Orlando Magic wing Paolo Banchero headlines the NBA All-Rookie first team as the only unanimous selection.

The league revealed the first and second teams on Monday, and the 20-year-old Banchero was the only player to be selected to the first team on all 100 ballots.

Banchero, who was previously announced as the NBA Rookie of the Year on April 25, is joined on the first team by Utah Jazz centre Walker Kessler, Indiana Pacers small forward Bennedict Mathurin, Sacramento Kings small forward Keegan Murray and Oklahoma City Thunder wing Jalen Williams.

The second team featured two pairs of teammates – Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren of the Detroit Pistons and Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason from the Houston Rockets – as well as San Antonio Spurs power forward Jeremy Sochan.

Banchero, who was the first pick of last year’s draft, received 98 out of the 100 possible first-place votes for Rookie of the Year award, with Kessler receiving the other two to finish in second. Williams was the third finalist.

Banchero led all rookies in scoring with an average of 20.0 points per game, while his average of 3.7 assists ranked third among all qualifying first-year players and average of 6.9 rebounds placed fourth.

Kessler, who was the 22nd overall pick of the 2022 draft, ranked fourth among all players with an average of 2.34 blocks – the most by any rookie since the New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson averaged 2.44 in 2018-19. Kessler’s average of 8.4 rebounds per game ranked second among rookies, and he also averaged 9.2 points.

Williams, who was selected 12th, averaged 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.37 steals – the highest average by any rookie.

Duren led all rookies in rebounds with an average of 8.9 per game, while Ivey’s average of 5.2 assists were the most by any first-year player.

The first overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft has lived up to the hype, with Orlando Magic wing Paolo Banchero being named NBA Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.

Banchero, 20, looked every bit of a future All-Star, leading all rookies with an average of 20.0 points per game, while his 6.9 rebounds per game had him fifth in the class, and his 3.7 assists per game were the third-most among first-year players.

While he was an inefficient scorer, shooting 42.7 per cent from the field, 29.8 per cent from deep and 73.8 per cent from the free throw line, on any given night he could put together an All-NBA quality performance.

His best performances included a 31-point, six-rebound, two-steal performance in a hard-fought road win against the Boston Celtics in December, hitting six of his seven three-point attempts, and he flirted with his first career triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in an overtime win against the Miami Heat in March.

He ended up collecting 98 out of the 100 possible first-place votes, with Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler receiving the other two to finish in second, and promising Oklahoma City Thunder wing Jalen Williams rounded out the podium spots.

There was a late push for Kessler from the analytics community as the 21-year-old showed he was already capable of playing winning basketball, finishing fourth in the league for blocks per game (2.3), and his 3.3 blocks per game after the All-Star break led the league.

Kessler also shot 72.0 per cent from the field – the third-highest mark among all players averaging at least 20 minutes per game – although his 51 per cent figure from the free throw line is a concern going forward.

The Los Angeles Lakers collected their fifth win from their past six games as they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-111 away from home on Friday.

Lakers center Anthony Davis was the star of the show, piling up a game-high 38 points on 15-of-26 shooting while adding a game-high 17 rebounds and an equal team-high two blocks.

Superstar running-mate LeBron James was not as his offensive best, shooting seven-of-19 from the field, but he found a way to contribute with 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal to go with his 18 points.

The Timberwolves actually led by 10 at half-time, but the Lakers came out of the break and produced a 35-18 third period to snatch control of the contest.

An Anthony Edwards three-pointer early in the fourth period cut the Lakers' lead to nine, but from that point Davis would score 15 of Los Angeles' next 17 points, taking over when his team needed him most.

It was a disappointing performance from Edwards, finishing four-of-16 from the field for 11 points. Karl-Anthony Towns was strong with 23 points (eight-of-18), and Mike Conley led the Wolves with 25 (seven-of-11) and seven assists.

It was a costly loss for Minnesota, as they could have begun threatening the sixth-seeded Warriors with a win, but instead dropped down to ninth at 39-39.

The Lakers (39-38) jumped two spots up to seventh, and are just 1.5 games behind Golden State (41-37).

Brunson outduels Mitchell in Cleveland

Jalen Brunson put together one of the best games of his career as he carried the New York Knicks to a 130-116 victory on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Brunson set a new career-high with 48 points on 18-of-32 shooting, and he also dished nine assists. It is the fourth time this season he has scored at least 40 points after never scoring more than 34 during his four years in Dallas.

