What is Going on in the NBA
All information is courtesy of ESPN.com
The King makes his return. LeBron James played his first game on April 30 since suffering a high ankle sprain on March 20. He put up 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes. A very standard stateline for LeBron, back like he never left. However, those numbers were put up in a loss.
The Lakers would lose to fellow California team, the Sacramento Kings by a score of 110-106. With this being LeBron’s first game back, there is no need to panic, despite being the six seed right now, LeBron in the playoffs is a version of LeBron people always seem to forget exists. If you need to be reminded, refer to 2018 playoff LeBron, possibly his best run in the postseason.
In addition to LeBron making his return, rookie of the year candidate, LaMelo Ball also made his return on May 1, his first game since fracturing his wrist on March 20. He returned with 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 28 minutes. Ball is talented enough every night to flirt with a triple-double.
Ball and the Hornets would go on to win the game by a score of 107-94. Ball also picked up right where he left off. Making highlight after highlight. This particular pass; a full court underhand pass off the dribble.
After the Suns shocked everybody in the bubble last season, going 8-0, they added Chris Paul and skyrocketed. The Suns sit as the two seed in the West with a record of 45-18. Rising to the two seed with their win against the Jazz April 30, the Suns won 121-100. Devin Booker, Suns’ guard, put up 31 points in the outing, while Paul put up 12 points and nine assists.
While the Suns got the win, the Jazz were short handed, their best player, Donovan Mitchell, did not play due to injury. This brings up all of the injuries the NBA has seen this year. Almost every team has one player out, and multiple teams have multiple players out. Consensus around the league is the season schedule is due blame for this.
These world-class athletes need time to recover. Teams who made the playoffs did not get that time. The off season, I believe, was only about 80 days. Where normally they would get just under 5 months of rest. Some notable players who have missed time this year: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, John Wall, Kristaps Porsingis, Jamal Murray, Donovan Mitchall and James Harden.
The playoff race is approaching. Right now, May 2, Brooklyn Philadelphia and Milwaukee have clinched playoff spots in the East, seeded. With the Knicks closely behind. Out of the West, only the Jazz and Suns have clinched a spot. The Nuggets and Clippers are a few games back.
The NBA is doing another play-in tournament. Where the seven and 10 seeds play each other and the eight and nine seeds play each other for those final two spots. There are too many teams in the race to name them, but just know, with this play-in tournament, the quality of play should pick up. The defense tightens up, offensive sets are more crisp and every possession matters.