The NBA announced the schedule for scrimmage games to take place before the season restarts following the coronavirus-enforced break.

Basketball came to a halt in the United States and Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, but the 2019-20 NBA campaign is set to resume on July 30.

Orlando's Disney World complex will host 22 teams, with the Los Angeles Lakers headlining the league's comeback against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30 after the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz on the same day.

Prior to the NBA returning, all 22 teams in Orlando will play three inter-squad scrimmages between July 22 and July 28.

Kawhi Leonard's Clippers will play the Orlando Magic on July 22, with the Washington Wizards-Denver Nuggets, Pelicans-Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings-Miami Heat scrimmages also taking place that day.

The Milwaukee Bucks led the NBA with a 53-12 record prior to the coronavirus crisis, ahead of the Lakers (49-14), defending champions the Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Clippers.

 

Scrimmage schedule:

Wednesday, July 22

Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Clippers
Washington Wizards v Denver Nuggets
New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn Nets
Sacramento Kings v Miami Heat

Thursday, July 23

San Antonio Spurs v Milwaukee Bucks
Portland Trail Blazers v Indiana Pacers
Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
Phoenix Suns v Utah Jazz

Friday, July 24

Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers
Oklahoma City Thunder v Boston Celtics
Houston Rockets v Toronto Raptors

Saturday, July 25

Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando Magic
Milwaukee Bucks v Sacramento Kings
Miami Heat v Utah Jazz
Brooklyn Nets v San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers v Washington Wizards
Denver Nuggets v New Orleans Pelicans

Sunday, July 26

Philadelphia 76ers v Oklahoma City Thunder
Phoenix Suns v Boston Celtics
Indiana Pacers v Dallas Mavericks
Portland Trail Blazers v Toronto Raptors
Houston Rockets v Memphis Grizzlies

Monday, July 27

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers
Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers
Utah Jazz v Brooklyn Nets
Orlando Magic v Denver Nuggets
New Orleans Pelicans v Milwaukee Bucks

Tuesdays, July 28 

Memphis Grizzlies v Miami Heat
Toronto Raptors v Phoenix Suns
San Antonio Spurs v Indiana Pacers
Oklahoma City Thunder v Portland Trail Blazers
Boston Celtics v Houston Rockets
Dallas Mavericks v Philadelphia 76ers

Damian Lillard is willing to play when the NBA plans to return next month even though he does not feel 100 per cent comfortable about the decision.

The NBA hopes to restart the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort via a 22-team format in Orlando after the campaign was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Players are reportedly divided about the season resuming amid the COVID-19 crisis and unrest in the United States, where there have been nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Commissioner Adam Silver admitted the league's planned resumption "may not be for everyone" but he is confident player concerns will be addressed.

Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard are among those to have questioned whether the league should return amid the Black Lives Matter protests, and Portland Trail Blazers guard Lillard understands their point of view.

"I don't feel 100 per cent, but it's a risk that I'm willing to take," Lillard said to ESPN about playing when the NBA returns.

"This is what we do. This is our job and this is how we take care of our families. And also this is my way of providing for communities, impacting in my community. 

"So, to play the game I love, to resume the season, I guess this is a risk that I'm willing to take.

"With the pandemic that we've been in over the course of a few months, I think basketball would have been or will be great for that. 

"It will be us getting back to somewhat normalcy, of having our athletes on TV playing and doing what we do.

"But I think as far as the racial injustice, I think that is where a lot of the struggle is for a lot of athletes. 

"Our league is made up of so many African-American players and a lot of our hearts are with our people, our minds are with our people and we feel like we should be a part of that fight.

"That is what the struggle is. That's what you hear in a lot of guys coming out saying maybe we should be focused on that instead of worrying about going back in and jumping into this season.

"I can only speak for myself, but I think it goes for other guys as well, we are the financial support for our families and for a lot of our community.

"We bring a lot of that financial responsibility to support black businesses and black communities. So it makes a lot of sense for us from that standpoint.

"But a lot of guys in the league have a point. I think Kyrie and Dwight have a point. You know, so I understand it all."

Five-time All Star Lillard conceded it would be a strange feeling to return after all that has happened over the past few months.

"It's something that none of us have experienced in our lifetime," he said. 

"I mean, the world literally shut down - I don't know if that's ever happened or when was the last time it did, if it has happened. But I think it'll be difficult, to say the least, because a lot of our hearts are with our people.

"So that's hard to go out there and be your best self, or the best version of yourself as an athlete, when something isn't sitting right with you personally. 

