Irving returned from missing 26 games with right shoulder impingement.
In his first game since Nov. 14 at Denver, the All-Star guard made 10 of 11 shots, hit his one 3-point try and had three assists in 20 minutes.
After getting 11 points by halftime, Irving went 5-for-5 from the floor in the third before checking out for the rest of the game.
He rested over the final 17:54, exiting after the Nets took an 87-50 lead, and the outcome was never in doubt.
The Nets, who were 13-13 in Irving’s absence, led by as many as 39 and won their second straight game following a seven-game losing streak.
DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points — 22 in the second half — and visiting San Antonio overcame an 18-point deficit to defeat Toronto.
DeRozan, who has scored 20 points in 11 straight games, sank two free throws with nine seconds remaining for what proved to be the game-winning points after Marco Belinelli’s 3-pointer had given the Spurs the lead.
Kyle Lowry sank a 3-pointer with five seconds left to pull Toronto within a point.
After San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge missed two free throws with four seconds showing, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
Final scores San Antonio Spurs 105 – Toronto Raptors 104.
Nikola Jokic had 20 points and 15 rebounds for his 21st double-double of the season, Jamal Murray scored 10 of his 19 points from the foul line, and host Denver beat Los Angeles.
Gary Harris scored 15 points, Michael Porter Jr. 13 and Monte Morris 12 for the Nuggets, who had seven players score in double figures.
Kawhi Leonard had 30 points, Lou Williams 26 and Montrezl Harrell 25 for the Clippers, who played without Paul George (hamstring injury).
Los Angeles cut a 20-point lead down to six in the final minutes but could not complete the rally.
Taj Gibson’s free throw with 1:38 remaining put New York ahead for good, capping a comeback from a 14-point second-half deficit to beat Miami.
Julius Randle scored a game-high 26 points to lead seven players in double figures for the Knicks, who snapped a five-game skid after outscoring the Heat 40-27 in the fourth quarter.
Jimmy Butler had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who have dropped two straight for their first losing streak of the season.
Final scores New York Knicks 124 – Miami Heat 121.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 31 points, and Rudy Gobert added 21 points and 14 rebounds to help Utah beat host Washington for its ninth straight victory.
Jordan Clarkson added 23 points off the bench, and Joe Ingles 20 for Utah.
Six players scored in double figures to help the Jazz improve to 14-1 in their past 15 games.
Bradley Beal scored 25 points to lead the Wizards and Davis Bertans added 18.
Final scores Utah Jazz 127 – Washington Wizards 116.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 15 of his team-high 31 points in the third quarter and added 19 rebounds overall as host Memphis broke open a tight game against Golden State en route to its fifth straight victory.
The 31-point total was one off Valanciunas’ season high, set in December at Chicago.
The 19 rebounds were his most since he pulled down 20 at Phoenix last March.
The Warriors led by as many as seven points in the first half and were within 63-62 in the second minute of the third period after a 3-pointer by Glenn Robinson III, before the Grizzlies gradually pulled away.
Final scores Memphis Grizzlies 122 – Golden State Warriors 102.
Kelly Oubre Jr. recorded 25 points and 15 rebounds to lead host Phoenix past Charlotte.
Deandre Ayton contributed 18 points and nine rebounds off the bench, and Devin Booker added 12 points and nine assists for the Suns, who are 5-3 since a season-worst eight-game slide.
Dwayne Bacon scored 24 points off the bench for the Hornets, who have lost four straight games and 10 of their past 12.
Final scores Phoenix Suns 100 – Charlotte Hornets 92.
Nigerian basketball player, Michael Ojo is dead
Nigerian-American basketball player, Michael Ojo has passed away after suffering a heart attack during training in Belgrade, Serbia.
The 27-year-old who previously played for Red Star Belgrade was reportedly having an individual practice at Partizan’s stadium when he collapsed on Friday, August 7.
Local media said he was rushed to the hospital from Partizan’s stadium but showed no signs of life and was confirmed dead.
“We are deeply saddened by the news”, Red Star’s spokesperson Igor Vujicin told AFP.
The Lagos-born who was 7ft 1in tall and weighed 22st played for Florida State University in the United States, before starting his professional career in Belgrade, Serbia with FMP for a year after which he played two seasons for Crvena Zvezda.
He won the 2018 ABA SuperCup as well as the ABA League and the Serbian League in 2019. Ojo was a free agent this summer.
Ojo had been without a club since June 30 but was training with Red Star.
Red Star Belgrade released a statement mourning the shocking loss of their former star.
“The sudden and shocking death of Michael Ojo has deeply affected everyone — players, coaches and the management of a club that accepted him from the first day, and that he considered his own,” Red Star said.
His former teammates and EuroLeague also extended condolences to Ojo’s family, teammates, coaches, “and many fans who enjoyed his performances”.
Aubameyang to commit future to Arsenal with three-year-deal
Arsenal are close to agreeing a new contract with FA Cup hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after a breakthrough in talks with the forward, writes Dan Kilpatrick.
Following months of negotiations, the 31-year-old is believed to have verbally agreed to a new deal until 2023, thought to be worth more than £250,000 a week. Barring any late hitches, Aubameyang is now expected to commit his future to the club in a major boost to manager Mikel Arteta.
The club captain has scored 70 goals in 109 appearances since signing from Borussia Dortmund for £56million in January 2018 and he has proved indispensable for Arteta, most recently with a match-winning performance in last Saturday’s FA Cup Final win over Chelsea.
Aubameyang is set to be joined in north London next season by Willian, with the Chelsea winger close to agreeing on a three-year deal with Arsenal, believed to be worth in excess of £100,000 a week.
The Gunners are also eyeing Lille central defender Gabriel Magalhaes and want a central midfielder, with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey among their targets.
A number of fringe players are expected to depart this summer, with AC Milan target Lucas Torreira and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is wanted by Everton and Brighton, among them.
Sane begs Alaba to shun Man City, stay at Bayern
Former Ex-Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness believes any move away from the German champions would represent a step down for David Alaba.
Manchester City are among a number of clubs linked with the defender of late, with just 12 months remaining on his contract.
Former City star Leroy Sane has urged Alaba to stay at Bayern, while Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently insisted he’s confident of the Austrian’s stay.
“I can only say from my own experience that the last million is not that important,” he told DAZN and Goal.
“He gets a secure job here, a lot of fun, home, a lot of love from the fans and acceptance, which he would have to work for at another club.
“There is no club that is as familiar, cosy and pleasant as FC Bayern. For him, it would perhaps be a step forward financially, but in all other areas, it would be a step backwards.
“And according to my feeling, at least the clubs he would like to go to have never knocked, fortunately. And that’s why I hope that he will stay.”
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