Paolo Banchero showed exactly why the Orlando Magic took him with the first overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, nearly posting his first career triple-double as his side defeated the Charlotte Hornets 113-93 on Friday.

With last year's fifth overall pick Jalen Suggs and starting point guard Cole Anthony both missing through injuries, Orlando opted to not start a traditional point guard and instead let their new star run the show.

He looked right at home as the focal point of the Magic's offense, scoring 21 points on eight-of-14 shooting while adding 12 rebounds and seven assists to deliver their first win of the season.

Even more impressive was the fact that almost all of that production came in the first three quarters, as Orlando built an 82-53 lead heading into the fourth and Banchero sat out the final nine minutes.

Through six career games, Banchero is averaging 24 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, and is yet to score less than 20 points in a contest.

Lakers lose again despite James' best efforts

LeBron James' 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals were not enough to bring an end to the Los Angeles Lakers' winless start to the season, falling to 0-5 after a 111-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

James shot 10-of-24 from the field and one-of-six from deep, and in his first game off the bench since his rookie season, Russell Westbrook was plagued by similar issues.

Westbrook shot six-of-17 for his 18 points, while also missing half of his 10 free throws and committing five turnovers.

For the Wolves, Anthony Edwards led the scoring with 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting, while Rudy Gobert was seven-of-11 for 22 points and 21 rebounds to lift their record to 4-2.

Antetokounmpo mounts case for third MVP

With two MVP trophies already in his display case, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo made it clear why he is one of the favourites yet again this season with a powerhouse performance in a 119-108 win against the New York Knicks.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in made field goals (11), made free throws (seven), points (30), rebounds (14) and assists (nine) in a true virtuoso showing. He was supported well, with six teammates making their way into double figures, including 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench from Bobby Portis.

With the win, the Bucks are now 4-0, and the only remaining unbeaten team.

LeVert and Mitchell drop 41 each in overtime Cavaliers win

Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers went head-to-head with star Boston Celtics duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and emerged 132-123 winners in overtime.

While Brown and Tatum had 32 each at a combined 22-of-41 from the field (54 per cent), the Cavs pairing played even better, scoring 41 each off a combined 27-of-47 (57 per cent).

Second-year phenom Evan Mobley also had a big hand in the win, chipping in 19 points (seven-of-12 shooting) with 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

The Memphis Grizzlies duo of Ja Morant and Desmond Bane outdueled Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets in a high-scoring 134-124 win on Monday night.

Both Morant (12-of-22 shooting) and Bane (14-of-21) finished with 38 points, combining to hit 12 of their 17 three-point attempts as the Grizzlies rode a 45-point third quarter to the win. The pair's combined total of 76 points set a new Grizzlies record for most points scored by a duo in a single game.

Morant, the reigning Most Improved Player, is firmly in the mix for MVP this season and he added eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals to his gaudy stat-line.

The Nets led 69-64 at halftime as Durant and Irving were also both on their way to big games, with both scoring 37 points as Durant shot 14-of-20 from the field and Irving was 14-of-24 in an offensive exhibition.

But the Grizzlies' third-quarter explosion was too emphatic, with Bane scoring 19 of his points in the period while the Nets had 28 as a team.

Embattled Nets All-Star Ben Simmons struggled, fouling out for the second time in the Nets' first three games, while also committing five turnovers with his eight assists. 

With the win, the Grizzlies are now 3-1, while the Nets fall to 1-2.

Simons catches fire in Trail Blazers win

Fresh off signing his $100million extension in the offseason, 23-year-old Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons produced his first game-winning performance of the season as his third-quarter explosion led a 135-110 home win against the Denver Nuggets.

The Trail Blazers – who at 4-0 join the 2-0 Milwaukee Bucks as the only two remaining unbeaten teams – largely shut down reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic, holding him to nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists as he battled foul trouble all night.

Damian Lillard top-scored with 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting for the Blazers, adding eight assists and six rebounds, but it was Simons' third quarter that separated the teams.

In just over five-and-a-half minutes, Simons scored 22 of his 29 points, including a stretch where he made six consecutive three-pointers as he helped the Blazers score 80 in the second half. It is the Trail Blazers' first 4-0 start to the season since 1999.

Rockets youngsters hand the Jazz their first loss

Houston Rockets fans received a glimpse into the future in their 114-108 win against the previously undefeated Utah Jazz, with top-three draft picks Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr both delivering strong performances.

