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  • IND Small Forward #00
    Bennedict Mathurin has been named the MVP of the Rising Stars game after Team Jalen topped Team Detlef 26-13 in the championship.
    After scoring a ton in the win over Team Tamika, Mathurin only added four points, two assists and a steal in the final game. However, that was enough for him to be named MVP in front of his home crowd. It was a balanced effort in the final game, with Walker Kessler leading the team in scoring with six points. This game was played to a total score of 25, while the first two games were to a target score of 40. Jalen Williams ended up drilling the game-winning triple to end the night.
  • LAL Small Forward #23
    LeBron James finished Monday’s 101-99 loss to Denver with 26 points (9-of-19 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), eight rebounds, 12 assists, two steals, two blocks, and three 3-pointers in 38 minutes.
    After committing seven turnovers in Game 1, LeBron was only responsible for two in Game 2. He did what he could in the fourth quarter, shooting 5-of-9 from the field, but the Lakers appeared to run out of gas. That impacted the cohesion of their offense, and Denver successfully walked them down, with Jamal Murray’s shot at the buzzer being the difference. The two nights off will be massive for James and the Lakers, who had to navigate a Play-In game to get into the playoffs. Game 3 is on Thursday night in Los Angeles, with the Nuggets holding a 2-0 series lead.
  • LAL Point Guard #1
    D’Angelo Russell played 39 minutes in Monday’s 101-99 loss to the Nuggets, accounting for 23 points (8-of-16 FGs), three rebounds, six assists, and seven 3-pointers.
    Much was made about Russell’s poor Game 1, especially considering how poorly he played in last season’s Western Conference Finals. He appeared to have a point to prove to begin Game 2, as D’Lo hit all three of his 3-point attempts and scored nine points in the first quarter. He finished with an efficient 23, shooting 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. However, he was 2-of-6 from the field in the second half, which was a decrease in production the Lakers can’t afford, given the caliber of the opponent they’re up against. Russell and the Lakers head home for Game 3 on Thursday.
  • LAL Power Forward #3
    Anthony Davis shot 14-of-19 from the field and 4-of-4 from the foul line in Monday’s 101-99 loss to the Nuggets, accumulating 32 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one blocked shot in 39 minutes.
    Once again, Davis produced a gaudy stat line against the Nuggets. Unfortunately for him and the Lakers, they still lost the game, as Jamal Murray’s stepback jumper as time expired was the difference. And Davis offered little in the fourth quarter, missing his lone shot attempts and going scoreless with one rebound and one turnover. If the Lakers are to have a chance of winning the series, AD can’t be non-existent in crunch time. The good news for Los Angeles is that Game 3 isn’t until Thursday in Los Angeles, as the team looked gassed down the stretch on Monday.
  • DEN Small Forward #1
    Michael Porter Jr. amassed 22 points (8-of-13 FGs), nine rebounds, one assist, two steals, and six 3-pointers in 38 minutes in Monday’s 101-99 win over the Lakers.
    While Jamal Murray got hot in the fourth quarter, he shot 3-of-16 from the field in the first three periods of Game 2. Porter was one of the Nuggets who helped keep the team afloat, as Denver trailed by as much as 20 before rallying to take a 2-0 series lead. With the amount of attention the Lakers devote to Murray and Nikola Jokic, Porter and Aaron Gordon (14/7/3 in 40 minutes) will have opportunities to score. MPJ stepped up in a big way and was one of the unsung heroes in Game 2. The Nuggets head to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Thursday night.
  • DEN Center #15
    Nikola Jokic finished Monday’s 101-99 win over the Lakers with 27 points (9-of-16 FGs, 7-of-7 FTs), 20 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, and two 3-pointers in 41 minutes.
    Jokic recorded his 17th career playoff triple-double in Game 2, with the stat line including 20 of the Nuggets’ 45 rebounds on the night. Anthony Davis may have outscored him (32-27), but the Joker’s ability to impact games as a playmaker sets him apart from the competition. The Nuggets have now won the last ten meetings between the teams, and it’s fair to wonder if the streak has affected the psyche of the Lakers. The Nuggets visit Los Angeles for Game 3 on Thursday.
  • DEN Point Guard #27
    Jamal Murray played 40 minutes in Monday’s 101-99 win over the Lakers, tallying 20 points (9-of-24 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), three rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots.
    Murray had a rough night overall but saved his best for last. He scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including a fadeaway over Anthony Davis’s outstretched hand as time expired to give Denver a 2-0 series lead. Murray also shot 9-of-24 from the field in Game 1 but shot 4-of-9 from three on Saturday. On Monday, he missed all five attempts from beyond the arc. The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3, which will be played on Thursday.
  • LAL Power Forward #2
    According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Jarred Vanderbilt (right mid-foot sprain) targets Thursday’s Game 3 against the Nuggets as his return date.
    Vanderbilt was limited to 29 appearances during the regular season, the last of which occurred on February 1 in a win over the Celtics. He has reportedly been progressing in his recovery, and Thursday’s Game 3 could be when Vanderbilt returns to game action. According to McMenamin, the Lakers forward went through one of his most strenuous workouts on Monday, and the key now is how his body responds in the coming days. Vanderbilt won’t add much offensively, but when healthy, he is one of the Lakers’ best defenders.
  • PHI Point Guard #0
    Tyrese Maxey shot 12-of-22 from the field and 6-of-6 from the foul line in Monday’s 104-101 loss to the Knicks, amassing 35 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists, and five 3-pointers in 44 minutes.
    A game-time decision for Game 2 due to an illness, Maxey made his first three shots (all 3-pointers). While he did commit four turnovers, the last of which led to Donte DiVincenzo’s game-winning three with 13.1 seconds remaining, the 76ers’ point guard had a good night overall. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the efforts of Maxey and Embiid weren’t enough on a night when no other 76ers player scored more than ten points (Tobias Harris). They’ll look to rebound on Thursday when the series shifts to Philadelphia for Game 3.
  • PHI Center #21
    Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) played 39 minutes in Monday’s 104-101 loss to the Knicks, tallying 34 points (12-of-29 FGs, 8-of-12 FTs), 10 rebounds, six assists, one block, and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes.
    Embiid recorded a gaudy stat line in Game 2, but the reigning MVP is limited in his movements. While he did score 18 of his 34 points in the second half, he did not grab a single rebound. The two days off before Game 3 in Philadelphia are much-needed for Embiid, who deserves high praise for gutting through a knee that is nowhere near full strength. He should appear on the injury report ahead of Game 3, even though Embiid will be expected to play.
  • NYK Center #55
    Isaiah Hartenstein played 30 minutes in Monday’s win over the 76ers, accounting for 14 points (7-of-8 FGs), eight rebounds, four assists, and three blocked shots.
    After playing 18 minutes in Game 1, Hartenstein was more involved on both ends of the floor in Game 2. He shot 7-of-8 from the field, and one of his three blocked shots was a Tyrese Maxey layup attempt that preserved the Knicks’ lead in the final seconds. Two OG Anunoby free throws and a Joel Embiid missed three later, and New York had a 2-0 series lead after holding serve at home. Mitchell Robinson (four rebounds, one assist in 18 minutes) had the “hot hand” in Game 1, and the minutes reflected that. On Monday, it was Hartenstein’s time to shine. Game 3 is on Thursday in Philadelphia.