NBA News & Fantasy Basketball Notes 4/8

Apr 8th 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

  • Nikola Jokic (calf) — Available

  • Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) — Available

  • Shaedon Sharpe (knee) — In

  • Jamal Murray (thumb) — Available

  • Keldon Johnson (foot) — Out

  • Aaron Gordon (shoulder) — Available

  • Michael Porter Jr. (injury management) — Available

  • Drew Eubanks (ankle) — Out

Recent NBA News

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Denver Nuggets News

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

  • Nikola Jokic (calf) — Available

  • Jamal Murray (thumb) — Available

  • Aaron Gordon (shoulder) — Available

  • Michael Porter Jr. (injury management) — Available

  • Bruce Brown (knee) — Out

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (illness) — Available

  • Reggie Jackson (back) — Available

Denver will utilize similar lineups to Thursday's game if the starters remain out. Brown finished with 31 points on 11-for-18 shooting, six rebounds, and four assists, while Jackson led the team with six assists and scored 20 points on seven-for-15 shooting in that match. DeAndre Jordan recorded a double-double in 30.1 minutes, Christian Braun scored 15 points on six-for-11 shooting, and Ish Smith contributed 11 points on five-for-12 shooting and six assists in 22.7 minutes.

Utah Jazz News

Confirmed Lineup: Kris Dunn, Ochai Agbaji, Luka Samanic, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Udoka Azubuike

  • Lauri Markkanen (hand) — Out

  • Talen Horton-Tucker (ankle) — Out

  • Jordan Clarkson (finger) — Out

  • Kelly Olynyk (rest) — Out

  • Collin Sexton (injury maintenance) — Out

  • Rudy Gay (back) — Out

  • Walker Kessler (concussion) — Injured

Agbaji could be a natural fit as a secondary distributing option as Utah's second guard but hasn't expressed that ability on the NBA level. He more likely sees a spike in usage along with Fontecchio. Instead, Dunn's facilitating role should be further elevated, while Samanic and Juan Toscano-Anderson could are pressed into additional facilitating duties in a thinned lineup.

Minnesota Timberwolves News

Confirmed Lineup: Mike Conley, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert

  • Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) — Available

  • Austin Rivers (illness) — Out

  • Jaylen Nowell (knee) — Out

  • Naz Reid (wrist) — Injured

Seemingly half of Minnesota's roster was dealing with illnesses during their last several games, and three full days off should pay dividends. Coach Finch said Friday the plan is for Towns to play both games in Minnesota's upcoming back-to-back set. As a result, Towns could be considered likelier to play limited minutes Saturday to prepare him to play consecutive days than be ruled out.

San Antonio Spurs News

Confirmed Lineup: Tre Jones, Malaki Branham, Julian Champagnie, Keita Bates-Diop, Sandro Mamukelashvili

  • Keldon Johnson (foot) — Out

  • Devin Vassell (injury management) — Out

  • Jeremy Sochan (knee) — Out

  • Zach Collins (finger) — Out

  • Doug McDermott (ankle) — Out

  • Devonte' Graham (adductor) — Out

  • Romeo Langford (injury management) — Available

  • Charles Bassey (knee) — Injured

  • Khem Birch (knee) — Injured

Julian Champagnie has posted 22.7% usage and a 67.9 eFG% while averaging 27.1 minutes during the last three games. He should start, while Blake Wesley, Dominick Barlow, and, if available, Langford also play increased minutes if Johnson is ruled out. The remaining starters would shoulder more of the offense in that event. Branham (+4.4%) and Jones (+3.0%) have posted positive usage differentials with Johnson, Vassell, Sochan, and Josh Richardson off the floor this season.

Portland Trail Blazers News

Confirmed Lineup: Skylar Mays, Jeenathan Williams, Shaedon Sharpe, Kevin Knox, Trendon Watford

  • Shaedon Sharpe (knee) — In

  • Anfernee Simons (foot) — Out

  • Jerami Grant (quad) — Out

  • Jusuf Nurkic (knee) — Out

  • Drew Eubanks (ankle) — Out

  • Trendon Watford (ankle) — In

  • Nassir Little (ankle) — Out

  • Kevin Knox (knee) — In

  • Matisse Thybulle (knee) — Out

  • Cam Reddish (back) — Out

  • Damian Lillard (calf) — Injured

  • Keon Johnson (finger) — Injured

  • Ibou Badji (knee) — Injured

  • Justise Winslow (ankle) — Injured

Sharpe recorded 30.4% usage and a 28.9% assist rate during his last four games. Shaq Harrison should be asked to facilitate less offense while usage declines across the lineup with Sharpe expected to return. Watford remained limited to around 20.0 minutes Thursday, so John Butler Jr. would likely play extended minutes instead of Watford if Eubanks is sidelined.

Los Angeles Clippers News

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

  • Eric Gordon (hip) — Not on injury report

  • Marcus Morris (back) — Out

  • Paul George (knee) — Injured

The Clippers are facing the first game of a back-to-back set, and Leonard could be limited in the second half if Los Angeles builds a comfortable lead against Portland. After struggling post-injury, Norman Powell broke through as he led the Clippers with 27 points on 26.6% usage in 35.5 minutes Wednesday. Powell, Westbrook, and Bones Hyland could generate more offense down the stretch if there is an effort to manage Leonard's minutes.