NBA News & Fantasy Basketball Notes 4/25

Apr 25th 2024

Ryan Schwepfinger

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

  • Joel Embiid (injury recovery) — In

  • Mitchell Robinson (injury management) — Available

Follow us on Twitter at @Underdog__NBA for notifications.

Cleveland Cavaliers News

Confirmed Lineup: Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen

  • Craig Porter Jr. (ankle) — Out

  • Dean Wade (knee) — Injured

  • Ty Jerome (ankle) — Injured

The Cavs are looking to win a road playoff game for the first time since the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals at Boston, when they won Game 7 at the TD Garden before being swept in the NBA Finals. After maintaining a steady pace despite struggling with injuries to their stars for the duration of the regular season, Cleveland is mostly healthy at the right time. Evan Mobley has added three-point shooting to his repertoire, going 3-for-8 from behind the arc after two games while attempting exactly four triples in each contest. He only attempted four threes in three of 50 regular-season outings this year. Also, Jarrett Allen is dominating on the glass, averaging 19.0 rebounds per game.

Orlando Magic News

Confirmed Lineup: Jalen Suggs, Gary Harris, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, Wendell Carter Jr.

  • Jalen Suggs (knee) — Not on injury report

Orlando is simply struggling to score the basketball. The Magic's 88.5 offensive rating through two games is the worst among all playoff teams by far, just over 10 points behind New Orleans and Phoenix. By way of loose comparison, the Grizzlies were last in offensive rating during the regular season with a 106.8 mark. The Magic's defense has held Cleveland to a 101.0 offensive rating, creating a low-scoring environment, but Orlando will need to create more offense if they are to get back into the series. Coach Mosley slowly but surely looked to adjust things in that regard in Game 2, playing defensive-minded starter Jonathan Isaac for just 20 minutes. Moe Wagner played 21 off the bench and scored 12 points. Wendell Carter Jr. also played 18 minutes off the bench, but struggled with his shot, going 1-for-6 from the field. It would not be a shock to see an adjustment in the starting lineup for Game 3.

New York Knicks News

Confirmed Lineup: Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart, OG Anunoby, Isaiah Hartenstein

  • Mitchell Robinson (injury management) — Available

  • Julius Randle (shoulder) — Out for season

After a bit of an outlier Game 1 rotation that saw Robinson (30 minutes), Miles McBride (28) and Bojan Bogdanovic (25) all play elevated minutes off the bench, coach Thibodeau went back to a more standard look for Game 2, as his three primary reserves' minutes were down to 18, 21, and 12, respectively. All four starters other than Hartenstein played 37 or more minutes, with Hart not coming out of the game at all, logging 48 minutes for the second time this season overall. The Knicks have to be pleased to be up two games to none in the series despite Brunson shooting just 16-for-55 (29.1%) thus far.

Philadelphia 76ers News

Confirmed Lineup: Tyrese Maxey, Kyle Lowry, Kelly Oubre, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid

  • Joel Embiid (injury recovery) — In

  • De'Anthony Melton (back) — Available

  • Robert Covington (knee) — Injured

The Sixers shockingly blew a five-point lead in the final 28 seconds to lose Game 2 by three points at Madison Square Garden. Newly crowned Most Improved Player Maxey was a standout in the contest, going for 35 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds despite playing through an illness that earned him a midday questionable tag before the game. Embiid (39 minutes) also played effectively through his ongoing knee issue, scoring 34 points while adding 10 rebounds and six assists.

There was some thought that Harris' minutes could be in trouble in favor of Nicolas Batum off the bench, and while Batum did get up to 33 minutes as a reserve, it was in lieu of Oubre (26 minutes) and not Harris, who played 41.

Denver Nuggets News

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

  • Vlatko Cancar (knee) — Injured

Murray's game-winning shot in Game 2 punctuated a 40-minute effort. He played 39 minutes in Game 1 and has put to rest any thoughts of limitations or lingering ailments after he was unable to play 30 minutes in his final five regular-season games following a return from injury.

Jokic also shined with a 27-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. Since the 1977 playoffs, there have been just six 20-point/20-rebound triple-doubles in postseason history; Jokic has four of them, with three occurring in the last two seasons. Kevin Garnett (4/21/04) and Tim Duncan (6/15/03) are responsible for the other two.

Los Angeles Lakers News

Confirmed Lineup: D'Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, LeBron James, Anthony Davis

  • Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) — Out

  • Christian Wood (knee) — Out

  • Cam Reddish (ankle) — Out

  • Jalen Hood-Schifino (back) — Injured

Both Vanderbilt and Wood remain out despite previous reporting that indicated they could each return for this game. There is some doubt over how integrated into the rotation they'll actually be when they do return, as coach Ham continues to lean on his starters. Taurean Prince (21.0) is the only reserve averaging over 12 minutes per contest through two games.

While Los Angeles suffered a heartbreaking loss in Game 2, one reason for optimism is the return of Russell's shooting form. After going 1-for-9 from three in Game 1, the former Ohio State Buckeye rebounded with a 7-for-11 effort in Game 2. The Lakers will need his supplemental offense behind Davis and James if they are to get back into this series.