LaMelo Ball is expected to be the first name called out during the 2020 NBA Draft.

Lonzo Ball was drafted second in 2017, but younger brother LaMelo is projected to go first on Wednesday, like Zion Williamson, Ben Simmons, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James before him.

LaMelo Ball excelled in one of the best professional leagues outside of the United States – the NBL via its Next Stars program.

The 19-year-old was crowned the 2019-20 NBL Rookie of the Year during his stint with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia, where he averaged 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 12 games before a foot injury cut short his season.

Matt Flinn knows Ball better than most, having coached the emerging guard during his time with the Hawks and he provided an insight into his brief but successful period in Illawarra.

"The first thing that came out for me was how enthusiastic he was and how much he actually loved the game," Flinn told Stats Perform News ahead of the NBA Draft. "That sounds obvious, but some people play the game because they're good at it, some people play the game because they're actually good at it but they genuinely love it and identify with it.

"That's the first thing that struck me with Melo. That's a cycle that he operates on, a simple formula that the more you love something, which he clearly does, the more he does it. He works out a lot, he is like a gym rat. The more you work out, the better you get. The better you get, the more you love it. It goes into this simple formula and style but ultimately it works for him. It was just his joyfulness for the game, and that's infectious, it rubbed off on his team-mates and coaching staff.

"There was an obvious aura about him when he first came in, that was defined a little bit by the celebrity status and attention he was getting outside of practice. We had 100 people lined up outside the gym at the first practice he was at. That was surreal for us in Illawarra. We shut all the doors, we didn't let Facebook in. I was really strong with that. I wanted to establish a clear line that 'okay Melo, you are who you are outside, but inside these walls, we're going to do our very best to treat you like everyone else'. I think he actually appreciated that and it built some trust. We were allowed to get to work. There was a fair bit of work to do. It's not sexy when you're grinding all the time and working as we all do, a lot of repetition and drills.

"All I ever really wanted from Melo was for him to get better in a team environment because that was the real unknown factor from everyone. We know he can play, with these great attributes and skillset but how he is going to survive in an elite practice environment and elite team environment in games? At 18 years old, I'll be honest right at the start before he even trained, I had question marks how he would adapt to a very physical league with FIBA rules, every team is scouted really well, how is he going to adjust to that and how will I adjust if he can't adjust?

"It became really clear in the first few weeks of practice that this kid can flat out play. How do we now push this into a team environment and teach systems, schemes etc."

The Hawks endured a forgettable season, ending the campaign 5-23 but Ball was a standout prior to his injury.

Ball became the youngest player in NBL history to record a triple-double after posting 32 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds against the Cairns Taipans in November last year, while he also had three double-doubles.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are set to pick first midweek, ahead of the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets.

"Sometimes in elite teams it's not always going to be about you, you have to find ways to contribute. Sometimes you have to take a backseat, some other guy might be doing better and contributing to a matchup problem. I'd like to think that some of those instances or scenarios that he's had with us will help prepare him for the next level," Flinn said.

"I think he's going to be way better in the NBA than we saw because the freedom of movement, it's a high scoring, run and gun, more athletic league. You have more rim protection, which allows you to potentially gamble more. Better coaching, more support around your schemes.

"He's always had this ultimate goal to develop his game to be at the ultimate level. I think whoever gets him, if the coach is right and I'm not saying you have to bow down to him, but if you're going to make a significant investment in a kid like this, you're going to have to continue to teach and nurture it.

"I think Melo was lucky that although a lot of people say rookie coach etc, he was lucky that he landed with me because I'm a teacher. That allowed me to maintain some sort of positivity and constantly be on him about a team learning environment and I think that will be accelerated again. Student of the game, he just has a natural thirst for the game of basketball. The next level for him, no one can deny his skillset – his passing, length, quickness, split on balls, throw no-look passes, see things before they happen – the next corner for him to truly become of the greats is to work on his body and be a student of the game."

Lonzo Ball was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, though the 23-year-old – who averaged 11.8 points, 7.0 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game last season – now finds himself with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Even according to Lonzo, LaMelo is seen as the most talented Ball brother and when asked to compare the siblings, Flinn said: "No disrespect to his brothers, but I think he will be the best out of the three. He is 19, it's ridiculous."

