Rory McIlroy and LeBron James produced memorable moments on June 19, a date that means much to England cricket fans but one their Australian counterparts will always want to forget.

McIlroy was magnificent as he won the 2011 U.S. Open, five years before James and the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a memorable triumph over the Golden State Warriors.

As for the Ashes rivals, England's batsmen were undoubtedly on top in 2018 as they put Australia's poor bowlers to the sword in Nottingham.

Take a look back at some of the memorable moments that have happened on this day through the years.

 

2011: Major breakthrough for McIlroy

Just over two months after enduring a last-round meltdown that ended his hopes of Masters glory at Augusta, McIlroy secured his first major - and in some style, too.

The Congressional course was no match for the Northern Irishman, who left the field fighting it out for second place - Jason Day would eventually finish a distant runner-up - and had the statisticians trawling through the records.

McIlroy's eight-shot triumph was the biggest margin of victory in the tournament's history, while his final score of 16 under was a record for strokes under par (a feat matched by Brooks Koepka in 2017). 

2016: Cavs stun Warriors to reign at last

Having returned for a second spell with Cleveland, the team that drafted him back in 2003, James finally steered the Cavs to glory in the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors appeared on course to retain their title when they led the best-of-seven series 3-1. LeBron, however, had other ideas, inspiring his team to rally from the brink of defeat to claim the city's first professional sports title in 52 years.

His triple-double was influential in deciding the outcome of Game 7, though his most notable play was 'The Block' on Andre Iguodala late in proceedings. Yet it was Kyrie Irving who made the key shot with just under a minute remaining, sinking a three-pointer that helped clinch a 93-89 triumph.

2018: Australia suffer as England run up the score

Going, going gone. England's one-day team made history in the third match of the series against Australia, smashing their way to a world record total in the 50-over format.

Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales both made centuries as the hosts amassed 481-6 at Trent Bridge. Captain Eoin Morgan weighed in with a rapid 67, helping England ease past their previous highest score of 444-3, made against Pakistan just under two years earlier at the same venue.

Australia could only muster 237 all out in reply to suffer their heaviest ever loss in ODI cricket in terms of runs (242 runs, to be precise). They would end up being swept in the series too, going down 5-0.

The Golden State Warriors and Tiger Woods both became champions again on June 16 in previous years, while Didier Deschamps' France also started their road to glory in Russia.

Steve Kerr's Warriors have dominated the NBA for much of the past half-decade, but five years ago they were trying to end a long championship drought.

Woods was already a multiple major winner by 2008, though his victory at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines while he essentially played on one leg was one of his most incredible successes.

Here we take a look at major sporting events that have happened on June 16 in previous years.

 

2008 - Wounded Woods wins U.S. Open play-off

The 2008 U.S. Open had been due to finish on Sunday, June 15 but 72 holes could not separate Woods and veteran Rocco Mediate, so the two came back for 18 more on Monday.

Woods had a three-stroke lead through 10 holes but, clearly hampered by a serious knee injury, he was reeled in by the world number 158 and needed a birdie at the last to force a sudden death.

After 91 holes, Woods eventually emerged victorious to claim his 14th major title - four short of record-holder Jack Nicklaus' haul - though it would be another 11 years before he tasted major success again at the Masters.

It was later revealed Woods had played on with a double stress fracture and a torn anterior cruciate ligament, making his victory all the more remarkable.

2015 - Warriors end title drought

Finals between the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers would become a regular theme, and it was Stephen Curry and Co. who came out on top in 2015, as they did in 2017 and 2018 too.

The 2015 series had been tied at 2-2 but a 104-91 Game 5 win gave Golden State the chance to end a 40-year wait for another title on June 16, which they did with a 105-97 Game 6 victory.

Curry and Finals MVP Andre Iguodala scored 25 points apiece, with the latter winning praise for his defensive display against LeBron James, who would need to wait another 12 months before he brought a title to the long-suffering Cleveland fans.

