LeBron James is optimistic the coronavirus-hit NBA season can resume, though the Los Angeles Lakers superstar would struggle to find closure if the campaign did not conclude.

The NBA has been on hiatus since March 11 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 88,500 deaths worldwide and more than 1,518,700 confirmed cases.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league will not be able to make any decisions regarding the season until at least May.

Asked how he would feel if the season could not be finished, James – whose Lakers were top of the Western Conference at the time of the postponement – told reporters on Wednesday: "I don't know if I will be able to have any closure."

Initially against the idea of playing games without fans if and when the season restarts, three-time NBA champion James added: "If it comes to a point if we're playing without our fans, we still know that we have Laker faithful with us in spirit.

"We know they'll be home cheering us on, online, on their phones, on their tablets watching us playing so hopefully we can bottle that energy that we know we're getting from them.

"Bottle that loyalty that they've had for not only this year but since the Lakers have been in Los Angeles. So hopefully we're able to channel that. Channel that energy, channel that focus and bring them with us if we're either at Staples without fans or we're somewhere in an isolated location playing the game of basketball."

The NBA is reportedly exploring the possibility of holding the entire postseason in one location – Las Vegas. The Lakers had played 63 of the 82-game regular season when the campaign was halted.

"I believe once [the pandemic is] under control and they allow us to resume some type of activity, I would love to get the season back going," James, 35, continued. "I feel like we're in a position where we can get back and start to compete for a championship, get back to doing what we love to do, making our Laker faithful proud of us, of being back on the floor.

"And if it's in one single isolated destination ... if it's Las Vegas or somewhere else that can hold us and keep us in the best possible chance to be safe, not only on the floor but also off the floor as well, then those conversations will be had. Just figuring out a way."

After a difficult first season in Los Angeles, James had returned to his brilliant best for the Lakers in 2019-20 – the veteran's performances catapulting him into the mix for a fifth MVP award.

At the time of the NBA suspending the league, James had been averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game for the Western Conference-leading Lakers.

"I can have some satisfaction on what our team has been able to do this year, having a first-year coach, first-year system, a whole new coaching staff, bringing on so many new pieces to our team this year," James said.

"Doing the things that I honestly -- like I told you guys all year -- I honestly didn't think that we would be able to come together as fast as we did. I thought it would take us a lot longer than it did. But I was wrong. I was very wrong about that."

Los Angeles Lakers vice-president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said the team are staying connected and fit via virtual workouts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA, like many sports around the world, has been postponed due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 88,200 people globally, with over 1,508,500 confirmed cases.

It remains to be seen when and if the 2019-20 NBA season – which was suspended last month – will resume amid the coronavirus crisis.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league will not be able to make any decisions regarding the season until at least May.

In the meantime, LeBron James and the Lakers – who were top of the Western Conference prior to the postponement – remain close while social distancing.

"For the guys, we work hard with our strength and conditioning staff to make sure they have fitness bundles delivered to them where we can do Zoom workouts," Pelinka told reporters on a conference call on Wednesday.

"This is a team that just loved being together whether it was on the bench, on the bus, in the locker room. These guys just have a great chemistry of being together.

"So they've tried to stay as connected as possible in the ways they can, working out together virtually."

Pelinka added: "I think all of us right now have to live with hope, and we have to live with faith and trust and courage and those attributes because it's a really, really hard and dark time for the world.

"And so I'm going to choose to fix most of my thoughts on that we will have a chance to finish the season. I think that would be a great thing for us.

"But we also know that this situation is so much bigger than basketball. The reason I have that hope is not for personal accomplishment. Just, it's more that I think it could be the best thing for the world, going back to that Nelson Mandela quote: I think sports can really be powerful."

Only the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) had a better record than the Lakers (49-14) at the time of the league shutting down on March 11 and Pelinka said: "It's almost like I look at our season like a series of tests and we got a lot of As. And we got some A-pluses and some A-minuses. And I think there has been a lot of success in that.

"We haven't had the chance to take a final exam yet. But that doesn't mean we're not going to celebrate the As that we've gotten so far."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said he is staying mentally and physically prepared for a possible NBA return.

The NBA, like many sports around the world, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 74,600 people globally.

