Durant scores 45 points, Simmons and Towns go hurt, Booker scores 44

Kevin Durant (45 points), Devin Booker (44), the Latvian Kristaps Porzingis (41), Jayson Tatum (35) and the Serbian Nikola Jokic (32) illuminated the NBA day on Monday, in which the Los Angeles Lakers returned to live a nightmare at home, blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter and falling to the Indiana Pacers on Andrew Nembhard’s buzzer-beater 3-pointer.

Celtics 140, Hornets 105

Jayson Tatum returned after missing the last game and guided the fourth consecutive victory of the Celtics, solid leaders of the East (17-4), with 35 points, on a night in which his team connected 24 triples (46% accuracy), six of them the work of Marcus Smart.

Tatum chained his third consecutive game with at least 30 points, and Smart dominated with 22 points and fifteen assists in a Celtics who have thirteen victories in their last fourteen games, a streak only marred by a loss at the Bulls field.

Nets 109, Magic 102

With 45 points and a tremendous 19 of 24 shooting, Kevin Durant led the Nets’ victory against Italian Paolo Banchero’s Magic, supported by Kyrie Irving’s 20 points and Nic Claxton’s double-double of 17 points and thirteen rebounds.

Ben Simmons retired in the second quarter with a sore left knee and finished the game with four rebounds and three assists, no points, in eleven minutes on the court.

The Magic have lost seven of their last eight games and are sunk in next-to-last place in the East, with a record of 5-16.

Suns 122, Kings 117

Devin Booker gave the Suns their fifth consecutive win, putting together a terrific 44-point performance on 17-of-28 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists and six steals.

DeAndre Ayton, the best player of the week in the West, sealed a new double-double, with 17 points and twelve rebounds.

Wizards 142, Wolves 127

Kristaps Porzingis sealed the best performance of his career, scoring 41 points in the Washington Wizards’ 142-127 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, in which Karl Anthony Towns suffered a calf injury.

Porzingis confirmed his brilliant form, finishing with 41 points, 12 of 18 shooting and 6 of 10 on three-pointers.

The Estonian, former player of Sevilla, the Dallas Mavericks or the New York Knicks, also contributed four rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks.

Pacers 116, Lakers 115

The Indiana Pacers rallied from 17 points behind in the fourth quarter and beat the Lakers 116-115 on Andrew Nembhard’s buzzer-beater 3-pointer.

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A slump in the last quarter, after escaping 101-84 on the scoreboard, once again plunged the Lakers into a nightmare. Anthony Davis had a double double of 25 points and 13 rebounds, Russell Westbrook had 24 points and LeBron James contributed 21, but the Angelenos still can’t have continuity.

Nembhard, a 22-year-old rookie, connected the four triple of the night in the last breath and culminated the extraordinary comeback of Rick Carlisle’s Pacers, each time more revelation of this start of the season.

Raptors 100, Cavaliers 88

After knocking down the Dallas Mavericks for 24 hours, the Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the comeback, with a double-double of 18 points and eleven rebounds by Pascal Siakam.

The Raptors’ defense only conceded 88 points to one of the most competitive teams in the league and Donovan Mitchell, shut down by OG Anunoby, did not go beyond eight points, on 3 of 11 shooting.

Sixers 104, Hawks 101

Joel Embiid returned after missing four games with injury and led the Sixers with 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as they rallied from 16 points behind the Hawks.

Still without James Harden, Tobias Harris contributed 24 points for the Sixers, while for the Hawks Trae Young did not go beyond 18 points, with 6 of 14 shooting, although he distributed 10 assists.

Pelicans 105, Thunder 101

Without Brandon Ingram or CJ McCollum, the Pelicans beat the Thunder with 23 points from Zion Williamson, who also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out eight assists.

Shai Gilgeous Alexander remains the unquestioned leader of the Thunder. In New Orleans, the former Lakers player scored 31 points, with six rebounds and four assists.

Nuggets 129, Rockets 113

Nikola Jokic, with 32 points, twelve rebounds and eight assists, and Jamal Murray, with 31 points and four triples, led the victory with which the Nuggets strengthened their second position in the West (13-7).

For the Rockets, Spanish Usman Garuba scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in 10:39 minutes on the court.

Bulls 114, Jazz 107

The Utah Jazz lost their fifth straight game, this time against the Bulls. DeMar DeRozan was the leading scorer with 26 points and soured the night for Finn Lauri Markkanen, formerly of the Bulls, who scored 32 points, without a prize.

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