The Los Angeles Lakers are set to honour two-time champion and six-time All-Star Pau Gasol by retiring his number 16 jersey during half-time of Tuesday's home game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Gasol, who retired from the NBA following the 2018-19 campaign, spent seven of his 18 seasons with the Lakers after being acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade at the 2008 deadline.

Having been named the 2002 Rookie of the Year, the seven-foot Spaniard made his first All-Star team in 2006 after averaging 20.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, but he would not make another until arriving in LA.

After Gasol's arrival, the Lakers went from a first-round exit in 2007 all the way to the NBA Finals, falling short against historic rivals the Boston Celtics in six games.

With a training camp under their belt and in his first full season alongside Kobe Bryant, Gasol helped the Lakers win their 15th championship, and Bryant's fourth. He averaged 40.5 minutes and shot 58 per cent from the field for his 18.3 points and 10.8 rebounds in 23 playoff games.

The Lakers then went back-to-back in the 2009-10 season, when Gasol was the most valuable player on the floor during their Game 7 victory against the Celtics, finishing with 19 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks in a game where Bryant had 23 points and 15 rebounds, but shot six-of-24 from the field.

He was named an All-Star in both championship seasons, and again in 2010-11, and then spent three more years with the Lakers until heading to the Chicago Bulls, where he would make two more All-Star Games.

Prior to the ceremony, Gasol spoke to the media about the honour of having his number go up in the rafters alongside Bryant.

"I think I’ve done as good as I could to really embrace it and savour it, but tonight really exceeds any dream or expectation that I’ve had," he said. "Obviously with Kobe up there, it just adds something meaningful, and powerful, and sad, and happy, and painful, and joyful. It’s a lot of things.

"The excitement, the anticipation, the honour received, it’s just so big that it's been hard to really take it in.

"I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a celebration. It's great. It's lovely. It's just great that you can experience this in your life."

Gasol was also an incredibly decorated international competitor, finishing as the highest scoring player at the 2004 Olympics, before guiding Spain to their first ever FIBA World Championship in 2006, where he was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

He is also the all-time leading scorer in EuroBasket competition, overtaking Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker with 1,183 points scored in 58 games at an average of 20.4.

February's Eastern Conference Player of the Month Jalen Brunson will miss a second straight game due to foot soreness.

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed Brunson's absence prior to Tuesday's game against the Charlotte Hornets, having been listed as questionable, but eased fears of a long-term absence.

Brunson averaged 23.9 points per game during February, helping the Knicks launch their win streak which currently stands at nine straight victories heading into Tuesday's game.

"Not ready," Thibodeau said about Brunson pre-game. "Much better today but not quite ready, so we'll see where he is tomorrow."

The Knicks point guard was absent for Sunday's thrilling 131-129 double-overtime victory over the Boston Celtics with the same issue, where Immanuel Quickley filled in for Brunson with a career-high 38 points.

Thibodeau added: "I leave that up to the medical staff and the player. I know he'll play if he can play.

"If the medical people and he feels he needs another day, then give him the day. We love our depth. We saw 'Quick' gave us a great game. We have more than enough to win."

Thibodeau said Brunson will be part on the Knicks' upcoming road trip starting on Thursday against the Sacramento Kings.

The Knicks head coach acknowledged Tuesday's game against the 20-46 Hornets was a "trap game" but called on his players to be ready.

"I think every game is a trap game," he said. "It's human nature, you let your guard own a little bit, you're going to slip.

"If you look at Charlotte over their last 10 games, they're 5-5. If we're not ready to play, what happened last game has nothing to do with this game."

Brunson is averaging 23.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists since joining the Knicks this season from the Dallas Mavericks.

James Harden was saluted for an "incredible" feat by coach Doc Rivers after becoming the first Philadelphia 76ers player to post 20 assists in a game twice in a season.

After scoring a personal season-high 38 points in the 147-143 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Harden made his next game one to remember, too.

