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ESPN 03 May, 2021 - 07:45pm 31 views

When is the play in tournament NBA 2021?

The second half of the regular season will be followed by the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament, May 18-21! NBA.comFAQ: NBA Play-In Tournament

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Lakers Postgame: Anthony Davis (5/2/21)

Los Angeles Lakers 03 May, 2021 - 10:00pm

Lakers' Dennis Schroder expected to miss 10-to-14 days due to health and safety protocols, per report

CBS Sports 03 May, 2021 - 10:00pm

The Los Angeles Lakers can't catch a break. After just finally getting stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis healthy and back out on the floor following extended injury absences for both players, the team will now be without another key contributor for a period of time. Lakers guard Dennis Schroder is expected to miss 10-to-14 days due to the NBA's health and safety protocols, according to Shams Charania and Bill Oram of The Athletic. Schroder entered protocols on Sunday, which is when his return timeline began. 

The loss of Schroder comes at a terrible time for the Lakers, who have dropped three straight, and seven of their past 10 games. They also watched LeBron aggravate his ankle sprain Sunday night, which will cost him at least one game. They're also in the midst of a tight battle for postseason positioning in the Western Conference. As it currently stands, the Lakers are in a three-way tie for the fifth seed with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers. With the way the standings are shaping up, two of those teams will finish fifth and sixth in seeding, earning automatic playoff berths, while the other one will finish seventh and in turn have to participate in the play-in tournament. As the defending champions, the Lakers would obviously like to avoid the play-in tournament and the extra game(s) that comes with it. 

James has already expressed his distaste for the tournament, stating that whoever came up with the idea should be fired. "That's wack," James said of the play-in tournament. "You've got to earn your spot to be in the postseason. No consolation for finishing last. That's corny."

James may not like the play-in tournament, but having to play in it is a real possibility for the Lakers now, especially since they'll be without Schroder for their crucial final stretch. Schroder has started in all 59 games that he has played in for the Lakers this season, and he's averaging 15.5 points, 5.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 32.2 minutes per performance. That production will be tough for the Lakers to replace as the team will likely turn to Alex Caruso in Schroder's absence. 

The Lakers have an extremely tough stretch of games coming up, beginning with a matchup against the Nuggets on Monday night. They will then play the Clippers on Thursday night, the top-seeded Suns on Sunday and then host the Knicks next Tuesday. How they fare over that stretch will go a long way toward determining where they finish in the postseason picture in the West. 

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How Low Is Too Low For The Lakers To Sink?

Sports Illustrated 03 May, 2021 - 10:00pm

Dennis Schröder is expected miss 10-14 days due to health and safety protocols

Silver Screen and Roll 03 May, 2021 - 10:55am

Dennis Schröder could miss the rest of the regular season for the Lakers.

If Schröder misses 10 days, he could theoretically return for the Lakers’ final two games against the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans. If he misses two weeks, he’ll be out for the remainder of the regular season.

Schröder missed four games in February due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, but that was four games over a one-week span for contact tracing. The only Laker that has missed more than a week due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols this season is Marc Gasol, who tested positive for COVID-19 in March. Alex Caruso, Alfonso McKinnie, Devontae Cacok, Kostas Antetokounmpo and athletic trainer Nina Hsieh have all also missed time in the protocols for the Lakers, but only Gasol tested positive.

Basketball obviously comes second to Schröder’s health, but his absence couldn’t have come at a worse time. Not only are the Lakers coming off of two of their worst losses of the season, but Schröder was playing some of his best basketball as a Laker. In the month of April, Schröder averaged 15.8 points, 8.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

Alex Caruso started in Schröder’s place on Sunday but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Frank Vogel shuffle the back court a bit while Schröder is out. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was technically the Lakers’ starting point guard in the playoffs last year out of necessity and he could fill the same role this year next to Wesley Matthews, who’s been a DNP-CD in the last four games. Talen Horton-Tucker is also an option Vogel could look at.

The NBA Playoffs don’t start for another three weeks, but with each untimely absence, it feels less likely that the Lakers will be fully healthy for the postseason.

This story may be updated as more information becomes available.