It remains to be seen when and if the 2019-20 NBA season – which was suspended last month – will resume amid the COVID-19 crisis.

But, three-time NBA champion and 35-year-old James is making sure he is ready to go.

"I'm still getting in my daily workouts — I never go a day without," James told PEOPLE.

"Staying in touch with my team-mates and the coaching staff, just doing everything we can to stay mentally and physically prepared for whatever may come next."

After a difficult first season in Los Angeles, James had returned to his brilliant best for the Lakers – the veteran's performances catapulting him into the mix for a fifth MVP award.

At the time of the NBA suspending the league on March 11, James had been averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game.

In the meantime, James has been spending precious time with his family amid strict social-distancing and travel measures in the United States, where there have been more than 367,000 confirmed cases and over 10,800 deaths.

James added: "This much family time for us is rare, so really just taking in this opportunity to be together every single day."

It was April 5, 1984, and it could barely have happened in a more fitting way.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar posted up 7ft 4in Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton and received a pass from Magic Johnson on the right wing.

Rickey Green sped across for the double team and blocked Abdul-Jabbar's path into the lane, though he was unable to steal the ball at the same time.

The Los Angeles Lakers star then pivoted towards the baseline and sent a trademark sky hook over Eaton to send the Las Vegas crowd crazy.

With that bucket, Abdul-Jabbar surpassed the great Wilt Chamberlain's career haul of 31,419 points and became the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

Speaking on court after the game, NBA commissioner David Stern said: "Kareem, you are one of the greatest athletes ever to play our game."

A difficult relationship

When he was just 14 years old, Abdul-Jabbar was a protege of Chamberlain during the latter's time with the Philadelphia Warriors.

When Abdul-Jabbar entered the league with the Milwaukee Bucks as the first overall pick from the 1969 draft, his former mentor was in his twilight years with the Lakers.

It was an era when the league was dominated by big men, and the pair rapidly became on-court rivals. Competitiveness brought an end to their intertwined history.

Asked to explain why they were no longer close in a 1987 interview, Chamberlain said: "Well, I would say that athletes are really tough people, they have a lot of pride, they're very, very competitive and him and I are natural rivals. Even though we grew up together in one way, we still are rivals.

"I would love to be more friendly with Kareem, but maybe he's in a different world than I am right now."

Wilt at a loss

Chamberlain had hoped to be in attendance when Abdul-Jabbar surpassed his points haul against the Jazz but claimed he had been detained in Los Angeles.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times the following day, he was baffled by the furore Abdul-Jabbar's landmark moment had caused.

''It's curious. It's really quite strange. If I had received half the fanfare that Kareem's getting at this time, I wouldn't know what to do with myself," said Chamberlain.

"It doesn't make sense. And there are a few things that are bothering me about it. If this is so great, well, it's only one of about 90 [records] I held. I must be in a world by myself.''

One of the all-time greats

Those records Chamberlain spoke of? Well, to name but a few, they include:

- Averaging the most points per game in a season with 50.4 in 1961-62. He also holds the next three spots on the all-time list.

- Being the only player to score 100 points in a single game.

- Having the most career rebounds in the NBA (23,934) and the most in a single game (55).

Criticism of Kareem

It is therefore understandable that Abdul-Jabbar had his detractors when he set a new scoring record.

They pointed to it taking him 15 seasons to reach a points total that Chamberlain managed in 14.

Then there was the fact he had played 121 more games, although Chamberlain racked up over 2,000 more minutes.

Incredible longevity

However, there can be no doubting that after scoring that sky hook against the Jazz, Abdul-Jabbar cemented his place in NBA history.

He went on to play 20 seasons in the league, which at the time was a record, take MVP honours on six occasions and win as many rings before retiring at the age of 42.

By the time he called it quits, Abdul-Jabbar had scored 38,387 points in the NBA – averaging 24.6 per game across an illustrious career.

Karl Malone sits second on the list with 36,928 points, with the closest active player LeBron James sitting 4,300 away from Abdul-Jabbar's historic mark.

Kobe Bryant has posthumously joined basketball's Hall of Fame, an honour his wife described on Saturday as "the peak of his NBA career".

