Khris Middleton is making sure he cherishes the incredible season being enjoyed by the Milwaukee Bucks after they chalked up their 15th successive win.

The Bucks scrapped to a 110-101 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday to improve their record to 21-3.

Milwaukee are five wins shy of tying their franchise-record longest winning streak, having gone 20 games without defeat in the 1970-71 campaign.

Middleton was traded to the Bucks in 2013 and experienced a dismal season in which they won just 15 games the entire campaign, and those struggles have helped the swingman better appreciate the success they are now enjoying. 

The 2019 All-Star, who scored 20 points against the Magic, told reporters: "We have come from a season of winning 15 games, to winning 15 in a row, it's a great feeling.

"We all know that it's special to win this many games in a row, you cherish these moments, you have to sometimes not overlook it.

"You've got to sit back and look on these times and not let it go by too quick."

Asked to describe what kind of team the Bucks are, he replied: "Complete team, we're unselfish, from the top guy all the way to the bottom guy, this is a team that wants to have fun out there, play the right way, which is important, and wants to compete, that's what it's all about."

Paul George had no problem with being booed by Indiana Pacers fans as he led the Los Angeles Clippers to victory on Monday, but suggested they should direct their vitriol closer to home.

George spent seven years with the Pacers before leaving for Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.

The 29-year-old switched Oklahoma for LA in the offseason, joining the Clippers along with Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to the championship last season.

Six-time All-Star George was the star of the show for the Clippers on Monday, scoring 36 points and nine rebounds in a 110-99 triumph in Indianapolis.

He was also the recipient of boos and jeers throughout, yet he claimed the Pacers' fans are targeting the wrong person.

"I'm not surprised," George told reporters. "That's Indiana for you. It's a Hoosier thing.

"You know, someday I'll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana and I promise you, I'm not the one to boo.

"I'm not gonna share the teaser, I like being the villain. I'm here two nights out of the year. The people that boo are here a lot longer than I am."

Asked to elaborate further, George stated he had nothing negative to say about Kevin Pritchard, who had said George's trade request in 2017 "was like a punch to the gut".

"You're getting close to trying to get this story out, aren't you?" George said. "I'm not going to bad-mouth KP. That's just Kevin's side of the story."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers, meanwhile, acknowledged he had been surprised at the level of hostility George received.

"Yeah, I was shocked," Rivers told reporters. "I really was. I was ill-equipped. It was offensive to me.

"But I was unprepared for that, I didn't know it was bad feelings and it was lingering. Obviously it was."

The Clippers are next in action on Wednesday, when it will be Leonard's turn to make a return to his former team the Raptors, and George is anticipating a markedly different reception.

"The opposite of what it was like [Monday]," he said.

The red-hot Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak as Giannis Antetokounmpo starred again, while the Los Angeles Clippers won without Kawhi Leonard.

Antetokounmpo posted a double-double to lead the Bucks past the Orlando Magic 110-101 and their 15th consecutive NBA victory on Monday.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo scored 32 points and 15 rebounds in Milwaukee, where Khris Middleton added 20 points as the Bucks improved to 21-3.

Evan Fournier led the Magic (11-12) – who entered the game on a four-game winning streak – with 26 points.

Paul George starred as the Leonard-less Clippers defeated the Indiana Pacers 110-99 on the road.

With Leonard sitting out, George had 36 points amid a chorus of boos against former team the Pacers – who traded the six-time All-Star to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017 ahead of free agency.

George finished with a season-high seven three-pointers as the Clippers (18-7) won for the fourth time in five games.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 points for the Pacers (15-9) in Indiana.

 

Westbrook stars

The Houston Rockets suffered a buzzer-beating 119-118 loss to the Sacramento Kings, but Russell Westbrook put up 34 points and eight assists.

Brandon Ingram recorded 31 points in the New Orleans Pelicans' heartbreaking 105-103 defeat against the Detroit Pistons.

