The Charlotte Hornets announced Charles Lee as their new head coach Thursday, with the current Boston Celtics assistant tabbed to take over a team with the NBA's longest active streak of missing the playoffs.

ESPN reports that Lee, who previously served as an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks during that team's NBA title run in 2020-21, has agreed to a four-year contract.

Lee will replace Steve Clifford, who stepped down at the end of this season but will remain with the Hornets in a front-office advisory role. Charlotte finished 21-61 in 2023-24, tied with the Portland Trail Blazers for the third-lowest win total in the league.

“The opportunity to be the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets is a dream come true,” Lee said in a statement.  “I want to thank (owner) Rick Schnall, (owner) Gabe Plotkin and (Vice President of Basketball Operations) Jeff Peterson for the trust they are placing in me to lead this team."

Lee has had a hand in a number of successful campaigns during his 10-year stint as an NBA assistant, a stretch that began with the Atlanta Hawks in 2014. The 39-year-old has been a part of nine post-season appearances and seven division title winners during that span, with three of those teams (the 2014–15 Hawks, 2018–19 Bucks and 2020–21 Bucks) advancing to the Eastern Conference finals. 

The former Bucknell University star has been on the staff of four of the last six teams that finished the regular season with the NBA's best record, including this past one when the Celtics compiled a 64-18 mark.

Lee also has familiarity with new Hornets vice president of basketball operations Jeff Peterson, as the two worked together in Atlanta during Lee's four seasons with the Hawks from 2014-18.

“We are excited to welcome Charles Lee as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets,” said Peterson. “His high character and his ability to connect with players while also instilling a culture of accountability will serve us well as we construct a competitive team built for long-term success. Charles possesses a championship pedigree with a wide range of basketball knowledge and NBA experience, has a tremendous work ethic and is a great communicator. He shares our vision for this organisation, and I look forward to partnering with him in building something special here in the Carolinas."

Lee left the Hawks in 2018 to begin a five-year stint with the Bucks under Mike Budenholzer and was promoted to associate head coach in 2022. He was hired as the Celtics' top assistant under Joe Mazzulla in June.

The Maryland native now joins a franchise that has missed the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons, three more than the teams that currently hold the second-longest drought (Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs).

Charlotte's future does offer some promise, however. In 2023 No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller, 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball and center Mark Williams, the Hornets have three potential building blocks that are all 22 years old or younger.

Ball has played in only 58 of a possible 164 games over the past two seasons due to ankle injuries, however, and Williams was limited to just 19 games this season by a back issue. 

"The Hornets have a talented young core of players, and I’m excited about our future and what we can build here," Lee said. "There are few places as passionate about basketball as the Carolinas, and I look forward to coming to Charlotte and getting to work.”




Miles Bridges' 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left in overtime capped a stunning rally by the Charlotte Hornets, who snapped the Boston Celtics' six-game winning streak with a 121-118 victory on Monday.

The Hornets trailed by 11 points with six minutes remaining in regulation and overcame a 45-point night from Boston star Jayson Tatum to end a run of six consecutive home losses. LaMelo Ball led the comeback with 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, while former Celtic Gordon Hayward scored six of his 20 points in overtime.

Bridges added 14 points and 15 rebounds in his third game back from a suspension for a domestic violence arrest that caused him to miss the entire 2022-23 season and the first 10 games of this one.

The Celtics appeared on the way towards another victory before Charlotte scored the final nine points of the fourth quarter. Ball hit a key 3-pointer during the late run and forced overtime with a driving layup with 7.2 seconds remaining.

Tatum's 3-pointer with 57.6 seconds left in regulation put Boston back up by a 116-114 score, but Ball fed Hayward for a dunk on the ensuing possession and after the Celtics' Jaylen Brown missed a 3-pointer, Bridges buried a 25-foot jumper with time winding down to give Charlotte a 119-116 lead.

Payton Pritchard went 5 of 8 from 3-point range and recorded 21 points off the bench for Boston, while Tatum added 13 rebounds and six assists.

Curry extends 3-point record as Warriors halt six-game skid

Stephen Curry made five more 3-pointers and collected 32 points to get the Golden State Warriors back on track with a 121-116 win over the Houston Rockets.

Curry, the NBA's all-time leader in 3-point field goals made, finished 5 of 9 from beyond the arc to become the first in league history with 13 consecutive games with four or more triples to begin a season. 

Klay Thompson broke out of a shooting slump with 20 points to help the Warriors end a six-game losing streak. Chris Paul added 15 points and 12 assists, while Dario Saric contributed 18 points off the bench. 

