The New Orleans Pelicans were hopeful they would be getting star Zion Williamson back shortly after next week’s All-Star break, but that will no longer be the case.

Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said Sunday that Williamson suffered a setback during his rehab for a hamstring injury and will miss several weeks after the All-Star Game.

Williamson, who missed the entire 2021-22 season with a broken foot, has been sidelined since injuring the hamstring in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on January 2.

The 22-year-old had been participating in three-on-three work as part of his rehab, and his latest setback occurred while on the court, according to Griffin.

He will be re-evaluated after next Sunday’s All-Star Game.

The former number one overall draft pick was voted an All-Star starter after averaging 26 points, 7 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 29 games.

The Pelicans were 23-14 and had the Western Conference’s third-best record at the time of Williamson’s injury, but have gone just 6-14 since to drop into seventh place in the West.

Zion Williamson will miss the All-Star Game due to a hamstring injury that has kept the New Orleans Pelicans forward out for over a month.

Williamson has not played since doing damage when facing the Philadelphia 76ers on January 2.

The 22-year-old will also miss the Pelicans' next three games and will not be ready for the All-Star Game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on February 19.

Williamson's fitness will be assessed after the All-Star break.

Looking at his absence, Pelicans coach Willie Green said: "Not before the All-Star break, we're probably not going to see the starting five we started the season with, no."

Williamson had been due to feature with LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic on Team LeBron.

The Pelicans are 29-27 in the Western Conference, sitting seventh following three consecutive wins.

Williamson's continued absence is a big blow for New Orleans, as he has averaged 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 29 games this season.

The top overall pick from the 2019 NBA Draft has been unfortunate with injuries early in his career.

He managed only 24 games in his rookie season, and after appearing back on track with a spectacular 2020-21 campaign where he played 61 games and earned an All-Star appearance, he then went on to miss the entire 2021-22 season.

Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown is concerned that his side's strong start has them playing complacently after getting crushed 136-104 by the undermanned New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.

The Pelicans, who were without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, were 1-10 in their previous 11 games heading into Sunday, but they made light work of a Kings side who were also missing De'Aaron Fox.

It was Sacramento's fourth loss from their past six games, and while they still sit third in the West, the tightly bunched nature of the conference has them in a precarious position.

At 29-23 the Kings are one game ahead of the fourth-placed Los Angeles Clippers (30-26), but are also only three games ahead of the 10th-seeded Utah Jazz (27-27).

A losing streak now could see the Kings plummet in the standings, and with the potential to break 16-season playoff drought, coach Brown wants to see his team figure things out quickly.

"We’ve had a pretty good year so far and we've experienced a lot of highs," he said. "Now we've hit a little adversity.

"I don't know if we're all-in like we talked about at the beginning of the year, and how we've been, because things are flowing and we're winning and in third-place or whatever.

"I'm going to watch and see how we all handle this. It's tough to go through, but it's a great thing for this team to experience. 

"Because if we expect to make the playoffs – and we do expect to advance in the playoffs – we'll have to deal with adversity... and, right now, I don't think we're doing a great job with it."

For the Pelicans, who are now on a two-game winning streak following a dismal 10-game losing streak, second-year wing Trey Murphy III was the key as he scored a season-high 30 points on nine-of-11 shooting, hitting six-of-eight from deep.

The 22-year-old came into the contest having made just 11-of-31 three-point attempts in his past five games, but he said he knew things would balance out if he kept firing.

"Just got to keep shooting, no matter if you're hitting or not," he said. "Eventually, your percentage is going to get to where it's supposed to be. So, I'm just glad my teammates found me and I was able knock down shots."

He added: "B.I. [Ingram] was out, so somebody had to be B.I. – I decided to tap into my B.I. skill-set."

LeBron James said it was a "duh" question when asked if Kyrie Irving is a player the Los Angeles Lakers should move for before the trade deadline.

Irving has requested a trade away from the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the deadline next week.

The eight-time All-Star did not feature for the Nets on Saturday due to a calf issue, though his absence was not felt too keenly in a comeback win over the Washington Wizards.

