Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins has been suspended without pay for 25 games for violating the terms of the NBA's anti-drug program.

The league announced on Tuesday that Collins tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2 (GHRP-2).

Collins' ban will start against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, but the 22-year-old told ESPN he plans to appeal against the sanction.

In a statement released via ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter, he said: "First I want to apologise to my team-mates, the Hawks organisation, our fans, partners and community as a whole for this situation.

"I understand the impact this matter has on what we are trying to achieve together this season, and I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed in myself for putting all us in this position.

"I have always been incredibly careful about what I put in my body, but I took a supplement, which unbeknownst to me, had been contaminated with an illegal component.

"I plan to appeal my suspension in arbitration so I can get back on the court as soon as possible and continue to contribute to our 2019-20 campaign."

Collins – a first-round selection by the Hawks in the 2017 NBA Draft - has averaged 17 points and 8.8 rebounds through five games this season.

Monty Williams hailed Devin Booker as "a complete player" after he sparkled in the Phoenix Suns' 114-109 victory over the previously unbeaten Philadelphia 76ers.

There were 'MVP' chants for Booker at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Monday as he scored 40 points to inflict a first defeat of the NBA season on the 76ers.

The 23-year-old became the eighth-youngest player to reach the 6,000-point mark in the NBA, while also claiming four rebounds and laying on three assistants.

Suns coach Williams said: "He's a complete basketball player. He's competitive, not afraid of the moment, he makes big plays, and the thing I like about Devin is he'll get off of it.

"It wasn't just his scoring, he's a willing passer. He gets off of the ball and finds guys for open shots, but in those moments, we have to get out of the way sometimes.

"It's not a structure, it’s just a really good basketball player going to work."

Booker knows he must maintain the high standards he has set.

"Every day I wake up, I get another chance to come play the sport I love in the city I love. I try to take full advantage of it," said Booker.

"I know it's cliche, but when people say it's the first time somebody is watching, it could be the last time somebody was watching you also. I take that in.

"Every day I wake up and step in here and I know I can affect peoples' lives and in positive ways. Everybody's excited, everybody's happy. So, you know, I just gotta keep working."

Devin Booker inspired the Phoenix Suns as the Philadelphia 76ers suffered their first defeat of the NBA season, while the injury-ravaged Golden State Warriors prevailed.

Booker scored 40 points to lead the Suns past the previously undefeated 76ers 114-109 in Phoenix on Monday.

Ricky Rubio chipped in with 21 points and 10 assists for the Suns (5-2), who are on a three-game winning streak.

The 76ers (5-1) – playing without suspended star Joel Embiid – were led by Al Horford's 32 points on the road.

Meanwhile, the Warriors claimed just their second victory of the season after upstaging the Portland Trail Blazers 127-118.

Without injured stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and D'Angelo Russell, the Warriors improved to 2-5 thanks to 36 points and 13 rebounds from rookie Eric Paschall.

Damian Lillard's 39 points and a double-double from Hassan Whiteside (22 points, 11 rebounds) were not enough for the visiting Trail Blazers in San Francisco.

 

Giannis ignites Bucks as Irving and Harden star

Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 34 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks past the Minnesota Timberwolves 134-106. The reigning MVP has recorded a double-double in all seven games this season.

Kyrie Irving put up 39 points and nine assists as the Brooklyn Nets withstood Brandon Ingram's career-high 40 points for a 135-125 victory against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Houston Rockets topped the Memphis Grizzlies 107-100 behind James Harden's 44 points in the absence of rested star Russell Westbrook.

 

Simmons silenced

It was a quiet night for Ben Simmons, who was limited to just six points on two-of-eight shooting from the floor against the Suns.

 

Giannis with the coast-to-coast slam!

There was just no stopping 'The Greek Freak' against the Timberwolves in Minnesota.

 

Monday's results

Washington Wizards 115-99 Detroit Pistons
Brooklyn Nets 135-125 New Orleans Pelicans
Houston Rockets 107-100 Memphis Grizzlies
Milwaukee Bucks 134-106 Minnesota Timberwolves
Phoenix Suns 114-109 Philadelphia 76ers
Golden State Warriors 127-118 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Lakers at Bulls

LeBron James and his in-form Los Angeles Lakers will look to extend their winning streak to six games when they visit the struggling Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard said he has never seen anything like the Golden State Warriors' injury crisis.