"That's something that's not just going to go away. So we're not sure how it's gonna go. But we're gonna see when we get there."

Harry Glickman, the founder and former president of the Portland Trail Blazers, died on Wednesday. He was 96.

Glickman has long been considered the father of professional sports in Oregon. His crowning achievement came when he assembled the Trail Blazers' original ownership group of Herman Sarkowsky, Larry Weinberg and Robert Schmertz when the NBA awarded Portland an expansion franchise in 1970.

Glickman served as the team's general manager from their inception until his retirement in 1994, when he became president. During his tenure, the Trail Blazers won their only NBA championship in 1977 and Western Conference titles in 1990 and 1992.

The team also set an American professional sports record by selling out 814 consecutive home games.

"The Trail Blazers have long been the beneficiary of Harry's vision, generosity and inspiration," said Jody Allen, chair of the Trail Blazers.

"As the team's founder and first general manager, his leadership was instrumental in igniting our city's pride and passion for sports. I am grateful for Harry's many contributions to the franchise over the years. He will be missed by many."

Glickman and other then-shareholders sold the Trail Blazers to Paul Allen in 1998.

Glickman is survived by his wife, Joanne, son Marshall, daughters Jennifer and Lynn, grandsons Joel and Laz and granddaughter Sydney.

A trip to Orlando, Florida is overwhelmingly a more popular travel destination than Milwaukee, Wisconsin for most American families.

NBA teams share that sentiment.

The NBA has approved its return-to-play plan, which will send 22 teams to the Walt Disney Resort near Orlando. All the games and practices will take place at the Disney complex after the NBA's Board of Governors approved proposals for a restart from the coronavirus-enforced break.

The teams invited to Florida are the 16 that held playoff spots when the season was halted on March 11, plus the six teams within six games of eighth place in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

While having all the games at one location terminates travel and should cut down on some fatigue, it will provide a new challenge – likely playing games in empty gyms without the noise of the crowd.

A lack of crowd noise may be the biggest obstacle for the players, challenging their mettle. They will have to take part in crucial games and within these games, face critical possessions without getting any adrenaline rush from either the roar of the fans they would experience at their home arena or the chorus of boos from a hostile crowd when they are on the road.

For the teams, they are now pretty much all on equal footing. Those that had been dominating for the right to earn home-court advantage for the playoffs no longer have such an advantage.

When the season went on pause nearly three months ago, the Milwaukee Bucks owned the NBA's best record at 53-12. The Bucks are obviously an excellent team, boasting the league's highest-scoring offense behind reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but some of their success stems from their ability to easily dispatch of foes when they visited Milwaukee.

The Bucks have only lost two of their 30 games at Fiserv Forum since the calendar flipped to November. And both of those defeats came at the hands of West clubs – the Dallas Mavericks on December 16 and Denver Nuggets on January 31. They have gone 18-1 in Milwaukee against the East this season with the lone blemish coming in overtime to the Miami Heat in their home opener on October 26.

By continuing to defend home court against East teams, the Bucks appeared to have a relatively clear path to reach the NBA Finals, but now their opponents will no longer be making that dreaded trip to Milwaukee. 

Miami, meanwhile, is a hotter destination than Milwaukee – both literally and figuratively – and the Heat climbed to the top of the Southeast Division behind the strength of a 27-5 record in Miami – the third-best home record in the NBA.

The Heat, however, no longer will have the luxury of welcoming visitors to South Beach and its nightlife, instead playing the rest of their games in the more family-friendly environment provided by Mickey Mouse.

Only one team has compiled a better home record than the Bucks and Heat this season, and that has been perhaps one of the most perplexing teams of all time.

The Philadelphia 76ers have gone 29-2 at home, but if the playoffs started today they would not be hosting a first-round series. Thanks to an inability to win on the road where they have gone 10-24, the Sixers are in sixth place in the East. 

Philly has a .935 winning percentage at home and a .294 winning percentage on the road. That decrease of .641 in winning percentage from home to road is the largest difference since the NBA expanded to 14 teams in 1968-69. 

Seeing as there has been no rational explanation as to how a team can play so well at home and so poorly on the road, it is anyone's guess how the Sixers will fare in Orlando.

While teams will be missing out on having games at their own arenas and players will no longer have the creature comforts that come with home games, a handful of teams that are heading to Orlando had slightly better records on the road than at home before the season paused.

