Bam Adebayo said the Miami Heat were determined to "dig ourselves out of a hole" after his starring role lit up a 115-110 win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Heat center put in a dominant 31-point performance in Thursday's success that followed two defeats in a row for Miami, who are 12-14 for the season and 10th in the Eastern Conference.

As they look to put together a run of healthy results, Adebayo said it would need to be a collective effort by the team to achieve their goals.

He told Bally Sports in an on-court interview: "We're trying to dig ourselves out of a hole. The biggest thing is we stand connected, stand together, and we keep waking up trying. We wake up and try to find solutions every day."

Adebayo weighed in with 10 rebounds and four assists, shooting 14-of-21 from the field, while the Heat got the job done from 87-84 behind going into the fourth quarter.

After failing to reach the 30-point mark in each of his first 13 games this season, Adebayo has now reached that figure in four of his past 11 outings, raising his season average to a career-high 21.2 points per game.

The 25-year-old said: "My team-mates want me to be assertive. They want me to look for my shots. They're finding me in the pocket. The biggest thing I can do is keep shooting."

Asked about the key to seeing out victory over the Clippers, who sit ninth in the Western Conference, gave credit to Jimmy Butler, who made 10 of his 12 field attempts on his way to 26 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals.

"We gave Jimmy the ball," said Adebayo. "He's our closer, so we let him do his thing down the stretch."

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo did not attempt a single shot from outside the key on his way to a dominant 31-point performance in Thursday's 115-110 win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Adebayo also added 10 rebounds (four offensive) and four assists, shooting 14-of-21 from the field in a tremendously efficient outing as the Clippers' interior defense had no answers.

After failing to reach the 30-point mark in each of his first 13 games this season, Adebayo has now eclipsed the figure in four of his past 11 fixtures, raising his season average to a career-high 20.7 points per game.

He was supported in style by Jimmy Butler, who hit 10 of his 12 field goal attempts for a terrific game in his own right, posting 26 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals.

Paul George led the way for the Clippers, and was the only reason they were able to keep things close on the road while Kawhi Leonard was out for a scheduled rest day, scoring a team-high 29 points (10-of-20 shooting) with eight rebounds and seven assists.

The victory for the Heat snaps a two-game losing streak and pulls their record back to 12-14, leaving them 10th in the Eastern Conference, while the Clippers are ninth in the West at 14-13.

Johnson and the Spurs win all-Texas showdown

The San Antonio Spurs received standout performances from Keldon Johnson and Tre Jones to defeat in-state rivals the Houston Rockets 118-109.

Johnson finished one point off his season-high with 32 on 14-of-21 shooting, hitting half of his six three-point attempts, while Jones' 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting was a new career-high.

Despite the loss, it was a strong outing from this year's third overall pick in the NBA Draft, with Jabari Smith Jr scoring a career-high 23 points on nine-of-13 shooting. The six-foot-11, smooth-moving wing showed off his special shooting stroke, hitting four-of-seven from deep.

'Dame Time' not enough against the Nuggets

Damian Lillard scored 15 of his game-high 40 points in the final six minutes, but Jamal Murray had the last laugh as the Denver Nuggets outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers 121-120.

Lillard, in his second game back from injury, looked back to his best late in the fourth quarter, hitting a contested step-back three with nine seconds on the clock to go up by two. He ended up shooting 12-of-22 for his 40 points and 12 assists, hitting at least nine three-pointers for the 10th time in his career.

But Murray would hit his own step-back game-winner with less than a second remaining, putting a bow on his 21-point, eight-assist showing, while reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic was a force with 33 points (14-of-25), 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Donovan Mitchell scored 43 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers claimed a rare win over the former face of their franchise LeBron James, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 116-102 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Tuesday.

Mitchell's season-high 43-point haul was the most by a Cavaliers player ever against James, while it meant that the 37-year-old four-time NBA MVP has a 17-3 record against his former side.

The Lakers were not helped by the first-quarter exit of in-form big man Anthony Davis, who did not return due to flu-like symptoms.

James finished with 21 points on eight-of-17 shooting, pulling down 17 rebounds with four assists, while Thomas Bryant came off the bench to add 19 points with Davis out.

The Cavs led by two points at the final change, but Mitchell took control on 17-of-27 shooting with four three-pointers along with six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Mitchell scored 29 of his 43 points in the second half.