The struggling Warriors (1-5) have been ravaged by injuries this NBA season, with stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the sidelines.

Curry broke his hand last week and Thompson is recovering from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament after Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals prior to his switch to the Brooklyn Nets.

Draymond Green also tore a ligament in his left index finger, while D'Angelo Russell sprained his right ankle in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs on November 1.

"I've never seen it," Lillard said prior to Monday's clash between the Trail Blazers and Warriors. "I think they might be the first to do a lot of things.

"At one point they had a starting five of five All-Stars, won 73 games, they've done a lot of great things, made a lot of history.

"It just seems like adversity has hit hard at this point for them. Those guys aren't old. They'll bounce back from it, but you just hate to see it."

Lillard, whose Blazers are 3-3 for the season, added: "It's just unexpected. You don't expect to see them go from being such a huge deal, big super team, to one guy [Durant] leaves and injuries.

"It's just an unfortunate situation that you hate to see. In that way, it's just different. It's kind of weird to see them not as the Warriors.

"I feel for the players. You never want to see any of your peers go down with injuries. Klay's a great dude, so it sucks to see him go down that way. Same thing with Steph. ... They'll recover and they'll be back hopefully at 100 percent. That's what we all want to see."

Kawhi Leonard played down being compared to Michael Jordan by Doc Rivers after inspiring the Los Angeles Clippers to a 105-94 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Rivers stated during the play-offs last season that Leonard was "the most like Jordan that we've seen", a compliment that cost him $50,000 for violating the NBA's anti-tampering policy.

The Clippers coach was asked about that statement again at Staples Center on Sunday and replied: "I said there's no body type more like Michael Jordan's than Kawhi, and I actually said because of his hands and his length.

"And I did say part of his game, his in-between game."

Leonard then led the Clippers with 30 points - 18 scored in the final quarter - in a defeat of the Jazz before being quizzed about Rivers' comments.

"Just to be able to get recognised for my talents and where I came a long way to where I am now and just showing my hard work is paying off," said the small forward.

Leonard said taking aggressive approach and not hiding was the key to his final-quarter exploits.

"If you are able to make shots and lead your team to a victory I think it's great. With me it's just about taking advantage of the moment and not shying away." he said.

"Just keep going to your spots and shooting and keep being aggressive for the team.

"That's what I take my pride in, you are not going to make every shot that you shoot to win a game, or every shot in the fourth quarter, so to me it's about keep being aggressive and having fun and see what happens with the results."

LeBron James credited his improved health for his inspired start to the NBA season with the streaking Los Angeles Lakers.

James endured a forgettable debut campaign in Los Angeles, where a groin injury restricted the three-time champion to 55 games in 2018-19 as the Lakers missed the playoffs for a sixth successive season.

However, four-time MVP James is fit again and at the forefront of the Lakers' five-game winning streak after Los Angeles dropped their opener against the Los Angeles Clippers.

James posted 21 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds for back-to-back triple-doubles as the Lakers topped the San Antonio Spurs 103-96 on Sunday.

Reflecting on his impressive start to 2019-20, the 34-year-old – who became the first Lakers player with consecutive triple-doubles since 2006 – said: "I'm playing injury free. I'm not injured. My quick twitch is back. My speed is back, my strength is back.

"Playing with a torn groin last year - even when I came back it was still partially torn - it was difficult to be able to move and shift like I'm capable of doing that defensively.

"For me, I just take the challenge. I love being challenged. Head coach [Frank Vogel] challenged me, AD [Anthony Davis] challenged me, I challenged myself.

"I put a lot of hard work into my offseason by getting my quick twitch, getting my bounce back, getting my speed back, my reaction time back. My mind has always been there. That's what it's all about."

On James' performance against the Spurs in San Antonio, Vogel added: "Well it's contagious, and his commitment on that end of the floor has been a great surprise for us in terms of just how proficient he's been.

"He's leading the charge with care factor on that end of the floor. When he's working that hard and caring that much about getting stops, it carries over to everybody else, and you see it on the floor."

LeBron James posted a triple-double as the in-form Los Angeles Lakers topped the San Antonio Spurs 103-96 in NBA action on Sunday.

