The Brooklyn Nets have parted company with head coach Steve Nash.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Nets and Nash came to a mutual decision to part ways after a disappointing start to the 2022-23 season.

The Nets have won just two of their opening seven games, though they did beat the Indiana Pacers 116-109 on Monday.

Jacque Vaughn will be the Nets' acting head coach for Tuesday's game with the Chicago Bulls.

"We want to thank Steve for everything he brought to our franchise over the past two-plus seasons," said general manager Sean Marks.

"Since becoming head coach, Steve was faced with a number of unprecedented challenges, and we are sincerely grateful for his leadership, patience and humility throughout his tenure.

"Personally, this was an immensely difficult decision; however, after much deliberation and evaluation of how the season has begun, we agreed that a change is necessary at this time. We wish Steve, Lilla and their family all the best in the future."

A two-time MVP as a player and former consultant for the Golden State Warriors during two of their championship-winning seasons in 2017 and 2018, Nash took charge of the Nets in 2020.

He led them to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2020-21, losing a seven-game series to eventual champions the Milwaukee Bucks.

A tumultuous 2021-22 campaign that saw James Harden traded to the Philadelphia 76ers ended with the Nets losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics in a sweep.

Despite having the chance to coach stars including Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during his Nets tenure, Nash has had to navigate much controversy, predominantly surrounding Irving.

Irving's refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and his inability to play in cities with vaccine mandates, including New York, complicated Nash's second season in charge.

This season, Irving has attracted significant criticism and was condemned by Nets owner Joe Tsai for his promotion of a documentary film said to be "full of anti-Semitic disinformation".

Nash had said he hoped the Nets could "grow through this together", but they will now tackle this latest saga surrounding their star guard without him.

He leaves the Nets with a 94-67 regular-season record.

"Thank you, Brooklyn," Nash said in a statement on Twitter.

"A very heartfelt thanks to Joe and Clara Tsai along with Sean Marks for giving me the opportunity to coach the Brooklyn Nets. It was an amazing experience with many challenges that I'm incredibly grateful for.

"It was a pleasure to work with the players, performance team and front office everyday. I'm especially grateful to my coaching staff and video room who are a talented group with so much character and professionalism.

"Lastly, thanks to Brooklyn and the passionate fans who support this team. Family first and my family has found a home here and LOVES being a part of this beautiful community.

"I wish the Nets all the success in the world and the Nash's will be rooting for our team as they turn this season around."

Steve Nash said the Brooklyn Nets should look to "grow through this together" after a number of fans wore 'Fight Antisemitism' T-shirts in protest against Kyrie Irving's recent highlighting of a controversial film.

The 30-year-old Irving tweeted a link to 'Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America' last Thursday, with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai condemning Irving for promoting the documentary film. Tsai alleged the film was "full of anti-Semitic disinformation".

The Nets and NBA released strong statements refusing to tolerate "hate speech", while coach Nash said the star guard had been spoken to prior to Saturday's 125-116 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Irving said at the weekend he would not "stand down" and pointed to the "historical complexities" of African heritage in America, but he subsequently deleted the social media post that sparked the uproar.

Nash spoke again on the matter after Monday's 116-109 win against the Pacers, which saw a group of seven Nets fans conspicuous at courtside in the protest T-shirts.

They were Orthodox Jews, the New York Post reported, quoting one of the fans, Aaron Jungreis, as saying the Nets "should not keep a guy like that around", with regard to Irving. The fan also told the newspaper the Nets should "have to discipline him in some way".

Looking at how Irving has handled the episode, Nash said: "That's an ongoing conversation. I haven't been a part of those internal talks, to be honest. I've been coaching, preparing the team. But I know they're looking at that constantly."

Erasing the controversial social media content appears to have been taken as a positive step, with Nash saying that "certainly helps".

The Nets coach added: "I just hope that we all grow through this together. There's always an opportunity for us to grow and understand new perspectives.

"I think the organisation is trying to take that stance that we communicate through this and all come out in a better position with more understanding and wanting to have empathy for every side of this debate and situation."

Irving last week wrote on Twitter: "I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone's religious beliefs. The 'Anti-Semitic' label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions."

