The Golden State Warriors (11-11) have a golden opportunity to climb back above .500 when they host the 9-12 Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

Both teams entered the season with lofty expectations, but have sputtered out of the gates, struggling in areas they are meant to excel in.

With four championships since 2015, the Warriors have been widely regarded as the greatest shooting team the game has ever seen, but the underlying factor of their greatest years has always been their defense.

Boasting the league's best defensive efficiency in their 2014-15 championship season, second-best for their 2016-17 title, and 11th for their 2017-18 crown – the Warriors rediscovered their dominance on that end of the floor this past season to finish as the second-best defense en route to another ring.

That has cratered this campaign, with Golden State currently allowing 113.4 points per 100 possessions for the 21st-ranked defense.

What that means is that some of the Warriors' point totals from their eighth-ranked offense are going to waste, having scored over 110 points in seven of their 11 losses so far.

Meanwhile, the Bulls have committed to offensively-minded scorers DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Zach Lavine as their core trio, but currently own the 22nd-best offense.

In a clash between two sides struggling to establish an identity, the result could simply come down to which side's X-factor shows up – or more specifically, which one shoots the lights out.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Golden State Warriors - Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson is a Warriors legend, a future Hall-of-Famer and one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA – but he has never been less efficient than he is right now.

However, when Thompson is feeling it this season, the Warriors win. Shooting 35.5 per cent from the field and 32.5 per cent from deep in losses, Thompson's numbers skyrocket to 43.7 per cent from the field and 44.7 per cent on three-pointers in the 10 wins he has played in.

Only the Boston Celtics score a higher percentage of their points from three-pointers (41.7 per cent) than the Warriors (41.2 per cent), so it makes sense that when their secondary sharpshooter catches fire, good things happen.

Chicago Bulls - Zach Lavine

While the Warriors rely on a heavy dose of three-pointers to put up their points, the Bulls are the opposite, leading the league in their percentage of points that come from the mid-range (14.6 per cent).

This is primarily due to DeRozan's affinity for the mid-range, and in turn, it leaves them 28th in the percentage of points that come from the three-point line (27.4 per cent).

To outgun the Warriors, you need to score big, and the Bulls' best bet to get hot from deep is Zach Lavine.

Making 2.8 threes per game, he is the only Bulls player averaging more than Coby White's 1.5, and his win/loss splits are eerily similar to Thompson's.

He is hitting 3.6 threes at 43.9 per cent in wins, and 2.1 threes at 26.4 per cent in losses, indicating his outsized importance and responsibility for the interior-heavy Bulls offense.

KEY BATTLE - Can the Bulls slow down the Warriors' ball movement?

While the Bulls' offense has been disappointing, their defense has actually been a pleasant surprise, climbing from the 23rd-ranked unit last season up to the 11th-best this time around.

Golden State's porous defense and second-highest pace in the league could provide a perfect environment for the Bulls to put up a big score, so it may come down to if they can force Stephen Curry to beat them by himself.

While Curry has been spectacular, averaging 31.4 points, the Warriors lead the league in assists per game at 29.7, so if the Bulls can figure out how to force the Warriors into isolations and restrict their quick passing, they can force the reigning champions to play the game out of their comfort zone.

 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

This will be the first meeting between the Warriors and Bulls this campaign after two fixtures in the 2021-22 season – resulting in two convincing Golden State wins.

The champions-in-waiting hammered the Bulls 119-93 last November, before following it up with a 138-96 thrashing in January, making it 10 consecutive victories against Chicago dating back to 2017.

Devin Booker lauded the support of the Phoenix Suns' adoring fans after being serenaded with chants of "MVP" during his 51-point showing against the Chicago Bulls.

Having put up 44 points in Monday's win over the Sacramento Kings, Booker continued his hot streak as the Suns secured a sixth victory on the bounce, downing the Bulls 132-113.

The Footprint Arena resonated with chants for Booker to land the MVP prize, and the 26-year-old was loving it.

"It's the best," Booker said about the home crowd.

"I don't know how many sell-out crowds that is in a row, but it's impressive.

"Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, it doesn't matter what day of the week it is. They show up and show out."

Booker added 26 of his 51 points in the third quarter, including making five-of-five from three-point range.

It was the fourth 25-point quarter in Booker's career, tied with Kobe Bryant for second most in the past 25 years.

Booker shot at 80 per cent from the field, making six-of-seven from three-point range, while he also added four rebounds and six assists before sitting out most of the final quarter.

