Kawhi Leonard is questionable for Game 1 of the Los Angeles Clippers' playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks as he continues to be troubled by inflammation in his right knee.

Leonard has undergone surgeries to repair damage to the anterior cruciate ligament and the meniscus in his right knee in the last few years, having torn his ACL during a second-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz in 2021.

The six-time All-Star has not featured for the Clippers – who clinched the Western Conference's fifth seed – since the end of March, missing their last eight games of the regular season. 

Speaking ahead of Thursday's practice session, the Clippers' president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said Leonard had work to do to make Sunday's matchup at Crypto.com Arena.

"He's doing everything, our medical staff is doing everything to get the inflammation down so he can play," Frank said. 

"Progress has been made, but the inflammation needs to continue to reduce so he can do functional basketball movements.

"There is no gamesmanship here and we're very sensitive of the fact that questions are going to be asked and want to be as transparent as possible. It's okay to say what the truth is. It's unpredictable. 

"We're hoping it's trending in the right direction. It's a very accurate statement. When it gets to a point where he's able to play, then that's when he'll be back on the court."

The two-time NBA champion averaged 23.7 points and 6.1 rebounds through 68 regular-season appearances in 2023-24, the former figure falling just short of his 23.8 points per game last term.

Despite Leonard's importance to the Clippers' chances of defeating Luka Doncic and company, Frank says no risks will be taken with his fitness. 

"In terms of where we're heading, is it possible he could play? Sure, it's possible. It's Thursday. With each day we'll know more and more," Frank said. 

"Obviously if he's not healthy to play at a certain moment then he won't be out there. When Kawhi is healthy, he plays. 

"Some things you can't control, regardless of how meticulous he is with his body and everything that goes into playing. You can only control what you can control and you've got to surrender to the things you can't."

Kyrie Irving declared the red-hot Dallas Mavericks are "just getting started" after Wednesday's 111-92 win over the Miami Heat saw them wrap up the Southwest Division title.

Irving had 25 points in support of Luka Doncic, who fell just short of his 22nd triple-double of the season by finishing with 29 points, nine rebounds and nine assists at Kaseya Center.

Dallas have hit 50 wins for the season with two games remaining, having won 16 times in their last 18 games, their only defeats in that span coming on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. 

After they pulled clear of the New Orleans Pelicans to become Southwest champions for the first time since 2020-21, Irving told his team-mates to celebrate, but also to stay focused on the bigger prizes.

"We just know that the job isn't finished and we're just getting started," Irving said after Wednesday's game. "But we do have to celebrate the small wins.

"Tonight was a step in that direction of celebrating a small win, just to get to 50 wins. Some guys in that locker room haven't experienced 50 wins. It's a total organizational effort, top to bottom."

The Mavs have won five in a row since last dropping a game against the Warriors, and they are now within one game of the Los Angeles Clippers for the Western Conference's fourth seed.

Head coach Jason Kidd said: "It sounds great. We've checked the box on one goal."

The Heat, meanwhile, saw their hopes of avoiding the Play-In Tournament take a blow as Jimmy Butler was held to just 12 points, Tyler Herro leading the hosts with 21.

Miami are now two games back of the Indiana Pacers, who occupy the Eastern Conference's sixth seed, and one behind the Philadelphia 76ers in seventh.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra is confident they will bounce back quickly, saying: "We have a great group. We have a very competitive locker room. We all want the same thing.

"Sometimes, this league can just really humble you, and that's what happened tonight."

Kyrie Irving credited P.J. Washington for a "spectacular" performance after the Dallas Mavericks overcame Luka Doncic's absence to halt the Golden State Warriors' six-game winning streak.

The Warriors approached Friday's trip to American Airlines Center on their best run of the season and with a chance of clinching one of the Western Conference's Play-In spots.

They needed to win and hope the 11th-placed Houston Rockets lost to the Miami Heat to clinch their top-10 seed, and though they got a favour from elsewhere with a 119-104 Miami win, they couldn't hold up their end of the bargain.

With Andrew Wiggins out due to ankle soreness and Jonathan Kuminga a late scratch with a knee injury, the Warriors found themselves facing a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Though they rallied to draw level at 106-106 through Stephen Curry's jumper with 13 seconds left, Washington capped a 32-point night with a decisive layup with just 4.5 seconds on the clock.

Dallas then held on for their 108-106 victory as Klay Thompson missed with a potential buzzer-beater, leaving Irving to heap praise on their hero Washington.