The Class of 2020 line-up was confirmed by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, with all the finalists announced in February officially named as new inductees.

Bryant, the great Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna when they and seven others perished in a helicopter crash in California on January 26.

Bryant was 41. He was a five-time NBA champion with the Lakers and an 18-time All-Star, as well as an Olympic champion in 2008 and 2012.

Bryant's Hall of Fame nomination may have been first announced following his death, but his place was a matter of time, and he reportedly was already in line to be inducted this year.

Vanessa Bryant told ESPN: "It's an incredible accomplishment and honour and we're extremely proud of him.

"Obviously we wish he was here with us to celebrate, but it's definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to being here.

"We're incredibly proud of him and there's some solace in knowing that he was probably going to be part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class."

The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place in Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 29.

Bryant's long-time fellow NBA superstars Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett also feature in the Class of 2020 - both were 15-time All-Stars in their playing careers - along with college coaching titan Eddie Sutton.

Rudy Tomjanovich, who led the Houston Rockets to two NBA titles, made the grade, together with 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medallist Tamika Catchings, trailblazing women's coaches Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens, and FIBA executive Patrick Baumann.

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame president John L. Doleva said: "The Class of 2020 is undoubtedly one of the most historic of all time and the talent and social influence of these nine honourees is beyond measure.

"In 2020, the basketball community has suffered the unimaginable loss of iconic figures commissioner David Stern and Kobe Bryant, as well as the game itself due to COVID-19.

"We have also banded together like never before in appreciation of the game and those who have made it the uniting force it is today. Today we thank the Class of 2020 for all they have done for the game of basketball and we look forward to celebrating them at Enshrinement in August."

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel revealed none of the NBA team's coaching staff were tested for coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the Lakers announced their roster were currently symptom-free after two players contracted COVID-19 amid the pandemic, which has brought the NBA and sport to a standstill across the globe.

The Lakers, on March 19, revealed a pair of unnamed players tested positive for coronavirus, but after completing a 14-day home isolation, no Lakers players showed symptoms.

However, Vogel told reporters via a conference call on Thursday: "To my knowledge, the rest of the staff was not tested.

"The only people that were tested upon the news of the Brooklyn Nets' positive test results were our players.

"That was ... following the lead of our team doctor and the local health officials."

Vogel added: "It's just, we were not told to be tested. And obviously everybody recognised the shortage of tests and we were only going to do what the local health department told us to do. So, we weren't asked to be tested at that point.

"I reassured my family that I was in good health and obviously, while I had been around those guys, there had been some social distancing guidelines in place, so I felt fine and I also felt confident that a test wasn't needed for me personally. But I think everybody is in a case-by-case basis with that."

Confirmed cases of coronavirus have exceeded one million globally, with more than 53,200 deaths.

In the United States, over 6,000 people have succumbed to the virus from at least 245,190 cases.

The Los Angeles Lakers announced their team are currently symptom-free after two players tested positive for coronavirus.

On March 19, NBA franchise the Lakers revealed a pair of unnamed players contracted COVID-19 amid the pandemic.

But after completing a 14-day home isolation prescribed by team physicians, no Lakers players are showing symptoms.

Coronavirus continues to disrupt sport – including the NBA which is on hiatus – across the globe as countries try to contain COVID-19.

Deaths have exceeded 42,000 globally, with more than 856,800 confirmed cases.

LeBron James said there is no excitement or joy without fans as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar discussed the challenges facing the NBA amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA, like many sports around the world, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed almost 24,000 people globally.

It remains to be seen when and if the 2019-20 season will resume, with commissioner Adam Silver unwilling to provide a return date for the league.

If the campaign relaunches, the prospect of games behind closed doors is likely, something three-time NBA champion James is not looking forward to.

"What is the word 'sport' without 'fan'?" James said on the Road Trippin' Podcast. "There's no excitement. There's no crying. There's no joy. There's no back-and-forth.

"That's what also brings out the competitive side of the players, to know that you're going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you're playing against that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans' ass too.

"So to get back on the floor, I would love it. I'm not going to sit here and say nothing. Like, if it's get out there and get back on the floor five-on-five ... but like, we can do that in scrimmages.