Donovan Mitchell was determined to match Brunson every step of the way, dropping 23 points in the first quarter on his way to 42 (16-of-23) for the game, but Cleveland fell away in a disappointing 25-14 fourth period.

Barring any major losing streak from either of these teams the rest of the regular season, Cleveland will host New York as the Eastern Conference's four-five first-round playoff matchup.

Banchero bullies the Wizards

Number one draft pick Paolo Banchero showed why he is the future of the Orlando Magic after a dominant display in a 116-109 road win over the Washington Wizards.

Banchero, the runaway Rookie of the Year favourite, scored a game-high 30 points, blocked a game-high three shots and snatched down a team-high 12 rebounds, while also leading the Magic with six assists.

Fellow number one pick Markelle Fultz was similarly impressive, shooting 11-of-15 from the field for his 25 points, six rebounds and four assists, while 21-year-old talent Franz Wagner chipped in 20 points (eight-of-14).

No Paul George, no worries for the Los Angeles Clippers as Kawhi Leonard carried them to an important 127-105 home win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

It was the second consecutive meeting between these two sides in Los Angeles after George limped off with a knee injury in Tuesday's 101-100 loss to the Thunder, but with the Clippers' playoff future up in the air, Leonard rose to the occasion.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP scored a game-high 32 points on red-hot 13-of-15 shooting from the field. He was seven-of-seven for 15 points in the first quarter, with his team leading 36-29, but the Clippers began to fall apart as he tried to look for his team-mates in the second period.

Leonard did not attempt a field goal in the second, allowing the Thunder to claw back to 54-54 at half-time, but he came out of the break determined to decide the outcome.

The Clippers' franchise star played the entire third quarter, and the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, not coming out until his side had built a 103-85 lead.

Leonard added six rebounds, six assists and four steals in a dominant two-way performance, finishing with a plus/minus of plus 16 in his 35 minutes. 

He was supported well by an efficient night from Russell Westbrook, as he chipped in 24 points (eight-of-13 shooting) with seven assists.

A loss would have seen the Clippers tied with the Golden State Warriors at 38-36 in the sixth seed – only one game clear of the play-in tournament placings – but they are now two games clear of the drama in fifth with only eight fixtures remaining.

It was a devastating loss for the Thunder's playoff hopes, blowing an opportunity to move into the seventh seed outright, and instead slipping down to 11th, although there is now a four-way tie at 36-37.

Okoro wins it at the buzzer

The Cleveland Cavaliers secured a 116-114 road win against the Brooklyn Nets in the last second as Isaac Okoro drilled a game-winning three-pointer from the corner.

Cleveland rode the dynamic duo of Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley all night, with Mitchell scoring a team-high 31 points on 11-of-24 shooting, while Mobley racked up 26 points (11-of-18), 16 rebounds, four blocks and three assists.

But the biggest moment of the game came down to Caris LeVert and Okoro, as the former Net came up with a loose ball and zipped a cross-court pass for Okoro's three in a hectic closing sequence.

The Cavs have been a disappointing 18-20 away from home this season, but have now won five of their past six on the road.

With the loss, the Nets fell to 39-34 and down into play-in spots. The Miami Heat (40-34) leapfrogged them into sixth.

Magic continue to show progress

The Orlando Magic have quietly become one of the most exciting young teams in the league, and they knocked off another playoff side with a 111-106 home win over the New York Knicks.

It was Orlando's third win from their past four outings, also taking down the Clippers and the Washington Wizards, and their number one draft pick led the way. Paolo Banchero scored a team-high 21 points on seven-of-17 shooting, adding six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks.

Both Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes scored 25 points each in the absence of starting Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson, but a three-of-12 performance with five turnovers from R.J. Barrett was hard to overcome.

In a clash between two of the seven best records in the NBA, the Boston Celtics produced an impressive 132-109 road blow-out win against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

It was shaping up as a shoot-out as both teams started red hot from three-point range, but the Kings could not keep up as the Celtics scored at least 30 points in all four quarters.

Jayson Tatum led the way for Boston with a game-high 36 points on 14-of-25 shooting, adding eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. His All-Star co-pilot Jaylen Brown chipped in an efficient 27 points (10-of-16 shooting) with five rebounds and four assists.

Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis put together his 12th triple-double of the season with 16 points (seven-of-12), 13 rebounds and 12 assists, although his six turnovers were costly.

The win improved the Celtics' record to 50-23, becoming the second team in the league to reach 50 wins this season, while their 24-14 mark on the road is bettered only by the Philadelphia 76ers (22-12).

