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Wizards’ backup center Ian Mahinmi has strained calf, will miss start of playoffs

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For a Wizards team about to go up against a front line with Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap in the playoffs, losing some depth hurts.

On Wednesday, Washington coach Scott Brooks announced that backup center Ian Mahinmi would be out for the team’s final game against the Heat on Wednesday. But the bigger concern is he is going to be out longer than just that one game, reports Candace Buckner of the Washington Post.

On Wednesday, Coach Scott Brooks announced that Ian Mahinmi will miss the team’s regular-season finale in Miami, as well as upcoming games, as he deals with a strained left calf. Mahinmi underwent an MRI exam that revealed swelling. He will be evaluated again in 7 to 10 days.

Although the NBA has not released the playoff schedule yet, the evaluation timeline will likely keep Mahinmi sidelined for at least the opening three games of the first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

“Hopefully he feels better then, but you never know,” Brooks said. “But he’s definitely going to miss the first couple of games [of the playoffs].”

Mahinmi has only played in 31 games for the Wizards this season due to a variety of injuries. He averaged 5.6 points and 4.8 rebounds a game in just shy of 18 minutes a night when he did play, he was solid but not spectacular. That said, he’s a rim protector who, when healthy, would be a boost in the paint for Washington.

This will put a bigger load on Marcin Gortat to start the playoffs, and could mean more Jason Smith for the Wizards. Expect to see the Wizards go small with Markieff Morris playing some five against the Hawks.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.