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.

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.

LeBron James was encouraged by the Los Angeles Lakers' ability to limit the Los Angeles Clippers scoring on Thursday, despite ultimately losing the game.

The Clippers ran out 103-97 victors at Crypto.com Arena in Kawhi Leonard's first outing in 16 months.

It was another frustrating game for the Lakers as they failed to land enough of their shots, especially from three-point range, which was also an issue in their season-opening loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Having only hit 10 from 40 from beyond the arc on Tuesday, the Lakers were successful with just nine from 45 attempts against the Clippers, who scored as many from 16 fewer shots.

Speaking after the defeat, LeBron was in no mood to focus on the negatives, instead praising his team-mates for putting pressure on the visitors at the other end of the court, limiting them to just 80 shots in the contest.

"I'm definitely not going to sit here and harp on [about] what we can't do every single game," he said. "That's not a leader.

"What I know we can do? We can defend our ass off. We did that tonight, which gave us an opportunity to win and we just couldn't make it happen. But I'm OK with that."

On his team's inefficient shooting, James added: "If we're reliant on [that] every single game, then we're in trouble.

"So, I'm not worried about that or thinking about that. It's how hard we play, how aggressive we play, how determined we are to go out and compete every night.

"And we've got to defend. When we defend, we're going to give ourselves a good chance to win."

Kawhi Leonard scored 14 points with seven rebounds as he returned for the first time in 16 months in the Los Angeles Clippers' thrilling 103-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

Leonard, who missed all of last season after sustaining an ACL injury in the 2021 playoffs, played 21 minutes off the bench, shooting six-of-12 from the field, including a crucial two-pointer with under two minutes left at Crypto.com Arena.

The Lakers had hit the lead in the last quarter after LeBron James' block on Paul George set up Lonnie Walker IV's jam, but the Clippers were clutch down the stretch to extend their winning streak over their rivals to eight games.

The Clippers' current eight-game winning run over the Lakers is the second-longest in franchise history, behind 11 from 2014 to 2016.

James, in his 20th season in the NBA, scored 20 points with 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks, while Anthony Davis was exceptional with 25 points including two triples and eight rebounds.

But the three-point issues that plagued the Lakers last season reared their head again, going at 20 per cent from beyond the arc as a team. The Lakers' two-game three-point percentage of 22 per cent this season is the worst by any team through two games in NBA history (minimum 60 attempts).

Russell Westbrook was a major culprit, managing only two points in 27 minutes, shooting none-of-11 from the field and none-of-six from beyond the arc.

Giannis in top form as Bucks open with 76ers win  

The Philadelphia 76ers lost for the second straight game to open the season after James Harden missed a floater off the glass on their last offensive play in a 90-88 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 76ers were booed by their fans at Wells Fargo Center in the third quarter, before rallying with a 13-0 run in the fourth, led by Harden who had eight points during that span, finishing with 31 for the game, along with eight rebounds and nine rebounds.

But Harden, who went one-for-seven from three-point range, missed his late chance straight after Wesley Matthews' triple as the Bucks won their season opener.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was in MVP form, having 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks in the first half, finishing with 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists with three blocks. Joel Embiid was kept scoreless in the second half, to have only 15 points with 12 rebounds for the game.

Russell Westbrook believes his hamstring injury in the Los Angeles Lakers' preseason finale could have been caused by his different role coming off the bench.

Westbrook started on the bench in Friday's preseason defeat to the Sacramento Kings but played just five minutes before coming off due to a concern with his left hamstring.

The 2017 NBA MVP recovered from his knock and returned to the starting lineup for his side's 123-109 loss to the Golden State Warriors in their NBA season opener on Tuesday.

And when asked whether his bench role against Sacramento played a role in his injury, he said: "Absolutely - I've been doing the same thing for 14 years straight.

"Honestly, I didn't even know what to do pregame. Being honest, I was trying to figure out how to stay warm and loose. That's something I just wasn't accustomed to."

Coach Darvin Ham suggested in preseason that Westbrook may be used from the bench as part of a different strategy following their hugely disappointing campaign last year.
 
The Lakers finished 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record despite boasting stars payers such as Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Westbrook's start on Tuesday, the 1,005th time in 1,022 career games that he had played with the first unit, proved futile with reigning champions the Warriors winning comfortably.

Speaking on Westbrook's starting role after the game, Ham said: "You want to start the game off the right way in terms of your energy and being in attack mode, and no one better than him [Westbrook].

"I thought he was solid. A couple possessions I wish I can get back, but overall, I thought he was solid."

Westbrook finished up with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes on court.

The Lakers face city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday as they look for their first win of the season.

LeBron James revealed the Los Angeles Lakers performed as he expected on opening night despite a disappointing defeat to the Golden State Warriors.