Playing these games on neutral courts, likely without fans, in Orlando does not exactly correlate to playing road games in intense visiting arenas in front of raucous playoff crowds, but the Dallas Mavericks (plus-.077 winning percentage from road to home games), Los Angeles Lakers (plus-.071), New Orleans Pelicans (plus-.063), Phoenix Suns (plus-.062) and Oklahoma City Thunder (plus-.039) all have higher winning percentages on the road than at home.

Of those five teams, only the Mavericks, Lakers and Thunder posted winning records both on the road and at home. 

When the season went on pause, the only teams with road winning percentages over .700 were perhaps the three favourites to win the title – the Lakers (.813 road winning percentage), the Bucks (.735) and defending champions the Toronto Raptors (.719). 

No big surprise, but the ability to win on the road and perform under pressure in adverse conditions bodes well for a team's championship aspirations. 

While these will not be road games, they will certainly be adverse conditions. Likely the most obscure these players have ever experienced.

It has not been announced how the 2019-20 NBA season will be concluded if games resume, but Portland star Damian Lillard says he will not play if the Trail Blazers do not have a shot at a playoff spot.

Preliminary discussions have taken place between the NBA and the Walt Disney Company about resuming the 2019-20 season at an isolated site near Orlando, Florida in late July, but the league still has not settled on a format for a return. 

It has been reported the NBA would like teams to reach a total of 70 regular season games – about five more for most clubs – to fulfil its contracts with local broadcast affiliates.

The Trail Blazers have played 66 games, and at 29-37 they sit in ninth place in the Western Conference, three and a half games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Speaking to Yahoo Sports, Lillard said: "If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team.

"But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now.

"If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team. I'm going to do all that and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games."

The NHL has proposed a 24-team playoff bracket, and Lillard would be open to something similar.

“If they come back and say it's something like a tournament, play-in style, between the number seven and number 12 seeds, if we're playing for playoff spots, then I think that's perfect," the five-time All-Star said.

Lillard, who is fifth in the NBA in scoring this season with a career-best 28.9 points per game, also likes Portland's chances to make a deep run if the team is the playoff picture.

The Blazers advanced to the Western Conference finals last year, and should have center Jusuf Nurkic and power forward Zach Collins in the line-up when games resume after the two combined to miss all but three games due to injuries before the season was paused.

"It would suck not to get in the playoffs because our thing was, we had fought ourselves back into position to get a spot," Lillard said.

"We had our starting center and starting power forward coming back, so we had a lot to look forward to and for a great reason. Now, they're healthy and have extra time to train and rehab while everybody's rusty.

"So now, they won't be coming back as the only rusty players. And if everybody's rusty, we can come in here and beat everybody.”

Things were looking up for the Chicago Bulls when Derrick Rose was named NBA MVP on May 3, 2011.

At 22 years old, Rose became the youngest player – and only the second for the Bulls after Michael Jordan – to win the award.

However, that proved to be the pinnacle of his fledgling career, as a serious knee injury denied him the chance to maximise his incredible potential.

Using data from Stats Perform, we look at five NBA careers that were ruined by injuries.

 

Derrick Rose

After being drafted first overall by the Bulls in 2008, Rose was tipped as a talent capable of leading them to their first NBA championship since the Jordan era.

He was named Rookie of the Year and earned MVP honours in the 2010-11 season after averaging 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Rose led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat that year, but they were unable to deny LeBron James a first appearance in the NBA Finals and lost in five games.

However, an ACL tear in the first round of the playoffs the following season proved to be the first in a string of knee injuries that derailed what looked set to be a Hall of Fame career.

Rose's production has dropped across the board since that blow against the Philadelphia 76ers, the most notable of which is his points per game dipping from 21 beforehand to 16.8.

He managed 46 double-doubles and 41 30-point games prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, but since then he has managed just 12 and 15 respectively.

 

Penny Hardaway

Shaquille O'Neal encouraged the Orlando Magic to trade 1993 first overall draft pick Chris Webber to the Golden State Warriors for Hardaway and the pair quickly developed a formidable partnership that made the team championship contenders.

The Magic went all the way to the NBA Finals in 1995 but the youthful team were swept by the more experienced Houston Rockets and, after they lost to Jordan's Bulls in the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals, O'Neal left for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Hardaway appeared ready to become the leading man in Orlando but a knee injury sustained in December 1997 forced him to miss much of the remainder of the campaign.

He went from averaging 19.7 points and 6.3 assists per game to just 11.5 and 3.8 respectively.

Over half of the four-time All-Star's 313 games played prior to his injury saw him score 20 points or more. In his 391 appearances afterwards that ratio slipped to just 14.8 per cent.