It marked Booker's fourth career 50-point game, which is the most in franchise history.

"It felt like a double-sized rim out there," Booker said. "If I rise up, it's going in."

Devin Booker continued his hot scoring run with a season-high 51 points in only 31 minutes as the Phoenix Suns won 132-113 over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

Booker, who scored 44 points against the Sacramento Kings on Monday, added 26 of his 51 points in the third quarter, including making five-of-five from three-point range.

It was the fourth 25-point quarter in Booker's career, tied with Kobe Bryant for second most in the past 25 years.

Booker shot at 80 per cent from the field, making six-of-seven from three-point range, while he also added four rebounds and six assists before sitting out most of the final quarter.

It marked Booker's fourth career 50-point game, which is the most in franchise history.

Suns center Deandre Ayton contributed 30 points with 14 rebounds and two blocks as Phoenix improved to 15-6.

The Bulls fall to 9-12, with DeMar DeRozan top scoring with 29 points with seven rebounds.

Tatum stars in front of royals with 49-point haul

Jayson Tatum scored a season-high 49 points as the Boston Celtics maintained their perfect home record in November with a 134-121 victory over the Miami Heat.

The Celtics small forward scored 28 of his points in the first half, which is the most in any half this season, while he also had 11 rebounds, three assists and two assists. Jaylen Brown added 26 points with seven rebounds in a game attended by the Prince and Princess of Wales, who sat courtside.

Tatum brought up his fifth 45-point game, which is second behind Larry Bird (19) in Celtics history, having moved ahead of Paul Pierce (four).

Hot Nets above .500 for first time this season

The Brooklyn Nets claimed their fifth straight home win as Kevin Durant scored 39 points in a 113-107 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Durant managed a game-high 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting with five rebounds and five assists, while Kyrie Irving added 15 of his 27 points in the final quarter.

The win improved the Nets to 12-11, moving above .500 for the first time this season on the back of three straight wins.

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan agreed a contract extension before the 2022-23 season began last month, the team's public relations staff have confirmed.

Donovan signed a four-year deal when he took charge of the Bulls in September 2020, and led the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 last season.

The Bulls posted a 46-36 record in 2021-22, making it their first winning season since 2015-16, while they have won three of their last four games to improve to 9-11 following an inconsistent start to the new campaign.

Donovan's original contact with the six-time NBA champions was set to expire in 2024, but reports suggest the 57-year-old's new deal will run for several more seasons.

The Bulls led the Eastern Conference for much of last campaign and made the postseason despite guard Lonzo Ball suffering a serious knee injury – which has kept him out since January.

Donovan coached the Oklahoma City Thunder for five years before making the move to Chicago, leading the team to the Western Conference playoffs in each of his five seasons at the helm.

Jayson Tatum shook off injury to get the better of Luka Doncic as the Boston Celtics blew out the Dallas Mavericks in a 125-112 victory, having led by as many as 27 points on Wednesday.

Tatum, who had been listed as questionable with a sprained ankle, scored 37 points with 13 rebounds and five assists, while Jaylen Brown contributed 31 points on 13-of-18 field shooting.

Doncic scored a game-high 42 points with eight rebounds and nine assists but gave up five turnovers, and was blocked by Tatum in the fourth quarter.

Tatum and Doncic went head to head in the final quarter after the Mavs closed to 117-107. The Celtics forward first dunked, then made two free-throws after being fouled by the Slovenian, before blocking Doncic's driving lay-up.

Brown drained a three-point attempt after Marcus Smart's assist and suddenly it was 124-107 and game over.

Smart had 13 points with nine assists, while center Al Horford hit four-of-four from three-point range in his 14 points.

The Celtics moved to an NBA-best 14-4 record with the victory, while the Mavs suffered their fifth loss in six road games to fall to 9-8.

Wiggins stars as Warriors get back to winning ways

All-Star Andrew Wiggins enjoyed a season-high game with 31 points including six three-pointers as the Golden State Warriors won 124-107 over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Stephen Curry scored 22 points, making four-of-10 from beyond the arc, with six rebounds and nine assists as the Warriors improved to 9-10.

The result ended the three-game winning run of the Clippers, who were without All-Stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Marcus Morris Sr top scored for the Clippers with 19 points.

Bulls topple Bucks to claim another big scalp

The Chicago Bulls claimed another big scalp only a few days after ending the Celtics' nine-game winning run, with a 118-113 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

DeMar DeRozan starred for the Bulls with 36 points and eight assists, while Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Chicago trailed 109-106 with 1:15 remaining before Coby White sunk two three-pointers to sink the Bucks, who gave up 19 turnovers for the game.