He was not so prolific in the points column against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, with a modest 14 to his name, but 20 assists and nine rebounds helped to guide the Sixers to a 147-143 victory.

It followed his 21-assist game against the Los Angeles Clippers in December. These are the only 20-plus rebound games in 33-year-old Harden's career to date.

Joel Embiid led scorers with 42 points, while Tyrese Maxey (24 points) and Jalen McDaniels (20) also weighed in.

Rivers said of Harden's effort, amid a strong team display: "It's just incredible. The great thing about James overall is he pretty much doesn't turn the ball over a lot, makes smart plays.

"But his passing when he plays like tonight and the other night – the other night he had 30 and 10, tonight he had 14 and 20 – it just makes us so hard to beat with his ability to pass."

Looking at some of Harden's most audacious passing, Rivers said few in the NBA possessed comparable quality.

"Those passes are five-guys-in-the-league, maybe, passes," Rivers said.

Harden joked about Maxey failing to secure him a 21st assist late in the game, as Philadelphia (42-22) consolidated third spot in the Eastern Conference.

"Seriously man, what are we doing? I'm just playing," Harden said.

"But I'm just trying to make plays. Not really efficient scoring the basketball tonight but find other ways to put an impact on the game. I saw some different things, made some good passes and had one turnover and that's because Joel couldn't catch the basketball.

"All in all, I'm just happy to come out with the win."

Quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Harden reflected on twice getting to 20 assists in games this season. He leads the league with an average of 10.8 assists per game.

"It's an unbelievable franchise, man," Harden said. "They got so many great players that have put on a 76ers jersey. To be added to the list is one of those feelings."

 

Going over 40 for the 11th time this season 

Joel Embiid finishes with 42 PTS in the @sixers win on the road! pic.twitter.com/UddGffAIc9

— NBA (@NBA) March 7, 2023

The Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team to collect three overtime wins against the same opponent in one season since 2004-05 after Monday's 118-114 comeback against the Boston Celtics.

Cleveland trailed by 12 at half-time, and 14 at three-quarter time, but clawed back late to force an extra period – thanks to some heroics off the bench from Lamar Stevens and a forgettable trip to the free throw line by Grant Williams.

After not playing a single minute through three quarters, Stevens was injected into the game to start the fourth and ended up not coming out the rest of the way. He racked up eight rebounds, including six big offensive boards, to go with eight points and an assist in the fourth quarter and overtime.

But the game would not have even reached overtime if Williams was able to hit a free throw with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation, missing both attempts to leave the game tied.

All-Star Donovan Mitchell led the Cavaliers with 40 points on 14-of-34 shooting, but after the game head coach J.B. Bickerstaff made it clear who the most valuable player was.

"There is no way we win that game without Lamar," he said. "He changed the tone, the physicality, the effort.

"When we have our conversations with guys, we talk to them about who we need them to be, and how they play to their strengths that impacts this team in the most positive way – and Lamar is a dog.

"He is willing to scrap, he's willing to fight, he's not afraid of the moment. He hit the big three, then he drives down the lane with the physical finish, and every time we needed an extra possession he went and got it.

"I can't say enough of how proud I am of him, and how deserving he is of a ton of credit for us winning this game tonight."

For the second game in a row, Stevens was a recipient of the Cavaliers' 'Junkyard Dog Chain' that they award to the grittiest and toughest performance of the night, and Mitchell highlighted how enormous it was for the undrafted 25-year-old to show up in such a high-pressure environment.

"We couldn't really afford to lose this one," he said. "I don't know what the standings are exactly, but I know we're only a game, or two games [clear in the fourth seed] – so this was important.

"This was huge, they were up the whole game, getting whatever they wanted. We just kind of, as a group, needed that spark, and Lamar [Stevens] came in and gave us one. I just wanted to find ways to do it myself as well, and it led to a win.

"When Lamar speaks, you listen. That's something that you earn. I've only been here a few months, but you can tell that as a locker room and as a group of guys, we trust in him, and his voice, and his leadership.