 

Grant Hill

Two-time NCAA champion Hill entered the NBA surrounded by plenty of hype and he quickly established himself as a force in the league after being taken third overall by the Detroit Pistons in 1994.

He joined a select group of players to make the All-Star Game in their debut season and no one else in the league had as many votes as him – he ended up sharing Rookie of the Year honours with Jason Kidd.

Hill was a five-time All-Star and was the headline name heading into free agency in 2000, but he sustained a broken ankle – which he claims was mismanaged by the Pistons – during a first-round playoff game against the Heat and it altered the trajectory of his career.

The small forward landed with the Magic but was unable to continue delivering at his previous rates – his averages for points per game and assists per game fell from 21.6 and 6.3 to 13.1 and 2.6.

Hill managed just 31 double-doubles in the remaining 591 games of his career – just under a fifth of the amount he had accumulated in his first 435 appearances in the league.

His field-goal percentage may have increased from 47.6 per cent to 49.2 per cent, but just five of the 71 30-point games in his career came after his ankle injury.

 

Brandon Roy

Just one vote stopped Roy being a unanimous decision as Rookie of the Year in 2007, having averaged 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game during his first regular season with the Portland Trail Blazers.

He earned a four-year, maximum-salary contract in August 2009 and made his third All-Star appearance that season, but following surgery on a meniscus tear in his right knee – he had also previously had a procedure for a cartilage issue in his left knee – in April 2010 his career went south.

Roy, who had an operation on both knees in January 2011, would only play 52 more games in the NBA, five of which came in a bid to return from retirement with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2012-13 season.

In that period his points, assists and rebounds per game almost halved (points: 20.2 to 11.6, assists: 5.0 to 2.9, rebounds: 4.6 to 2.6).

Roy managed just one more double-double and 10 20-point games, having had 18 and 153 prior to the start of the 2010-11 season.

 

Tracy McGrady

The Rockets could have been championship contenders had McGrady and Yao Ming not both proved so injury-prone during their six years together on the team.

Despite an impressive start to life with the Rockets in 2004-05, back spasms sidelined McGrady for extended spells in the following two seasons.

The seven-time All-Star had painkilling injections to help ease knee and shoulder ailments ahead of the 2007-08 playoffs, but for the second straight season he was unable to guide Houston past the Utah Jazz in the first round.

McGrady's production fell off a cliff from the start of the following campaign. From scoring an impressive 22.4 points per game he slipped to just 8.7 – he only had one more 30-point game in the rest of his career, having had 205 beforehand.

As his career petered out at the New York Knicks, Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs – a short stint with the latter coming after a spell in China – McGrady went from a ratio of scoring 20 points every other game to doing so once in every 10 appearances.

However, he still earned a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Now is typically the time when the grind of the NBA's regular season is winding down and 16 teams start to gear up for the playoffs.

However, the coronavirus pandemic brought the league to a halt in March, delaying the best period of the campaign considerably.

With every team having at least 15 games left to play, the postseason picture is far from being completed.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the only team in the Western Conference to have secured their place in the playoffs, where the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics are also guaranteed to feature due to their performances in the East.

With only the Golden State Warriors out of contention, 25 teams still have a mathematical chance of keeping their seasons alive.

 

As the NBA waits for the threat of COVID-19 to subside, and for normal life to return, the Stats Perform AI team have been crunching the numbers behind the scenes.

The goal was to simulate how the regular season would pan out if all outstanding games were played now, producing the final standings in both conferences.

The Stats Perform model takes proprietary data and creates an offensive and defensive rating for each team.

Those ratings are paired with the team's opponent and adjusts it for each team's pace. In addition, the home team gets a slight boost for home-field advantage.

The model uses this information to calculate a projected score for both teams. The victors get another win to their season total – this was done for every remaining game in the regular season. So, without further ado, let's find out the results...

 

NO BUCKING THE TREND

Unsurprisingly the Bucks hang on to the one seed in the Eastern Conference, with our model predicting they will go 13-4 in their remaining fixtures to finish with a 66-16 record.

Despite Milwaukee matching their best regular-season performance in history to book a first-round clash in the playoffs with the Orlando Magic, there was one hiccup for reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his team-mates – a shock 111-110 loss at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the only change to the top eight from the current standings, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Indiana Pacers to the five seed, meaning they draw the Miami Heat in the first round of the postseason for the second time in three years. The Pacers must take on the Celtics as a consequence.

The Brooklyn Nets (39-43) and Magic (38-44) advance despite having losing records – it is the first time since 1988 that more than one team under .500 made the playoffs. The Raptors await the Nets in the first round.