Both players shot at least 50 per cent from both the field and long range, and combined to hit all nine of their free throws. 

Green posted 25 points on nine-of-16 shooting, hitting four-of-eight from deep, while rookie Smith had 21 points (six-of-10 shooting, three-of-five from long range), nine rebounds and three blocks.

Vassell flashes star potential for the Spurs

Third-year wing Devin Vassell caught the eye with a starring performance in the San Antonio Spurs' 115-106 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Vassell – the 11th pick from the 2020 draft – has shown significantly more playmaking this season since the departure of Dejounte Murray in a trade to the Atlanta Hawks, and against the Timberwolves he dished off a career-high seven assists.

As well as showing his ability to create for his teammates, the six-foot-six wing with superb defensive skills showcased his all-round game, hitting five-of-10 from three-point range on his way to 22 points, and he also grabbed nine rebounds.

Anthony Edwards has been fined by the NBA after the Minnesota Timberwolves guard used homophobic language in a social media post.

The 21-year-old shared a video on his Instagram account in which he could be heard passing comment on a group of men gathered near the car he was sat in.

Edwards deleted the video in question and issued an apology on Twitter, saying: "What I said was immature, hurtful, and disrespectful, and I'm incredibly sorry.

"It's unacceptable for me or anyone to use that language in such a hurtful way, there's no excuse for it, at all. I was raised better than that!"

He has now been hit with a $40,000 fine by the NBA for using "offensive and derogatory language".

A statement issued by the NBA added Edwards has "acknowledged that his actions were inappropriate".

The Timberwolves previously issued an apology last week, attributed to president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.

"We are disappointed in the language and actions Anthony Edwards displayed on social media," it read.

"The Timberwolves are committed to being an inclusive and welcoming organisation for all and apologise for the offense this has caused to so many."

The Minnesota Timberwolves have joined Anthony Edwards in apologising for a video the former first overall pick posted in which he made a homophobic slur.

Edwards posted a video to his Instagram story on which he could be heard passing comment on a group of men gathered near the car he was sat in.

The offensive clip prompted a backlash on social media, and Edwards apologised on Sunday.

"What I said was immature, hurtful and disrespectful, and I'm incredibly sorry," he wrote on his Twitter page.

"It's unacceptable for me or anyone to use that language in such a hurtful way, there's no excuse for it, at all. I was raised better than that!"

The Timberwolves released a statement on Monday, attributed to president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.

"We are disappointed in the language and actions Anthony Edwards displayed on social media," it read.

"The Timberwolves are committed to being an inclusive and welcoming organisation for all and apologise for the offense this has caused to so many."

The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired veteran guard Patrick Beverley in a trade that sees guard Talen Horton-Tucker and journeyman forward Stanley Johnson head to the Utah Jazz.

The move, confirmed by the teams on Thursday, gives the Lakers an experienced ballhandler and defensive pest as they try to bounce back from a dire 33-49 season.

Beverley played a key role last season with the emerging Minnesota Timberwolves, averaging 9.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists as the franchise made just its second postseason appearance since 2004.

Beverley, 34, is on the move for the second time this offseason after being part of the blockbuster trade that sent Rudy Gobert from Utah to Minnesota in July.

The rebuilding Jazz, on the other hand, acquire a promising young guard in Horton-Tucker, who better fits their timeline.

A second-round pick in 2019, the 21-year-old has seen a steadily increasing dose of minutes over his three NBA seasons, averaging 9.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

With Utah trading away another veteran player, the organisation's sights seem decidedly set on the future.

Trade speculation is likely to continue to swirl around three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, as well as other experienced players like Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic.

The Los Angeles Lakers are finalising a trade to acquire Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz, according to reports.

Beverley previously spent four years in Los Angeles when representing the Clippers between 2017 and 2021, before impressing with the Minnesota Timberwolves last campaign.

The 34-year-old was influential in the Timberwolves' run to the Western Conference playoffs, where they were beaten by the Memphis Grizzlies, before heading to Utah as part of their trade for three-time all-star Rudy Gobert in July.

However, according to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Beverley is on the move again as the Lakers look to improve a team whose defence ranked 21st in the NBA last season.

Beverley, who was a second-round pick for the Lakers in the 2009 draft before being traded, averaged 6.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists throughout the 2021-22 campaign.

