LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both named in the All-NBA First Team on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to face the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

The All-NBA selections were announced as the playoffs hot up in Orlando, although the Lakers duo were the only remaining members of the First Team.

James and Davis were joined by James Harden, whose Houston Rockets they beat in the second round, along with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic.

MVP candidates James and Antetokounmpo were both unanimous votes.

The Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard and playoff nemesis Nikola Jokic headlined the Second Team. Jokic led the Nuggets past the Clippers on Tuesday to complete another remarkable series fightback.

Damian Lillard was also included after carrying the Portland Trail Blazers into the postseason, alongside veteran Chris Paul, who impressed following his trade from the Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Pascal Siakam - disappointing in the playoffs for defending champions the Toronto Raptors - made up the selection.

Meanwhile, in the Third Team, the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum and the Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler are both still alive as Eastern Conference Finals opponents.

Russell Westbrook, part of the Paul trade, got recognition, too, and was joined by Rudy Gobert and Ben Simmons, the latter ending the season injured.

Carmelo Anthony is praying he will be able to stay with the Portland Trail Blazers next season after winning praise from LeBron James for his efforts since making an NBA comeback.

The former New York Knicks forward's career had been in doubt following spells with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets between 2017 and 2019, after which he did not play a game for over a year.

But 10-time All-Star Anthony joined the Blazers in November and impressed with averages of 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists across 58 outings in the regular season.

The 36-year-old saw his postseason come to an end when the team lost 131-122 to James and the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of their playoff series on Saturday, but he again caught the eye with a 27-point outing.

"Proud as hell of my brother Carmelo Anthony doing what he did on his return!!" James wrote on Twitter after the Lakers had sealed their 4-1 first-round win.

James had 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists making he and Anthony – who now hopes to remain with Portland – only the third pair of opposing players aged 35 or older to each score 25 points in a playoff game, per ESPN.

"In my mind, I'll be right back in the fray of things when next season comes," Anthony told reporters.

"I pray that it can be Portland, I think I found a home in Portland.

"You saw why this is a good fit for me. Whenever you find a situation that's comfortable and allows you to be who you are, you want to stay in that situation. 

"There's no need to try different things when something is working."

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said of Anthony: "I feel very honoured to have been able to coach him. He's a Hall of Fame player, and he's a Hall of Fame guy."

LeBron James insisted the return of basketball should not distract people from the most pressing issues facing the United States.

James starred as the Los Angeles Lakers completed a 4-1 series victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs with a 131-122 win on Saturday.

The match in the bubble at Walt Disney World Resort followed a three-day strike amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice after the shooting of Jacob Blake – a black man – in Wisconsin.

And James, who has been an ardent supporter of the action that was initially prompted by the Milwaukee Bucks' decision not to take to the court for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, wants the focus to remain firmly on such matters.

"We are trying to create change. We can't lose sight of what the main thing is," he said, having showcased his on-court influence with 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

"It's not just about me but it's about every other player in this league and how we continue to shed light on things that are going on in our community, things that are going on around America, things that are going on around the world and to have this platform, the NBA platform.

"As the Golden State Warriors said for years and years and years, there is strength in numbers. And that is the case here."

James, along with many in the NBA, was reluctant to return to the court until concrete plans were put in place to begin to address the issues raised by the shooting of Mr Blake, including NBA arenas being used as polling stations for elections.

The 35-year-old is hopeful further progress will be made towards achieving those goals after he and his fellow NBA stars took a stand.

"Hopefully, the past couple days will make a change for the greater good and the future," he said.

"The bubble season will never be forgotten when it comes to sports… but obviously this moment is so much bigger than us playing basketball.

"Hopefully, years on down the line when America is in a better place, that you can look back on to this moment and be like 'that was one of the catapults that got it going'."

LeBron James and Anthony Davis inspired the Los Angeles Lakers to a 4-1 series victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs.

The NBA postseason resumed at Walt Disney World Resort on Saturday following a three-day strike amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice after the shooting of Jacob Blake – a black man – in Wisconsin.

James posted 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, while Davis finished with 43 points in Saturday's 131-122 win in the Western Conference first round.

Davis and James became the first duo since the ABA-NBA merger to score 35-plus points on 70-plus percent shooting each in the same playoff game, per STATS.

The top-seeded Lakers will face either the Houston Rockets or Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks advanced in the Eastern Conference thanks to their 118-104 victory over the Orlando Magic.