Cavs center Jarrett Allen capitalised on Davis' absence on his own return from injury with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while point guard Darius Garland had 21 points with 11 assists.

The Cavs' win means they are 11-1 on their home floor and improved their season record to 16-9, snapping the Lakers' three-game win streak.

Mavs down Nuggets in a thriller

Dorian Finney-Smith drained a clutch three-pointer with 16.8 seconds remaining as the Dallas Mavericks downed the Denver Nuggets 116-115.

Tim Hardaway top scored with 29 points including six three-pointers for the Mavs, who claimed an impressive road win, even with Luka Doncic only managing 22 points on five-of-17 shooting. Doncic did record a triple-double, adding 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

Back-to-back reigning MVP Nikola Jokic was also down on his usual output, scoring 19 points with eight rebounds and eight assists, while the center missed a crucial free-throw with 12 seconds left. 

Heat humiliated in second-half blitz

The Miami Heat were humiliated at home by the Detroit Pistons who triumphed 116-96, led by Bojan Bogdanovic and his 31 points, with 28 coming in the second half.

The Pistons piled on 69 second-half points after scores were 50-47 in the Heat's favour at half-time to improve their record to 7-19.

Heat point guard Tyler Herro top scored for the game with 34 points, while Bam Adebayo scored 21 points with 15 rebounds.

Anthony Davis enjoyed his highest-scoring game since January 2020 as he put up 44 points to deliver a Los Angeles Lakers road win against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

The Bucks entered the contest on a three-game winning streak, and were welcoming three-time All-Star Khris Middleton back to the starting line-up for his first action of the season. 

Middleton was solid in his return, scoring 17 points on six-of-11 shooting with seven assists and no turnovers in his 27 minutes, but there was nothing he could do to stop Davis.

Davis was dueling head-to-head with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and while the Bucks superstar had 40 points (16-of-23 shooting), seven rebounds and five assists, Davis dropped his 44 on 18-of-27 shooting, adding a game-high 10 rebounds and three blocks.

It is the third-most points Davis has scored in a Lakers jersey, trailing a 46-point effort back in 2020 and a 50-point explosion in 2019.

Davis is averaging 26.3 points, 12.7 rebounds (most in the NBA) and 2.3 blocks per game (third-most) this campaign, and both his field goal percentage (56.9 per cent) and true shooting percentage (63.5 per cent) are career-highs.

With the win, the Lakers have now emerged victorious in seven of their past nine games to salvage their rough start and improve their record to 9-12, while the Bucks hold onto the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 15-6.

Heat upset the Celtics in overtime

The Miami Heat (11-12) collected an impressive 120-116 overtime win against the league-leading Boston Celtics (18-5) as four of their starters scored at least 20 points each.

Bam Adebayo top-scored for the Heat with 28 points, while Tyler Herro added 26 with three steals, Jimmy Butler had 25 with 15 rebounds and Kyle Lowry chipped in 20 of his own.

Jaylen Brown was terrific for the Celtics with a game-high 37 points on 12-of-23 shooting, adding 14 rebounds and five assists, but his heroics were not enough to prevent his side from dropping only their second game from their past 16 outings.

Morant, Jackson deliver Grizzlies win

Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr showed exactly why they are the two centerpieces the Memphis Grizzlies are building around, delivering on both ends in a 117-109 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Morant top-scored for the Grizzlies with 28 (10-of-28 shooting), while Jackson flashed his unique skill-set by blocking four shots and hitting two three-pointers on his way to 22 points (seven-of-12) and nine rebounds.

Joel Embiid was immense for the 76ers, scoring a game-high 35 points (13-of-26) with 12 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks, posting a plus/minus of plus nine in his 41 minutes.

This means in the seven minutes he was on the bench, the 76ers were outscored by 17.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tatum stars in front of royals with 49-point haul

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

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

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

Hot Nets above .500 for first time this season

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

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

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

Jayson Tatum says hearing the Boston Celtics' fans chanting "M-V-P" for him is something he dreamed about as a kid.

Tatum scored a season-high 49 points in the Celtics' 134-121 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday, where he played in front of the Prince and Princess of Wales, who sat courtside.

The fans quickly moved on from the royals' presence as they chanted "M-V-P" in honour of Tatum as early as the first quarter after scoring his side's first six points.

