LeBron James believes Kyrie Irving's apology following his suspension for posting anti-semitic material on Twitter should be enough to warrant his return to the court.

Irving initially failed to apologise for a social media post about a book and movie with alleged anti-semitic views, nor "unequivocally say he has no anti-semitic beliefs".

The 30-year-old, who was handed a minimum five-game suspension by the Nets, belatedly issued an apology on Instagram after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had expressed his disappointment at the lack of one.

James previously said he did not condone the behaviour of his former Cleveland Cavaliers team-mate, though he now feels Irving has educated himself and should be allowed to return to the NBA court.

"I told you guys that I don't believe in sharing hurtful information, and I'll continue to be that way, but Kyrie apologised and he should be able to play," the Los Angeles Lakers star posted on Twitter on Thursday.

"That's what I think. It's that simple. Help him learn – but he should be playing."

James also suggested the demands on Irving, who has reportedly been presented with a list of requirements to see his suspension overturned, are "excessive".

"What he's [been] asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive [in my opinion]," he said. "He's not the person that's being portrayed of him."

LeBron James is set for scans after feeling a "groin strain" in the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers' 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

James limped off the court with under six minutes remaining and did not return, wincing in pain and grabbing his groin area. The Lakers said at the time he was experiencing "left leg soreness".

The four-time MVP, who scored 30 points in the game, confirmed that the issue will need medical evaluation.

"I feel good besides for the injury," James said. "I'll get pictures on it tomorrow and go from there.

"But I didn't do anything extreme on the play, it was just when I landed I felt a little spasm or strain in my groin.

"Immediately I came out after the next play down I went to the free-throw line."

James missed 17 straight games during the 2017-19 season with a left groin tear, but he insisted this is "not as bad".

The loss left the Lakers with a 2-9 record, having lost four straight games by double-digit margins, and being without James for a stretch would be a major dent to their hopes of pushing back into contention for the playoffs.

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham did not want to speculate on the severity of the injury but admitted there was a balance to be struck in his recovery given the urgency of their situation.

James added: "In order for you to be productive for your teammates you have to take care of your body."

The 37-year-old is averaging 24.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game this season.

The Los Angeles Lakers slumped to their fourth straight double-digit defeat as LeBron James had a late injury scare in a 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

James, who played 32 minutes for 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists, was benched late with "left leg soreness" and did not return after wincing upon drawing a foul.

The Lakers loss was their fifth straight defeat when James has scored 30 points, while it was their ninth consecutive defeat to the Clippers, dating back to 2020. That streak is the second longest in series history.

Paul George fired for the Clippers, with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting along with six rebounds and two blocks, bringing up his sixth straight 25-point game which is the longest run in his time with the franchise. Norman Powell contributed 18 points off the bench.

Anthony Davis scored 21 points with nine rebounds but was shy on offense, while Russell Westbrook managed 14 points with nine assists in 30 minutes off the bench.

The Clippers, who are still without two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, have won five of their past six games and improved to 7-5, while the Lakers are 2-9.

Short-handed Bucks triumph in 2OT

The Milwaukee Bucks overcame the Oklahoma City Thunder in double overtime 136-132 without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday to improve their record to 10-1 and bounce back after their first loss of the season.

Antetokounmpo and Holiday sat out with a sore left knee and sprained right ankle respectively, but Jevon Carter stepped up with a career-high 36 points and 12 assists.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 39 points, drained a triple to give OKC a one-point lead with 0.6 seconds remaining in the first overtime.

Bucks center Brook Lopez, who contributed 24 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, was fouled by Lu Dort on the inbound pass, but missed one of his two free-throws, sending the game to second overtime, where Milwaukee finished the job.

Jazz's surprise start, Doncic's run halted, KD shines

The Utah Jazz continued their surprise start to the season with a 125-119 win over the Atlanta Hawks, moving them to a Western Conference-leading 10-3 record.

The Jazz rallied after blowing a 12-point lead, piling on 40 fourth-quarter points with Lauri Markkanen scoring a season-high 32 points. Malik Beasley scored six three-pointers, including four in the fourth period, for 18 points for the game.

