NBA notebook: Suns win lottery for No. 1 pick in NBAdraft

(Reuters) The Phoenix Suns were awarded the No. 1 pick in next month’s NBA draft via the lottery held Tuesday in Chicago.

The Suns, an NBA-worst 21-61 this season, had the highest odds at the No. 1 pick at 25 percent entering the drawing. The Sacramento Kings, with an 18.3 percent chance to select in the top three, will pick second, and the Atlanta Hawks (42.6 percent at top three) will make the No. 3 pick.

The Memphis Grizzlies (55.8 percent at top three) and Dallas Mavericks (42.6 percent) were bounced from the top three with the drawing. They will pick fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Suns will pick No. 1 overall in the draft for the first time in franchise history. The draft will be held June 21 at Barclays Center in New York.

—Milwaukee Bucks ownership is meeting with two finalists, Mike Budenholzer and Ettore Messina, in their search for the team’s next head coach, according to an ESPN report.

Budenholzer reportedly remains the front-runner for the job, but he is also still in talks with the Toronto Raptors, who dismissed Dwane Casey last week after seven years with the team. However, Messina “has gathered significant momentum” during the interview process.

Budenholzer, 48, was the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year but was released from his contract with the Atlanta Hawks at the end of this regular season to pursue other opportunities. Messina, 58, has served as a San Antonio Spurs assistant since 2014 after a successful career coaching international basketball, including the Italian national team.

—Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry understands he’s a primary target for James Harden when the Houston Rockets have the ball, and he seems to be just fine with that.

Houston was committed to that approach in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series on Monday, as Harden racked up 41 points while repeatedly going after Curry. Despite the tactical effectiveness, the Warriors stole home-court advantage.

“If that’s the game plan they want to stick with, my job is just to make it as tough as possible,” Curry said. “You’ve got two great scorers over there in [Chris Paul] and James. You know how they get shots off in isolation-type situations, and they’re tough to stop. So I’m going to get scored on; they’re going to get scored on. There’s going to be a lot of back-and-forth.”

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