Sacramento are still sitting pretty at 43-28, holding a five-game buffer in the Western Conference's third seed.

Mitchell poster highlights Cavs victory

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell threw down arguably his biggest dunk of the season to put an exclamation point on a 115-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Mitchell ended up with a game-high 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including five-of-nine from three-point range, highlighted by a monstrous fast-break poster jam over Yuta Watanabe as both leapt off two feet and met chest-to-chest.

After missing 10 days due to an eye injury, Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen looked right back to his best with 12 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, with eight of his rebounds coming on the offensive end.

The victory improves Cleveland's record to 46-28, and while they have been a disappointing 17-20 on the road, they have now won four of their past five away from home.

Top pick Banchero flirts with first triple-double

Orlando Magic top draft pick and overwhelming Rookie of the Year favourite Paolo Banchero nearly posted the first triple-double of his career in a 122-112 home win against the Washington Wizards.

The 20-year-old finished with 18 points (six-of-nine shooting), nine rebounds and eight assists for his second close call of the month. It comes 10 days after he put up 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in an overtime win against the Miami Heat.

Kristaps Porzingis led the Wizards with 30 points (12-of-22 shooting), six rebounds, three assists and two blocks, continuing what has been arguably the best season of his eight-year NBA career.

In a clash between two of the seven best records in the NBA, the Boston Celtics produced an impressive 132-109 road blowout against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

It was shaping up as a shootout as both teams started red-hot from three-point range, but the Kings could not keep up as the Celtics scored at least 30 points in all four quarters.

Jayson Tatum led the way for Boston with a game-high 36 points on 14-of-25 shooting, adding eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. His All-Star co-pilot Jaylen Brown chipped in an efficient 27 points (10-of-16 shooting) with five rebounds and four assists.

Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis put together his 12th triple-double of the season with 16 points (seven-of-12), 13 rebounds and 12 assists, although his six turnovers were costly.

The win improves the Celtics' record to 50-23, becoming the second team in the league to reach 50 wins this season, while their 24-14 mark on the road is bettered only by the Philadelphia 76ers (22-12).

Sacramento are still sitting pretty at 43-28, holding a five-game buffer in the Western Conference's third seed.

Mitchell poster highlights Cavs victory

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell threw down arguably his biggest dunk of the season to put an exclamation point on a 115-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Mitchell ended up with a game-high 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including five-of-nine from three-point range, highlighted by a monstrous fast-break poster jam over Yuta Watanabe as both leapt off two feet and met chest-to-chest.

After missing 10 days due to an eye injury, Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen looked right back to his best with 12 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, with eight of his rebounds coming on the offensive end.

The victory improves Cleveland's record to 46-28, and while they have been a disappointing 17-20 on the road, they have now won four of their past five away from home.

Top pick Banchero flirts with first triple-double

Orlando Magic top draft pick and overwhelming Rookie of the Year favourite Paolo Banchero nearly posted the first triple-double of his career in a 122-112 home win against the Washington Wizards.

The 20-year-old finished with 18 points (six-of-nine shooting), nine rebounds and eight assists for his second close call of the month. It comes 10 days after he put up 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in an overtime win against the Miami Heat.

Kristaps Porzingis led the Wizards with 30 points (12-of-22 shooting), six rebounds, three assists and two blocks, continuing what has been arguably the best season of his eight-year NBA career.

Austin Reaves was lost for words after praise from four-time MVP team-mate LeBron James following his career-best 35 points led the Los Angeles Lakers to a crucial win on Sunday.

Reaves top scored for the Lakers, including scoring their last 10 points, in the 111-105 win over the Orlando Magic, which moved them into a tie for ninth in the Western Conference with a 35-37 record.

The shooting guard made his telling contribution in 30 minutes off the bench. Reaves became the seventh player in franchise history to score 35 points or more off the bench.

The Lakers bench contributed 61 of their 111 points, but Reaves earned special praise from James.

James, who missed his 11th straight game due to a right-foot injury, wrote on social media "You toooooo TOUGH!!" about Reaves after his game-winning display.

"You're talking about arguably one of the greatest players ever," Reaves told reporters. "I mean I don't know what to say.

"For him to accept me the way he accepted me from day one, obviously I felt there was a really good chemistry, IQ-wise, from day one. But not just him, everybody else."

Anthony Davis, who contributed 15 points with 11 rebounds and four blocks, heaped further praise on Reaves.

"He carried us tonight with his play," Davis said. "We know what we have in Austin. He's very confident and he played that way tonight."