At the foot of the East is the Detroit Pistons, who closed out the season on a 4-12 run to finish with a 24-58 record.

In our simulation the Raptors claimed a 152-96 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Only 12 matches in NBA history have seen a bigger margin of victory.

CLIPPERS FADE, WARRIORS THE WORST

The Lakers hold off the competition to top the Western Conference and at 64-18 claim their best record since the Kobe Bryant era. Their reward is a first-round meeting with the Memphis Grizzlies.

For the Los Angeles Clippers it is a different story. They fall victim to strong finishes from the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets and slip to fourth, pitting Paul George - and Chris Paul - against his former team the Oklahoma City Thunder in round one.

The Nuggets take second and get the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs after losing just one of their final 17 games, while the Rockets go 15-3 to get the three seed. Awaiting Mike D'Antoni's team in the postseason is the Utah Jazz, who slipped to sixth after going 8-10 down the stretch.

The Grizzlies ensure New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson's first playoff appearance will have to wait until 2021 at the earliest, while the Portland Trail Blazers miss the postseason for the first time since 2013.

A 22-60 record means the Warriors finish the regular season with the worst record in the NBA.

 

GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR SUNS, WIZARDS

While the final standings were taken from the first simulation, the outcome of the regular season was simulated on 10,000 different occasions in order to generate the most accurate possible percentage chance of each team finishing in the playoffs.

The resulting data suggests the Grizzlies defied the odds by reaching the postseason, having only done so in 41.1 per cent of the simulations.

The Magic and Nets both had a success rate above 99 per cent, while the Washington Wizards (0.05 per cent) and the Phoenix Suns (0.04 per cent) are the biggest outsiders.

In addition to the Warriors, the model did not project the New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Chicago Bulls, Hawks or Cavaliers making the postseason once.

A NEW DYNASTY?

The Stats Perform AI team also used the predicted final standings to simulate the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to find out which team received the first overall pick.

There was finally some good news for Warriors fans, with Golden State drawn first.

With Stephen Curry back from injury and Klay Thompson set to return next season, the No.1 pick would put Steve Kerr's team in a good position to challenge in the playoffs again.

The Hawks jump up to third in our simulation, while the Bulls have to settle for the seventh pick for the fourth consecutive year.

After taking Williamson first overall in 2019, the Pelicans get the final lottery selection here.

Full lottery results:

1. Golden State Warriors
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Detroit Pistons
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
6. New York Knicks
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Charlotte Hornets
9. Phoenix Suns
10. San Antonio Spurs
11. Sacramento Kings
12. Washington Wizards
13. Portland Trail Blazers
14. New Orleans Pelicans

Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant will lead a field of 16 in an NBA 2K20 charity tournament to raise money amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With the NBA postponed due to COVID-19, players have time on their hands, so a select group will go head-to-head in the virtual world, starting Friday on ESPN.

The winner of the single-elimination Xbox One tournament, which runs through to April 11, will receive $100,000 to give to a charity in support of the coronavirus relief efforts.

Durant is the top seed, ahead of Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Hassan Whiteside (Portland Trail Blazers), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Clippers), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), DeMarcus Cousins, Michael Porter Jr. (Denver Nuggets), Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards), Patrick Beverley (Los Angeles Clippers), Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings) and Derrick Jones Jr. (Miami Heat).

"We're thrilled to partner with the NBA and NBPA to bring basketball back to fans throughout the world and to help those in need during these uncertain times," said Jason Argent, 2K senior vice-president, sports strategy and licensing.

"Entertainment, especially sports, has the ability to bring communities together – including athletes, fans and families – and we hope that everyone will enjoy the tournament."

"We are excited to tip off the first 'NBA 2K Players Tournament' in partnership with the NBPA and 2K, continuing an ongoing effort to stay connected with NBA fans around the world, while also giving back in this time of need," said Matt Holt, NBA SVP of global partnerships.

Players' seeding is based on their NBA 2K rating, with two-time champion Durant 96 overall in the video game.

Durant, who contracted COVID-19 and has been recovering from an Achilles injury, will open the tournament against Jones on Friday.

The Brooklyn Nets held on to beat LeBron James and the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers 104-102 in the NBA.

Spencer Dinwiddie (23 points) hit the tie-breaking jumper with 28.3 seconds remaining as the Nets upstaged the streaking Lakers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The Lakers' four-game winning streak came to an end after Anthony Davis (26 points) missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

James had 29 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers (49-14), who were unable to close the gap on the slumping Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) for the league's best record.

