James Harden and Anthony Davis are among 20 players selected for the United States' provisional squad ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China.

Kemba Walker, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton and Kevin Love are also some of the big-name players who will be vying for spots on the final 12-man roster when it is announced on August 17.

USA Basketball chairman and managing director Jerry Colangelo revealed the 20 players set to attend training camp in Las Vegas in August, a group from which the World Cup team will be selected.

Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond, Eric Gordon, Tobias Harris, CJ McCollum and Myles Turner return from USA's last squad, while six new additions are Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Paul Millsap, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and P.J. Tucker.

"We're pleased with the players who will be attending the 2019 USA Basketball National Team Training Camp, and we feel we will be able to select a strong team for the 2019 FIBA World Cup," Colangelo said.

"The majority of these players possess prior USA Basketball experience, and we know all of them are committed to representing their country and doing so in the manner expected by USA Basketball.

"Like past national team training camps, this group too possesses outstanding individual talents, while also boasting of excellent versatility and athleticism. 

"We've been watching a lot of players during the NBA season and the six players who we've added to the National Team roster we feel are deserving of being part of our national team program."

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard are other possibilities after the NBA Finals, though LeBron James has already said he will not play in the tournament, which begins on August 31.

The Las Vegas training camp will run from August 5 until August 9. A further three days of training will be held in Los Angeles from August 13, with an exhibition match against Spain being played the day before the final selection is announced.

Gregg Popovich, USA head coach for the first time, said: "I am excited about getting to training camp in August and working with all of the players that have been selected.

"We've got an excellent cross-section of veteran USA Basketball and NBA players, as well as some exciting younger players who possess amazing versatility.

"I'm appreciative of commitment that our National Team players continue to make, and the eagerness of the new players to become involved. 

"Selecting a 12-man team will be extremely difficult. But I look forward to working with all of the players, representing the United States and doing so in a manner that all Americans will hopefully rally behind."

MVP candidates Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden were both unanimous selections for the All-NBA First Team for 2018-19.

The All-NBA teams were announced by the league on Thursday and the two standout stars of the season, Antetokounmpo and Harden, each received the full 500 points after being named on all 100 First Team ballots.

Giannis, twice on the Second Team, made the cut for the top side for the first time.

Stephen Curry, whose Golden State Warriors have reached the NBA Finals where they could face Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks, was next on 482 points.

Paul George (433 points) and center Nikola Jokic (411) completed the First Team.

On the Second Team, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving all made the cut.

Meanwhile, LeBron James, who missed the playoffs after moving to the Los Angeles Lakers, fell to the Third Team, alongside Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Rudy Gobert and Kemba Walker.

With the pick, James ties the record for the most All-NBA selections with 15, although he was left out of the First Team for only the fourth time in his 16-year career.

Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George, Houston Rockets star James Harden and Milwaukee Bucks sensation Giannis Antetokounmpo are the finalists for the NBA's MVP award.

The league announced the trio of finalists on Friday, with the winner to be announced at the NBA Awards on June 24.

George averaged 28 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for the Thunder. He also led the league in steals (2.21) and is a top contender for Defensive Player of the Year.

Oklahoma City lost 4-1 to the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference first round.

Reigning MVP Harden led the NBA in scoring, averaging 36.1 points per game, which was the highest mark since Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 points in the 1986-87 season.

Harden also trailed George in steals, finishing with a second-best mark of 2.03, as the Rockets advanced to the Conference semi-finals before going down to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

Antetokounmpo helped the Bucks to the best record in the NBA in 2018-19. Milwaukee finished the season at 60-22 and their Greek superstar averaged 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds on a staggering career-high 57.8 per cent shooting.

He led the Bucks in every major statistical category but blocks and is also a top pick for Defensive Player of the Year. He was one of the most physically imposing players the league has ever seen this season. 

The Bucks lead the second-seeded Toronto Raptors 1-0 in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Houston Rockets may have exited the NBA playoffs at the hands of the Golden State Warriors for the fourth time in five years, but owner Tilman Fertitta insists they will win titles with James Harden on their roster.