"He was spectacular," Irving said of Washington. "You could tell it was going to be a special night just based off how he started the game. 

"That's what we need, especially when we don't have certain guys in the lineup and we need that offensive firepower."

With star guard Doncic missing out due to soreness in his right knee, Washington took up the mantle by finishing 12-of-18 from the field, also adding five rebounds and three assists.

Despite the Warriors missing a chance to seal their postseason berth, head coach Steve Kerr was pleased with the way his short-handed team refused to give up the fight.

"The level of competition and unity, just the way they fought, short-handed out on a back-to-back with an older group of guys, it was just an amazing effort," Kerr said. 

"I love these guys. They're incredible. We just didn't quite have enough tonight."

The defeat represented a blow to Golden State's hopes of climbing the standings, leaving them two games back of the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers.

However, they remain four clear of Houston in 10th with three of their final five regular-season games coming at home, the first of them against the Utah Jazz on Sunday. 

Gary Trent Jr.'s 31 points and Immanuel Quickley's near triple-double sparked Toronto to a 117-111 win over Milwaukee on Friday, which ended the Raptors' 15-game losing streak and extended the Bucks' late-season slump.

Quickley compiled 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, while Trent went 7 of 15 from 3-point range to help the Raptors hand Milwaukee a fifth loss in six games. RJ Barrett contributed 26 points to Toronto's first win since March 3.

The Bucks' woes continued despite Damian Lillard returning from a three-game absence to record 36 points. Milwaukee was without its other superstar, however, as Giannis Antetokounmpo was held out with a sore hamstring.

Toronto seemed on the way towards another defeat after trailing 40-30 five minutes into the second quarter, but Trent led a 16-3 run later in the period that gave the Raptors a 56-51 advantage with a minute to go before half-time.

The Raptors eventually pushed the margin to 14 points when a Trent 3-pointer created a 77-63 lead midway through the third quarter, but the Bucks closed the gap later in the period. Lillard capped a 10-2 spurt with a 3-pointer that cut Milwaukee's deficit to 87-84 in the final minute of the third.

Milwaukee had a chance to pull ahead in the late stages, but Khris Middleton missed a potential go-ahead 3-point attempt with the Raptors up 113-111 with 20.4 seconds left. Quickley then made a pair of free throws and the Bucks were held scoreless the rest of the way.

Middleton finished with 21 points and Bobby Portis tallied 19 points with 10 rebounds off the bench for the Bucks.

Washington stars as Mavericks end Warriors' winning streak

P.J. Washington capped a 32-point night with a tie-breaking layup with 4.5 seconds left that lifted the Dallas Mavericks to a 108-106 victory over Golden State which halted the Warriors' season-high six-game winning streak.

After Golden State erased a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit on Stephen Curry's jumper with 13 seconds remaining that tied the game at 106-106, Dallas' Tim Hardaway Jr. found a cutting Washington for an inside basket that put the Mavericks back in front.

Klay Thompson then missed a 3-point shot just before the final buzzer as Dallas held on for its 13th win in its last 15 games.

Washington finished 12 of 18 from the field while stepping up with the Mavericks holding out star guard Luka Dončić in the second of a back-to-back, and Dallas also received a 26-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist effort out of Kyrie Irving.

Curry ended with 28 points, 14 of which came in the fourth quarter as the Warriors battled back from being down 98-88 with under six minutes left.

Golden State also rallied from a slow start, as Dallas built a 29–13 lead less than eight minutes into the game. The Warriors closed out the first quarter on a 19-2 run, however, to take a 32-31 edge into the second.

The game remained tight until the Mavericks scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to open up an 84-76 lead with under 11 minutes left to play.

Fast start propels Suns past Timberwolves

The Phoenix Suns used a quick start and a strong game from Grayson Allen to continue their late-season surge with a 97-87 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Allen gave Phoenix a lift on a night in which All-Star Devin Booker was held to 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting, as the former Duke star recorded 23 points along with eight rebounds.

Kevin Durant added 22 points in the Suns' third consecutive win, while Jusuf Nurkic compiled 11 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.

Booker did have 13 assists and scored the first five points of a 15-0 Phoenix run to open the game. The Suns never trailed at any point, as they shot 55 per cent in the first quarter to build a 32-20 lead and carried a 57-41 advantage into half-time.

Minnesota, on the other hand, struggled to score throughout the evening and fell behind by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter.

