Kawhi Leonard dedicated his NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award to the Los Angeles Lakers great on Sunday.

Leonard's 30 points helped Team LeBron beat Team Giannis 157-155 in Chicago and the Clippers star was named MVP.

The award was renamed in honour of the Lakers great, who died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others last month.

Leonard thanked Bryant, telling NBA on TNT: "It means a lot to me.

"Words can't even explain, just making this the first Kobe Bryant MVP trophy. I want to thank Kobe for everything he done for me, all the long talks, the workouts, thank you.

"This one is for him."

Leonard added: "They did a great job with the format this year. They had us come out playing hard in the fourth quarter and competing for a total points score.

"That's pretty much how we got to competing out there."

Team LeBron defeated Team Giannis 157-155 in the revamped NBA All-Star Game in Chicago on Sunday.

Unlike previous years, every quarter counted in the name of charity at the United Center, where the new format was unveiled for the showpiece event.

Each of the first three quarters started with the score at 0-0 and lasted the standard 12 minutes, with the game clock turned off for the final period and a final target score set.

The cumulative score of the first three quarters was 133-124 in favour of Team Giannis. The final target score was set by taking the leading team's cumulative score and adding 24 – the 24 representing Kobe Bryant's jersey number.

LeBron James and his team earned bragging rights in the 69th edition of the All-Star Game – hometown hero and Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis (20 points) making one of two free throws to beat Giannis Antetokounmpo's side.

While Davis scored the winning point, Kawhi Leonard (30 points) received the All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award, renamed in honour of the five-time NBA champion.

Bryant, who tragically died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others last month, was honoured prior to tip-off.

Magic Johnson led an eight-second moment of silence for Lakers legend Bryant and former commissioner David Stern as both All-Star teams came together to hold hands, before delivering a heartfelt speech.

Team LeBron made a fast start, outscoring Team Giannis 53-41 in the first period before the latter won the second period 51-30.

Neither team could be split in the third, though Team Giannis went into the fourth quarter leading Team LeBron – who rallied to win for the third successive year.

James and Chris Paul finished with 23 points each, while Ben Simmons (17) and James Harden (11) were also in double-digits for Team LeBron.

Team Giannis were led by Antetokounmpo (25 points, 11 rebounds), Joel Embiid (22 points, 10 rebounds), Kemba Walker (23 points) and Rudy Gobert (21 points, 11 rebounds).

Lionel Messi and Liverpool are among the front-runners for prizes at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday.

Liverpool are up for two gongs after a wonderful year, as they won the 2018-19 Champions League and took a massive leap towards a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp's side look set to break a host of records this season, as they have dropped points in just one of their 25 matches and hold a remarkable 22-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in second.

The Reds are in the running for two prizes in the Laureus Sports Awards' 20th anniversary gala – World Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year, the latter on account of their astonishing Champions League semi-final turnaround at the expense of Barcelona.

Among those challenging Liverpool for the former are the United States' Women's football team and the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian franchise win an NBA championship.

A selection of sporting superstars are up for the Sportsman of the Year award, with Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi among them following his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

Also in the running is Eliud Kipchoge after the Kenyan became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours last October, covering the 26.2 miles in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds in Vienna.

Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Megan Rapinoe is among those in the hunt for the Sportswoman of the Year gong, although gymnast Simone Biles also has a compelling case.

The 22-year-old last year won five gold medals at the World Championships to become the most decorated gymnast in the event's history, and has won this award twice before, in 2019 and 2017.

The event will take place at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday. Below is a complete list of the awards up for grabs and the athletes nominated.