"You're a product of your environment and what I've seen from LaMelo is a gracious kid, positive and happy kid… we're still in touch today as he is with most of his team-mates from that team," he continued.

At this time a year ago, most NBA teams were right around the 10-game mark.

The Los Angeles Lakers, who would capture the season's delayed championship a mere 11 months later, sat atop the Western Conference at 8-2, while defending conference champions and injury-ravaged Golden State Warriors were tied with the lowly New York Knicks for the league's worst record at 2-9.

Fast-forward a year, and the NBA is in the midst of an offseason, albeit a brief one. The 2019-20 season ended on October 11, and just this week the NBA made it official that the 2020-21 campaign will tip off on December 22.

The draft had been scheduled for October 16 before being pushed back to next Wednesday, when it will take place virtually from the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

The draft order was set back on August 20, when the league conducted its lottery at the NBA office in Secaucus, New Jersey, revealing the Minnesota Timberwolves have the top selection and the Boston Celtics have the last lottery pick – courtesy of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Most of these teams have not played a game since mid-March, so in case you have forgotten about how the league's also-rans fared – or tried to forget if you are a Knicks fan – here is a little breakdown of some notable stats from the teams with lottery picks.

 

1. Minnesota Timberwolves

For the second time in franchise history the Timberwolves have the top overall pick. The only other time they picked first was in 2015, when they selected Karl-Anthony Towns out of Kentucky. Towns led the Timberwolves last season with 26.5 points per game, while D'Angelo Russell averaged 21.7 and Malik Beasley averaged 20.7. The Timberwolves and the Celtics were the only two teams last season to have three players average 20 or points (minimum 12 games played). Minnesota could have possibly had more 20-point players if they could have made a higher rate of their shots. Minnesota were third in the league in three-point attempts per game (39.7) but were the NBA's third-worst team in three-point shooting at 33.6 per cent to become just the third team in league history to rank in the top three in three-point attempts per game and third worst in three-point percentage, joining the 1999-2000 Sacramento Kings and 2003-04 New Orleans Hornets. While the offense struggled, Minnesota's defense were abysmal, allowing at least 100 points in each of their final 30 games. After the All-Star break, the Timberwolves' opponents' scoring average of 125.3 points and opponents' shooting percentage of 51.7 percent both ranked last in the league. Winning the lottery and picking first is usually a blessing, but without a clear-cut number one in this draft, Minnesota have some decisions to make with how they plan to bolster their roster.

2. Golden State Warriors

A year ago, the Warriors were picking 28th and now they are second. Times have certainly changed, but you would have probably noticed that already. Given the Warriors were without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for essentially the entire season, it is no big surprise Golden State's winning percentage from 2018-19 to 2019-20 dropped by .464 – the biggest decline by any team from one season to the next since the Cleveland Cavaliers' drop in winning percentage of .512 from 2009-10 to 2010-11. Offensively, Golden State finished last in the NBA in effective field goal shooting at 49.7 per cent - (FGM plus 0.5 three points made)/FGA – and last in points scored per 100 possessions at 102.9. Eric Paschall led the depleted Warriors in scoring with 837 points – the lowest by any team leader in 2019-20. As Golden State's scoring leader, Paschall became the first Warrior rookie to lead the team in scoring since Hall of Famer Rick Barry in 1965-66. With Curry and Thompson healthy, the offense will have an entirely different look for 2020-21 and get Golden State back among the upper echelon of teams. The Warriors now seem to be targeting Memphis big man James Wiseman to upgrade a defense that allowed 110.9 points per 100 possessions – tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the fifth worst in the NBA.

3. Charlotte Hornets

After a lacklustre offensive showing in 2019-20, the Hornets are picking third for the first time since taking Gonzaga's Adam Morrison in 2006. While the NBA scoring average was at 111.8 points per game, Charlotte averaged a league-low 102.9 points and shot a league-worst 43.4 per cent – the first team since the 2015-16 Lakers to finish last in both categories. They shot a league-worst 33.4 per cent on pull-up shots and even right at the rim they struggled to convert, recording a league-worst 56.6 per cent on dunks and layups. In their 65 games played last season, they were outshot in 48 of them – the most in the league. You get the picture, the Hornets need to improve their shooting.

4. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are the only team to rank in the bottom five in scoring each of the last three seasons. They concluded the 2019-20 campaign with the NBA's fourth-worst scoring offense at 106.8 points per game and the fourth-worst offensive rating at 104.1 points per 100 possessions. They were the fifth-worst shooting team on catch and shoots at 35.7 per cent and sixth worst at converting dunks and layups at 58.4 percent. Not only were the Bulls not much of threat offensively, they were a mess on the glass, averaging the second-fewest rebounds in the NBA at 41.9 per game – the franchise's fewest since averaging 40.0 in 2001-02. Upgrading the offense with a proven shooter could be the way new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas leans.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

Defense was somewhat optional for the Cavaliers last season, and they essentially opted not to play it, ranking last in the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions at 113.6. Since the advent of the three-point line in 1979-80, their opponents' effective field goal percentage of 56.0 was the second worst by any team in a season beating out only the 2018-19 Cavs' 56.4. Their offensive production was not much better, with their 104.4 points per 100 possessions ranking sixth worst in the NBA. Carelessness played a part in Cleveland's inefficient offense with their 16.5 turnovers per game ranking last in the league – the first time since 1997-98 they finished last in turnovers per game. The Cavs enter this draft with plenty of needs on both sides of the ball.

6. Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks had glaring issues both offensively and defensively last season, posting the fifth-worst offensive rating at 104.3 points per 100 possessions, along with the third-worst defensive rating at 112.3 opponents' points per 100 possessions. Their defense was especially shoddy down the stretch, permitting a league-worst 124.3 points per game since February 1. Their offensive woes, meanwhile, stemmed from poor perimeter shooting, as they ranked last in the league in three-point shooting at 33.3 per cent – the first time since 2006-07 they had the NBA's worst three-point percentage. Finding someone to compliment Trae Young would go a long way in boosting the offense. Young averaged a team-high 29.6 points while the Hawks' second-leading scorer, De'Andre Hunter, averaged 12.3 points. That difference of 17.3 points per game was the largest gap in the NBA between a team's leading scorer and its second-leading scorer.

7. Detroit Pistons

Perhaps the biggest issue for the Pistons last season was that the oft-injured Derrick Rose led the team in scoring – not exactly the ideal player a team want to build around given his age and inability to stay healthy. Rose's average of 18.1 points per game was the second lowest for a team leader in 2019-20, and the Pistons had a 30-point scorer in just seven games – tied with the Miami Heat for the fewest 30-point games by a player last season. Detroit's offense was never flashy, averaging the fifth-fewest fast-break points per game at 11.0, and then it really shrivelled down the stretch, averaging a league-worst 103.7 points per 100 possessions after the end of January. Selecting a playmaker that can jump-start the offense should be Detroit's prime goal come draft night.

8. New York Knicks

Offense was not New York's strong suit last season. The Knicks had the league's worst true shooting percentage at 53.1 per cent and second-worst effective field goal percentage at 50.1. Not to be outdone, they also had the league's second-worst offensive rating at 103.8 points per 100 possessions. Behind power forward Julius Randle, the Knicks found success in scoring inside, scoring 46.9 percent of their points on dunks and layups – the seventh-highest rate in the NBA – but had the league's fourth-worst three-point percentage at 33.7. Upgrading at the point guard position, preferably with one who can score, is the troubled team's top priority.

9. Washington Wizards

Defense – or lack thereof – was the downfall of the 2019-20 Wizards, who surrendered 125 or more points in an NBA-worst 26 games. Washington were last in the NBA in opponents' true shooting percentage at 59.6 and had the league's second-worst defensive rating, allowing 112.7 points per 100 possessions. The team also had no answer on the boards, as they were outrebounded in an NBA-worst 50 games. Bradley Beal, meanwhile, carried the offense, leading the team in scoring in 46 games last season – two fewer than Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks outright in scoring for the most in the NBA. Led by Beal, the Wizards reached the 115-point mark in 34 games – eighth most in the NBA - but their .500 winning percentage (17-17) in games scoring 115 points or more was tied with the Timberwolves (15-15) and Warriors (8-8) for the worst in the league. The all-out offensive attack does not seem to be working for the Wizards, so a defensive stopper may be the answer.