James scored 27 points to edge closer to breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record, yet it was not enough to help the Lakers avoid a 126-131 reverse to the New Orleans Pelicans.

While the Lakers sit a lowly 13th in the Western Conference, with a 25-29 record for the season, they might still harbour hopes of a championship push should they get on a run and make the playoffs.

In January, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said "there's no resource we'll hold onto" if an opportunity to win a championship was there, and a possible trade for Irving might just fall into that category.

For James, it is a no-brainer, though he emphasised it is not his call.

"That's a Rob question," James said when asked about the possibility of reuniting with Irving, whom he reached three NBA Finals with while at the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

"You've got to see [Pelinka] when you all get back to L.A. I don't speak for our front office.

"My mindset is whatever line-up or whatever group that we have is to make sure we prepare ourselves the best way we can to go out and win. 

"Obviously, that's a – what's the word you use – 'Duh' question when you talk about a player that like that."

One player who could be used as a makeweight in a potential trade is Russell Westbrook.

The 2017 NBA MVP had 15 points, four assists and four rebounds from the bench on Saturday, though was not called upon by Darvin Ham in the final quarter.

There is plenty of speculation over his future, but asked if he was feeling extra pressure, Westbrook replied: "I do not.

"That's not up to me. I've known this was a business since I was 18, 19-years old, since I got into it.

"My dad taught me that at that age, getting to this league is a business, and people make whatever decision they make, that's up to them.

"I've been all in since day one. I'm very supportive of my team-mates. I compete every night. I'll make sure I'm ready and professional, like I always have been and always will be."

James echoed the sentiment, adding: "It shouldn't be an issue. The trade deadline happens every single year.

"You go out and focus, no matter what happens. You're still a professional."

As for making history, James could break the points record on Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"I just want to win, you know. You play the game the right way and see what happens," he said.

"I'm tired as hell, [but] I'll be ready to go on Tuesday."

Cam Thomas starred off the bench as the depleted Brooklyn Nets came from behind to defeat the Washington Wizards 125-123 on Saturday.

Already without Ben Simmons and talisman Kevin Durant, the Nets were dealt a further blow when Kyrie Irving was ruled out due to a calf problem.

Irving's injury came just a day after news broke of his wish to leave the Nets, with the point guard having handed in a trade request.

The former Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics star was not in attendance at the Barclays Center, though that decision was a joint one with the team's management.

A bleak end to the week looked set to be compounded as the Warriors held a healthy 23-point lead, yet the Nets fought back partly thanks to Thomas' efforts.

He scored a career-high, game-leading 44 points, while Edmond Sumner chipped in with 29 as the Wizards – who lost to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday – became the first team in the past 25 seasons to throw away 20+ point leads on consecutive days.

Kristaps Porzingis top scored for the Wizards with 38 points.

James gets closer but Pelicans end losing streak

LeBron James is now just 36 points away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing NBA record, yet his efforts were not enough for the Los Angeles Lakers against the New Orleans Pelicans.

James added 27 more points to his total on Saturday, though the Lakers lost 131-126 to a Pelicans team that had suffered 10 straight defeats.

While Anthony Davis was the Lakers' standout performer with a double-double of 34 points and 14 rebounds, Brandon Ingram's 35-point haul led the Pelicans, who moved onto .500 for the season.

Curry concern for Warriors

Stephen Curry scored 21 points, added six rebounds and provided seven assists but hobbled out of the Golden State Warriors' 119-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Curry must now await results of an MRI scan, which is set to take place on Sunday, to determine the severity of the issue.

Reigning NBA champions Golden State nevertheless got the job done without him in the final quarter, getting over the line against a Dallas side missing their star man Luka Doncic.

Draymond Green's 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists were crucial, with Spencer Dinwiddie's game-high 25 points not enough for the Mavs, who have lost seven in 11.

Nuggets tie with Celtics

The Boston Celtics lost for the fourth time in six games on Friday and the Denver Nuggets capitalised to tie level as joint-NBA leaders.

Denver beat the Atlanta Hawks 128-108, with Nikola Jokic (14 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists) claiming his 18th triple-double of the season while Jamal Murray turned on the style with his season-best tally of 41 points.