Sportsman of the Year

Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics
Lewis Hamilton – Formula One
Lionel Messi – Football
Marc Marquez – MotoGP
Rafael Nadal – Tennis
Tiger Woods – Golf

Sportswoman of the Year

Allyson Felix – Athletics
Megan Rapinoe – Football
Mikaela Shiffrin – Skiing
Naomi Osaka – Tennis
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Athletics
Simone Biles – Gymnastics

 

Team of the Year

Liverpool – Football
Mercedes-AMG – Formula One
South Africa – Rugby Union
Spain – Basketball
Toronto Raptors – Basketball
United States Women – Football

Breakthrough of the Year

Andy Ruiz – Boxing
Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
Coco Gauff – Tennis
Egan Bernal – Cycling
Japan – Rugby Union
Regan Smith – Swimming

 

Comeback of the Year

Andy Murray – Tennis
Christian Lealiifano – Rugby Union
Kawhi Leonard – Basketball
Liverpool – Football
Nathan Adrian – Swimming
Sophia Florsch – Formula Three

Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Alice Tai – Swimming
Diede de Groot – Wheelchair Tennis
Jetze Plat – Triathlon
Manuela Schar – Wheelchair Racing
Oksana Masters – Cross Country Skiing
Omara Durand – Athletics

 

Action Sportsperson of the year

Carissa Moore – Surfing
Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
Italo Ferreira – Surfing
Mark McMorris – Snowboarding
Nyjah Huston – Skateboarding
Rayssa Leal – Skateboarding

The Boston Celtics prevailed 141-133 against the Los Angeles Clippers after double overtime prior to the NBA All-Star break, while the Oklahoma City Thunder also won.

In the final two games before the All-Star Weekend in Chicago, the Celtics and Thunder both celebrated victories on Thursday.

Jayson Tatum, who will play for Team Giannis in Sunday's All-Star Game, led the Celtics with a game-high 39 points and nine rebounds against the Clippers in Boston.

Trailing the Celtics 114-111, Clippers recruit Marcus Morris Sr. made a three-pointer with 46.8 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.

Clippers guard Landry Shamet then nailed a shot from beyond the arc to level proceedings at 127-apiece as double OT beckoned at TD Garden.

But led by Tatum, Gordon Hayward (21 points, 13 rebounds), Marcus Smart (31 points) and Kemba Walker (19 points), the Celtics finished strong to outscore the Clippers 14-6.

Lou Williams had 35 points for the Clippers, while Kawhi Leonard finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds on the road.

It was a tough night for the Clippers, who lost star Paul George to a strained left hamstring in the first half – the same injury that forced him to miss 10 games in January.

Meanwhile, the Thunder overcame Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans 123-118.

Williamson posted 32 points, but the Thunder still won courtesy of Danilo Gallinari's 29 points and Chris Paul's double-double of 14 points and 12 assists.

 

Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard headline Team LeBron, while Team Giannis includes Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam for the NBA All-Star Game.

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo finalised their teams for the showcase event, which will take place at the United Center in Chicago on February 16.

James used the number one pick to draft Los Angeles Lakers team-mate Anthony Davis to Team LeBron, while reigning MVP Antetokounmpo countered by selecting Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Team LeBron's starting five consists of James, Davis, Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard, Dallas Mavericks sensation Luka Doncic and Houston Rockets star James Harden.

Antetokounmpo, Embiid, Toronto Raptors star Siakam, Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker and the Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young are the starters for Team Giannis.

Team LeBron reigned supreme last year – James' squad winning 178-164 over Team Giannis in Charlotte.

 

Team LeBron

Starters: LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks), James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Reserves: Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder), Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers)

Team Giannis

Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
Reserves: Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)

The NBA showdown between city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers has been postponed after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

Lakers legend Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Sunday and Monday's games have gone ahead as tributes continue to pour in for the five-time champion and 2008 MVP, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers.

However, Tuesday's blockbuster clash at Staples Center will be rescheduled at a later date, with Los Angeles reeling following Bryant's sudden death.

"The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organisation, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday," the NBA said in a statement.

Bryant, who entered the league with the Lakers in 1996, is regarded as one of the all-time greats following a career spanning two decades at Staples Center.

An 18-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP, Bryant won a pair of Olympic gold medals, helping United States to glory in 2008 and 2012.

LeBron James and the Lakers (36-10) top the Western Conference, ahead of the Utah Jazz and Kawhi Leonard's third-placed Clippers (33-14).

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will return as NBA All-Star team captains after leading the vote for February's showpiece contest in Chicago.

Three newcomers – Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Pascal Siakam – will also take the floor for the 69th edition of the annual exhibition game.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar James captained Team LeBron to victory over Team Giannis in 2019 and the pair will renew their rivalry at United Center on February 16.