"When he's out there competing, fighting, screaming, getting buckets and also getting stops, you gotta be out there doing the same thing, because you don't want to let Lamar down.

"That's what he provides for us, he's always been that way, and it's great to see a lot of his hard work starting to come out for everybody to see."

Having earned the second spot up on the post-game media podium alongside Mitchell, Stevens spoke about his mindset about how to help his team win as a role player in limited minutes.

"Coming from where I came from, being undrafted, I don't take any moment for granted," he said. "I always want to be ready for any opportunity that comes my way.

"From what the team asks for me and what J.B. [Bickerstaff] asks from me, it's not just to come out and score big numbers, it's just to impact the game and bring that physicality, and defense, and do the things that I know I can control."

He also touched on why he believes his Cavs have been so effective in overtime situations this season, having come through an extra session unscathed against the Celtics on both October 28 and on November 2.

"I think at the beginning of the year, coach made a huge emphasis on us being the most conditioned team," he said. "I think that's just what we are. 

"We're ready when it comes down to winning time, I think we get a little bit closer together, and we're able to pull out some big-time wins by just trusting each other and knowing that we're prepared for that moment."

Mitchell, who is a vice president of the NBA Players' Association (NBPA), also shared some insight into the conversation he had with Williams – the first vice president of the NBPA – before his two crucial misses.

When asked to confirm if Williams told him beforehand that he would make both, Mitchell responded "yeah, he did".

He continued: "We have a [Players' Association] call on Thursday or Friday, so I was just like 'let's just miss one and talk about it, let's see what happens'.

"He gave us both, and I almost lost us the game because I didn't box out Marcus Smart and he came in for the tip, so that's what I'm really thinking about that moment. He missed both free throws, but I have got to be able to box out in those moments.

"I mean, you're just trying to mess with mentally, just see what happens. I have no doubt in my mind that if Grant's in that position tomorrow, or the next day, he'll make both free throws.

"He's a good player, I'm just trying to find a way to get in his head a little bit."

The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off an unlikely 118-114 home comeback win in overtime on Monday, but not without some help from the visiting Boston Celtics.

Boston, who led 92-78 at three-quarter time, and 102-91 with 4:30 remaining, gave up a 16-4 from that point to allow the Cavaliers to hit the lead with 24 seconds on the clock.

A Derrick White three-pointer put the Celtics back in front by two, before Donovan Mitchell tied things up at 109-109, but the visitors looked poised to get away with their sloppy fourth quarter after Grant Williams was sent to the free throw line with 0.8 seconds left.

After appearing to tell Mitchell "I'll make them both", Williams proceeded to miss both attempts, blowing a golden opportunity and sending the game to overtime.

The Celtics only mustered five points in the extra five minutes, clearly feeling the absence of missing star Jayson Tatum down the stretch, while Mitchell put the finishing touches on his 40-point night.

Cleveland's top scoring option finished 14-of-34 from the field, adding 11 rebounds and four assists, while rising second-year defensive ace Evan Mobley impressed with 25 points (10-of-14 shooting), 17 rebounds and three blocks.

Jaylen Brown did his best to cover for Tatum, finishing with team-highs in points (32), rebounds (13) and assists (nine), and Malcolm Brogdon was strong off the bench with 24 points (eight-of-14 shooting) and five assists.

Boston (45-21) are now two games behind the Milwaukee Bucks in the hunt for the Eastern Conference's top seed, while the Cavaliers (41-26) are also trending towards having home court advantage in the first round, sitting fourth.

Dame carries the Blazers

Damian Lillard produced his second triple-double of the season, and the third of his career, to lift his Portland Trail Blazers to a 110-104 victory on the road against the Detroit Pistons.

The current third-highest scorer in the league at 32.5 points per game, Lillard showed off his all-round skill set as he snatched down 13 rebounds to go with 12 assists and 31 points, shooting 10-of-28 from the field and six-of-14 from deep.