2018 - VAR helps France edge past Australia

They may have undoubtedly been the best team at Russia 2018, but France had an underwhelming start to a campaign that would end with them winning the World Cup.

Les Bleus were thankful for VAR when it was used - for the first time ever in a World Cup match - to award them a controversial penalty after Josh Risdon's tackle on Antoine Griezmann originally went punished in Kazan.

Griezmann duly dispatched the penalty but Australia pulled level through Mile Jedinak's spot-kick, only for France to claim a 2-1 win 10 minutes from time courtesy of an own goal from Aziz Behich.

After four NBA championships, an MVP award, two scoring titles, 15 selections to the All-Star Game and All-NBA First Team honours on eight occasions, Shaquille O'Neal called time on his illustrious career on June 1, 2011.

Nine years on and the Hall of Famer remains one of the most dominant centers the league has ever seen.

After being drafted first overall in 1992 by the Orlando Magic, O'Neal was named Rookie of the Year and went on to provide the focal point of a team that reached the NBA Finals in 1995.

The Magic failed to go one better the following year and lost him to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he teamed up with Kobe Bryant and three-peated under Phil Jackson.

He was traded to the Miami Heat and won one more NBA championship there, before stints at the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and, finally, the Boston Celtics.

O'Neal had his jersey numbers retired by the Heat and the Lakers, while the latter also erected a statue of him outside of Staples Center.

Using Stats Perform data, we look at some of the most notable aspects of O'Neal's career.

 

Controlling the paint

From his first year in the league until 2004-05, O'Neal averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in each of those seasons. That is 13 straight and is more than anyone else in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon each accumulated 12 in succession.

During that run, there were 10 consecutive seasons (from 1993-94 until 2002-03) in which O'Neal averaged at least 25 points and 10 rebounds per game. Abdul Jabbar's run of nine from 1969-70 until 1977-78 is the next best.

He is one of just four players in NBA history to score more than 25,000 points and block over 2,500 shots.

A man for the big occasions

While he shared the spotlight with Bryant at the Lakers, O'Neal showed how important he was to the team when needed.

He was named the NBA Finals MVP in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The only other player to win the award in three straight years is Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.

O'Neal also holds the record for the most offensive rebounds in postseason history, with his 866 comfortably outstripping second-placed Tim Duncan's 778.

 

Struggles from the stripe

While he may have had the beating of most opponents in the paint, O'Neal found life much harder from the free-throw line.

He was often subjected to intentional fouls, with opposing coaches looking to manage the game clock and limit his team's scoring by sending him to the stripe. The strategy was dubbed the Hack-a-Shaq.

O'Neal missed 5,317 free throws across his entire career, the second-most all time in the NBA; only Chamberlain (5,805) missed more.

Of players to have made at least 1,200 free throws in the NBA, O'Neal has the fourth-worst percentage (52.7). Chamberlain is third with a 51.1 per cent success rate, with DeAndre Jordan (47.4) second only to Andre Drummond (46.1 per cent).

O'Neal also holds the single-game record for the most free-throw attempts without making one, failing to hit any of his 11 against the Seattle SuperSonics in December 2000. He still finished the game with 26 points.

The debate over who is basketball's G.O.A.T has been reignited.

The release of 'The Last Dance' - ESPN's docuseries on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls - has brought Michael Jordan's exploits back to the forefront of people's minds.

And the suspension of the current NBA season due to the coronavirus pandemic means current superstar LeBron James has, for the time being at least, been unable to respond on the court.

However, this week marks three years since James, then with the Cleveland Cavaliers, sunk a deep three-pointer in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to pass Jordan and become the NBA's all-time playoff points leader.

Stats Perform has crunched the numbers on the two icons of the game to look at how they compare when the spotlight shines brightest.

 

PILING ON THE POINTS

That record-breaking shot from beyond the arc against the Boston Celtics moved James beyond Jordan's all-time haul of 5,987 points in his 212th game.

However, his boyhood hero's tally came in just 179 games, with Jordan having averaged a staggering 33.4 points per game, compared to James' 28.9.