Big performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez carried the Milwaukee Bucks to a 110-108 victory against the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

With their win, the Bucks are now 6-0, and the NBA's last remaining unbeaten team.

Two-time MVP Antetokounmpo led the way with a game-high 31 points on 12-of-23 shooting, and he delivered in an important stretch of the game.

After the Bucks came out of halftime with a 60-52 lead, the Pistons got on a quick run, cutting the margin to one at 62-61, before Antetokounmpo scored his team's first 10 points of the third quarter to steady the ship.

He was supported well by Holiday, who scored 25 points with an efficient long-range shooting performance, finishing seven-of-15 from the field while hitting five of his 11 three-point attempts. He also added 10 assists and seven rebounds

Meanwhile, Lopez was a force in the middle of the paint, scoring 26 points (10-of-16) with nine rebounds and two blocks.

For the Pistons, Cade Cunningham was excellent with 27 points (11-of-23), seven assists and six rebounds, while the fifth overall pick from this year's NBA Draft, Jaden Ivey, had seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to make it a game down the stretch.

Harden narrowly misses career-high 

James Harden was one assist shy of his career-high as he dished out 17 in the Philadelphia 76ers' 118-111 win over the Washington Wizards.

His 17 assists matched his regular-season high, becoming the 10th time he has reached that figure, while he had 18 assists in a playoff game for the Brooklyn Nets against the Boston Celtics in the first round of 2021.

Against the Wizards, Harden also added 23 points (eight-of-17 shooting) and seven rebounds, with Tyrese Maxey finishing as their top-scorer with 28 on 12-of-22 shooting.

Washington's Kristaps Porzingis was the game's highest scorer with 32 points (10-of-17), nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Durant and the Nets get back in the win column

The Brooklyn Nets snapped a four-game losing streak when they defeated the Indiana Pacers 116-109.

Superstar duo Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving led the way as Ben Simmons missed the game with swelling in his knee.

Durant finished with a game-high 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting, while adding nine rebounds and seven assists. Irving was not far behind, posting 28 points (nine-of-19) with six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Second-year wing Chris Duarte was impressive for the Pacers, scoring 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting, hitting five-of-10 from long range.

Kyrie Irving says he will not "stand down" for what he believes in after facing widespread backlash for sharing a film on social media with alleged anti-Semitic connotations.

The 30-year-old tweeted a link to 'Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America' on Thursday, with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai condemning Irving for promoting a film "full of anti-Semitic disinformation".

The Nets and NBA both released strong statements refusing to tolerate "hate speech", while coach Steve Nash said the star guard had been spoken to prior to Saturday's 125-116 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

However, speaking after the game against the Pacers at Barclays Center, Irving suggested he had not done anything wrong and would continue to speak with freedom.

"I'm not here to argue over a person or a culture or a religion and what they believe," Irving said. "Nah, this is what's here. It's on a public platform.

"Did I do anything illegal? Did I hurt anybody? Did I harm anybody? Am I going out and saying that I hate one specific group of people?

"So out of all the judgement that people got for me posting, without talking to me, and then I respect what Joe [Tsai] said, but there has a lot to do with not ego or pride of how proud I am to be [of] African heritage, but also to be living as a free black man here in America, knowing the historical complexities for me to get here.

"So I'm not going to stand down on anything that I believe in. I'm only going to get stronger because I'm not alone. I have a whole army around me."

Irving had earlier defended his actions on Twitter, where his shared post still remains, stating the "anti-Semitic label" on him was "not justified", nor did he intend to disrespect "anyone's beliefs".

The Nets fell to a fourth straight loss of the season against the Pacers, though Nash does not believe the Irving situation influenced Brooklyn's performance.

"I don't think our group is overly affected by the situation," Nash said. "We've had so many situations over the last one or two years that I think we've kind of built an immunity to some of it.

"I also think our guys aren't that familiar with the material."

Star Nets forward Kevin Durant echoed Nash's comments, suggesting Brooklyn would pay no attention to those outside of the locker room.

"Absolutely not," Durant responded when asked if the furore had impacted his side. "The only impact is you guys and everybody outside the locker room."