 

Cavs continue to slide

The Cleveland Cavaliers (5-18) are sinking without a trace. Monday's 110-88 loss to the Boston Celtics was their seventh successive defeat and 13th in 14 games.

 

Clutch Rose, Buzzer-beating Bjelica

Derrick Rose nailed a fadeaway jump shot as time expired to lift the Pistons to a win at the Pelicans.

There was also late drama in Houston, where Nemanja Bjelica made a long-range three-pointer on the buzzer as the Kings stunned the Rockets.

 

Monday's results

Los Angeles Clippers 110-99 Indiana Pacers
Boston Celtics 110-88 Cleveland Cavaliers
Sacramento Kings 119-118 Houston Rockets
Milwaukee Bucks 110-101 Orlando Magic
Detroit Pistons 105-103 New Orleans Pelicans
Toronto Raptors 93-92 Chicago Bulls
Phoenix Suns 125-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
Oklahoma City Thunder 104-90 Utah Jazz
Memphis Grizzlies 110-102 Golden State Warriors

 

Nuggets at 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers face another big test at home. Boasting a 12-0 record at home, the 76ers (17-7) welcome the Denver Nuggets to Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday after seeing off the Raptors last time out. The Nuggets (14-7) have lost back-to-back games.

Kevin Love said "nothing's changed" as the Cleveland Cavaliers star addressed speculation over a possible trade.

Love – a five-time All-Star – has won an NBA championship since joining the Cavaliers from the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2014.

However, the 31-year-old's future in Cleveland is uncertain as the Cavaliers (5-17) struggle this season.

The Cavaliers are reportedly willing to listen to offers for veteran Love, who is not bothered by the trade talk.

"Nothing's changed," Love told ESPN. "What I mean by that is, since I got here they've been ... since I f****** got here, there's been talk of me being traded, so it's nothing different.

"If they decide to go that way, I've just got to know it's part of the business, or if we decide to go that way, it's part of the business.

"Truthfully, I don't know how it's going to play out, because I see both sides."

On being the oldest player on the Cavs' roster, Love added: "I imagine, in a rebuild, it's easy to look at it, especially when it's down and out at this point, and say, 'Hey, we want to completely reset the deck and go young. I understand that.

"But despite that, whether it's five months or five years, I'm always going to be able to come back to Cleveland no matter what, and I'll always love the fans, and be part of this organisation, one way or another."

In 2019-20, Love is averaging 16.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for the struggling Cavaliers.

 

Luka Doncic insisted he could not be compared to "one of a kind" Michael Jordan despite breaking one of the NBA great's records on Sunday.

The MVP candidate had 27 points, seven rebounds and eight assists as the Dallas Mavericks slipped to a narrow defeat to the Sacramento Kings.

In doing so, Doncic enjoyed a 19th straight game with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists - the best such streak of any player since the ABA-NBA merger.

The previous benchmark belonged to Jordan, who had a run of 18 20-5-5 performances in March 1989, but Doncic is not ready to see his name put alongside the six-time champion.

"There are a lot of stats going on," Doncic told reporters. "I think it's a little bit too much [about] stats.

"You can't compare anybody to Michael Jordan. He's one of a kind. Those are just stats."

Despite his personal achievement by the game's end, Doncic was not happy with his first-half performance as Dallas trailed by 20 points after two quarters.

"Our first half was maybe the worst of the season - starting with me," the 20-year-old said. "There was no energy. We came back in the second half doing much better stuff."

Luka Doncic acknowledged he needs to "calm down" after furiously confronting officials following the Dallas Mavericks' 110-106 defeat to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

MVP candidate Doncic enjoyed a 19th straight game with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists - the best such streak of any player since the ABA-NBA merger, surpassing the great Michael Jordan's run of 18.

But the night ended in frustrating fashion for the Mavericks star, who believed he had been fouled as he missed a shot with around five seconds left and Dallas just two points behind.

