Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was not happy to be ejected following an altercation with OG Anunoby during Monday's loss to the Toronto Raptors, declaring: "Next time I'll do justice myself".

The pair clashed during the closing stages of the game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, initially coming together at halfway as the Raptors looked to break.

Gobert took exception to Anunoby's flailing arm towards him, leading to the duo shoving each other away close to Utah's basket with the ball on the opposite side of the court.

Both were ejected following a review of the incident, with the Raptors going on to triumph 101-92 on the road.

"He tried to elbow me in the face and the guy [referee] that’s getting paid to protect us, the players, didn't do his job," Gobert said after the game. 

"There was a little altercation and we both got ejected when I didn’t do anything back pretty much, which I don't understand. It doesn't make sense to me. 

"Next time I'll do justice myself so the official can eject me for a reason."

Toronto were without Marc Gasol and Fred VanVleet due to injuries, while Norman Powell left in the first quarter with an ankle problem.

However, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka scored 27 points apiece to help the reigning NBA champions clinch a 46th win of the campaign.

Gobert, meanwhile, was limited to just six points and four rebounds through his 32 minutes on the court.

"We obviously knew the lobs and all those things that he gets, so we tried to take him out of that," Siakam said of the Raptors' efforts to restrict Gobert's impact on proceedings.

"Then it was about boxing him out. He's really a force down there and we did a pretty good job of that."

Kyle Korver insisted the Milwaukee Bucks made the right call in resting some of their starters despite slipping to a third successive loss on Monday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the 109-95 defeat to the Denver Nuggets as he is sidelined with a minor knee sprain, his status to be evaluated again ahead of this week's home game with the Boston Celtics.

Eric Bledsoe is also dealing with an injury, but Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer did not play Khris Middleton, Donte DiVincenzo, Marvin Williams or Brook Lopez at all against the Nuggets.

With a playoff spot already secured and a healthy lead over the Toronto Raptors at the top of the Eastern Conference, Korver – who top-scored with 23 points – understood why the decision was made to manage minutes for key players.

"Different guys are banged up," Korver told the media.

"We've got a good home stretch coming up here and we want to get right. Guys have nicks and knacks and you take care of it.

"We've got some important games coming up, so it was definitely the right call."

Budenholzer was pleased with the performance of those who did feature against Denver, revealing he opted to go with the "freshest bodies" at the end of a three-game road trip.

"This was the group that gave us our best chance," he said.

"Every night in the league you need something different. I thought we needed a lot of energy tonight going against a good Denver team.

"We were right there. This group put us right where we wanted to be. We just weren't quite able to get it done.

"At some point, you go with the kind of freshest bodies in certain situations. Those other guys are good, available and I told them to be ready. But we went with the group we did because we thought that was the best thing tonight."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is listed as "questionable" for the team's clash with the Brooklyn Nets.

James could miss Tuesday's NBA game against the Nets at Staples Center in Los Angeles due to a sore groin.

Lakers team-mates Anthony Davis (sore elbow) and Alex Caruso (sore hamstring) are "probable".

James posted 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as the Western Conference-leading Lakers downed neighbours the Los Angeles Clippers 112-103 on Sunday.

The three-time champion and four-time MVP is averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game this season.

Sitting atop the west with a 49-13 record, the Lakers are riding a four-game winning streak.

The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS are limiting access to locker rooms following games and practices amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

Media are usually granted access to locker rooms or clubhouses for interviews, however, Monday's joint announcement restricts all non-essential personnel to those areas.

Only players and essential employees of teams and team facilities across the professional American basketball, ice hockey, baseball and football leagues will have access until further notice, starting Tuesday.

It comes after the Indian Wells Masters and Indian Wells Open – scheduled to start on Wednesday and Thursday respectively in California – were cancelled due to fears over the coronavirus.

"After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice," the joint statement read.

"Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. These changes will be effective beginning with tomorrow's games and practices.

"We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment."

The coronavirus has killed over 3,800 people worldwide, with more than 110,000 confirmed cases.

There have been more than 500 confirmed cases in the United States, with 21 deaths.

The Los Angeles Clippers have signed free agent and two-time All-Star Joakim Noah, the team announced on Monday.

Noah has been out of the NBA since leaving the Memphis Grizzlies at the end of last season.

The 2014 Defensive Player of the Year joined the Grizzlies in December 2018 after he was waived by the New York Knicks and played 42 times in 2018-19.

Noah, a 35-year-old center, averaged 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game during his time in Memphis.

"Joakim is a relentless competitor and a proven winner," said Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank. "His experience, acumen and toughness fit well in our locker room."

The 43-20 Clippers are second in the Western Conference but lost to rivals the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time this season on Sunday.

Coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on the sporting calendar. 

Further measures to prevent the spread of the virus were taken on Monday, affecting a plethora of sports and leagues.

