LeBron James collected another pair of milestones as he made history in the Los Angeles Lakers' 129-123 overtime victory against the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Playing on the road in Madison Square Garden, James became the first 38-year-old to ever record a 20-point triple-double, finishing with 28 points on 11-of-25 shooting, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

He also came into the contest eight assists away from overtaking Steve Nash for fourth-place on the all-time assist leaderboard, with James dishing assist number 10,336 early in the fourth period. 

James is 908 assists behind the still-active Chris Paul (11,246) – which would take him another 124 games to reach at his current career average of 7.3 per game – while he is 240 games at that pace away from the second-placed Jason Kidd (12,091).

Against the Knicks, the Lakers had to pull themselves off the canvas after their six-point lead with under two minutes left evaporated, as Jalen Brunson tied the game at 114-114 with 24 seconds on the clock.

But the Lakers had the answer this time, holding the Knicks scoreless for a near three-minute stretch in the five-minute extra period to pull away.

There were extremely encouraging signs for Los Angeles in the first game sporting their new-look starting five, with Anthony Davis making his first start since December 16, and his first alongside new trade acquisition Rui Hachimura.

Davis looked back to his best with 27 points (nine-of-16 shooting), nine rebounds and two steals, while Hachimura put together an efficient 19 points (eight-of-12) with nine rebounds and strong defense on Julius Randle.

With the win, the Lakers improved their record to 24-28, and sit just three games out of the Western Conference's six seed.

Kawhi dominates the Bulls on both ends

Any concerns about Kawhi Leonard's prime passing him by have been quashed after the latest standout performance from the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Leonard was clearly the best player on the court in the Los Angeles Clippers' 108-103 road win against the Chicago Bulls, scoring a game-high 33 points (11-of-24) while also snatching a season-high five steals with two blocks.

It was the kind of performance that has earned the 31-year-old three First Team All-NBA and three NBA All-Defensive First Team selections, and it cancelled out one of the more well-rounded games of Zach LaVine's career.

LaVine grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds for the Bulls to go with 18 points (six-of-14) and eight assists, also adding a steal and a block.

Giannis overpowers the Hornets

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo continued to build a convincing case for his third MVP during his side's 124-115 home win against the Charlotte Hornets.

Antetokounmpo led both teams with 34 points and 18 rebounds, shooting a terrific 14-of-24 from the field and a more than respectable five-of-six from the free throw line.

Despite being on the losing side, Hornets franchise player LaMelo Ball produced a head-turning stat line with 27 points (10-of-26), 11 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

The Bucks own the third-best record in the league at 34-17.

LeBron James' 41 points were not enough to prevent his Los Angeles Lakers from going down 125-121 in a controversial overtime loss on the road against the Boston Celtics.

In the latest edition of the league's most decorated rivalry, James was a man on a mission, finishing 15-of-30 from the field, six-of-12 from deep and five-of-six from the free throw line as the only Lakers player to score more than 16.

He added nine rebounds and eight assists, and he should have been awarded potential game-winning free throws after he was clearly hit on the arm while driving for a layup with under a second remaining in regulation.

But the Celtics got the call in Boston, and it would be Jaylen Brown stepping up in the extra period to deliver a win for the home fans.

Brown scored 11 of his team-high 37 points in overtime, finishing 13-of-23 from the field with nine rebounds, picking up the slack for team-mate and MVP candidate Jayson Tatum.

Tatum had a respectable stat line of 30 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals, but he shot a dismal eight-of-25 from the field, while Sixth Man of the Year contender Malcolm Brodgon chipped in a game-changing 25 points (eight-of-15), six rebounds, four assists and two steals off the bench.

For the Lakers, it was Anthony Davis' second game back after five-and-a-half weeks on the sideline dealing with a foot injury, and he came off the bench again for 16 points (six-of-15), 10 rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Celtics, and improved their league-leading record to 36-15. 

The Lakers fell to 23-27, and although they sit 13th in the Western Conference, they are only three games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves in the sixth seed.