Steve Nash implored the Brooklyn Nets to "care more" after falling to their fourth straight loss, with Ben Simmons revealing the side met for a players-only meeting to discuss problems.

Indiana Pacers recorded a 125-116 victory on Saturday, the fourth time in six games the Nets have conceded 125 points or more, as Nash's side dropped to 1-5 this season.

Brooklyn host the Pacers again on Monday and Nash outlined his frustrations with the Nets as he urged his team to show more commitment.

"It was a disaster," coach Nash said. "How else do you say it? I didn't see the will, didn't see the desire, or the connectivity necessary to get stops and get rebounds.

"We just got to make a bigger commitment and it's got to mean more and we got to care more.

"We have to look deep inside ourselves and what we want to do. What do we want to accomplish? Do we want to give up on this because it's been difficult early or do we want to stay the course and start to build something?

"We've had a lot of really good days here early in the season and we've lost a couple of games; it shakes our mentality, it has shaken our mentality hard.

"And we're not seeing the same competitive spirit, same purpose, and if we don't clean that up it's not going to get better. It's the only way to get out of difficult positions is to have character and competitive spirit."

The Nets have been largely reliant on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving thus far, the pair scoring 61 points at Barclays Center, and the former acknowledged Brooklyn must improve soon.

"It was a s***ty night," Durant said. "Excuse my language, it was a bad night. We're p***ed. We enjoy basketball.

"We like to win, though, so of course when we lose the games it's going to be a sombre mood in the locker room. But it will change once we start playing some good basketball.

"We got a lot of basketball to be played ahead of us."

While Nash urged his team to up their effort levels, Simmons suggested the Nets are confronting their problems after a meeting between the players following the defeat.

"It was honest," Simmons said of the meeting. "We had a conversation. Obviously, I'm not going to talk about it, but it was honest.

"That's what winning teams do. Hold each other accountable, be able to be open and talk to your team-mates, and respect that and be men."

Stephen Curry scored 31 points with 11 rebounds in his annual homecoming that ended in an overtime defeat for the Golden State Warriors, losing 120-113 to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.

Golden State had led by four points in the final minute of regulation, before P.J. Washington hit a jumper, followed by a Dennis Smith Jr layup to tie the game.

Curry missed a tough three-point attempt to win the game at the end of regulation time, and airballed another shot in overtime. The Warriors point guard finished with three-of-13 from beyond the arc, making 10-of-22 from the field.

The Hornets, who were without LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, were rampant in overtime, with Washington finishing the game with 31 points and Jalen McDaniels draining a crucial triple. Gordon Hayward made a strong contribution with 23 points and four assists.

Golden State shot at 29.5 per cent from three-point range, with Klay Thompson battling on one-of-seven shooting from beyond the arc in his 11 points.

Jordan Poole made four-of-11 attempts in his 24 points off the bench for the Warriors, who are 0-2 on the road this season and 3-3 overall.

Clutch Embiid lifts 76ers to back-to-back wins

Joel Embiid scored 25 points but none were better than his tiebreaking three-point shot as the Philadelphia 76ers made it back-to-back wins with a 114-109 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Embiid drained his wide-open three-point shot to put the 76ers up 112-109 with 18.1 seconds remaining in the game as Philadelphia improved to 3-4 after their 1-4 start to the season.

The 76ers center had seven rebounds and four assists, while James Harden contributed 15 points on two-of-13 field shooting with 11 assists, while Tyrese Maxey scored 14 points after posting a career-high 44 on Friday.

Nets woes worsen with Pacers shock

The Brooklyn Nets' defensive woes continued as they fell to a fourth straight loss, going down 125-116 to the Indiana Pacers for whom rookie Bennedict Mathurin scored a career-high 32 points.

The Nets conceded another big score, averaging 124.5 points against during their four-game losing skid, with Kevin Durant contributing 26 points with five rebounds and four blocks.

Kyrie Irving, who has come under fire for appearing to show support to an antisemitic film this week, responded on the court with 35 points including five triples with six assists.

Kyrie Irving is being met with severe backlash, including from owner of the Brooklyn Nets Joe Tsai, after sharing a link on social media to a movie "full of anti-Semitic disinformation".