Luka Doncic was held to less than 30 points for the first time this season, scoring 24 points on nine-of-29 field shooting, as the Dallas Mavericks lost 94-87 to the Orlando Magic.

Kevin Durant had a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as the Brooklyn Nets blew out the New York Knicks 112-85 without the suspended Kyrie Irving.

It must not be a great time to be a Los Angeles Lakers fan right now.

Granted, pre-season optimism hits followers of any NBA team, and the glass-half-full theory around the Lakers was that Darvin Ham would be able to get a tune out of a team of superstars that has flattered to deceive since 2020.

So far, that has not happened, and despite still being early in the campaign, things are already threatening to get away from them.

Monday's 139-116 defeat at the Utah Jazz took the Lakers to 2-8 from their first 10 outings, and they are about to face a Clippers side that is hitting form.

Having started their season with a 103-97 win against the Lakers before another victory in Sacramento, Tyronn Lue's team then lost four in a row as people started to question if they were going to go the same way as their neighbours.

However, back-to-back wins against the Houston Rockets followed by successes against the Spurs and the Cavaliers either side of a loss to the Jazz have the Clippers at 6-5 and in seventh place in the Western Conference.

The Lakers are just one place off bottom in the West, having lost their first five games before a brief hint of a turnaround with wins against the Nuggets and the Pelicans was extinguished by three more defeats.

LeBron James did not feature against the Jazz on Monday due to a sore foot, but reports suggest that was the result of playing the night before, so Ham may be able to call on his experience on Wednesday.

While the debates still rage about the use of Russell Westbrook, he scored 22 points in Utah with a team-leading five assists as well as three rebounds, while Anthony Davis' 29 points will likely need to be repeated if they are to have a chance against their local rivals.

Paul George will have something to say about that after his 26 points in the win against the Cavs, on a night in which the Clippers shared the wealth, with six different players reaching double figures for points.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Los Angeles Clippers – Paul George

It was not only against Cleveland that George has thrived this season, boasting an average over his first 10 outings at 25.3 points per game, with Marcus Morris Sr claiming the next highest average with 15.0.

George only scored 15 against the Lakers last month, but he has pushed on to become the league's 14th highest scoring player per game so far in a team that has struggled for high scores.

Los Angeles Lakers – Anthony Davis

Should he play, it'll probably be James again, who in spite of questions about his age is still averaging 24.3 points per game; but with uncertainty about whether he will feature, as mentioned, Davis will need to perform well either way.

The 29-year-old is currently matching his points per game from last season (23.2), with his rebound numbers slightly up so far (10.3 from 9.9).

KEY BATTLES – Clippers must find points from somewhere

The Clippers may have recovered in recent games, but they are still struggling to score points, with their average of 103.8 the lowest in the NBA by more than three (the Wizards have the next lowest with 107.0).

With Kawhi Leonard still sidelined, the onus will fall on George, but others will need to step up and help him put numbers on the board.

The saving grace is that they come up against a Lakers team averaging 116.3 points conceded this season, with just six teams in the league allowing more against per game.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Recent contests have been dominated by the Clippers, with their opening-game victory last month their eighth in a row against the Lakers, who have not beaten their rivals since July 30, 2020 during their bubble season success.

LeBron James will miss the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Utah Jazz on Monday due to foot soreness.

James scored 27 points in the Lakers' 114-110 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

But the four-time NBA MVP had been struggling with illness last week, as well as being troubled by a foot problem.

The Lakers announced that James will not face the Jazz at Vivint Arena in the first game of the week.

Guards Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker will also miss the meeting with Utah due to illness.

The Lakers (2-7) have made a poor start to the season, with only the Houston Rockets (1-9) keeping them off the bottom of the Western Conference.

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.

LeBron James has spoken out against former team-mate Kyrie Irving, making it clear he does not condone his behaviour.

The Brooklyn Nets point guard has been issued a five-game suspension by his team for posting a documentary featuring anti-semitic material on Twitter, and subsequently falling short of apologising until after he was banned.

