Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young was "mad" and "frustrated" after his franchise's NBA season came to an end, though he understands the 22-team restart.

The COVID-19 crisis forced the 2019-20 NBA campaign to be postponed in March, but the league is set to resume at Walt Disney Resort near Orlando, Florida in July.

The NBA has confirmed plans for 22 teams to relaunch the season, with a tentative resumption date of July 31.

Atlanta (20-47) will not travel to Walt Disney Resort as Young and the Hawks were second from bottom in the Eastern Conference and out of the playoff picture at the time of the postponement.

"I was mad," Young told reporters on a video call on Wednesday. "I was frustrated. Obviously I wanted to play. I understand what the NBA did and respect their decision. But I am kind of upset because I want to play."

All-Star Young added: "I was just itching to play. I have been wanting to play. That was actually one of the first times I touched a ball in a long time.

"I wanted to make sure it was safe for me to even go and play. It has been a long time for me – like, I don't know when the last time I've spent three months without playing a game."

The NBA may be on hold and the start of the WNBA delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but basketball fans will have a new game to watch in April.

An announcement by the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) on Thursday confirmed a game of HORSE involving eight players and legends from the two leagues will begin on April 12 and be televised.

The challenge, which will be headlined by 10-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Tamika Catchings.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce complete the line-up.

Each of the contestants will take part in isolation from their home courts.

Young and Billups will battle for the right to face the victor of a meeting between Catchings and Conley for a place in the semi-finals. LaVine must take on Pierce, with Paul up against Quigley on the other side of the draw.

The semi-finals and the championship game will take place on April 16.

State Farm is sponsoring the competition and will donate over $200,000 on behalf of the competitors.

Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant will lead a field of 16 in an NBA 2K20 charity tournament to raise money amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With the NBA postponed due to COVID-19, players have time on their hands, so a select group will go head-to-head in the virtual world, starting Friday on ESPN.

The winner of the single-elimination Xbox One tournament, which runs through to April 11, will receive $100,000 to give to a charity in support of the coronavirus relief efforts.

Durant is the top seed, ahead of Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Hassan Whiteside (Portland Trail Blazers), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Clippers), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), DeMarcus Cousins, Michael Porter Jr. (Denver Nuggets), Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards), Patrick Beverley (Los Angeles Clippers), Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings) and Derrick Jones Jr. (Miami Heat).

"We're thrilled to partner with the NBA and NBPA to bring basketball back to fans throughout the world and to help those in need during these uncertain times," said Jason Argent, 2K senior vice-president, sports strategy and licensing.

"Entertainment, especially sports, has the ability to bring communities together – including athletes, fans and families – and we hope that everyone will enjoy the tournament."

"We are excited to tip off the first 'NBA 2K Players Tournament' in partnership with the NBPA and 2K, continuing an ongoing effort to stay connected with NBA fans around the world, while also giving back in this time of need," said Matt Holt, NBA SVP of global partnerships.

Players' seeding is based on their NBA 2K rating, with two-time champion Durant 96 overall in the video game.

Durant, who contracted COVID-19 and has been recovering from an Achilles injury, will open the tournament against Jones on Friday.

LeBron James reacted to the NBA's move to suspend its season by saying he wished the whole year could be cancelled.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar had his say after the league was put on hold for an indefinite period, in response to a Utah Jazz player testing positive for coronavirus.

Basketball suffered the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash in January, with James left "heartbroken" by the death of his fellow Lakers great.

Now the season is on hold and may not resume, leading James to post on Twitter: "Man we cancelling sporting events, school, office work, etc etc. What we really need to cancel is 2020! Damn it's been a rough 3 months. God bless and stay safe."

Rudy Gobert, the Jazz's French centre, reportedly contracted COVID-19, spurring the NBA to make its decision to call off all games.

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry backed the decision to put basketball on hold as he called for a sense of perspective.

He tweeted: "2020 ain't [sic] it. Don't know what to compare this situation to…just gotta buckle up and take care of yourself and those around you. Basketball will be back at some point but right now, protect yourself and stay safe out there!"

The Orlando Magic's Evan Fournier, a France team-mate of Gobert's, said his international colleague was bearing up well.

Fournier wrote: "Was just on the phone with Rudy. He is doing good man. Let's not panic everyone. Love you all."

Speaking in a news conference after a 136-131 loss to the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young spoke about the post-match discussions in the team's camp.

He said: "We didn't really talk anything about the game or how it ended. It was more about the next steps for us, about moving forward and what we need to do to stay safe and try to stay [as far] away from getting this as possible. It was about how we can be more cautious about it."

Young said the players had an inkling the NBA would call a halt to the season.

"We kind of knew it - we didn't know about all the details until 30 minutes before the game. Maybe tonight was about thinking what the next steps are for us," Young said.

He bowed out with 42 points, albeit in a losing cause.

