The Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics had a statement win over the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns with a 125-98 blowout victory on Wednesday.

The Celtics led by as much as 45 points and benched MVP candidate Jayson Tatum in the fourth quarter, in a game where the Suns welcomed back All-Star Chris Paul from a heel injury.

Tatum finished with 25 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. The 24-year-old is the first player in Celtics history to average 30 points per game in his first 25 games of any season.

Jaylen Brown also scored 25 points with seven rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points off the bench.

Boston led 69-42 at half-time in the blowout win, which was the Celtics' second-biggest margin this season.

Devin Booker struggled with four fouls and three field-goals made in the first half, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Paul had four points and four assists in 24 minutes on his return.

The result means the Celtics improved to an NBA-best 21-5 record after three straight wins, while the Suns fall to 16-9.

Giannis powers Bucks to another win

Giannis Antetokounmpo matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-longest streak of consecutive 30-point games (eight) in franchise history as the Milwaukee Bucks downed the Sacramento Kings 126-113.

The Greek forward finished with 35 points on 12-of-19 field-goal shooting, with six rebounds and six assists as the Bucks improved to 18-6 with their third straight win. The victory extended the Bucks' win streak against the Kings to 13.

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday made an excellent contribution with 31 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Kings forward Domantas Sabonis added 23 points with 12 rebounds.

Banchero clutch in Magic OT win

Top overall NBA Draft pick Pablo Banchero showcased his potential to help the Orlando Magic snap their nine-game losing streak with a 116-111 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 20-year-old power forward scored 23 points for the game, including making all six of his free-throws in the final seven seconds of overtime to overturn a 111-110 deficit. The Clippers gave up two turnovers down the stretch.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard made another rare appearance together again, combining for 17 first-quarter points. George finished with 11 for the game with seven rebounds and five assists, while Leonard added 14 points with seven rebounds and three assists.

The Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics had a statement win over the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns with a 125-98 blowout victory on Wednesday.

The Celtics led by as much as 45 points and benched MVP candidate Jayson Tatum in the fourth quarter, in a game where the Suns welcomed back All-Star Chris Paul from a heel injury.

Tatum finished with 25 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. The 24-year-old is the first player in Celtics history to average 30 points per game in his first 25 games of any season.

Jaylen Brown also scored 25 points with seven rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points off the bench.

Boston led 69-42 at half-time in the blowout win, which was the Celtics' second-biggest margin this season.

Devin Booker struggled with four fouls and three field-goals made in the first half, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Paul had four points and four assists in 24 minutes on his return.

The result means the Celtics improved to an NBA-best 21-5 record after three straight wins, while the Suns fall to 16-9.

Giannis powers Bucks to another win

Giannis Antetokounmpo matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-longest streak of consecutive 30-point games (eight) in franchise history as the Milwaukee Bucks downed the Sacramento Kings 126-113.

The Greek forward finished with 35 points on 12-of-19 field-goal shooting, with six rebounds and six assists as the Bucks improved to 18-6 with their third straight win. The victory extended the Bucks' win streak against the Kings to 13.

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday made an excellent contribution with 31 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Kings forward Domantas Sabonis added 23 points with 12 rebounds.

Banchero clutch in Magic OT win

Top overall NBA Draft pick Pablo Banchero showcased his potential to help the Orlando Magic snap their nine-game losing streak with a 116-111 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 20-year-old power forward scored 23 points for the game, including making all six of his free-throws in the final seven seconds of overtime to overturn a 111-110 deficit. The Clippers gave up two turnovers down the stretch.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard made another rare appearance together again, combining for 17 first-quarter points. George finished with 11 for the game with seven rebounds and five assists, while Leonard added 14 points with seven rebounds and three assists.

Chris Paul is expected to play for the Phoenix Suns for the first time in a month when they take on the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

Paul has been absent since November 7 after injuring his heel in the 100-88 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Suns have gone 9-5 without Paul on the court and will head into the match-up with the Celtics in first place in the Western Conference.

Paul's return comes as the Suns prepare to take on Boston, who are top of the Eastern Conference and boast the NBA's best record at 20-5.

"I feel pretty good," Paul told reporters. "I'm going to see how I feel after this and go from there."

