Ben Simmons continued his resurgence as the Nets bounced back.
Plus Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum put on a show, and more.
Catch up on all of the day’s action in our NBA Wrap!
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Wiggins goes wild as Warriors defeat LA | 01:17
NETS BOUNCE BACK AS SIMMONS IMPRESSES AGAIN
Ben Simmons continued his resurgence against the Toronto Raptors on the road on Thursday (all times AEDT)
The Aussie racked up 14 points, six assists, three steals and two blocks in another well-rounded performance, earning ample praise for his work on the defensive end as the Nets downed the Raptors 112-98 to improve to 9-10.
After failing to score in double figures in any of his first nine games, Simmons has now scored 11, 15, 22, 11 and 14 points in his last four outings.
It came on the second half of a back to back for the Nets after they were humbled by an undermanned Sixers side on Wednesday in Simmons’ first time playing against his old side.
And Brooklyn meant business from the opening tip against Toronto — putting 38 points on the board in the first term — as they bounced back after their poor showing in Philadelphia.
The Nets let Toronto back into the contest in the second term before reopening a double-digit lead in the third, then not looking back from that point.
Kyrie Irving led Brooklyn with a game-high 29 points as all Nets starters scored in double figures.
It came against an undermanned Raptors side missing Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam, with Gary Trent Jr. scoring a team-best 19.
TATUM LEADS CELTS PAST LUKA’S MAVS IN EPIC DUEL
Fans were treated to an epic battle between the two MVP frontrunners Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum — and the duel more than lived up to it.
Tatum’s Celtics emerged victorious at home 125-112 as the star forward posted 37 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in a game that was always fairly one-sided, with Boston leading by as much as 25 in the first half.
Doncic meanwhile put up 42 points, eight rebounds and nine assists, but it wasn’t enough to get his team even close.
The Celtics, whose nine-game win streak was snapped earlier this week by Chicago, bounced back by dominating the Mavericks, improving to 7-1 in Boston and an NBA-best 14-4 overall.
“I think we were locked in from the beginning,” Tatum said. “Losing to Chicago made us regroup and refocus.
“We just knew they were a really talented team. Luka is the head of the snake. It was good to come home and get back in the win column.”
It was Tatum’s 10th career game with 35 points and 10 rebounds. He made 11-of-24 from the floor and 13-of-15 from the free throw line.
Both superstars had plenty of nice words to say on the other post-match.
“Everybody knows how talented and special he is,” Tatum said. “He can do so many things on the court. He’s somebody I respect and like competing against.”
The Celtics led 70-49 at halftime and by double figures from late in the first quarter until Doncic sparked a late rally to pull Dallas within 114-105 with 3:43 remaining.
Al Horford answered with a 3-pointer to ignite a 10-2 Boston run and Dallas never came within 13 again.
Elsewhere, Jaylen Brown (31 points) and Christian Wood (26 points, 12 boards) had strong outings for either side.
“It’s always the best. He’s an amazing player. He’s top 10, in the MVP (conversation) … he’s shown he’s not a future face of the league, but he already is, and he’s an amazing player and it’s always fun to play with those kind of guys,” Doncic said, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
“They’re probably the No. 1 team in the league, and they probably have the best duo in the league, too. “And we’re in the (TD) Garden — it’s always a special game. You have to come 100 per cent. If you’re not, you’re probably going to lose. It’s a big game.”
Daniels talks rookie season! | 01:36
The Sacramento Kings saw their seven-game win streak snapped as Trae Young scored 35 points to lead the host Atlanta Hawks to a 115-106 victory.
Domantas Sabonis had 15 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists to spark Sacramento (10-7). Clint Capela pulled down 14 rebounds for the Hawks (11-7).
Donovan Mitchell scored 34 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers over Portland 114-96 and stretch their win streak to four games.
The Cavs improved to 8-1 at home and 12-6 overall as Darius Garland had 24 points and 12 assists while Jarrett Allen added 24 points and 13 rebounds.
DeMar DeRozan scored 36 points and added eight assists to lead the Chicago Bulls over host Milwaukee 118-113, dropping the Bucks to 12-5 despite 36 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists from Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Colby White and Nikola Vucevic sank back-to-back 3-pointers to give Chicago a 115-109 lead and DeRozan and Patrick Williams sank late free throws to seal the triumph.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists while Frenchman Rudy Gobert contributed 21 points and 16 rebounds in Minnesota’s 115-101 victory at Indiana.
Myles Turner scored a game-high 31 points for the Pacers, whose five-game win streak ended.
Zion Williamson scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to power the New Orleans Pelicans to a 129-110 victory at San Antonio. He shot 14-of-18 from the floor and 4-of-8 from the free throw line.
At Miami, Kyle Lowry scored 28 points and Caleb Martin had 24 to power the host Heat over Washington 113-105. Kyle Kuzman had a game-high 33 points for the Wizards.
Terry Rozier scored 22 points and P.J. Washington added 19 to spark the Charlotte Hornets over visiting Philadelphia 107-101.
Shake Milton led the 76ers with 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Mason Plumlee and Nick Richards each had 13 rebounds for the Hornets.
The Denver Nuggets rallied from 13 points down in the fourth quarter to win in overtime at Oklahoma City 131-126.
Nikola Jokic had a game-high 39 points plus 10 rebounds and nine assists for Denver and sank two clinching free throws with 8.3 seconds remaining in overtime.
Bruce Brown had a triple double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the Nuggets while Aaron Gordon had 30 points for Denver. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 31 points.
76ERS 101 HORNETS 107
TRAIL BLAZERS 96 CAVALIERS 114
TIMBERWOLVES 115 PACERS 101
KINGS 106 HAWKS 115
MAVERICKS 112 CELTICS 125
WIZARDS 105 HEAT 113
NETS 112 RAPTORS 98
BULLS 118 BUCKS 113
NUGGETS 131 THUNDER 126
PELICANS 129 SPURS 110
PISTONS 121 JAZZ 116
CLIPPERS 107 WARRIORS 124