"Someone told me it was our last game for right now," Young said. "We weren't going to have fans probably for the rest of the season anyway. I wanted to go out and put on a show for the fans. I was going to go out fighting and playing hard and putting on a show."

Mike Malone, coach of the Denver Nuggets, spoke after his team's 113-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Malone said: "I don't know what this means. I know instead of flying to San Antonio we're going to fly home tonight.

"We support the league's decision, obviously being putting the players', the fans', the officials', the coaches', the staffs' best interests at heart, and we have to get our minds wrapped around what this coronavirus is doing.

"We support their decision and we wait to hear from them as to what this means moving forward, because honest to God I have no idea. And I just hope we can figure this out and get back to playing basketball in a timely manner when it's deemed safe."

Much of the focus at the All-Star Game will be on the headline event and the Slam Dunk Contest, but the Rising Stars Challenge also offers great intrigue.

Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, Luka Doncic and Trae Young will all be involved as Team USA take on Team World.

With the early success that quartet have enjoyed in their fledgling careers, the Rising Stars Challenge should serve as further compelling evidence the future of the NBA is in good hands.

Here we guide you through what to watch for when the league's brightest talents do battle.

 

ZION & JA TEAM UP

Williamson and Morant appear poised to contest a fascinating rivalry over the course of their careers, but on Friday they will be on the same side.

Number one overall pick Williamson, sidelined for much of the year with a knee injury, and Rookie of the Year favourite Morant went head-to-head two weeks ago and offered a glimpse into the future as Zion's New Orleans Pelicans beat the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Rising Stars Challenge will provide a window into how the pair's talents complement each other, which could potentially be crucial for future USA Olympic coaches.

With Morant set for a prestigious honour and Williamson having recorded two double-doubles in eight games, Team World will have a hard time slowing them down.

 

DONCIC DOUBLES UP

Likely to finish high in the MVP voting, Doncic will - along with Young - double up at All-Star weekend.

The Dallas Mavericks guard will contest the All-Star Game as well as the Rising Stars Challenge, having been picked as a starter for Team LeBron.

With the odds in favour of Team USA winning the Rising Stars Challenge, Doncic's best chance of success in Chicago should be in the headline event.


UNDER-THE-RADAR STARS

While Williamson, Morant and Doncic will claim most of the attention among the rising stars, there are several less heralded players with the chance to snatch some of the limelight.

Jaren Jackson Jr. and Canadian Brandon Clarke will face off having played an instrumental role in the Grizzlies' rise to playoff contention.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should be crucial to Team World's hopes, his development unhindered by a trade from the Los Angeles Clippers to the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder.

Eric Paschall's opportunities to shine on a national stage have been limited thanks to the demise of the Golden State Warriors this season, but the forward will have the chance to prove he is the Dubs' latest second-round gem.

 

YOUNG TRIBUTE TO KOBE

Proceedings at the United Center are set to be dominated by tributes to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who were killed in a helicopter crash last month.

In the wake of their tragic passing, an emotional Young - having been mentored by Bryant - scored 45 points in the Atlanta Hawks' win over the Washington Wizards.

With two games on his agenda, Young will have ample opportunity to honour his idol by delivering on the court in his first appearance at the weekend as an All-Star.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Team LeBron

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

Team Giannis

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

Trae Young almost single-handedly stunned the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA on Thursday, while the Los Angeles Clippers paid tribute to Kobe Bryant.

Named an All-Star starter ahead of Ben Simmons, 21-year-old guard Young outshone his fellow Eastern Conference star as the Atlanta Hawks topped the 76ers 127-117.

Young had a double-double before the first quarter ended and finished with 39 points and a career-high 18 assists in the upset, while Simmons went 10-of-15 from the field for a team-high 31 points.

The Clippers set rivalries aside before their clash with the Sacramento Kings to honour Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the other seven people killed in Sunday's helicopter crash.

Paul George narrated a moving video that was broadcast before 24 seconds of silence while Bryant's old Lakers jerseys, normally covered during Clippers games at Staples Center, were left visible.

Sacramento went on to win 124-103 as Kawhi Leonard, who was involved in the warm-up, failed to play a minute due to lower back tightness.

 

Tatum makes successful Celtics comeback

Jayson Tatum returned after three games out with a groin injury and celebrated his first All-Star nod in fitting fashion, contributing 20 points, six rebounds and two assists as the Boston Celtics topped the Golden State Warriors 119-104.

Nikola Jokic delivered 28 points and 10 assists to drag the injury hit Denver Nuggets to a 106-100 victory against the fast-finishing Utah Jazz, who were led by Jordan Clarkson's 37 points.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal proved a point to those who overlooked him for a place in the All-Star Game in Chicago, posting 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in a 121-107 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

 

Clippers cold after losing Kawhi

The Clippers did not officially rule two-time NBA champion Leonard out of their game against the Kings until midway through the contest.