Zach LaVine was relieved to put "a career-worst night" behind him by galvanising the Chicago Bulls for a victory that denied the Boston Celtics a 10-game winning streak.

The two-time All-Star had a lousy game against the Orlando Magic on Friday, tallying just four points, but he was back on it as the Bulls snatched a 121-107 victory over Boston.

Zach Lavine was five-of-10 on three-pointers for his 22 points, but it was his all-round effort that most impressed Bulls coach Billy Donovan.

The Celtic were on a nine-game roll, but they were no match for the Bulls on Monday.

LaVine said: "We've lost a lot in a row and they've won a lot in a row. I think we're a really good team, but we go through little lapses or times where we play bad. That's how fast the game can change."

He said of his sorry showing against Orlando: "Everybody has a career-worst night. I guess that was my night."

Coach Donovan commended the 27-year-old for putting the misfiring Magic game to the back of his mind, and refocusing.

Donovan said of LaVine: "I thought he played a great game tonight. I've got an enormous amount of confidence in his offense, in his ability to shoot the ball. He's done that his entire career, he's a lead at it.

"That will come back as he continues to play, and we're doing something differently offensively that he's having to work through, get accustomed to.

"There's a lot of things he can do to impact a game. Even though I think he missed his first three shots, it's probably not going to show up on the stats sheets but he generated a lot of open shots for our guys.

"He didn't shoot the ball at the percentage rate that he normally does, but I'm not worried about it.

"I thought his fingerprints were all over the game in a lot of different ways. He still got 22 points, but he did it defensively, he did it with his passing, he tried to get in there and rebound, he made good decisions.

"I thought he did a lot of extremely positive things."

DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 28 points on 11-of-24 shooting, hitting all three of his long-range attempts.

The Milwaukee Bucks own the second-best record in the NBA after their 119-111 home win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday gave them 12 wins from their first 16 games.

With six-time All-Star Damian Lillard ruled out for the Blazers due to a calf injury, the Bucks were strong favourites, and they used a dominant third quarter to pull away.

On the back of a big game from Anfernee Simons, scoring 29 points on 12-of-23 shooting, Portland trailed by only two at halftime – before Giannis Antetokounmpo took over.

The former Defensive Player of the Year and two-time league MVP controlled the third quarter at both ends, helping to hold the Blazers to 18 points, while scoring 19 himself on his way to a game-high 37 on 16-of-24 shooting. 

While Antetokounmpo is once again a Defensive Player of the Year candidate – having made four consecutive All-Defensive First Teams – perhaps his biggest competition is his own teammate, Brook Lopez.

In his 15th season, the seven-foot Lopez is averaging a career-high and league-leading 2.6 blocks per game, and he improved upon that figure with five blocks and a steal against Portland.

Having played in 15 games this season, it is the fourth time he has tallied at least five blocks, and the Bucks are undefeated in those contests.

Milwaukee have made Fiserv Forum a fortress this season, now 9-1 at home and 3-3 on the road.

Brunson out-duels Gilgeous-Alexander

Jalen Brunson continues to make a case as the most impactful free agent signing from the offseason, scoring a season-high 34 points in a 129-119 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

After leaving the Dallas Mavericks, Brunson is averaging career-highs in points per game (20.0), assists (6.5), steals (1.2) and minutes (32.5). His 34 points against the Thunder tied his most ever in a regular season game, although he had 41 in a playoff win against the Utah Jazz in April.

He shot 14-of-20 from the field, and in an encouraging sign, backcourt partner R.J. Barrett also had an efficient outing, scoring 25 on 10-of-16 shooting.

Fourth in the NBA in scoring at 31.1 points per game, Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had another 30 on nine-of-22 shooting, adding seven assists and five rebounds.

Bulls snap nine-game Celtics winning streak

The Boston Celtics had their winning streak cut short one game shy of double-figures, going down 121-107 to the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago's shooting was the story of the game, hitting 14-of-29 three-pointers (48.3 per cent), including their starters combining to shoot 11-of-19. 

Traditionally a mid-range scorer, DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 28 points on 11-of-24 shooting, hitting all three of his long-range attempts, while Zach Lavine was five-of-10 on three-pointers for his 22 points.

Zach LaVine conceded he had a poor night against the Orlando Magic but questioned the decision to leave him off the court in the closing stages as the Chicago Bulls lost 108-107 on Friday.