Replays appeared to show Cory Joseph making contact with Doncic's elbow, but no call was given and the Kings wrapped up victory before the 27-point star fumed at officials.

Doncic, who also had seven rebounds and eight assists, later considered his "passionate" approach might need to be reined in a little.

"My thing is that I'm passionate for the game," he said. "I want to win, and I just sometimes get out of control, because I want to win the whole time.

"I'm competitive. You can ask my family. Even if it's not basketball, if it's anything, I'm so competitive. But, yeah, I've got to work on that, for sure.

"I know how to [approach officials] but, like I say, I'm passionate. I know a lot of times I'm wrong. People are wrong sometimes, and I've just got to learn to calm myself down and go to the next play.

"[Officials] are humans, they make mistakes. I make mistakes; everybody makes mistakes. Just sometimes they don't see it and they don't call it.

"Like I said, I've got to calm down and go to the next play."

LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel poured praise upon Anthony Davis after his 50-point display against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Davis reached 50 points in a game for the first time since joining the Lakers, leading the team to a 142-125 victory on Sunday.

With his star team-mate in such form, James suggested his role was fairly straightforward, with the four-time MVP contributing 13 assists to go with his 32 points.

"Just keep feeding him," James said of Davis. "He was efficient all night, getting the ball exactly where he wanted it - either near post, low post, perimeter.

"He can do it all, so it's our job to continue to give him the ball."

James is happy with how he and Davis are performing together, inspiring a 21-3 start to the season, but he was always confident the former New Orleans Pelicans star would be able to lead the Lakers.

"For me and AD, it starts with us," he said. "If we're on the same page, it makes it much easier for the rest of the ball club. That's both on and off the floor.

"We're just trying to lead by example, lead by our voices, lead by our play, and see where it takes us. It's been pretty good for us so far.

"[Davis] had to carry a franchise before, so I don't think it's anything that's foreign to him. The best thing about what it is today is that he has an opportunity to be great every night.

"No matter if he's making shots or not, it's just his presence alone. And us, as his team-mates, continue to make him comfortable. He's great. There's nothing more that you can say."

Davis was 20-for-29 from the field but did not need a single three-point shot to get to a half-century.

The 26-year-old also weighed in with seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and a block, leaving coach Vogel to marvel at his player.

"The first thing that sticks out to me was that he had four steals, a block and great defense all 39 minutes he was out there," Vogel said.

"To be able to perform on that end of the floor and anchor us and still go for 50 - with what I feel is an old-school smash-mouth way of getting 50: no threes, 20-for-29 and living at the free-throw line, post-ups, offensive rebounds, crashes, all those type of things - it's just an old-school performance.

"It's one for the ages."

Anthony Davis said it was "humbling" to join Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in producing a 50-point game for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Davis and the Lakers have been in outstanding form so far in the 2019-20 NBA season, and that continued on Sunday as the former New Orleans Pelicans star put up exactly 50 points in a 142-125 defeat of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The names of Bryant and James - the only other Lakers to achieve this feat in the past decade - were put to the 26-year-old in the locker room after.

Davis replied: "It means a lot. There are some greats who came through here, so to be in a class with guys like that - especially so early in my career, my first year here - is humbling.

"I'm definitely excited to be in that class."

Davis had 27 points by halftime and revealed he was then encouraged to go for 50 by his team-mates.

"I've had nights where I started off like that and ended up with like 30, didn't score in the second half," he said. "But the shot was feeling good tonight. We were very well rested.

"Going against another great big man in Karl-Anthony Towns, obviously you get up for some of those games. They're a team who are hungry, trying to get wins, and when you start off pretty hot from the floor, you just want the ball.

"It kept going in most of the times and my team-mates kept giving me the ball. They were saying I could get 50 so, at that point, you try to get 50.

"[They said it at] half-time. At that point, I'm not saying it was on my mind, because I'm still trying to play the right way, but I was definitely ultra-aggressive."