"Let's just go to each other's practice facility, put out a camera, just scrimmage and livestream it. ... I just don't know how we can imagine a sporting event without fans. It's just, it's a weird dynamic."

There has been talk of the NBA heading straight into the playoffs if the season resumes but James, whose Lakers were top of the Western Conference with a 49-14 record prior to the postponement, said: "One thing you can't just do is go straight to the playoffs. Because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position."

After a difficult first season in Los Angeles, James had returned to his brilliant best for the Lakers – the 35-year-old's performances catapulting him into the mix for a fifth MVP award.

At the time of the NBA suspending the league on March 11, James had been averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game.

As such, he is disappointed to lose the rhythm of impressive form he felt was building nicely towards the postseason.

James added: "When you've been building six months of conditioning and preparation and then [it's gone], the narrative that I don't like [is], 'Well, now guys get so much rest' or, like, 'LeBron, he's 35, he's got so many minutes on his body, now he gets so much rest'.

"It's actually the opposite for me because my body, when we stopped playing, was asking me, like, 'What the hell are you doing?'

"My body was like, 'Hey man, what the hell is going on? It's March 13th, you're getting ready for the playoffs, why are you shutting down right now?' And I was right there turning the corner, like, I felt like I was rounding third base, getting ready for the postseason. So the rest factor, I think it's a little bit [overblown]. Especially when you're in the full swing of things."

It is 48 years to the day since the Los Angeles Lakers set a new NBA benchmark with 69 regular-season wins.

Bill Sharman's Lakers routed the Seattle Supersonics to end the year with a 69-13 record and the best win percentage (.841) posted by a team.

The stunning Los Angeles season bettered the Philadelphia 76ers' mark from five years earlier, although the Chicago Bulls and then the Golden State Warriors have since set the standard.

The Warriors' record will stand for at least another year, too, with the 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks faltering following Giannis Antetokounmpo's injury.

With the campaign now paused amid the coronavirus pandemic, we take a look at the teams and seasons that led the way.
 

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: 1966-67 - 68-13 (.840)

Since the Washington Capitols ended the first 60-game NBA season with a 49-11 record in 1946-47, no team had been able to post a regular-season win percentage of .800 or above - until the Sixers.

Philadelphia dominated from start to finish in 1966-67, led by MVP Wilt Chamberlain. The campaign was the first and only to include 81 games, adding another to make the existing 82-game schedule the following year, and the Sixers finished eight games clear of a strong Boston Celtics outfit in the East.

Chamberlain was the only Philly player to make the All-NBA First Team, but the Sixers' depth made them one of the greats, and they ended the year as champions with an NBA Finals success against the San Francisco Warriors.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS: 1971-72 - 69-13 (.841)

With an extra game to play with, it did not take the Lakers too long to edge past the Sixers. And Chamberlain was again the star.

After leaving the Sixers in 1968, Chamberlain was outstanding once again in his penultimate season in the league, while Jerry West - whose silhouette graced a new NBA logo that remains to this day - also impressed.

Chamberlain refused to compare LA to his Philadelphia team after breaking the record, but they ultimately matched the Sixers by claiming the championship, with the veteran the Finals MVP against the New York Knicks.

CHICAGO BULLS: 1995-96 - 72-10 (.878)

It took 24 years and arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport to break the Lakers' record. Michael Jordan lifted the Bulls to the first ever 70-win season in 1995-96.

Playing his first full season back following his initial retirement, there was still no stopping Jordan as he kickstarted the Bulls' second run of three straight championships.

The guard was the MVP, the league's leading scorer and then the Finals MVP, while Chicago finished 12 games clear of the Orlando Magic.

They only lost three more games in the playoffs, too, sweeping the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals before beating the Seattle Supersonics to take the title.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: 2015-16 - 73-9 (.890)

Only two teams have ever broken the 70-win barrier, but the second, the Warriors, remarkably could not follow up their regular-season success with the title.

Golden State won three championships over a four-year stretch but could not get the job done against LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals in 2016.

The Warriors' stunning regular-season efforts overshadowed an impressive 67-win San Antonio Spurs campaign, with Stephen Curry the MVP and top scorer, but the NBA's outstanding team went down to the Cavs in Game Seven.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, chances are you need to look back over the archives if you want to get your daily sporting fix.