It was also an eye-opening performance from Cam Reddish. The Portland trade deadline acquisition had never registered more than six assists in a game before, but he flashed some impressive playmaking with eight assists, 13 points, six rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes.

The result leaves the Trail Blazers tied with the 10th-seeded Utah Jazz at 31-34 as they try to force their way into the Play-In Tournament.

Harden and Haliburton combine for 36 assists in shootout

In a clash between the league's top two assist leaders, James Harden's Philadelphia 76ers overcame Tyrese Haliburton's Indiana Pacers in a 147-143 shootout.

Harden finished with 14 points (three-of-11), 20 assists, nine rebounds, and just one turnover, becoming the first player in 76ers history to record multiple 20-assist games in one season. 

Meanwhile, Haliburton exploded for one of the best games of his career with 40 points (12-of-19), 16 assists and two turnovers.

Joel Embiid carried the scoring load for Philadelphia, leading the way with 42 points (11-of-16 shooting, 19-of-19 free throws) while also forcing elite defender Myles Turner to foul out in just 17 minutes.

Kevin Durant felt "no emotions at all" when facing former team-mate Kyrie Irving in the Phoenix Suns' 130-126 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Durant and Irving both joined the Brooklyn Nets prior to the 2019-20 season and endured a mixed spell with the team before the pair were traded away prior to the trade deadline in early February.

Irving was dealt to the Mavericks before Durant was traded to the Suns two days later, setting the pair up to play against each other on Sunday in a repeat of last season's Western Conference semi-finals.

Dallas may have advanced from that series with a 123-90 Game 7 blowout in Phoenix, but it was the Suns who took victory this time as Durant hit the game-winner with 12 seconds left before grabbing the crucial rebound as Luka Doncic could not get an uncontested layup to drop.

Durant scored 37 points while Irving also reached 30, with the Suns forward saying he put emotions to one side when taking on his former colleague.

"[There were] no emotions at all," Durant told reporters at his post-game press conference. "It's another game.

"Like I told somebody earlier. I played most of my career against Kyrie. He was on my team for the last couple of years, but for the majority of my career I played against him, so I know how that feels.

"I just think that we were both locked in on the floor and want to go out there and be the best that we can be. And sometimes you get distracted trying to hang out talking, catching up on old times with a friend.

"So we were both locked in, and I'm glad we got the win."

Durant played 40 minutes for the first time since December 4 as he made it three straight road wins since joining the Suns, hitting 12 of 17 from the field while adding seven rebounds and three assists to help Phoenix move to 36-29 on the season.

It was the type of star-studded game Durant relishes.

He said: "It felt great, being able to play 40 minutes, being in a fourth-quarter game where we had to be locked in all the way to the last possession, that's always fun.

"Playing against two hall-of-fame players on the other side just makes the game even more fun. I'm glad we could come out here and get a win."

Durant is set to make his home debut on Wednesday when the Suns host the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he cannot wait to play in front of his new fans for the first time.

"I'm glad we had a couple on the road to get my feet wet because I know it's going to be loud in there," Durant added. "I'm looking forward to our fans, I know they can't wait to see us out on the floor."

The New York Knicks claimed their ninth straight win on Sunday but top scorer Immanuel Quickley says they are not satisfied.

The Knicks improved their record to 39-27, firming up fifth spot in the Eastern Conference with Sunday's 131-129 double overtime win over the Boston Celtics fuelling the hype surrounding the side.

Quickley stepped into the starting line-up for the absent Jalen Brunson, who was the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February, before scoring a career-high 38 points showcasing the Knicks' depth.

"We're not satisfied at all," Quickley told ESPN. "We want to continue to get better. We want to continue to make a push down the stretch."

The Knicks are firmly in contention for one of the top four seeds in the East, which would earn them home-court advantage in the first-round of the playoffs.

The Milwaukee Bucks (46-18) and Celtics (45-20) are well out in front in, but the Knicks are closing in on the third-placed Philadelphia 76ers (41-22) and fourth-placed Cleveland Cavaliers (40-26).