The 24-year-old small forward shot eight-of-12 from three-point range along with 15-of-25 from the field, while making 11-of-12 from the line.

Tatum, who has previously spoken about wanting to one day be the MVP, also had 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals in an all-round display showcasing why the Celtics fans adore him.

"That means everything," Tatum told ESPN about the "M-V-P" chants. "That's something I dreamed about as a kid.

"To hear it in front of our home crowd, in front of the best fans in the world, holds a special place in my heart. I love this place. I love being here.

"Hearing that during the game gives you chills."

Tatum's scoring performance was his third 40-point game this season, while he became the first player in NBA history to record multiple games of 45-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and eight-plus three-pointers.

It was also Tatum's ninth 30-point game in November, which is the equal most in a calendar month in his career. Only Larry Bird (10) has more in a month for the Celtics.

Tatum also became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 900 three-pointers made.

"I'm just glad I hit some threes tonight," he said. "I've been shooting terribly from three, so it just felt good to see some go in… I'll get 50 a game one day."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suggs delivers dagger in Magic win

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

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

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

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

Embiid finishes Maxey's strong start against the Bucks

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

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

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

It was not Jimmy Butler's best offensive game of the season, but he was crucial in their narrow 113-112 home win against the Phoenix Suns on Monday.

The Suns led 102-89 with just eight minutes remaining, before Heat center Bam Adebayo took over, scoring 12 points to ignite a 24-10 run to close the contest.

Adebayo's two free throws with 35 seconds on the clock gave the Heat the lead, but an offensive rebound on the Suns' next possession would give Devin Booker a chance to win the game.

Pulling up from mid-range, Booker was blanketed by five-time NBA All-Defensive selection Butler for a game-winning blocked shot.

Adebayo led the way scoring the ball for Miami, finishing with a game-high 30 points on nine-of-18 shooting and 10 rebounds, but Butler was doing everything else, chipping in 13 rebounds, seven assists, a steal and the decisive block to go with his 16 points (five-of-12 shooting).

Booker played well for the Suns, posting a team-high 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Duane Washington Jr caught fire off the bench for 21 points (eight-of-14) in 19 minutes.

The win pulls the Heat's record even at 7-7, while the Suns are still in a good position at 8-5.

Tatum leads Celtics comeback

Jayson Tatum flashed incredible defensive ability in the Boston Celtics' 126-122 come-from-behind win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Young Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his ridiculous start to the season, eclipsing 30 points for the ninth time in 14 games. He had 37 points on 13-of-26 shooting with eight assists, raising his averages to 31.1 points, 5.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 54.3 per cent from the field.

But Tatum and running-mate Jaylen Brown were too much in the fourth quarter, leading a 37-26 final frame to swing the game in their favour. Tatum had 27 points on nine-of-23 shooting, but he was even better defensively, snatching three steals and blocking three shots.

Dalano Banton makes the most of his Raptors start

A second-round pick from the 2021 NBA Draft, Toronto Raptors point-forward Dalano Banton was tremendous in his side's 115-111 triumph on the road against the Detroit Pistons.

In his first start of the season due to Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr all missing through injuries, the six-foot-seven Banton scored a game-high 27 points on nine-of-16 shooting, adding four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks in his 25 minutes.

The Raptors are now 8-7, and will be considered a threat in the Eastern Conference once fully healthy.

The trusty Atlanta Hawks duo of Trae Young and Clint Capela controlled the show in a 104-95 home win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

It was not Young's most efficient scoring performance, as he finished with an equal game-high 26 points on seven-of-21 shooting, hitting all 10 of his free throws.

However, Young's pick-and-roll combination with Capela proved nearly unstoppable, with the Swiss center converting seven-of-10 field goals for 18 points and a game-high 20 rebounds. 

Three of his seven field goals were alley-oop dunks off Young assists, and one was an offensive rebound off a Young miss as Capela's defender came over to help.

Of the Hawks' five starters, only Young and Capela finished with a positive plus/minus, meaning their most effective lineup was that duo with three bench players.

With James Harden out for at least the next couple of weeks, Joel Embiid was again asked to carry a massive offensive burden, and he struggled against Capela's defense.

While he finished with an efficient 26 points (nine-of-18 shooting) and 12 rebounds, he posted a season-high seven turnovers.