Thompson, who ended 5 of 11 from 3-point range, had 12 first-half points as Golden State built a 63-53 lead at intermission. Curry scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter to allow the Warriors to stay in front the rest of the way.

The Rockets lost for the third straight time following a six-game winning streak despite Alperen Sengun's 30 points and 13 rebounds. Fred VanVleet dished out 14 assists for Houston but went just 3 of 13 from the field while being held to 10 points.

Pelicans snap Kings' winning streak with 36-point blowout

Brandon Ingram scored 31 points and Zion Williamson had 26 as the New Orleans Pelicans cooled off the Sacramento Kings with a 129-93 rout.

The Pelicans shot 54 per cent from the field and led by as many as 41 points in ending Sacramento's six-game winning streak. Ingram made all five of his 3-point attempts and shot 11 of 18 overall, while Williamson converted 12 of his 16 field goal tries and added five assists and three steals.

Williamson racked up 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting during a dominant first half as the Pelicans took a 66-53 lead into the break. New Orleans then broke the game open by outscoring the Kings by a 34-16 margin in the third quarter, with Ingram delivering 18 points for the period.

Sacramento shot just 24.4 per cent from 3-point range, including a 2-of-12 performance from leading scorer De'Aaron Fox. 

Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 16 points. Fox ended with a season-low 14 after coming into the contest averaging 31.9 per game. 

A 30-point triple-double from LaMelo Ball was not enough to get the Charlotte Hornets across the line against the Dallas Mavericks.

Ball scored 23 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter of Charlotte’s 124-118 defeat, to go along with 10 rebounds and 13 assists.

A quiet start from Luka Doncic allowed the Hornets to gain an early advantage, but the Slovenian eventually found his groove to lead the Mavericks’ second-half comeback.

He finished with 23 points, while Kyrie Irving added 18.

The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 112-100 on the back of Desmond Bane’s 30-point effort.

The visitors left it until late, launching a 24-point comeback in the final quarter to pick up their first win of the season.

Jerami Grant top-scored for Portland with 27.

The Phoenix Suns snapped a three-game losing streak with a 120-106 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Kevin Durant stepped up in the absence of injured starting duo Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, scoring a season-high 41 points in the 14-point victory.

The Cleveland Cavaliers surprised the Golden State Warriors 115-104, while Scottie Barnes scored 30 points to lead the Toronto Raptors over the San Antonio Spurs 123-116.

Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford made it clear on Monday that he understands the franchise must begin winning soon or risk losing young star LaMelo Ball.

Ball, 21, was the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and he was named the 2021 Rookie of the Year after averaging 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game.

He went up a level in his sophomore season, raising his averages to 20.1 points, 7.6 assists and 6.7 rebounds, and despite the Hornets struggling to the fourth-worst record in the league this time around, Ball again showed significant improvement.

In year three, Ball became one of the league's most aggressive three-point shooters, with his 4.0 made threes per game trailing only Damian Lillard (4.2), Klay Thompson (4.4) and Stephen Curry (4.9), while shooting a very respectable 37.1 per cent on 10.6 attempts per contest.

He also finished this season sixth in assists per game (8.4), and top-30 in both points per game (23.3) and steals per game (1.3), although his 36 games played was by far the lowest total of his career.

Ball is unquestionably the brightest prospect in the Hornets' organisation, and Clifford told reporters it is crucial that the team holds up their end of the bargain to convince him to stick around long-term.

"He badly wants to win," Clifford said. "When you're at his level, there are certain expectations. You're going to be compared to the other point guards his age that have had – not incredible playoff success – but have had some.

"It's important to his career."

When asked Monday about his long-term future in Charlotte, Ball said he "plays it by the day."

"I love it here," Ball said. "I can't really tell the future. We'll just see how it goes and go from there."

As for Clifford's comments about it being critical for the Hornets to start winning to keep him here, Ball replied: "For sure. The main thing is winning. Life is better when you win."

The Hornets will be encouraged by comments from starting wing P.J. Washington, who was a lottery pick in 2019, and enjoyed a career-best season at age 24.

Washington showed he is perhaps more capable than the supporting role he has been cast in, highlighted by a stunning 43-point, six-rebound, five-assist performance in a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder in late March.

"This is really where I want to be, and I haven't thought about being anywhere else," Washington said. "Everybody is here. My family is here, my kids are here. This is home for me now."

LaMelo Ball will be out for the rest of the NBA season after the Charlotte Hornets point guard underwent surgery on a fractured right ankle.

Ball suffered the injury during the Hornets' 117-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

The 21-year-old went down awkwardly with the ball during the third quarter.