Quickley's performance, across a career-high 55 minutes, included making five-of-12 from three-point range with eight rebounds and seven assists, though he was not interested in individual accolades.

"My team-mates did a great job," he said. "I'm really proud of my team. Double overtime against a really good team. You can't ask for better."

The defeat dealt another blow to the Celtics, who have dropped three of their past four games, including two against the Knicks.

Boston had led by 14 points, having allowed the biggest comeback of the season on Friday when the Brooklyn Nets rallied back from 28 points down.

"We're not locking in as much as we need to," said Celtics veteran Al Horford, who missed an attempt for a game-winning three-pointer on the second overtime buzzer.

"This is the second time we've had a lead, we feel good about it and a team makes a run and we let them back in the game.

"Throughout the season you're going to have adversity. We've played pretty good basketball most of the year. This is a time when you tighten up and fix some of these issues or it goes the other way.

"We want to play our best basketball, but this is a part of the season. There's ups and downs."

Celtics guard Derrick White claimed they have lost their "swagger", having surrendered top spot to the Bucks over the past week.

"We've just got to get our swagger back," White said. "Find a way to play with each other, have fun out there. I'm sure we'll get it back here soon."

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry felt he "got stronger as the game went on" as he returned after 11 games out from a leg injury in the Golden State Warriors' 113-105 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Curry, playing for the first time since February 4, scored 27 points on eight-of-20 shooting from the field, making five of 13 from three-point range. The reigning NBA Finals MVP also had two rebounds and six assists.

The Warriors guard was inconsistent throughout the game, failing to score in either the first or third quarters, but he did add 19 fourth-quarter points to lead Golden State's charge down the stretch against their Western Conference rivals.

"I felt like I got stronger as the game went on," Curry told reporters.

"I felt great. I missed the first two wide-open ones. I felt like I was in rhythm for the most part. Hopefully I continue to get better as we go forth from here."

The battle for playoff spots in the Western Conference remains wide open, with the Warriors fifth with a 34-31 record, while the Lakers are 11th with a 31-34 record.

Golden State put together a late-season charge to propel them on to win the title around this time last year, but Curry does not see too many parallels.

"The biggest difference is we didn’t start out 18-2 [last season]," Curry said.

"We're still fifth. We have an outside shot at trying to get home-court advantage. It feels weird to say it, but we're trying to win a championship but also trying to stay out of the play-in, too."

Curry's return coincided with the Warriors' five-game winning streak coming to a halt, when many expected him to help their momentum. He said the team would need to adjust to having him back in the line-up.

"The way the guys have been playing over the last five games and the stretch that we had at home, it's a tough transition for everybody," Curry said.

"It's just guys trying to keep their rhythm, keep their confidence. That's our challenge as a team.

"We have to maintain trust in each other because we are all aiming for the same goal – to win at the highest level. I understand everybody has to be a part of that. It's not just about me coming back."

Giannis Antetokounmpo says he "stole one" after rebounding his intentionally missed shot to earn his fourth triple-double of the season in the Milwaukee Bucks' 117-111 win over the Washington Wizards.

The Greek forward finished the game with 23 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and a season-high 13 assists in a dominant display as the NBA-leading Bucks improved to 46-18.

But Antetokounmpo appeared set to fall one rebound short of a triple-double when he won the ball in the final seconds, dribbling to the basket.

With the Wizards defense letting him run, a wide open Antetokounmpo opted not to score but gently tossed the ball off the backboard to himself to bring up his 10th rebound.

"I was thinking about scoring the ball, but I feel like in those situations it's best to kind of keep the ball," Antetokounmpo told reporters, before adding with a wink. "But yeah, I just try to play the game smart and kinda stole one."

The NBA has previously overturned similar stat-padding with Atlanta Hawks guard Bob Sura retrospectively denied a triple-double by the league in 2004.

Antetokounmpo's triple-double aside, the Bucks showcased their depth with six players reaching double-figure scoring, led by Jevon Carter with 20 points off the bench including six three-pointers.

