The Boston Celtics drew first blood against defending champions the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference second-round series.

Boston were too strong for Toronto, winning 112-94 at Walt Disney World Resort in the NBA playoffs on Sunday.

Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart posted 21 points apiece, while Kemba Walker put up 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who swept the Philadelphia 76ers and never trailed against the Raptors.

On a tough day for the Raptors, Kyle Lowry led the team with 17 points in Orlando, Florida.

Game 2 between the Celtics and Raptors is on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers booked their spot in the Western Conference semi-finals after accounting for the Dallas Mavericks 111-97.

Kawhi Leonard's 33 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and five steals helped seal a 4-2 series victory for the Clippers.

Leonard became the first player in franchise history to have at least 30 points and five steals in a postseason game.

Luka Doncic's 38 points, nine rebounds and nine assists were not enough for the eliminated Mavericks.

The Clippers will face either the Denver Nuggets or Utah Jazz in the west.

 

Murray's half-century forces Game 7

Another big performance from Jamal Murray helped the Nuggets level their series with the Jazz at 3-3 after prevailing 119-107 in Game 6. Murray finished with 50 points to force a deciding showdown.

Per STATS, Murray is the second player in NBA history to have back-to-back 40-point games to force a Game 7 after being 3-1 down. The other was LeBron James in the 2016 Finals.

Jazz star Mitchell scored 44 points in the losing effort. Per STATS, it marked the fourth time this series Mitchell and Murray have posted 30-plus points in the same game. The only other pair of opposing players in NBA history to achieve the feat in the same series were James and Gilbert Arena in 2006.

 

Williams struggles

While the Clippers advanced, it was a tough outing for Lou Williams. He was just one of nine from the field and missed all four of his three-point efforts for five points.

Clippers team-mate Paul George also made just six of 19 from the field. The All-Star was two of seven from beyond the arc as he finished with 15 points in 40 minutes of action.

Dallas' Trey Burke struggled. In 35 minutes, Burke was two of 10 from the field and 0 of two for six points.

The Raptors were poor from three-point range. Toronto shot just 25 per cent on 10-for-40 shooting against Boston.

 

Williams windmill

After Smart's steal, Robert Williams III nailed this dunk for the Celtics.

 

Sunday's results

Boston Celtics 112-94 Toronto Raptors
Los Angeles Clippers 111-97 Dallas Mavericks
Denver Nuggets 119-107 Utah Jazz

 

Heat face Bucks

The Miami Heat and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks will open their Eastern Conference second-round series on Monday.

MLS will return with Montreal Impact versus Toronto FC on Friday following the pause in play after the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The league followed the NBA in postponing games on Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks went on strike in protest against police brutality and racial inequality.

Blake, a black man, was repeatedly shot in the back by police in Wisconsin, the Bucks' home state.

Just one MLS match went ahead on Wednesday, with Orlando City beating Nashville, but the players are now ready to resume play. The NBA will return on Saturday.

"Following a period of reflection and conversation with the Black Players for Change (BPC), the league's players and the MLS Players Association, matches will resume, beginning tonight with the Montreal Impact hosting Toronto FC," a statement read on Friday.

"BPC are scheduled to meet with MLS owners, as the players and the league continue working together to create long-term change both inside and outside of MLS."

MLS bosses have largely supported the teams in their demonstrations, although Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen sparked outrage as he criticised his club and threatened to cut funding.

RSL players past and present hit back, while Toronto striker Jozy Altidore and NBA playoff star Donovan Mitchell - a player for Salt Lake City's Utah Jazz - each called on Hansen to sell the team.

Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha told the BBC he was considering his future at the club after Hansen's comments.

"I don't want to be here, because I’m not here to play for someone who isn’t here to support us," the former Manchester City centre-back said.

"We are trying to create a bigger conversation, but a lot of the people who are in power don’t empathise or sympathise or do anything. They are more concerned with themselves."