More events were subject to postponements, while the sight of games taking place in empty arenas will be a common one in the coming weeks.

Here we look at the sporting decisions announced on Monday as the world attempts to tackle the outbreak.

 

Italy - All sporting activity in Italy was suspended until April 3 by the country's Olympic Committee, in a decision pending government ratification. In a statement, the committee conceded it does not have jurisdiction over international competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League.

France - Ligue 1 games are now required to be played behind closed doors or with a limit of 1,000 fans until April 15. Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 second-leg clash with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday will be contested behind closed doors at the Parc des Princes.

France - The Six Nations finale between France and Ireland, due to take place at the Stade de France on Saturday, is postponed. England's game with Italy was already off, meaning it is unclear when the winner of the competition will be determined. Scotland's game with Wales in Cardiff is on, and Gregor Townsend's men can move into first place with a win. England and France are level on 13 points, with Ireland on nine having seen two games postponed.

United States - The ATP's Indian Wells Masters and WTA's Indian Wells Open were both cancelled following a confirmed case of the virus in Riverside County, California.

United States - According to ESPN, the NBA is to hold a conference call with the 30 team owners and governors to discuss the next steps for how it handles the spread of the virus in the USA, where there have been 213 confirmed cases.

Asia - FIFA confirmed the AFC qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which were scheduled to take place in the international windows of March 23-31 and June 1-9, have been postponed.

Switzerland - Basel announced on Monday that the second leg of their Europa League tie with Eintracht Frankfurt, set to be contested on March 19, cannot be played at their St Jakob Park home due to coronavirus-related restrictions. Switzerland's top-flight, the Super League, is suspended until March 23.

Japan - The postponement of the start of the Nippon Professional Baseball regular season was confirmed at a media conference on Monday.

United States - IndyCar is not expecting any impact on its 2020 schedule as a result of the outbreak.

France - Rugby League side Catalans Dragons are waiting for an official decision from the Perpignan prefecture or government regarding Saturday's Super League game with Leeds Rhinos after the country's ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

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.

Patrick Beverley described guarding LeBron James as "no challenge" after the Los Angeles Clippers' loss to the Lakers on Sunday.

James' 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds helped the Lakers beat the Clippers 112-103 at the Staples Center.

But asked about guarding the four-time NBA MVP, Beverley quickly shut down questions.

"No challenge," the Clippers guard told a news conference.

"No challenge," he said again to a follow-up question before a third was answered with: "Not hard at all."

Anthony Davis (30 points) and Avery Bradley (24) were also key contributors for the Lakers (49-13), while Paul George (31) and Kawhi Leonard (27) led the Clippers (43-20).

Beverley gave the Lakers credit for their victory while calling on his team to bounce back.

"We've got to give them a lot of credit. They came and won a basketball game, they took it personal, you've got to give them a lot of credit," he said.

"This is one game of course, but I live in LA man, it's hard, it's hard to deal with this loss.

"But we have to wash it down in the shower and keep getting better and we will."

LeBron James heralded a "big weekend" for the Los Angeles Lakers as they followed up a defeat of Eastern Conference leaders the Milwaukee Bucks with their first win over the Los Angeles Clippers this season.

The Lakers and the Clippers are the top two seeds in the West as things stand, boasting an array of talents after Anthony Davis joined James last year, while Kawhi Leonard and Paul George went to their rivals.

Although James' Lakers lead the conference, they had been beaten by the Clippers in the sides' prior two meetings.

That run came to an end on Sunday, however, when the four-time MVP came up with 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in a 112-103 road win. Davis finished with 30 points and eight rebounds, as George (31 points) and Leonard (27 points) could not keep the Clippers in the game.

Coming less than 48 hours after the Lakers had beaten the Bucks, James recognised the significance of his team sending a message to their fellow title contenders.

"It was hard fought, two teams that are getting up for the playoff," he told ESPN. "We're still trying to get better. Both teams are trying to get better.

"We won it with our defense, and we won it with our offense at times, as well.

Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss the Milwaukee Bucks' next two games with a minor knee sprain.

The reigning NBA MVP sustained a left leg injury during the Bucks' defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, the team confirmed. 

An MRI revealed a minor joint capsule sprain of the left knee, ruling him out of the Bucks' road games with the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets.

Antetokounmpo's status for Thursday's home game with the Boston Celtics will be updated later in the coming week.

The Greek is again the favourite for the MVP award and is averaging 29.6 points and 13.7 rebounds for the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks.

Milwaukee possess the best record in the NBA at 53-10 and are 8.5 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors in the race for the number one seed in the East.

New interim head coach Jacque Vaughn has vowed to "truly listen" to the Brooklyn Nets' key players as he looks to work differently to former boss Kenny Atkinson.

Vaughn was named coach until the end of the season on Saturday, stepping up from his role as assistant to Atkinson, who departed after three and a half years.