James, an All-Star for the 16th year of his illustrious career, will have the chance to draft Dallas Mavericks sensation Doncic onto his team for the first time, the MVP contender a walk-up selection amid a brilliant sophomore season in the NBA.

All-Star regulars James Harden, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard round out the Western Conference starter pool.

Atlanta Hawks guard Young topped the count among Eastern Conference backcourt options to secure a start alongside the Boston Celtics' Kemba Walker.

The pair gained selection ahead of four-time All Star Jimmy Butler and the Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, who scored poorly in the fan portion of the vote.

Siakam's selection comes after averaging a career-best 23.5 points per game for the Toronto Raptors this season, while injury troubles failed to prevent Joel Embiid from sealing a frontcourt berth.

Fan ballots were weighted at 50 per cent, while current players and the media contributed 25 per cent of the starter vote.

Captains James and Antetokounmpo will select their teams from the eight other starters, while NBA head coaches will be responsible for choosing the 14 reserves that will be announced on January 30.

 

Eastern Conference starters:

Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)

Western Conference starters:

James Harden (Houston Rockets), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)

Kawhi Leonard admitted the Los Angeles Clippers had to focus on slowing down the red-hot Luka Doncic in their 110-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

The Clippers won their fourth straight game on Tuesday as they overcame the Mavs to improve to 31-13, the second-best record in the Western Conference.

Leonard, the NBA Finals MVP last season with the Toronto Raptors, had 36 points and 11 rebounds but it was his and the Clippers' defensive effort against Doncic that was a key part of their gameplan.

Although Doncic flirted with a triple-double as he finished with 36 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, the Clippers were able to prevail.

"Obviously it starts with Luka," Leonard told reporters.

"He's been playing amazing, getting everyone involved, getting to his spots, making shots and we just wanted to make it hard for him, show hands.

"He's great. We just kept pushing. That's pretty much the key. Just make sure [Kristaps] Porzingis doesn't get any easy looks. Tim Hardaway Jr., he's playing well too, shooting the ball very well.


"Just playing hard, putting a hand up and not giving them any easy looks."

Two-time Defensive Player of the Year Leonard acknowledged that the presence of Doncic on the court meant he and the rest of the Clippers had to remain focused throughout.

"Any time you play a great player, it's always fun," Leonard added.

"It pushes you to play harder or just be locked in the whole game.

"I just wanted to win. Luka playing or not, I wanted to win the basketball game."

Kawhi Leonard and Luka Doncic shared 72 points between them as the Los Angeles Clippers outgunned the Dallas Mavericks 110-107 on Tuesday.

Two-time NBA champion Leonard (36 points, 11 rebounds, two assists) and Dallas' MVP candidate Doncic (36 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) both recorded double-doubles in an entertaining encounter before the Clippers prevailed for a gritty road victory.

Landry Shamet's two late three-pointers proved the end for Dallas, who welcomed back Kristaps Porzingis and threatened to overturn an 11-point half-time deficit at American Airlines Center.

Mavs sensation Doncic led the comeback after being dunked on by Leonard in the second quarter, the former Toronto Raptors star blocking a shot at one end and then completing the breakaway slam.

The Mavs' first loss in five games was compounded by an Achilles injury that forced Dwight Powell out of the game in the opening quarter.

The Clippers have now won four successive games to sit second behind neighbours the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference.

Spurs at Pelicans

Zion Williamson will be the centre of attention in Wednesday's action. The number one draft pick has been cleared to make his long-awaited NBA debut when the struggling New Orleans Pelicans take on the San Antonio Spurs.

Kawhi Leonard has urged his Los Angeles Clippers team-mates to "enjoy the process" and prepare to be "down in the trenches" in their quest to be crowned NBA champions.

Leonard scored a season-high 43 points in only 38 minutes on court in the Clippers' 128-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center on Tuesday.

The three-time NBA All-Star lifted the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the second time in his career when the Toronto Raptors won a maiden NBA title last year.

Leonard says the Clippers must be patient in their bid to dethrone the Raptors.

The small forward said: "We just can't be in a rush. That's what I'm [telling them]. Just be patient. It's hard to win a championship.

"The pressure isn't even on us now. Just enjoy the process and have fun."