10. Phoenix Suns

The Suns were all business on their summer trip to "The Most Magical Place on Earth," but still missed the playoffs for a 10th straight season – the second-longest active playoff drought behind the Sacramento Kings at 14. Phoenix are seemingly a playoff-calibre team, at least it looked that way at Walt Disney World Resort, where they won all eight of their games in the restart to become the first team in NBA history to end the regular season on an eight-game winning streak and still miss the playoffs. The Suns averaged 122.3 points and shot 40.2 per cent from three-point range in Orlando after averaging 112.6 points while shooting 35.3 per cent from beyond the arc before the season went on pause. Prior to the restart, the Suns were tied with the Cavs for 20th in the NBA in three-pointers made per game at 11.2, so adding a wing that can connect from long range would help. What would also help would be capturing that magic the team displayed inside the Orlando bubble and playing with that intensity from the get-go instead of waiting until the last two weeks.

11. San Antonio Spurs

With the 11th pick of the draft, the Spurs have a lottery pick for the first time since drafting Tim Duncan first overall in 1997. That is what happens when the team misses the playoffs for the first time in 23 years. San Antonio had some success offensively last season, ranking fourth in three-point shooting at 37.6 per cent. The problem was only the Knicks attempted fewer three-pointers, so Gregg Popovich was not buying into the chuck up three-pointer offense. The offense, however, neglected to force the ball inside, attempting a league-low 27.6 percent of their shots on dunks and layups. Instead, San Antonio attempted an NBA-high 70.4 per cent of their shots on jumpers. Popovich's defense also was not up to normal standard last season, allowing 110.9 points per 100 possessions - tied with the Warriors for the fifth worst in the NBA. While the defense could be improved, upgrading the offense with a playmaker is paramount.

12. Sacramento Kings

The Kings may be owners of the longest active playoff drought at 14 years, but their trajectory is pointing in the right direction with an offense revolving around De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Since the start of February, Sacramento ranked seventh in three-point shooting at 38.0 per cent and 10th in scoring at 115.6 points per game. The problems begin with their lack of size and athleticism in the interior. The Kings were the fourth-worst rebounding team, averaging 42.6 boards, and fourth worst in blocking shots, averaging 4.07. Opponents also shot 64.9 per cent within five feet of the rim – the second-highest field goal percentage in the league. Finding a rim protector could be the difference in the Kings reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

13. New Orleans Pelicans

Like the Kings, the Pelicans have a solid young core behind Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball and are on the precipice of becoming a playoff team. Last season, they ranked seventh in three-point shooting at 37.0 per cent, fifth in three-pointers made per game at 13.6 and fifth in scoring at 115.8 points per game. However, they also ranked 17th in offensive rating at 108.0 points per 100 possessions after ranking 29th in turnovers per game with an average of 16.4. Their defense also left something to be desired, especially in the restart, where their opponents' average of 113.4 points per 100 possessions was tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the fifth worst from the eight seeding games. The defense should see improvement under new coach Stan Van Gundy and drafting a big man that can step out to draw opposing defenses away from Williamson will make the offense more dangerous.

14. Boston Celtics

Eight weeks after playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics own a lottery pick via a trade with the Grizzlies from five years ago. Boston are the only team with three first-round picks, so for a team with a championship window wide open it seems unlikely they will keep all of them. The Celtics ranked second in three-point defense last season at 34.0 per cent and fourth in defensive rating at 104.5 points per 100 possessions. They were also tied with the Spurs for fifth in offensive rating at 110.4 points per 100 possessions and will bring back most of their roster, so they do not have a lot of big-time needs. More depth would certainly be welcome, however, after Boston's reserves accounted for just 25.0 percent of the team's total points – the third-lowest percentage of bench points in the NBA.