There are still multiple postseason records Jordan holds too, including most points in a game (63 - which he accrued in the Bulls' incredible double-overtime loss to the Celtics in 1986) and consecutive games with at least 20 points (60).

Despite having seven-time All-Star Scottie Pippen also on the roster, Jordan was clearly the go-to guy for the Bulls on offense and he led them in scoring in 168 of his 179 playoff appearances.

James has led his teams in scoring (including ties) in an NBA-record 189 playoff games - out of 239 appearances - despite calling Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving team-mates at specific points.

 

JAMES: AN ALL-AROUND THREAT

While Jordan comes out on top in points per game, James has the edge in most other categories.

The current Los Angeles Lakers star averages more rebounds (8.9 to 6.4), assists (7.1 to 5.7) and blocks (0.97 to 0.88) per playoff game than Jordan, who does average more steals (2.10 to 1.75) - and it was robbing Karl Malone of the ball that famously helped MJ deliver championship number six 22 years ago.

James is, marginally, a more efficient postseason shooter, scoring from .491 of his attempts compared to Jordan's .487, though the two are neck and neck (.332) from three-pointers.

The all-around threat of James is perhaps best highlighted by the fact he has 23 playoff triple-doubles - second only to Magic Johnson's 30 - while Jordan made just two across his illustrious career.

 

COUNT THE RINGS

Of course, the ultimate goal for any successful team is to end the NBA Finals holding aloft the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, something Jordan has done on six occasions, twice as many as James.

Jordan went 6-0 in Finals - and was named MVP of each series - while James has a 3-6 record - and three Finals MVP awards - across stints with the Cavaliers and Miami Heat.

The Bulls' success in the 1990s - when they twice three-peated - means Jordan won 66.5 per cent of the playoff games he appeared in, a number that James (currently 65.3 per cent) will surely soon eclipse with his Lakers team primed for a deep playoff run when this season resumes.

Would another three rings see James surpass Jordan in the eyes of many? For now, it remains a fascinating debate.

It is 55 years since Muhammad Ali controversially won his rematch with Sonny Liston, while Liverpool sensationally floored Milan on this day in 2005.

Ali retained his heavyweight title with a first-round knockout but there were doubts over whether Liston should have been counted out.

Liverpool picked themselves up off the canvas to pull off a stunning comeback and beat Milan to win a dramatic Champions League final a decade and a half ago.

LeBron James broke one of Michael Jordan's records more recently on May 25 and Bayern Munich were crowned champions of Europe at German rivals Borussia Dortmund's expense in 2013.

1965 - Liston contentiously counted out

Liston was on a revenge mission after Ali, or Cassius Clay as he was then known when they fought for the first time, defied the odds to dethrone him in Miami Beach in February 1964.

Yet the rematch was over soon after it started, proving to be a massive anti-climax for a small crowd at the unlikely venue of Central Maine Civic Center, Lewiston, Maine.

Liston went down when he was caught by a right hand from the champion in the opening round and referee Jersey Joe Walcott attempted to get Ali back into his corner as the challenger lay on the deck.

Although Liston rose to continue fighting, Walcott quickly stopped the fight after consulting the timekeeper, with the verdict that the former champion had not got back to his feet in time.

 

2005 - The 'Miracle of Istanbul'

Liverpool hauled themselves off the ropes to conjure up the most unlikely of victories at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul 15 years ago.

Milan were favourites to be crowned champions of Europe for a seventh time and lived up to that billing when they cruised into a 3-0 lead in a one-sided first half, Hernan Crespo scoring twice after Paolo Maldini's early opener.

Liverpool roared back after the break, though, with Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso on target in the space of six minutes to bring them level.

Milan did not know what had hit them and they endured the agony of losing on penalties, Jerzy Dudek saving from Andriy Shevchenko to give Liverpool a 3-2 shoot-out victory after looking down and out at half-time.

 

2013 - Robben downs Dortmund

There was also drama at Wembley when Bayern beat Dortmund in the first all-German Champions League final.