James record his second successive triple-double courtesy of 21 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers to their fifth consecutive victory.

Star team-mate Anthony Davis chipped in with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Dwight Howard had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers – who improved to 5-1.

The Spurs were led by Dejounte Murray's 18 points and 11 rebounds in An Antonio, where Rudy Gay added 16 points off the bench.

Kawhi Leonard put up 30 points as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the visiting Utah Jazz 105-94 – the home team using a 40-point final quarter to get the win.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler impressed in the Miami Heat's 129-100 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Butler had 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals for the Heat, who raced out to a 46-14 lead after the opening quarter and never looked back to register a third straight win.

James Harden scored 29 points for Houston, while Russell Westbrook was held to just 10 on three-of-11 shooting.

 

Doncic fuels Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic scored 29 and added 15 assists and 14 rebounds — his second straight triple-double — to key a 131-111 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Porter has game to forget

Chicago Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. hit one of 10 shots in a 108-95 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

 

Windmill!

De'Aaron Fox stole the ball and had plenty of time to plan the perfect dunk for the Sacramento Kings, who beat the New York Knicks 113-92.

 

Sunday's results

Indiana Pacers 108-95 Chicago Bulls
Miami Heat 129-100 Houston Rockets
Sacramento Kings 113-92 New York Knicks
Los Angeles Lakers 103-96 San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Mavericks 131-111 Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Clippers 105-94 Utah Jazz

 

76ers at Suns

The Phoenix Suns have been a minor surprise, winning their last two despite the suspension of center Deandre Ayton. The Philadelphia 76ers are still perfect, but have had a couple of close calls against the Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers.

Furkan Korkmaz was the hero as the Philadelphia 76ers preserved their perfect record in the NBA with a dramatic 129-128 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Korkmaz made a clutch three-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining as the unbeaten 76ers improved to 5-0 for the season on Saturday.

The Trail Blazers had led thanks to Anfernee Simons' three 2.2 seconds from the end in Portland, where Korkmaz stepped up by hitting the game-winner as he fell to the floor.

Philadelphia, who trailed by as many as 21 points in the third quarter in the absence of suspended star Joel Embiid, are off to their first 5-0 start since the 2000-01 season.

Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors fell to 1-5 after losing 93-87 to the Charlotte Hornets.

Golden State tasted defeat in the absence of Draymond Green and D'Angelo Russell – who were ruled out on gameday – and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

 

Wiggins inspires Timberwolves

Andre Wiggins had 21 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves topped the Washington Wizards 131-109 without banned star Karl-Anthony Towns.

Devin Booker led the Phoenix Suns to their fourth win of the season – a 114-105 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies – behind 21 points on eight-of-13 shooting from the field and a perfect three-of-three from three-point range.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 23 points as his team beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-104.

Both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe were close to double-doubles but it was the reigning MVP who stole the show. Antetokounmpo recorded 36 points to lead the Milwaukee Bucks past defending champions the Toronto Raptors 115-105.

 

Poole highlights Warriors' woes

Jordan Poole had just five points on two-of-nine shooting as the Warriors almost pulled off the win.

The Orlando Magic's second unit were barely productive in their 91-87 loss to the Denver Nuggets. D.J. Augustin had just four points and Mo Bamba had only one.

 

Jokic with the fadeaway

Halloween might be over but the Nikola Jokic aka the '"Joker" is here to stay.

The "Greek Freak" does it all, obviously.

 

Saturday's results

Oklahoma City Thunder 115-104 New Orleans Pelicans
Detroit Pistons 113-109 Brooklyn Nets
Denver Nuggets 91-87 Orlando Magic
Milwaukee Bucks 115-105 Toronto Raptors
Phoenix Suns 114-105 Memphis Grizzlies
Minnesota Timberwolves 131-109 Washington Wizards
Charlotte Hornets 93-87 Golden State Warriors
Philadelphia 76ers 129-128 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Lakers at Spurs

The Los Angeles Lakers are handling the spotlight well and the San Antonio Spurs are heating up. San Antonio toppled the injury-ridden Warriors on Friday behind Patty Mills' 31 points off the bench. All-and-all, it will make for an exciting matchup when the two teams meet for the first time this season at the AT&T Center on Sunday. 

Golden State Warriors stars Draymond Green and D'Angelo Russell will not feature against the Charlotte Hornets, the NBA team confirmed.