Irving has been widely criticised for his actions, with Nike terminating their relationship with the 30-year-old, while his fellow Nets star Kevin Durant believes the entire process has been "unnecessary".

James, who has long been one of the NBA's vocal leaders on social issues, is disappointed with what he has seen from his former Cleveland Cavaliers team-mate.

"It's simple. Me, personally, I don't condone any hate to any kinds, any race, to Jewish communities, to black communities, to Asian communities. You guys know where I stand," he said after the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday.

"I believe what Kyrie did caused some harm to a lot of people. He has since, today, or was it yesterday, apologised. But he caused some harm, and I think it's unfortunate.

"I don't stand on the position to harm people when it comes to your voice or your platform or anything.

"So, it doesn't matter what colour your skin is, how tall you are, what position you're in. If you are promoting or soliciting or saying harmful things to any community that harm people, then I don't respect it. I don't condone it."

The Nets did not struggle in Irving's absence on Friday, as they claimed a 128-86 win over the Washington Wizards, overseen by interim coach Jacque Vaughn.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham did not hold back when discussing his side's poor performance in their 130-116 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday, calling their defense "inept at best".

The Jazz came out of the blocks on fire, putting up 40 points in the first quarter and another 35 in the second to lead 75-62 at halftime.

While the Lakers were able to muster a solid third period, winning the frame 33-25 and trimming the lead to 100-95 heading into the fourth quarter, they failed to keep that momentum up and gave up another 30 points in the last.

Utah's 130 points is the biggest score a team has put up against the Lakers this season, with no team managing more than the Golden State Warriors' total of 123 on opening night.

Speaking to the media after the loss, Ham said it was incredibly disappointing to see his team lose the momentum they have been trying to build as they entered the contest off back-to-back wins.

"We took a huge step backwards tonight," he said. "Giving up 75 points in the first half, giving them at least three 30-plus point quarters, we can't play like that.

"We were good during different small stretches, but the overall picture that was painted, by us defensively, sucks.

"That's got to be in your DNA, and it's a process to get it to be that way – where you want to defend at a high level night-in and night-out.

"It's not comfortable, but it's fun. It has to be fun, you have to enjoy getting stops and holding teams to one possession. Rebounding the ball, getting hits, whether you retrieve the ball or not.

"Just the little things of the game – keeping the ball in front of you, getting down in your stance, sprinting back in transition.

"Unfortunately we have a huge laundry list of things we can show them – that we're going to show them tomorrow.

"This is the first game where I felt like we really weren't there defensively."

When asked about any offensive struggles in the fourth quarter, Ham reinforced that this loss had nothing to do with that side of the ball.

"There's 60,000 points in our locker room, so I'm not worried about our offense," he said.

"We've got to defend. We scored enough points tonight to win a game, but our defense was inept at best."

One Lakers player who did perform well was Russell Westbrook, with the maligned former MVP actually drawing "M-V-P" chants from the home crowd at one point.

He finished with a team-high 26 points on nine-of-14 shooting, hitting three-of-five from long range while adding six assists and two steals, but he said the energy from his side was not there from the jump.

"They just started off playing a lot faster than us," he said. "[We were a] step slow, and it showed. We tried to pick it up in the second half, but we put ourselves in a bad position early."

The Lakers are now 2-6 through their first eight games, and will host the 7-1 Cleveland Cavaliers in their next fixture on Sunday.

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner took his opportunity on the podcast of ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski to lay out the case for why the Los Angeles Lakers should trade for him.

Turner, 26, led the NBA in blocked shots per game in the 2018-19, 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. His career average of 2.29 blocks per game is second among all active players, trailing only Lakers star Anthony Davis (2.34).

Of all the players to average at least two blocks per game across the past two seasons, only Memphis Grizzlies big-man Jaren Jackson Jr has also averaged at least one made three-pointer per game.