The Lakers improved to 21-3, four games clear of rivals the Los Angeles Clippers at the top of the West, and Davis says they are "in a rhythm".

"I feel like I'm in a rhythm," he said. "You've got to find your rhythm, and I feel, as a team, we've found our rhythm - that's how we're able to put up so many points.

"Obviously our defence has been really good and leads to a lot of open shots for us. Guys are able to see the ball go in the basket early, which helps us later in the game.

"I think the way that we approach the game now, knowing we've found our rhythm offensively, the whole team is playing at a high level."

Anthony Davis dominated in the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, while Luka Doncic passed a streak of Michael Jordan's in the NBA.

Davis' 50-point haul saw the Lakers power past the Timberwolves 142-125 on Sunday.

He went an incredible 20-of-29 from the field, while LeBron James had a double-double of 32 points and 13 assists.

The Lakers are 21-3 and on a four-match winning streak.

Doncic went past a streak of Jordan's in the Dallas Mavericks' 110-106 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The guard had 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for his 19th straight game of 20-5-5, while Jordan turned in 18 consecutive in March 1989.

Clippers stars step up

Kawhi Leonard (34 points and 11 rebounds) and Paul George (27 points) saw the Los Angeles Clippers past the Washington Wizards 135-119.

Trae Young delivered again for the Atlanta Hawks, his 30 points, nine assists and six rebounds enough in a 122-107 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Tyler Herro had 27 points off the bench as the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 110-105 after overtime.

 

Raptors struggle

The Toronto Raptors struggled in a 110-104 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Marc Gasol (0-of-six) finished without a point in 30 minutes, while Pascal Siakam went seven-of-18 for his 16 points.

 

Dynamic Davis

Davis was dominant in the Lakers' victory.

Sunday's results

Brooklyn Nets 105-102 Denver Nuggets
Atlanta Hawks 122-107 Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat 110-105 Chicago Bulls
Philadelphia 76ers 110-104 Toronto Raptors
Los Angeles Clippers 135-119 Washington Wizards
Sacramento Kings 110-106 Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder 108-96 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers 142-125 Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Clippers at Pacers

The Clippers (17-7) back up with a trip to Indiana, where the Pacers (15-8) are 9-2 at home this season.

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown wants to see Ben Simmons attempt at least one three-pointer in every game after the All-Star scored from beyond the arc for only the second time in his career.

Having broken his three-point duck against the New York Knicks last month, Simmons prompted huge cheers at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday when he made a basket from range in a 141-94 thrashing of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Australian point guard finished the contest with a career-high 34 points and was duly set a target by his coach in a post-game news conference.

"This is what I want and you can pass this along to his agent, his family, his friends and to him," said Brown. I want a three-point shot a game, minimum. The pull-up twos ... I'm fine with whatever is open. But I'm interested in the three-point shot.

"The mentality that he has where he's turning corners and taking that long step, that gather step, and bringing his shoulders to the rim and trying to dunk or finish tight, will equal higher efficiency, or getting fouled. That's the world that interests me the most. Those two things.

"The drama of it is overblown. The reality [is] that he can shoot and ultimately it's going to need to come into his game in a pronounced way from an attempt standpoint, that's not overblown. I think the drama surrounding it is completely overblown.

"When I put on my coaching hat and I'm looking at a 23-year-old young man trying to grow his game, it's completely, first, in his wheelhouse. And, secondly, he will be liberated. His world will open up. And I think, in many ways, so will ours."

Simmons was quoted by ESPN as saying: "I'm getting more comfortable. Obviously, throughout time I'm getting more comfortable with the game, and just learning my spots. And just adjusting."

The Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks won big in the NBA thanks to Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic.

Simmons scored a career-high 34 points as the 76ers humbled the Cleveland Cavaliers 141-94 in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The All-Star was almost unstoppable in 26 minutes of action, making 12 of 14 field goals and hitting nine of 12 free throws to help the 76ers improve to 11-0 at home.