DeMar DeRozan top scored with 41 as the Bulls fought back in the second half after trailing by 14 at half-time, but the hosts ended up throwing away a four-point advantage with 20 seconds left.

Two-time All-Star LaVine had a night to forget, scoring four points from over 25 minutes on the court as he made just one from 14 field goal attempts, leading to him being left out in the last few minutes by coach Billy Donovan.

"I got to do a better job at the beginning of the game to make my shots, but you play a guy like me down the stretch," LaVine after the game. "That's what I do.

"Do I like the decision? No. Do I have to live with it? Yeah. Be ready to put my shoes on and play the next game.

"Just ask [Donovan] what his decision was, what made him think that way. 

"Obviously, he wanted to go with some other guys out there, I wasn't having the best night shooting, but it's a tough one."

Donovan also cut a frustrated figure after the home defeat, and insisted it was a specific call for the situation in-game.

"I feel like my job, my responsibility in those moments is to try to make the best decisions for the team," Donovan said. "And I thought that was the best decision at the time.

"To me, I don't look at it as anything else but the one-off game where this is what was going on. I know he wanted to be out there.

"There's probably not very many games in his career where [LaVine] hasn't been out there in those moments, but that group was playing well and it gave us a chance."

The Miami Heat only had seven available players on Friday, and eventually ran out of steam in a gutsy 107-106 road loss against the Washington Wizards despite a heroic performance from Kyle Lowry.

Miami's top two players, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, were both absent along with a cast of their teammates after a quick succession of injuries, forcing their available players into extended minutes.

Lowry played 46 of a possible 48 minutes in regulation, but a late Kyle Kuzma three-pointer tied the game at 104-104 with 15 seconds left, forcing overtime.

With four of their five starters reaching the 40-minute mark in overtime, fatigue caught up with the visitors as they failed to hit a single field goal in the extra period.

Their only two points came from two Lowry free throws, capping his 24-point, 15-assist, 10-rebound triple double in 51 minutes of play.

Kristaps Porzingis scored the only basket of overtime, giving him 20 points and 17 rebounds, while Bradley Beal top-scored for the Wizards with 27 on nine-of-18 shooting.

The win for the Wizards moves them to 9-7, while the Heat fall to 7-9 as they desperately await healthy reinforcements.

Suggs delivers dagger in Magic win

Second-year point guard Jalen Suggs is beginning to fulfill the potential that saw him as a top-five pick in the 2021 draft, hitting the game-winning three-pointer in a 108-107 win against the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls received polarizing performances from their two star wings, with Zach Lavine struggling mightily on his way to one-of-14 shooting, while DeMar DeRozan stepped up with 41 points on 16-of-30 shooting.

DeRozan's big game had the Bulls up 103-107 with under 30 seconds remaining, but two made free throws for Suggs were followed by two misses by Bulls center Nikola Vucevic, giving the Magic a chance to steal it.

Suggs was determined to be the one taking the last shot, stepping back confidently for a three-pointer and nailing it to finish with 20 points (seven-of-16 shooting) and eight assists. It is the first time this season Suggs has posted back-to-back 20-point games, and he has at least six assists and five rebounds in each.

Embiid finishes Maxey's strong start against the Bucks

The Philadelphia 76ers had a different star in each half of their 110-102 home win against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Tyrese Maxey was the focal point early, putting up 24 points on nine-of-12 shooting, with five assists and four rebounds, before rolling his ankle in the shadows of halftime.

He did not return after the break, and Joel Embiid stepped up in his absence, scoring a game-high 32 points (12-of-26 shooting) with 11 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks. It is the third game in a row Embiid has had at least 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

Donovan Mitchell's spectacular start to life with the Cleveland Cavaliers continued against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, scoring 33 points in a 114-100 win.

Mitchell's 33 points was a game-high, and he delivered his production efficiently, hitting 10-of-17 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line.

Through his first eight games with the Cavs since being acquired from the Utah Jazz in an offseason trade, Mitchell is averaging 31.1 points and 7.1 assists per game – both comfortably above his career-highs (26.4 points and 5.3 assists).

He was supported strongly by fellow All-Star Darius Garland, who chipped in 24 points (seven-of-18) and seven assists, while Kevin Love contributed a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) in 20 minutes off the bench.

For the Lakers, LeBron James was strong with 27 points on 13-of-23 shooting, adding seven rebounds and four assists, and Russell Westbrook posted 19 points (six-of-13) with 10 assists as he continues to produce well in a sixth-man role.