The Timberwolves shot just 38.8 per cent for the game while being dealt just their second defeat in their past eight outings. All-Star Anthony Edwards was 6 of 19 while being limited to 17 points, while starting forward Naz Reid managed just eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.

Monday's loss dropped Minnesota into a tie with the Denver Nuggets for first place in the Western Conference.



Joel Embiid made his presence felt in his first game in nine weeks following knee surgery, sinking four free throws in the final 40 seconds and finishing with 24 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 109-105 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

Embiid – the reigning MVP - added seven assists and six rebounds in nearly 30 minutes in his first game since Jan. 30.

Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 25 points and Tobias Harris added 18 for the 76ers, who have won two straight following a 1-5 slide.

They are eighth in the Eastern Conference, 1 ½ games behind Miami.

Chet Holmgren scored 22 points and Lu Dort and Aaron Wiggins added 15 apiece as the Thunder failed to win a third straight and dropped one-half game behind Denver for the Western Conference lead.

Oklahoma City squandered an 11-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and was without All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the third time in four games with a quad injury.

Jokic’s big night powers Nuggets

Nikola Jokić had 42 points and 16 rebounds and Michael Porter Jr. hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to lift the Denver Nuggets to a 110-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Jokic’s hook shot snapped a 103-all tie but Victor Wembanyma’s layup at the other end tied it again with 62 seconds left.

Porter, who had 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, then drilled a 3 to put Denver ahead to stay.

Wembanyama had 23 points, 15 boards, eight assists and nine blocks to nearly complete the NBA’s first quadruple-double since David Robinson in 1994.

Denver moved atop the Western Conference – a half-game ahead of Oklahoma City and Minnesota.

Warriors stay hot, cool Mavericks

Andrew Wiggins scored 23 points and the Golden State Warriors survived Luka Dončić’s 20th triple-double of the season in a 104-100 victory to end the Dallas Mavericks’ seven-game winning streak.

Doncic had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists and trails only Domantas Sabonis (23) and Nikola Jokić (23) in triple-doubles. The Dallas superstar also notched his 48th 30-point game of the season, trailing only Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (50).

Klay Thompson and Chris Paul each scored 14 points and Stephen Curry had 13 on 5-of-18 shooting as the Warriors tied a season high with their fifth straight win.

Luka Dončić delivered another sensational performance by tallying 47 points and 12 rebounds, and the Dallas Mavericks cruised to a 125-107 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday in a clash of the NBA's hottest teams.

Doncic added seven assists and Kyrie Irving contributed 24 points to the Mavericks' seventh consecutive win, tying a season high. Dallas also set a season best by making 24 3-pointers - with Doncic hitting nine in 16 attempts - while shooting 51.1 per cent from beyond the arc.

Houston entered the in-state matchup riding an 11-game winning streak, the franchise's longest in a single season since 2017-18. The Rockets received 28 points from Jabari Smith Jr. but two of their other core players, Jalen Green and Fred VanVleet, were held to 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Doncic accumulated 32 of his points in the first half on 12-of-18 shooting as the Mavericks built a 36-24 lead after one quarter and never trailed thereafter. The superstar guard closed out the second quarter with a three-point play that capped a 9-2 run which extended Dallas' advantage to 66-45 at half-time.

Houston never got its deficit under 15 points in the second half, and Dallas put the game completely out of reach with an 18-7 spurt that pushed its lead to 111-83 with eight minutes to go.


Thunder hit late shot to edge Knicks, clinch play-off spot

Shai GIlgeous-Alexander's go-ahead basket with 2.6 seconds remaining sent the Oklahoma City Thunder into the play-offs for the first time since 2020 with a thrilling 113-112 win over the New York Knicks. 

After Jalen Brunson's layup with 4.1 seconds left gave the Knicks a 112-111 lead, Gilgeous-Alexander answered by knocking down a contested turnaround jumper on the ensuing possession before Brunson misfired at the buzzer to allow Oklahoma City to secure a spot in this year's post-season.

The victory, the Thunder's seventh in their last nine games, also gave them sole possession of first place in the Western Conference. Oklahoma City entered the game tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who were dealt a 109-101 loss by the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, for the top spot. 

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 19 points but wasn't the Thunder's lone star performer. Jalen Williams put up a game-high 33 points with eight rebounds while Josh Giddey compiled a triple-double with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists.