Injury aside, 37-year-old Paul has had his struggles this season, averaging just 9.5 points-per-game and shooting at just 36.8 per cent, both career-lows.

The best of the East against the best of the West.

No, this is not the NBA Finals yet, though it very well could be at the end of the season as the Boston Celtics head to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

The Celtics have responded to losing last year's Finals to the Golden State Warriors in impressive fashion, made all the more notable given the situation around suspended head coach Ime Udoka.

With star performers Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown firing on all cylinders, the Celtics have raced out to win 20 of their first 25 (80.0 win percentage) games this season, topping the Eastern Conference by some distance (ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks with 73.9 per cent).

It has been quite the run since early November, with Boston on a record of 16-2 since their overtime defeat to the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

The Suns arguably had an even more anti-climactic end to their last campaign.

Phoenix ended the regular season with a fantastic record of 64-18, comfortably the best in the league, but were eliminated in the Western Conference semi-finals against the Dallas Mavericks, losing 4-3.

Like the Celtics, though, the Suns have mostly picked up where they left off this year, sitting on a record of 16-8 to narrowly top the West.

Monty Williams will be hoping his team can get back to their best after losing two of their last three games, with their last outing seeing them haunted by Luka Doncic and the Mavs again, but on Wednesday all they will have to deal with is the form team in the league, including Tatum and Brown.

Perhaps that defeat in Dallas will focus minds, but the Celtics will be looking to further cement their credentials.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Phoenix Suns - Deandre Ayton

Devin Booker may be the main point-getter for the Suns, recently scoring a total of 136 points across three games, but Deandre Ayton's importance in the big games can never be underestimated.

The Bahamian is actually slightly down on his usual rebound average, but his 9.6 per game is still comfortably the best on the Phoenix roster and will be crucial against a team as potent as Boston.

Booker struggled last time out against the Mavs, while Ayton top-scored for his team with 20 points, along with eight rebounds and three blocks.

Boston Celtics - Jayson Tatum

Tatum has been an absolute force of nature so far this season, averaging 30.8 points per game from his 24 appearances, the fourth-best in the league behind only Doncic (33.4), Giannis Antetokounmpo (31.9) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31.3).

The 24-year-old has scored 29 or more points in six of his last seven games, while also averaging the most rebounds (8.3) and assists (4.2) for his team this season.

KEY BATTLE - Suns must halt the points at the source

If it were as easy as stopping the opposition from shooting, you would have basketball sussed.

That is basically what Williams' must encourage his team to try though, with only one team having a better field-goal percentage than the Celtics' 49.4 this season (Denver Nuggets, 50.0 per cent).

Perhaps more concerning will be from range, with Boston boasting the best three-point success so far, sinking 40.2 per cent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Either prevent shots or at the very least, do not allow the likes of Tatum and Brown to shoot the ball without pressure.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

This has been a tremendously even battle in recent seasons, with Boston and Phoenix clashing twice in each of the last four campaigns.

In every single season, they have both won one each, with the Celtics winning their last meeting at TD Garden 123-108 on December 31 last year.

Anthony Davis put up a sensational 55-point haul to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to their fourth straight road win, triumphing 130-119 over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

Davis, who scored 44 points against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Lakers' previous game, could not eclipse his career-high 59 points from 2016 against the Detroit Pistons.

But Davis' 55 points, coming from 22-of-30 field shooting and nine-of-nine shooting from the line, were the second most in a single game this NBA season, behind only Joel Embiid's 59 against the Utah Jazz on November 13.

The eight-time All-Star scored 31 of his 55 points in the second half, adding 17 rebounds and three blocks. Davis is the first Laker with back-to-back 40-point games since Kobe Bryant in March 2013.

LeBron James, who had been listed as questionable due to an ankle issue, added 29 points on 12-of-26 field shooting with eight rebounds and six assists but committed five turnovers.

Russell Westbrook came off the bench to contribute a season-high 15 assists with seven rebounds, while guard Lonnie Walker IV added 20 points on four-of-four three-point shooting.

The Wizards were not helped by a game-ending first-quarter injury to All-Star Bradley Beal. Kristaps Porzingis top scored for the Wizards with 27 points on 11-of-25 shooting, while ex-Laker Kyle Kuzma added 26 points with seven rebounds before fouling out.