Charlotte revealed Ball has undergone a successful operation and further updates will be provided on his recovery.

The third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Ball averaged 23.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 1.3 steals in the 36 games he played this season.

He became the fourth-youngest All-Star in NBA history when he featured in the 2021-22 showpiece.

Ball was named the NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2020-21 season, having averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals.

Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball will miss the rest of the NBA campaign through injury, with the news coming just a week after it was confirmed his brother will also remain sidelined until next season.

Ball fractured his right ankle during Monday's 117-106 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Chicago Bulls star Lonzo Ball has not played at all in 2022-23 due to a knee injury that has required multiple surgeries, and the Bulls said last week that due to continued "discomfort during high-level basketball-related activities", the player would not be risked before the end of the season.

LaMelo – a 2022 NBA All-Star – has had issues with his left ankle throughout the season, meaning he was only able to play 36 games, and The Athletic's Shams Charania tweeted on Tuesday that he will "miss the remainder of the season", according to sources.

The 21-year-old has averaged 23.3 points per game this season, with 8.4 assists and 6.4 rebounds.

The Hornets are well short of playoff contention, with a record of 20-43, though are on a five-game win streak after Monday's win against the only team with a worse record than them in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons.

The Charlotte Hornets have confirmed point guard LaMelo Ball fractured his right ankle during Monday's 117-106 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Ball went down awkwardly with the ball in the third quarter, before being subbed out of the game.

The Hornets revealed the severity of the injury for the 2020 NBA Draft third overall selection after the game.

"Ball suffered a fracture in his right ankle in tonight’s home game vs. Detroit," the Hornets update said.

"Ball left the game in the third quarter and an x-ray taken at the arena revealed the fracture. Ball will be listed as out for the Hornets’ next game vs. Phoenix on March 1 and updates regarding his status will be provided as appropriate."

The 2022 NBA All-Star has struggled with his left ankle throughout the season, forcing him to miss multiple stretches of games.

The Hornets are 14th in the Eastern Conference with a 20-43 record and are not in playoff contention with 19 games remaining, although Hornets head coach Steve Clifford did not say how long Ball is expected to be out.

"It's just a basketball ankle and there is nothing that you can do about that," Clifford said.

LeBron James collected another pair of milestones as he made history in the Los Angeles Lakers' 129-123 overtime victory against the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Playing on the road in Madison Square Garden, James became the first 38-year-old to ever record a 20-point triple-double, finishing with 28 points on 11-of-25 shooting, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

He also came into the contest eight assists away from overtaking Steve Nash for fourth-place on the all-time assist leaderboard, with James dishing assist number 10,336 early in the fourth period. 

James is 908 assists behind the still-active Chris Paul (11,246) – which would take him another 124 games to reach at his current career average of 7.3 per game – while he is 240 games at that pace away from the second-placed Jason Kidd (12,091).

Against the Knicks, the Lakers had to pull themselves off the canvas after their six-point lead with under two minutes left evaporated, as Jalen Brunson tied the game at 114-114 with 24 seconds on the clock.

But the Lakers had the answer this time, holding the Knicks scoreless for a near three-minute stretch in the five-minute extra period to pull away.

There were extremely encouraging signs for Los Angeles in the first game sporting their new-look starting five, with Anthony Davis making his first start since December 16, and his first alongside new trade acquisition Rui Hachimura.

Davis looked back to his best with 27 points (nine-of-16 shooting), nine rebounds and two steals, while Hachimura put together an efficient 19 points (eight-of-12) with nine rebounds and strong defense on Julius Randle.

With the win, the Lakers improved their record to 24-28, and sit just three games out of the Western Conference's six seed.

Kawhi dominates the Bulls on both ends

Any concerns about Kawhi Leonard's prime passing him by have been quashed after the latest standout performance from the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Leonard was clearly the best player on the court in the Los Angeles Clippers' 108-103 road win against the Chicago Bulls, scoring a game-high 33 points (11-of-24) while also snatching a season-high five steals with two blocks.

It was the kind of performance that has earned the 31-year-old three First Team All-NBA and three NBA All-Defensive First Team selections, and it cancelled out one of the more well-rounded games of Zach LaVine's career.

LaVine grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds for the Bulls to go with 18 points (six-of-14) and eight assists, also adding a steal and a block.

Giannis overpowers the Hornets

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo continued to build a convincing case for his third MVP during his side's 124-115 home win against the Charlotte Hornets.

Antetokounmpo led both teams with 34 points and 18 rebounds, shooting a terrific 14-of-24 from the field and a more than respectable five-of-six from the free throw line.