Brunson paced New York with 30 points and Miles McBride added 19 in the second straight frustrating defeat for the Knicks, who lost in overtime at San Antonio on Friday.

New York appeared on the way to victory after holding an 85-75 lead after three quarters, but the Thunder opened the fourth on a 13-3 run to tie the game at 88-88 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Giddey and Kenrich Williams.

Giddey scored seven straight points later on to give Oklahoma City a 102-95 advantage with five minutes left, but the Knicks responded with a 9-2 spurt capped by Brunson's 3-pointer that knotted the score at 104-104 heading into the final three minutes.


Nuggets blow out Cavaliers to keep pace in West

The Thunder's lead atop the West is at a half-game over the Denver Nuggets, who came through with a 130-101 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers behind a dominant 26-point, 18-rebound, 16-assist effort from Nikola Jokić.

Jokic notched his 22nd triple-double of the season to help the defending NBA champions lock up a play-off spot, and the Nuggets also got a season-high 22 points from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to help halt a two-game losing streak.

Down by four points midway through the second quarter, Denver outscored Cleveland by a 24-11 margin over the remainder of the first half to take a 65-56 lead into the break. 

The Nuggets then shot 62.5 per cent from the field in the third quarter to extend the margin, with Jokic amassing 10 points, five rebounds and five assists while hitting 5 of 7 field goal attempts for the period.

Denver opened the second half on a 15-2 run to build a commanding 80–58 advantage four minutes into the third quarter, and maintained a lead of at least 17 points the rest of the way.

Evan Mobley finished with 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting to lead the slumping Cavaliers, who have now lost eight of 12. Jarrett Allen added 19 points for Cleveland, but All-Star Donovan Mitchell had just 13 while missing nine of 12 field-goal attempts in his second game back from a broken nose that sidelined him six consecutive contests. 


Austin Reaves notched a triple-double and drilled a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 37.8 seconds left in the second overtime as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 128-124, on Tuesday despite the absence of LeBron James.

Reaves had 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in 47 minutes, Anthony Davis tallied 34 points and 23 rebounds in 52 minutes and D’Angelo Russell had 29 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

The Lakers, who never led in regulation, overcame a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter and won their season-best fourth straight game with James sidelined with an ankle issue.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points, a season-high 21 boards and 11 assists and Damian Lillard added 21 points for the Bucks, who had won six straight at home.

Reaves’ 3-pointer with 38 seconds left in the second OT snapped a tie and Lillard missed a 3 before Antetokounmpo missed two free throws. Russell then sank a pair from the line and Davis sealed the win with two free throws with two seconds left after Malik Beasley’s 3 drew Milwaukee within two.

Doncic keeps Mavericks rolling

Luka Dončić scored 26 of his 28 points in the first half and the Dallas Mavericks cruised to their fifth straight victory, 132-96 over the Sacramento Kings.

Doncic added 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals and Kyrie Irving had 24 points and eight assists for Dallas, which has won nine of 10 to move into sixth in the Western Conference.

De’Aaron Fox scored 18 points on 6-of-18 shooting and Domantas Sabonis had 12 points, 11 boards and nine assists for his 55th consecutive double-double, tying Jerry Lucas for the longest streak in franchise history.

Thunder ride late run past Pelicans

Jalen Williams scored 26 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder used a game-ending 12-0 run to rally for a 119-112 win over the New Orleans Pelicans after blowing a 20-point lead in the third quarter.

Josh Giddey added 25 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 24, including a tying 3-pointer with 89 seconds left.

Zion Williamson had 29 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, who led 112-107 with 3:11 to play before missing their final five shots.

The Thunder won for the fifth time in six games to pull within a half game of idle Denver for the top spot in the Western Conference.

Kyrie Irving's Dallas Mavericks team-mates heaped praise upon the eight-time All-Star after his incredible buzzer-beater downed the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, with center Daniel Gafford describing him as a "magician".

With just 0.4 seconds remaining in a back-and-forth contest, Irving hit a dramatic floating shot with his left hand to stun the reigning NBA champions and end their five-game winning streak.

Taking an in-bounds pass from Maxi Kleber after Jamal Murray had misfired at the other end, Irving dribbled to just behind the free-throw line before sinking his stunning left-handed runner.  

That lifted the Mavs to their fifth win in their last six games, improving them to 39-29 as they battle for a playoff spot. 

Irving finished with 24 points in support of Luka Doncic, who had 37 on his return from a hamstring injury, meaning the duo accounted for over half of the Mavs' total.