On Thursday, Irving tweeted out a link to a movie on Amazon Prime called 'Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America' – his tweet remains up as of Saturday - and he also shared the same image to his Instagram story.

The 2018 movie is based on a 2015 book of the same name, and includes troubling assertions.

In a team statement, the Nets said: "The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech. 

"We believe that in these situations, our first action must be open, honest dialogue.

"We thank those, including the ADL [Anti-Defamation League], who have been supportive during this time."

Tsai also released his own statement that he posted on his personal Twitter account.

"I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation," he said. 

"I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion."

He then posted a follow-up tweet saying "this is bigger than basketball".

Irving is yet to comment on the situation, which is sure to dominate the lead-up to the Nets' home game against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving left his side's 129-125 overtime loss against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday with an appreciation for his opposition and MVP favourite Luka Doncic.

Doncic became only the 10th player in the history of the NBA to record his third career 40-point triple-double, finishing with 41 points (14-of-28 shooting) in his 41 minutes while adding 14 assists and 11 rebounds.

The Nets were able to force overtime after Kevin Durant tied the game at 112-112 when he dunked with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation, and instead of allowing Doncic to attempt the game-winner, they forced it out of his hands resulting in a missed Reggie Bullock three-pointer.

In the overtime period, Doncic was not fazed by the Nets' desperation to restrict his shot attempts, scoring two field goals and providing the assists for all four of the other Mavericks baskets in the extra session.

All of the stars shone brightly in the contest, as Durant had 37 points on 12-of-21 shooting, while Irving finished with 39 points on 14-of-31 shooting, and in his post-game press conference Irving compared the experience to that of a pick-up game at the park.

"It's like being at the park playing five-on-five," he said. "Luka brings his guys, me and [Durant] bring our guys, and you know where most of the offense is going through.

"On the defensive end you just want to take the challenge – a few times I got switched onto Luka and I felt I did a good job… there's only so much you can do, but you just try to make it tough.

"It feels good when you can go back-and-forth, but obviously we just want to come out with the win.

"He's a great player, it's a pleasure always to go against him."

Irving was not finished there, diving into what makes Doncic and the Mavericks such a unique puzzle to solve, saying they have "traits of a great team".

"The first thing we need to discuss is how long he's been playing professional basketball," he said. "I think it's been since he was 14 or 15 years old.

"He's used to seeing so many defenses, so many different roles he has played, and now that he's in the NBA you just see how he plays at an incredible pace.

"He makes great decisions, most of the offense goes through him, he takes his time a lot, and gets to the free throw line. He maximises all of the rules of the game of basketball, and uses them to his advantage.

"All of the rest of the guys around him play their roles really well – they're a good team, they're only getting better, and I'm glad we got to see a team like this.

"Down the line, the continuity they have and the trust, because they've been through certain battles – you can see it. They don't panic. That's just good to see, traits of a great team." 

Nets coach Steve Nash added to the chorus of praise for the 23-year-old Slovenian, saying it does not matter how predictable the Mavericks' offense is going to be if it is Doncic running it.

"He makes others better," he said. "He makes his teammates better, he makes plays for others.

"14 assists, not to mention all the other times he probably gets the 'hockey assist'. He puts an incredible amount of pressure on.

"All they do is [give it to] him over-and-over again in pick-and-roll, get a matchup and make a play. That's a lot of responsibility for him, and he handles it almost every night."

With his on-court interview immediately after the win, Doncic called it "almost impossible" to slow down Irving and Durant, and when asked how he feels about his gaudy stat-line, he said "as long as we win, I'm good".

The result sees the Nets fall to 1-4, while the Mavericks are now 2-2.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash claimed Giannis Antetokounmpo's forearm struck Patty Mills' throat leading to his furious reaction and first-ever ejection from Wednesday's 110-89 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Nash was thrown out of the game with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter with the Nets up 70-66 after a non-call from the officials when Antetokounmpo drove forward on Mills who was floored.

The Nets coach was incensed by the non-call and yelled at the officials leading to a technical foul from Josh Tiven. That only further irritated Nash who had to be restrained by assistant coaches and players as he argued with the officials, leading to his ejection.

"I was just standing up for our guys," Nash told reporters. "I thought Patty took a forearm in the throat from Giannis right in front of the ref.