His unique combination of shot blocking and shooting at a relatively young age has made him an intriguing trade chip for the Pacers, who are well-and-truly in the middle of a total rebuild, led by young point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

There were reports in the offseason about a potential trade between the Lakers and Pacers that would have seen Russell Westbrook and the Lakers' first round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 sent to the Pacers for Turner and shooter Buddy Hield.

Speaking on the Woj Pod, Turner, who is in the last year of his contract, said he believes it is a deal the Pacers should revisit.

"Coming into a contract year as well, you can’t lose me for [nothing]," he said. 

"[The Pacers] can’t have the notion of me playing out this year, they don’t trade me, and it’s like 'okay, say free agency comes around and I don’t re-sign here'. Let’s just be real – that’s just bad on the organisation.

"If they do trade me, and they do get assets for me coming along, they’re doing what’s best for them and doing what they’re paid to do. There’s no hard feelings with that."

He then laid out his case for why he believes he would be a strong fit, and be more appreciated with the Lakers.

"I know what I can provide for a team," he said. "My leadership, my shot-blocking, my three-point ability and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor.

"If I'm the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this with the position that you're in… but as far as pulling the trigger, I get paid to shoot. I'm not paid to make these calls, so I couldn't answer that.

"I just feel like here in the Midwest we don't get the love that I think we deserve... it doesn't get taken in on the national level.

"You are under the microscope out there in the West. When you are doing bad, you're going to hear about it. When you are doing great, you are going to get a lot of love, especially with the love that the Lakers get.

"I think that another aspect that is [appealing is] playing with greatness and playing under LeBron. I feel like he demands a certain level of excellency, especially at this point of his career. It's just one of those things; when you are out there, you got to perform.

"People are going to expect you to go out there and hold on to that legacy that the Lakers have built over the years."

The NBA trade deadline is not until February 9, but with the Lakers starting their season 1-5, they may act with urgency to turn things around.

The Los Angeles Lakers ended their winless start to the season to move to a 1-5 record with a 121-110 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

LeBron James scored a game-high 26 points with six rebounds and eight assists, while Anthony Davis excelled with 23 points and 15 rebounds, although he appeared to nurse a back injury late.

Russell Westbrook was solid again off the bench, adding 18 points on 50 per cent shooting with eight rebounds and eight assists. Westbrook scored four points in the final two minutes to see off any Nuggets' challenge.

The Lakers improved their three-point shooting, making 13-of-30 attempts at 43.3 per cent, while they also scored 48 points in the paint, taking advantage of the defensive limitations of the Nuggets' two-time MVP-winning center Nikola Jokic.

Jokic recorded a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds while Jamal Murray, who missed the 2021-22 campaign with a ruptured ACL, had his best scoring game of the season with 21 points.

The win ends the Lakers' five-game losing run to start the season. For Denver, the defeat means they are 1-3 on the road this season and 4-3 overall.

Warriors beaten by struggling Pistons

The Golden State Warriors had defensive issues again as they suffered back-to-back losses and fell to a 3-4 record after a 128-114 loss to the Detroit Pistons, who ended their own five-game losing run.

Last year's top NBA Draft selection Cade Cunningham was an assist short of a triple-double, contributing 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Pistons dominated after quarter-time.

Stephen Curry scored 32 points on 10-of-24 shooting, while Jordan Poole added 30 with Klay Thompson rested. The Warriors, who have given up 120-or-more points in five of their past six games, only made 12-of-39 three-point attempts (31 per cent).

Doncic matches rare Jordan feat

Luka Doncic became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1986 to score 30-or-more points in each of the first six games of the season as the Dallas Mavericks won 114-105 over the Orlando Magic.

The Slovenian point guard shot 17-of-26 from the field for 44 points with three rebounds and five assists. Doncic scored 30 of his 44 points in the first half.

Top 2022 NBA Draft pick Pablo Banchero failed to reach 20 points for the first time in his career, scoring 18 on six-of-20 shooting for the Magic.

Paolo Banchero showed exactly why the Orlando Magic took him with the first overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, nearly posting his first career triple-double as his side defeated the Charlotte Hornets 113-93 on Friday.