He added: "It takes a whole team to win games, win championships. It's not won by one guy, two players – it's the whole 15.

"Those are the things that I tell them: Don't be in a rush to win these games. Enjoy every moment of it. Enjoy the process and use it as a learning tool when you get down in the trenches."

The Clippers (28-13) are fourth in the Western Conference and will have home advantage again when they take on the Orlando Magic on Thursday.

Kawhi Leonard produced two stunning dunks as the Los Angeles Clippers came back to defeat the Golden State Warriors and he thinks his health is on an upward trend.

Load management due to a left knee injury has seen Leonard restricted to 29 appearances this season, with the three-time All-Star yet to play on back-to-back nights.

The Warriors, who sit bottom of the Western Conference and slipped to 9-31 with defeat at Staples Center, took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, with the Clippers having committed 17 turnovers through the first three periods.

After the Clippers erased the deficit and moved in front, Leonard – who finished with 36 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block – drove around Glenn Robinson and got the better of Omari Spellman for an emphatic finish at the rim.

The two-time NBA champion acknowledged that four days off were beneficial for the Clippers and hopes he will continue to improve.

"I'm feeling better. I'm able to jump without it grabbing me too much and hopefully I just keep going uphill from here," said Leonard.

"[Time off] helped from an energy standpoint, just as far as people's bodies feeling better, us able to practice, getting to know each other on the floor, talk it through, work on execution. It helped."

Coach Doc Rivers said of Leonard: "He's been doing it a lot lately. I think he's in a far better place now than he was after game one, let's put it like that.

"You can see it with him in the practices, it's just going up. You can feel it, you can see it. He has a better thrust now and it's good. It's been really good to see."

Rivers was not overly concerned by the Clippers' display but admitted they will not get away with repeating it in the postseason.

"If we play like that in May or April that would hurt us, then I wouldn't be good about it," he said.

"We can see and our guys can see it so it's something we can look at, keep changing and keep getting better. We're a work in progress, we've just got to keep getting better."

Kawhi Leonard was impressed by how well the Los Angeles Clippers kept their cool in a thrilling Christmas Day triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Clippers consigned their rivals to a fourth loss in a row as MVP contender Leonard starred with 35 points in a 111-106 road victory on Wednesday.

With the scores tied at 86 apiece heading into the fourth quarter, it was the Clippers who showed the greater composure and Leonard was delighted to get the job done.

"We were just saying we've got to stop worrying about the game," he said of his team's focus ahead of the crunch final period.

"We're not going to blow teams out, it's not going to be easy. Every night is going to be a battle and [we need to] stop worrying about the score. Just play every possession. Play hard.

"If we're losing, don't look up [at the score], just keep doing what we have to do to win. I think we did that in the second half.

"I'm just happy we got a road win. The battle of LA is for the fans and the people that are watching, but that's not our mind set.

"We stayed composed, we kept fighting and when things weren't working for us we just played one possession at a time and we were able to get a win."

The result improved the Clippers to 23-10 this season and up next is the visit of the Utah Jazz.

 

The Los Angeles Clippers claimed Christmas Day honours as neighbours the Los Angeles Lakers crashed to their fourth consecutive defeat in the NBA.

Kawhi Leonard starred with 35 points to lead the Clippers past the slumping Lakers 111-106 in the battle of LA on Wednesday.

Leonard scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and added 12 rebounds as the Clippers beat the Lakers for the second time this season, having also won on opening night.

The Lakers (24-7) led 63-51 at half-time but were outscored 60-43 by the Clippers (23-10) in the second half in Los Angeles.

Montrezl Harrell posted 18 points off the bench and Clippers team-mate Paul George contributed 17 at Staples Center midweek.

LeBron James, who returned from a muscle strain, put up 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the beaten Lakers, while Kyle Kuzma led the way with his 25 points.

 

Embiid takes down Bucks

Joel Embiid was at his brilliant best with 31 points and 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers upstaged league leaders the Milwaukee Bucks 121-109. It was Embiid's seventh game of the season with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Simmons added 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Jaylen Brown was 10 for 13 from the field and five-of-seven from three-point range for 30 points to inspire the Boston Celtics' 118-102 victory against defending champions the Toronto Raptors. Chris Boucher had 24 points off the bench for the Raptors.