Jrue Holiday (19 points), Brook Lopez (15 points), Joe Ingles (14 points) and Grayson Allen (11 points) all contributed strongly.

Six Bucks players also hit multiple three-pointers, with the team shooting 22-of-49 from beyond the arc.

"We feel like we’ve got a lot of depth," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We've got a lot of guys that are good shooters that can get hot from the three-point line.

"So that's part of a good team and being able to play on back-to-backs and make it through the season and be prepared for the playoffs."

The New York Knicks secured their ninth straight victory with an epic 131-129 double over-time win over the Boston Celtics as Immanuel Quickley scored a career-high 38 points.

Quickley stepped into the Knicks starting line-up in the absence of Jalen Brunson (left foot injury), playing a career-high 55 minutes, and scoring their first seven of 10 points overall in the second over-time period.

The Knicks shooting guard scored 27 of his 38 points in the second half including OT. He made 15-of-28 attempts from the field, including five-of-12 from beyond the arc, with eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals.

But the Celtics almost snatched victory, with Al Horford's three-point attempt on the buzzer rimming out after a pass from Jayson Tatum.

Tatum also spurned a chance to win it in the first over-time period, missing a two-point attempt after Jaylen Brown kept the ball for too long with the clock ticking down, putting his team-mate under pressure for a tough look.

Brown had sent the game to OT with a three-point play after a foul from Quentin Grimes at the end of regulation squared it up.

Tatum finished with 40 points on 12-of-30 shooting with six-of-17 from three-point range, 11 rebounds and six assists. Brown added 29 points, while Horford had 20 points, making six-of-10 three-point attempts, but not the crucial last one.

Randle offered excellent support to Quickley with 31 points, nine rebounds and four assists, draining five triples. The win improved the Knicks' record to 39-27, sitting fifth in the east.

AD leads Lakers past GSW in Curry's return

Stephen Curry scored 27 points on his return from injury, but it was not enough as Anthony Davis led the Los Angeles Lakers past the Golden State Warriors 113-105 in a big Western Conference clash.

Davis scored 39 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers home, improving their record to 31-34 as he continues to shine in LeBron James' absence with a foot injury.

The result snapped the Warriors' five-game winning streak even with Curry back in action after a left leg injury. The Golden State guard added 19 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, shooting five-of-13 from three-point range.

Booker and Doncic square off as Suns win

Kevin Durant landed a fadeaway jumper with 11 seconds left to earn the Phoenix Suns a 130-126 victory over Kyrie Irving's Dallas Mavericks in another huge clash in the West.

Devin Booker and Luka Doncic squared off face to face after the Mavs guard missed a two-point shot at 128-126 with 3.5 seconds remaining, earning them both technical fouls. That square-off was a flashback to the tense Mavs-Suns Conference Semi-Finals last season, when Dallas eliminated Phoenix in a Game 7 blowout.

Durant finished with 37 points and seven rebounds in his first match-up against his former Nets team-mate Irving, since both left Brooklyn. Booker added 36 points with 10 assists for Phoenix, while Doncic finished with 34 points and nine rebounds and Irving had 30 points.

Devin Booker admitted there is some extra feeling in the rivalry between his side and Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks after Kevin Durant hit the game-winner in the Phoenix Suns' 130-126 victory on Sunday.

In a star-studded showdown, Durant (37 points), Booker (36), Doncic (34) and Kyrie Irving (30) all eclipsed 30 points each, and the contest took on a playoff atmosphere in the second half.

The Suns were unceremoniously dumped out of last season's playoffs on their home floor by the Mavericks in a 123-90 Game 7 blowout, and the rivalry only grew stronger after Booker and Doncic went nose-to-nose in the final seconds on Sunday.

After Durant hit a mid-range pull-up to give the Suns a 128-126 lead with 12 seconds left, Doncic tried to answer and send it to overtime, but his uncontested layup somehow did not drop after discarding his defender.