Bayern stunned their Bundesliga rivals by snatching a 2-1 victory with just over a minute of normal time remaining, Arjen Robben the hero.

Mario Mandzukic put the Bavarian giants in front on the hour-mark, but Ilkay Gundogan levelled from the penalty spot eight minutes later.

Winger Robben settled it with extra time looming, though, nipping in with a sharp turn of foot and slotting past Roman Weidenfeller to end Bayern's 12-year wait for European glory. 

 

2017 - LeBron moves past Jordan's playoff record

James has been the man for the big occasion so many times during his illustrious career and he made history on this day three years ago.

The superstar became the all-time leading scorer in the NBA playoffs as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 135-102 in the Eastern Conference finals.

That victory moved the Cavaliers into the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year, with James also able to celebrate moving past Jordan's playoff points tally of 5,987.

James surpassed that mark in his 212th post-season game, 11 years after his first.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson wants to see the NBA playoffs take place following the coronavirus outbreak.

The 2019-20 NBA campaign has been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has wreaked havoc globally – pushing the Olympic Games and Euro 2020 back a year.

At the time of postponement, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) owned the best record in the league, ahead of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), the Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers (44-20).

It remains to be seen when, and if, the season will resume but Thompson said on Thursday: "Guys want to play."

The Cavaliers are an Eastern Conference-worst 19-46 and will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season.  

Thompson, who is eligible for free agency after this season, was on a conference call last week with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and one of his biggest takeaways was that players – especially the ones with a chance to win a title – are eager to get back on the court as soon as possible. 

"They're trying to win a championship, so I understand where they're coming from and they know everybody wants to see basketball," Thompson – a 2016 NBA champion with the Cavaliers – said from Los Angeles.  

"Everybody wants to watch the playoffs. I want to watch the playoffs, with my friends, you know cheering and going crazy.

"But the main concern is just how do we do it in a way where everyone's at peace when they go to work."

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. said it is important for the NBA to crown a champion this season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2019-20 NBA campaign has been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has wreaked havoc globally – pushing the Olympic Games and Euro 2020 back a year.

At the time of postponement, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) owned the best record in the league, ahead of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), the Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers (44-20).

It remains to be seen when, and if, the season will resume but Nance believes those players vying for a championship ring should have the chance to try to etch their names in the history books.

"We're not in position to win a championship this year, but if I was – if I was Giannis, if I was LeBron, if I was Kawhi – if I was on one of those championship-calibre teams, I'd be pretty upset about it," Nance said via a conference call on Tuesday.

"Because it's very rare in this league that a chance like this comes along, and that's taken a valuable year off someone's career."

Nance and the Cavaliers are not in the playoff picture due to their 19-46 record in the Eastern Conference.

The 27-year-old Nance was traded to the Cavs by the Lakers in 2018 to team up with James in Cleveland as the franchise reached the NBA Finals, losing to the Golden State Warriors that season.

Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff confirmed the team will open their practice facility on Friday after receiving permission from the NBA.

The league has granted teams in cities that have loosened their social distancing and stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic to open, and any training at those venues would be strictly voluntary. 

"No one is being pressured to do anything," Bickerstaff said on a conference call on Wednesday. "It's not mandatory for [the players] to show up." 

For the players that do report to the complex, they will have several rules set by the NBA to adhere to.

No more than four players will be allowed at the facility at one time, there can be only one player per basket and players and coaches must remain 12 feet apart. Players will not have to wear masks and gloves, but everyone else present must. 

"The league is in information gathering mode right now," Bickerstaff said. "Their goal is to not put themselves in a bind and not start too early." 

When the NBA postponed the season on March 11, Cleveland were in last place in the Eastern Conference at 19-46.

The Cavs, however, were showing signs of turning things around, going 5-6 after Bickerstaff took over following the resignation of John Beilein in mid-February. 

Bickerstaff said the players are eager to get back on the court and return to some sort of normality.

"They're hopeful," he said of the players. "That's what these guys do. When you get used to being part of a pack, that's where you're comfortable and want to be." 

Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff confirmed the team will open their practice facility on Friday after receiving permission from the NBA.

The league has granted teams in cities that have loosened their social distancing and stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic to open, and any training at those venues would be strictly voluntary. 

"No one is being pressured to do anything," Bickerstaff said on a conference call on Wednesday. "It's not mandatory for [the players] to show up." 

For the players that do report to the complex, they will have several rules set by the NBA to adhere to.

No more than four players will be allowed at the facility at one time, there can be only one player per basket and players and coaches must remain 12 feet apart. Players will not have to wear masks and gloves, but everyone else present must. 

"The league is in information gathering mode right now," Bickerstaff said. "Their goal is to not put themselves in a bind and not start too early." 

When the NBA postponed the season on March 11, Cleveland were in last place in the Eastern Conference at 19-46.

The Cavs, however, were showing signs of turning things around, going 5-6 after Bickerstaff took over following the resignation of John Beilein in mid-February. 

Bickerstaff said the players are eager to get back on the court and return to some sort of normality.

"They're hopeful," he said of the players. "That's what these guys do. When you get used to being part of a pack, that's where you're comfortable and want to be." 

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

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.

Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love reminded everyone to practice compassion and empathy during the coronavirus emergency, which has sparked fear and tension across the globe.

COVID-19 has claimed almost 8,000 lives from more than 198,000 global cases, with China and Italy the hardest hit.

Sport has been disrupted amid the pandemic – the NBA among a number of professional leagues on hiatus after the likes of Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell contracted coronavirus.

Love, who donated $100,000 to the Cavaliers arena and support staff following the NBA suspension, shared a message as the world fights against the virus.

"I know we're going through some tough times right now," the 2016 champion and five-time All-Star said in a video shared by the NBA. "People are having to navigate stress, anxiety, the unknown… this is every day. Every day is presenting a new challenge and not knowing what the future holds is tough.

"When you see people fall on hardships or going through hardships, it's normal to feel this way. Now more than ever, we have to practice compassion. We have to be mindful of our actions, really practice a sense of community. That's really the biggest thing. We've seen the NBA community step up and we've seen people step up through all sports and beyond. It's great to see it and we need more of it.

"People want to feel part of something bigger as well as on the winning side of history. Human beings are resilient, we will get through this but in the meantime, we need to practice empathy, compassion.  Just know that our actions speak volumes in this time. There's a lot of people going through it and have it worse than we do.

"While most of us are having to socially distance, don't socially isolate. There's so many ways to reach out… nothing unites us like the same enemy. It's very powerful what we're able to do when we put our minds to it. Continue to pay it forward in any way that you can.

"Be mindful of people's physical but also their emotional health through this super anxiety-ridden and stressful time because we don't know what the future holds. We don't know what the next day holds but all we can hope for is we're going to do this together and come out on top."

Kevin Love has donated $100,000 to Cleveland Cavaliers arena and support staff after the NBA suspended the season in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The league was put on hiatus on Wednesday after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert returned a positive test for COVID-19 ahead of their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Gobert's team-mate Donovan Mitchell has since confirmed he has contracted the virus, while the NCAA has cancelled March Madness in response to the pandemic.

When reacting to news of the suspension, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said a programme would be put in place to assist staff paid by the hour in the intervening period.

And five-time All-Star Love has done his bit to help people employed by the Cavs that could be hurt financially and emotionally.

"Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. And the fear and anxiety resulting from the recent outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely overwhelming," Love wrote on Instagram.

"Through the game of basketball, we've been able to address major issues and stand together as a progressive league that cares about the players, the fans, and the communities where we work.

"I'm concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I'm committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season.

"I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities."

The United States has seen 1,669 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 40 deaths, with president Donald Trump placing a ban on travel from 26 European countries for 30 days.

Love continued: "Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon. They affect individuals and society on so many levels, with stigma and xenophobia being just two aspects of the impact of a pandemic outbreak.

"It's important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time.

"And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need – whether that means supporting your local charities that are cancelling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family."

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.

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