"I didn’t think that was fair. I don’t think I was overly demonstrative. I was upset that I got a technical."

When asked why Nash got given the technical, he added: "There wasn’t an explanation, it's a lot going on out there. What happened", happened. I said my piece on the court. That's really all there is."

Kevin Durant, who scored 33 points with six rebounds and two blocks, offered his support to Nash.

"You've got to handle yourself differently as a coach but sometimes you just want to go out there and fight for your guys and that’s what I thought he did tonight," Durant told reporters.

Meanwhile, Ben Simmons struggled again with four points on two-of-seven field shooting with none-of-two from the free-throw line, along with four personal fouls. Simmons has nine field goals and 18 personal fouls in four games this season.

Nets teammate Kyrie Irving was overheard at one point in the game demanding Simmons take a shot. Irving would not be drawn into discussing his under-fire teammate's form.

"If we're going to come in and be honest as a team, I'm not going to come in and be critical of what Ben's done right or done wrong every single night," Irving said. "He's a basketball player, he's a professional, he has the skills to be a great professional, he's done it in the past and he hasn't played in two years.

"You guys keep coming here and asking me like 'what about Ben, what about Ben?' he hasn’t played in two years, give him a f***** chance, stay on him. We're here just to give him positive affirmation while he's out there."

The result moved the Nets to 1-3, while the Bucks are 3-0, with Antetokounmpo in dominant form with 43 points, backing up 44 against the Houston Rockets on Saturday for the most productive two-game span in his 10-year NBA career. The Greek forward scored 34 of his 43 points in the second half.

Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said: "That's vintage Giannis. That's probably about the best. He's had a lot of great performances. That second half he did everything, he was phenomenal… It's hard to put the right words on how good he was in the second half."

Giannis Antetokounmpo went up a gear in the second half while Steve Nash was ejected for the first time as a head coach as the Milwaukee Bucks downed the Brooklyn Nets 110-99 on Wednesday.

Antetokounmpo scored 34 of his 43 points in the second half – 28 of those coming in the paint - as the Bucks put the foot down with a 67-44 after half-time at Fiserv Forum. 

The Greek forward backed up his 44 points against the Houston Rockets on Saturday, meaning his 87 points in their past two games is the most across a two-game span in his 10-year NBA career.

The Nets were leading 70-66 in the third quarter when Nash was ejected after being incensed by a non-call from the officials after Antetokounmpo bumped into Patty Mills.

Kevin Durant scored 33 points on 10-of-23 shooting from the field with six rebounds and five turnovers, while Kyrie Irving added 27 points for the Nets who led by as much as 12 points.

Ben Simmons battled again with four points on two-of-seven field shooting with none-of-two from the stripe, along with four personal fouls. Simmons has nine field goals and 18 personal fouls in four games this season.

The Bucks shot at 56 per cent from the field in the second half, with Antetokounmpo supported well by Bobby Portis with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

LeBron's Lakers' winless start drags on

LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers slumped to an 0-4 start after Nikola Jokic put in a dominant display to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 110-99 victory.

Jokic scored 31 points with 13 rebounds and nine assists for the Nugs, who were far better defensively. The Serbian led both teams outright in points, rebounds and assists for the 85th time in his career, which is the most by a center in NBA history.

James, who fell to an 0-4 start for the second time of his career and first since his 2003-04 rookie season, managed 19 points with seven rebounds and nine assists, while Anthony Davis had 22 points with 14 rebounds. Russell Westbrook was out injured.

The Lakers' NBA-worst three-point struggles continued, albeit with a slightly improved eight-of-30 (27 per cent) from beyond the arc.

Sixers' struggles continue as Trent Jr sparkles

The Philadelphia 76ers' early season struggles continued too, going down 119-109 to the Toronto Raptors, leaving them with a 1-4 record.

The Sixers' record is their fifth 1-4 or worse start through five games. Philadelphia were 1-4 in 2017-18 yet made the playoffs, but missed out on the other three occasions when they were 0-3.