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers delivered an emotional response to a question about the shooting of Jacob Blake, which has led to further protests against racial injustice in the United States.

Blake was shot several times by a police officer as he got into a car in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Footage of the incident was shared on social media and Blake's family says he has been left paralysed from the waist down.

Since the NBA restarted in its Orlando bubble last month, players have taken a knee during the national anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and were given the option to place a social justice message on the back of their jerseys.

Those moves were made in response to the killing of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis in May after a police officer knelt on his neck for seven minutes and 46 seconds.

Rivers said prior to the Clippers' 154-111 victory over Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday he would answer questions on the shooting of Blake after the Game 5 encounter.

When he addressed the media about the incident, Rivers delivered a powerful statement as his eyes welled up and his voice cracked with emotion.

"It's just so sad. What stands out to me is, just watching the Republican Convention and they're spewing this fear," he said as he took off his face mask.

"All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We're the ones getting killed. We're the ones getting shot. We're the ones that are denied to live in certain communities. We've been hung. We've been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear.

"It's amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back. It's just really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. I'm so often reminded of my colour. It's just really sad. We've got to do better. But we got to demand better.

"It's funny. We protest and they send riot guards. They send people in riot outfits. They go up to Michigan with guns and they're spitting on cops and nothing happens.

"The training has to change in the police force. The unions have to be taken down in the police force. My dad was a cop. I believe in good cops. We're not trying to defund the police and take all their money away. We're trying to get them to protect us, just like they protect everybody else.

"I didn't want to talk about it before the game because it's so hard to just keep watching that. If you watch that video, you don't need to be black to be outraged. You need to be American and outraged.

"How dare the Republicans talk about fear. We're the ones that need to be scared. We're the ones having to talk to every black child. What white father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over? It's just ridiculous.

"And it just keeps going. There's no charges. Breonna Taylor [who was shot when police entered her flat in March], no charges, nothing. All we're asking is you live up to the constituion - that's all we're asking - for everybody, for everyone."

Following the Utah Jazz's 117-107 loss to Denver Nuggets in Game 5 on Tuesday, Jazz star Donovan Mitchell branded the shooting of Blake "inexcusable" and "disgusting".

"A lot of times where we say we don't feel safe, it doesn't matter how much money, it doesn't matter who you are," Mitchell said.

"The common excuse is, 'He shouldn't have walked away; he shouldn't have not listened to the cops.' He doesn't deserve to be shot in the back, shot seven times. That's inexcusable.

"The point of us coming down here [to Orlando] was to create change, and I feel that we're doing a good job of that, but not good enough. It's obviously not going to happen overnight, but it's disgusting.

"I really don't know how else to describe it as an African American male. When does it stop? When do we feel comfortable? When do we feel safe?

"I just want this s*** to stop, to be completely honest with you."

Donovan Mitchell wants a deep playoff run with the Utah Jazz after dropping 51 points to join Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson in an elite NBA club. 

Mitchell outshone Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray - who scored 50 points - to lead the Jazz to a 129-127 victory in Game 4 as Utah moved 3-1 up in the first round. 

It was the second time Mitchell had gone beyond 50 points in the matchup, a feat only former MVPs and Hall of Famers Jordan and Iverson have previously managed in a single playoff series in the league's entire history. 

"Honestly, it's the first round," Mitchell told reporters of emulating Jordan and Iverson. 

"The two guys you named have made it to the Finals. Michael Jordan is obviously the greatest basketball player of all time. 

"I got a lot of work to do to catch up to those guys. I am honoured to be in that category, but we are doing all this in the first round." 

The talented youngster has certainly bounced back from his performance in the postseason last year, when he missed 18 of his 22 shots as the Jazz crashed to a decisive Game 5 loss against the Houston Rockets in the first round.

"It's no secret that last year's playoffs wasn't my best," Mitchell added. "And I took that personally, and I am going to trust my work and keep moving forward.