The victory improved the Lakers to 10-12, having won three games in a row, but they remain 12th in the Western Conference.

Brown helps Celtics snap Nets' streaks

The NBA-best Boston Celtics ended the Brooklyn Nets' four-game winning streak and six-game winning home stand on 34 points from Jaylen Brown as they triumphed 103-92.

Brown led the way for the Celtics with 20 of his 34 points in the first quarter, finishing also with 10 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum scored 29 points on 10-of-19 field shooting with 11 rebounds.

Kyrie Irving struggled against his former franchise, shooting seven-of-21 from the field for 18 points with eight rebounds and five assists. Kevin Durant top scored for the Nets with 31 points but gave up eight turnovers.

Suns extend struggling Spurs' skid

The Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns condemned the San Antonio Spurs to 11 straight losses with a 133-95 blowout win led by Deandre Ayton's double-double.

Suns center Ayton finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Devin Booker added 20 points on seven-of-16 field shooting, with Mikal Bridges making six-of-seven triples in his 20 points.

The struggling Spurs were blown away in a 36-11 second quarter, seeing them close within two defeats of a franchise-worst losing streak, set in 1989.

Devin Booker lauded the support of the Phoenix Suns' adoring fans after being serenaded with chants of "MVP" during his 51-point showing against the Chicago Bulls.

Having put up 44 points in Monday's win over the Sacramento Kings, Booker continued his hot streak as the Suns secured a sixth victory on the bounce, downing the Bulls 132-113.

The Footprint Arena resonated with chants for Booker to land the MVP prize, and the 26-year-old was loving it.

"It's the best," Booker said about the home crowd.

"I don't know how many sell-out crowds that is in a row, but it's impressive.

"Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, it doesn't matter what day of the week it is. They show up and show out."

Booker 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.

"It felt like a double-sized rim out there," Booker said. "If I rise up, it's going in."

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.

LeBron James scored a season-high 39 points with seven three-pointers to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to their fifth win from their past six games, beating the San Antonio Spurs 143-138 on Saturday.

James, in his second game back from a groin injury, scored 23 of his 39 points in the second half, shooting seven-of-12 from beyond the arc along with having 11 rebounds and three assists. The four-time MVP's seven three-pointers was a joint career high.

The Lakers were without Anthony Davis due to a minor calf contusion, with guard Dennis Schroder contributing 21 points and six assists.

Russell Westbrook also came off the bench to add 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists, linking up with James to set up a one-handed dunk just before half-time.

Westbrook was left bloodied after he suffered a deep cut to his forehead in the third quarter after an elbow from Zach Collins but played on.

The win improved the Lakers' record to 7-11, while it consigned the Spurs to their eighth-straight defeat, slumping to 6-15 overall.

The Spurs' losing streak is their equal fourth worst in franchise history. Their worst is 13 straight from 1989.

Keldon Johnson top scored for San Antonio with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Tre Jones added 23 points with 13 assists.

DA and Booker lift Suns past Jazz

Deandre Ayton scored 29 points with 21 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns held off the Utah Jazz 123-122 for their fourth consecutive victory to improve to 13-6.

Devin Booker contributed 27 points on eight-of-27 field shooting, scoring 10-of-11 from the free-throw line, with 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Suns, who trailed by 10 at quarter-time. Nine of Ayton's 21 rebounds were offensive as he brought up a rare 20/20 double-double.

The Suns only managed six-of-22 from beyond the arc but the Jazz could not capitalise, giving up 12 turnovers. Jordan Clarkson top scored for Utah with 22 points.

Doncic's Mavs beaten by Raptors

The Dallas Mavericks lost their third straight game as Luka Doncic was kept to 24 points in a 105-100 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Raptors small forward O.G. Anunoby scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, top scoring alongside Fred VanVleet with 26, while Chris Boucher added a season-high 22 points with 13 rebounds.

NBA leading scorer Doncic shot eight-of-15 from the field and two-of-four from beyond the arc for the Mavs, with seven rebounds, nine assists and two steals.