Stephen Curry's 33 points on Friday helped the Warriors to a 118-113 victory in Game 6, which sealed a 4-2 series success for Golden State and sent them through to the Western Conference Finals.

The Warriors, seeking a third straight NBA title, have proved a thorn in Houston's side in recent seasons and Fertitta was quick to praise Steve Kerr's men for once again getting the better of the Rockets.

However, he is also adamant that 2017-18 MVP Harden can end a title drought for his franchise that dates back to the 1994-95 season.

"They kicked our a** on our home court," Fertitta told reporters.

"They beat us by 10 points in the fourth quarter. It's unacceptable. We just have to be better.

"I know that we're going to rise to the occasion and our time is going to come. James is 30 years old [in August]. Michael [Jordan] didn't win his first championship until [28]. Hakeem [Olajuwon] didn't win his first championship until [31].

"I can promise you, we're going to win some championships with James Harden, because we are not going to sit here. We will go to battle every year.

"We're going to have a strong offseason, and we're going to do whatever we can to be a better team. We are not going to sit on our hands, I can promise you that."

Houston had lost the first two games of the series but brought it back to 2-2 before losing Game 5 on Wednesday, when they led in the fourth quarter only to be defeated 104-99 at Oracle Arena.

Fertitta felt that was a missed chance but maintains belief that his team will one day avenge all of their playoff losses to the Warriors.

"They showed why they're the champions," he added.

"We're gonna learn from it, and we're gonna come back next year, and we're gonna kick their a** at some point. I can promise you that.

"We should have stepped on their throat the other night and cut their throat. It's not, 'Let's make a few shots and win.' It's step on their throat and let's take it back to Houston and end it in six."

The Golden State Warriors did not need a Game 7 at home.

Golden State's clutch 118-113 win over the Houston Rockets on the road at Toyota Center saw them advance to the NBA Western Conference finals on Friday.

The Warriors, who entered the game as heavy underdogs in the absence of Kevin Durant, broke the hearts of the Rockets and their fans.

And the game was just the latest testament to the two-time defending NBA champions amazing resiliency even when they are hampered by injuries and other issues.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' big victory.

 

Warriors' bench more capable than we thought

Golden State obviously had the most talented starting line-up in basketball this season. But many knocked them for their lack of depth.

The Warriors have had elite talent for a while, but the quality contributions they got from their bench were critical Friday night.

In the absence of Durant, who was ruled out for the series with a calf injury, Golden State posted 33 bench points. Both Kevon Looney (14 points) and Shaun Livingston (11) tallied double-digits in scoring.

The Warriors' rotation had shrunk in recent weeks, but 11 players were featured in Friday's close-out game.

 

Curry is still … well, Curry

The two-time MVP's shooting has been inconsistent in the second round, and Game 6 was no exception.

Stephen Curry had been dealing with a dislocated finger for several games and was held scoreless in the first half. But he heated up to finish with a team-high 33 points and sank clutch free throws to seal the deal for his team.

Golden State's leader has continued to pull through for his team in the postseason, and now the Warriors will go to their fifth consecutive Western Conference finals.

 

Charity stripe helped do Rockets in

Houston and Golden State had almost identical stats.

Both teams made exactly 42 field goals on the night. The Warriors made one more three-pointer but lost the rebounding battle by five.

The Rockets only lost by five points. James Harden finished with a game-high 35 points, but accounted for all five of Houston's missed free throws. Houston did not have much room for mistakes, and one of their failures to capitalise on one of their strengths might have caused them to fall short.

The Warriors will get to rest for now and prepare to face the Portland Trail Blazers or Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.

The Golden State Warriors advanced to their fifth successive Western Conference finals after beating the Houston Rockets 118-113 in Game 6.

Stephen Curry stepped up in the absence of injured star Kevin Durant (calf) as the Warriors sealed a 4-2 series victory in Houston on Friday.

After a scoreless first half, Curry finished with a team-high 33 points for Golden State.

Klay Thompson held down the fort for Golden State to start, pouring in 27 points on seven made three-pointers.