Despite being on the losing side, Hornets franchise player LaMelo Ball produced a head-turning stat line with 27 points (10-of-26), 11 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

The Bucks own the third-best record in the league at 34-17.

LaMelo Ball is confident his latest ankle injury will not keep him out long despite exiting the Charlotte Hornets' 122-117 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Ball hurt his left ankle for the third time this season in the third quarter when team-mate P.J. Washington landed on him as both jumped to block a Jabari Smith shot.

The Hornets point guard and 2020 NBA Draft third pick overall remained on the ground in pain and appeared unable to bear weight on his left leg as he was helped to the locker room. He was ruled out with a "left ankle sprain".

"I can walk and everything, so I'll just take it day by day and see what it is," Ball told reporters.

"I feel a little better. It don't feel like them other ones so I think I'll be straight."

The game was only Ball's 21st this season, enduring an interrupted campaign where he is averaging 24.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 8.4 assists.

Ball said he would not require an MRI scan while Hornets head coach Steve Clifford was a bit more circumspect.

"We'll see how he feels tomorrow and that's really it," Clifford said.

Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball could make his return against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

Ball has only played three games this season after suffering an ankle sprain in pre-season, before sustaining another in November's clash with the Indiana Pacers when he stepped on the foot of a fan sitting courtside.

The 21-year-old – who was named NBA rookie of the year in June 2021 – has missed 24 games in all this campaign with the two ankle injuries, averaging 19.3 points, 7.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds across the three games he was able to participate in.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Ball has been "upgraded to questionable" for the game with the Pistons and is "hopeful" of playing, with the intention being for him to warm-up pre-game to "see if he's ready".

Ball made 75 appearances for Charlotte last season, averaging 20.1 points per game as well as 7.6 assists and 6.7 rebounds.

Largely without Ball, it has been a poor 2022-23 for the Hornets so far, sitting on 7-20, though they host the only team with a worse win percentage than them on Wednesday when the 7-22 Pistons come to Spectrum Center.

The Atlanta Hawks avoided elimination from the NBA Play-In Tournament on Wednesday, comfortably defeating the Charlotte Hornets 132-103, despite a poor shooting night from Trae Young.

The Hawks shot 52.1 per cent collectively even with Trae Young's eight-of-24 from the floor, with all five starters scoring in double-digits along with Bogdan Bogdanovic from the bench, who added 13 points.

Young started slow with three-of-13, matching LaMelo Ball for the first half, but was able to find his teammates early, particularly getting easy buckets for Clint Capela out of high pick-and-roll action.

Finishing with 31 assists for the night, the Hawks moved the ball fluidly in comparison to the Hornets, who could not generate clean looks on the way to 37.8 per cent shooting from the floor and 22 assists collectively.

Ball and Terry Rozier shot a combined 15-of-47, while the former went four-of-14 from three-point range despite eight assists and five rebounds.

Atlanta will now face the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the winner earning a Playoff matchup against the Eastern Conference's first seed, the Miami Heat.

McCollum leads Pelicans past Spurs

C.J. McCollum was the star of the show as the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the San Antonio Spurs 113-103 to earn a chance at the Western Conference eighth seed.

McCollum was on fire early, particularly in the second quarter, where he went a perfect six-for-six from the field to score 19 points in the period, on his way to final figures of 32 points (12-of-23 shooting), seven assists and six rebounds.

He was supported in style by Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas, who combined for 49 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists, while rookie defensive sensation Herb Jones had two steals and two blocks.

Jones also did a great job on Spurs All-Star Dejounte Murray, holding him to five-of-19 shooting for his 16 points.

With the win, the Pelicans will play the Los Angeles Clippers in a game where the victor will earn a seven-game series against the Phoenix Suns in round one of the Playoffs.


With the league MVP seemingly down to a two-horse race between Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, the Denver Nuggets big man dominated yet again as his side beat the Charlotte Hornets 113-109.

Jokic, who is following up his MVP win last season with the greatest playmaking season of any centre in the 21st century, finished the contest with 26 points (nine-of-17 shooting), 19 rebounds and 11 assists.

All five Nuggets starters scored at least 14 points, with Jokic and Aaron Gordon both finishing with a plus-minus of at least plus 20, indicating that it was Denver's mediocre bench unit that struggled enough to keep things close.

Reigning Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball was terrific for the Hornets, scoring 22 points (eight-of-21 shooting) with 11 assists and six rebounds.

Boston sits stars, lose one seed

Playing without star duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Boston Celtics pushed fellow Eastern Conference contenders Toronto Raptors all the way before ultimately losing 115-112 in overtime.

