Watch Murray put together 31-point triple-double as Spurs outlast Wizards

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WASHINGTON — Coming off his first All-Star appearance, Dejounte Murray had to work extra hard in the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season.

Murray had 31 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists and the San Antonio Spurs outlasted the Washington Wizards 157-153 in double overtime Friday night.

The game might not have gone on so long if Murray hadn’t missed potential winners at the end of regulation and the first overtime. He matched his season high in minutes with 43.

“He looked like he got a little tired. Might have been too much All-Star break that he didn’t get,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I put him in a one-on-one situation a few times and maybe I shouldn’t have done that, judging that he was a bit tired, but he’s our guy. He made a big 3, a couple free throws, so, I think Michael (Jordan) missed some shots at the end of games, too.”

Keldon Johnson scored a career-high 32 points, and Jakob Poeltl added a career-high 28 points for the Spurs. They have won five of seven to get Popovich within one victory of Lenny Wilkens’ NBA record of 1,335.

Kyle Kuzma matched his season high with 36 points for the Wizards. They finally ran out of gas in the second extra period of this entertaining matchup between teams on the fringes of playoff contention.

“I think, overall, can’t be mad,” Kuzma said. “Played three overtimes. Was it three overtimes? Two? Oh. Felt like three.”

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 24 points, and Raul Neto had season highs of 22 points and nine assists for Washington. The Wizards fell to 3-3 since losing star Bradley Beal to season-ending left wrist surgery.

The Spurs’ points total was the second-highest in a game this season, and the Wizards’ was the third-best. Murray hit two free throws with 13.6 seconds left in the second OT to seal it.

“I was a little tired, but when you’re trying to win basketball games, there’s no excuse,” Murray said. “We fought through it.”

In the first extra period, Neto drove past Murray for a layup that made it 145-145 with 18.3 seconds left. Murray then missed a jumper and Corey Kispert missed a long 3 at the buzzer.

The Spurs appeared to take control with an 11-0 fourth-quarter run, but the Wizards closed out regulation with an 8-0 burst in the final 1:14. Caldwell-Pope tied it on a driving layup with 19.4 seconds left, and Murray missed a deep 3 with 4.1 seconds remaining.

Murray scored a season-best 20 first-half points, and he completed his triple-double on a rebound with 4:57 left in the third quarter. Shortly thereafter, Popovich sat him down and Murray didn’t re-enter the game until midway through the fourth.

Murray has 12 triple-doubles this season and 16 in his career, both franchise highs.

The biggest lead by either team was an 11-point advantage for San Antonio early in the third quarter, but the Wizards responded with a 17-3 run led by Kuzma, who scored or assisted on six straight baskets.

The Spurs led 75-71 after a defense-optional first half in which the Wizards made 11 of 18 3-point attempts but San Antonio countered with a 44-24 scoring advantage in the paint.

“I have to give them credit. They’re playing exceptionally well offensively,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “They’re scoring a lot of points. They lead the league in points in the paint. They’re doing something right.”

T.J. Warren targets Dec. 2 for return to court for Brooklyn Nets

2022-2023 Brooklyn Nets Media Day
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
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T.J. Warren was a breakout star in the bubble, averaging 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers.

Warren has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

The Nets signed him this season hoping he could get healthy and provide some depth off the bench at the four. We’re about to find out if that can happen on Dec. 2, with Warren targeting his return then Toronto, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Nets have not confirmed this timeline. However, coach Jacque Vaughn has recently talked up Warren’s workouts and hinted that a return is getting close.

A healthy Warren could be a big boost for a Nets team looking for more of a spark off the bench.

 

LeBron becomes oldest player with 39 points, 11 boards, seven 3-pointers (he’s also the youngest)

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The first question after LeBron James put up 21 and 8 to help the Lakers beat the Spurs Friday night was whether he would play in the back-to-back Saturday. He had just missed five games with a groin strain, after all.

Not only did LeBron play Saturday, he had a historic night.

LeBron had 39 points, 11 rebounds, and shot 7-of-12 from 3 — making him the oldest player in the history of the NBA with a 35+, 10+ with seven 3-pointer game.