The Bucks, who triggered protests throughout professional sports in the United States on Wednesday, were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo in their return to the court.

Bucks star and reigning MVP Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 17 rebounds as the Miami Heat await in the next round.

 

Rockets soar as Harden stars

James Harden posted 31 points to lead the Rockets to a 114-80 rout of the Thunder and a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference. Fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook also returned from injury.

A Nikola Vucevic double-double of 22 points and 15 rebounds were not enough for the eliminated Magic.

In the absence of All-Star team-mate Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum put up 36 points, while Carmelo Anthony had 27 of his own.

 

Rough night for Gallinari and Thunder

Danilo Gallinari managed just one point in the Thunder's heavy loss. He was 0 of five from the field, while missing all three attempts from beyond the arc in 22 minutes. Thunder team-mate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, meanwhile, only posted four points on six-of-eight shooting from the field, and 0 of four from three-point range.

In Orlando's defeat, Gary Clark played 24 minutes and was 0 of four from the field and 0 of three from beyond the arc. He made one of two free throws.

 

LeBron and Davies combine

The two All-Stars continue to flourish in pursuit of the ultimate goal – an NBA championship.

 

Saturday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 118-104 Orlando Magic
Houston Rockets 114-80 Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Lakers 131-122 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Celtics face Raptors

The Eastern Conference second-round series between the Boston Celtics and defending champions the Toronto Raptors gets underway on Sunday.

Cliff Robinson, who became an NBA All-Star with the Portland Trail Blazers and went by the nickname 'Uncle Cliffy', has died at the age of 53.

After spending the first eight years of his career in Portland, Robinson left the Trail Blazers in 1997 and his career took in spells with the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets.

He received the Sixth Man of the Year award in 1993 and a year later made the step up to All-Star status.

Robinson's death was announced by the University of Connecticut, whose Huskies basketball team Robinson represented with distinction before embarking on an NBA career.

The cause of his death was not announced.

Robinson was described as "a legendary player and person" by his former university.

Fellow 1994 All-Star Scottie Pippen posted a picture of himself in Chicago Bulls action against Robinson on Portland duty, saying he felt "heartbroken".

Pippen wrote: "Cliff Robinson was so important to his #Blazers teams and I always enjoyed competing against him. Another brother who left us long before his time. You'll be missed, Uncle Cliffy. RIP"

The Trail Blazers said they were deeply saddened by the news, detailing Robinson's contribution in a statement that read: "His personality and energy were unmatched, and his contributions on the court were unmistakable, helping the Trail Blazers into the playoffs each of his eight seasons with the team.

"His streak of 461 consecutive games played with the Trail Blazers still stands as a franchise record, which is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the team.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to Cliff’s family and loved ones. Uncle Cliffy will be greatly missed by the Trail Blazers and all of Rip City."

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard will leave the NBA bubble in Orlando for further examination of his injured right knee. 

Lillard was on Tuesday listed as out for Game 5 against the Los Angeles Lakers the following day, as a second MRI scan confirmed he had a sprain. 

The five-time All-Star suffered the injury in the third quarter of Monday's 135-115 loss to the Lakers in Game 4, as the eighth-seeded Portland fell 3-1 behind in the best-of-seven series. 

Lillard averaged 30.0 points, 8.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game in the regular season, while he was averaging 24.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds in the playoffs. 

He will undergo further assessment of his injury in Portland, with no time frame for his potential return to action supplied. 

"Damian Lillard will leave the NBA campus in Orland on Thursday and return to Portland for further examination of his injured right knee," the Trail Blazers tweeted. 

"Lillard's availability to return to the Orlando campus is yet to be determined. Further updates will be provided as necessary."

Wednesday's meeting between the Trail Blazers and Lakers was postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their Game 5 against the Orlando Magic. The Houston Rockets' clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder was also called off. 

The Bucks made the decision not to take the floor after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the team's home state. 

Blake's family say he has been left paralysed from the waist down and the incident, footage of which was shared on social media, has led to further protests against racial injustice in the United States. 

They follow demonstrations across the globe in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds called off Wednesday's MLB game in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

All three NBA playoff games at Walt Disney World Resort on Wednesday were postponed amid protests following the shooting of Blake – a black man who was repeatedly shot in the back by police.

It came after the Milwaukee Bucks – the top seeds in the Eastern Conference – decided to boycott Game 5 of their first-round postseason series against the Orlando Magic.