"I love hearing negative things about me. 

"The knock on me has been, 'Inefficient, not a team player', whatever it is.

"I pride myself on being a team player, on being a playmaker. I've said it a thousand times, and I am going to continue to do that.

"Fifty [points] is what it is, but I am more happy that I got seven assists."

Mitchell scored 16 of the Jazz's final 20 points and urged his team to punch their ticket to the next round in Game 5.

"The job's not finished," he added.

"As good as this one feels, we won by two, and we're on to Game 5."

With the regular season over, it's time for business in the Orlando bubble.

The Portland Trail Blazers completed the NBA's playoff bracket with their play-in win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

Now, Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks, the LeBron-James led Los Angeles Lakers and Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers are among the teams vying for supremacy at Walt Disney World Resort.

With the postseason scheduled to start on Monday, we use STATS data to preview the first-round series.

Eastern Conference

Milwaukee Bucks (1) v Orlando Magic (8)

Eyeing their first NBA championship since 1971, the Bucks head into the opening-round series struggling for form.

The Bucks, who went 52-8 from their first 60 games, recorded a 4-9 win-loss ratio from their last 13 fixtures – becoming the first team in NBA history to have more losses in their final 13 regular-season games than they did in the entire season prior to that.

Inside the bubble but in familiar surroundings, the Magic have the chance to snap a playoff drought, despite the odds being stacked against them.

Not since 2010 have the Magic won a playoff series. Orlando swept the Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks en route to the Conference finals, before losing to the Boston Celtics. The Magic have since suffered first-round exits at the hands of the Hawks (2011), Indiana Pacers (2012) and Toronto Raptors (2019).

Toronto Raptors (2) v Brooklyn Nets (7)

Defending champions the Raptors have form on their side in pursuit of back-to-back championships.

Toronto went 27-5 over their last 32 games, easily the best record in the NBA during that period – ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-10), Los Angeles Clippers (20-10), Bucks (20-11) and Celtics (21-13).

Nets star Spencer Dinwiddie has been one of the most clutch players this season, making an NBA-high seven go-ahead baskets in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime.

Dinwiddie's seven for 13 is better than the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (five), Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray of the Nuggets (both four).

Boston Celtics (3) v Philadelphia 76ers (6)

The Celtics renew hostilities with rivals the 76ers, having won the past four series between the two teams – Philadelphia have not claimed a series against Boston in the playoffs since 1982.

Philadelphia's hopes will rest on Joel Embiid in the absence of injured fellow All-Star Ben Simmons, who is the only player in NBA history to average 8.0-plus rebounds and 8.0-plus assists per game for his career.

The 76ers are 35-22 (.614 per cent) with Simmons in the team, while they are just 7-8 (.467 per cent) without the Australian star on the court. Philadelphia also allow more opposition points per game in his absence – 113.6 compared to 107.2.

Indiana Pacers (4) v Miami Heat (5)

All eyes will be on Indiana's T.J. Warren, who averaged 31.0 points per game with a .664 effective field-goal percentage this month following the restart.

Since 1985-86, the players with 30.0-plus points and a .650-plus effective field-goal percentage in a month (minimum five game played) are Charles Barkley (1990), Stephen Curry (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019), Antetokounmpo (2017 and 2019) and Karl Anthony-Towns (2019).

With Heat pair Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson, Miami are the first NBA team to have two undrafted players averaging 13.0-plus points per game in the same season – minimum 70 per cent of team games played – since the Philadelphia Warriors in 1956-57 (Joe Graboski and Neil Johnston).

 

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers (1) v Portland Trail Blazers (8)

Making their first postseason appearance since 2013, the Lakers – who have a 74.6 per cent chance of winning this series using Stats Perform's advanced simulation tool – are one of the favourites to go all the way thanks to James and Anthony Davis.