Cleveland are now 8-1, and are one of only two teams, along with the 9-0 Milwaukee Bucks, who are yet to record their second loss.

VanVleet steps up in Siakam's absence

With the Toronto Raptors' top option Pascal Siakam out for at least the next two weeks, Fred VanVleet stepped up and led his team to a 113-104 victory against the Chicago Bulls.

VanVleet finished with 30 points on nine-of-22 shooting, and also added 11 assists in an offensive masterclass from the diminutive point guard, posting a plus/minus of plus 27 in his 39 minutes. That means in the nine minutes VanVleet was on the bench, the Raptors were outscored by 18.

Starting in the place of Siakam was rookie Christian Koloko, and he made a big impression as he blocked six shots with his 11 points and seven rebounds.

Alex Caruso produced a noteworthy performance for the Bulls, finishing with an unconventional double-double as he collected 11 rebounds and 11 assists, while shooting one-of-11 for four points.

Bane, Morant carry the Grizzlies 

Desmond Bane and Ja Morant combined for nearly half of the Memphis Grizzlies' points in their 103-97 win against the Washington Wizards.

While Morant struggled with his efficiency, only hitting nine of his 27 shots on his way to 23 points, Bane was terrific, scoring 28 on nine-of-16 shooting. 

The Grizzlies are now 7-3, and Bane has been at the centre of their early success, elevating himself to potentially an All-Star level in his third season as he is averaging 24.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 46 per cent from long-range.

Jayson Tatum's 36 points ended up being just enough for the Boston Celtics to overcome the Chicago Bulls 123-119 on Friday.

In front of Boston's home fans, the Celtics used a 37-26 second quarter to fight back from a sluggish start and take a 63-57 lead into the halftime break.

Chicago's DeMar DeRozan would try to will his side back into the contest in the third period, putting up 16 points in the quarter to trim the lead to 88-85 and set up a thrilling final term.

DeRozan added another 11 points in the fourth, going on to finish with a game-high 46 as he lived at the free throw line. He hit 13 of his 23 field goal attempts, and added another 20 points from his 22 free throw attempts.

Tatum put together his big game in a similar fashion, although he was less efficient from the field. He finished eight-of-23, but hit 17-of-20 from the free throw line, and had 11 points of his own in the final quarter to repel the Bulls' late charge.

Tatum's running-mate Jaylen Brown had a quieter game, scoring 16 points on six-of-14 shooting, but Malcolm Brogdon rose to the occasion off the Celtics' bench. 

Brogdon was clearly Boston's second-best player, shooting a hyper-efficient nine-of-10 from the field to put up 25 points and four assists in 29 minutes.

Luka magic leads to eighth straight 30-point performance

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks is now one of two players to ever score at least 30 points in the first eight games of an NBA season, putting up 35 in a 111-110 win against the Toronto Raptors.

Doncic joins the great Wilt Chamberlain in that honour, with the 'Big Dipper' accomplishing it on two occasions. Chamberlain started the 1959-60 season with eight consecutive 30-point games, before hitting that benchmark in the first 23 games of the 1962-63 season for a record that will likely never be broken.

The 23-year-old Slovenian was 10-of-15 from the field for his 35 points, and he added eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block.

O.G. Anunoby was the shining light for the Raptors, putting up 27 points (11-of-21 shooting) with seven rebounds and five steals.

Mathurin shows star potential for the Pacers

Indiana Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin flashed some intriguing upside as he scored 23 points off the bench in a 101-99 upset win against the Miami Heat.

Mathurin, the sixth overall pick from this year's NBA Draft, has now scored at least 23 points in four of his nine NBA games, and has only scored fewer than 15 points on one occasion.

The six-foot-six scoring wing was five-of-11 from the field, three-for-seven from long range and 10-of-12 from the free throw line in a well-rounded performance, finishing with a plus/minus of plus four in his 37 minutes.

Bucks win again, remain undefeated

The Milwaukee Bucks, who are still missing All-Star Khris Middleton, continue to look like the best team in the league after moving to 8-0 with a convincing 115-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In a game where two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was not scoring the ball efficiently, finishing with 26 points on seven-of-17 shooting and a poor 10-of-20 from the free throw line, Jrue Holiday picked up the slack.

To Antetokounmpo's credit, he also added 13 rebounds and 11 assists for a strong triple-double, but Holiday was the star of the show, shooting 50 per cent from the field (12-of-24) for his 29 points, while grabbing eight rebounds, dishing six assists and snatching two steals to round out a terrific performance.