The Minnesota Timberwolves secured the number one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft after the lottery on Thursday.

The Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers each had a 14 per cent chance of winning the top pick, and Minnesota got lucky.

It marks the second time in six years that the Timberwolves have the top pick after they chose Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015.

Minnesota finished the 2019-20 season with a 19-45 record, with only the Cavaliers (19-46) and Warriors (15-50) worse.

The Warriors will pick second, ahead of the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns, who round out the top 10.

Georgia's Anthony Edwards is the favourite to be the number one pick in the draft, which is due to be held on October 16.

Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett and a group of investors are among those interested in buying the Minnesota Timberwolves from owner Glen Taylor.

Taylor is considering selling the team he has owned since 1994 and one of the conditions of the sale is the team must stay in Minnesota.

Garnett, the greatest player in Timberwolves history, said he is part of a group that is a potential buyer.

"No two people love the city more than myself and Glen Taylor and I look forward to trying to work with him to achieve my dream," Garnett wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

ESPN reported that Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf have emerged as serious candidates to buy the team.

Garnett spent his first 12 NBA seasons with the Timberwolves – winning MVP honours in 2004 – and played for the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. He returned to the Timberwolves in 2015 and retired the following year.

Garnett is part of a star-studded 2020 NBA Hall of Fame class that also includes Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant.

The Timberwolves have made just one playoff appearance in the past 16 seasons, with only two winning campaigns during that span. They finished this season 19-45 and were one of eight teams not invited to the NBA's season resumption in Orlando.

The mother of Minnesota Timberwolves star center Karl-Anthony Towns has died due to complications as a result of the coronavirus.

Last month, Towns posted an emotional video on Instagram in which he confirmed both of his parents were feeling unwell and heeded the advice to go to the hospital.

His father, Karl Sr., was cleared to return home and go into self-quarantine, but Jacqueline was put on a ventilator after both underwent COVID-19 testing.

A Timberwolves statement on Monday read: "She was an incredible source of strength; a fiery, caring, and extremely loving person, who touched everyone she met.

"Her passion was palpable and her energy will never be replaced."

The Timberwolves selected Towns with the number one overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. 

He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2015-16 and is a two-time All-Star.

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

Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns has revealed his mother is in a medically induced coma after contracting the coronavirus.

Towns said in an emotional video posted on Instagram that he discovered last week that both of his parents were feeling unwell and heeded the advice to go to hospital.

The center's father, Karl Sr., was cleared to return home and go into self-quarantine, but his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, was put on a ventilator after both underwent COVID-19 testing.

Towns' mother had started to feel better, but the 24-year-old detailed how her condition has deteriorated.

He said: "I think it's important that everyone understands the severity of what's happening in the world right now with the coronavirus, and I think where my life is right now could help, so I decided to do this video and give you an update of where I'm at.

"I was told early last week my parents weren't feeling well. My first reaction to her was to go seek medical attention immediately. There's no reason to wait, just go to the nearest hospital.

"And after a couple days of not showing any signs of improvement, I was very adamant on the first day to go to a hospital and seek further evaluation.

"Specifically, my sister told her [his mother] she needs to get checked for corona. I don't think anyone really understood what it was, with deteriorating condition. She kept getting worse, she kept getting worse, and the hospital was doing everything they can."

Towns added: "She just wasn't getting better. Her fever was never cutting from 103, maybe go down to 101.9 with the meds, and then immediately spike back up during the night.

"She was very uncomfortable. Her lungs were getting worse, her cough was getting worse. She was deteriorating. She was deteriorating - and we always felt that the next medicine would help. This is the one that's going to get it done. This mixture is going to get it done."

Towns continued: "She was feeling great. We talked, and she felt she turned the corner; I felt she was turning the corner. I knew there were more days to come, but I felt that we were heading in the right direction.

"They said that she went sideways and things had went sideways quick. And her lungs were extremely getting worse, and she was having trouble breathing and they were just explaining to me that she had to be put on a ventilator.

"And she was getting worse, and she was confused by everything, and I'm trying to talk to her about everything and encourage and stay positive, just talk through everything with her."

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.