The star of the show was Raptor Pascal Siakam, who hit two clutch free throws to send the game to overtime on his way to final tallies of 40 points (17-of-29 shooting) and 13 rebounds to go with three steals and two blocks.

Despite the loss, which sent the Celtics from the one seed toppling down to the four seed, they are now 22-4 in their past 26 games dating back to the end of January.


Miami regain top spot, Barrett beats Bulls

With Boston falling out of the Eastern Conference's top seed, the Miami Heat have reclaimed it, beating the Sacramento Kings 123-100 after a recent rough stretch.

Jimmy Butler (27 points on 10-of-14 shooting) and Bam Adebayo (22 points on 10-of-16 shooting) starred for Miami, while Sixth Man of the Year lock Tyler Herro chipped in with 20 points off the bench.

Meanwhile, the flailing Chicago Bulls have now lost six of their past eight after another disappointing defeat at the hands of the New York Knicks 109-104.

R.J. Barrett continued his ascension, scoring 28 points on 10-of-24 shooting in 43 minutes.

Devin Booker top scored with 38 points as the table-topping Phoenix Suns withstood the Chicago Bulls' late charge to win 127-124 on Monday.

Booker shot 14 of 23 from the field including five three-pointers with four rebounds and five assists, while veteran guard Chris Paul contributed 19 points and 11 assists.

The Suns guard reached 30 points for the third time in the past four games as Phoenix won their 13th game from their past 14.

The Bulls charged into contention with a 41-25 fourth-quarter run after the Suns had led by 27 points in the third.

DeMar DeRozan top scored for Chicago with 38 points along with five rebounds and four assists and Zach LaVine returned from injury with 32 points, with six rebounds and eight assists.


Clutch Klay leads Warriors past OKC

Klay Thompson top scored for the Golden State Warriors with 21 points including some clutch three-pointers and Stephen Curry had a near triple-double with 18 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists in a 110-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals as the Utah Jazz won 113-104 over the New York Knicks, while seven Miami Heat players scored double figures in a 121-100 win over the Washington Wizards.


New All-Star Ball struggles

On the same day he received his debut All-Star call, LaMelo Ball struggled as the Charlotte Hornets went down 116-101 to the Toronto Raptors. Ball shot five-of-19 from the field and one-of-six from beyond the arc for his 15 points, while he also had seven turnovers.

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball and San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray will both make their NBA All-Star Game debuts after being added as injury replacements on Monday.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed that the pair would be added with Draymond Green (back) and Kevin Durant (knee) out injured.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will come into the Eastern Conference's starting line-up for Durant.

Durant will still participate as the east's captain in the All-Star Draft on Thursday alongside Western Conference captain LeBron James.

Last season's NBA Rookie of the Year Ball is averaging 19.6 points, 7.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game this season.

Murray is averaging 19.6 points, 9.2 assists, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals so far in 2021-22.

The All-Star Game is due to take place on February 20 in Cleveland.

Anthony Davis stepped up with a double-double in LeBron James' absence as the Los Angeles Lakers ended their three-game skid with a 99-94 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

James was absent for the fourth straight game with a knee issue but Davis took charge with 30 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks.

Russell Westbrook contributed with a double-double with nine points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists, while Carmelo Anthony added 24 points for the Lakers. Norman Powell landed five three-pointers in his 30-point haul for Portland.

The Lakers had raced to a 12-point quarter-time lead but the Blazers narrowed that to one point by half-time before seesawing second half which went down to the final moments.

The win means the Lakers improve to 25-27 but remain ninth in the Western Conference.

Embiid, LaMelo and Doncic star in defeats

Joel Embiid had 27 points and 14 rebounds but could not lift the Philadelphia 76ers as they went down 106-103 to the Washington Wizards. Spencer Dinwiddie (14 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) had a triple-double for the Wizards, while Kyle Kuzma added 24 points.

LaMelo Ball was excellent in a losing side as well, providing a career-high 38 points including four triples with six rebounds and nine assists as the Charlotte Hornets went down 113-107 to the Boston Celtics. Luka Doncic also had 40 points as the Dallas Mavericks lost 120-114 in overtime to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Ja Morant had 23 points, four rebounds and nine assists as the Memphis Grizzlies won 120-108 over the New York Knicks, while the Utah Jazz snapped their five-game skid with a 108-104 win over the Denver Nuggets.


Nets skid extends to six games

The Brooklyn Nets slumped to their sixth straight defeat, their worst skid since January 2020, after a 112-101 loss to the Sacramento Kings. James Harden, nursing a sore hand, only managed four points shooting two-of-11 from the field, which was his lowest return since May 15 last year.

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