Tuesday's game was always likely to be a tough one for the Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season as the Warriors won the title.

And so it proved, with a dominant third quarter seeing the Warriors ease to a 123-109 victory.

James, entering his 20th season, led the Lakers with 31 points but acknowledged the team will need time at the start of the year working with new coach Darvin Ham.

"For us, I think we are what I expected from tonight," James said.

"Some great moments, some not so good moments, and that just comes from a team that's coming together for the first time. There's a lot of new pieces, a whole new system, coaching staff.

"But I loved the way we competed. Obviously with the turnovers, we're not going to win ball games like that, but once we start getting on the same page and know where guys are going to be, start going through in our system how we want to perform, that will get better with time.

"It was what I expected. We had some good times, and some other times were not as good as we would like."

The Lakers had 21 turnovers to the Warriors' 18, including 12 from their 'big three' of James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, which the four-time MVP said was "not acceptable".

That was not the only area in which the Lakers struggled, however, as they were a miserable 25.0 per cent from three-point range, making just 10 of 40 attempts.

The Lakers ranked 22nd in the NBA in three-point shooting last year (34.7 per cent), and James suggested the Warriors – 35.6 per cent on Tuesday and 36.4 per cent in 2021-22 – were letting their opponents shoot.

"We're getting great looks, but it also could be teams giving us great looks," James said.

"To be completely honest, we're not a team that's constructed of great shooting. That's just the truth of the matter. It's not like we're sitting here with a lot of lasers on our team.

"That doesn't deter us from trying to get great shots, and when we get those opportunities, we take them. But we're not sitting here with a load of 40-plus career three-point shooting guys."

The Lakers have still not won on opening night since 2016.

The Golden State Warriors have begun their title defense in fine fashion, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 123-109 at home on the opening night of the NBA season.

With the Warriors receiving their championship rings in a ceremony before the game, they were determined to make it a night to remember, with reigning Finals MVP Stephen Curry leading the way.

Curry finished with 33 points on 10-of-22 shooting, hitting four-of-13 from long range and all nine of his free throws to lead both teams in scoring. He also chipped in seven assists, six rebounds and four steals.

Jordan Poole had 10 of his 12 points in the first half to lead the Warriors to a 59-52 halftime lead, before Klay Thompson took over to begin the third quarter, scoring his side's first seven points on three consecutive shots to ignite a 32-19 frame, blowing the game open in the process.

The Warriors' lead peaked at 91-64 late in the third quarter, before the visiting Lakers scored 38 in the fourth to trim the final score to a respectable figure.

In his 20th season, LeBron James looked as strong as ever, finishing with 31 points (12-of-25 shooting) with 14 rebounds and eight assists, while Anthony Davis had 27 points (10-of-22 shooting) with six rebounds, four steals and two blocks, although Davis posted the worst plus/minus of the game at minus 21.

Tatum, Brown combine for 70 in Celtics win

In what was officially the first game of the season, the Boston Celtics and interim head coach Joe Mazzulla collected an impressive 126-117 home win against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Celtics had to compete with a spectacular James Harden performance, who led the 76ers with 35 points on nine-of-14 shooting, including five-of-nine from long range and 12-of-12 from the free throw line, while adding eight rebounds and seven assists.

Harden had a plus/minus of plus one in his 37 minutes, meaning the 76ers were outscored by 10 in the 11 minutes he was on the bench.

For Boston, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were almost unstoppable all night, scoring 35 points each at a combined 61 per cent from the field (27-of-44), while Tatum also grabbed 12 rebounds and Brown had two steals.

New signing Malcolm Brogdon showed no signs of needing an adjustment period, making an immediate impact off the Celtics' bench with 16 points (seven-of-11 shooting) and four assists in 24 minutes.

Michael Jordan is still the best NBA player of all time despite LeBron James' achievements, says former small forward Kendall Gill.

Since being drafted first overall by the Miami Heat in 2003, James has won four NBA championships and four Finals MVP awards, while being selected in 18 All-Star teams.

James is also just 1,325 points behind all-time NBA scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a record he could break this season - which gets under way with the Boston Celtics facing the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.

Gill says even if James breaks Abdul-Jabbar's scoring record, it does not make him the best player of all time above Jordan, telling Stats Perform: "You've got to be in the 'six five' club to be even mentioned in the conversation of the greatest of all time, and that's at least six championships and at least five MVPs.

"Only three players have ever done that; Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan. That's why LeBron can't be in that conversation right now.

"I think Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA player of all time. Numbers don't lie.

"This is the one that really tells me what people think deep down inside. I say, 'if you have one game to win for your life, who are you gonna pick, Michael Jordan and LeBron James?'

"The answer is always Michael Jordan."

