Cleveland Cavaliers (14-34) point guard Kyrie Irving has already asserted himself as one of the league's top young stars, and in Saturday's 115-110 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder (35-12), he had one of his best career games.
Irving scored 35 points on 12 for 23 shooting with three rebounds and three assists, and had his best moments with the game on the line. Irving scored 13 points in the final three minutes of the game and hit a game-clinching three-pointer with 42 seconds left.
Teammate Marreese Speights, who was acquired by the Cavs in a trade in January, told The Associated Press after the game, "He's a killer. I knew a little about him, I didn't know THAT."
While Irving helped cement his status as an up-and-coming star, one of the league's long-established stars, Tim Duncan, had to leave the San Antonio Spurs' (38-11) 96-86 win over the Washington Wizards (11-35) with a knee and ankle injury. Martell Webster of the Wizards rolled on the back of Duncan's legs in the first half and Duncan had to be helped to the locker room with what is reportedly a knee and ankle sprain.
Other Saturday scores:
The Knicks (30-15) outscored the Kings (17-32) 72-30 in the second and third quarters and J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire combined for 46 points off the bench. DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 25 points and nine rebounds.
The Bulls (29-18), already playing without star Derrick Rose, were also missing All-Star Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer from their lineup against the Hawks (26-20), but their entire frontline posted double-doubles in Saturday's win over the Hawks. Taj Gibson started for Noah and had 19 points and 19 rebounds. Jimmy Butler started for Boozer and had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Luol Deng had 25 points and 14 rebounds. Josh Smith had 19 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for the Hawks.
Larry Sanders scored 17 points and had 13 rebounds for the Bucks (25-21) and Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis combined for 41 points. Nikola Vucevic led the Magic (14-33) with 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. The Magic have lost nine straight.
Damian Lillard had 23 points and eight assists, J.J. Hickson had 21 points and 11 rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Nicolas Batum had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Portland (24-23). Randy Foye led Utah with 23 points. Portland pulled to within 1.5 games of Utah for seventh place in the Western Conference standings.
Stephen Curry had 29 points and eight assists for the Warriors (30-17), Harrison Barnes scored 21 and David Lee had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Michael Beasley led the Suns (16-32) with 24 points. The Warriors have won four straight.