Clippers extend winning streak to five

The Los Angeles Clippers are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season after making it five in a row with Saturday's 120-113 victory against the Atlanta Hawks.

The Clippers were led by their resurgent two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting while adding eight rebounds and four assists.

There were fears Leonard's prime had been stolen from him by injuries after scoring a total of 50 points in his first five games of this campaign, but over his past 10 fixtures he sits eighth overall in points per game at 29.3.

Over that span he is shooting 55.6 per cent from the field, 47.2 per cent from deep and 92.5 per cent from the free throw line while adding 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game, improving the Clippers' record to 28-24.

Kyrie stays red-hot in New York showdown

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving posted his sixth consecutive game with at least 30 points and six assists to defeat the New York Knicks 122-115 at home.

Irving, who was named an All-Star starter mid-week, scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting with nine assists, six rebounds and two steals.

Over his past six games, his 36.3 points per game is eclipsed only by Portland Trail Blazers icon Damian Lillard (38.3), while Irving's 7.8 assists would also be a new career-high as he shoulders a massive workload in the absence of injured superstar Kevin Durant.

LeBron James achieved a unique NBA feat in scoring 46 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, but he was in no mood to celebrate following a defeat.

With his latest big performance, James became the first player to score 40 or more points in games against all 30 teams.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar is also now only 177 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the long-standing all-time scoring lead.

Averaging 30.2 points per game this season, James is on course to pass Abdul-Jabbar against the New Orleans Pelicans next weekend.

But a downbeat James was not particularly talkative as he was asked to reflect on his latest achievements and that big imminent milestone.

"As [the record] gets closer and closer, I think I'll start to feel it more and more, but I haven't really tried to put myself in that moment," he said.

"I've got to this place by not even thinking about it or not even being in that moment, just trying to play the game the right way.

"Even tonight, as I shot the ball, I was still trying to distribute to my guys to make sure they felt some type of rhythm. That's just always how I've played the game throughout my career.

"We'll see when we get there. We'll see. Will it hit me? Over the last couple of years since we won a championship, there's been a lot of accomplishments happening on a losing effort.

"It's been very difficult to even digest some of my own accomplishments because I don't want to celebrate on losses."

James played his part in trying to ensure he did not have to experience that losing feeling again, making nine of 14 shots from three-point range.

That set a new career benchmark for made threes, although he also tied his high for attempts from beyond the arc.

At 38, James became the oldest player to make nine threes in a game; indeed, no other player has done so aged 35 or older.

This performance came in a season in which James' three-point shooting is down at 30.7 per cent, his lowest mark since his rookie season.

"I don't really get caught up on percentages and things like that if I'm not shooting the ball well, because I put too much work in my craft," he said.

"I know it'll even out at some point. I put a lot of work into it and was able to make a few shots tonight to help us stay in the game."

LeBron James scored 46 points but the Los Angeles Clippers continued their recent dominance over the Los Angeles Lakers with a 133-115 victory on Tuesday.

The Clippers have now won 10 straight against the Lakers and are 36-9 in recent seasons. The win moves the Clippers up to fifth spot in the west with a 26-24 record, while the Lakers are 22-26 and 13th in the west.

Paul George top scored for the Clippers, who made 19 three-pointers at 50 per cent as a team, leading the way with 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting while adding nine rebounds and four assists.

Kawhi Leonard chipped in 25 points with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks as the Clippers found form with a third straight win, and they could receive further reinforcements soon as Luke Kennard (calf) and John Wall (abdominal strain) close in on returns.

James was exceptional for the Lakers, shooting 16-of-29 from the field with nine-of-14 triples, along with eight rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block.

The four-time NBA MVP's 46-point haul moves him to within 177 of tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record at 38,387.

James appeared set for a 50-point game, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter, before the Clippers put the game to bed on an 8-0 run and send James to the bench for good with five minutes remaining.