It is the first time in the Bucks' franchise history they have started a season 8-0.

The Brooklyn Nets started life after Steve Nash with a 108-99 defeat to the Miami Heat as under-fire Kyrie Irving struggled with four points on two-of-12 shooting on Tuesday.

The Nets announced earlier on Tuesday that Nash had been fired following their 2-5 start to the season, with assistant coach Jacque Vaughn taking charge in his absence.

Kevin Durant scored 32 points with nine rebounds for the Nets who led 58-52 at half-time before the Bulls charged home in the fourth quarter, led by Zach LaVine who had 20 of his 29 points in the final period.

LaVine top scored for the Bulls, including five-of-11 three-point shooting with four rebounds and five assists, while DeMar DeRozan added 20 points and center Nikola Vucevic hauled down 15 rebounds.

Irving, who has faced widespread backlash for sharing a film on social media with alleged anti-Semitic connotations, battled throughout with three turnovers while making none of his six three-point attempts.

The win improved the Bulls to 4-4, while the Nets fall to 2-6, with a 2-4 record at Barclays Center this season.

Golden State's road struggles continue

Reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors, slumped to their third straight defeat as Jimmy Butler fired late to lift the Miami Heat to a 116-109 win.

Butler, who finished with 23 points with six rebounds and eight assists, scored five straight points down the stretch to give the Heat the lead which they never surrendered.

Kyle Lowry moved past Jason Kidd into 12th on the all-time NBA three-pointers made list, scoring three triples in his 13 points.

Stephen Curry recorded his 10th regular-season triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists, but he could not prevent the Warriors' road woes (0-4) continuing, dropped to 3-5 overall.

Johnson shines as Suns burn

Cam Johnson drained seven three-pointers as the Phoenix Suns maintained their perfect home record this season and moved to 6-1 overall with a 116-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Johnson finished with 29 points, 21 coming from beyond the arc on seven-of-11 three-point shooting, while Devin Booker took a back seat with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Chris Paul had 14 points, 12 assists and a team-high eight rebounds for the Suns who clinched their fifth straight win. Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards both had 24 points for the Timberwolves.

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.

Joel Embiid scored 40 points but it was not enough to prevent the Philadelphia 76ers from slumping to a 0-3 start to the new NBA season after a 114-105 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

James Harden had minimal impact in the second half as Spurs small forward Doug McDermott took control with an eight-point burst, capping his 14 points, which all came in the second half.

The 76ers, who had been beaten by contenders, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, to open their season, squandered Embiid's huge game where he shot 14-of-25 from the field and hauled down 13 rebounds with two blocks.

Harden only added 12 points on four-of-18 shooting, making one-of-six three-point attempts. The former MVP provided 12 assists with nine rebounds and two blocks, but was inconspicuous in the second half with the game up for grabs, with the Spurs defense denying him good looks.

Tyrese Maxey contributed 25 points for the 76ers, including three triples, but Philadelphia slumped to their first 0-3 start since 2016-17.

Devin Vassell (22 points with nine-of-14 field shooting, including four three-pointers) and Keldon Johnson (21 points with eight rebounds) were San Antonio's most productive offensive players.

Mitchell betters LeBron start for Cavs

Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points as he claimed his first win as a Cleveland Cavaliers player in their 128-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls in their home season opener.

Mitchell achieved a feat that not even LeBron James could, becoming the first Cavs player with back-to-back 30-point games to open a season.

The All-Star, who made a high-profile trade from the Utah Jazz to the Cavs in the off-season, landed four-of-six from beyond the arc with nine rebounds and eight assists.

Zach LaVine returned after off-season knee surgery that forced him to miss Chicago's opening two games to top score for the Bulls with 23 points.

Giannis powers Bucks past Rockets

Giannis Antetokounmpo only needed 28 minutes to put on an MVP-like display as the Milwaukee Bucks routed the Houston Rockets 125-105 in their home opener at Fiserv Forum.

Antetokounmpo scored 44 points, shooting 17-of-21 from the field with two three-pointers, along with 12 rebounds and three assists.

The Greek forward became Milwaukee's all-time free throws leader, shooting eight-of-13 from the stripe to exceed Sidney Moncrief's 3,505 record, before sitting out with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Jayson Tatum also scored 40 points to lead the 3-0 Boston Celtics past the 0-3 Orlando Magic 126-120, while Paul George had 40 in the Los Angeles Clippers' 111-109 win over the Sacramento Kings.

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.

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