The big story before tip-off in San Antonio was the fact that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers would all be held out Sunday night against the Spurs due to various injuries.
By the time the game was over, the Heat had come away with an unexpected 88-86 victory, thanks to the last-second heroics of the one Miami All-Star who did play in this game, Chris Bosh.
With the Heat trailing by one and less than 10 seconds remaining, the Heat rebounded a miss from Tim Duncan in the lane, and advanced the ball up the floor for their final offensive possession.
Bosh trailed the play at the top of the three-point arc, and Ray Allen found him there, as Bosh calmly drained the game-winner from three-point distance.
Bosh ranks ninth on the Heat in three-point field goal percentage, yet had no trouble knocking down this one with the game hanging in the balance.
It’s tough to blame San Antonio for the letdown to a certain extent, given the fact that Miami was without three of its five starters. But should the Spurs face the Heat in the NBA Finals, and if the regular season records of the two teams don’t end up finishing that far apart in the overall standings, San Antonio may look back on this game with regret as they’re forced to open the championship round on the road in Miami against the defending champs.
Ben Simmons with 10th triple-double of season: 15 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds
Most impressive part of this one? Ben Simmons racked up this triple-double in three quarters.
The Sixers impressive rookie put together his 10th triple-double of the season — 15 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds — Saturday to help lead Philadelphia past Minnesota, 120-108 (the Sixers sixth straight win). Simmons was attacking all night, not taking a single shot outside the paint and shooting 5-of-9. On those drives, he was able to make some dishes for assists, too.
“S— ain’t perfect when you’re living life,” Durant said. “There’s going to be ebbs and flows. I know since this whole Warriors [dynasty] started, it’s been pretty nice. There’s nothing to worry about. We’re all living life good. We’re playing in the NBA. We got a couple ankle tweaks, we got a few rib injuries, a couple of guys got kicked in the groin, a little fractured thumb. Nobody is dealing with anything life-threatening…
“Steph is going to work his tail off to get back no matter what it is, and we’re all going to support him and we’re going to be there for him. We’re going to hold this s— down.”
Durant is right. First, in the grand scheme of world problems, Curry’s knee is not a big one. Secondly, the Warriors have had a fairly fortunate and magical run the past few years, and by the start of the playoffs the Warriors should have most of the team healthy and rested.
The Warriors likely can get through the first two rounds without Curry, so long as Durant, Green, Thompson, as well as Iguodala and Livingston are healthy. A potential second-round matchup with Portland would be a challenge, but the Warriors would still deserve favorite status in that one.
Against Houston in a potential Western Conference Finals matchup, Golden State will need a healthy. Curry should be back by then, but with the Warriors injury luck lately it’s something to watch.
Stephen Curry out at least three weeks with Grade 2 MCL sprain
The Warriors will have to go the rest of the season and probably the start the playoffs without the guy their offense is built around.
Stephen Curry will be out at least three weeks after suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain Friday night when JaVale McGee accidentally fell into his knee, the team announced Saturday. It’s about as good of news as could have been hoped for, considering the injury and the timing, that said the team will “re-evaluate” Curry in three weeks, and Grade 2 MCL’s often take a month or more to fully heal.
The playoffs begin in exactly three weeks. Curry could be back around the start of those games or, more likely, will miss part of the postseason depending upon how his recovery goes. The Warriors are essentially locked in as the two seed right now, but in a jumbled West it’s unclear who they will play in the first round and what matchup challenges that presents. The Warriors should be much healthier by then, they will get Draymond Green back from his hip injury on Sunday vs. the Jazz. Kevin Durant is expected later next week. Klay Thompson will be a little after that, but before the playoffs.
Curry, however, is the fuel that turns the Warriors offense into something elite. Curry is averaging 26.3 points and 6.2 assists per game, shooting 42.4 percent from three this season. The Warriors offense is 14 points per 100 possessions better this season when Curry is on the court.
Kyrie Irving out 3-6 weeks following surgery on his knee
Kyrie Irving could be back right around the start of the playoffs, somewhere during the first round, or maybe not until the beginning of the second (if the Celtics are still playing).
Irving had his knee surgery Saturday and the timeline for his return is 3-6 weeks, the Celtics announced Saturday. This is the official press release.
Celtics guard Kyrie Irving today underwent a minimally-invasive procedure to remove a tension wire in his left knee. The wire was originally placed as part of the surgical repair of a fractured patella sustained during the 2015 NBA Finals. While removal of the wire should relieve irritation it was causing in Irving’s patellar tendon, the fractured patella has fully healed and Irving’s knee has been found to be completely structurally sound. Irving is expected to return to basketball activities in 3-6 weeks.
When Irving has been off the court this season, the Celtics have been 7.7 points worse per 100 possessions, with an offensive rating of 101, which is right at the bottom of the league. In the last five games, when Irving has been sidelined, the Celtics have gone 3-2 with an offensive rating of 100.4.
The Celtics are all but formally locked in as the two seed in the East.
With no Gordon Hayward or Daniel Theis for these playoffs, no Marcus Smart to start, and now questions about Irving’s availability, the question is how hard should Boston push to get Irving back for this postseason? Irving will push, it’s his nature, but the Celtics need to think bigger picture. Boston is poised to be a force in the East and maybe the team to beat next season, that should not be risked to make a splash this season. How motivated are the Celtics to push Irving for this season’s playoffs with a roster already decimated by injuries?