Guard Talen Horton-Tucker and forward Stanley Johnson are reportedly set to head to Utah as part of the deal, with the Lakers attempting to bounce back after missing out on the playoffs last term.

The Lakers also agreed a two-year contract extension worth $97.1million with LeBron James last week, ending speculation over the 37-year-old's future.

Karl-Anthony Towns believes it is "championship or bust" for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Rudy Gobert will be a huge part of the team achieving their goals.

The Timberwolves acquired center Gobert from the Utah Jazz in a blockbuster trade after falling to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs this year.

It was only the second time Minnesota had made the postseason since drafting Towns first overall in 2015.

The arrival of three-time Defensive Player of the Year Gobert will see Towns spent a lot more time at the power forward position, but he feels the pair will complement each other well and hopes it can push the team into championship contention.

"I expect a lot of winning for sure. I wanna win. I'm not up here blowing smoke, I really wanna try to bring a championship run to Minnesota and Rudy adds a huge component to that," said Towns, who recently signed a four-year, $224million super max contract extension.

"He's gonna be a massive part of us being a championship team and my job is to help him as much as he's gonna help me.

"His strengths are my weaknesses and his weaknesses are my strengths, so we'll be able to play off of each other.

"It's go time. There's no more excuses. We've gotta get it done now. It's championship now or bust."

Last season saw the Timberwolves end a run of three straight years with a losing record, and it was the momentum Towns felt that had been built that convinced him to extend his deal in Minnesota.

"I wanted to keep this going. Last year, after me talking to a bunch of NBA players and front office people and us, the NBA is aware of who we are now," said Towns.

"We set out to go out there and make noise and show everyone this isn't the Timberwolves they're used to, and we've done that. Why not keep that momentum going and bring back a championship or that basketball that the fans and everyone here has been yearning for so much?

"Let's bring it back, and not for just one year. Let's do it for consecutive years and make a run."

Rudy Gobert insists the Minnesota Timberwolves will not be happy "just to be a good team", having left the Utah Jazz in pursuit of an NBA title.

The Timberwolves gave up a huge haul – including three unprotected future first-round draft picks – to take Gobert from the Jazz.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year now joins two former first overall selections in Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards.

Gobert "fits perfectly" in the Minnesota lineup, coach Chris Finch says, and the incoming center has lofty aspirations.

Although the Timberwolves have not won a playoff series since 2004, making the postseason only twice in that time, Gobert is looking to take his new team all the way.

"The goal is to win a championship," Gobert said. "I came here for that.

"I didn't come here just to be a good team; I came here to try to take this team to the Finals and accomplish that."

The Frenchman suggested such aims were no longer realistic with the Jazz, where he spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career.

Utah were a far more regular playoff outfit, reaching the postseason in six straight years, but they never got beyond the second round and were facing an offseason of change even before Gobert's departure, with coach Quinn Snyder quitting.

"The window for winning is not always big," Gobert explained. "For us in Utah, that's kind of what happened.

"I think the organisation felt like that. We had maybe passed that window that we had over the last few years.

"I think it's still going to be a very competitive team. It just felt like with all the assets that they could get for me, it was better for them to go that way."

The Utah Jazz are trading center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday.  

Utah will receive multiple first-round picks in return for the three-time All-Star, along with Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt and Leandro Bolmaro.  

ESPN reported that the Timberwolves are sending its 2023, 2025 and 2027 picks unprotected and a top-five protected 2029 pick to Utah.  

The news comes a day after the Timberwolves and star Karl-Anthony Towns agreed to a four-year, $224million contract extension, giving Minnesota one of the most decorated frontcourts in the NBA.  

A busy offseason continues for Timberwolves president Tim Connelly, who took over basketball operations this offseason after building the Denver Nuggets into a contender.  

Gobert led the league last season by grabbing 14.7 rebounds per game. Fellow All-Star Towns ranked 14th at 9.8 rebounds per game.  

Gobert's departure marks the end of an era for Utah, which peaked in 2020-21 when they secured the West's No. 1 seed but were ousted by the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs.  

The Jazz went 49-33 last season, losing in the first round to the Dallas Mavericks. The team will now look to rebuild around three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell.  

Gobert has spent all nine of his NBA seasons in Utah, who drafted him 27th overall in 2013. He has averaged 12.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 611 career games.  