Why LeBron James isn't being considered for league MVP and other award mysteries

Yahoo Sports 03 May, 2021 - 06:35am

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

In the games he has coached this season, his team has the third-best fourth-quarter net rating and his team has won 85% of its games decided by five or fewer points. And his team, after missing the playoffs last season, is in position to grab a top-five seed in the conference while dealing with injuries to top players, including its star.

Sounds like a perfect coach of the year candidate.

Except that coach, Atlanta’s Nate McMillan, is the Hawks’ interim coach, and by season’s end, he will have coached in just 38 games. But he is responsible for turning around a team that was 14-20 and in 11th place in the East when he took over.

That’s probably not enough games to win coach of the year, but it’s enough to consider where he belongs in the voting in an unusual NBA season. An interim coach has never won coach of the year.

Indirectly, McMillan’s success adds a new twist to the league’s awards season.

How should voters address games missed due to injury or COVID-19 health and safety protocols? Or more to the point, should players who missed significant games be given special consideration that they might otherwise receive in a normal season?

Take a regular, 82-game season. It’s widely accepted that a player should play in about 75% of games – at least 62 games – to be considered. Bill Walton won MVP with the fewest games played – just 58 of 82 games in 1977-78.

Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid has played in 45 of his team's 64 games, and if he plays in the remaining eight games, he will have played in 73.6% of Sixers games. Embiid is an MVP favorite.

But where does that leave Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James? His chances to win a fifth MVP have diminished, at least according to oddsmakers, because he missed 20 consecutive games due to injury. But James returned on Friday, and if he plays in every game the rest of the season, he will have played in 51 games – or 70% of his team’s games.

There’s not much difference in games missed between Embiid and James. It’s an inconsequential figure. Maybe it doesn’t matter because Denver’s Nikola Jokic has separated himself as the frontrunner.

Should there be bonus points or extra credit for a player like Jokic who hasn’t missed a game?

A similar games-played conundrum is playing out for rookie of the year. LaMelo Ball had a strong start to the season through mid-March – when he sustained a wrist injury. He missed 21 consecutive games and returned Saturday.

Minnesota rookie Anthony Edwards began playing his best as the season progressed and made a strong push to overtake Ball.

Did Ball miss too many games? He will finish with about 50 of 72 games played. Was his impact on the Hornets, who turned into a winning team, enough to justify winning the award? Conversely, Minnesota has the league's third-worst record at 20-45.

This extends to All-NBA consideration, too, where 15 players make one of the three teams – two guards, two forwards, one center for first, second and third team. Millions of dollars in awards bonuses are at stake.

It’s always challenging to fill out the ballot for awards, especially All-NBA, because there are so many deserving players. Trying picking six guards this season without leaving someone off who deserves All-NBA recognition.

In a normal season playing just half of the games is just about an automatic disqualifier for season awards. Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant missed time with injuries and COVID-19 health and safety protocols. If he plays in each of Brooklyn’s remaining seven games, he will finished with 35 games played. Even though he has been fantastic this season, playing in less than 50% of games may cost him a spot on All-NBA.

Take Durant’s teammate James Harden, who was in the MVP discussion through March but has played in just one game the past month. He has played in 42 games, may not return this season but he was 27-7 with the Nets this season. Is there room on one of the All-NBA teams for a player who played in 58% of the regular season games?

Miami’s Jimmy Butler might be the most interesting test case. He is having one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 21.5 points, 7.2 assists, 7 rebounds, a league-best 2.1 steals and shooting a career-best 49.3% from the field. It’s the first time in his career he’s posted those averages in one season.

Butler missed time early in the season because of an injury and COVID-19 health and safety protocols and wasn’t a serious All-Star candidate because he had played in just 19 games by the time All-Star teams were finalized in late February.

His impact on the Heat is significant. Beyond personal stats, the Heat have won 60% of their games with Butler in the lineup.

He hadn’t played in enough games for All-Star consideration but by the end of the regular season, he will have played in enough games for All-NBA consideration. Butler may end up the rare player who didn’t make the All-Star team but was All-NBA.