The Lakers' Crypto.com Arena crowd went so far as to chant M-V-P towards Reaves for his performance, which he revelled in.

"For them to recognise what I do – obviously not an MVP-calibre player, those guys are really good – but for them to do that for me is special, it means a lot to me," Reaves said.

"Every time I take the court, play with a sense of urgency and leave it all out on the floor, because that's how I feel basketball should be played."

Reaves is averaging 11.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game this season, but has managed double-digit scores in the Lakers' past eight games, averaging 15.9 points during March.

Russell Westbrook shouldered the responsibility for the Los Angeles Clippers' defeat to the Orlando Magic, saying "it's on me to be more focused in closing the game".

The Clippers, fifth in the Western Conference, were beaten 113-108 by a Magic side who are struggling down in 13th in the East on Saturday.

Westbrook made a hot start to the game, draining four of his first six shots to finish the first quarter with 11 points, three assists and three rebounds.

But Westbrook went cold with his shooting from there, ending the game with 14 points on the back of five-of-14 shooting, while he had nine assists and five rebounds.

"This one's on me honestly tonight," Westbrook said. "I could have been better.

"I started off good, but just in the second half was terrible. I got to do a better job of helping the guys out in the second half and the fourth quarter.

"So, it's nothing anybody did. But honestly, it's on me to be more focused in closing the game."

Westbrook failed to make any of his three three-point attempts, while the Clippers were just six-of-22 in total from beyond the arc.

"That's more on me," Westbrook added. "My job is to be able to penetrate and get guys open shots, and get them open threes, and I didn't do a good enough job of that. 

"I'll make sure I'll be better at that tomorrow."

Paul George backed his veteran team-mate to figure out his shooting struggles, though.

"He's going to get through it. He knows to stay confident, and he knows that we trust him and got his back, that he's going to stay in attack mode," George said. 

"I don't ever worry about Russ' shooting. I just know what he brings and his value to the team. And that is bigger than anything. 

"Whether he makes or misses shots is part of the game. He just does so much other stuff that I don't care. He plays hard and that's a guy that I want to roll with. 

"He's a guy I want to compete with on a nightly basis, so he knows to just stay confident and just keep shooting."

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer feels it was the right time to increase Khris Middleton's playing time as he scored a joint season-high 24 points in their 134-123 win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.

Middleton retuned to the starting line-up for the first time since December 15, having 11 assists to go with his 24 points on five-of-nine shooting from the field with 13-of-14 from the free-throw line.

The Bucks wing played a joint season-high 31 minutes, marking the first time he has exceeded 30 minutes on court since December, having had an injury-interrupted season.

Middleton missed the first 20 games of the season with a wrist injury, before being sidelined with a knee problem in December and January. His increase in minutes came after putting together a run of games and coincided with Jrue Holiday (sore neck) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (non-COVID-19 illness) being out.

"It felt like it was the right time for [Middleton] to get up to the 30-minute plateau, with Jrue and Giannis not playing," Budenholzer told reporters.

"Just a lot of things. Eleven assists, being a playmaker and doing a little bit of everything, he set a good tone for us early.

"We were fortunate to have him come off the bench for us for a good long stretch, and he’s going to continue to do those things where he's always been, in our starting lineup."

Middleton is averaging 21.8 minutes per game this season, with 13.2 points well down on his 20.4 average in the Bucks' title-winning 2020-21 season where he also averaged 6.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

The Bucks showcased their depth of offensive options despite missing their All-Star duo, as Brook Lopez top-scored with 26 points, while Jevon Carter added 24 and Jae Crowder contributed 15 off the bench.

Crowder only joined the Bucks last month from the Phoenix Suns, having agreed to sit out the 2022-23 season until a trade was found. Tuesday's game was his seventh game for Milwaukee, recording his best yet points return.

"It was good for him," Budenholzer said. "That's a silver lining to a couple of guys not playing, he got to play a lot of minutes, he got a good rhythm, he made some shots, he got to the free-throw line.

"Defensively he's locked in. He's doing everything we ask. He's got an edge on the defensive end."

The Bucks lead the NBA with a 47-18 record, having won 18 of their past 19 games.

Jonathan Isaac's season is over after just 11 games, adding to the Orlando Magic forward's injury woes.

The Magic announced on Friday that Isaac had received surgery to repair a torn left adductor muscle, ending his campaign.

The 25-year-old only returned in late January from a full two years on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury during the 2020 NBA bubble.