Asked about Irving's buzzer-beater, Doncic said: "That shot was unbelievable, man. I couldn't believe it."

Gafford added: "He's a magician. He is a very crafty finisher, but finishing somewhere that far around the basket?

"I don't know if he works on something like that, but I know he works on his left hand. It went in and then we just got crazy."

Irving himself, meanwhile, was himself taken aback when watching replays of the shot, saying it was pure instinct.  

"I thought I got a little closer in the paint, but I looked at it after the game and I was pretty far out…" he said. "The majority of it is instinctual and comes from preparation for hours that no one sees.

"I saw [Nikola] Jokic taking away my pull-up going left. I knew that he was going to come up, but I didn't know he was going to commit like that, so he was forcing me inside the 3-point line. 

"As soon as I felt him kind of behind me, I was like, 'oh, I have my left hand. It's wide open, so why not go to it?'"

Kyrie Irving hit a dramatic floating shot with 0.4 seconds left to play that gave the Dallas Mavericks a thrilling 107-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, a result that halted the reigning NBA champions' five-game winning streak.

Irving took an in-bounds pass from Maxi Kleber and dribbled to just behind the free-throw line before sinking a left-handed runner that lifted the Mavericks to their fifth win in six games. Dallas scored the contest's final five points after the Nuggets fought back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a late 105-102 lead.

Denver trailed 98-85 with 6:50 remaining before briefly moving ahead with a 20-4 run. After Nikola Jokić's jumper with 1:05 to go tied the game at 102-102, Jamal Murray capped the spurt with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 27.7 seconds left.

Luka Dončić answered with a 3-pointer on Dallas' ensuing possession, however, and Murray misfired on the Nuggets' next trip down the court to set up Irving's heroics.

Doncic finished with 37 points and nine rebounds, while Irving had 24 points and nine assists as the star guard duo accounted for over half of the Mavericks' scoring total.

Muray had 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to help bring the Nuggets back, while Michael Porter Jr. recorded 20 points and Jokic compiled 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.


Hot-shooting Bucks outscore Suns despite Antetokounmpo's absence

On a day in which they were without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks got big performances from Damian Lillard and Bobby Porits and a season-high 24 3-pointers to come through with a 140-129 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Portis went 5 of 5 from beyond the arc while amassing 31 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, while Lillard also had 31 points while matching a career high with 16 assists as Milwaukee prevailed despite Antetokounmpo sitting out with a sore hamstring.

The Bucks got plenty of other contributors while connecting on 58.5 per cent of their 3-point attempts for the game. Khris Middleton poured in 22 points in 25 minutes in his return from a 16-game absence, while Malik Beasley finished 5 of 8 from 3-point range in a 17-point effort.

Phoenix closed out a 2-2 road trip on a down note despite shooting 58.6 per cent from the field, including an 11-of-15 outing from Bradley Beal in which he tallied 28 points.

Former Buck Grayson Allen added 25 points while making 6 of 11 of his 3-point tries, but Milwaukee held Suns star Kevin Durant to a season-low 11 points.

The Bucks seized control with a big second quarter in which they outscored Phoenix by a 43-24 margin to extend a 39-36 first-quarter lead into a commanding 82-60 advantage at half-time. Portis led the way with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting over the first two periods.

Phoenix cut its deficit down to 100-94 late in the third quarter, but the Bucks ended the period on a 9-0 run capped by a Lillard 3 that gave them a 109-94 lead into the fourth.

Milwaukee maintained a lead of at least seven points the rest of the way.


Hawks halt three-game skid with key win over Clippers

Dejounte Murray totalled 21 points and 10 assists as the Atlanta Hawks got back on track with a 110-93 victory over the slumping Los Angeles Clippers.

De'Andre Hunter added 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting off the bench to help the Hawks snap a three-game losing streak and hand the Pacific Division-leading Clippers a fourth defeat in five games.

Murray hit 5 of 10 attempts from 3-point range as Atlanta shot 50 per cent (17 of 34) from beyond the arc compared to 30.6 per cent for Los Angeles, which struggled to get any complementary scoring beyond stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Leonard finished with 28 points and George had 26, but no other Los Angeles player reached double figures despite James Harden's return from a two-game absence caused by a strained left shoulder.

Harden dished out nine assists but had just nine points on 3-of-10 shooting in 36 minutes.