Damion Lee's 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds helped the Golden State Warriors past the Houston Rockets 116-104. It was Golden State's third straight win. Double-doubles from Russell Westbrook (30 points, 12 rebounds), James Harden (24 points, 11 assists) and Clint Capela (10 points, 11 rebounds) were not enough for the Rockets.

 

Giannis struggles from the floor

While Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, it was a tough night for the reigning MVP. He was eight of 27 from the floor and 0 of seven from three-point range.

 

Beverley says no to LeBron!

Patrick Beverley produced a big defensive play as the Lakers tried to rally against the Clippers. James led the charge, but he was denied by the energetic Beverley.

 

Wednesday's results

Boston Celtics 118-102 Toronto Raptors
Philadelphia 76ers 121-109 Milwaukee Bucks
Golden State Warriors 116-104 Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers 111-106 Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans 112-100 Denver Nuggets

 

Spurs at Mavs

After their high-scoring battle against the Memphis Grizzlies, the San Antonio Spurs take on the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. The Mavericks could welcome back star guard Luka Doncic.

Russell Westbrook led the way as the Houston Rockets downed Kawhi Leonardo's Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 in the NBA on Thursday.

Westbrook posted 40 points and 10 rebounds to inspire the Rockets' win in Los Angeles, where Houston rallied.

The Rockets (19-9) trailed by 15 points at half-time but used a 36-point third quarter to emerge triumphant at Staples Center.

James Harden contributed 28 points and 10 assists – the Rockets star breaking Calvin Murphy's franchise assist record in the process.

Paul George's 34 points and Leonard's 25 and nine rebounds were not enough for the Clippers (21-9) on home court.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 in their highly anticipated showdown.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's 34 points and 11 rebounds led the Bucks to the NBA's best record at 25-4 in Milwaukee.

LeBron James recorded a triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, while Anthony Davis had 36 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers (24-4).

 

Dinwiddie has career night

Spencer Dinwiddie posted a career-high 41 points but not even that could stop the Brooklyn Nets from losing 118-105 to the San Antonio Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge put up 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs.

Donovan Mitchell's 30 points led the Utah Jazz past the Atlanta Hawks 111-106. Trae Young scored 30 of his own for the Hawks.

 

Lakers get nothing from bench

Starters James, Davis, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope really carried the Lakers in Milwaukee. They were the only players to reach double-digit points – the team's bench only contributing four points via Dwight Howard (2) and Rajon Rondo (2).

 

Giannis from distance!

Antetokounmpo had a career-high five-pointers, including this gem from the beyond the arc against the Lakers.

 

Thursday's results

Utah Jazz 111-106 Atlanta Hawks
Milwaukee Bucks 111-104 Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio Spurs 118-105 Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 Houston Rockets

 

Mavs at 76ers

After losing for the first time at home this season, the Philadelphia 76ers have the chance to bounce back against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Doc Rivers hit back after Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James spoke out against load management, a concept the Los Angeles Clippers have used with Kawhi Leonard.

The Clippers have handed Leonard – whose minutes were managed carefully in the Toronto Raptors' championship-winning 2018-19 season as he made his comeback from a quadriceps issue – a number of games off this season in an aim to keep him fit for the playoffs.

After the Lakers beat the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, 17-year NBA veteran James made his thoughts on the issue clear.

He said: "If I'm healthy I'll play. That should be the approach. Unless we're getting to late in the season, we've clinched and we can't get any better or worse, I could benefit from that, but why wouldn't I play if I'm healthy? It doesn’t make any sense to me, personally.

"I mean, I don't know how many games I've got left in my career. I don't know how many kids that may show up to a game that are there to see me play and if I sit out, then what? That's my obligation. My obligation is to play."

When James' remarks were posed to Rivers, the head coach stated the philosophies of the two franchises likely differ because the Lakers' is based on "whatever LeBron says".

"It's our philosophy. I don't know what theirs are. I think theirs is whatever LeBron says it is, to be honest," said Rivers.

"That makes a lot of sense to me. I like what we are doing, and I think it's the smart thing to do. Who knows? We'll see at the end."

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