Starting 5 Daily Newsletter

Starting 5, Feb. 23: Celtics, Mavs extend win streaks to seven

The longest active win streak in the NBA is shared by the Celtics and Mavs, who both won their 7th straight.


Starting 5Good to be back.

A dozen games to get the stretch run underway was the perfect way to spend a Thursday. We’ll catch you up on everything.

We’ve got 10 more games on tap tonight as each one takes on added meaning with the postseason getting closer by the day.

53 days until the Play-In Tournament.

57 days until the Playoffs.


  1. 7️ Luka, Mavs win 7th straight
  2. ⚔️ OKC wins West showdown
  3. 📈 Roundup: Jokic makes history
  4. Star duos lead Bucks-Wolves
  5. 📸 Photos: Basketball is back

AN ESPN doubleheader opens in Philly (7:30 ET) with the Cavs visiting the Sixers – one of only two teams to beat Cleveland since Jan. 26. That is followed by the Wolves looking for their sixth straight win when they host the Bucks (10 ET, see Section 4 for more).


Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving step up and Dallas withstands 35 from Devin Booker to earn its longest win streak of the season.

The All-Star break did nothing to slow down the Mavericks, who opened the stretch run with a 123-113 win over the Suns behind a combined 70 points from Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

The win pulled the Mavs even with the Suns at 33-23 and clinched the season series and head-to-head tiebreaker should it be needed in the crowded West. Recap

  • Luka for 40: Doncic (41 pts, 11 ast, 9 reb) posted his NBA-leading 11th game this season with 40+ points as he finished one board shy of a triple-double. The Mavs improved to 10-1 when Doncic drops 40+ this season
  • Healthy Kyrie: The Mavs began this win streak when Irving returned from a sprained thumb on Feb. 5. On Thursday, he added 29 points, five boards, three assists and this ridiculous finish
  • Book’s 35 not enough: Devin Booker led the Suns with 35 points, while Kevin Durant added 23. In three games against the Mavs, Dallas has held KD to 36.4% (Dec. 25), 40% (Jan. 24) and 40.9% (Thursday) – marking three of his eight lowest FG% games this season

Celtics win 7th straight: Jayson Tatum scored 15 of his 25 points in the third quarter as Boston won the period 37-21 and finished off the Bulls 129-112 to post their longest win streak of the season – and tied for the longest active streak in the league – at seven in a row. Boston made 23 3-pointers – including five apiece from Tatum and Derrick White (who added three first-quarter blocks). Recap


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31 pts, 8 ast, 4 reb, 2 blk) posted his league-leading 40th game with 30+ points to lead the Thunder to a pivotal 129-107 win over the Clippers as the teams vie for playoff position near the top of the West standings. Recap

  • Thunder win Season Series: The win clinches the season series 2-1 for OKC and gives the Thunder the head-to-head tiebreaker over LA should it be needed
  • Group effort: While SGA led the way, the Thunder got key games from Lu Dort (19 pts), Jalen Williams (18 pts, 6 ast) and Chet Holmgren (17 pts, 10 reb, 3 blk)
  • Welcome and welcome back: Gordon Hayward was held scoreless with four rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench in his OKC debut. Meanwhile, James Harden (17 pts, 6 reb), Russell Westbrook (2 pts, 5 ast) and Paul George (14 pts, 6 ast) were back in familiar territory

Curry leads Warriors past LeBron-less Lakers: A little further down the West standings, the Warriors got an important 128-110 win over the Lakers on Thursday to even the season series at 1-1 (with two games to play). They pull within a half game as the two sit in the nine and 10 spots, respectively, in the Play-In field. Recap

  • Curry drops 32: Fresh off a win in the Stephen vs. Sabrina 3-Point Challenge, Steph splashed six 3s on Thursday on his way to 32 points and eight assists (including this no-look behind-the-back dime to Andrew Wiggins)
  • Warriors trending up: Golden State improved to 9-2 in their last 11 games dating back to Jan. 30, while they also snapped a three-game win streak for the Lakers
  • Davis & D-Lo lead Lakers: Anthony Davis (27 pts, 15 reb) and D’Angelo Russell (18 pts, 9 ast) were not enough to get the Lakers past Steph and Warriors
  • Buzzer-beaters: What’s better than one buzzer-beater? How about two in back-to-back quarters. Andrew Wiggins ended the first half with a buzzer-beating tip-in. Then Jonathan Kuminga ended the third quarter with a turnaround baseline jumper


Nikola Jokic becomes just the 3rd player in history to record a triple-double against every opposing team, joining Russell Westbrook and LeBron James.

Nikola Jokic entered Thursday with 120 career triple-doubles – fourth all-time behind Russell Westbrook, Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

He increased that number to 121 with a one-of-a-kind statline in NBA history – 21 points, 19 rebounds, 15 assists, 10-10 FG – to lead the Nuggets 130-110 past the Wizards. Recap

Jokic joined Westbrook and LeBron as the only players to record a triple-double against every team opponent they have faced in their career.