"Our thoughts are with Jonathan, whose fortitude in dealing with adversity is unique," Magic president Jeff Weltman said in a statement.

"Jonathan has worked extremely hard to return to the court this season and has demonstrated his impact on our team. We will be by his side as he focuses on the work ahead."

The confirmation from the Magic on Friday said: "An MRI conducted on Wednesday revealed the injury, after [Isaac] felt discomfort following Tuesday's practice in Milwaukee."

Isaac was the sixth overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, and has made 147 appearances for Orlando since, averaging 11.9 points per game in the 2019-20 season, but only managed 5.0 points and 0.5 assists per game in his 11 games this season.

Jayson Tatum was ejected for the first time in his NBA career as the New York Knicks extended their win streak to six games with a 109-94 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday.

Tatum was tossed after remonstrating with the referees with 3:46 remaining in the fourth quarter with the Celtics destined for a defeat, which sees them drop below the Milwaukee Bucks atop the NBA standings.

The Bucks (43-17) are ahead of the Celtics (44-18) on percentage, marking the first time Boston have not been top of the league since December 22.

The Celtics were not helped by two-of-19 three-point shooting in the first half, the worst of any half this season.

Tatum played his part in that, finishing the game with 14 points on six-of-18 shooting from the field, with seven rebounds and nine assists. Marcus Smart added 19 points while Jaylen Brown was out for personal reasons.

The Knicks were led by Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley who both scored 23 points, while Jalen Brunson added 17.

New York are 8-1 since February 5, marking the second-best record in the NBA during that period, while they have a point differential per game of 10.2 during that stretch, also second best in the league.

Butler acrobatics in Heat triumph

Jimmy Butler led the way as five Miami Heat players hit double figures in their 101-99 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Butler produced a go-ahead acrobatic reverse layup scoop with 1:28 remaining, finishing the game with 23 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

James Harden's game-winning three-point attempt bounced off the rim, meaning he scored 20 points with 12 assists. Joel Embiid top scored with 27 points and 12 rebounds, while Tyrese Maxey had 23 points off the bench.

The Heat have now won 13 games this season in one-score games, which is comfortably the most in the NBA.

Clutch Banchero leads Magic past Pels

Last year's NBA Draft top overall selection Paolo Banchero came up clutch in the dying minutes to lead the Orlando Magic past the New Orleans Pelicans 101-93.

Banchero finished with 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field with eight rebounds and four assists. The talent landed three clutch mid-range jumpers in the final few minutes.

Brandon Ingram top scored for the Pels, who continue to struggle without their former top NBA Draft pick Zion Williamson, with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Patrick Beverley confirmed on Monday that he will be signing for the rest of the season with the Chicago Bulls.

Beverley, 34, began the season with the Los Angeles Lakers, starting all 45 of his appearances before being traded to the Orlando Magic at the deadline in exchange for Mo Bamba.

With the Magic in the midst of a youth revolution and in the advanced stages of their rebuild, they decided to negotiate a buyout with Beverley to allow him to head elsewhere.

A defensive specialist, Beverley is a three-time NBA All-Defense selection (one First Team, two Second Teams), while also boasting a solid career three-point percentage of 37.6.

Unfortunately, his shooting has dipped over the past couple of seasons, setting a career-worst mark of 34.3 per cent in 2021-22, and he is only slightly better this campaign at 34.8.

Meanwhile, his combined steals and blocks figure of 1.5 is his lowest since the 2018-19 season, and tied for the second-lowest of his career.

He has not been at his best this season on a tumultuous Lakers team, but he theoretically fills a couple of needs for the Bulls, and is excited to return to his hometown.

Chicago are averaging the fewest made three-pointers per game (10.3) and the fewest attempts (28.8) – areas Beverley will provide a boost in compared to current starting point guard Ayo Dosunmu.

Dosunmu is averaging 0.8 made threes per game at a mediocre 32.4 per cent clip, and while Beverley's percentages are down, he is still making 1.2 per game.

The move also helps the Bulls lean into their strong suit this season, as they sit 24th in offensive rating, but are seventh in defense.

Beverley will join Alex Caruso to make a menacing defensive back-court, with Caruso emerging as an advanced stats darling on that end of the floor.

Caruso is seventh in the league in steal percentage (1.7 per cent), while sitting third in defensive box plus/minus, and a clear number one overall in defensive RAPTOR.

Jakob Poeltl looks right at home back with the Toronto Raptors after producing stats in Tuesday's win not seen in a single game since Shaquille O'Neal.