With last year's fifth overall pick Jalen Suggs and starting point guard Cole Anthony both missing through injuries, Orlando opted to not start a traditional point guard and instead let their new star run the show.

He looked right at home as the focal point of the Magic's offense, scoring 21 points on eight-of-14 shooting while adding 12 rebounds and seven assists to deliver their first win of the season.

Even more impressive was the fact that almost all of that production came in the first three quarters, as Orlando built an 82-53 lead heading into the fourth and Banchero sat out the final nine minutes.

Through six career games, Banchero is averaging 24 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, and is yet to score less than 20 points in a contest.

Lakers lose again despite James' best efforts

LeBron James' 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals were not enough to bring an end to the Los Angeles Lakers' winless start to the season, falling to 0-5 after a 111-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

James shot 10-of-24 from the field and one-of-six from deep, and in his first game off the bench since his rookie season, Russell Westbrook was plagued by similar issues.

Westbrook shot six-of-17 for his 18 points, while also missing half of his 10 free throws and committing five turnovers.

For the Wolves, Anthony Edwards led the scoring with 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting, while Rudy Gobert was seven-of-11 for 22 points and 21 rebounds to lift their record to 4-2.

Antetokounmpo mounts case for third MVP

With two MVP trophies already in his display case, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo made it clear why he is one of the favourites yet again this season with a powerhouse performance in a 119-108 win against the New York Knicks.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in made field goals (11), made free throws (seven), points (30), rebounds (14) and assists (nine) in a true virtuoso showing. He was supported well, with six teammates making their way into double figures, including 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench from Bobby Portis.

With the win, the Bucks are now 4-0, and the only remaining unbeaten team.

LeVert and Mitchell drop 41 each in overtime Cavaliers win

Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers went head-to-head with star Boston Celtics duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and emerged 132-123 winners in overtime.

While Brown and Tatum had 32 each at a combined 22-of-41 from the field (54 per cent), the Cavs pairing played even better, scoring 41 each off a combined 27-of-47 (57 per cent).

Second-year phenom Evan Mobley also had a big hand in the win, chipping in 19 points (seven-of-12 shooting) with 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

LeBron James has vowed to take a more aggressive approach after the Los Angeles Lakers slumped to 0-4 with a defeat to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

Denver kept the Lakers waiting for their first win of the season with a 110-99 victory at Ball Arena, improving to 3-2.

Los Angeles are languishing at the bottom of the Western Conference but will get another chance to get up and running when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

Lakers superstar James was 8-for-21 shooting, finishing with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

The four-time NBA champion and MVP is not concerned by posting such low numbers by his high standards.

"I wasn't aggressive enough in a lot of my turnovers," James said. "I was coming off a lot of screens, looking to pass, get guys involved, and I wasn't aggressive enough."

He added: "That's an easy fix for me. I'll be much better on Friday with that. I've done it over and over the course of my career. That's an easy fix. I'm not worried about that."

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham is confident the Los Angeles Lakers will turn the corner.

"We're four games in, it sucks to lose, but having 78 games left, there's plenty of time for us to right the ship, and it starts now," Ham said. "It starts yesterday."

Anthony Davis top scored for the Lakers with 22 points in a game that Russell Westbrook missed due to left-hamstring soreness.

James said of Westbrook's absence: "Russ, definitely dealing with a hamstring. I played with [Dwyane] Wade. And I don't know how, but you just have to be cool with all that.

"You can't force it until that thing is ready to go. You've got to be very conscious of that."

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.

Stephen Curry led the way as the Golden State Warriors scored a franchise-record 50 second-quarter points in Sunday's 130-125 win over the Sacramento Kings at Chase Center.

The reigning NBA champions were dominant offensively, with their third most points in any half in franchise history as they opened up an 89-71 half-time lead, with Curry scoring 28 in the first half.

The Warriors fell just short of their franchise record of 92 for any half, from 2018 against the Chicago Bulls. It was Golden State's second most points in a first half.

The second quarter was their seventh ever with 50-or-more points, equaling their third most of any period.