The Nuggets are now tied with the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics on 37-16 for the season and have won 19 of their last 20 home games.

The Dallas Mavericks will be anxiously awaiting more information on Luka Doncic's heel injury after he was forced to exit Thursday's home win against the New Orleans Pelicans in the third quarter.

Doncic had 27 points in the first half as the Mavericks blew the doors off early, jumping ahead by 31 points halfway through the second period.

The 23-year-old, who has been selected for his fourth All-Star Game this season, scored four more points before taking an awkward fall when going up for a dunk.

He exited the game and did not return, and from that point on the Pelicans outscored the Mavericks 50-27, but Dallas were able to hold on for the 111-106 victory after a controversial referee mistake robbed New Orleans of a chance to shoot for the tie in the final seconds.

The Mavericks officially labelled Doncic's injury as a right heel contusion, and while head coach Jason Kidd did not sound too concerned about it being a long-term issue, he said they are not sure about the extent of the injury.

"We'll see how he feels tomorrow, and I'll have a better update to give you," he said.

Any missed games would be an issue for the 28-25 Mavericks, who rose up to fourth place in the Western Conference with the win, but sit only three games ahead of the 13th-placed Oklahoma City Thunder in a tightly bunched race.

Dallas are winless in the six games Doncic has missed this campaign, and third-year guard Josh Green explained what their issues are without him.

"It's Luka," he said. "It's different [without him].

"It took our team a while to get used to it [against the Pelicans] – we're used to having Luka bring the ball up at a slow pace, and they realised it too.

"They were trying to make us play like we still had Luka by doubling Spencer [Dinwiddie] and trying to make it a slower game, when the guys we had on the court were not made for a slow game.

"It's a game of pace when Luka is not out there, and we need to realise that… it's about bringing a faster pace and not just playing how we're used to."

For the Pelicans, it was their 10th loss in a row as they desperately await the return of All-Star starter Zion Williamson from his hamstring injury.

The Los Angeles Lakers trailed by 14 early in the fourth quarter before storming back to defeat the Indiana Pacers 112-111 on the road.

Los Angeles' defense let them down early on Thursday as they gave up 35 points in the first quarter and another 32 in the second, heading into the long break trailing 67-54.

The Lakers were finally able to hold the Pacers under 30 points in a 30-29 third frame, before their defense woke up in the final period and kept the home side to just 15.

The visiting team did not claim their first lead of the game until LeBron James drained a three-pointer to jump ahead 108-106 with 2:35 remaining, but a jump shot from rookie Andrew Nembhard put the Pacers up by one with under a minute to play.

With the game on the line, Anthony Davis drained a clutch post fadeaway over elite defensive center Myles Turner to retake the lead, and although the Lakers left the door open with a pair of missed free throws from Pat Beverley, Buddy Hield's potential game-winner was off the mark thanks to Beverley's smothering defense.

It was a gutsy comeback to give the Lakers their second win in a row, led by Davis' 31 points on 13-of-27 shooting with 14 rebounds and two blocks. 

Meanwhile, James was efficient with 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting, adding seven rebounds and seven assists. He is now 62 points away from tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring mark.

For the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton enjoyed a strong return from injury after three weeks on the sideline, leading his team in points (26) and assists (12) after being named to his first All-Star team earlier in the day.

Jokic toys with the Warriors

Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic continued his march towards a three-peat as he dominated the Golden State Warriors in the Denver Nuggets' 134-117 triumph.

Jokic finished with 22 points on nine-of-13 shooting with 16 assists and 14 rebounds. Over his past 17 games, he has only finished with fewer than nine assists once, and no player is averaging more than his 11.9 assists over their past 15 games.

It was also another strong performance from Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, scoring 33 points on 12-of-23 shooting with eight assists and five rebounds. Over his past five outings, Murray is averaging 27.6 points and 7.2 assists.

The Nuggets sit four games clear atop the Western Conference at 36-16, while the 26-26 Warriors are ninth.

Mavericks hold on as Doncic leaves hurt

The Dallas Mavericks led the New Orleans Pelicans by 31 points during the second quarter, but ended up getting pushed all the way in a 111-106 victory.

Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic had 27 points in the first half, and made his way up to 31 early in the third period before he suffered a heel injury due to a hard fall, ending his night.

The Mavericks led by 28 when he exited the game, and from that point on the Pelicans closed the contest on a 50-27 run. They ultimately came up short after a controversial refereeing mistake in the final seconds robbed them of a chance to shoot for the tie.

It was the Pelicans' 10th loss in a row as they desperately await the return of Zion Williamson from his hamstring injury, while the Mavericks improved to fifth in the West at 28-25.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was determined to reach 50 points as he piled on 12 in the last four minutes of the Milwaukee Bucks' 135-110 home win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.

It was the sixth 50-point performance of Antetokounmpo's career, and after coming into the season with four, he has managed two this month following his career-high 55 against the Washington Wizards on January 3.

He shot a blistering 20-of-26 from the field – including 16 of Milwaukee's first 21 points – adding 13 rebounds and four assists, and while he could have settled for a strong effort and a comfortable win, he decided to make it a memorable night down the stretch.

Sitting on 38 points with 3:51 remaining, Antetokounmpo hit four free throws and a layup to reach 44, before closing the game with back-to-back three-pointers to bring up his 50.

Speaking after the victory, the two-time MVP and 2021 NBA Finals MVP said these are opportunities you do not want to waste.

"I knew that if I was able to get the rebound, I was going to shoot," he said. "It doesn't always work out, but tonight it did. 

"I didn't hesitate at all. I was able to get my legs under my shot, stayed there, and just watched the ball go in.

"It's one of those moments you can never take for granted because you never know when you're going to have those moments again."

Antetokounmpo's team-mates decided to bring the locker-room celebration out to the court, showering their franchise player with bottles of water in front of the sold-out Fiserv Forum.

"We might as well do it in front of everybody," Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said. "It's really just to show how much we appreciate him. For him to go out there and do that is amazing, no matter how many times you score 50 points.

"It's a great time – everybody just kind of gets on his shoulders and we're just along for the ride. At that point, we just got to support him. If he passes it to us, make the shot, but for the most part, we know who's going to carry us."

Head coach Mike Budenholzer joined Holiday in awe of his star player, highlighting all the hard work he puts in.

"Tonight, I think 50 on 26 shots is impressive," he said. "Just everything he did, his aggressiveness, a couple threes, especially late, but he's shooting it well. 

"It feels like a few more catch and shoots – if we can generate a few of those for him and build the confidence in that area, those are areas where he's improving."

The Bucks improved their record to 33-17, leaving them third in the Eastern Conference and with the fourth-best record overall, while the Pelicans slipped to 26-25 after their eighth consecutive loss as they battle a number of key injuries.

Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was an unstoppable force on the offensive end as his Milwaukee Bucks collected a 135-110 home victory against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.

Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 50 points on 20-of-26 shooting, hitting three of his four attempts from downtown while adding 13 rebounds and four assists.

It was the sixth time in the Greek superstar's career that he had reached 50 points, and the second time this month after setting a new career-high with 55 points against the Washington Wizards on January 3. Antetokoumpo is averaging a career-high 31.7 points per game, placing him third in the league.

The contest got out of hand early as the Bucks jumped out to a 37-19 lead at the end of the first quarter, with Antetokounmpo scoring 16 of his side's first 21 points.

Fans were treated to a shootout in the third period as the two teams scored 44 points each, but the undermanned Pelicans did not have the firepower to keep up, with not a single player from the away team reaching 20 points.

With the victory, the Bucks improved their record to 33-17 – the fourth-best in the league – while the Pelicans dropped their eighth in a row to slip to 26-25, occupying the eighth seed in the West.

Grizzlies storm home in comeback win

Ja Morant posted his second consecutive triple-double to lift his Memphis Grizzlies to a stirring 112-100 comeback win at home against the Indiana Pacers.

Morant dished 15 assists in his second-highest tally of the season to go along with 27 points (nine-of-21 shooting), 10 rebounds and two steals.

The Grizzlies needed every bit of his heroics as they found themselves trailing by 16 early in the third quarter, before finishing the game on a 60-32 run as they won the third period 30-17 and the last 32-21.