In the Raptors' 123-113 home win against the Orlando Magic, Poeltl finished with 30 points on 15-of-17 shooting, nine rebounds and six blocks. It was the first time since O'Neal in 2004 that a player has had 30 points, six blocks and shot at least 85 per cent from the field.

Poeltl, who was drafted by the Raptors back in 2016, had spent the past four-and-a-half seasons with the San Antonio Spurs after being part of the trade package to acquire Kawhi Leonard, ultimately resulting in Toronto's only ever championship.

The big Austrian became one of the league's best rim protectors in San Antonio, and with a gaping hole at center, the Raptors made a move at the deadline to bring him back in return for a one first-round pick, two second-rounders and bench big Khem Birch.

Speaking after the game, Poeltl highlighted his familiarity with point guard Fred VanVleet, who racked up a season-high 15 assists thanks in large part to the duo's pick-and-roll partnership.

"It's been going well," he said. "I feel like I've made improvement from game-to-game, I'm getting more and more comfortable out there.

"Tonight Freddy found me about 10 times in the pick-and-roll, so my team-mates made it really easy on me.

"[The connection with VanVleet] has been going great, I feel like we're getting back to our chemistry, obviously we played together for two years already. Tonight we just kind of clicked, and I'm happy it worked out that way."

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse called that pick-and-roll combination "huge" and said "every time we hit [Poeltl], it seemed like something good happened".

Nurse went on to discuss the value of finally having an imposing presence on the interior that can dissuade opposing defenses from switching all screens.

"It's really valuable, it really is," he said. 

"There's two ways you're going to beat teams that switch – the big guy is going to go bury somebody inside, or the big defender is going to have to guard someone on the perimeter that can get by him or shoot a three.

"Having both of those makes it – it means you're probably not going to switch as much – especially if we're getting those inside buckets. Nobody likes the feel of a switch, throw it inside, get overpowered for a lay-up.

"It looks easy – I don't think it's that easy – but he made it look easy tonight."

The Raptors were expected to be sellers at the deadline as rumours swirled about trade offers for VanVleet, All-Star Pascal Siakam and wing O.G. Anunoby, but they have now won five of their past six to claw their way to 28-31, sitting ninth in the Eastern Conference and trending in the right direction.

All-Star DeMar DeRozan exited the Chicago Bulls' 100-91 defeat to the Orlando Magic with a right hip injury that he revealed has been bothering him for over a month.

DeRozan exited with 1:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, having scored 19 points on eight-of-20 shooting across 36 minutes in the loss that leaves the Bulls with a 26-31 record.

The loss was Chicago's fourth in a row and marked the fourth straight game that DeRozan has not reached 20 points.

The Bulls small forward missed last Monday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies with the same hip issue and is due to undergo further testing on the problem on Tuesday.

"It was bothering me the whole game," DeRozan told reporters. "I just felt it. I didn't want to risk nothing. Hurting it anymore, what it was or anything.

"Just the accumulation of what it's been, attempting to play on it."

DeRozan, who was selected for the upcoming All-Star Game, is averaging 25.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists this season.

"It's too early to say. I always take everything day by day," DeRozan said, when asked if he will rule himself out of the All-Star Game.

"Get some rest, wake up, see how I feel tomorrow, get it checked out, get a better idea of what exactly it is, have a better idea of how to treat it and how to deal with it.

"It's something that I've been playing on for the last month and a half, just never said anything. Just want to get it right, especially going to the break."

Terrence Ross plans to sign with the Phoenix Suns after finalising his contract buyout with the Orlando Magic, according to reports.

Ross will be able to sign with a new team upon clearing waivers and becoming a free agent in the coming days, and will be eligible for any suitors' playoff roster if he agrees the buyout by March 1.

The Dallas Mavericks were reported as frontrunners to acquire Ross on Saturday, but the championship-chasing Suns are now in pole position, according to an ESPN report.

The Suns acquired Kevin Durant, as well as T.J. Warren, in a huge trade with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week, sending Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder the other way alongside four first-round picks and a 2028 pick swap.

Ross' addition would provide cover for Durant in Phoenix after the Suns lost Johnson and Bridges to the Nets.

The 32-year-old is in the final season of his four-year, $54 million contract in Orlando, with his 22.5 minutes and eight points per game his fewest in a single campaign since his rookie year in 2012-13.

The Suns are fifth in the Western Conference following Friday's 117-104 win at the Indiana Pacers, in which Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton had 21 and 22 points respectively.

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