The Los Angeles Clippers bounced back from Sunday's loss to the Lakers by routing the Golden State Warriors 131-107 away from home.

Kawhi Leonard posted 23 points before sitting out the entire fourth quarter, along with the rest of the Clippers' starters.

 

Tatum stars as Celtics secure playoff berth

Jayson Tatum put up 30 points for the Boston Celtics, who reached the postseason for the sixth consecutive year. Gordon Hayward added 27 points and 10 rebounds in the 114-111 triumph at the Indiana Pacers.

James Harden scored 37 points and Russell Westbrook finished with 27 as the Houston Rockets topped the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-111, snapping a four-game skid.

Luka Doncic registered 38 points, but it was not enough for the Dallas Mavericks, who lost 119-109 at the San Antonio Spurs.

The Washington Wizards benefited from another big Bradley Beal performance in their 122-115 victory over the New York Knicks. Beal had 40 points, surpassing 25-plus points for the 22nd time in 23 games.

All the Portland Trail Blazers' starters posted double-digit points in a 121-105 win against the Phoenix Suns – Damian Lillard (25), CJ McCollum (22), Trevor Ariza (22), Carmelo Anthony (21) and Hassan Whiteside (16, 14 rebounds).

 

Mulder headlines Warriors woes

With Stephen Curry sidelined by the flu, Mychal Mulder played guard and the 25-year-old struggled for the Warriors. Mulder was one-of-nine from the field and 0 of seven from three-point range for three points in 26 minutes.

Aron Baynes made history on Friday. The Australian joined Harden as the only players in NBA history with 30-plus points, 15-plus rebounds and eight or more three-pointers in a game following his career-high 37 points, 16 rebounds and nine three-pointers for the Suns. However, Baynes was just three-of-14 from the field and one-of-seven from beyond the arc for just seven points against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. He tallied two rebounds in 34 minutes.

 

Russell takes flight

Westbrook hit the runway and soared to the rim for the slam.

 

Tuesday's results

Boston Celtics 114-111 Indiana Pacers
Washington Wizards 122-115 New York Knicks
Chicago Bulls 108-103 Cleveland Cavaliers
Houston Rockets 117-111 Minnesota Timberwolves
Orlando Magic 120-115 Memphis Grizzlies
San Antonio Spurs 119-109 Dallas Mavericks
Portland Trail Blazers 121-105 Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Clippers 131-107 Golden State Warriors
Brooklyn Nets 104-102 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Pistons at 76ers

After an embarrassing loss away to the lowly Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers (38-26) are back on home court against the Detroit Pistons (20-45) on Wednesday. The 76ers are 28-2 in Philadelphia, compared to 10-24 on the road.

The Houston Rockets' losing streak continued in the NBA, while the Golden State Warriors claimed a win on Saturday.

The Rockets slumped to a third straight loss with a 108-99 defeat to the Charlotte Hornets.

James Harden had a triple-double of 30 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, but added 10 turnovers as Russell Westbrook missed the clash.

All five of the Hornets' starters managed double-digits in points, led by Terry Rozier's 24.

Even with Stephen Curry missing due to the flu, the Warriors upset the Philadelphia 76ers 118-114.

Damion Lee's 24 points helped the Warriors to just their 15th win of the season.

 

Wonderful Valanciunas, Love leads Cavs

Jonas Valanciunas' double-double of 27 points and 17 rebounds saw the Memphis Grizzlies past the Atlanta Hawks 118-101.

Kevin Love's 27 points helped the Cleveland Cavaliers upset the Denver Nuggets 104-102.

The Utah Jazz were too good for the Detroit Pistons 111-105 thanks to a 32-point haul from Bojan Bogdanovic.

Rockets struggle

With Westbrook sidelined, Houston needed a greater contribution from their starters. But three of them – Danuel House Jr., P.J. Tucker and Ben McLemore – went a combined three-of-12 from the field.

 

Morant magic

Ja Morant (24 points) helped the Grizzlies to their win.

Saturday's results

Charlotte Hornets 108-99 Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz 111-105 Detroit Pistons
Cleveland Cavaliers 104-102 Denver Nuggets
Memphis Grizzlies 118-101 Atlanta Hawks
Golden State Warriors 118-114 Philadelphia 76ers
Sacramento Kings 123-111 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Lakers at Clippers

The Staples Center will host another blockbuster on Sunday. After beating the Milwaukee Bucks, the Los Angeles Lakers (48-13) face the Clippers (43-19).

LeBron James upstaged Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Los Angeles Lakers secured their playoff berth with victory over the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks.

