3 injuries that will have an impact on the NBA Playoffs
From Bradley Beal in the nation's capital to Jamal Murray in the Colorado mountains and LeBron James in Hollywood, these injuries will have a major impact in the NBA playoffs
The 2020-21 NBA regular season has been defined by injuries more than anything else. It’s a major backdrop as the truncated regular year comes to a conclusion and the NBA Playoffs start.
Jamal Murray, guard, Denver Nuggets
The good news first. Denver has posted a 11-3 record since Murray went down with a torn ACL back on April 12. The bad news? All three losses have come against playoff teams in that of the Warriors, Lakers, and Nets. This could very well be an example of Nikola Jokic and Co. struggling against top-end competition without the Nuggets’ second-best player in the mix.
Likely looking at a first-round matchup with the Dallas Mavericks or Portland Trail Blazers, Murray’s injury is among the most significant potentially affecting the NBA playoffs right now. Not having him in the mix against either Luka Doncic or Damian Lillard could lead to an early departure from the playoffs. As for who might step up, young forward Michael Porter Jr. has been balling out since Murray’s injury. He’s averaging 25.1 points and 6.4 rebounds on 50% shooting from distance over the past 14 games.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Engaged in a pretty awesome battle with Stephen Curry for the NBA scoring title, Beal is the latest star player to be impacted by the NBA injury bug. He went down with a hamstring injury during a 50-point performance this past weekend and remains sidelined. At the very least, Beal has been ruled out for one more game.
While the high-scoring guard will be back in the mix for the potential play-in tournament, there’s no telling whether he’s going to be 100%. Hamstring injuries have a way of lingering. This could impact an ascending Washington team that boasts a rejuvenated Russell Westbrook. Right now, the Wizards likely find themselves headed for a matchup with the underperforming Indiana Pacers in the play-in tournament.
LeBron James, forward, Los Angeles Lakers
Oh boy. Recent indications are that the reigning NBA Playoffs MVP won’t be anywhere near 100% for a likely play-in tournament. James has played in a total of two games since suffering that dreaded high-ankle sprain back on March 20. He reinjured said ankle in early May and has yet to return with the expectation of playing later in the week.
The NBA needs LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry as much as we do
–Vincent Frank // Sportsnaut
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