Patrick Beverley has been suspended for the Los Angeles Lakers' next three games after shoving Deandre Ayton in their 115-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

With just under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Beverley pushed an oblivious Ayton while the Suns' center was stood over a grounded Austin Reaves, following a flagrant foul by Devin Booker.

Beverley received a technical foul and was then ejected, but the Lakers guard has now received further punishment in the form of a three-game suspension without pay.

The sanction will see Beverley miss out on a reported $268,965 in salary and will rule him out of the Lakers' back-to-back road games at the San Antonio Spurs on Friday and Saturday, as well as Monday's home showdown with the Indiana Pacers.

An NBA statement read: "Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley has been suspended three games without pay for forcefully shoving Suns center Deandre Ayton from behind and knocking him to the court.

"The suspension was based in part on Beverley's history of unsportsmanlike acts."

Over his 14 starts this season, Beverley has averaged 4.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists a game.

Stephen Curry scored 50 points but could not prevent the Golden State Warriors' winless road run from extending to eight games after a 130-119 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

The defeat means the Warriors are 0-8 on the road this season, and slump to 6-9 in the 2022-23 campaign, which is a tie for fourth worst 15-game start to a season by an NBA champion.

Golden State's 0-8 road start is the worst ever by a defending champion in NBA history. The eight-defeat run is also a tie for third for longest road losing streak by a defending champion in their title-defense season.

The Warriors' defense was an issue once again, having allowed 124.3 points per game on the road this season which is the worst in the NBA. The Warriors' opponents have scored 120 or more points six times in 15 games this season.

The Suns improved to 9-5, with point guard Cameron Payne top scoring with 29 points including six three-pointers alongside Devin Booker with 27 points. Mikal Bridges added 23 points with five triples along with eight rebounds and nine assists.

Phoenix, who were without Cameron Johnson (knee), Chris Paul (heel) and Jae Crowder, knocked down a season-high 21 three-pointers, which is the most allowed by the Warriors this season, shooting at 52.5 per cent from beyond the arc.

Curry posted 50 points on 17-of-28 field shooting with seven-of-11 from three-point range with nine rebounds and six assists. Klay Thompson added 19 points but the Warriors' bench combined for only 17 points.

Celtics extend winning run to eight games

The short-handed Boston Celtics secured their eighth straight win with a 126-101 victory over the Atlanta Hawks where seven players scored double digits for the winners.

Jayson Tatum had a career-high six assists in the first quarter and finished the game with 19 points, with seven rebounds and eight assists, while Jaylen Brown top scored for Boston with 22 points. Derrick White dished off 10 assists and Al Horford hauled down 11 rebounds.

During the Celtics' eight-game win streak, they have the NBA's best offensive efficiency (123.2), three-point field goals made (16.4) and assists-turnovers ratio (2.3).

SGA comes up clutch again for OKC

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored an equal career-high 42 points, including draining a last-gasp three-pointer to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Washington Wizards 121-120.

Bradley Beal had hit a two-pointer to put the Wizards up 120-118 with 6.1 seconds left, but Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 19 points in the third quarter, had time to hit a step-back triple with 1.1 seconds remaining.

Over the last two seasons, Gilgeous-Alexander has scored four go-ahead or game-tying field goals in the final five seconds, which is more than any other player in the NBA. Nine players have two.

The Golden State Warriors have a chance to reaffirm themselves as the heavyweights in the Western Conference on Wednesday when the defending NBA champions visit the Phoenix Suns.

Steve Kerr's team have endured a difficult start to their bid to win back-to-back titles, going 6-8 across their opening 14 games.

But they produced one of their best performances of the season on Monday, crushing the San Antonio Spurs 132-95.

A meeting with the Suns, seen as one of the primary challengers to Golden State in the West going into the season, my provide a more accurate indication of whether the Warriors have turned things around.

Phoenix lost a thriller with the Miami Heat on Monday, losing 113-112 on the road to drop to 8-5 but had little issue knocking off the Warriors in their first meeting this season on October 25, prevailing 134-105.

Veteran point guard Chris Paul has missed the last three games with a heel problem, and it remains to be seen if he will be healthy to play against the Warriors.

However, even without Paul the Suns possess one of the most talented rosters in the league, and with Devin Booker continuing his outstanding form from last season, they are well-equipped to trouble a Warriors team that has yet to win on the road this campaign.
 