The youngest player ever to put up that stat line? Also one LeBron James.

The 39 points were also the second most points ever scored by a player in his 20th NBA season, trailing only Kobe Bryant gunning his way to 60 in his final game.

The Lakers got the second straight win over the Spurs on Saturday behind LeBron, 143-138, a game more likely to be remembered for Zach Collins getting ejected for a foul that left Russell Westbrook bloody. The Lakers have won three straight and 5-of-6 but have done it against a very soft part of the schedule (three of the wins were over the tanking Spurs). Los Angeles beat the teams in front of it and started to show signs of life this season, but now they have to carry that over into a stretch against better teams, beginning Monday against the Pacers.

Watch Deandre Ayton put up 29 points, 21 rebounds, lead Suns past Jazz 113-112

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PHOENIX — There was much debate during the NBA offseason about whether Deandre Ayton was worth a max contract.

On nights like Saturday, the answer is a resounding yes.

Ayton notched season highs with 29 points and 21 rebounds, Devin Booker added 27 points and the Phoenix Suns held on for a hard-fought 113-112 win over the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz led 81-78 after three quarters, but the Suns pushed ahead 99-93 by midway through the fourth. The game remained tight through the final minutes, but Phoenix never lost the lead. On top of Ayton’s scoring and rebounding, he also had a crucial steal in the final minutes that helped thwart a final Jazz rally.

“I don’t know what he ate for Thanksgiving,” Booker said. “I should have been over there.”

Ayton grabbed his 21st rebound of the game on the final possession, securing Booker’s miss off a 3-pointer to keep the Jazz from a final possession. Ayton signed a four-year, $133 million deal during the offseason after the Suns matched an offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers.

“That young man has been coming to the gym at crazy hours, lifting with (coaches), so that he can be prepared for moments like this,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “It’s just good to see the work pay off. It’s good to see him have monster games against really good teams on a back-to-back. That’s pretty impressive.”

Ayton was the first player to have at least 28 points and 20 rebounds in a game for the Suns since Amar’e Stoudemire in 2007. He shot 11 of 19 from the field and added three assists and two blocks.

“I want to do more, I feel like I can do more,” Ayton said. “I’m just trying to do what I can to contribute to my team.”

Curiously, the Jazz didn’t foul the Suns on their final possession, essentially allowing them to run out the clock. Utah coach Will Hardy said the last play simply didn’t unfold like the team expected and there was some miscommunication.

“We wanted to get the ball out of Booker’s hands, and then foul,” Hardy said.

Ayton scored a season high for the second straight night. He poured in 28 points against the Pistons in a 108-102 win on Friday. Booker had a tough night shooting, making just 8 of 27 shots.

Utah was one of the NBA’s surprise teams in the first few weeks of the season, starting with a 10-3 record. The Jazz are just 3-7 since that point.

“One game, one stretch of the season doesn’t define your season,” Jazz forward Kelly Olynyk said. “You’ve got to go through ups-and-downs. Adversity – learn from it and come out the other side better for it.”

The Suns have an 11-1 record at home this season and have won four straight games.

Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points for the Jazz. Collin Sexton added 20 while Lauri Markkanen had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Jazz had a 54-51 lead at halftime. Clarkson led the Jazz with 12 points while Ayton had 11 points and seven rebounds.

Watch Spurs Collins bloody Russell Westbrook with a foul, get ejected

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
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Jakob Poeltl was dominating the paint, scoring 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting with nine rebounds in 10 minutes, and giving the Lakers serious trouble. Then he had to leave the game with a sore quad, meaning Zach Collins would get more run.

Collins was ejected for a flagrant foul 2 on Russell Westbrook that left the Lakers guard bloodied. Westbrook bounced back up and LeBron James had to hold him back from going after Collins.

Collins plans to appeal the ejection he said after the game.

Collins will face a fine or suspension from the league, although he doesn’t have a history of this kind of foul, something the league takes into consideration. Westbrook also got a technical for going after Collins.

The Lakers went on to beat the Spurs 143-138, behind 39 points from LeBron James. It’s the second time the Lakers have defeated the Spurs in three days, the kind of wins over tanking teams the Lakers need if they are going to turn their season around.