Another triple-double as Jokic calls game

Nikola Jokic scored the game-winner with 16.2 seconds left as he recorded his 15th triple-double of the season in the Denver Nuggets' 99-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Jokic and Jamal Murray were disconnected down the stretch before linking up for the crucial two-pointer, capping the Serbian's game with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, adding further weight to his claims for a third straight MVP, which would be the first occurrence since Larry Bird from 1984-86.

Murray added 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting with seven assists for Denver, while C.J. McCollum top scored for the Pels with 20 points, but he went zero-of-eight from three-point range.

Celtics suffer back-to-back defeats

The short-handed Miami Heat fought back from 14 points down to inflict back-to-back defeats on the Boston Celtics with a 98-95 victory.

Bam Adebayo top scored with 30 points and 15 rebounds for Miami, who were without Jimmy Butler due to a back injury. The Heat squared the game up at 87-87 in the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run, before going on to win their sixth straight game at home.

Jayson Tatum, who scored 31 points with 14 rebounds, threw a pass that was intercepted by Tyler Herro in the final minute, before Payton Pritchard missed a desperation three-point attempt on the buzzer.

The Los Angeles Lakers produced a late comeback to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 122-121, denying the visitors what would have been a franchise-record 12th consecutive victory.

Memphis looked well on their way to breaking their record, jumping out to a 13-point lead late in the third quarter, but a 41-point final period from the Lakers turned the game on its head.

Los Angeles trailed by five points with under a minute on the clock, and after Dennis Schroder cut the margin to one with 19 seconds left, he then stole the ball and laid it in – with a foul – to put the Lakers in front for good.

Brandon Clarke had a chance to tie the game with two free throws in the final seconds, but after hitting the first, he missed the second. He was arguably the Grizzlies' best player, shooting a perfect seven-of-seven from the field for 20 points and 10 rebounds in his 22 minutes.

Russell Westbrook led all scorers with 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting, adding six assists and five rebounds, while LeBron James had 23 points (eight-of-21), nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.

The win improves the Lakers' record to 21-25, leaving them 13th in the Western Conference, but only two games behind the Los Angeles Clippers (24-24) in the race for the six seed.

Kawhi back to his best for the Clippers

Two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard looked back to his All-NBA self as he scored a season-high 36 points in the Los Angeles Clippers' 131-126 road win against the San Antonio Spurs.

Leonard shot 13-of-18 from the field while adding seven assists and two steals, marking his sixth consecutive game with at least 24 points and a steal. 

During that stretch, his 30.0 points per game is the seventh-highest figure in the league, all while shooting 57.4 per cent from the field, 50 per cent from deep and 93.8 per cent from the free throw line.

He was supported well by fellow All-Star Paul George, who dished a season-high 12 assists to go with his 16 points.

Undermanned Warriors shoot the lights out

The Golden State Warriors came into their road fixture against the Cleveland Cavaliers without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins – but still came away with a 120-114 victory.

In the absence of their top stars, the Warriors received a 32-point outburst from Jordan Poole on 10-of-23 shooting, while Ty Jerome posted season-highs in points (22) and assists (eight).

As a team, the Warriors shot 23-of-43 (53.5 per cent) from three-point range, opening a 20-point lead in the third quarter that was too much for the Cavaliers to overcome.

Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic took another step towards a third consecutive MVP after dominating the Portland Trail Blazers in a 122-113 victory on Tuesday.

Jokic was unstoppable offensively, finishing with 36 points on 13-of-14 shooting while adding 12 rebounds and 10 assists. 

In doing so, he became the first player in NBA history to record multiple 35-point triple-doubles while shooting at least 90 per cent from the field. Hall-of-Famer Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player with even one such game.

Jokic was supported well by Michael Porter Jr, who scored 23 points on nine-of-13 shooting, while Jamal Murray chipped in 17 points (six-of-15), seven assists, five rebounds and two steals.

For the Blazers, it was another spectacular showing from the franchise's all-time scoring leader as Damian Lillard had a game-high 44 points on 12-of-20 shooting with eight assists.

It continued a blistering run of form for Lillard, who is averaging a league-leading 39 points per game across his past six outings, although Portland have only been able to convert his stellar play into two wins from six.