The Clippers particularly struggled during a second quarter in which they were outscored by a 30-15 margin by Atlanta, which opened up the period on an 8-0 run to build a 39-29 lead just over two minutes in.

Atlanta later scored 12 consecutive points to extend its advantage to 61-40 with two minutes remaining before half-time, and the Hawks' margin grew to as many as 29 points early in the fourth quarter.

Luka Dončić’ had his triple-double streak ended at seven games before leaving with left hamstring soreness as the Dallas Mavericks slogged to a 109-99 win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

Doncic had 21 points, nine assists and three rebounds, ending a triple-double run that included NBA records of five straight with at least 35 points and six in a row with at least 30 points.

Dallas coach Jason Kidd said he wasn’t sure if Doncic would make the trip to Oklahoma City, where the Mavs finish a back-to-back on Thursday night.

Daniel Gafford was 5 of 5 from the field – all on dunks – to extend his streak of made field goals to 33, two shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA record, set in 1967. Gafford also had a season-high seven blocks.

Jonathan Kuminga scored 27 points and Andrew Wiggins added 17 for the Warriors, who dropped to 1-2 without Stephen Curry, who is sidelined by a sprained ankle.


Nuggets move atop West

Michael Porter Jr. scored 25 points and Nikola Jokić had 12 points, 14 rebounds and six assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 100-88 victory over the sliding Miami Heat in a finals rematch on Wednesday.

Aaron Gordon had 16 points and Jamal Murray contributed 14 for the Nuggets, who improved to an NBA-best 10-1 since the All-Star break to move a half-game ahead of Oklahoma City into first place in the Western Conference.

Bam Adebayo had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Jimmy Butler scored 15 for Miami, which lost its fourth straight and dropped 2 ½ games behind Orlando in the Southeast Division.

Denver is 12-1 in its last 13 games against the Heat, including last season’s NBA Finals.


DeRozan leads Bulls to overtime win

DeMar DeRozan poured in a season-high 46 points, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime, to lift the Chicago Bulls to a 132-129 win over the Indiana Pacers.

DeRozan’s only 3 of the game with 2:18 left in overtime put the Bulls ahead for good, and he added a free throw with 10 seconds remaining before Tyrese Haliburton missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Alex Caruso scored 23 points and Ayo Dosunmu added 20 as Chicago won its fourth in six games.

Myles Turner had 27 points with five 3-pointers and Haliburton finished with 17 points and 14 assists, but Indiana failed to win its third straight.

Luka Doncic was unable to continue his record-breaking NBA run of six straight 30-point triple-doubles but winning is the priority over individual statistics for the Dallas Mavericks star.

That was the message from Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd after Dallas cruised past the Chicago Bulls 127-92 on Monday.

Doncic had 27 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds, posting yet another triple-double but this time without scoring 30 for the first time in seven games.

"It's about winning to him," Kidd said. "Numbers, I don't know if they really mean anything to him today.

"But when he does retire, he'll look back to see the game that he was playing was at a different level than anybody else."

Doncic exited the rout midway through the fourth quarter but still boasts seven straight 20-point triple-doubles, joining Michael Jordan (1989) and Oscar Robertson (1961) for the longest such streak in NBA history.

Former Bulls center Daniel Gafford also converted all nine field goals, extending his run of consecutive shots without missing to 28, just seven shy of the NBA record.

"My philosophy for sure is just being consistent, having a mindset of just going to finish everything no matter if there's somebody in front of you or if there isn't somebody in front of you," Gafford said.

"At the end of the day, either dunking it or putting it in the rim."

Onuralp Bitim was a rare bright Chicago spark with a career-high 17 points, while DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic each scored 13, though that did not stop Dallas from winning a third straight game.

"We gave up a lot of rolls to the basket and offensive rebounds," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.

"We've got to be more pulled in than we were. ... We kind of were too worried with getting back out to that 3-point line instead of saying, 'Hey, we're going to take away the roll.'"

Kevin Durant scored 24 of his 37 points in the second half to help rally the Phoenix Suns to a 117-111 win over the hobbled Cleveland Cavaliers in a key inter-conference clash on Monday.

Durant added eight rebounds and six assists for Phoenix, which overcame a 19-point deficit in the second quarter while being boosted by All-Star Devin Booker's return from a sprained ankle.

Booker contributed 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting along with seven rebounds in 38 minutes after missing the Suns' last four games.