The Hawks are now 8-4, and have won four of their past five games, while the 76ers have lost three of their past four to sit at 5-7.

Butler ignites the Heat in overtime win

Miami Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler flirted with a triple-double as he starred in a 117-112 overtime win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Playing a season-high 42 minutes as the Heat kept their rotation down to eight players, Butler eclipsed 30 points for the first time this season on his way to 35 on 11-of-19 shooting (13-of-15 free throws). He also added 10 rebounds, eight assists and two steals in a complete performance.

Five of his Heat teammates reached double figures, led by center Bam Adebayo with 18 points (six-of-15 shooting) and 14 rebounds to snap their third two-game losing streak of the young season, moving to 5-7.

Doncic struggles in Mavericks loss

After starting the season with nine consecutive 30-point performances, Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic had his second tough outing in a row as his side lost 113-105 to the Washington Wizards.

Doncic shot just nine-of-29 in Wednesday's loss to the Orlando Magic, and followed it on Thursday by shooting eight-of-21 for his 22 points, although he added nine rebounds and six assists.

With both Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis missing for the Wizards through injury, it was Kyle Kuzma stepping up with 36 points (14-of-26 shooting), 11 rebounds and six assists.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luka magic leads to eighth straight 30-point performance

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

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

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

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

Mathurin shows star potential for the Pacers

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

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

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

Bucks win again, remain undefeated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golden State's road struggles continue

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

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

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

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

Johnson shines as Suns burn

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

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

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

The Golden State Warriors' offense, led by the Splash Brothers, was at its destructive best in Thursday night's 123-110 victory over the Miami Heat.

In a strong four-quarter performance, the Warriors scored between 29 and 32 points in all four periods, led by iconic backcourt duo Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Curry was the game's top-scorer with 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting, hitting seven of his 14 three-point attempts. 

Thompson also got up 14 three-point attempts as the Warriors – who play at the fastest pace in the league at 111.7 possessions per game – were determined to let it fly from deep.

The second Splash Brother hit five of his 14 attempts, while going one-of-five from two-point range for 19 points of his own. They were supported strongly by Andrew Wiggins, who grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds to go with his 18 points (five-of-10 shooting).

For the Heat, Jimmy Butler was terrific on both ends, leading his team with 27 points on an incredibly efficient eight-of-13 from the field (four-of-seven from deep, made all seven free throws), while adding eight assists, six rebounds and six steals.

The win means the defending champions are 3-2 through their first five games, while Miami fell to 2-4.

The Baniac delivers again

Memphis Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane is in a rich vein of form, and he led the way with 31 points in a 125-110 win against the Sacramento Kings.

It is the second consecutive game Bane has top-scored for the Grizzlies in a win, after dropping 38 to tie with teammate Ja Morant and set a new franchise record for points by a duo (76) in their victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Against the Kings, Bane stayed red-hot as he made 11-of-18 field goal attempts, including six-of-eight from long range in a true sharpshooter's performance.

One of the best shooters in the entire NBA, Bane now boasts a career three-point percentage of 43.3 per cent on 5.6 attempts per game.

Thunder collect another win over the Clippers

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers for the second time in the past three days with a 118-110 triumph.

Los Angeles were missing stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George when they rolled into Oklahoma City for a two-game road trip, and were still without Leonard as George returned to the lineup.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (24 points on 10-of-23 shooting) and Luguentz Dort (21 points on nine-of-15) carried the offensive load for the Thunder, while George was much less effective for the Clippers.

George could only muster 10 points on four-of-12 shooting, while center Ivica Zubac grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds with his 12 points. After starting their season with two wins, the Clippers have now lost their past three.

All-Star Damian Lillard's hot start to the new season has been curtailed after exiting the Portland Trail Blazers' 119-98 loss to the Miami Heat with a right calf strain on Wednesday.

Lillard, who had averaged 37.66 points across his past three games heading into Wednesday's game, limped out with approximately five minutes left in the third quarter.

The Blazers point guard appeared to injure his calf while shooting a three-pointer to cut the margin to 77-70, before limping out after the next offensive play.

Portland confirmed that Lillard had suffered a right calf strain, but the 32-year-old downplayed the severity of the issue after the game.

