Kyrie Irving got off to a winning start as the Dallas Mavericks fought off a 110-104 victory at the home of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Fresh off his trade from the Brooklyn Nets, Irving shot a team-high 24 points on his debut for Dallas.
The Mavs didn’t have Luka Doncic, but the addition of Irving to their ranks meant they had enough firepower to beat the Clippers and move up to fourth in the Western Conference.
Tim Hardaway Jr. weighed in with 19 points, six assists and five rebounds, and his three-pointer with 26.8 seconds left effectively slammed the door on the prospect of a late fightback from the Clippers.
It meant Norman Powell’s 24-point play off the bench for the Clippers was in vain.
Celtics sink Sixers, but take a brown hit
Behind 19-of-35 shooting from three-point range, the injury-stricken Boston Celtics had too much for the Philadelphia 76ers, with the Eastern Conference leaders scoring a 106-99 win.
Despite Joel Embiid scoring a game-high 28 points and James Harden tagging along with a game-high 26 points and 11 assists, the 76ers were scuttled by a Boston squad that had six players in double digits, led by Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon who both took 19 points.
Worryingly, Jaylen Brown suffered what the Celtics describe as a “facial contusion” when he crashed into teammate Jayson Tatum, as both went into the closing stages of the second quarter on a rebound.
It forced Brown out of the game and could see him sidelined for an extended period of time, with reports claiming he suffered a fracture. That came as another blow to a Celtics team that entered the game without starters Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Robert Williams.
Due to Brown’s injury, he and Tatum combined for only 16 points. Tatum only managed 12 points, but added nine assists and eight rebounds.
It ended the double act’s streak of 55 consecutive regular season games combined for 40 or more points in games played together. That was the longest streak by a pair of teammates in the NBA since a 60-game run by Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Greer of the 76ers from 1965 to 1966.
Lillard heroics see Blazers blunt Warriors
Damian Lillard’s triple-double helped the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Golden State Warriors, who again had to miss the injured Stephen Curry.
In Curry’s continued absence, Jordan Poole weighed in by 38 points and Klay Thompson collected a 31-point haul, but reigning NBA champions Golden State went down 125-122 at Moda Center.
Lillard finished with 33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in a game tied at 95–95 heading into the fourth quarter.