Durant snatched down the rebound to seal the game, and Booker appeared to have words for Doncic about the miss, with the pair having to be separated.

When asked after the game about what was said, Booker claimed he was initially talking to the referee before Doncic directed a comment his way.

"I was talking to the ref – [Doncic] said something first so I responded," he said. "You guys say you don't want everyone to be friendly-friendly – there you go, we got some smoke.

"It's just two competitors going at it, like I just said, everyone speaks on how friendly the NBA is now, and don't like that. I've got no problem with Luka – on or off the court – but when we're competing, we're competing."

Doncic laughed at the notion Booker did not instigate the scuffle, and subtly referenced his own "everybody acting tough when they're up" comments from the playoffs by telling the Suns star to keep the same energy throughout the contest.

"Oh no, he was talking to me." he said. "It's not for TV, I would get fined, the NBA would fine me. Based on the words, I don't think [Booker was talking to the referee]. 

"It's fine, it's just a competitive game, it's all good – just next time don't wait until there's three seconds left to talk."

But Doncic also had plenty of nice things to say about his Western Conference rivals.

"They're incredible," he said. "After everything, those two guys are probably one of the best in the league – Book and KD – but I love it, it's competitive.

"I think today was a great game to watch, and they have an amazing team."

Trey Lyles gave a damning judgement of the Sacramento Kings' issues as he pointed out the team "can't stop anybody" in the wake of Saturday's defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Sacramento lost 134-138 to see their winning streak snapped at five games.

They sit third in the Western Conference, though they are seven-and-a-half games back from the Denver Nuggets.

The Kings have the best points per game (121.1) in the NBA this season, yet when it comes to defense, they are one of the league's poorest performers.

Only the San Antonio Spurs (122.0) and the Detroit Pistons (119.1) have conceded more points per game on average than the Kings (118.5).

For Lyles, the issues are clear.

"At the end of the day, no matter how tired we were, we were terrible defensively," he said.

"We can outscore anybody, but we can't stop anybody."

Lyles grabbed 15 points and eight rebounds from the bench, as Kevin Huerter led Sacramento with 29 points while Domantas Sabonis had 24 points and 14 rebounds.

Anthony Edwards came to the fore for the Timberwolves with 27 points, four rebounds and eight assists.

However, the key to their victory – at least from Edwards' perspective – was keeping De'Aaron Fox, who had scored 30 or more points in nine of his last 11 games, below that threshold.

"De'Aaron Fox has been playing out of his mind," Edwards said, with Fox having managed 25 points.

"We were happy to hold him under 30 tonight. He still played great though in the fourth."

Minnesota coach Chris Finch reserved special praise for Edwards

He said: "I thought we played great all night long. Especially when they tightened it up at the end, we play a lot in flow.

"A lot of it was Anthony stepping up at the right time."

Giannis Antetokounmpo is eager for the Milwaukee Bucks to learn from their winning-streak-ending loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Joel Embiid and James Harden led the charge as the 76ers overcame a 14-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter to win 133-130 in Milwaukee on Saturday, snapping the Bucks' 16-game winning run.

Milwaukee went into the contest with the best record in the NBA but Embiid – whose three-pointer with 42 seconds left on the clock nudged the 76ers ahead – and Harden ensured the league's longest winning streak of the season came to a shuddering halt.

Embiid finished with 31 points, 10 assists and six rebounds to back up Harden's 38 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, while Tyrese Maxey added 26 points.

It was the first time two Philadelphia players finished with at 30 or more points and 10 or more assists in the same game since Hal Greer Wilt Chamberlain did so in October 1965.

Antetokounmpo now wants to see the Bucks respond.

"They went wherever they wanted to go, scoring from the paint, floaters, isos, offensive rebounds, free throws, threes," said Antetokounmpo, who had a double-double of 34 points and 13 rebounds.

"You name it. They were able to get everything.

"We've got to be able to play 48 minutes of good basketball, defend for 48 minutes. This is a good lesson for us.