James' Los Angeles Lakers face a tricky season opener on Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors, who are looking to retain the title they won in June by overcoming the Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Gill does not believe the Lakers have what it takes to win the franchise's 18th NBA championship, adding: "I love LeBron James but I don't think that the LA Lakers have the chemistry to win.

"You've got Russell Westbrook there, you've got Anthony Davis, you have LeBron James, you have Pat Bev [Beverley] there.

"Sometimes too much talent on a team is bad. It's not good, because everybody is trying to be the guy that they used to be on their previous team.

"I tell people this all the time. It's very hard to play with Lebron James. The reason why is because you have to completely change your game.

"LeBron is really the de facto point guard. Even though he's six foot nine, 270 pounds. He's going to handle the basketball most of the time.

"Everybody has to change the game because LeBron has the basketball most of the time. That's why Westbrook struggled last year because he wasn’t really allowed to play his position full-time."

Victor Wembanyama is honoured to have been labelled a "generational talent" and an "alien" by the legendary LeBron James.

Wembanyama is projected to be the number one pick in the NBA Draft next year and the French teenager has demonstrated why during his first trip to America this week.

The 18-year-old once again showed what the hype is all about as he scored 36 points, claimed 11 rebounds and made four blocks for Metropolitans 92 in a 112-106 win over G League Ignite on Thursday.

Over the two exhibition games this week, Wembanyama racked up 73 points, was 22-for-44 shooting, landed nine three-pointers, took 15 rebounds and made nine blocked shots.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar James said of the 7-foot-3 Wembanyama: "Everybody has been labelling this unicorn thing.

"Everybody has been a unicorn for the last two years, but he's more like an alien. I've never seen, no one has ever seen anyone as tall as he is, but as fluid and as graceful as he is out on the floor."

James added: "His ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot step-back jumpers out of the post, step-back threes, catch-and-shoot threes, block shots... he's for sure a generational talent."

Wembanyama was proud when he heard James singing his praises, but will remain grounded.

He said: "It's obviously an honour to see such great people talk like this about me, but it really doesn't change anything.

"I was like, 'Oh that's cool.' But no more. I have to try to stay focused. The thing is, I didn't do anything yet."

G League coach Jason Hart also had high praise for Wembanyama.

He said: "We will never see another player like that again. Just like I said about Shaq [Shaquille O'Neal], they just don't come around often.

"The good thing for me coaching, I'm glad I got a chance to play against him at 18. At 24, he's going to be a whole new player, somebody else's problem."

LeBron James insists he is serious about wanting to own an NBA franchise based in Las Vegas, serving a reminder of his ambitions to league commissioner Adam Silver.

The four-time NBA champion scored 23 points in 17 minutes on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers lost a pre-season road game with the Phoenix Suns in Vegas, at the city's T-Mobile Arena.

James is no stranger to sports club ownership, with stakes in Premier League outfit Liverpool and MLB team Boston Red Sox.

But with his career on the basketball court entering its twilight phase, the 37-year-old doubled down on his desire to own a franchise in Nevada, one of the few states in the American southwest not home to a club.

"I would love to bring a team here at some point," he said, before calling out Silver personally. "That would be amazing. I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi right now, I believe.

"But he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes through from NBA players. So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you."

James' hopes are unlikely to materialise in the short term, given he remains under contract with the Lakers through 2025, and must be retired to own a league franchise.

Silver previously also poured cold water on immediate expansion during the NBA Finals, but did praise both Vegas and Seattle as future sites if the league chooses to grow.

"We are not discussing that at this time," Silver said at the time. "As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it's not at this moment that we are discussing it.

"We were in Seattle. I'm sorry we are no longer there. Las Vegas has shown itself to be a great sports market as well."

LeBron James scored 23 points in the first half and Donovan Mitchell made his Cleveland Cavaliers debut to highlight Wednesday's NBA preseason action.

Against the Phoenix Suns, James shot eight-of-11 from the field, including three-of-six from deep, adding four assists, three rebounds, a steal and no turnovers in his 17 minutes, helping the Los Angeles Lakers to a 69-62 halftime lead.

They would end up losing 119-115 as James would sit out the entire second half while fringe rotation players got a chance for some extended run, with Kendrick Nunn scoring 21 points on eight-of-13 shooting as he prepares for a significant role for the Lakers this season.

Devin Booker scored 22 points on seven-of-20 shooting, and Chris Paul posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists.

Meanwhile, Mitchell was impressive in his first action in a Cavaliers uniform, scoring 16 points on six-of-nine shooting before also sitting out the second half of his side's 113-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tyrese Maxey led the 76ers with 22 points on nine-of-11 shooting, while Joel Embiid had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists in his 18 minutes.

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