"It wasn't nothing that I was overly concerned with," Lillard told reporters. "I just know that it wouldn't make sense to try and push through it in the fifth game of the season.

"Honestly if this was a playoff game, I would have played. It would have been tight and uncomfortable, but I would have played. If that gives you any indication of how concerned I am now or would have been."

With Lillard forced out, the Blazers suffered their first loss of the season. Lillard finished the game with 22 points from 26 minutes.

Lillard is averaging 33.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 0.8 steals per game through five games this season.

A stunning 49-point outburst from Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant carried his side back from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat the Houston Rockets 129-122 on Friday.

Morant had 18 points and six assists in the first half, but the rest of the Grizzlies were struggling, falling into a 42-26 hole early in the second quarter before trimming the margin to 70-62 at halftime.

The second pick from the 2021 NBA Draft, Jalen Green, showed why Rockets fans are so excited as he piled up 33 points on 13-of-21 shooting while going four-of-five from long range, but Morant was matching him step-for-step before running away late.

Memphis won the fourth quarter 34-22 as the Rockets ran out of gas, with Morant finishing 17-of-26 from the field, and five-of-six from long range, while adding eight assists, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal. He had 31 in the second half, and only a missed free throw in the fourth quarter kept him from scoring 50.

In an eye-catching performance, second-year center Alperen Sengun tallied 23 points (nine-of-13 shooting) with 12 rebounds in 27 minutes off the Houston bench.

Beal wins it for the Wizards

The Washington Wizards are now 2-0 after a Bradley Beal game-winner with seven seconds remaining handed his side a 102-100 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago trailed by nine points with less than five minutes to play, but from that point on DeMar DeRozan dropped 11 of his 32 points (11-of-23 shooting), tying things up at 98-98 with a minute remaining after a pair of free throws.

Beal answered back with a layup, and DeRozan leveled the score again with a dunk, before Beal sank the dagger to finish with 19 points (nine-of-14 shooting) and eight assists. DeRozan had a chance to win it with a three-pointer on the buzzer, but could not deliver.

Brown and Tatum carry the Celtics

The combination of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum proved too much for the Miami Heat to overcome, with the duo combining for 57 points in the Boston Celtics' 111-104 triumph.

Tatum finished with 29 points on 10-of-22 shooting, getting to the line and hitting all seven of his free throws, while Brown was more efficient from the field, hitting 12-of-18 shots for 28 points after they scored 35 each in Boston's season opener.

The Heat could not survive in the minutes center Bam Adebayo had to sit down, as the big man posted 19 points (eight-of-11 shooting) with eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and a plus/minus of plus 20 in his 35 minutes. Unfortunately for Miami, they were minus 26 in the 12 minutes he was on the bench.

Simmons banks first win as a Net

The Brooklyn Nets won their first game with Ben Simmons as they defeated the Toronto Raptors 109-105 at home.

Simmons was solid without contributing much on the scoreboard, finishing with six points (three-of-five shooting), but he grabbed 10 rebounds, dished eight assists and blocked two shots.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant carried the scoring load, as Irving top-scored, producing 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting while adding seven assists, while Durant hit eight-of-18 shots for 27 points and six assists.

Zion Williamson will be day-to-day despite exiting the New Orleans Pelicans' 120-103 preseason loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday early with left ankle soreness.

The 2019 NBA Draft top overall pick missed all of last season with a foot injury, meaning there was concern with his departure with 6:42 left in the second quarter against the Heat after rolling his ankle entering the lane.

But Williamson and Pelicans head coach Willie Green both clarified that the decision was precautionary.

Green said: "He's doing fine. Looks like, I think, he might have rolled his ankle a little bit. He’ll be day to day."

Williamson had 11 points on three-of-seven shooting until that point, having spent a few more minutes on court trying to play through pain.

"It was one of those things where it happened and I popped back up, like, 'Yeah, I'm straight,'" Williamson said.

"Played a few minutes after that, it felt fine. Then they sent me to the back just to double check. We wanted to look at it, had a doc look at it, and he just said a little day-to-day soreness. And, but outside of that, I personally feel fine. Wasn't bad news from the docs."

Williamson averaged 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the 2020-21 season, where he became an All-Star, having played only 24 games in his rookie season.

The Pels have one more preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, before starting their NBA campaign against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.

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