The Milwaukee Bucks were handed a surprise defeat in the NBA, while the Houston Rockets' losing streak continued on Sunday.

Without the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks suffered a 140-131 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Khris Middleton poured in 39 points for Milwaukee, but Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio produced huge performances for Phoenix.

Booker went 13-of-17 from the field for 36 points, while Rubio had a triple-double of 25 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists.

Houston fell to a fourth consecutive loss in a surprise 126-106 defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 47 points for the Rockets.

However, Nikola Vucevic (16 points and 16 rebounds) and Aaron Gordon (19 points and 10 rebounds) had double-doubles for Orlando.

 

LeBron, Davis lift Lakers as Drummond shines

LeBron James (28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds) and Anthony Davis (30 points) saw the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Clippers 112-103.

Andre Drummond's 28 points and 17 rebounds helped the Cleveland Cavaliers past the San Antonio Spurs 132-129 after overtime.

Chris Paul finished with 28 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 105-104 win over the Boston Celtics.

 

Horrible Hachimura

Rui Hachimura, the ninth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, went 0-of-eight from the field in the Washington Wizards' loss to the Miami Heat.

 

Red-hot Robinson

Miami's Duncan Robinson hit at least seven three-pointers for the third straight game.

Sunday's results

Brooklyn Nets 110-107 Chicago Bulls
New Orleans Pelicans 120-107 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Lakers 112-103 Los Angeles Clippers
Oklahoma City Thunder 105-104 Boston Celtics
Phoenix Suns 140-131 Milwaukee Bucks
Miami Heat 100-89 Washington Wizards
Indiana Pacers 112-109 Dallas Mavericks
Orlando Magic 126-106 Houston Rockets
Cleveland Cavaliers 132-129 San Antonio Spurs
New York Knicks 96-84 Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors 118-113 Sacramento Kings

 

Bucks at Nuggets

The Bucks (53-11) get a chance to bounce back against the Denver Nuggets (42-21) on Monday.

LeBron James upstaged Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Los Angeles Lakers secured their playoff berth with victory over the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks.

James led the Lakers to a 113-103 victory at home to Antetokounmpo and the visiting Bucks in Los Angeles on Friday.

Lakers superstar James won his battle with reigning MVP Antetokounmpo, posting 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Western Conference leaders.

Anthony Davis added 30 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who improved to 48-13 following the blockbuster showdown.

Antetokounmpo's 32 points and 11 rebounds were not enough as the high-flying Bucks fell to 53-10 for the season.

 

Baynes makes history

Aron Baynes had a game to remember. The Australian tallied a career-high 37 points, 16 rebounds and made nine three-pointers as the Phoenix Suns defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 127-117. He joined James Harden as the only players in NBA history with 30-plus points, 15-plus rebounds and eight or more three-pointers in a game.

Kristaps Porzingis recorded his fifth straight game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds after putting up 26 and 11 in the Dallas Mavericks' 121-96 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Duncan Robinson made history in the Miami Heat's 110-104 loss away to the New Orleans Pelicans. Robinson finished with 24 points following eight three-pointers. It took Robinson's three-point tally to 233 this season – a single-season record by an undrafted player.

Bradley Beal's 35-point performance extended his streak of 25-plus points to 21 consecutive games. It tied LeBron James for the second-longest run by an Eastern Conference player since the 2000-01 season. The Washington Wizards won 118-112 against the Atlanta Hawks.

 

Bradley struggles

Usually a handy contributor for the Lakers, Avery Bradley failed to make much of an impact despite his team's victory over the Bucks. The point guard played 31 minutes and failed to make any of his shots from the field (0 of five) or three-point range (0 of three). His two points came from the free-throw line.

The Chicago Bulls went down 108-102 to the Indiana Pacers and Lauri Markkanen headlined his team's woes. The 22-year-old had just three points, going one of 10 from the field and missing all five of his shots from beyond the arc.

 

LeBron slams it down!

James was an immovable force for the Lakers against the Bucks, who were unable to prevent this dunk.

