Please, no more injuries in these playoffs.
The Clippers Blake Griffin and Chris Paul both suffered injuries in Los Angeles’ Game 5 loss to Memphis Wednesday — Griffin has a sprained knee after a fall under the basket, Paul aggravated a groin injury going for a rebound. Both will be re-evaluated on Thursday once the team is back in Los Angeles.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said in his post-game press conference the medical staff had cleared both to go back in the game and he thought they will be ready to go in Game 6 Friday night in Los Angeles. However, we will see what happens as the injuries tighten up on a plane ride home.
Griffin’s injury happened late in the third quarter — he was driving down the left side of the lane and Marc Gasol was defending. Their feet got tangled and Griffin’s left knee got back under him late and he landed awkwardly, the knee buckled a little and Griffin went straight to the ground grabbing it. He did come back in the game — to a chorus of boos from Grizzlies fans who thought he was once again overdramatizing his injury.
Griffin played much of the rest of the game but limped up and down the court and was not terribly effective. He will have an MRI on Thursday. Here are some quotes from Griffin, via the twitter account of Eric Patten:
I felt it right away. one of our doctors did something to it & I was able to play, but it tightened up on me at the end of the game
Griffin also said this felt different than the patella injury that delayed his rookie season for a year.
Paul tweaked his groin going up for a rebound in the second half. As soon as he landed from his jump he grabbed his groin. He tried to play through it, but sat out the last several minutes despite a Clippers comeback that got the Grizzlies lead down to six
“I don’t know what happened. I just felt a sharp pain. I’ll be alright. I’ll be ready. I’m playing friday.”
Paul’s injury would be devastating for the Clippers, he has been the best player in this series. Paul has orchestrated the Lakers dominance in the fourth quarter of games..
The Lakers lost to the Wizards because they are young, inconsistent, and defend like traffic cones at times.
But that young Lakers core also has its moments.
Los Angeles strung together 15 straight made buckets to end the third quarter Tuesday night. Some of it was flukey, like Corey Brewer driving and finishing contested layups like he’s Kyrie Irving, but there were things Lakers fans should want to see such as D'Angelo Russell draining threes, Jordan Clarkson working hard off the ball and his teammates finding him, and Julius Randle just attacking.
After this run the Lakers led by 13 going into the fourth, but lost the game.
What this ultimately means is next season the Knicks should have Joakim Noah available just before Thanksgiving.
Noah has been suspended 20 games for testing positive for a banned substance, but because he was out due to knee surgery the suspension did not start until he was “physically able to play.” Noah said on Tuesday that he had been cleared, but that was just by the team doctors. He also had to be cleared by the NBA’s doctors (because if teams could cheat they would).
That happened Wednesday, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.
Noah’s first season in New York after signing a four-year, $72 million deal has been a disappointment. To put it kindly. He’s not been completely healthy, and any observer of him the past few years had to wonder if he would ever be fully healthy again. He had lost a step from the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year before the Knicks signed him. The Knicks don’t need him to necessarily be that dominant a force again (although it would be nice), but they need to get more out of him and see if he is a fit next to Kristaps Porzingis for now as the Knicks try to build a roster for next season that can play a little defense. And the triangle.
The Indiana Pacers need healthy bodies for their playoff run, and they had three rotation guys injured between Al Jefferson, Glenn Robinson III, and Rodney Stuckey. Wednesday, the Pacers waived Stuckey to create an open roster spot to bring in some help (they were not going to pick up his option for next season anyway).
Who are they bringing in? The prodigal son Lance Stephenson returns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
The surprising part of the deal was the security Stephenson got, as first reported by Adam Zagoria at his blog — three years, $12 million, with a player option for the final year. (This has since been confirmed by other sources.) Other teams were looking at giving Stephenson a 10-day contract, the length of the Pacers’ offer is a surprise.
Stephenson played in six games for Minnesota recently, averaging 3.5 points per game off the bench, but an ankle sprain kept the Timberwolves from really having to decide whether to keep him for the season. Stephenson knows how to create shots for himself and can be a good defender when focused, something we saw with the Pelicans at the start of this season — he became a key part of their rotation averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game until he tore his groin.
It’s a little strange to see him back in Pacers colors. It will be particularly strange if the Pacers stay in the seven seed and the Cavaliers remain the two-seed setting up a first-round playoff series. Because I don’t think any of us need to see this again.
Divisions are almost forgotten in the NBA. They exist still as quaint reminders of days gone by, but they don’t matter other than as a potential tie breaker with a non-division-winning team. Winning your division doesn’t even guarantee a team a playoff spot anymore.
Yet, the last time Washington had won a division title they were in the Atlantic division and when you turned on the radio you were likely to hear that new hit Heart Of Glass by Blondie. It was 1979.
That was until Tuesday when John Wall led a 13-point comeback in the fourth quarter against the Lakers to get the Wizards the win and the SouthEast division title.
According to CBSSports.com, that 38-year division title drought was longer than any team in any major U.S. professional sports — NHL, NFL, and MLB.
Congrats to the Wizards. They also have locked up home court in the first round, and they are currently the No. 3 seed in the playoffs (who they face in the first round is up in the air still as only three games separate seeds five through nine).
With Scott Brooks at the helm this feels like a far more dangerous — and healthy — team heading into the postseason. Wizards fans have waited a lot time for a team like this.