Memphis are now 32-18, and the only Western Conference side within six games of the top-seeded Denver Nuggets (34-16).

Rozier ignites Hornets upset

The Charlotte Hornets have now won four of their past six after an upset 122-117 triumph against the visiting Miami Heat.

Terry Rozier was the star of the show, scoring a game-high 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting with seven assists and six rebounds, while 24-year-old former lottery pick P.J. Washington showed promising signs on his way to 27 points (11-of-19), six rebounds and five assists.

Jimmy Butler was terrific for the Heat, shooting 11-of-14 from the field for his 28 points, seven rebounds and three steals, but it was Miami's defense that was the issue, allowing Charlotte to shoot 54 per cent overall.

Brandon Ingram will return for the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves after missing the past 29 games with a left big toe contusion.

Ingram's return comes amid the Pelicans' five-game losing run which has seen them drop to a 26-22 record and fourth in the Western Conference.

The 25-year-old Pels forward has not played since November 25 against the Memphis Grizzlies when he sustained the injury by kicking the back of another player's foot.

Ingram is averaging 20.8 points on 47.2 per cent shooting, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 15 games this season.

"You watch Brandon in his five-on-five games and you realise how his basketball IQ is at a high level," Pelicans coach Willie Green told reporters.

"His skill set is at a high level. He's going to be knocking some rust off when he does come back. That's a part of it, too.

"But he's efficient, elite basketball player. Guys like him and others like him in the NBA is what makes this league special."

Ingram was named the NBA's Most Improved Player for the 2019-20 season, earning his only All-Star selection in the process.

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 New Orleans Pelicans are taking a cautious approach to Zion Williamson's hamstring injury and announced Tuesday that he will be re-evaluated in two more weeks.

It was framed as a positive update for the Pelicans' franchise star, who was initially ruled out for at least three weeks after suffering the injury on January 4.

Three weeks have passed, and New Orleans released the results of their recent re-evaluation on Twitter.

It read: "Update on Zion: he was recently re-evaluated for his right hamstring injury. The re-evaluation showed that his hamstring is healing as expected, and progressing well with his recovery.

"He will continue his rehabilitation process, which includes strengthening his hamstring and gradually progressing to more movement. He will be re-evaluated again in two weeks."

That means it will be over a month between games for the top overall pick from the 2019 NBA Draft, who has had his career marred by injuries up to this point.

He managed only 24 games in his rookie season, and after appearing back on track with a spectacular 2020-21 campaign where he played 61 games and earned an All-Star appearance, he then went on to miss the entire 2021-22 season.

So far, he has suited up for 29 of the Pelicans' 47 games. They have gone 17-12 in those 29 contests, while posting a 9-9 record in fixtures he has been unavailable for.

One of the most dominant offensive forces in the sport, Williamson is averaging 26.0 points per game while shooting 60.8 per cent from the field. Of all players this season averaging at least 20 points per game, reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic is the only other shooting at least 60 per cent (62.6).

Jaylen Brown scored a season-high 41 points and Jayson Tatum added 31 as the Boston Celtics claimed their fourth successive win with a 125-114 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.

Brown recorded his first double-double in a half in his career with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while he added another 18 points in the third quarter.

The Celtics guard shot 15-of-21 from the field with three-of-six from three-point range along with 12 rebounds for the game.

Tatum went 10-of-22 from the field with 10 rebounds and four assists, with Malcolm Brogdon adding 20 points off the bench.

The game marked the seventh time this season that Brown and Tatum have scored at least 30 points each, which is joint for the most before February by two players from the same team in the last 40 seasons.

The other duos to have managed that are Golden State's Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant in 2018-19 and Denver's Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe in 1983-84.

The result improves the Celtics to 30-12 overall and 17-5 at the TD Garden, while the Pelicans lose ground on the top two in the west, falling to 25-17.

C.J. McCollum scored 38 points for the Pels, marking the first time in his career he had 20-plus points in a first half in consecutive games.

Jokic falls short of triple-double as Nuggets triumph

Nikola Jokic fell one assist short of a 12th triple-double of the season as the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets claimed their fourth straight win, 126-97 over the Phoenix Suns.