"We did a good job the first three quarters. Obviously, the fourth quarter, a lot of free throws, they made some tough threes. 

"It was basically our game but they came out, they were aggressive, they moved the ball, got downhill to the paint."

For his part, Philadelphia talisman Embiid was not convinced he had the best of games at an individual level.

"I thought tonight I could have been better. I missed a lot of easy shots I usually make," he said.

The 76ers hold a 41-22 record for the season and pulled to within four games of the Bucks in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

"It's good, having these types of games, especially with our schedule the rest of the way," Embiid added.

"It's good for us, prepares us for the playoffs. It's good and bad. Good because you know you're able to do it, but it's also bad because you put yourself in that position [down 18].

"So maybe we should try to find a way to not put ourselves in those positions in the first place so we don't have to do it again."

Harden said: "Give ourselves a chance. That was the whole fourth quarter. I feel like they had us that entire game, and then, that fourth quarter, we came out with some pop.

"You find something that works and you try to stick with it. We found something late, in that fourth quarter, and we just stuck with it. We got some stops and things changed for us."

The longest winning streak of the season was snapped at 16 games after the Philadelphia 76ers came from behind on the road to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 133-130.

Milwaukee came into the contest boasting the best record in the NBA, and they appeared well on their way to making it 17 in a row after building a 99-85 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

But the 76ers started the last period on a 16-2 run, and ended up scoring 48 in the quarter, finally taking a 127-125 lead with 42 seconds remaining following a Joel Embiid three-pointer.

It was a spectacular showing from Philadelphia's top three offensive options, and it was James Harden leading the way with 38 points on 11-of-26 shooting, adding 10 assists and nine rebounds.

Embiid was terrific with 31 points (11-of-22 shooting) and an equal season-high 10 assists, and Tyrese Maxey continued to thrive since being reintroduced to the starting line-up, scoring 26 points on eight-of-12 shooting.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 34 points (nine-of-21 shooting) and 13 rebounds, but his seven turnovers were two more than the 76ers committed as an entire team.

With the win, the 76ers (41-22) pulled to within four games of the Bucks (45-18) in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Bam bullies the Hawks

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo was a destructive force on both ends as his side defeated the Atlanta Hawks 117-109 in front of a sold-out home crowd.

The two-time All-Star shot 10-of-12 from the field and the same from the free throw line for 30 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while also blocking two shots and snatching a steal.

Jimmy Butler continued to operate as the de facto point guard, dishing seven assists while only attempting eight field goals for his 15 points, 11 rebounds and two steals, while Tyler Herro poured in 20 points (eight-of-21 shooting) with five assists.

Miami are now just two games behind the flailing sixth-seeded Brooklyn Nets as they seek to rise out of the Play-In Tournament placings.

VanVleet lifts the Raptors in overtime

Fred VanVleet hit big shots late as his Toronto Raptors emerged victorious 116-109 in overtime against the Washington Wizards.

VanVleet ended up with an equal game-high 10 assists to go with his 25 points (nine-of-16 shooting), and he hit a pair of three-pointers in the overtime period, while the Wizards could only muster four points as a team after regulation.

It was a game-winning showing off the bench for Gary Trent Jr, with 26 points (11-of-18 shooting), five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Delon Wright was a standout for Washington, tallying six steals to go with 18 points (six-of-10), seven assists and six rebounds.

Ja Morant apologised after an incident at a nightclub on Saturday led to the Memphis Grizzlies slapping him with a two-game suspension.

The point guard is under investigation by the NBA after appearing to show a gun during an Instagram Live video.

Morant will miss at least two games, the Grizzlies announced, with the 23-year-old to be absent for Sunday's meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers and the showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers two days later.

In a statement released to ESPN shortly after his suspension was confirmed, Morant apologised for his actions.

"I take full responsibility for my actions last night," he said.

"I'm sorry to my family, team-mates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organisation for letting you down.

"I'm going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being."

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