James and Davis have combined well in LA, where the former has supplied 184 assists for the All-Star recruit this season – the most to one player in 2019-20, ahead of Damian Lillard to Hassan Whiteside (132). Three-time champion and four-time MVP James is also the second-oldest player to average 10 assists or more in a season in NBA history, with Steve Nash averaging 10.0-plus assists in each of his final three campaigns.

This will be the second playoff meeting between James and Carmelo Anthony. James and the Heat eliminated Anthony and the New York Knicks in the first round in 2012. Both averaged 27.8 points in the series. James was the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, while Anthony was the third pick. Their matchups date back to high school, when LeBron was at St. Vincent St. Mary's and Carmelo at Oak Hill Academy.

Portland's go-to man Lillard leads the NBA in scoring inside the bubble at 37.6 per game, including the play-in clash. The Trail Blazers star is averaging 46.3 points in his past four games following a career-high 61 against the Dallas Mavericks earlier this month. He has contributed to Portland averaging a league-high 126.0 points per game at Walt Disney World Resort, while the Lakers have only managed 106.4 points per game – the second worst behind the Washington Wizards.

How about most points per game by team-mate duos? Lillard and CJ McCollum (52.2) are second to James Harden and Russell Westbrook (61.5) but ahead of third-placed James and Davis (51.4).

Los Angeles Clippers (2) v Dallas Mavericks (7)

Can Leonard claim consecutive NBA titles after leading the Raptors to their first champion last season? Well it all begins against the Mavericks.

Leonard – the 2019 Finals MVP – averaged a career-high 27.1 points per game this season, while he averaged 30.5 during last year's playoffs. The four-time All-Star has also averaged 31.0 points per game in three games against the Mavericks this term, with the Clippers sweeping the season series.

Led by Luka Doncic, the Mavericks boast the second-highest offensive rating ever – 113.7 – behind last year's Golden State Warriors (113.9). The Clippers have a 111.1 rating, tied with the Trail Blazers for second this season.

Doncic is averaging 30.0 points, 10.1 assists and 9.7 rebounds in the bubble. The reigning Rookie of the Year also has three triple-doubles, including a 20-rebound triple-double.

Denver Nuggets (3) v Utah Jazz (6)

A Jazz team boasting the likes of Joe Ingles and Mitchell are the best three-point shooting team at 38.0 per cent, though Utah went 2-5 in their last seven regular-season games – allowing 110-plus points per game.

Rudy Gobert is also one shy of 250 career double-doubles as the Jazz look to avenge their season sweep at the hands of the Nuggets, though each game was decided by six or fewer points.

The Nuggets made the Conference semi-finals last season, snapping a five-year playoff drought. Jovic will be key for Denver, having averaged 7.0 assists per game for a second successive season – the most by any center in the NBA.

Houston Rockets (4) v Oklahoma City Thunder (5)

It will be a reunion as Harden, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul face their former teams.

The Rockets have advanced to at least the second round of the playoffs in three straight seasons and their hopes will depend on the team's starting five – their starters are averaging 89.1 points per game, the most in the league.

Former Thunder star Harden is also coming off his third consecutive season averaging 30 or more points per game (34.3 in 2019-20). He is the franchise's all-time leader in postseason assists (510) and second in points (2,061) behind Hakeem Olajuwon (3,727).

Westbrook, who arrived from the Thunder in a blockbuster trade at the start of the season, is second all-time for Oklahoma City in playoff points (2,489), behind Kevin Durant's 2,620, third in rebounds (686), first in assists (778) and first in steals (184).

The Thunder, boasting ex-Rockets guard Paul, have not progressed beyond the first round of the postseason since 2016 after blowing a 3-1 lead against the Warriors in the Conference Finals.

TJ Warren overshadowed LeBron James' return as the Los Angeles Lakers slumped to a third successive NBA loss, while Luka Doncic dazzled on Saturday.