James Harden and Chris Paul played well. The duo combined for 62 points on 22-of-44 shooting in Houston's loss. But some missed free throws and a late game scoring drought spelled the end for the Rockets.

"This one's going to leave a mark," said Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni.

The Warriors will face the either the Denver Nuggets or Portland Trail Blazers, who are competing in a Game 7 on Sunday.

NBA champions the Golden State Warriors moved ahead in their Western Conference semi-final against the Houston Rockets, while the Milwaukee Bucks ousted the Boston Celtics.

At Oracle Arena in California, the Warriors defeated the Rockets 104-99 to claim a 3-2 lead in the playoff series on Wednesday.

Klay Thompson had 27 points, while Stephen Curry added 25 of his own for the Warriors.

Warriors star Kevin Durant left in the fourth quarter with a right calf strain and did not return. It is unclear what his status will be for Game 6.

As for Draymond Green's antics, he was called for a technical foul for kneeing Chris Paul after drawing an offensive foul.

Green would later foul out of the game after playing very well, especially in the early going on home court after collecting 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Game 6 is set to be played in Houston on Friday – the Rockets facing elimination.

Boston fell to Milwaukee 116-91 to lose their Eastern Conference semi-final series in five games.

The Bucks won the final four games of the series by an average of 16.3 points, sealing a 4-1 triumph as Milwaukee await the winner of the Toronto Raptors-Philadelphia 76ers matchup.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Bucks, who reached the Conference finals for the first time since 2001.

 

Bledsoe helps Bucks

Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe had 18 points, six rebounds and two assists in the win.

James Harden had 31 points, eight assists and four steals as the Rockets lost on the road.

 

Irving headlines Boston's woes

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 15 points but his shooting woes continued as he went six of 21 from the floor and one of seven from three-point range.

Austin Rivers did not give the Rockets a lot of help off the bench, going one-of-six shooting and 0 for four from beyond the arc.

 

Giannis with the slam!

The Greek star showcased his MVP credentials again as the Bucks progressed in the postseason.

 

Nuggets at Trail Blazers

In a series where every game but the last one has been good, the Portland Trail Blazers once again have a chance to play on their home court. Portland are fantastic at home and have a chance to extend the series to seven games with victory against the Denver Nuggets.

James Harden pinpointed the Houston Rockets' more aggressive approach in the past two games against the Golden State Warriors after squaring their NBA playoff series at 2-2.

The Warriors led the Western Conference semi-final matchup 2-0 but the Rockets have responded in fine fashion, levelling the tie with Monday's 112-108 win in Game 4.

And star man Harden, who contributed 38 points and 10 rebounds, revealed afterwards that Houston had acknowledged a need to change their approach in order to stop the defending champions.

The Rockets ran Golden State close last season, too, and Harden believes his side are well equipped to challenge the best.

"We talked about it after the first two games," he told a news conference. "They did what they were supposed to do. Then we had an opportunity to go back home and do what we're supposed to do and we did that.

"Now it's best out of three and whoever can get a road win.

"For us, it was about being aggressive, our mentality changed after Game 2 to be more aggressive on both ends of the ball.

"Defensively, we had to make sure that everything they got wasn't easy. They still got a lot of offensive rebounds and missed a lot of open shots, but we did also.

"Both teams were fighting, you've got tired legs, guys playing a lot of minutes, and that's where we can make the plays."

He added: "Most teams can't go back at them. Most teams don't have the personnel to compete with them defensively and then, offensively, go back at them.

"That's all we're doing. We know what's at stake, we know who we're playing against, we're not going to let up. We're going to keep coming at you until the end of the game.

"Every possession is going to be a fight, going to be a battle, and we've got to get ready for Game 5."

Harden's eye, which hindered him in Game 2, was still bloodshot as he faced the media, yet he insists it is no longer a problem.

"It just looks crazy. It's getting better," he said. "I'm able to run around and see what I'm doing, and that's all that matters.

"It'll probably be another couple of days or maybe another week until it clears out, so I keep putting my eye drops in and I don't feel any pain or soreness in my eye. It should be good."

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr labelled James Harden "tough to handle" after the Rockets star led Houston to victory in Game 4 on Monday.