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Phoenix Suns - Devin Booker

Through 13 games, Booker has the highest offensive rating of his career (117.2) while his effective field goal percentage of 53.5 is his best since the 2019-20 season (54.4).

His 26.5 points per game rank 11th in the NBA, and his ability to maintain that efficiency will be key against a Warriors team whose problems have predominantly been on defense.

Golden State Warriors - Jordan Poole

Poole scored 36 points after being inserted into the starting lineup as Klay Thompson was rested against San Antonio, making a compelling argument for becoming a permanent fixture in the Warriors' starting five.

Kerr is not ready to make the that move, but, after the spark he gave Golden State last time out, Poole could play a more prominent role in a game that may yet be a preview of the Western Conference Finals if the Warriors can get back on track.
 

KEY BATTLE - Can Warriors find a winning bench combination?

The main issue with the Warriors does not concern their starting five, but their youthful bench.

Indeed, the Warriors' bench has an average plus-minus of minus 4.9, the worst in the NBA, their issues in that regard exemplified by Golden State sending former second overall pick James Wiseman to the G-League.

By contrast, the Suns' bench ranks sixth in the league with an average plus-minus of plus-1.5. If the Warriors cannot find a way to narrow that gap, it could be another difficult night for the champions.


HEAD TO HEAD

The Warriors and Suns split the season series in 2021-22, each winning once at home and once on the road. Recent history favours the Suns, though, with the Warriors having lost five of their last seven against Phoenix on the road, including the blowout defeat in Arizona last month.

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.

Phoenix Suns sharpshooter Cameron Johnson underwent successful surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee on Tuesday, and is expected to be sidelined for at least one month.

Johnson, 26, was the Suns' first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and after being used primarily off the bench in his first three seasons, the three-point specialist broke into the starting lineup full-time this season.

He took Jae Crowder's starting role in doing so, leading to a relatively messy break-up between Crowder and the Suns, as he is now away from the team awaiting a trade and according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Johnson's injury situation is not impacting that decision.

Johnson started the season averaging a career-high 13 points per game, and he leads the Suns in three-point makes per game (2.8) while shooting a career-high 43.1 per cent from long range.

In the game before he suffered his injury, Johnson led the Suns with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting in a 116-107 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

After not coming to an agreement for a contract extension in the offseason, Johnson will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, meaning the Suns will have the option to match any offer he receives from other interested teams.

The Milwaukee Bucks overcame the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo to reach a franchise-record ninth straight win to open the season with a 108-94 triumph over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

Antetokounmpo was absent due to left knee soreness, but Brook Lopez delivered with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting including four three-pointers for the Bucks who are 9-0.

Jrue Holiday provided 13 assists with 10 points, while forward Bobby Portis pulled down 21 rebounds with 12 points.

Guards Jevon Carter and Grayson Allen scored five three-pointers each, contributing 18 and 19 points respectively for Milwaukee.

The Bucks shot 17-of-47 (36.2 per cent) from three-point range, while Portis' dominance in the paint helped them to 55-38 rebounds. Four of Portis' 21 rebounds were offensive.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander top scored for OKC with 18 points, while second-year guard Josh Giddey had 15 points with six rebounds.

Nets rally for back-to-back wins

Amid their off-court tumult, Kevin Durant led the Brooklyn Nets to back-to-back wins with a 98-94 victory over the Charlotte Hornets rallying back after trailing by 11 points in the fourth quarter.

Durant scored a game-high 27 points, including a clutch jump shot to open up a four-point lead with 32 seconds remaining, along with seven rebounds. The win improved the Nets to 3-6.

Cam Thomas stepped up off the bench with 21 points for the Nets who were without Kyrie Irving (suspension) and Ben Simmons (knee soreness).

Celtics hit franchise-record, Suns move to 7-2

The Boston Celtics scored a franchise-record 27 three-pointers with six each from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as they got past the New York Knicks 133-118.

Tatum scored 26 points while Brown had a game-high 30 points, while Sam Hauser came off the bench to add five triples in his 17-point haul, with all nine of the Celtics used making a three-pointer.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns improved to 7-2 with a comfortable 102-82 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, with Devin Booker scoring 24 points.

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.

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