Back after a groin injury, Lakers star James had 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes but could not stop the Indiana Pacers and their thriving small forward from claiming a 116-111 victory.

Warren, a revelation since entering the NBA bubble, continued his incredible scoring run with 39 points on 15-of-22 shooting.

In the final minute, he hit a floater, a pull-up jumper and a clutch three-pointer over Anthony Davis to earn the Pacers a fourth win from five games at Walt Disney World Resort.

All-Star guard Doncic and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo did not disappoint in their duel, sharing 70 points between them as the Dallas Mavericks outlasted the Milwaukee Bucks 136-132 in overtime.

Doncic did the business for Dallas, delivering a decisive triple-double with 36 points, 19 assists and 14 rebounds.

 

Pain for Mitchell, better for Booker

Donovan Mitchell's nerveless 35-point performance was not enough to help the Utah Jazz avoid a 134-132 defeat to the Denver Nuggets in double overtime, a thrilling game that included 30 points and 11 rebounds from Nikola Jokic.

Devin Booker's 35 points proved more valuable for the Phoenix Suns, who beat the Miami Heat 119-112 to stay undefeated since the restart.

 

Lillard's let down

After trading taunts with the Los Angeles Clippers, Damian Lillard let his opponents have the last laugh when he wasted two clutch free throws and missed a three-point attempt late in the Portland Trail Blazers' 122-117 loss.

 

Doncic's delicious dime

The Mavericks' main man went between the legs for one of his 19 assists.

Saturday's results

Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 Portland Trail Blazers
Denver Nuggets 134-132 Utah Jazz (2OT)
Indiana Pacers 116-111 Los Angeles Lakers
Phoenix Suns 119-112 Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks 136-132 Milwaukee Bucks (OT)

 

Trail Blazers face 76ers

Lillard and the Trail Blazers (32-39), ranked ninth in the Western Conference, know they cannot afford any errors when they face the Philadelphia 76ers (42-27) on Sunday.

Rudy Gobert described it as "just a blessing" to have turned in a decisive display as the Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA's Thursday restart.

The Jazz won 106-104 at Walt Disney World Resort thanks largely to Gobert's 14 points and 12 rebounds against a Pelicans side for whom Zion Williamson could only manage 15 minutes.

The NBA season was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic after Gobert had become the league's first player to return a confirmed positive test.

"I'm just grateful," Gobert, who sunk the first and last points of the match, told ESPN. "Just grateful to be able to do what I love to do. After everything that I've personally and everything the world is going through right now, to be able to keep inspiring millions of kids around the world and keep spreading positivity is just a blessing.

"And it's great to start with a win, of course."

Gobert had caused consternation by mocking the league's distancing protocols at media events by breathing on and touching podium microphones days before his positive test.

Donovan Mitchell, who also tested positive, did not speak with Gobert for a month after the shutdown, as he was angry with his team-mate's perceived carelessness around the locker room.

Perhaps fittingly, it was a Mitchell dribble that allowed Gobert to sink the decisive free throws with 6.9 seconds left.

"A lot of people probably won't be able to probably say the things they want to say to try to break our team apart," said Gobert. "Like I said, life works in mysterious ways."

Mitchell added: "That also kind of stops y'all from talking about it, to be honest with you.

"At the end, we're basketball players. We go out there and make the right play. He did a hell of a job. I try to find my way and find guys who get open. For me, at the end of the game, it's about making the right read. I've told y'all a thousand times I'm trying to be a better passer, better playmaker as a whole. To be able to do that in that situations just shows the steps I've made.

"It's just me trusting him and him trusting me. That's really what it is... He had the first two points, and for that [play] to end it, it should kind of seal everything as far as talking about all that extra stuff."

The Utah Jazz claimed a narrow 106-104 win over the New Orleans Pelicans as the NBA made its long-awaited return amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 forced the 2019-20 season to be postponed in March, but the league resumed behind closed doors in Orlando, Florida on Thursday.