Harden had a double-double of 38 points and 10 rebounds to see the Rockets to a 112-108 triumph, bringing the Western Conference semi-final series back to 2-2.

Kerr said it was clear what the reigning NBA MVP was capable of, but he backed the Warriors to improve against the Rockets' star man.

"He's always been pretty good. It's hard for me to look back and compare from one year to the next because last year he was the MVP," Kerr told a news conference.

"And, [in a] seven-game series, he's tough to handle obviously. He's a great player and has a lot of ways to score and get to the rim so we've just got to stay with it.

"But I think we've done this plenty of times so we know what we have to do."

Both teams have won their home games to begin the series, which returns to Oracle Arena on Wednesday.

Kerr lamented the Warriors' lack of control in Game 4, despite 34 points from Kevin Durant and 30 from Stephen Curry.

"I thought we played plenty hard enough, but I think force has to be accompanied by poise," he said.

"It felt like we were in a rush offensively all night and we're at our best when we've got a bunch of playmakers out there and the ball's moving and we're attacking, but with the idea that we're going to get great shots and I didn't think we got great shots for much of the night.

"I thought we were just in a rush just to create pace. The pace is good, but we've got to get better shots and we're definitely capable of that.

"We've got to be more poised and that has to be a focus."

James Harden revelled in his ability to close out Game 3 of the Western Conference semi-finals as the Houston Rockets stayed in contention against the Golden State Warriors.

The Rockets were 2-0 down in the best-of-seven series heading into Saturday's meeting at Toyota Center but halved that deficit with Harden predictably influential.

The reigning NBA MVP contributed 41 points as the Rockets prevailed 126-121 in overtime, the guard's haul including the game-sealing basket with less than 30 seconds of the additional period remaining.

And Harden, speaking to ESPN, revealed his mentality as the contest reached its crunch conclusion.

"Close the game, that's what I'm here for, that's what I do," he said. "[I'm] Very good [at it] too. Make shots, miss shots, take my shot, that's it.

"It's gonna be a fight, every possession, every game, you gotta be physically tough and mentally tough.

"We know who we're facing, we've got to enjoy it, have fun, embrace it and go out and compete at the highest level."

Harden had struggled with an eye injury suffered in Game 2 but revealed he was back at full health for Saturday's victory over the defending champions.

"I can see!" he said. "We've got some really good doctors and they've been helping me a lot every single day, just coming in doing the things I need to do to prepare for the game so I appreciate those guys."

Harden was still sporting a badly bloodshot eye and team-mate Chris Paul prompted much laughter in the post-game news conference by saying: "You look crazy! We love you, though."

The Rockets will look to level the series in Game 4 on Monday.

The Houston Rockets reduced the Golden State Warriors' series lead to 2-1 thanks to a 126-121 overtime victory in Game 3 on Saturday.

Facing the prospect of falling 3-0 behind in the Western Conference semi-finals, the Rockets claimed a big win thanks to James Harden's 41 points in Houston.

Houston were aggressive from the start and led for most of the contest. Every time the Warriors closed the gap, the Rockets seemed ready to pull away again.

Harden led the way for the home team, while the reigning NBA MVP had a valuable contribution from Eric Gordon, who tallied 30 points and made seven three-pointers.

Kevin Durant was a nightmare for the Rockets and lit them up for 46 points after a poor shooting performance in the first half.

Durant really poured it on in the fourth quarter and helped the Warriors steal the lead briefly down the stretch and extend the game into overtime.

Golden State fell just short as Stephen Curry sensationally missed a routine layup, which would have reduced the Rockets' lead to 126-123 with around 20 seconds remaining in OT.

The Rockets will attempt to even the series in Game 4 on Monday.

Houston Rockets star James Harden was hit in the eye again by Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.

Harden took a heavy shot to the face from Green in Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference semi-finals and suffered a laceration to his eyelid.

Harden missed nearly a full quarter in Tuesday's 115-109 loss at Oracle Arena, where the Rockets fell 2-0 behind in the playoff series.

Then again in Saturday's Game 3, Green appeared to poke Harden in the eye in the opening quarter in Houston.