Philadelphia stayed perfect on home court despite the absence of Joel Embiid due to a left hip contusion.

Reigning Rookie of the Year Doncic, meanwhile, fuelled the Mavericks' 130-84 demolition of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Doncic posted 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds in 26 minutes for the Mavs, who led 64-52 at half-time.

 

Westbrook records triple-double

Russell Westbrook had his third consecutive triple-double in the Houston Rockets' 115-109 win at home to the Phoenix Suns. Westbrook finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Rockets team-mate James Harden scored 34 points.

 

Cavs set season low

It was a tough night for the Cavaliers. Their 36 first-half points set a season low for points in a half, less than the 40 they managed against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Lonzo Ball endured a forgettable game. The Pelicans guard was one of nine from the floor for just two points in 27 minutes. He also missed all seven of his three-point attempts.

 

Simmons drops another three

Prior to this season, Simmons had never made a three-pointer in the regular season. He is now up to two following this effort from beyond the arc.

 

Saturday's results

Dallas Mavericks 130-84 New Orleans Pelicans
Philadelphia 76ers 141-94 Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers 104-103 New York Knicks
Houston Rockets 115-109 Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz 126-112 Memphis Grizzlies

 

Raptors at 76ers

It is back-to-back home games for the 76ers (16-7), who welcome reigning champions the Toronto Raptors (15-6) to Philadelphia on Sunday. The 76ers will be looking to stay unbeaten on home court, while the Raptors can snap a two-game losing streak.

Doc Rivers felt the Los Angeles Clippers had given Giannis Antetokounmpo "a birthday gift" with their dreadful performance as the Milwaukee Bucks cruised to a 14th consecutive NBA victory.

On his 25th birthday, reigning league MVP Antetokounmpo had 27 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in only 26 minutes as the Bucks cruised to a 119-91 home win.

An emphatic victory in a game between two teams expected to compete for a place in the NBA Finals saw the Bucks move to 20-3 while the Clippers fell to 16-7.

Rivers' team have gone 3-6 on the road and star duo Kawhi Leonard (17) and Paul George (13) were restricted to 30 points between them before being pulled early in the fourth quarter.

"It was Giannis' birthday, and we searched all over the city to find a gift, couldn't find one, so we gave him this one," coach Rivers said, per ESPN, after Friday's loss.

"That's all I can come up with because we were awful. They were so much more physical than us. It was not even close.

"We have not maximised them [Leonard and George] offensively yet.

"We keep looking at our offensive numbers, and I've been saying it: It's fool's gold. We're not ready offensively yet. Our numbers say different but this is where analytically, I'm right. I can see it."

Leonard and George also had five turnovers each in the Clippers' worst loss of the season.

"We just have to get comfortable with the plays," Leonard said of playing with George. "Just going out there and being able to run it without thinking, getting into our spots early. The flow will come.

"We're just a work in progress. This team has been put together this year. 

"We've got to figure it out. Some of us don't know the plays coming down, and it's hard to get in our sets. We've just got to keep striving."

The Bucks' 14 consecutive wins is their best streak since 1973, with Antetokounmpo their driving force.

"The fans were unbelievable," the Greek said. "They made me feel special. They made this day feel special. 

"Usually a lot of people, their birthday, they celebrate, they go out, they do all that. But that's not me. That's not what I do. But the fans made it really special for me."

LeBron James joked he is considering sneezing on Anthony Davis after his Los Angeles Lakers team-mate produced another outstanding performance in their win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Davis, who joined the Lakers from the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster trade in June, followed up 25 and 26-point performances in road wins against the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz with a 39-point showing as Los Angeles claimed a 136-113 victory in Portland.

The 2012 first overall pick's displays have been made all the more impressive by the fact he has produced such incredible form while battling an illness.

Speaking after their win at the Moda Center, James said of Davis: "You see what he did on this road trip being sick? And he is starting to feel a lot better and I don't quite like it. I might sneeze on him a couple of times."