General manager Sean Marks suggested "another voice" was needed in a locker room that includes high-profile 2019 signings Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Vaughn was reluctant to go into detail on the issues but explained his attentive new approach.

"Overall we met as a group," Vaughn said. "Sean addressed the group and I had a chance to quickly address the group.

"And then my point was to meet with each individual, spend time with them, hear their thoughts, basically listen. I've been able to do that throughout the course of the morning."

Irving has played just 20 games this season due to injuries, while Durant is yet to return from an Achilles rupture suffered with the Golden State Warriors in last year's NBA Finals.

Vaughn would not comment on the suggestion the team's veteran players had been unimpressed by Atkinson, but he spoke of a "great conversation" with Irving.

"I don't want to speak for those guys," he said, quoted in the New York Post. "What I will say is I initiated the offer of what can we do differently. I'm not sure if that was expressed to Kenny from other guys.

"What I will say is that, in today's game, you have to be able to continually reinforce your philosophy and continue to communicate with guys.

"I've always tried to put myself in a position that any player can come to me as an assistant coach. Whether that was talking about on-the-court stuff or off-the-court stuff, guys need that.

"I think it's a skill to be someone who can listen. It's a tough skill to truly listen, and I've tried to do that through my career."

The Houston Rockets' losing streak continued in the NBA, while the Golden State Warriors claimed a win on Saturday.

The Rockets slumped to a third straight loss with a 108-99 defeat to the Charlotte Hornets.

James Harden had a triple-double of 30 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, but added 10 turnovers as Russell Westbrook missed the clash.

All five of the Hornets' starters managed double-digits in points, led by Terry Rozier's 24.

Even with Stephen Curry missing due to the flu, the Warriors upset the Philadelphia 76ers 118-114.

Damion Lee's 24 points helped the Warriors to just their 15th win of the season.

 

Wonderful Valanciunas, Love leads Cavs

Jonas Valanciunas' double-double of 27 points and 17 rebounds saw the Memphis Grizzlies past the Atlanta Hawks 118-101.

Kevin Love's 27 points helped the Cleveland Cavaliers upset the Denver Nuggets 104-102.

The Utah Jazz were too good for the Detroit Pistons 111-105 thanks to a 32-point haul from Bojan Bogdanovic.

Rockets struggle

With Westbrook sidelined, Houston needed a greater contribution from their starters. But three of them – Danuel House Jr., P.J. Tucker and Ben McLemore – went a combined three-of-12 from the field.

 

Morant magic

Ja Morant (24 points) helped the Grizzlies to their win.

Saturday's results

Charlotte Hornets 108-99 Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz 111-105 Detroit Pistons
Cleveland Cavaliers 104-102 Denver Nuggets
Memphis Grizzlies 118-101 Atlanta Hawks
Golden State Warriors 118-114 Philadelphia 76ers
Sacramento Kings 123-111 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Lakers at Clippers

The Staples Center will host another blockbuster on Sunday. After beating the Milwaukee Bucks, the Los Angeles Lakers (48-13) face the Clippers (43-19).

Stephen Curry will miss the Golden State Warriors' clash against the Philadelphia 76ers due to the flu, with the team saying the star was showing no signs of the coronavirus.

Curry made his return from a hand injury on Thursday, but the guard is sidelined again.

The Warriors confirmed on Saturday that the two-time MVP was battling the flu and not showing signs of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 3,500 people worldwide.

"This morning Stephen Curry was diagnosed with influenza A by a positive viral testing," Warriors team physician Dr Robert Nied said in a statement on Saturday.

"We have identified his probable source contact who is not part of basketball operations.

"He has no specific risk for COVID-19. He has the seasonal flu. We have begun treatment for Stephen and instituted our team protocol for influenza exposure."

Head coach Kenny Atkinson has left the Brooklyn Nets, the team announced on Saturday.

Atkinson was appointed in 2016 in his first role as a senior coach and leaves the Nets with a 118-190 record.

Brooklyn lost in the first round of the playoffs last year, having failed to make the postseason in the prior two seasons, and subsequently brought in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Durant is yet to feature due to an Achilles rupture, however, and injuries have restricted Irving to just 20 games, with the Nets 28-34 and seventh in the Eastern Conference.

The team revealed Atkinson's departure had been "mutually agreed", with Jacque Vaughn stepping up as coach for the remainder of the season.

General manager Sean Marks said in a statement: "After discussions with Kenny about the progress of the season, we mutually agreed that a coaching change would be in the best interest of the team.

"This was an extremely difficult decision, however the organisation believes it is one that is necessary at this time.

"Kenny was instrumental in developing our players and building the identity and culture we have become known for over these past four seasons.

"The foundation he helped put into place here is one that we will continue to build on in the coming seasons."

Vaughn had been Atkinson's assistant, having previously had a 12-year NBA playing career - including two seasons with the Nets - and then coached the Orlando Magic.

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