And in baseball, the Brewers followed suit after agreeing not to play their midweek fixture against the Reds at Miller Park in Milwaukee amid protests against racial injustice in the United States.

"The players from the Brewers and Reds have decided to not play tonight's baseball game," a statement from both sets of players said.

"With our community and our nation in such pain, we wanted to draw as much attention to the issues that really matter, especially racial injustice and systemic oppression."

The Seattle Mariners will also sit out MLB action midweek after players agreed to postpone their meeting with the San Diego Padres.

"The Seattle Mariners respect the team's decision not to play tonight's game," a statement read. "The Seattle Mariners stand with our players as they speak out with their words and actions against social injustice."

Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon wrote via Twitter: "There are serious issues in this country. For me, and for many of my teammates, the injustices, violence, death and systemic racism is deeply personal.

"This is impacting not only my community, but very directly my family and friends. Our team voted unanimously not to play tonight.

"Instead of watching us, we hope people will focus on the things more important than sports that are happening."

Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss expressed her full support for NBA players after Wednesday's playoff games were postponed amid protests against racial injustice in the United States.

The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks made the call to boycott Game 5 of their first-round Eastern Conference series against the Orlando Magic midweek following the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Milwaukee had the chance to seal their spot in the second round of the postseason, but opted to sit out at Walt Disney World Resort after Blake, a black man, was repeatedly shot in the back by police in Wisconsin.

The decision was then taken for all three midweek games to be postponed – the Los Angeles Lakers' Western Conference showdown against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder clash.

The 2019-20 season, being played behind closed doors in Orlando, Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic, is now reportedly in jeopardy as players voice their displeasure in the ongoing fight for justice.

But Lakers boss Buss tweeted: "I was excited to see us play - and hopefully close out our series - tonight. But I stand behind our players, today and always.

"After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we all need to work together to say enough is enough. #JusticeForJacobBlake #WeHearYou."

The Magic, meanwhile, also released a statement after sitting out alongside the Bucks in the east.

"Today we stand united with the NBA Office, the National Basketball Players Association, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the league condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of colour," the Magic said.

All three NBA playoff games on Wednesday were postponed amid protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake in the United States.

The Portland Trail Blazers have been dealt a blow after star guard Damian Lillard was ruled out of the Game 5 showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA playoffs.

Lillard will miss Wednesday's crucial clash in the Western Conference first round due to a right knee sprain, the Trail Blazers announced on Tuesday.

The in-form Lillard suffered the injury in the third quarter of Monday's 135-115 loss to the Lakers in Game 4, as the eighth-seeded Trail Blazers fell 3-1 behind in the best-of-seven series.

LeBron's Lakers – the top seeds – can seal their spot in the second round at Walt Disney World Resort midweek.

Lillard averaged 30.0 points, 8.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game in the regular season, while he was averaging 24.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds in the playoffs.

Anthony Davis has eased fears about the severity of the back injury that forced him out of the Los Angeles Lakers' Game 4 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Lakers cruised to a 135-115 victory to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series on Monday, but they were without Davis for most of the second half due to back spasms.

The seven-time All-Star headed to the locker room early in the third quarter - when the Lakers had a huge 91-53 lead - and later watched the rest of the game while standing on the sidelines with an electric stimulation device wrapped around his back.

Davis, who had 18 points in his 18 minutes on the court, does not think it is a major issue, though, as Los Angeles look to seal the series win in Game 5 on Wednesday.

"Back is doing fine. I'll be fine," he told reporters after the game.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 30 points and 10 assists on an emotional night for the franchise, who were remembering the great Kobe Bryant on August 24.

Bryant, who wore the jersey numbers 8 and 24 during a decorated career with the Lakers, was killed in a helicopter crash in January, along with his daughter and seven other people.

James arrived at the game wearing a Bryant Lakers jersey and Davis revealed he has seen a different side to the four-time MVP since the postseason began.

"Obviously we've kicked it up a notch," Davis added.

"His level of focus is definitely increased and the entire team's level of focus has increased. He's very detailed about everything. He's in there with coaches for film sessions, he's talking to me during film sessions.

"He wants to win and I want to win and we know that it's going to take both of us to do it, and the entire team, so we're just continuing to find ways to get better, even after wins like this.

"There's always something we can be better at for Game 5. I'm pretty sure that he's going to have a list of things for me tomorrow and the entire team."