James led the Lakers to a 113-103 victory at home to Antetokounmpo and the visiting Bucks in Los Angeles on Friday.

Lakers superstar James won his battle with reigning MVP Antetokounmpo, posting 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Western Conference leaders.

Anthony Davis added 30 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who improved to 48-13 following the blockbuster showdown.

Antetokounmpo's 32 points and 11 rebounds were not enough as the high-flying Bucks fell to 53-10 for the season.

 

Baynes makes history

Aron Baynes had a game to remember. The Australian tallied a career-high 37 points, 16 rebounds and made nine three-pointers as the Phoenix Suns defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 127-117. He joined James Harden as the only players in NBA history with 30-plus points, 15-plus rebounds and eight or more three-pointers in a game.

Kristaps Porzingis recorded his fifth straight game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds after putting up 26 and 11 in the Dallas Mavericks' 121-96 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Duncan Robinson made history in the Miami Heat's 110-104 loss away to the New Orleans Pelicans. Robinson finished with 24 points following eight three-pointers. It took Robinson's three-point tally to 233 this season – a single-season record by an undrafted player.

Bradley Beal's 35-point performance extended his streak of 25-plus points to 21 consecutive games. It tied LeBron James for the second-longest run by an Eastern Conference player since the 2000-01 season. The Washington Wizards won 118-112 against the Atlanta Hawks.

 

Bradley struggles

Usually a handy contributor for the Lakers, Avery Bradley failed to make much of an impact despite his team's victory over the Bucks. The point guard played 31 minutes and failed to make any of his shots from the field (0 of five) or three-point range (0 of three). His two points came from the free-throw line.

The Chicago Bulls went down 108-102 to the Indiana Pacers and Lauri Markkanen headlined his team's woes. The 22-year-old had just three points, going one of 10 from the field and missing all five of his shots from beyond the arc.

 

LeBron slams it down!

James was an immovable force for the Lakers against the Bucks, who were unable to prevent this dunk.

 

Friday's results

Washington Wizards 118-112 Atlanta Hawks
Brooklyn Nets 139-120 San Antonio Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder 126-103 New York Knicks
Utah Jazz 99-94 Boston Celtics
Indiana Pacers 108-102 Chicago Bulls
Orlando Magic 132-118 Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans 110-104 Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks 121-96 Memphis Grizzlies
Phoenix Suns 127-117 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers 113-103 Milwaukee Bucks

 

76ers at Warriors

The Philadelphia 76ers (38-25) will be eyeing back-to-back road wins when they travel to the Golden State Warriors (14-49) on Saturday.

The Miami Heat nullified reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and stunned the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks 105-89 on Monday.

Antetokounmpo matched a season-low with 13 points on six-for-18 shooting as the Heat became the first team to beat the Bucks twice this term.

The Bucks superstar, who also collected 15 rebounds, was limited to just six points in the first half in Miami.

Eastern Conference rivals the Heat were led by Jae Crowder and Jimmy Butler's 18 points each, while Bam Adebayo added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

James Harden posted 35 points and eight assists, but the Houston Rockets lost 125-123 away to the lowly New York Knicks.

Russell Westbrook (24), Robert Covington (20, 13 rebounds), Danuel House Jr. (20) and Eric Gordon (11) also had double-digit points for the Rockets in New York.

Rookie guard RJ Barrett tied his season-high with 27 points as the Knicks snapped the Rockets' six-game winning streak.

 

McCollum inspires Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum put on a show with 41 points as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Orlando Magic 130-107. Portland outscored Orlando 38-19 in the final quarter. Nikola Vucevic starred for the Magic with 30 points and 11 rebounds.

Collin Sexton had a game-high 32 points in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 126-113 loss at home to the Utah Jazz.

 

DeRozan struggles

For someone averaging 22.6 points per game this season, Monday's performance was not up to standard for DeMar DeRozan. The San Antonio Spurs star was just four of 10 from the field for 10 points in 38 minutes of action in a 116-111 defeat against the Indiana Pacers.

 

Fultz fools Blazers

Orlando's Markelle Fultz with the no-look pass against the Trail Blazers.

 

Monday's results

Utah Jazz 126-113 Cleveland Cavaliers
New York Knicks 125-123 Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers 130-107 Orlando Magic
Memphis Grizzlies 127-88 Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat 105-89 Milwaukee Bucks
Chicago Bulls 109-107 Dallas Mavericks
Indiana Pacers 116-111 San Antonio Spurs

 

76ers at Lakers

The Philadelphia 76ers (37-24) will have their hands full away to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (46-13) on Tuesday. The 76ers are missing All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, while Josh Richardson has been ruled out with concussion. The 76ers are 9-22 on the road following their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, while the Western Conference-leading Lakers are 21-7 at Staples Center.

