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  • DEN Center #15
    Nikola Jokic played 37 minutes in Tuesday’s 110-105 win over San Antonio, producing 42 points (18-of-32 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), 16 rebounds, six assists, one steal, two blocks, and one 3-pointer.
    The betting favorite for MVP, Jokic did nothing to harm his case on Tuesday. The 42 points matched his season high, previously tallied in a January 21 win over the Wizards. With all due respect to Washington, they didn’t (and still don’t) have any big men on par with Spurs rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama. Over the past two weeks, Jokic has averaged 30.2 points, 13.0 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 0.7 3-pointers, shooting 55.0% from the field and 80.5% from the foul line. According to Basketball Monster, the Joker has been ranked first in 9-cat formats and second in 8-cat over the past two weeks.
  • DAL Shooting Guard #10
    Tim Hardaway Jr. is listed as active for the Mavericks’ Sunday matchup with the Clippers.
    Hardaway was initially questionable because of an illness but appears to have cleared it ahead of his team’s first game of the playoffs. It’s unclear whether he’ll be asked to take on his usual workload, but Dante Exum and Josh Green will play more than usual if he’s limited.
  • LAC Small Forward #2
    Kawhi Leonard (right knee soreness) has been ruled out for Game 1 against Dallas on Sunday.
    Recent reports indicated that this would likely be the case, and now Kawhi has officially been ruled out for this game. P.J. Tucker was the most recent starter in his place, though Norman Powell will certainly take on an extended role with Leonard on the sidelines. It is unclear if Kawhi will be able to play in Game 2.
  • LAL Power Forward #35
    Christian Wood (left knee surgery) is planning to return for Game 3 against Denver on Thursday.
    Wood had an arthroscopic procedure in the middle of March on his left knee and has been sidelined since then. He will be out for Game 2 on Monday, but he is expected to be back in the lineup when the series shifts to Los Angeles. He may fill some of the backup center minutes, but he didn’t do much in either of his appearances against Denver this season.
  • MIL Power Forward #34
    Giannis Antetokounmpo (left soleus strain) has officially been ruled out for Game 1 against the Pacers on Sunday.
    Giannis was listed as doubtful for this game, so it isn’t surprising that he won’t be available to suit up. Bobby Portis started in his place to end the regular season, and he should fill the starting void again to start the postseason.
  • BOS Center #40
    Luke Kornet (right calf strain) will be considered “week-to-week” with this injury.
    Kornet had already been ruled out for Game 1 on Sunday after reportedly injuring his calf during a drill. However, with Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford healthy, Kornet will not see the floor in the playoffs much. Xavier Tillman will be the only depth center option available until Kornet returns.
  • MIA Shooting Guard #55
    Duncan Robinson (left facet syndrome) will play against Boston in Game 1 on Sunday.
    After not seeing the floor in their first Play-In game, Robinson logged 12 minutes in the win over Chicago on Friday. Robinson had some success against Boston in the playoffs last year, and they may lean on him again this year with both Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier sidelined. However, he didn’t play much in the Play-In Tournament, so there is certainly a chance that he is on the bench a lot in this series.
  • DEN Point Guard #27
    Jamal Murray accounted for 22 points on 9-of-24 shooting, adding 10 assists, six rebounds and four triples across 39 minutes in Saturday’s 114-103 win over the Lakers.
    Murray appeared in only 59 games, but he averaged a career-high 21.2 points and 6.5 assists this season. He finished last season’s Western Conference Finals by averaging a ridiculous 35.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 3.0 steals and 5.0 triples over the final three games of the series. Murray excelled as a scorer in the WCF, but he focused his attention on playmaking against the Lakers this season, delivering two games with double-digit assists in the regular season and kicking off the first-round series with another one. Murray and Nikola Jokic combined for 54 points, 18 rebounds and 17 assists, but Aaron Gordon (12 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists), Michael Porter Jr. (19 points, eight boards) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12 points, three steals, four triples) all did their part to deliver a victory to the Mile High City.
  • DEN Center #15
    Nikola Jokic provided 32 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a triple Saturday as the Nuggets defeated the Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round.
    Jokic did what he usually does and led his team in scoring and rebounds, though it was Jamal Murray (game-high 10) who led the team in assists. Jokic battled Anthony Davis all night, trading tough buckets and key defensive plays, and while Davis put up 32 points of his own, it was Jokic’s Nuggets who had the last laugh. That’s eight straight wins for Denver over Los Angeles, dating back to last season’s Western Conference Finals, a series in which the MVP favorite averaged a whopping 27.8 points, 14.5 rebounds and 11.8 assists with three triple-doubles.
  • LAL Power Forward #3
    Anthony Davis mustered 32 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four blocks across 44 minutes Saturday in a 114-103 loss to the Nuggets.
    Davis played phenomenally in last season’s Western Conference Finals against Denver, averaging 26.8 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in the four-game series loss. He kicked off that series with a 40 burger, and he came to play this year as well. Davis tied opposing big man Nikola Jokic for game lead in the scoring department, and AD paced all players on the glass. LeBron James posted a 27/6/8 line, but was mostly quiet in the second half, and it’s clear that Davis will have to be the best player on the court if the Lakers have any chance of advancing past this horrendous first-round matchup. Game 2 tips off on Monday back in Denver.
  • LAL Small Forward #23
    LeBron James finished Saturday’s loss to Denver with 27 points (10-of-16 FG), six rebounds, eight assists, a steal, a block and three triples across 40 minutes.
    To the casual observer of the final box score, James’ performance wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t what Los Angeles needed to defeat the juggernaut Nuggets. James went into halftime with 19 points and his team up three. He finished with just eight second-half points, two of which came in the final seconds with the game well out of reach. James was efficient from the field and got teammates involved, but he also committed seven turnovers and was deferential when his team needed him to take over. King James averaged 27.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists in the Western Conference Finals sweep to Denver last season, but his Achilles heel in that series was late-game play. He’ll need to correct that if his team hopes to steal a rare win at Ball Arena in Game 2.