Joel Embiid scored 31 points with five rebounds and Tyrese Maxey impressed with 31 points including four three-pointers. Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr bettered him with five triples, scoring 27 points, while Pascal Siakam added 20 points and 13 assists.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets both have big ambitions but have experienced contrasting fortunes to start the new NBA season.

Milwaukee tasted victory in the opening two games of the season as the Bucks plot their path to regaining the title they won in 2021.

Brooklyn dreamed of reaching such heights when they acquired Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in 2019 before then landing James Harden in a trade in 2020.

But Harden has since departed, Ben Simmons coming the other way in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers last season, and the Nets' current big three have been unable to prevent a 1-2 start.

Durant and Irving both racked up 37 points in their defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, however, and they will look to continue that kind of form to threaten an upset against one of the preseason favourites.

Should the Nets come through what promises to be a compelling encounter in Milwaukee, it may signal better days ahead for a franchise who have as yet not reaped the benefits of their collection of superstar talent.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Milwaukee Bucks – Brook Lopez

Lopez, the former first-round pick of the Nets, is already having a critical defensive impact for the Bucks this season.

He leads the NBA with 3.5 blocked shots per game and has a defensive rating of 94.6 that is bettered only by Antetokounmpo across the Bucks' first two games.

Milwaukee will likely require Lopez to continue his strong start if the Bucks are to contain Durant and Irving.

Brooklyn Nets – Ben Simmons

Simmons has quickly become something of a punchline for the Nets in three games this season.

He fouled out in 23 minutes in the loss to the Grizzlies, marking the second time he has done so this term.

Contributing little on the offensive end, Simmons is averaging 5.7 points per game while an average plus-minus of minus-15 is the worst on the team.

Going forward, Simmons will need to provide much better support to Durant and Irving on both ends of the floor for the Nets to be contenders, and there is no better game in which to start offering that assistance.

KEY BATTLES – Giannis and KD's early blockbuster

There are more granular elements of a game that often prove decisive, but sometimes it just comes down to a battle of two superstars.

That appears likely to be the case here as Antetokounmpo and Durant go head-to-head with both already excelling on the offensive end.

Antetokounmpo is averaging 32.5 points per game compared to Durant's 32.0. The key difference that has led to their two teams' contrasting records is the superior support Antetokounmpo has received, but if both are on song then this promises to be a bewitching contest.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The Bucks have won five of their last six against the Nets, though Brooklyn did claim a road win last season, prevailing 126-123 behind a 38-point effort from Irving.

The Memphis Grizzlies duo of Ja Morant and Desmond Bane outdueled Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets in a high-scoring 134-124 win on Monday night.

Both Morant (12-of-22 shooting) and Bane (14-of-21) finished with 38 points, combining to hit 12 of their 17 three-point attempts as the Grizzlies rode a 45-point third quarter to the win. The pair's combined total of 76 points set a new Grizzlies record for most points scored by a duo in a single game.

Morant, the reigning Most Improved Player, is firmly in the mix for MVP this season and he added eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals to his gaudy stat-line.

The Nets led 69-64 at halftime as Durant and Irving were also both on their way to big games, with both scoring 37 points as Durant shot 14-of-20 from the field and Irving was 14-of-24 in an offensive exhibition.

But the Grizzlies' third-quarter explosion was too emphatic, with Bane scoring 19 of his points in the period while the Nets had 28 as a team.

Embattled Nets All-Star Ben Simmons struggled, fouling out for the second time in the Nets' first three games, while also committing five turnovers with his eight assists. 

With the win, the Grizzlies are now 3-1, while the Nets fall to 1-2.

Simons catches fire in Trail Blazers win

Fresh off signing his $100million extension in the offseason, 23-year-old Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons produced his first game-winning performance of the season as his third-quarter explosion led a 135-110 home win against the Denver Nuggets.

The Trail Blazers – who at 4-0 join the 2-0 Milwaukee Bucks as the only two remaining unbeaten teams – largely shut down reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic, holding him to nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists as he battled foul trouble all night.

Damian Lillard top-scored with 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting for the Blazers, adding eight assists and six rebounds, but it was Simons' third quarter that separated the teams.

In just over five-and-a-half minutes, Simons scored 22 of his 29 points, including a stretch where he made six consecutive three-pointers as he helped the Blazers score 80 in the second half. It is the Trail Blazers' first 4-0 start to the season since 1999.