Donovan Mitchell (20 points) and Rudy Gobert (14 points, 12 rebounds) produced when it mattered most to lead the Jazz past the Pelicans at Walt Disney World Resort, where both teams kneeled in unison for the United States national anthem.

Zion Williamson (13 points) was declared fit to play for the playoff-chasing Pelicans, having been listed as questionable, though he only featured for 15 minutes.

The number one draft pick helped the Pelicans earn a half-time lead over the Jazz, who trailed by eight points heading into the final quarter.

However, the Jazz – fourth in the Western Conference – rallied on the back of an 11-1 run midway through to the fourth period to take the lead.

In a tense finish, Gobert – the first NBA player to contract coronavirus which ultimately led to the league's hiatus – made a pair of free throws to put the Jazz ahead for good.

Brandon Ingram (23 points) missed a late jumper as the Pelicans fell to 28-37 in the race for the postseason in the west.

A month ago it was reported the relationship between Utah Jazz team-mates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert was "unsalvageable", but the pair are moving on.

Jazz executive vice-president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey said the two All-Stars have since made up and are ready to move forward.

"They're ready to put this behind them, move forward, act professionally," Lindsey said on a conference call on Tuesday.

"Look, the night of March [11] was really unprecedented, it brought a microscope to our team, and we get it. With that said, we're very pleased with the collective makeup of our group – Donovan and Rudy in particular – and we look forward to moving forward.

"They've said their piece to each other. They've both visited at the ownership level, at management level, at the coaches' level, the players' level with each other, they're fully participating in our Zoom workouts."

Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus on March 11, which promptly triggered the league to suspend its season. A day later Mitchell tested positive, and he said Gobert did not take the illness seriously and was careless with the way he conducted himself. The following week on ABC, Mitchell said it "took a while for me to kind of cool off" at Gobert.

Their relationship is no longer shattered, according to Lindsey, and they are ready to work together when the season resumes to help Utah continue their playoff push. When the season went on pause, the Jazz were in fourth place in the Western Conference and 1.5 games behind the first-placed Denver Nuggets in the Northwest Division.

"They're ready to put this behind them, move forward, act professionally," Lindsey said.

"We're very pleased with the collective makeup of our group, Donovan and Rudy in particular. We look forward to moving forward."

"We fully expect the team to come together in a great way and continue to move forward as a group," he added. "And I think at the end of the day, Donovan and Rudy – I don't want to speak for them on every matter, they'll speak to themselves, moving forward – but I think at the most basic level, they know they need each other to accomplish the goals that we want to accomplish of being the last team standing in the NBA."

Rudy Gobert downplayed a reported rift with Utah Jazz team-mate Donovan Mitchell following the pair's coronavirus experience.

All-Star Jazz duo Gobert and Mitchell contracted COVID-19 last month, prompting the NBA to suspend the season on March 11, and both have since recovered.

Gobert's careless behaviour prior to testing positive for coronavirus reportedly angered guard Mitchell – the Jazz center apologising after mocking the measures in place to prevent the virus from spreading by jokingly touching reporters' microphones when leaving a news conference before the postponement in March.

Addressing rumours of friction with Mitchell, Gobert said via Instagram Live: "It's true that we didn't speak for a while after this, but we spoke a few days ago.

"We're both ready to go out there and try to win a championship for this team."

Gobert added: "It's not about being unprofessional. You know, everyone has got different relationships -- it's never perfect.

"People that are married, it's never perfect. So you know, me and my team-mates, it's far from perfect. But at the end of the day, we both want the same thing -- and it's winning.

"We're both grown men, and we both are going to do what it takes to win."

"There's no fight," Gobert continued. "It's all about thousands of people are dying every day, and it's all about what we can do to help, what we can do to bring some positive. That's what my focus is on now."

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker and the Cleveland Cavaliers' Andrew Drummond reached the quarter-finals of the NBA 2K20 charity tournament on Sunday.

