the "harmful impact of his conduct". Prior to that, Irving had failed to apologize for sharing the post nor unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs on numerous occasions in the immediate days after that.

"I just want to apologize deeply for all my actions throughout the time that it's been since the post was first put up," Irving told SNY. "I've had a lot of time to think. But my focus, initially, if I could do it over, would be to heal and repair a lot of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters.

"I really want to focus on the hurt that I caused or the impact that I made within the Jewish community. Putting some type of threat, or assumed threat, on the Jewish community."

The fall-out for Irving has been significant. Not only was he suspended by his team, Nike announced they had severed relations with him after a decade-long relationship and were dropping his latest signature shoe, the Kyrie 8, from its catalogue.

Irving has met with several representatives from key communities, working with the Nets, the NBA and the NBPA to move towards remediation and a resolution. His meetings included with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who is Jewish.

"It was a learning journey to be honest with you," Irving said. "It was a lot of hurt that needed to be healed, a lot of conversations that needed to be had and a lot of reflection.

"I got a chance to do that with some great people from the Jewish community. From the Black community, from the white community - I've had so many conversations with all of our races and cultures and religious groups of people.

"Just try to find a better perspective on how we live a more harmonious life. I'm a man who stands for peace. I don't condone any hate speech or any prejudice and I don't want to be in a position where I'm being misunderstood on where I stand in terms of antisemitism or any hate for that matter for anybody in this world."

Irving called his initial reaction as self-defense when he failed to unequivocally declare he was not antisemitic during a press conference, when offered numerous opportunities, leading to the team-imposed ban, which had been indefinite without pay but for a minimum of five games.

"I felt like I was protecting my character and I reacted out of just pure defense and just hurt that I could be labeled, or I thought that I was being labeled as antisemitic or anti-Jewish, and I've felt like that was just so disrespectful to ask me whether or not I was antisemitic or not," Irving said.

"Now to the outside world, that may have been seen as a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Which rightfully so, it should've been, 'No, I'm not antisemitic. No, I'm not anti-Jewish.' I'm a person who believes we should all have equal opportunities and that we should all shower each other with love, and that should be at the forefront.

"But it wasn’t in that initial conversation, and I take my accountability and I want to apologize for that, because it came off the wrong way completely."

Ben Simmons says people underestimate how hard it is to return from back surgery following his first double-double in almost 18 months in the Brooklyn Nets' 109-107 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

Simmons, who was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Nets in February, enjoyed his best scoring game since his switch, with 15 points along with 13 rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes.

The double-double was the Australian's first in the NBA since June 14, 2021, having not played at all last season before undergoing back surgery in May.

The much-maligned Simmons has struggled for impact upon his return to playing this season, averaging 5.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists, but Thursday was a breakthrough.

"People make it seem like I had a sprained ankle or something," Simmons told reporters. "I had back surgery, that’s not easy to come back from.

"I take it day by day, I stay locked in, I stay focused and continue to build, myself, my body and my game."

Simmons has missed games this season due to injury and soreness, but he is building some momentum after making 11-of-13 from the field in his past two games, where he has posted double-digit scores.

"I'm coming," Simmons said with a grin. "I'm getting there, it's taking a little bit of time. My team-mates have got my back, my coaches."

Kevin Durant, who top scored for the Nets with 35 points, hailed the impact made by his team-mate Simmons.

"He was incredible tonight," Durant said. "I thought he did a good job of commanding the offense, commanding the team on the defensive side of the ball. He controlled the game and was able to get us back into it."

Simmons has been criticised for his free-throw shooting in the past but made three-of-four from the stripe, all coming in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter with the game up for grabs.

"We had no doubts when he walked up there," Durant said. "I felt like we all were confident, just how he was playing. I felt super confident when he went up there, so three-from-four, crunch time like that. That was key for us. We needed those.

"He shot them like he was confident. He ran back down the court like he knew they were going in. When he's playing aggressive like that, when he's downhill, he did it all for us tonight. I'm excited for him because this is the type of the game that we all needed to see.

"I think everybody else on the outside, basketball fans in general, was loving it and couldn’t wait to see this type of performance from him. We expect that from him every night."

Royce O'Neale tipped in the game-winner with 0.7 seconds left as the Brooklyn Nets edged the Portland Trail Blazers 109-107 to improve their overall record to 7-9 on Thursday.

Kevin Durant, who finished with a game-high 35 points, missed his turn-around jumper but O'Neale was on hand with a tip-in to help the Nets snap their two-game skid.