Minnesota, who ranked 24th in the league last season by allowing 113.3 points per game, immediately projects to be stingier with Gobert, who was named the NBA's top defender three times in four seasons from 2017-2021.  

Last season, the Timberwolves secured the No. 7 seed in the play-in tournament but fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round in six games.  

Karl-Anthony Towns has agreed to a four-year, $224million 'supermax' contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It is a move that ties Towns, 26, to the franchise until after the 2027 playoffs, as he still has two seasons remaining on his five-year, $158m deal he signed ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The Timberwolves centre – who called himself the greatest big-man shooter of all time after winning this past season's Three Point Contest during All-Star Weekend – is coming off his second career playoff appearance, and the first since 2018.

He averaged 24.6 points, along with 9.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists, shooting 41 per cent from three-point range on 4.9 attempts per game.

Partnered with the number one pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, Anthony Edwards, the Timberwolves believe they have the cornerstones of what could turn into the most successful era of Minnesota basketball since Kevin Garnett left for the Boston Celtics in 2007.

Former NBA player and Michigan State star Adreian Payne has died at the age of 31 after being shot in Orlando. 

The Orange County Sheriff's Office confirmed on Monday that Payne was transported to hospital following reports of a shooting at 01:34 local time and was later pronounced dead. 

Payne was a first-round pick in the 2014 draft and played 107 NBA games, averaging 4.0 points and 2.9 rebounds across spells with the Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic. 

He played professionally with Lithuanian side Juventus Utena earlier this year and has also previously represented sides in Turkey, France, Greece and China. 

A male has been arrested for the shooting on a first-degree murder warrant. 

The Memphis Grizzlies are "always confident no matter what the score is", Ja Morant explained after another comeback sent them through in the NBA playoffs.

All-Star Morant won his first playoff series as he helped the Grizzlies overturn the Minnesota Timberwolves' fourth-quarter lead in Game 6 on Friday and win 114-106.

That victory sends the Grizzlies into the Western Conference semi-finals – the first time they have reached that stage since 2015 – and sets up a series against the Golden State Warriors, which will start on Sunday in Tennessee.

It was the third time in their series against the Timberwolves that the Grizzlies had to overcome a double-digit deficit in the final quarter.

"The series was a battle," said Morant, who had a double-double of 17 points and 11 assists, complemented by eight rebounds.

"We knew that every game would be a dogfight. Coming in we knew, with this team, we wouldn't win this series in one game.

"We knew that every game would be a dogfight, that we had to come in locked in and bring our energy from the start. Obviously, the wins were pretty ugly outside of Game 2, but we got it done.

"I feel like we're always confident no matter what the score is. We treat it pretty much as zero-zero.

"We've been down double-digits plenty of times and came back and won. We know the game is not over until there are zeros on the scoreboard at the end of the fourth quarter."

While Morant is confident in Memphis' comeback abilities, team-mate Dillon Brooks insisted it is not by design.

"I wish we had better starts," said Brooks, who along with Morant danced on the Timberwolves' logo after sealing Memphis' progression.

"We don't want to put ourselves in that predicament, but we always find a way to fight.

"Like coach [Taylor Jenkins] said in the locker room, 'There's not one way to win in the NBA playoffs'. There are a lot of ways to win and we just figured out one way."

Morant has had a brilliant campaign though was kept relatively quiet across the series as a whole in his first postseason appearance. However, support came from Desmond Bane.

"If you ask me, the MVP of this series is this guy right here," Morant said while sitting with Bane at a news conference.

"Time and time again, he came up big-time. He hit some big-time shots for us, even kept us in the game, and gave us a lead."

A career night for Minnesota Timberwolves reserve Jaden McDaniels was not enough to stop the Memphis Grizzlies from winning Game 6 114-106 on the road, clinching the series 4-2 in the process.

It was another tough game scoring the ball for Grizzlies star Ja Morant, who shot four-of-14 from the field and zero-for-five from long range for his 15 points, bringing his series averages to 21 points per game at 39 per cent shooting.

But yet again, he found other ways to impact the game and help his side win, with 11 assists and eight rebounds, right in line with his average production in the series as he assumed a facilitating role.