With the NBA postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, a charity tournament has been put together to raise money in support of COVID-19 relief efforts.

Winner of the single-elimination Xbox One tournament will receive $100,000 to give to charity, and Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant – the top seed – was a high-profile casualty on Friday.

Fifth seed Booker defeated Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets 85-75 in the opening round, while sixth seed Drummond crushed former Golden State Warriors center DaMarcus Cousins 101-49.

Rui Hachimura of the Washington Wizards topped Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell 74-71 and Los Angeles Clippers center Montrezl Harrell eased past Indiana Pacers star Domantas Sabonis 73-51.

The quarters are now set, with Harrell to meet Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr., who stunned Durant on Friday.

Booker will play Hachimura, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young takes on Suns center Deandre Ayton and Drummond goes head-to-head against Clippers guard Patrick Beverley.

The tournament – being aired on ESPN – will continue on Tuesday and conclude on Saturday.

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.

Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and the rest of Utah Jazz's team and staff have been cleared after self-isolating due to coronavirus.

The NBA suspended the league on March 11 after a Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19 moments before Utah were due to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

All-Stars Gobert and Mitchell both subsequently confirmed they had coronavirus, with all Jazz players in either quarantine or isolation since the Thunder game was scrapped.

Now, having served the recommended 14-day period of isolation, all players and staff have been cleared by the Utah Department of Health as they are no longer considered at risk of passing the virus on.

A statement from the Jazz read: "Fourteen days after being tested for COVID-19, all Utah Jazz players and staff have completed their respective periods of isolation and quarantine and have been cleared by the Utah Department of Health [UDOH].

"The UDOH has determined that all Jazz players and staff, including Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, no longer pose a risk of infection to others."

The Jazz added that players would continue to observe social-distancing and only leave their homes for necessary trips.

Shortly after his team's statement, guard Mitchell posted a gif of a child dancing on a chair.

Earlier this week Gobert, who has donated more than $500,000 to part-time employees of the Jazz and coronavirus-related services, said a loss of smell and taste were two of the symptoms he had suffered from.

The NBA season reminds suspended indefinitely, with the United States having nearly 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, more than any other country.

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell feels "fine" as he recovers from coronavirus after speaking out publicly for the first time from self-isolation.

Mitchell contracted COVID-19, along with Jazz team-mate Rudy Gobert, amid the global pandemic, which continues to disrupt sport.

The NBA suspended the season on Wednesday after the Jazz's clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed earlier in the day.

Jazz All-Star Mitchell provided an update on his health via social media on Saturday.

"Just want to say thank you so much for the continued support," Mitchell said in an Instagram video. "It means a lot to me. I feel fine.

"Things are going well. I'm just taking the proper precautions, as were told to me by the health authorities.

"I can't wait to get back out there on the floor and play in front of the best fans in the world. I really miss playing in front of you guys. I'll see you all soon."

Globally, there have been at least 156,000 cases and more than 5,800 deaths from coronavirus.

In the United States, almost 60 people have been killed from over 2,800 cases.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has issued an apology and admitted he is "embarrassed" for his "careless" part in NBA's current coronavirus disruption.

Gobert mocked the measures in place to prevent the virus from spreading by jokingly touching reporters' microphones when leaving a news conference earlier this week.

The 27-year-old has since tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the Jazz's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder to be postponed on Wednesday.

The NBA was subsequently suspended indefinitely, too, although Gobert was not initially named as the player with a positive test result despite widespread media reports.

Gobert, whose Utah teammate Donovan Mitchell has also tested positive for coronavirus, took to social media on Thursday to confirm the diagnosis.

"I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours," he wrote.

"I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis... mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment.

"The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologise to the people that I may have endangered. 

"At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. 

"I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus.

"I am under great care and will fully recover. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love."

Gobert was named the Defensive Player of the Year in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and he was an All-Star for the first time this year.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.