Green injured his left index finger during Friday's 127-110 loss to the San Antonio Spurs as the Warriors fell to 1-4 for the season.

And the struggling Warriors – who lost superstar Stephen Curry to a broken hand as Klay Thompson recovers from a serious knee injury – will be without Green for Saturday's visit of the Hornets in San Francisco.

"He's going to miss the next few games for sure," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. "There's a torn ligament in the finger, but it's not something that should keep him out for a long time.

"But I just talked to [Warriors director of sports medicine and performance] Rick [Celebrini] about it, he said most likely the next few games."

Green played 34 minutes against the Spurs on Friday; and he has averaged 28.8 through the team’s first five games.

Warriors recruit Russell – who was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets after Kevin Durant opted to swap teams via free agency – will also sit out Saturday's clash due to a sprained right ankle suffered in the loss to San Antonio.

"I just spoke with him, he's not going to play," Kerr said. "He's in a lot of pain this morning. He rolled his ankle, tweaked it last night, and it got worse overnight so he's out tonight."

On the absence of Green, Kerr added: "It's a huge challenge because he's one of the leaders on the team. With Steph not here last night it was really obvious that Draymond was the unquestioned leader of the group.

"At shootaround, during the game, at half-time, he's the one the players look up to. He's the one who's offering assistance and advice, and he's been great in that role. I'm really pleased with the way Draymond has handled himself and handled our young players.

"There's a reality to this situation that is difficult for everybody to deal with, but particularly a guy like Draymond who's so competitive, who's used to winning, who's known nothing but winning. So for him to set the emotion aside and understand he's got to help the young guys, he's been great. So without him on the floor, it just increases the challenge."

Luka Doncic described the opportunity to do battle with LeBron James as "crazy stuff", although his Dallas Mavericks were beaten by the Los Angeles Lakers in an overtime NBA thriller.

A gripping encounter went to the additional period after James assisted Danny Green's buzzer-beating three-pointer to complete a 10-point comeback from the Lakers, who eventually prevailed 119-110.

But much of the focus was on basketball's reigning king and potential heir on an historic night.

Doncic and James became the first opponents in NBA history to manage triple-doubles of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists in the same game, also becoming the youngest and oldest players respectively to achieve this feat.

Dallas star Doncic (31 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists) revelled in the opportunity to take on an all-time great in this manner.

"That was just some crazy stuff for me," he said. "I've been following him. He was my idol from the beginning. I can play against him and play a game like that."

James (39 points, 12 rebounds and 16 assists) was full of praise for his opponent, although he insisted he did not look at the game as an individual tussle.

"I don't really get into the one-on-one battle," he said. "Obviously he's a great young talent. I love his game, his ability to not only create shots for himself.

"But you guys know I love the fact that he can get great looks for his team-mates. That's what I thrive on, that's what I've always believed in, and he just plays the game the right way."

Doncic responded: "The words that he said after the game were something that were very special for me.

"They [the Lakers] are a championship team. We had a chance to win. We did some great things out there and we should be proud of ourselves."

Brooklyn faced adversity early against Houston on Friday night, but they rebounded to claim a 123-116 victory at Barclays Center.

The Nets fell into a hole early and trailed by as much as 15 in the first half before it found scoring from some surprising places.

Taurean Prince unexpectedly led the way offensively with a team-high 27 points for Brooklyn while Garrett Temple chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Brooklyn still called Kyrie Irving's number down the stretch and he sealed the game with a step-back dagger on a corner 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. He finished with 22 points on the night.

James Harden continued his ridiculous run at the charity stripe, tallying 36 points and eight rebounds while sinking 14 free throws. But he struggled from deep and made only two of his 16 long-range shots.

Houston has made a name for itself by shooting a large number of threes, but shooting at a 25 percent clip against a Brooklyn team that converted 59.4 percent from downtown didn't help their chances.

The Rockets dropped to 3-2 in the western conference, while the Nets improved to 2-3 in season 2019-20.

Kemba makes himself at home in the Garden

Kemba Walker scored 33 points in the Celtics' 104-102 win over the Knicks at TD Garden.

Russell Westbrook totalled 27 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals against Brooklyn.

Andre Drummond tallied 25 points and 24 rebounds as the Pistons fell to the Bulls 112-106.