Darius Garland went 7 of 10 from 3-point range and finished with 30 points for the Cavaliers, who were again without three injured starters in All-Star Donovan Mitchell, forward Evan Mobley and guard Max Strus. Caris LeVert recorded 17 points and 11 assists in the loss. 

Cleveland has lost two straight and dropped a game behind the Milwaukee Bucks for first place in the Central Division.

Garland and the Cavs came out hot, as the standout guard put up 21 first-quarter points and Cleveland shot 66.7 per cent for the period to build a 41-32 lead. The margin grew in the second quarter, as Garland buried a 3-pointer to cap an 11-2 run that put the hosts up 63-44 with 4:50 left before half-time.

Phoenix closed the gap to 70-63 at the intermission before outscoring the Cavaliers by a 34-21 margin in the third quarter to pull ahead. Durant led the way with 19 points for the period on 6-of-8 shooting. 

Cleveland fought back to tie the game at 104-104 with under eight minutes left, but Booker and Durant led the Suns on a 9-3 flurry that the latter finished with a 3-pointer that gave the Suns a 113-107 lead with 3:43 remaining.

Doncic extends triple-doubles streak, but 30-point run ends

Luka Dončić posted his seventh consecutive triple-double, though his record run of six straight games of at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists came to an end in the Dallas Mavericks' 127-92 rout of the Chicago Bulls.

Doncic recorded 14 assists and 12 rebounds but failed to hit the 30-point mark after being removed from the blowout win midway through the fourth quarter. He finished with 27 points.

Dallas also dominated inside en route to its third consecutive victory, as post players Derrick Lively and Daniel Gafford combined for 44 points on 20-of-21 shooting. Lively missed just one of his 12 attempts while compiling a career-high 22 points, while Gafford was 9 of 9 from the field to end with 20 points.

Gafford is now a perfect 28 of 28 on field goal attempts over his last four games.

The Mavericks set the tone right from the start, as they outscored Chicago by a whopping 44-16 margin in the first quarter while shooting 64.3 per cent as a team. Doncic had 15 points and seven assists for the period and Lively chipped in 10 points in just six minutes.

Chicago never mounted a serious threat the rest of the way, as Dallas took a 62-42 lead into half-time and went ahead by as many as 34 points in the third quarter.

Onuralp Bitim led the Bulls with a career-high 17 points off the bench. Chicago has now lost two straight following a three-game winning streak on the road from March 4-7.

Jokic, Nuggets overcome 22-point deficit to top Raptors

Nikola Jokić compiled a 35-point, 17-rebound, 12-assist triple-double that helped spark a big second-half comeback which lifted the Denver Nuggets to a hard-earned 125-119 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Denver trailed by 21 points in the third quarter and as many as 22 in the game before rallying behind Jokic and Jamal Murray, who recorded 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and scored the go-ahead bucket with 6:48 left to play.

Jokic also had a season-high six steals in addition to his 21st triple-double of the season.

The Nuggets moved to 9-1 since the All-Star break, though the underdog Raptors gave the defending NBA champions all they could handle for much of the night.

Toronto opened the second quarter on an 11-0 run to build a 45-32 lead and extended the margin to 68-51 at the break behind 15 points from RJ Barrett and 13 from rookie Gradey Dick.

The Nuggets began chipping away late in the third quarter, as they closed out the period on a 16-5 spurt to trim the deficit to 98-93 entering the fourth. Jokic had 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting for the quarter.

Murray's floater midway through the fourth quarter gave Denver a 108-107 lead, though the Raptors continued to keep it close until Michael Porter Jr.'s 3-pointer with 1:02 left to play proved to be too much to overcome as the Nuggets took a 124-119 edge into the final minute.

Barrett finished with 26 points, seven rebounds and nine assists for Toronto, which also received 24 points from Kelly Olynyk but lost for a fourth consecutive time.



Luka Doncic became the first NBA player to record six consecutive 30-point triple-doubles in a dominant showing against the Detroit Pistons that Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd lauded.

Doncic finished with 39 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, surpassing Russell Westbrook's record of five straight 30-point triple-doubles, as the Mavericks beat Detroit 142-124 on Saturday.

The Slovenian also extended his own record with a fifth straight 35-point triple-double as the Dallas star continues to run his own NBA MVP competition.

"That just shows what level he's playing on right now," coach Kidd said. "He knows he can score the ball, and he's also able to find his teammates, and lastly, he's able to rebound the ball."