Neither play looked to be intentional but that did not stop Harden from refusing a peace offering from Green soon after the incident in Game 3.

When Green tried to apologise to Harden, the Rockets guard walked away from him as Green continued to say something in his direction.

James Harden hopes his eye injury improves ahead of Game 3 as the Houston Rockets aim to haul themselves back into contention against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA playoffs.

The league's reigning MVP sustained the problem during the Rockets' 115-109 defeat at Oracle Arena as the double defending champions took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Harden still managed 29 points, along with seven rebounds and four assists, but was clearly operating below his influential best as the Warriors took control of the best-of-seven series, which moves to Houston on Saturday.

"I can barely see, but I tried to go out there and do what I can to help my team-mates," Harden told a news conference.

"I don't know, it's pretty blurry right now so hopefully it gets better day by day.

"They put a couple of drops in to help numb it a little bit but all the lights are blurry."

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni, meanwhile, said Harden's ability to return to the court even after such an injury was testament to his fighting qualities.

"He fought through some stuff…the guy looked like he wasn't in great shape the first half, I think it might have cleared up a little bit but he got raked pretty good in the eyes," D'Antoni said.

"But that's him, I didn't have a doubt he was coming back unless it was something catastrophic.

"I'm sure he would have loved to have played better but under the circumstances I thought he played great and we had our chances. Down towards the end we were only three or four down but they made big plays and we just didn't get it done."

The Milwaukee Bucks claimed a series-levelling win over the Boston Celtics, while NBA champions the Golden State Warriors earned a commanding lead against the Houston Rockets.

Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks eased past the Celtics 123-102 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semi-final series on Tuesday.

After losing Game 1 by 22 points, the Bucks responded thanks to Antetokounmpo's 29 points and 10 rebounds in Milwaukee.

The Celtics' scoring was surprisingly led by Marcus Morris, who posted 17 points on six-of-eight shooting.

Boston will have an opportunity to surge ahead when the series shifts to their home court, with Game 3 set for Friday. 

Meanwhile, the Warriors are firmly in control of their series with the Rockets after moving 2-0 ahead in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Golden State secured a 115-109 win over Houston at Oracle Arena, where Stephen Curry dislocated his finger and James Harden suffered bleeding in his eye.

The Warriors controlled most of the game, but the Rockets rallied in the fourth quarter and reduced the deficit to just three points on a Clint Capela free throw with less than seven minutes remaining.

Curry, however, answered with a three-pointer and Andre Iguodala followed with a dunk, which ended Houston's momentum.

Kevin Durant tallied 29 points for the Warriors while Rockets star Harden also scored 29 in the losing effort. Every Golden State starter reached double figures.

 

Middleton helps Bucks bounce back

Khris Middleton tallied 28 points and made seven three-pointers for the Bucks.

Draymond Green finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in the Warriors' win.

 

Irving kept quiet in Game 2

Kyrie Irving scored just nine points on four-of-18 shooting for the Celtics.

 

Brown… how?

Jaylen Brown somehow got this circus shot to fall.

Harden beats the buzzer before the half.

 

Trail Blazers at Nuggets

The Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets' top options had amazing offensive performances in Game 1. Damian Lillard scored 39 points while Nikola Jokic contributed 37 for Denver. The Nuggets came away with the win and appear to have bounced back after their seven-game series against the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.

Houston Rockets star James Harden suffered an eye injury which briefly forced him to leave Tuesday's Game-2 Western Conference semi-final showdown with the Golden State Warriors.  

Harden was attempting to rebound his missed layup attempt about midway through the first quarter when Draymond Green made contact with the reigning NBA MVP's face.

Rockets guard Harden stayed down for several moments before walking off the floor and back to the locker room at Oracle Arena.

Houston head coach Mike D'Antoni told TNT that Harden was "bleeding from the eye" when he left the court.

Harden was diagnosed with a cut on his left eye. He eventually returned to the Rockets' bench and re-entered the game with eight minutes remaining in the second period.

He had 12 points at half-time. Harden scored 35 points in the Rockets' 104-100 loss in Game 1.

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