New York, January 2: Kawhi Leonard enjoyed a career-high night as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Utah Jazz 122-116, while Ben Simmons provided a moment for the NBA's highlight-reel.
Leonard scored a career-high 45 points to lead the Raptors past the visiting Jazz on Tuesday (January 1).
The All-Star shot 16-of-22 from the field, and he did not just rack up points, he did it with one spectacular play after another, showing some un-Kawhi-like handles that baffled his defenders.
Toronto (28-11) needed the win to keep pace with the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks, who beat the Detroit Pistons for their fourth successive win and eighth in nine games.
Brook Lopez scored 25 to lead five Bucks in double figures. Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo had a quiet night — by his standards anyway — with 15 points.
Milwaukee (26-10) lead the Eastern Conference by a half game over Toronto.
Jokic triple-double inspires Nuggets
Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds in the Denver Nuggets' 115-108 victory over the New York Knicks.
Jae Crowder had 30 points off the bench for the Utah Jazz in their 122-116 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Blake Griffin scored 29 points as the Pistons went down to the Bucks.
Cauley-Stein struggles from the floor
Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein hit only two of 14 shots in a 113-108 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Don't turn your back on Simmons!
Philadelphia 76ers guard Simmons played an in-bounds pass off the back of his opponent before finishing with the slam to seal a 119-113 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Antetokounmpo cannot seem to play a single game without doing something amazing.
Blazers star Damian Lillard channels his inner Patrick Mahomes, hitting Jusuf Nurkic with a full-court pass for the dunk.
Dame hits ahead to Nurkic with his left hand!— NBA (@NBA) January 2, 2019
Halftime on NBALP:#RipCity 64#SacramentoProud 50
Seth Curry: 15 PTS, 3 3PM
Buddy Hield: 19 PTS, 5 3PM
💻📱: https://t.co/cYXnbWzIYB pic.twitter.com/DKh4LbrUTF
Toronto Raptors 122-116 Utah Jazz
Milwaukee Bucks 121-98 Detroit Pistons
Denver Nuggets 115-108 New York Knicks
Portland Trail Blazers 113-108 Sacramento Kings (OT)
Philadelphia 76ers 119-113 Los Angeles Clippers
Thunder at Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have lost two of three with LeBron James (groin) sidelined, but Kyle Kuzma said after a win over the Kings on Sunday (December 30) the Lakers are "not just one player."
The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off a rare back-to-back set of games against the Dallas Mavericks, a close loss in the first, a blowout victory in the second.