With the victory, the Nuggets are now alone atop the Western Conference with a record of 31-13, which the Memphis Grizzlies can tie if they can secure their 11th consecutive win when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.

Holiday delivers for the Giannis-less Bucks

Jrue Holiday has set a new season-high points total in back-to-back games after putting up 37 in the Milwaukee Bucks' 130-122 triumph at home against the Toronto Raptors.

Holiday scored a season-high 35 on Monday against the Indiana Pacers in the first leg of the Bucks' back-to-back, and he followed it up with 37 against the Raptors.

He shot 16-of-26 from the field while adding seven assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block, and Fred VanVleet was just as good for Toronto.

VanVleet tied his season-high by scoring 39 points on 15-of-28 shooting, with nine rebounds and seven assists.

The Bucks are now 29-16 and occupy the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

Embiid bullies the Clippers

Joel Embiid was too big and too strong on his way to a game-high 41 points in the Philadelphia 76ers' 120-110 road win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Embiid shot 12-of-22 from the field and 15-of-18 from the free throw line while adding nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks in a comprehensive performance.

Tobias Harris was sharp in a supporting role, snatching five steals in the first half while scoring 20 points on efficient eight-of-12 shooting.

For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard made it five consecutive games with at least 24 points and a steal as he begins to recapture his All-NBA form following a string of injuries.

Veteran point guard John Wall has been ruled out of action by the Los Angeles Clippers for at least two weeks after suffering an abdominal injury.

The injury occurred during the Clippers' loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday when Wall went up and finished an explosive dunk.

He went on to finish the game with a strong stat-line of 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists, but he told reporters his first highlight dunk in a while may have come at a price.

"I haven't jumped like that when somebody contested me in probably like three years to be honest," he said. "I think I just stretched it as much as I could when I dunked it."

Wall adds to an extended injury list for the Clippers that includes All-Star Paul George (hamstring), forward Marcus Morris (knee contusion) and guard Luke Kennard (calf).

In Wall's absence, Clippers head coach Ty Lue said he would turn to Reggie Jackson to takeover as point guard on the second unit.

 

The New York Knicks have now won six of their past seven games after Jalen Brunson excelled in a 112-108 victory against the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Brunson, who is averaging career-highs in points (21.9) and assists (6.4) since signing with the Knicks in the offseason, was once again his side's best player.

He scored a team-high 34 points on 12-of-24 shooting with eight rebounds and eight assists, continuing the red-hot form that has seen him average 33.2 points, 5.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds on 52 per cent shooting since the new year began.

Another player in scintillating form since the start of January is Knicks forward Julius Randle, and he is now averaging 24.8 points and 14.4 rebounds this month after putting up 23 points (eight-of-19 shooting) and 16 rebounds.

The Knicks overcame a terrific performance from Wizards wing Kyle Kuzma, who scored a season-high 40 points on 14-of-27 shooting with seven rebounds and seven assists.

New York are now 24-19, and sit sixth in the Eastern Conference.

No Jokic, no problem for the Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets showed they can survive without reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic as they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 115-103.

It was just the third contest Jokic has missed out of 41 total opportunities, but while on the sidelines nursing a wrist injury he watched Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr pick up the slack.

Murray scored a team-high 24 points on eight-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds and four assists, while Porter had 22 points (nine-of-17) with four rebounds and three assists.

The highlight of the game came courtesy of Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, who dunked on the head of Zeke Nnaji on his way to 24 points (10-of-21) and nine rebounds.

Hawks bigs deliver the win

Despite having two All-Stars in their backcourt, the Atlanta Hawks frontcourt came to the rescue in a 113-111 triumph over the Indiana Pacers.

Third-year center Onyeka Okongwu was tremendous with 18 points (nine-of-12 shooting), a career-high 20 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals. 

His interior partner, John Collins, was less impactful for the first three quarters, and while he only finished with seven points, he scored the game-winning tip-in with less than a second remaining on the clock.