The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks cruised into 3-1 series leads in the NBA playoffs on Monday.

The Lakers made it three straight wins over the Portland Trail Blazers with a 135-115 victory, taking a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference first-round series.

LeBron James produced a huge performance with a double-double of 30 points and 10 assists for the Lakers.

Anthony Davis posted 18 points before exiting due to back spasms, while Kyle Kuzma contributed 18 off the bench.

While Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds, the Trail Blazers lost star Damian Lillard (11 points) to a knee injury.

The Bucks grabbed a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Orlando Magic thanks to a 121-106 win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo unsurprisingly led Milwaukee with a double-double of 31 points and 15 rebounds, plus eight assists.

Khris Middleton struggled from the field, going seven-of-19, but still finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Dynamic Dragic sees Miami through, Thunder draw level

Goran Dragic had a team-high 23 points as the Miami Heat completed a 4-0 series sweep of the Indiana Pacers courtesy of a 99-87 win.

Miami were also led by Bam Adebayo, who finished with 14 points, 19 rebounds and six assists.

The Western Conference first-round series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets is locked at 2-2. Dennis Schroder had 30 points off the bench as the Thunder won Game 4 117-114.

Thunder forward Shai Gilgeous-Alexander managed a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.

The Rockets were beaten despite a fine performance by James Harden, who had 32 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds.

 

Bad Brogdon

Indiana are out of the playoffs and Malcolm Brogdon struggled for the Pacers, going five-of-16 from the field in Game 4. The guard finished with 13 points in 40 minutes.

 

LeBron from range

James hit a three-pointer from just over half-court in the Lakers' win.

Monday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 121-106 Orlando Magic
Oklahoma City Thunder 117-114 Houston Rockets
Miami Heat 99-87 Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Lakers 135-115 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Mavericks face Clippers

Luka Doncic inspired the Dallas Mavericks to draw level in their series with the Los Angeles Clippers. The crucial Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round series is on Tuesday.

LeBron James immediately felt "good vibes" with Anthony Davis at the start of the season and the Los Angeles Lakers continue to reap the rewards.

After James endured a disappointing first year in LA and missed out on the 2018-19 playoffs, the Lakers agreed a blockbuster trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Davis.

They gave up Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks, but the Lakers have so far found good value in the deal.

Led by James and Davis, the team finished as the top seed in the West and have turned around their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers to lead 2-1.

Speaking after the pair combined for 67 points, 23 rebounds and 16 assists in a Game 3 victory, James said: "We definitely work well together.

"There were all these questions going into the season about whether myself and AD can work well together - I think we've shown that over the course of this season. We just try to work off one another."

Four-time MVP James revealed their close relationship was forged immediately after the trade went through as Davis travelled to LA.

"You know I'm big in energy and people. You always hear this term like 'good vibes', but I truly can sense it," James said. "It was very organic.

"There was nothing pushed or rushed or whatever the case may be, we just let it happen, let the relationship happen organically - and it's just grown over the course of this whole year.

"We're two guys who know who we are. We know who we are as human beings. We're not trying to be nobody else but our own identity, our own selves.

"And when you know yourself and when you're confident in what you do - both on and off the floor - and you know what you represent, then there's no ego. There's no ego.

"We want both of us to succeed, both on and off the floor. We want our families to be happy. We want each other to try to be as happy as possible.

"There's no ego, so when you're able to figure that out in life - who you are and what you stand for - then nothing else matters."

Asked why the pair get on so well, Davis replied with a laugh: "I don't know. It's kind of like we have no choice, to be honest.

"We're two guys who just like to have fun. We like to work. We like to win. But off the court, we've just kind of clicked.

"We're just two guys who like to have fun, two guys who are big kids and play Xbox and have game nights back in LA. Stuff like that is kind of unique."

LeBron James says it was "surreal" to surpass Tim Duncan for playoff wins because the former San Antonio Spurs great "lived in the postseason".

The Los Angeles Lakers star contributed 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to Saturday's 116-108 Game 3 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, claiming a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.

In the process, James claimed his 158th career postseason victory, moving clear of five-time champion Duncan and closing on 161-win all-time leader Derek Fisher.

The latest achievement of a glittering career was a source of great pride for James.

He said: "It's just always surreal for me when my name is associated with any of the greats. Obviously, you know how great Tim Duncan was in this league with that franchise.

