NBA News & Fantasy Basketball Notes 4/19

Apr 19th 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

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (back) — Out

  • Nikola Jokic (wrist) — In

  • LeBron James (foot) — Available

  • Anthony Davis (foot) — Available

  • Ja Morant (hand) — Out

  • Rudy Gobert (back) — 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) — Available

  • Anthony Davis (foot) — Available

  • Dennis Schroder (Achilles) — Available

The Lakers were leading by one point with just over three minutes remaining in their 128-112 series-opening victory. Rui Hachimura scoring 29 points on 11-for-14 shooting and Reaves scoring 23 points on eight-for-13 should be considered outliers; Los Angeles wouldn't have won without them. However, James scoring 21 points on eight-for-16 shooting from the field and two-for-four from the line was also an outlier. Expect James to play a more active scoring role while Hachimura and Reaves don't match their Game 1 efficiency.

Memphis Grizzlies News

Confirmed Lineup: Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Xavier Tillman

  • Ja Morant (hand) — Out

  • Jake LaRavia (calf) — Out

  • Brandon Clarke (Achilles) — Injured

  • Steven Adams (knee) — Injured

Morant re-aggravated soft tissue bruising in his right hand and didn't return to Game 1 before he said his pain level was at a "10" postgame. Coach Jenkins said Morant did some shooting and dribbling with his right hand during Tuesday's practice, and Morant's availability would ultimately come down to pain tolerance. If Morant plays a diminished role, Bane, Brooks, and Jackson Jr. could be increasingly featured offensively. Tyus Jones will act as a lead facilitator, Luke Kennard will also play increased time, and the starters' scoring responsibilities will vault if Morant is ruled out.

Miami Heat News

Confirmed Lineup: Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo

  • Kyle Lowry (knee) — Said he'll play

  • Nikola Jovic (back) — Out

  • Tyler Herro (hand) — Injured

Robinson re-entered the rotation to start the second half in Herro's stead Sunday but played just 6.4 minutes as the rotation condensed, and Victor Oladipo wasn't utilized. Vincent, Lowry, Caleb Martin, and Kevin Love should absorb a majority of Herro's minutes if coach Spoelstra favors similar lineups. Butler contributed 35 points, five rebounds, and 11 assists in Game 1 as Milwaukee's perimeter defenders struggled to keep him from getting to his spots at will. Adebayo and Butler should remain increasingly featured, especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo (back, doubtful) expected to be unavailable to assist in defending Butler.

Milwaukee Bucks News

Confirmed Lineup: Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Khris Middleton, Bobby Portis, Brook Lopez

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (back) — Out

  • Wesley Matthews (calf) — Out

Expect Portis, Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder, and Pat Connaughton to play increased minutes. Portis and the remaining starters must generate more offense in Antetokounmpo's expected absence. Holiday scored 16 points on six-for-18 shooting and recorded 16 assists in Game 1 against a Heat defense that excels at defending lead guards. Middleton scored 33 points on 38.7% usage, and Portis scored 21 on 25.4%. Holiday could similarly play a heightened facilitating role, but Middleton and Portis should again be increasingly featured in the offense with more favorable matchups than Holiday.

Minnesota Timberwolves News

Confirmed Lineup: Mike Conley, Anthony Edwards, Taurean Prince, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert

  • Rudy Gobert (back) — Available

  • Jaylen Nowell (knee) — Available

  • Jaden McDaniels (hand) — Injured

  • Naz Reid (wrist) — Injured

Minnesota's offense completely faltered in their 109-80 series-opening loss. They shot 11-for-36 (30.6%) from downtown, which hasn't been their strength as a team. However, the Timberwolves scored only 36 points in the paint and three points in transition after scoring the seventh-most points in the paint per game (54.3) and the eighth-most fast break points per game (14.7) during the regular season. Succeeding in what were previously strengths will be essential for them to recover in this series—Towns and Edwards scoring more in the paint, in particular, is needed.

Denver Nuggets News

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

  • Nikola Jokic (wrist) — In

Jokic shot six-for-12 from the field and recorded six assists as he played with a taped wrist in the second half of Game 1. He participated in Tuesday's practice but not shooting drills before expressing that he wasn't concerned about his wrist injury. Jokic played through a sprained right wrist in October, logging reduced 22.8% usage and 36.2% assist rates while shooting 21.1% from three during the first seven games of the season. Murray, Porter Jr., Gordon, and Bruce Brown will be tasked with additional scoring and facilitating responsibilities if Jokic is similarly affected despite appearing committed to playing through the issue.