Curry finished the game with 33 points, recording his third straight 30-point performance, marking the second time in his career he has done that to start a season. The reigning NBA Finals MVP made seven-of-12 from three-point range, with five of those coming in the second quarter.

The Kings never gave up and cut the margin to four points with 1:04 remaining but Golden State closed it with Andrew Wiggins capping it off with 24 points.

The Warriors shot at 51.7 per cent from the field, along with 42.4 per cent from beyond the arc, making 14-of-33 attempts.

Late Lakers woes prove costly

The Los Angeles Lakers slumped to an 0-3 record after poor late execution saw them lose 106-104 to the Portland Trail Blazers, with four-time MVP LeBron James missing a two-point shot on the buzzer.

The Lakers missed four of their final five shots of the game, after Damian Lillard's triple put the Blazers ahead after trailing by seven points with 1:56 remaining. Lillard finished with a game-high 41 points.

James finished with 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Anthony Davis added 22 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, but the Lakers' late execution and three-point shooting cost them, going at 18.2 per cent from beyond the arc as a team.

Russell Westbrook contributed 10 points on four-of-15 shooting with six rebounds and six assists but was benched with 12 seconds remaining with the game up for grabs.

CP3 joins elite assists club

Chris Paul became the third player in NBA history to reach 11,000 assists, providing 11 in the Phoenix Suns' 112-95 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Devin Booker top scored with 35 points with 13-of-21 shooting from the field and five-of-nine from beyond the arc as the Suns led from wire to wire.

Paul brought up his 11,000th assist with his second of the game, an alley-oop pass for Deandre Ayton, joining John Stockton and Jason Kidd in the elite club.

Kawhi Leonard started on the bench again for the Clippers, playing 21 minutes for 11 points with six rebounds and two assists.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham says he cannot afford to waste any time managing players' feelings after benching Russell Westbrook late as they slumped to an 0-3 start on Sunday.

The Lakers surrendered a seven-point lead with 1:56 left, losing 106-104 to the Portland Trail Blazers at Crypto.com Arena, following up defeats to the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.

LeBron James had a two-point attempt rim out on the buzzer as they missed four of their final five shots in the last two minutes.

Leading 102-101, Westbrook missed a 15-foot pull-up jumper with 27.3 seconds remaining in the game and 18 seconds left on the shot clock. He was then sent to the bench after Damian Lillard drained a three-point to put the Blazers ahead.

"We don't have time for feelings or people being in their feelings. Like, we're trying to turn this thing around," Ham told reporters. "For one person to be in their feelings about when and where and how they should be in the game, I don't have any time for that."

Westbrook finished with 10 points on four-of-15 shooting, adding six rebounds and six assists in 28 minutes, with no turnovers, having given away four in their opening loss to Golden State.

Ham was critical of Westbrook's shot location rather than his decision to take on his jumper with 27.3 seconds left trying to execute a two-for-one, to ensure two offensive possessions in the final moments.

"I just wish we would've attacked the rim directly," Ham said. "That's the one shot that teams want you to take and want to give up – long twos, contested twos.

"With his ability to explode and get to the basket still being at a high level, I wish he would've did that. Especially with Nurkic standing back there with five fouls… shot selection is something we have to work on."

James would not be drawn on Westbrook, proactively calling out reporters for their line of questioning on the nine-time All-Star, who has started the season averaging 10.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game.

"I feel like this is an interview of trying to set me up to say something," James said. "I can tell that you guys are in the whole Russell Westbrook category right now. I don't like to lose. I hate to lose at anything.

"I don't care what happens throughout the course of my season or throughout the course of my career, I hate to lose. And especially the way we had this game. But give credit to Portland.

"You guys can write about Russ and all the things you want to try to talk about Russ, but I'm not up here to do that. I won't do it. I've said it over and over. That's not who I am."

James finished with 31 points on 12-of-22 field shooting, with eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks, while Anthony Davis scored 22 points with 10 rebounds, two steals and six blocks.

The Lakers' woes from beyond the arc plagued them again, shooting six-of-33 from three-point range.

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