"I had my battles with him and was a team-mate with him in the Olympics. Just seeing what he was able to accomplish, not only in the regular season but, more importantly, in the postseason...

"Basically, he lived in the postseason. That was his address.

"So, for me to be linked with a great in the Big Fundamental, it means a lot - not only to myself but to my home town and whoever has been following my career."

The Lakers have now enjoyed back-to-back wins after dropping the first game of the series to the eighth-seeded Blazers, but James is still determined to keep improving.

"At the end of the day, we want to get better every game throughout the series," he explained.

"We played extremely well in Game 2, we played really well tonight, but there's still some things we can get better at. We know that Portland's going to be better in Game 4.

"We have to have the same mindset going into Game 4, knowing that we're desperate and they're desperate as well. Who plays and who finds their keys and makes the least amount of mistakes will become victorious.

"Every game has its own challenges. We begin to prepare for them tomorrow, watch a lot of film and see the ways we can get better."

Portland were hampered by Damian Lillard's dislocated finger, suffered in Game 2, although he still top-scored for the Blazers on Saturday with 34 points.

"Obviously, I dislocated it, so it's going to have some effect in terms of ball-handling," Lillard said. "Tonight the biggest thing I felt was going up to shoot, gathering the ball.

"Sometimes I would subconsciously try to ease up on it, so I would lose the ball a little bit.

"When I'm making moves, in the middle of my dribble, sometimes I would ease up on it because I would feel the pain and lose the ball a little bit. It would stop me in my tracks.

"But I did as much treatment as I could. I tried to just ignore it. Once you decide to step out there, it is what it is. You've got to go out there and do what you've got to do. That's what I tried to do."

LeBron James inspired the Los Angeles Lakers to a 116-108 win and 2-1 series lead over the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs.

James erupted for 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as the top-seeded Lakers trumped the Trail Blazers in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round series on Saturday.

At age 35, James became the oldest player to reach both 38 points and eight assists in a playoff game, surpassing Michael Jordan (34 in 1997), per STATS.

James moved second on the all-time list for playoff wins with 158, leapfrogging Tim Duncan and closing in on Derek Fisher (161), while the three-time NBA champion climbed up to third on the all-time list for three-points made in the playoffs (375).

Anthony Davis contributed his own double-double of 29 points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers benefited from a 40-point third quarter to see off eighth seeds the Trail Blazers in Orlando, Florida.

Damian Lillard's 34 points were not enough for the Trail Blazers, while CJ McCollum (28) and Carmelo Anthony (20) also impressed at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Giannis fuels Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Milwaukee Bucks, who earned a 2-1 series lead against the Orlando Magic in their Eastern Conference opening-round matchup. The reigning MVP had 35 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in a 121-107 triumph. Antetokounmpo was 12 of 14 from the field.

Dennis Schroder (29 points), Chris Paul (26), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (23) and Danilo Gallinari (20) all impressed as the Oklahoma City Thunder outlasted the Houston Rockets 119-107 in overtime. Oklahoma City avoided falling 3-0 behind in the Western Conference series. The Thunder outscored the Rockets 15-3 in OT.

James Harden scored a game-high 38 points, but the Rockets still lost. He fouled out 53 seconds into overtime.

Malcolm Brogdon starred with playoff highs of 34 points and 14 assists. However, the Indiana Pacers were beaten 124-115 by the Miami Heat, who lead the Eastern Conference series 3-0.

Jimmy Butler's 27 points and a Bam Adebayo double-double (22 points and 11 rebounds) put the Heat on the cusp of a series sweep.

 

Lakers struggle from the line

While the Lakers won, they were far from convincing at the free-throw line. The Lakers were just 65.1 per cent from the line, compared to Portland's 94.7 per cent. Davis – who missed four of his first five attempts – was seven of 14 and James 12 of 17.

 

Harden with the euro step

The Rockets guard weaved his way past two opponents en route to the rim.

 

Saturday's results

Los Angeles Lakers 116-108 Portland Trail Blazers
Oklahoma City Thunder 119-107 Houston Rockets (OT)
Miami Heat 124-115 Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks 121-107 Orlando Magic

 

Raptors face Nets

Defending champions the Toronto Raptors can seal a series sweep against the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference on Sunday. The Philadelphia 76ers, meanwhile, will look to avoid a 4-0 whitewash in their matchup with the Boston Celtics.

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