Well, we've got you covered for Friday.

March 20 boasts a few notable events throughout sporting history, including a number of Grand Nationals, a heavyweight title fight and the retiring of one of basketball's most famous jerseys.

Here are five of the biggest things to happen in sport on this day...

 

1948 - 50/1 shot mare wins Grand National to end 

The 102nd edition of one of the world's most famous horse races saw Sheila's Cottage, ridden by Arthur Thompson, defy odds of 50/1 to win. She was also the first mare to triumph at Aintree in 46 years and only the 12th in the long and storied history of the steeplechase. Thompson and trainer Neville Trump would record a second win together four years later.

1988 - Mike Tyson knocks out Tyrell Biggs

In Atlantic City, Tyson took on 1984 Olympic gold medallist Tyrell Biggs, who was 15-0 since turning professional and was literally head and shoulders above his opponent, standing at 6 foot 5 compared to Tyson at 5 foot 10.

Still, he was no match for the defending WBA, WBC and IBF champion, who left Biggs bloodied and bruised before sending him crashing to the canvas in round seven. The fight continued but Biggs was knocked down again, leading the referee to halt proceedings and ensure Tyson stretched his record to 32 wins from 32.

1990 - Lakers retire Abdul-Jabbar's jersey

Thirty years ago, the LA Lakers retired the number 33 jersey of Karim Abdul-Jabbar, the man still considered by some to be basketball's greatest.

A six-time NBA champion with the Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks, a winner of six MVP and two Finals MVP awards and 19 times on the All-Star roster, nobody has worn his number 33 for the Lakers since 1990.

2010 - France clinch grand slam

France won their 17th Five/Six Nations title and completed a ninth grand slam after battling to victory over England in Paris.

Les Bleus had powered through the earlier rounds but were made to work hard by England, who dominated the second half after ending the first 12-7 down but could only earn three more points via the boot of Jonny Wilkinson.

They have not won the championship since.

A pair of Los Angeles Lakers players have tested positive for coronavirus, the NBA franchise announced on Thursday.

The Lakers did not release the names of the players, though they did say the pair are currently asymptomatic, in quarantine and under the care of the team's physician.

Lakers physicians and public health officials recommended testing for COVID-19 after four Brooklyn Nets players contracted the virus – Los Angeles played the Nets on March 10.

"All players and members of the Lakers staff are being asked to continue to observe self-quarantine and shelter at home guidelines, closely monitor their health, consult with their personal physicians and maintain constant communication with the team," the statement read.

"The health and well-being of our players, our organisation, our fans, and all those potentially impacted by this situation is paramount. As always, we appreciate the support of our fans, family and friends, and wish everyone affected by this virus a speedy recovery."

It comes after the Philadelphia 76ers announced that three members of the organisation tested positive for coronavirus, while the Denver Nuggets confirmed one case.

Coronavirus continues to disrupt sport – including the NBA – across the globe as countries try to contain COVID-19.

Globally, more than 10,000 people have died from almost 245,000 cases.

There have been over 205 deaths in the United States, with at least 13,700 cases.

Elite-level sport has been paused across the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic that now has over 150,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, competitions have steadily been halted over recent weeks.

Each of Europe's top five football leagues are off, along with the Champions League, while the NBA came to a sudden stop on Wednesday.

Motorsport was hit as Formula One's Australian Grand Prix was postponed, while cricket, tennis, golf, hockey and, initially to a lesser extent, rugby all also took stock.

In a peculiar period with a vastly reduced sporting schedule, a number of stars were therefore left to make alternative plans.

Reigning NBA MVP and leading 2019-20 candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo did not last long before he commented on the boredom he was enduring in the absence of basketball.

The Greek Freak posted on Twitter late on Friday: "If this is how my life is going to be after basketball, I'm not retiring for a long time. #25yearCareer"

Antetokounmpo tagged his girlfriend Mariah Riddlesprigger, who replied: "You will literally drive me crazy so the longer the better."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was revelling in some family time, however, marking Friday 13 by watching a horror movie.

James then filmed his children as they performed a dance for their TikTok accounts, which their famous father promoted on his Instagram story.