The Los Angeles Lakers' seven-game winning streak was snapped in the NBA, while the Houston Rockets won a thriller on Saturday.

The Lakers were handed their 13th defeat of the season in a 105-88 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

LeBron James had a double-double of 19 points and 10 assists and Anthony Davis contributed 15 points, but the Lakers fell.

Ja Morant (27 points and 14 assists) and Jonas Valanciunas (22 points and 20 rebounds) led the Grizzlies.

The Rockets edged the Boston Celtics 111-110 in an overtime thriller.

Russell Westbrook was the star with 41 points for the Rockets, who were forced to OT by Jaylen Brown's buzzer-beating three in regulation.

 

Young, Dragic shine

Trae Young's 25 points and 15 assists helped the Atlanta Hawks past the Portland Trail Blazers 129-117.

Goran Dragic's double-double of 19 points and 10 assists saw the Miami Heat edge the Brooklyn Nets 116-113.

Mitchell Robinson went 11-of-16 from the field for 23 points, plus had 10 rebounds, off the bench as the New York Knicks recorded a 125-115 win over the Chicago Bulls.

 

Bad Bradley

Avery Bradley went two-of-eight from the field for just six points in 21 minutes in the Lakers' loss.

 

Brown brilliance

The Celtics fell short in OT, but Brown's three to force it was superb.

Saturday's results

New York Knicks 125-115 Chicago Bulls
Atlanta Hawks 129-117 Portland Trail Blazers
Miami Heat 116-113 Brooklyn Nets
Indiana Pacers 113-104 Cleveland Cavaliers
Memphis Grizzlies 105-88 Los Angeles Lakers
Houston Rockets 111-110 Boston Celtics
San Antonio Spurs 114-113 Orlando Magic
Golden State Warriors 115-99 Phoenix Suns

 

Lakers at Pelicans

James and the Lakers (45-13) will get a chance to bounce back against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans (26-33) on Sunday.

Anthony Davis led the way as the Lebron James-less Los Angeles Lakers accounted for the Golden State Warriors 116-86 in the NBA.

James sat out Thursday's trip to San Francisco due to a sore groin, but star Lakers team-mate Davis stepped up with 23 points and six rebounds.

Kyle Kuzma posted 18 points, while Dwight Howard (13), JaVale McGee (12), Rajon Rondo (12) and Avery Bradley (12) all contributed for the Lakers on the road.

It was a seventh consecutive win for Western Conference leaders the Lakers, who improved to 45-12.

Meanwhile, the lowly Warriors were led by Eric Paschall's 23 points off the bench.

 

Harris leads 76ers

In the absence of injured All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris stepped up for the Philadelphia 76ers. Harris posted a game-high 34 points in a 115-106 win over the lowly New York Knicks. The 76ers improved their league-best home record to 28-2. Shake Milton starred from the three-point line, nailing all five of his attempts on his way to 19 points.

Danilo Gallinari scored 24 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied from 19 points down to top the Sacramento Kings 112-108. It was Oklahoma City's fifth consecutive victory.

Domantas Sabonis tallied his 45th double-double of the season to see the Indiana Pacers past the Portland Trail Blazers 106-100. Sabonis finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. CJ McCollum had 28 points for the Trail Blazers, while Hassan Whiteside put up 18 points and 16 rebounds.

 

Bazemore endures tough night

The Kings lost and Kent Bazemore struggled. The shooting guard was three of 12 from the field and 0 of three from beyond the arc for seven points in 18 minutes.

Sixers recruits Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks – who were both acquired from the Warriors on the deadline – had a chance to impress against the Knicks but failed to do so. In the starting five, Robinson played 21 minutes but was just two of six from the field for a paltry four points. Burks, meanwhile, was two of 10 from the field and made just one of his four three-point attempts as he scored seven.

 

CP3 with the no-look pass

Chris Paul teed up Thunder team-mate Steve Adams in cool fashion.

 

Thursday's results

Oklahoma City Thunder 112-108 Sacramento Kings
Indiana Pacers 106-100 Portland Trail Blazers
Philadelphia 76ers 115-106 New York Knicks
Los Angeles Lakers 116-86 Golden State Warriors

 

Thunder at Bucks

The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (50-8) play host to the in-form Thunder on Friday. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are riding a four-game winning streak.

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