The Lakers are in command at the top of the Western Conference having lost just three of their 23 games this season.

"We have our mind set on something special. In order to reach that goal we have to stay in the moment and go game by game," Davis added.

"We take every game personal. We want to go out there and be the best team."

For the 9-14 Blazers, the game was marred by an injury to Rodney Hood, who suffered a torn Achilles in the first quarter.

"You hate to see one of your team-mates go down to an injury like that, especially a starter, and somebody who is really a good person and having a great season, fitting in really well with our team, and a big part of what we do," Blazers star Damian Lillard said. 

"You just feel for him personally more than anything."

 

The Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to 14 games as birthday boy Giannis Antetokounmpo inspired a 119-91 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Friday's NBA showdown was one-sided in Milwaukee, where the Bucks (20-3) led by as many as 41 points thanks to Antetokounmpo's 21st double-double of the season.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo – celebrating his 25th birthday – scored 27 points and 11 rebounds in under 30 minutes to down Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers on home court.

Leonard had 17 points for the Clippers (16-7), while star team-mate Paul George added 13.

Elsewhere, LeBron James and Anthony Davis guided the Los Angeles Lakers to a 136-113 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers.

James put up 31 points and Davis contributed a team-high 39 points as the Lakers (20-3) claimed their 11th successive road win.

 

Butler's triple-double ignites Heat

Jimmy Butler posted 28 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds – his second triple-double of the week – as the Miami Heat downed the Washington Wizards 112-103. The Heat are 9-0 at home for the first time in franchise history.

The Detroit Pistons edged the Indiana Pacers 108-101 thanks to 25 points and 22 rebounds from Andre Drummond. Blake Griffin added 25 points.

Nikola Jokic recorded a double-double with 30 points and 10 rebounds but the Denver Nuggets still lost 108-95 to the Boston Celtics.

 

Nance struggles

Larry Nance Jr. played a game-high 41 minutes in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 93-87 defeat against the Orlando Magic. While he collected 11 rebounds, Nance managed just four points on two-of-10 shooting from the floor. The 26-year-old also missed all three of his three-point attempts.

 

LeBron the magician

Somehow, James – surrounded by three Blazers players – made this shot in Portland.

 

Friday's results

Orlando Magic 93-87 Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons 108-101 Indiana Pacers
Brooklyn Nets 111-104 Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat 112-103 Washington Wizards
Golden State Warriors 100-98 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 139-127 Minnesota Timberwolves (OT)
Boston Celtics 108-95 Denver Nuggets
Milwaukee Bucks 119-91 Los Angeles Clippers
San Antonio Spurs 105-104 Sacramento Kings (OT)
Los Angeles Lakers 136-113 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Cavaliers at 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers (15-7) are 10-0 on home court and they will be looking to preserve that perfect record when the Cleveland Cavaliers roll into town on Saturday. After a shock loss to the Wizards in the American capital, the 76ers are seeking a response against the 5-16 Cavs.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich criticised the New York Knicks' decision to sack David Fizdale.

The struggling Knicks parted with coach Fizdale on Friday following a run of eight consecutive defeats and a conference-worst 4-18 record in the NBA this season.

Fizdale – replaced by assistant Mike Miller on an interim basis – was appointed in 2018 and oversaw 21 wins and 83 losses during his tenure in New York.

Responding to Fizdale's departure, five-time champion Popovich slammed the Knicks.

"I don't know where the decision was made to fire coach Fizdale, but if it came from the top, it's a case of mistaken identity," Popovich said via NBA.com.

"He's a fine, talented young coach with a great pedigree, and it's ridiculous to think you're gonna bring a young guy in and after being there a minute and a half, you expect him to fix everything that's been wrong there for a long time.

"That's pretty unfair. So, it's the old analogy: he got thrown under the bus. He'll come out of it because he's a great coach."

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