Desmond Bane led Memphis in scoring (both in the game and the series) with 23 points from nine-of-15 shooting, Jaren Jackson Jr finally stayed out of foul trouble and delivered 18 points and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, and Brandon Clarke was the difference-maker off the bench with 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

For the Timberwolves, Anthony Edwards scored a game-high 30 points on 10-of-24 shooting and added five assists, two blocks and two steals, while Karl-Anthony Towns was solid, but disappointing for an All-Star with 18 points (six-of-19 shooting) and 10 rebounds.

Jaden McDaniels almost proved to be the most important player in the game after coming off the Timberwolves bench, hitting eight of his nine shots, including five out of six three-point attempts to score a career-high 24 points in 33 minutes.

McDaniels' clutch three-pointer late in the fourth quarter cut the margin back to 103-102, but the Grizzlies were just too strong down the stretch, winning the last frame 40-22 for their second straight victory after trailing by double figures at three-quarter time.

With the win, the Grizzlies will meet the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Ja Morant produced a dazzling fourth-quarter display and game-winning lay-up to earn the Memphis Grizzlies a 3-2 series lead in their first round playoffs against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

The Grizzlies triumphed 111-109 over the Timberwolves, led by Morant with 30 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

Morant made the decisive contribution with a play with 3.7 seconds left with scores at 109-109, bucketing a left-handed lay-up from Dillon Brooks' inbound.

Memphis had trailed by 11 points in the last quarter before their rally, with recently crowned NBA Most Improved Player Morant scoring 18 points in the fourth. Morant had sparked after a massive third-quarter dunk.

Desmond Bane added 25 points for the Grizzlies, while Karl-Anthony Towns was excellent with 28 points including five three-pointers and 12 rebounds.

Heat seal series win over Hawks

The Miami Heat completed a 4-1 series victory over the Atlanta Hawks with a 97-94 win, despite the absences of Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry.

The Hawks failed to get a shot away in the final play in the dying seconds to force over-time as the Heat triumphed led by Victor Oladipo (23 points) and Bam Adebayo (20 points and 11 rebounds).

Trae Young struggled again with 11 points on two-of-12 shooting from the field, finishing the five-game series with 30 turnovers.

Bridges guides Suns into 3-2 lead

Mikal Bridges produced a 24-point second half as the Phoenix Suns won 112-97 over the New Orleans Pelicans to move ahead 3-2 in their first round series.

Bridges finished with 31 points for the game while Chris Paul had 22 points, 11 assists and three steals for the Suns who were without Devin Booker (hamstring).

The Suns, who came into the playoffs with the best record in the NBA, led from start to finish. Brandon Ingram top scored for the Pelicans - who had six turnovers in the first quarter - with 22 points.

The instructions for Ja Morant for his game-winning lay-up were as simple as "go get a bucket, Ja" in the Memphis Grizzlies' 111-109 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Morant landed the decisive bucket from the final play with scores locked at 109-109 with 3.7 seconds to play, putting Memphis 3-2 up in their first round NBA playoffs series.

The NBA's Most Improved Player received Dillon Brooks' inbound, losing Anthony Edwards who went for the steal, before driving and putting in an under-handed lay-up past Jarred Vanderbilt.

"Go get a bucket, Ja," Morant told reporters when asked about the instructions for the final play.

Morant scored 18 fourth-quarter points after struggling with 12 until three-quarter time, appearing to be sparked after a dunk in the third quarter.

"I wasn’t that excited about the dunk," he said. "It was over a guard, that's pretty easy.

"Definitely ignited the crowd, gave us some energy, from then on being very aggressive."

The Grizzlies had trailed by 11 points in the last quarter before their rally led by Morant, but the All-Star said he was "tired" of being forced to fight back. Memphis had clawed their way back from 26 points down in Game 3 to win 104-95.

"It feels good when you win," Morant said. "Me personally, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of playing from behind.

"Game 2 you see what happened when we come out and play from the jump. We've got to have that mindset like we had in Game 2 in Game 6 [on Friday] not give them too much life to go ahead.

"We need to start early. The last three games we haven't played our basketball, not knocking down our shots but we battle."

Meanwhile, Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 28 points with 12 rebounds, bemoaned letting another lead slip.

"It's a tough pill to swallow," Towns said. "You feel like you got it after all the mistakes made and everything like that.

"We hit a big three to tie the game up with four seconds (left). You feel good. You feel good about going into overtime and having a chance to win the game. Just a learning experience."

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