Doncic was somewhat goaded by the Pistons fans, suggesting his ability is not as impressive as some think, but that noise did not bother the Dallas man or Kidd.

"Well, we know he doesn't suck," Kidd said. "I think we know he enjoys when people talk to him. If that's what sparked him, we would like for that to happen a lot more."

Doncic also became the fourth player with 10 35-point triple-doubles in a season, joining Westbrook, James Harden and Oscar Robertson.

Tim Hardaway Jr. hit three 3-pointers in the final two minutes or so of the third period, while Kyrie Irving added 21 points for Dallas, who have now won two in a row after a three-game losing streak.

"It's huge for us when [Hardaway] can come in and hit 3-pointers like that," Kidd said. "Not only did he make four, he had two chances at a four-point play."

Cade Cunningham was a rare bright spark for Detroit, making 33 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds. Simone Fontecchio added a career-high 27 points as the Pistons fell to a 10th defeat in 12.

Luka Dončić made NBA history by becoming the first player to register six straight 30-point triple-doubles as the Dallas Mavericks pulled away for a 142-124 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

Doncic had 39 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to surpass Russell Westbrook’s run of five consecutive 30-point triple-doubles. Doncic also extended his own record with a fifth straight 35-point triple-double.

During his six-game run, Doncic is averaging 36.3 points, 11.5 assists and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 51.6 percent from the field.

Kyrie Irving added 21 points and Daniel Gafford and Tim Hardaway Jr. each scored 17 points as Dallas won its second straight after a three-game losing streak.

Cade Cunningham had 33 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and Simone Fontecchio chipped in a career-high 27 for Detroit, which has lost 10 of 12.


Celtics overcome Durant’s big game

Jayson Tatum had 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and Jaylen Brown scored 27 points as the Boston Celtics survived Kevin Durant’s 45-point outburst in a 117-107 win over the Phoenix Suns.

With Kristaps Porzingis sidelined with right hamstring tightness, the Celtics got 14 points from reserve Luke Kornet and 10 from Payton Pritchard to avoid a third straight loss.

Bradley Beal had 25 points and Jusuf Nurkic added 11 with 11 rebounds for the Suns, who played without injured All-Star Devin Booker and failed to win a third consecutive game.


Murray, Jokic too much for Jazz

Jamal Murray scored 37 points and Nikola Jokić played through a bruised arm to score 26 as the Denver Nuggets eased to a 142-121 rout of the Utah Jazz.

Michael Porter Jr. added 19 points for the Nuggets, who won for the eighth time in nine games to pull within one-half game of Oklahoma City for the Western Conference lead.

Keyonte George led the Jazz with 29 points and Jordan Clarkson added 22 as Utah dropped to 2-10 in its last 12 games.

Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said NBA fans are being treated to something "as rare as a Picasso" after Luka Doncic extended his run of 30-point triple-doubles to five games on Thursday.

Doncic had 35 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists as the Mavs rallied for a 114-108 win over the Miami Heat, fighting back from 15 points down to halt their three-game skid.

The NBA's scoring leader for 2023-24 shot 12 of 24 from the field and made seven of 13 3-pointers as he claimed a slice of league history with another dominant display.

He joined Russell Westbrook as the only players to record five straight 30-point triple-doubles, also becoming the first in league history to manage four straight 35-point triple-doubles.

The enormity of Doncic's achievement was not lost on Kidd, who managed 107 triple-doubles dring his own playing career but only had 35 points in two of them.

"I've always said this: We can't take that young man for granted," Kidd said of Doncic. "You're seeing something as rare as a Picasso."

Doncic's last two performances have come with the Slovenian walking a disciplinary tightrope. Having been pulled up for 13 technical fouls this season, Doncic is just three shy of the threshold for a one-game suspension, but he has avoided committing one in his last two outings.

Kidd joked that run was as important as Doncic's triple-double sequence, saying: "We're rolling. You talk about the triple-double streak. I think we've got the no-T streak going!

"That's something we have to talk about, too. I think he has a little bit more energy now and I think his composure is in a really good place, no matter whether we're winning or losing. 

"He loves to win. He wants to win, but I think you're starting to see him turn the corner here."

Doncic himself, however, was simply pleased to get back to winning ways as the Mavs improved to 35-28, saying of his form: "It's great, especially when it comes with the win. That's all that matters right now."

Dallas now face back-to-back road games against the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls, before returning to American Airlines Center to face the Golden State Warriors next Wednesday. 

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