Durant went 13-of-22 from the field with eight rebounds, three assists and a block, clocking up his 26,000th career NBA point along the way, becoming the 19th player to achieve that feat.

The Nets got strong contributions off the bench as Yuta Watanabe added 20 points with seven rebounds, while Ben Simmons had a double-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Game-winner O'Neale, who was in the starting line-up, had 11 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for the game.

The victory comes after Durant's stinging public criticism of the Nets' starting quality in the continued absence of the suspended Kyrie Irving, who may return for Sunday's game with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Damian Lillard top scored for Portland, who fall to 10-5, with 25 points along with 11 assists. Anfernee Simons added 24 points and Jusuf Nurkic had 17, including a three-point play to tie the game up with 6.5 seconds to go.

Kawhi returns as Clippers shoot down Pistons

Kawhi Leonard had minimal impact on his return after 12 games out as the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a 12-point deficit to win 96-91 over the Detroit Pistons.

Leonard scored six points with five rebounds and four assists after not playing since October 24 due to knee stiffness. The two-time NBA Finals MVP, who was in the starting lineup, shot two-of-eight from the field.

Reggie Jackson scored a team-high 23 points in a low-scoring game, while Ivica Zubac pulled down 18 rebounds with nine points.

Kings remain hot as Fox fires

The Sacramento Kings improved to 8-6 with their fifth straight victory, winning 130-112 over the San Antonio Spurs.

De'Aaron Fox scored a team-high 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting along with eight assists, while Malik Monk added 26 points off the bench. Spurs guard Devin Vassell top scored with 29 points, including four triples.

The Kings' five-game win streak is their first since the 2020-21 season, while it comes after they started the season 0-4, winning eight of their past 10 games.

Kevin Durant says the probable return of Kyrie Irving for the Brooklyn Nets' game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday will provide a "much-needed spark".

Irving will miss an eighth straight game because of a team-imposed suspension when the Nets take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, in the final leg of their four-game road trip.

The seven-time All-Star guard was handed an indefinite team-imposed suspension without pay by the Nets, for at least five games, after he shared an allegedly anti-semitic film and book on social media last month.

The Nets, the NBA and the NBPA have worked together with Irving to remediate the situation, after Brooklyn initially laid out six prerequisites for the player. According to reports, a resolution is close, potentially in time for Sunday's game.

"It's exciting for everybody," Durant told reporters prior to Thursday's game. "I mean we miss 'Ky'. We miss his presence on the floor.

"I haven't talked to him since we've been on the road trip about it the last couple of days. But we're looking forward to his return to the team. Definitely gonna give us a much-needed spark."

The Nets, who are 6-9 overall, have gone 4-3 in Irving's absence, although they were blown out 153-121 by the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, which was a franchise record for most points conceded.

Durant added that he was hopeful Irving's return would be soon but said he had not been briefed on where the process is at.

"I don't know the details about everything that's going on to be honest," Durant said. "I should know, I guess, because I'm part of the team.

"But I've been totally focused on the road trip. Once we get back home, I'm sure that stuff will figure itself out. Hopefully it's soon, that's all that I can say."

Kevin Durant lamented the weakness of the Brooklyn Nets' roster after their struggles continued against the Sacramento Kings, saying the team's poor form should surprise no one. 

The Nets sit adrift of the Eastern Conference's Playoff and Play-In Tournament spots with a 6-9 record for the season, having slipped to a demoralising 153-121 defeat against the Kings on Tuesday.

The team have also been plagued by off-court concerns this campaign, with guard Kyrie Irving having been suspended after sharing offensive material on social media.

Durant requested a trade ahead of the campaign, and he remains concerned about the Nets' lack of forward momentum, adding that expectations must be tempered with their current roster.

"I had some complaints in the summer, and my complaints were not about just me; it was about how we are moving as a unit," he told Bleacher Report.

"I want us to be respected out here in the basketball world. I don't want players to look at us and say, 'Oh man, they are full of s***. That's not the type of team I want to be on.

"So when we're all playing like s***, you know the one person they're going to look at. That's why I requested a trade.

"Look at our starting lineup. Edmond Sumner, Royce O'Neale, Joe Harris, [Nic] Claxton and me. It's not disrespect, but what are you expecting from that group?

"You expect us to win because I'm out there. So if you're watching from that lens, you're expecting us to play well because number seven is out there."

The Nets next travel cross-country to face the Portland Trail Blazers, before returning home to host the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

Page 1 of 42
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.