Rockets youngsters hand the Jazz their first loss

Houston Rockets fans received a glimpse into the future in their 114-108 win against the previously undefeated Utah Jazz, with top-three draft picks Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr both delivering strong performances.

Both players shot at least 50 per cent from both the field and long range, and combined to hit all nine of their free throws. 

Green posted 25 points on nine-of-16 shooting, hitting four-of-eight from deep, while rookie Smith had 21 points (six-of-10 shooting, three-of-five from long range), nine rebounds and three blocks.

Vassell flashes star potential for the Spurs

Third-year wing Devin Vassell caught the eye with a starring performance in the San Antonio Spurs' 115-106 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Vassell – the 11th pick from the 2020 draft – has shown significantly more playmaking this season since the departure of Dejounte Murray in a trade to the Atlanta Hawks, and against the Timberwolves he dished off a career-high seven assists.

As well as showing his ability to create for his teammates, the six-foot-six wing with superb defensive skills showcased his all-round game, hitting five-of-10 from three-point range on his way to 22 points, and he also grabbed nine rebounds.

Ben Simmons is "starting to show the player he can be", according to his coach Steve Nash after the Australian played a role in the Brooklyn Nets' win against the Toronto Raptors.

Simmons played over 32 minutes at Barclays Center on Friday, scoring six points and recording 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Kevin Durant (30 points) and Kyrie Irving (27) led the scoring for the Nets in a 109-105 victory, edging out Toronto despite an impressive triple-double from Pascal Siakam (37 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists).

Simmons played his first game in 16 months on Wednesday in defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans and struggled to make an impact, fouling out during his 23-minute appearance.

He was much-improved in Friday's win, though, and Nash expressed his pride for the 26-year-old, saying post-game: "From the jump he was more aggressive - he got in the paint, every time he gets in the paint he causes problems. 

"He's starting to show the player he can be, and I still think he's got a ways to go, so really proud of him. He shook off the first night, and I thought he was much more aggressive in an important game for us."

The player himself revealed Nash has been telling him to "Just attack, just be me," adding: "It's easy to say, but to go and do it, it's tough. But that's on me. Keep pushing myself."

A stunning 49-point outburst from Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant carried his side back from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat the Houston Rockets 129-122 on Friday.

Morant had 18 points and six assists in the first half, but the rest of the Grizzlies were struggling, falling into a 42-26 hole early in the second quarter before trimming the margin to 70-62 at halftime.

The second pick from the 2021 NBA Draft, Jalen Green, showed why Rockets fans are so excited as he piled up 33 points on 13-of-21 shooting while going four-of-five from long range, but Morant was matching him step-for-step before running away late.

Memphis won the fourth quarter 34-22 as the Rockets ran out of gas, with Morant finishing 17-of-26 from the field, and five-of-six from long range, while adding eight assists, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal. He had 31 in the second half, and only a missed free throw in the fourth quarter kept him from scoring 50.

In an eye-catching performance, second-year center Alperen Sengun tallied 23 points (nine-of-13 shooting) with 12 rebounds in 27 minutes off the Houston bench.

Beal wins it for the Wizards

The Washington Wizards are now 2-0 after a Bradley Beal game-winner with seven seconds remaining handed his side a 102-100 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago trailed by nine points with less than five minutes to play, but from that point on DeMar DeRozan dropped 11 of his 32 points (11-of-23 shooting), tying things up at 98-98 with a minute remaining after a pair of free throws.

Beal answered back with a layup, and DeRozan leveled the score again with a dunk, before Beal sank the dagger to finish with 19 points (nine-of-14 shooting) and eight assists. DeRozan had a chance to win it with a three-pointer on the buzzer, but could not deliver.

Brown and Tatum carry the Celtics

The combination of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum proved too much for the Miami Heat to overcome, with the duo combining for 57 points in the Boston Celtics' 111-104 triumph.

Tatum finished with 29 points on 10-of-22 shooting, getting to the line and hitting all seven of his free throws, while Brown was more efficient from the field, hitting 12-of-18 shots for 28 points after they scored 35 each in Boston's season opener.