Lopez and Garland wayward

Brook Lopez went 1-of-7 from the field and scored three points in the Bucks' 123-91 rout of the Magic.

Cleveland's Darius Garland missed all 10 of his shots and notched just two points in his team's 102-95 loss to the Pacers.

Tatum ices the game for the Celtics

Jayson Tatum scored 24 points and nailed the decisive basket as the Celtics snuck past the Knicks.

 

 

76ers at Blazers

Philadelphia is undefeated but they face a talented Portland team without Joel Embiid who is serving a two-game suspension for a skirmish with Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns. How will the 76ers respond without their dominant post presence and defensive stud down low? Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum certainly won't make things easy for the Eastern Conference powerhouse.

Stephen Curry underwent surgery on his broken hand in Los Angeles on Friday, the Golden State Warriors announced.

The two-time NBA MVP was hurt during his team's game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, as he suffered a bad fall while going for a layup during the third quarter.

Golden State plan to provide a further update on Curry, whose hand became caught under Suns big man Aron Baynes, in three months - meaning he is unlikely to play again until February 2020.

The 31-year-old - a six-time All-Star - averaged 20.3 points and 6.5 assists in four games at the start of the new season.

His absence is a further blow to the Warriors, who lost Kevin Durant during the offseason and are also without long-term absentee Klay Thompson.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have handed a long-term contract extension to general manager Koby Altman.

Despite struggling last season in the wake of LeBron James' move to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has insisted he has faith in Altman to turn their fortunes around.

Altman bucks a trend in Cleveland, having become the first GM to receive an extension since Gilbert bought the team in 2005.

Gilbert said: "Koby has been a culture-driver and an innovator who has built a fresh, new foundation and environment for our front office and team that inspires everyone involved.

"He is a passionate leader who is executing a very dynamic, strategic plan for the future of the team and our vision for growth and success.

"Koby's collaborative approach has also extended beyond the team and had a consistent, positive impact across our entire organisation.

"I look forward to seeing his hard work and creativity continue to make us better and help guide the team towards reaching our goals for years to come."

Altman, who has worked in Cleveland's front office since 2012, was promoted to his current role in July 2017 and received a three-year deal at the time.

"I'm truly humbled and excited to sign a long-term extension with the Cavaliers and I look forward to continuing the overall development and growth we are experiencing with this team," Altman said.

"We have a first-class organisation, led by our chairman Dan Gilbert, an extraordinary fanbase and a great team behind the team, who provide incredible resources and opportunities for us to be successful."

The 37-year-old watched his team plummet from their third consecutive NBA Finals appearance against the Golden State Warriors in his first full season at the helm to a 19-63 record last year after James departed for the Lakers.

This past off-season, Altman hired veteran coach John Beilein, sending a signal that player development was a priority for the franchise moving forward.

Kawhi Leonard haunted his former team as the Los Angeles Clippers topped the previously unbeaten San Antonio Spurs 103-97 in NBA action on Thursday.

Leonard – who spent seven seasons with the Spurs before joining the Toronto Raptors and winning an NBA championship in 2018-19 – dropped 38 points and 12 rebounds in Los Angeles on Halloween.

After sitting out Wednesday's loss to the Utah Jazz due to load management, Leonard returned to snap the Spurs' winning start to the season following three successive wins.

Montrezl Harrell added 24 points for the Clippers, who improved to 4-2 for the season, while DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 29 points.

Highly rated prospect Michael Porter Jr made his NBA debut for the Denver Nuggets, who lost 122-107 to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Nuggets used pick 14 to secure Porter and the 21-year-old capped his Denver bow with 15 points in 20 minutes.

 

Nunn ignites Heat

Miami Heat rookie Kendrick Nunn had 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting in a 106-97 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

 

Hawks' Hunter struggles

Hawks rookie De'Andre Hunter had four points on one-of-nine shooting.

 

Harris dunks on Okafor

Gary Harris threw one down over Jahlil Okafor.

 

Thursday's results

Miami Heat 106-97 Atlanta Hawks
New Orleans Pelicans 122-107 Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Clippers 103-97 San Antonio Spurs

 

Lakers at Mavericks

The veteran duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis takes on the up-and-coming pairing of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. This game is going to be dynamic.

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