The Brooklyn Nets suffered a third straight defeat as Ja Morant inspired the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, while the Milwaukee Bucks also slipped up.
Morant scored a game-leading 36 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 118-104 victory – Memphis’ fifth successive win.
He was ably supported by Desmond Bane (29 points), Brandon Clarke (16), Jarret Culver and Tyus Jones (both 12), with Kevin Durant and James Harden unable to prevent the Nets’ recent slump continuing.
Memphis’ victory at the Barclays Center was taken in by Antonio Brown, the NFL wide receiver who was dismissed as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer after his remarkable walk-out against the New York Jets on Sunday.
While the Grizzlies travel to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Tuesday, Brooklyn must lick their wounds after relinquishing top spot in the Eastern Conference to the Chicago Bulls, who edged out the Orlando Magic 102-98 to win an eighth straight game.
Pistons stun Bucks
The Pistons had the worst record in the league heading into their clash with reigning champions Milwaukee, but Saddiq Bey’s career-high 34 points saw Detroit overcome the odds.
Milwaukee’s six-game winning streak was snapped by a 115-106 reverse, with a 31-point turn from talisman Giannis Antetokounmpo not enough.
It was a stunning result for the Pistons, who had lost 12 straight regular-season games to the Bucks by an average of 16.7 points heading into the game – while Milwaukee had also downed Detroit four times in the 2019 playoffs.
Detroit are now 7-28 for the season, meaning it is the Magic who have the league’s worst winning percentage. The Bucks must now bounce back against the Toronto Raptors, who beat them in December, on Wednesday.
Jazz get back on the horse
The Utah Jazz responded to their defeat to Western Conference leaders the Golden State Warriors with a 115-104 triumph over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Donovan Mitchell was the standout performer, topping up his game-high 29 points with three rebounds and five assists. It is now nine road wins in a row for the Jazz, who sit third in the West behind the Warriors and the Phoenix Suns.
While the Suns are at New Orleans on Tuesday, Golden State kept themselves secure at the top by collecting a fifth win in six games with a 115-108 victory at home to the Miami Heat on the night Curry had just 9 points.
Doncic and Embiid lift Mavs, Sixers
Luka Doncic claimed another double-double with 21 points and a joint season-high 15 assists to propel the Dallas Mavericks to a convincing 103-89 triumph over the Denver Nuggets.
Doncic’s team may have come out on top, but fellow Balkan star Nikola Jokic led the game with 27 points, adding 16 rebounds, albeit last season’s MVP could not stop Denver having a three-game winning run ended.
The Mavs are sixth in the West, one place behind Denver but having won a game more.
Joel Embiid, meanwhile, is a player well in the running to take Jokic’s regular-season MVP crown, and he turned in a brilliant display in the Philadelphia 76ers 133-113 rout of the Houston Rockets.
Embiid turned in a fourth straight 30-point game with a triple-double of 31 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.