The Heat could not survive in the minutes center Bam Adebayo had to sit down, as the big man posted 19 points (eight-of-11 shooting) with eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and a plus/minus of plus 20 in his 35 minutes. Unfortunately for Miami, they were minus 26 in the 12 minutes he was on the bench.

Simmons banks first win as a Net

The Brooklyn Nets won their first game with Ben Simmons as they defeated the Toronto Raptors 109-105 at home.

Simmons was solid without contributing much on the scoreboard, finishing with six points (three-of-five shooting), but he grabbed 10 rebounds, dished eight assists and blocked two shots.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant carried the scoring load, as Irving top-scored, producing 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting while adding seven assists, while Durant hit eight-of-18 shots for 27 points and six assists.

The New Orleans Pelicans sent a statement to the rest of the league with a 130-108 pounding of the Brooklyn Nets in their opening game of the season on Wednesday night.

Playing away from home, the Pelicans enjoyed a red-hot start, with eight points in the first quarter from Zion Williamson helping to build a 32-14 lead at the first break.

The Nets showed some fight in the second quarter, putting up 36 points in the frame to trim the margin to 58-50 as Kevin Durant had 21 in the first half, but the Pelicans came out of halftime and dropped 40 points in the third period to put the game to bed.

In his first game since May 2021, Williamson looked in tremendous shape, scoring 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting while adding nine rebounds, three assists and four steals. 

He was supported in fine fashion by Brandon Ingram, who top-scored for the Pelicans with 28 points (10-of-17 shooting), seven rebounds and five assists, and C.J. McCollum chipped in 21 points and six assists as well.

For the Nets, Durant showed he is still arguably the best scorer in the league with 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting, and he also tallied four blocks in an impressive two-way performance despite his team's shortcomings.

Box-office Banchero validates top draft selection 

Paolo Banchero was not thought to be an option for the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick until the day of the NBA Draft, but he showed exactly why they took him with a spectacular debut in a 113-109 loss on the road to the Detroit Pistons.

Banchero shattered the Magic record for points by a debuting rookie – previously set at 13 – with 27 on 11-of-18 shooting, and he also grabbed nine rebounds and dished five assists in a complete performance, posting a plus/minus of plus two in his 35 minutes.

It was a great debut for rookie Jaden Ivey as well, who the Pistons selected with the fifth overall pick, as he put up 19 points on eight-of-15 shooting with four assists and three steals.

Ivey complemented last year's top pick Cade Cunningham beautifully, with Cunningham running the show on his way to 18 points (six-of-16 shooting) and 10 assists, while newly acquired Bojan Bogdanovic top-scored for Detroit with 24 points on eight-of-16 shooting after hitting six of his first seven three-point attempts.

Morant lifts the Grizzlies in overtime

Ja Morant had his potential game-winner wiped off the board due to a contentious charging foul, but his Memphis Grizzlies got the job done at home in overtime to defeat the New York Knicks 115-112.

Morant was the game's top-scorer with 34 points on 11-of-24 shooting, and his nine assists was equal with New York's Jalen Brunson for the most in the contest.

Starting in place of the injured Jaren Jackson Jr, Santi Aldama gave a good performance with 18 points (seven-of-14 shooting) and 11 rebounds, while Julius Randle was the Knicks' best player, scoring 24 points (nine-of-16 shooting) with 11 rebounds and six assists.

Mitchell shines in Cavaliers debut despite loss

The Cleveland Cavaliers were treated to a terrific debut from star offseason acquisition Donovan Mitchell, but it was not enough to overcome an early Darius Garland injury in a 108-105 road loss to the Toronto Raptors.

All-Star point guard Garland only played 13 minutes before his night ended with a rough poke to the eye in the second quarter. Taking over some of Garland's point guard responsibilities, Mitchell dished off nine assists as well as leading the game in scoring with 31 on 12-of-21 shooting.

All five Raptors starters scored at least 15 points in classic Toronto fashion, with Pascal Siakam tallying 23 on nine-of-20 shooting with 11 rebounds and four steals, while reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes had 15 points (seven-of-14 shooting) with seven assists and a game-high plus/minus of plus 20 in his 32 minutes.

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