Late surge saves Kings: After San Antonio went up by four with 2:12 to play, the Kings closed the game on an 11-2 run to secure the 127-122 win. De’Aaron Fox scored 11 of his team-high 28 in the fourth, while Domantas Sabonis (22 pts, 11 reb, 11 ast, 1 euro vs. Wemby) added to his league-leading 19 triple-doubles. Recap

  • Devin Vassell led the Spurs with 32 points, while Victor Wembanyama (19 pts, 13 reb, 5 stl, 5 blk, 4 ast) finished one assist shy of a rare 5×5 game (only 21 recorded since blocks and steals became official stats in 1973-74)
  • Wemby became the third-fastest player to reach 1K+ points, 500+ rebounds and 150+ blocks. Only Shaq (43 games) and David Robinson (47) did it faster than Wemby (50)

Pelicans win 4th straight: CJ McCollum (28), Zion Williamson (27, 1 emphatic block) and Jonas Valanciunas (20 pts) combined for 75 points as the Pelicans defeated the Rockets 127-105. Herb Jones (17 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast, career-high 7 stl) stuffed the stat sheet, and was part of a three dunks in three possessions run as NOLA built a double-digit lead.  Recap

Hornets’ big 4th Quarter leads to 4th straight win: Charlotte outscored Utah 30-17 in the fourth quarter to secure a 115-107 win and improve to 4-0 with trade-deadline acquisitions Grant Williams, Tre Mann and Seth Curry in the lineup. Miles Bridges (26 pts, 14 reb) and Williams (24 pts) combined for 50 points in the win. Recap

Knicks snap 4-game skid: In his third game as a Knick, Bojan Bogdanovic made all six of his 3s and finished with a team-high 22 points to lead the Knicks past the Sixers, 110-96. NY also got double-doubles from Jalen Brunson (21 pts, 12 ast) and Josh Hart (18 pts, 12 reb), while Tyrese Maxey led all scorers with 35 for the Sixers. Recap

  • Philly native Kyle Lowry had 11 points, five assists and six stitches (to suture a facial laceration suffered in the first half before returning to the game) in his Sixers debut

Raptors snap 3-game skid: Toronto earned its first win since Feb. 9 behind a combined 49 points from Gary Trent Jr. (25 pts, 5-7 3p) and Immanuel Quickley (24 pts, 6 reb) to spoil Kevin Ollie’s debut as Nets interim head coach. Recap

Wagner Bros., bench get Magic past Cavs: Moritz (22) and Franz (14) Wagner combined for 36 points, while the Orlando bench outscored the Cleveland bench 63-24 to help the Magic hand the Cavs just their third loss in their last 21 games. The Cavs were without All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell (illness). Recap

Indiana gets a post-All-Star win: The Pacers got their home court back after lending Gainbridge Fieldhouse for last weekend’s All-Star Game, and defeated the Pistons 129-115. Who had the most dominant performance in this game? Tyrese Haliburton (25 pts, 13 ast), Cade Cunningham (30 pts, 8 ast) or this Pacers fan during the shrimp eating challenge? Recap


The Wolves and Bucks meet tonight in Minnesota (10 ET, ESPN) to begin the stretch run toward the postseason, with both teams looking to show themselves as championship contenders.

  • Minnesota: Leading the West coming out of All-Star for the first time in team history, the Wolves’ have led the pack since early this year. But with 3 teams within 2.5 games of first, can the Wolves keep the pace and make their first run to the second redound in two decades?
  • Milwaukee: Less than three years removed from winning the NBA title, the Bucks sit third in the East, but lost seven of their last 10 games entering the All-Star break. Already incorporating a new point guard (Dame Lillard) this season, the Bucks are also adjusting to their second coach in five months (Doc Rivers)

Both teams sent a pair of All-Stars to Indy last weekend and the play of those star duos will be key to watch in this matchup and throughout the stretch run.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo & Lillard are the second-highest scoring duo in the league (54.4 combined ppg, among qualified players only) in their first season as teammates. The Bucks are 25-6 (.806) when they combine for 50+ points, 16-3 (.842) when they combine for 60+ points and 6-1 (.857) when they both score 30+ in the same game
  • Anthony Edwards & Karl-Anthony Towns are averaging their highest combined average (48.8 ppg) in their fourth season as teammates. Towns led the Wolves in scoring in Ant’s first two seasons, but beginning last season, Edwards has been the team’s primary scorer, and the Wolves are currently seeing the best results in both stats and wins

Parallels, 20 Years Later: The last time the Wolves had two All-Stars and a coach leading the Western Conference All-Star team? 2004, when coach Flip Saunders and stars Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell repped for the Wolves.

Now in the franchise’s 35th season, that 2003-04 campaign is the most successful in team history.

  • Best record in franchise history at 58-24 (.707)
  • Only time they’ve finished the regular season atop the West
  • Only league MVP (Garnett) in franchise history
  • Only time they’ve advanced to the West Finals

But will it stay that way? The 2023-24 Wolves (39-16, .709) are on pace to match the 2003-04 team in wins. The Wolves can take the first step tonight.


Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Steph Curry

Steph Curry

Nic Claxton

Nic Claxton

Bennedict Mathurin

Bennedict Mathurin

Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets

Paolo Banchero

Paolo Banchero

Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon

Kevin Ollie makes his Nets coaching debut

Kevin Ollie makes his Nets coaching debut