NBA News & Fantasy Basketball Notes 4/16

Apr 16th 2023

Connor Learn

Each day, this column will provide live updates for all NBA news. Enjoy up-to-the-minute alerts for injuries and lineup confirmations. The Key News to Watch section will highlight notable injuries to monitor for the current NBA slate.

Key NBA News to Watch

  • LeBron James (foot) — In

  • Anthony Davis (foot) — In

  • Rudy Gobert (back) — In

  • Gabe Vincent (hip) — Available

  • Kyle Lowry (knee) — Available

Recent NBA News

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Los Angeles Lakers News

Confirmed Lineup: D'Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Jarred Vanderbilt, Anthony Davis

  • LeBron James (foot) — In

  • Anthony Davis (foot) — In

  • Dennis Schroder (Achilles) — Available

Though Russell shooting one-for-nine influenced playing just 24 minutes in Los Angeles' Play-In Tournament matchup, Schroder's contributions were valued as he logged 33 minutes. Schroder is the lone Laker capable of matching Ja Morant's burst, which could earn him additional time in this series. Davis averaged 29.0 points and 20.5 rebounds in two games against the Grizzlies with James and Steven Adams (knee) inactive this season. Though Davis could be featured less prominently with James active, he could similarly excel if Xavier Tillman remains his primary defender.

Memphis Grizzlies News

Confirmed Lineup: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Xavier Tillman

  • Santi Aldama (elbow) — Not on injury report

  • Jake LaRavia (calf) — Out

  • Brandon Clarke (Achilles) — Injured

  • Steven Adams (knee) — Injured

Morant has scored 39 or more points in three of five matchups with Los Angeles during the last two seasons while cumulatively recording elevated 36.9% usage. It could be difficult to keep Tillman on the floor when Jarred Vanderbilt is off the floor for the Lakers, creating the potential for Tyus Jones and Luke Kennard to log increased time if Vanderbilt doesn't play 30 minutes in a matchup where his perimeter defense could be valued less.

Miami Heat News

Confirmed Lineup: Gabe Vincent, Tyler Herro, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo

  • Gabe Vincent (hip) — Available

  • Kyle Lowry (knee) — Available

  • Nikola Jovic (back) — Out

Milwaukee's perimeter defense regressed sharply as they allowed the third-most made threes per game (14.5) during the last month of the season. As a result, Miami's shooting could be as critical to this series as it was in their Play-In Tournament victory over the Bulls. However, keeping Strus and Herro on the floor together for extended periods could be challenging against Milwaukee's starters. Additionally, none of Butler (19.2), Herro (18.4), and Adebayo (17.2) averaged over 20 points against the Bucks in the last three seasons, with Herro's 28.3% usage leading the trio.

Milwaukee Bucks News

Confirmed Lineup: Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez

  • Khris Middleton (knee) — Not on injury report

  • Grayson Allen (ankle) — Not on injury report

  • Pat Connaughton (ankle) — Not on injury report

Excluding a February game where he left early due to injury, Antetokounmpo scored 20 or fewer points in five of his last 10 games against Miami. If Antetokounmpo continues to be contained in this matchup, Holiday, Middleton, and Lopez will be tasked with additional scoring responsibilities. When asked Saturday if Middleton could play 40 minutes, coach Budenholzer said he and Middleton would do whatever it takes to win. It isn't clear if Allen or Connaughton will be restricted.

Los Angeles Clippers News

Confirmed Lineup: Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac

  • Marcus Morris (back) — Not on injury report

  • Paul George (knee) — Injured

Leonard registered 29.2% usage in his first 24 playoff games with the Clippers and could shoulder more offense until George is cleared to return. Westbrook's offense could factor more than many expect: he averaged 20.7 points in six matchups with the Suns during the last two seasons and has a size advantage on Phoenix's guards. Additionally, the Suns allowed the 12th-most points in the paint per game (52.9) during their last 15 matches.

Phoenix Suns News

Confirmed Lineup: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Torrey Craig, Kevin Durant, Deandre Ayton

  • Cam Payne (back) — Out

  • Bismack Biyombo (knee) — Not on injury report

  • TJ Warren (illness) — Not on injury report

Assuming Kawhi Leonard and Nicolas Batum act as primary defenders on Durant, Booker and Paul should get the more favorable matchups against Los Angeles' suspect backcourt defenders. However, Paul posted -6.3% usage and -9.1% assist rate differentials when sharing the court with Booker and Durant this season. Paul should continue to initiate the offense but likely remains similarly deferential.

Minnesota Timberwolves News

Confirmed Lineup: Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert

  • Rudy Gobert (back) — In

  • Jaylen Nowell (knee) — Active

  • Jaden McDaniels (hand) — Injured

  • Naz Reid (wrist) — Injured

Gobert didn't face a formal restriction as he returned to contribute 21 points and 10 rebounds in Friday's comfortable win, and he said postgame that while his back is still sore, it had improved over several days. Nickeil Alexander-Walker started and logged extended minutes against the Thunder as his defense was valued against his cousin, but his time likely declines while matching up with Denver. Instead, Jordan McLaughlin and Taurean Prince should absorb some of Alexander-Walker's minutes as the starters are on the court for longer periods.

Denver Nuggets News

Confirmed Lineup: Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Nikola Jokic

  • Nikola Jokic (calf) — Not on injury report

  • Jamal Murray (thumb) — Not on injury report

A full week off has allowed the Nuggets additional time to recover, but Murray was seen with tape on his sprained right thumb Saturday. Rudy Gobert (back), Karl-Anthony Towns, and Kyle Anderson will all likely act as lead defenders on Jokic at times in this series, with Gobert and Towns freed to defend the paint when not defending Jokic. The gravity of Jokic in this matchup could free Porter Jr. and Gordon to see additional perimeter looks unless Gobert and Towns defend the perimeter more aggressively than they typically do.