The Los Angeles Clippers have opted to rest All-NBA duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the second leg of their back-to-back against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

It is a curious decision after neither player eclipsed 18 minutes in Thursday's 122-91 blowout loss against the Denver Nuggets, where they both sat out the entire second half.

Leonard has officially been listed out due to "injury management", while George may have picked up a niggling injury as he is listed out due to his hamstring.

Their absence leaves the Clippers in a difficult situation as they head to Minnesota undermanned and on a four-game losing streak, although they remain in the thick of the playoff picture at 21-19 – currently sixth in the Western Conference.

Leonard has only played in 17 of the Clippers' 40 games so far, but after easing his way back into things in October and November, he began to look like himself in December.

In his 11 games this past month, Leonard averaged 20.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest while shooting 49.1 per cent from the field.

Meanwhile, George has made 30 appearances this campaign, averaging 23.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists, and remains on track for what would be his eighth All-Star selection.

Michael Malone will always allow his Denver Nuggets team to enjoy the wins but said "I'm not going to party and celebrate" after a rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

Jamal Murray top scored with 18 points as the high-flying Nuggets ran out 122-91 winners at Ball Arena to improve to 25-13 on the season and 15-3 on home court.

It was another statement victory in a season full of excellent performance and leaves the Nuggets top of the Western Conference, with an identical record to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Head coach Malone encouraged his players to enjoy the moment, while also emphasising there is plenty of work still to be done.

"I've been around people who would not allow themselves to enjoy the wins, to enjoy the moment. I'm not that guy," Malone said.

"But I'm also not going to party and celebrate.

"That was a hell of a win for us. A convincing win, from beginning to end. Everybody contributed. 

"We're in first place in the Western Conference. We're not there yet. But we're on our way. I like where we're at and, more importantly, I like who I'm going there with."

Murray scored 13 of his 18 points in a blistering first quarter and it was a welcome performance considering his hit-and-miss form since returning from an ACL injury that ruled him out of last season.

Following a 124-111 defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves last time out, Malone said with Murray on the plan ride home for a heart-to-heart.

"He takes ownership. He has to help himself as well," Malone said of Murray.

Murray added that the win shows the level the Nuggets have to aspire to on a consistent performance.

He said: "Wins like this give us a lot of confidence and build a lot of chemistry. Sets a standard for us."

Jayson Tatum registered his second career triple-double as the Boston Celtics ended the Dallas Mavericks' seven-game winning streak with a 124-95 victory on Thursday.

Tatum finished the game with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists plus one steal and two blocks. The MVP candidate shot eight-of-22 from the field and two-of-eight from beyond the arc, scoring 11-of-12 from the stripe.

The Celtics improved to 27-12 with their merciless display, which comes amid a tough stretch for the Eastern Conference leaders, who had dropped seven of their past 12 games, including giving up 150 points last game to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Luka Doncic was kept to only 23 points for the Mavs, after a five-game run averaging 44.5 points. Doncic, who shot none-of-six from three-point range, was benched in the fourth quarter amid the blowout.

Tatum also struggled from beyond the arc, but Marcus Smart made up for it with four-of-nine triples in his 15 points, while Malcolm Brogdon hit three-of-five three-pointers in his 15 points off the bench.

Jaylen Brown scored 19 points with two three-pointers with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Nuggets rout Clippers despite Jokic being quiet

The Denver Nuggets re-claimed top spot in the Western Conference with a 122-91 domination of the Los Angeles Clippers, who slumped to their fourth straight defeat.

The Nuggets, who secured their 10th straight home win, prevailed without a great contribution from MVP Nikola Jokic, who managed 12 points with six rebounds and nine assists.

Jamal Murray top scored with 18 points, including four three-pointers for Denver, who led by as much as 43 points. The Clippers shuffled their deck ahead of a back-to-back with Kawhi Leonard scoring six points in 18 minutes.

The Nuggets lead the west with a 25-13 record ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies, also 25-13, who won 123-115 over the Orlando Magic with Ja Morant scoring 32 points.