 

Friday's results

Washington Wizards 118-112 Atlanta Hawks
Brooklyn Nets 139-120 San Antonio Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder 126-103 New York Knicks
Utah Jazz 99-94 Boston Celtics
Indiana Pacers 108-102 Chicago Bulls
Orlando Magic 132-118 Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans 110-104 Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks 121-96 Memphis Grizzlies
Phoenix Suns 127-117 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers 113-103 Milwaukee Bucks

 

76ers at Warriors

The Philadelphia 76ers (38-25) will be eyeing back-to-back road wins when they travel to the Golden State Warriors (14-49) on Saturday.

The Los Angeles Lakers powered past the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA, while Caris LeVert starred for the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.

Anthony Davis and LeBron James had double-doubles in the Lakers' 120-107 win over the 76ers.

Davis was 13-of-19 from the field for his 37 points, and 13 rebounds, while James had 22 points and 14 assists.

LeVert produced a career-high 51 points as the Nets upset the Boston Celtics 129-120 after overtime.

The 25-year-old scored 26 points in the fourth quarter and 11 in OT as the Nets came from behind after trailing by 17 through three quarters.

Jaylen Brown had 22 points for Boston, while Kemba Walker finished with 21 but went six-of-16 from the field.

 

Cool Kawhi, Zion stars in Pelicans' loss

Kawhi Leonard's 25 points and eight rebounds helped the Los Angeles Clippers past the Oklahoma City Thunder 109-94.

Zion Williamson had 25 points and eight rebounds, but the New Orleans Pelicans fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves 139-134.

Pascal Siakam (33 points) and Kyle Lowry (28) starred in the Toronto Raptors' 123-114 win over the Phoenix Suns.

 

Lee struggles

The Golden State Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets 116-100, but Damion Lee went one-of-nine from the field for just four points in 33 minutes.

 

LeBron from the logo

James hit a long-range three during the Lakers' win.

Tuesday's results

San Antonio Spurs 104-103 Charlotte Hornets
Brooklyn Nets 129-120 Boston Celtics
Minnesota Timberwolves 139-134 New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Clippers 109-94 Oklahoma City Thunder
Golden State Warriors 116-100 Denver Nuggets
Toronto Raptors 123-114 Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Lakers 120-107 Philadelphia 76ers
Sacramento Kings 133-126 Washington Wizards

 

Pacers at Bucks

Flying with a 52-9 record, the Milwaukee Bucks host the Indiana Pacers (37-24) on Wednesday.

LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers past the New Orleans Pelicans, while Giannis Antetokounmpo was in spectacular form in the NBA on Sunday.

James' triple-double of 34 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds helped the Lakers bounce back from their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies with a 122-114 victory over the Pelicans.

Zion Williamson, the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, delivered one of the best performances of his young career with a career-high 35 points and seven rebounds.

Without Anthony Davis (knee), the Lakers had six players finish with double-digits in points, including Kyle Kuzma (20).

Antetokounmpo powered the high-flying Milwaukee Bucks past the Charlotte Hornets 93-85.

The 2019 NBA MVP finished with 41 points, 20 rebounds and six assists as the Bucks improved to 52-8.

 

Leonard lifts Clippers, Jokic shines

Kawhi Leonard's 30 points helped the Los Angeles Clippers to a 136-130 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Shake Milton had a game-high 39 points for the 76ers in the absence of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson.

Nikola Jokic's triple-double of 23 points, 18 rebounds and 11 assists guided the Denver Nuggets past defending champions the Toronto Raptors 133-118.

The Dallas Mavericks crushed the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-91 as Kristaps Porzingis contributed 38 points and 13 rebounds.

 

Bad Bridges, Biyombo

Miles Bridges (seven points in 35 minutes) and Bismack Biyombo (eight points in 22 minutes) combined to go five-of-21 from the field in the Hornets' loss.

 

LeBron, Zion put on a show

James and Williamson thrilled during the Lakers' win over the Pelicans.

Sunday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 93-85 Charlotte Hornets
Dallas Mavericks 111-91 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Clippers 136-130 Philadelphia 76ers
Denver Nuggets 133-118 Toronto Raptors
Sacramento Kings 106-100 Detroit Pistons
Los Angeles Lakers 122-114 New Orleans Pelicans
Washington Wizards 124-110 Golden State Warriors

 

Bucks at Heat

The Bucks (52-8) will aim for a seventh straight win when they face the Heat (38-22) in Miami on Monday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks humbled the Oklahoma City Thunder 133-86.