His absence seemed to unnerve the rest of the team, who combined to shoot just 35-of-92 from the field.

 

Sweet slam a consolation for Cavs

The Cleveland Cavaliers were at least able to enjoy a monster Larry Nance Jr. dunk as they suffered a 115-109 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

 

Thursday's results

Toronto Raptors 115-109 Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards 121-107 Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta Hawks 127-117 Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics 119-104 Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings 124-103 Los Angeles Clippers
Denver Nuggets 106-100 Utah Jazz

 

Trail Blazers at Lakers

Staples Center will be the scene for another emotional outpouring on Friday as the Lakers (36-10) hit the floor for the first time since Bryant's death. The Western Conference leaders take on Carmelo Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers (21-27).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Eastern Conference starters:

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

Western Conference starters:

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

Trae Young made history in the Atlanta Hawks' 125-121 victory over the Denver Nuggets, but coach Lloyd Pierce was quick to remind him he can improve.

The Hawks guard became the youngest player to register at least 30 points and 10 assists in three straight games with a sensational display at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

Young poured in a season-high 42 points on 13-of-21 shooting – the highlight being a successful jump shot after sending the ball through Will Barton's legs – and supplied 11 assists as Atlanta ended a three-game losing streak.

However, Pierce made sure to highlight one of Young's shortcomings in his post-game news conference.

"I'm not impressed with his free throws," said Pierce. "He went 8-for-11, he's got to go 11-for-11.

"He missed two the other night, he missed three tonight. There's always something. Everyone else can praise him but I've got to stay on him.

"But, no, he was great. The three-ball was rolling. We had 30 assists on 44 made baskets which is an impressive number for us, that's been one of the areas we haven't capitalised on this year.

"Obviously, the three-ball went down tonight and we needed that. [Young is] great in the pick and roll. You have to scheme and we found something that we were able to attack."

The Hawks fought back from 12-0 down in the first quarter and Young was proud to have played a key role in the victory.

"I'm having a lot of fun. My shots are going in right now and hopefully that continues to happen. I'm just trying to do whatever it takes to help our team win and put us in the best position to win," Young told FOX Sports.

"We gutted one out. We actually finished the game. It's tough seeing Kev [Kevin Huerter] go out early – he had a hot start. It's a great team win, especially against a good team on the road.

"We're a resilient team, no matter how far we're down or how far we're up, we're going to keep fighting. I'm happy with the way we played and the way we finished it off."

The Los Angeles Clippers suffered their first defeat of the NBA season after losing 130-122 to the Phoenix Suns.

Kawhi Leonard had led the Clippers to back-to-back wins to start the campaign, however, they went down to the Suns on Saturday.

Devin Booker scored 30 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 20 as the Suns snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Clippers.

Leonard put up 27 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the visiting Clippers in Phoenix.

The Miami Heat spoiled the Milwaukee Bucks' home opener after prevailing 131-126 in overtime.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's Bucks held a 21-point lead in the third quarter but still lost to the rallying Heat, who were led by Goran Dragic's 25 points off the bench.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists to go with eight turnovers before fouling out late in overtime.

 

Westbrook surpasses Magic

Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook passed Magic Johnson for second place on the NBA's all-time triple-doubles list with his 139th. Westbrook had 28 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in the 126-123 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Trae Young might not have won Rookie of the Year last season, but he might be the NBA's MVP through two games (take that for what you will). The Atlanta Hawks guard scored 39 points while adding nine assists and seven rebounds in a 103-99 win over the Orlando Magic.

Kemba Walker scored 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting in the Boston Celtics' 118-95 victory against the New York Knicks.

 

Osman underwhelms despite Cavs win

Cedi Osman's four-year extension with the Cavaliers netted Cleveland one point and one rebound in 28 minutes in a 110-99 win over the Indiana Pacers.

 

DeRozan dazzles

DeMar DeRozan produced a nice layup through traffic to seal the deal for the San Antonio Spurs with five seconds remaining in a 124-122 win over the Washington Wizards.

Saturday's results

Miami Heat 131-126 Milwaukee Bucks
Philadelphia 76ers 117-111 Detroit Pistons
Atlanta Hawks 103-99 Orlando Magic
Boston Celtics 118-95 New York Knicks
Houston Rockets 126-123 New Orleans Pelicans
Toronto Raptors 108-84 Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers 110-99 Indiana Pacers
San Antonio Spurs 124-122 Washington Wizards
Utah Jazz 113-81 Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns 130-122 Los Angeles Clippers

 

Trail Blazers at Mavericks

The Kristaps Porzingis era is off to a great start in Dallas as the Mavericks are unbeaten through two games. But Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has come out strong, too, and he presents a very interesting backcourt matchup opposite Luka Doncic.

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