Lauri's career-high ends Jazz's five-game skid

Lauri Markkanen scored a career-high 49 points as the Utah Jazz snapped their five-game skid with a 131-114 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Markkanen posted 18 points in the first quarter on his way to the equal 15th highest single-game scoring performance this season.

The Finnish forward sparked a 14-0 fourth-quarter run which put the game to bed. Jalen Green scored 30 points for Houston, while Kevin Porter Jr added 23.

The Los Angeles Clippers must wait on the status of franchise player Kawhi Leonard after he was a late addition to the injury report for Monday's home game against the Miami Heat.

Leonard, who has only played in 16 of the Clippers' 38 games this season, has been listed as questionable due to a non-COVID illness after suiting up for each of his side's past three outings.

After missing the entire 2021-22 season following an ACL tear in the 2021 playoffs, Leonard has slowly been recapturing the form that has earned him five NBA All-Star selections and seven NBA All-Defensive honours.

He averaged 10 points per game across his five games played in October and November, but looked back to his old self in December, posting 20.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists in his 11 games played in the month.

Leonard also has fond memories of his time competing against the Heat, announcing his arrival as a star when he won the NBA Finals MVP in 2014, as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the LeBron James led 'Heatles' in their quest for a three-peat.

It is one of two Finals MVP trophies in Leonard's possession after also carrying the Toronto Raptors to an improbable championship in 2019, joining James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to win the award with two teams.

The Heat may also be undermanned for Monday's fixture, with Jimmy Butler, Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson all questionable due to various injuries.

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle gushed over his two top players after Myles Turner and Tyrese Haliburton helped extend their winning streak to three games.

The Pacers ended the year on a high as they beat the Los Angeles Clippers 131-130 on the road in the opening game on New Year's Eve.

It continued an impressive run of scoring form, putting up 129 points in a victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, before notching 135 points to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.

Against the Clippers, Turner proved nearly unstoppable. The man who has led the league in blocks per game on three separate occasions was an offensive force, scoring a team-high 34 points on 11-of-17 shooting, hitting all 10 of his free throws.

He also hit a pair of three-pointers, dished three assists and snatched two steals, and while it was all Turner for the first three quarters, it was the Haliburton show late.

Haliburton reached the fourth quarter with just six points to his name, before exploding for 18 in the final period alone, finishing with 24 points (eight-of-13 shooting), 10 assists, seven rebounds and four steals.

In his postgame media appearance, Carlisle spoke about how exciting it is to watch his young stars excel in a playoff type of atmosphere.

"Myles Turner was spectacular in this game," he said. "He didn't get many rebounds, but he neutralised the boards – he kept their big guy off the boards.

"He was clutch all night, he punished them on the inside when they went small, he made big free throws, big and-ones – he played huge in this game.

"Tyrese’s fourth quarter was a monster. 18 [points] in the fourth, made just about every play you could imagine. Really just breathtaking stuff to watch. 

"The building was absolutely alive. Today was another opportunity to play a playoff-caliber game during the regular season. [The Clippers] were loaded up, they had all their guys, and they really came to play. We had to put together a monster game to beat them – and we did."

When asked about Haliburton and his growth into a true team leader since arriving in a trade from the Sacramento Kings, Carlisle compared him to another young playmaker he has coached – Luka Doncic.

"[Haliburton] is a basketball savant-type guy," he said. "People like him, people like Doncic, people like Reggie Miller, they sense when their time is coming.

"He's resourceful, and he finds ways to help our team get the ball in the basket. Sometimes it's not him – sometimes he makes the play that leads to the bucket, or the pass that leads to the pass.

"But his will to win is spectacular for a young player, and he really is grasping everything that there is to grasp about the opportunity that he has here, and the responsibility that he has here.

"It's amazing to watch him continue to grow, grow and grow every single game."

Haliburton himself spoke of the challenge of facing a team that dominated the interior last time they met, and pointed out why Turner is such a mismatch problem for teams who like to play small.

"Last time we played these guys [Ivica] Zubac had a great game – almost 30 and 30," he said. "So as a competitor, and as a competitive team, we wanted to respond the right way.