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton found a different way to spend his time as the start of the new season was delayed, meanwhile.

"Gutted to not be qualifying today," he wrote on Saturday. "I decided to stick around Melbourne and go indoor rock climbing. It's a great way for me to keep focused."

Hamilton may not have been out on the track, but European Tour golfer Matthias Schwab was – virtually.

The Austrian shared a clip as he multi-tasked, playing a motorsport videogame while keeping fit on his exercise bike.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid had been due to take to the field on Friday before LaLiga went into lockdown, but Sergio Ramos entertained himself and his family.

The Madrid captain uploaded an image to his Instagram story of he and two of his children sporting matching hairstyles.

Ramos added two hashtags, reading, "I stay at home," "We stay at home".

Inter's on-loan Manchester United striker Alexis Sanchez was among the other players left to train at home, and he called his dogs in to help.

The Chile international posted a video, set to Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun, as he juggled a ball with his dogs in pursuit.

Spencer Dinwiddie said the Brooklyn Nets' shock 104-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers felt "big" after he hit the tie-breaking jumper at Staples Center.

Victory over the Western Conference-leading Lakers means the Nets are on a three-game winning streak.

Two of those successes have come since the Nets parted company with coach Kenny Atkinson, who has been replaced on an interim basis by Jacque Vaughn.

The Lakers saw their four-game winning streak halted after Anthony Davis (26 points) missed a last-gasp three-point shot.

Dinwiddie said: "It feels good because [the Lakers are] a high-quality opponent on the road, for sure; for a team that is doing its best right now and continuing to find itself, obviously it's going through injuries and the coaching change as well.

"There's been a ton of up and down and obviously they're one of the two, three [best] teams in the league, championship contenders - Lakers, Clippers and Bucks - so it's big for a group that's learning and is going to try to be a champion."

Dinwiddie, who was born in Los Angeles but has been with the Nets since 2016, admitted it felt sweet to hit the game-winner against the team he once held close to his heart.

"Normally I'd be pretty measured and I'm still pretty measured," he said. "But [I was a] lifelong Lakers fan up until six years ago when I got in the NBA, so this was pretty fun, especially because I know my parents probably really enjoyed it."

Recalling his crucial score, Dinwiddie added: "Everyone did a good job of cutting off my first drive, and then the second attempt was to the left and I was able to kind of get a step and just pull it up and I was fortunate enough to hit the shot."

LeBron James had 29 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers (49-14), while Dinwiddie led the Nets with 23 points.

Vaughn, who served as assistant to Atkinson, said in the post-game news conference: "It's great motivation for our group, great confidence for our group."

The interim coach added: "I talked earlier about how important that is in this game, gives us some momentum. I think there's something to be said about momentum. And then you get guys believing in each other. My job is to instil confidence in these guys and I'll continue to do that."

Vaughn confirmed the Nets would take Kevin Durant, who is battling back from injury but not ready to play games, back to his old team the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

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.

LeBron James has backtracked on his comments about refusing to play games behind closed doors due to the spread of coronavirus.

Los Angeles Lakers star James said on Friday he would not take part in matches without fans, something the NBA had reportedly advised teams was a distinct possibility.

The proliferation of COVID-19 has led to all sporting activity in Italy being banned until April 3, while professional football games in Spain and France will be played behind closed doors.

In the United States, MLB, MLS, the NBA and NHL have stopped granting media access to locker rooms for an indefinite period.

James clarified his remarks on Tuesday and claimed he was unaware the possibility of games being played in empty arenas was already under consideration.

"When I was asked the question, 'would you play without any fans?' I had no idea there was a conversation going on behind closed doors about the particular virus," said James.

"Obviously, I would be very disappointed not having the fans, because that's what I play for – I play for my family, I play for the fans.

"If they [the NBA] decide to go to that point [where games are played behind closed doors], I'd be disappointed in that, but at the same time you've got to listen to the people that keep track of what's going on.

"If they feel like it's best for the safety of the players, safety of the franchise, safety of the league to mandate that, then we'll all listen to it."

There have been 472 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the USA as of Tuesday, when the death toll stood at 19.

James was listed as questionable to face the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday but told reporters he intended to play.

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