The Bucks showed no mercy as they handed the Thunder their worst loss of the season – a 47-point defeat in Milwaukee on Friday.

Bucks star and reigning MVP Antetokounmpo led the way with 32 points and 13 rebounds at home to the streaking Thunder.

The Thunder had won five straight games, but Oklahoma City were no match for the devastating Bucks – who made a season-high 21 three-pointers as they improved to 51-8.

Chris Paul posted 18 points for the Thunder (37-23), while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11) was the only other player in double-digits.

Paul George recorded 24 points and Kawhi Leonard added 19 as the Los Angeles Clippers eased past Western Conference rivals the Denver Nuggets 132-103.

It was the Clippers' 40th win of the season as Doc Rivers' team reigned supreme at Staples Center.

 

Williamson stays hot

Zion Williamson became the first player in NBA history to record 20-plus points in 10 straight games before the age of 20. The New Orleans Pelicans rookie finished with 24 points in the 116-104 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Luka Doncic celebrated his 21st birthday on Friday and the Dallas Mavericks star put up 23 points and 10 assists. However, Doncic – playing with an aching thumb – did not have a memorable birthday as the Mavs lost 126-118 at the Miami Heat.

A first career triple-double from Aaron Gordon (17 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists) inspired the Orlando Magic to a 136-125 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Terrence Ross had a season-high 33 points.

It was another big performance from Bradley Beal. The Washington Wizards guard had 42 points and 10 assists in his team's 129-119 defeat to the Utah Jazz.

Derrick Rose's 31 points helped the Detroit Pistons snap a seven-game skid by topping the Phoenix Suns 113-111.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 13 points and collected a career-high 25 rebounds in the Memphis Grizzlies' 104-101 defeat against the Sacramento Kings.

 

McCaw goes scoreless

Patrick McCaw is a three-time NBA champion – twice with the Golden State Warriors and once with the Toronto Raptors – but he did not look like one on Friday. The 24-year-old did not score a point in Toronto's shock 99-96 loss at home to the Charlotte Hornets. He was 0 of six from the field, while he missed both of his three-point attempts in 20 minutes.

Dallas' Dorian Finney-Smith also struggled. Finney-Smith played 27 minutes, going 0 of four from the field and the same from beyond the arc for just three points as a starter.

 

Spider man!

Donovan Mitchell hammered home the slam against the Wizards. He ended the game with 30 points.

 

Friday's results

Orlando Magic 136-125 Minnesota Timberwolves
Atlanta Hawks 141-118 Brooklyn Nets
Charlotte Hornets 99-96 Toronto Raptors
Miami Heat 126-118 Dallas Mavericks
Sacramento Kings 104-101 Memphis Grizzlies
Milwaukee Bucks 133-86 Oklahoma City Thunder
New Orleans Pelicans 116-104 Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons 113-111 Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz 129-119 Washington Wizards
Denver Nuggets XX-XX Los Angeles Clippers

 

Rockets at Celtics

James Harden and the Houston Rockets (38-20) travel to the Boston Celtics on Saturday, riding a five-game winning streak. The Celtics (41-17) have won back-to-back games.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been fined $25,000 for resting star guard D'Angelo Russell, the NBA announced.

Minnesota violated the league's player resting policy after 2019 All-Star Russell – who sat out on February 8 due to a quadriceps injury – did not face the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

The NBA "deemed Russell a healthy player under the policy that was designed in part to minimise star player absences from nationally televised games".

In a statement, the Timberwolves said: ''While we respect the league's guidelines and standards, we are a player-centric organisation that's focused on learning and optimizing our players' bodies.

''As a new player in our program, we chose to rest D'Angelo in order to learn his body better and to optimise his health during a difficult stretch of games and travel."

Russell – acquired from the Golden State Warriors prior to the trade deadline – is averaging 23.7 points, 6.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game this season.

 

 

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