"We attacked him early, we felt like we were getting after him… he's a tough guy to keep off the glass, but we were able to do that successfully.

"We made them play small, which is to our advantage, because we still feel we can run with a big on the floor because 'MT' runs so well.

"We felt like we dictated pace tonight, and usually when we dictate pace, we win games."

It is the fifth win from the Pacers' past six outings, improving their record to 20-17 to occupy the six seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Clippers (21-17) are sixth in the West.

Luka Doncic maintained his dynamite form with another triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks improved to 20-16 with a 129-114 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

Doncic, who scored a franchise-best and season-high 60 points two nights earlier, recorded his eighth triple double of the season, finishing with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists.

The Slovenian guard led the Mavs to their fifth straight win, notching up a second straight triple-double for the second time this season. Doncic's collective 95 points across the past two games is an NBA-record in consecutive triple-doubles.

Doncic shot 11-of-21 from the field, including four-of-nine from beyond the arc, making nine-of-12 free-throws.

Ex-Rockets forward Christian Wood offered good support with 21 points, including five-of-eight three-pointers, six rebounds and four blocks, along with Dwight Powell, who added a season-high 19 points with six rebounds and two blocks off the bench.

The Rockets, who are 10-25 and have lost seven of their past eight games, had few answers as they fell behind 65-51 at half-time with a Doncic 35-foot buzzer beater, with Jalen Green top scoring with 23 points.

Celtics avenge Clippers' blowout

The Boston Celtics avenged their heavy loss to the Los Angeles Clippers three weeks ago with a 116-110 victory led by 29 points each from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

The NBA-best Celtics (26-10) had suffered their worst loss of the season at the hands of the Clippers earlier this month, losing 113-93, starting off a run where they lost five of six games.

Tatum had 11 rebounds to go with his 29 points, shooting 10-of-26 from the field, while Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points with eight rebounds for the Clippers.

Hield makes history in Pacers' win

Buddy Hield made history with the fastest three-pointer recorded since play-by-play began in 1996-97 as the Indiana Pacers downed the Cleveland Cavaliers 135-126.

Hield, who leads the league in three-pointers made this season, swished a shot just three seconds into the game. The Pacers made 19-of-31 from beyond the arc for the game, rallying from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Tyrese Haliburton top scored with 29 points, including six-of-eight three-point shooting, while Hield made six triples in his 25 points. Donovan Mitchell had 28 points and six assists for the Cavs.

Dwayne Casey felt his Detroit Pistons side "threw in the towel" as they squandered a 14-point deficit in the final three minutes to lose 142-131 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The NBA-worst Pistons were on course for just a ninth win in 36 games this season until the Clippers rallied in Monday's contest at Little Caesars Arena.

Paul George scored 32 in the Clippers' overtime triumph, with Terance Mann hitting a tying jumper with five seconds left in regulation to deny the Pistons.

"We were down 15 points in the third quarter, fought our way back, got the lead and had a comfortable lead with three minutes left," Pistons coach Casey said. 

"They threw in the towel. We must learn how to win that game. I'm proud of the way we put ourselves in a position to beat one of the best teams in the West, but we didn't get it."

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue took action with his side 126-112 down by pulling his starters.

A line-up of Luke Kennard, Amir Coffey, Nicolas Batum, Moses Brown and Mann finished the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run in an unlikely turnaround.

"You have to give those guys credit for staying ready," Lue said. "They came out and played with some urgency. 

"Amir and Moses hadn't played in the game, so for them to come in and produce like the way they did was huge."

The Clippers had lost their previous 417 games in which they had trailed by 14 points or more with three minutes remaining prior to Monday's comeback against the Pistons.

Isaiah Stewart, who scored 21 points, says the blame is on the Pistons' players rather than the coaching staff.

"They took their starters out, and we thought the game was over," he said. "We had the lead and we didn't finish the game. That's completely on us, not the coaches."

The Clippers (20-15) are fourth in the Western Conference, while the Pistons (8-28) are bottom of the East.

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