The reigning back-to-back NBA MVP Jokic finished with 21 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists, including a brilliant first-quarter look-away fling to Aaron Gordon.

Jamal Murray added 16 points, although he picked up an ankle complaint, while Bones Hyland contributed 21 for the Nuggets, who have claimed 11 wins in a row at home, along with winning 14 of their past 17.

Grizzlies secure eighth straight win

Ja Morant led the way as the Memphis Grizzlies secured an eighth consecutive victory to keep pressure on the Nuggets at the top of the west with a 135-129 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Morant scored 21 points in the first half, finishing the game with 38 along with five rebounds and four assists.

The Grizzlies guard also produced a big dunk over Jakob Poeltl in the third quarter, while his put-back with 24.1 seconds left in the fourth sealed the victory.

LeBron James scored 37 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 points and 15 assists off the bench as the Los Angeles Lakers sneaked past the Sacramento Kings 136-134 on Saturday.

The win made it five straight victories for the Lakers, who were missing Anthony Davis (foot), as they improved to 19-21.

Dennis Schroder hit two free-throws with 3.1 seconds remaining before De'Aaron Fox missed a 43-foot attempt on the buzzer. Fox had squared the game up at 134-all with a 14-foot shot with 7.1 seconds remaining.

James' driving layup and one with 48 seconds left had earned the Lakers the lead which they never gave up.

The four-time NBA MVP scored 10 fourth-quarter points, shooting at 50 per cent for the game, finishing with eight rebounds and seven assists.

Schroder added 27 points with four-of-five from three-point range, while Thomas Bryant added 29 points and 14 rebounds.

Westbrook played 34 minutes, making a strong contribution, becoming only the second player to reach 20 points, five rebounds and 15 assists off the bench since starters were first tracked in 1970-71.

Fox scored 34 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field, with Domantas Sabonis having 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Doncic triple-double in Mavs win

Luka Doncic had his ninth triple-double of the season with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Dallas Mavericks beat the New Orleans Pelicans 127-117.

Dallas raced to a 34-15 quarter-time lead with Christian Wood starring early to finish with 28 points, while exciting rookie Jaden Hardy scored 15 for the second straight time.

The Pels, playing without leading scorers Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and C.J. McCollum, were led by Jonas Valanciunas with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Tatum guides Celtics past Spurs

Jayson Tatum scored 34 points on 13-of-26 shooting as he lifted the Boston Celtics past the San Antonio Spurs 121-116.

Tatum scored a tiebreaking jumper with 33 seconds left, while Jaylen Brown added 29 points and Malcolm Brogdon contributed 23 off the bench.

The Spurs pushed the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics all game, with eight players scoring double digits for the home team, led by Zach Collins with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Kevin Durant hailed Kyrie Irving's ability to handle the pressure like a "walk in the park" after he stepped up when the Brooklyn Nets needed him in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Irving was 7-for-22 shooting at Smoothie King Center on Friday, but sunk a mammoth three-pointer with only 43 seconds to play as the Nets secured a 108-102 win on the road.

Star duo Irving and Durant missed 32 shots between them, but Brooklyn made it 13 wins out of 14 on the back of a loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Seven of Irving's 19 points came in the final 72 seconds of the contest and Durant, who scored a game-high 33 points, saluted his team-mate's composure when the game was in the balance.

"He approaches it like it's a minute into the game," Durant said. "That's how calm and relaxed he is.

"Even though the stakes are different at the beginning of the game and the end of the game, I still believe that he's the same regardless of what the time is on the clock.

"He plays that way, calm and cool, under control under pressure in the tight moments. It feels like just a walk in the park for him.

"The great ones understand that each possession is important and if you stay even keeled throughout the whole game, you're usually in solid shape in the fourth."

Irving feels his ability to focus on the job in hand is crucial.

"Basketball's just a very simple art form," Irving said. "So if I don't bring all my extra distractions or anything that I'm going through mentally into the game, then I feel like we have a great chance of winning every ballgame."

The Nets are second in the Eastern Conference at 26-13 behind the 27-12 Boston Celtics.

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