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Rory McIlroy will arrive at the Wells Fargo Championship on his 32nd birthday on Tuesday hopeful that one of his favourite stamping grounds can inspire a march back up the rankings after falling to his lowest position in more than 11 years. The Northern Irishman has not been seen since last month's Masters, where he followed his poor showing at The Players Championship with his second missed cut in three events. This inactivity has cause him to plunge another two places to 15th in the world, his worst standing since 2009, when he was a 20-year-old who was not even a member on the PGA Tour. Since then, he has spent 98 weeks at world No 1, most recently in June last year. In those 11 months after the Tour resumed from the Covid-19, it has been a swift descent indeed, but the good news is that Quail Hollow holds special memories to McIlroy. The last time he missed the Masters cut was in 2010 and he bounced straight back in his next event — here at the Wells Fargo — to win for the first time on US soil. His Sunday 62 is classed as one of the great final rounds on Tour and he showed his fondness for Quail Hollow when only losing in a playoff to Rickie Fowler in 2012 before winning again in 2015. In nine appearances in the tournament, he has amassed seven top 10s and even if a first win in 20 months might seem a bit fanciful, he will be looking for a return to form ahead of the USPGA Championship in two weeks time. The venue for the year's second major is also packed with positive omens — McIlroy won the USPGA at Kiawah Island by eight shots in 2012. McIlroy spent the weekend in Florida with new coach Pete Cowen, but the Yorkshireman will not be accompanying him to Charlotte. It is fair to say McIlroy knows what to expect this week, in a field also featuring the world's No 2 and 3 in Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm, as well as Bryson DeChambeau. Thomas is sure there will be a McIlroy upturn very soon. "I've been very surprised (by McIlroy's form) — I think we all have been," Thomas said. "Because although Rory is one of the most talented players ever, what goes underrated is how hard he works. The thing about Rory is, I know he will work his way through this and will win a lot more tournaments and a lot more majors. I still and will always have maybe more respect for him than anybody because he is one of the nicest guys I've ever met for how much success he's had."

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The Lakers may have to play in it, but that doesn't mean LeBron has to like it.

As Lakers' season unravels, LeBron rips play-in

ESPN 03 May, 2021 - 02:48am

Losers of six out of their past seven games with just two weeks remaining in the regular season, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers don't look anything like a title team right now.

And after Sunday's 121-114 defeat at Staples Center to a Toronto Raptors team that came into the night 12 games under .500, L.A. hardly even resembles a playoff team.

At 36-28, they now have the same record as the Portland Trail Blazers, who are currently in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference. The Lakers are in sixth only because they hold the tiebreaker with Portland from beating the Blazers on Feb. 26.

This year, being No. 7 doesn't guarantee you a first-round playoff series. The NBA will hold a play-in tournament in which the Nos. 7 and 8 teams face off and teams seeded Nos. 9 and 10 will also play. The winner of the 7-8 game advances to the first round and the loser of the 7-8 game plays the winner of the 9-10 game to determine the final playoff berth in each conference.

Asked about potentially capping a 72-game season that followed a 71-day offseason with needing to win an extra game just to qualify for the postseason, Lakers star LeBron James joined the growing chorus criticizing the play-in format.

"Whoever came up with that s--- needs to be fired," James said.

The fact that the Lakers even had to comment on a potential play-in scenario says it all considering in February the team was off to a 21-6 start and seemed in excellent position to defend its title.

But a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis in Anthony Davis' right leg caused him to miss nine weeks and a high right ankle sprain caused James to miss six weeks, and suddenly L.A. finds itself with more questions than answers with only eight games left on the regular-season schedule.

The first of those come on the second night of a back-to-back on Monday against MVP front-runner Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

James, who was held out the final six minutes, 42 seconds on Sunday after experiencing soreness in his right ankle, might not even play in it.

"I definitely want to get healthy. Not only for myself, but for our team," James said, confirming he would make the decision based on how he feels Monday. "I need to make sure my ankle is where it was before the injury. I've got to be smart with it."

James, in no uncertain terms, prioritized health and recovery over chasing wins for playoff seeding.

"It doesn't matter at the end of the day if I'm not 100% or close to 100%," he said. "It don't matter where we land."

Adding to the concern level for the Lakers is the fact that Davis, in his sixth game back from injury, looked just as off his game as James did in his second game back -- if not more.

Davis scored 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting (including 0-of-3 from 3) against Toronto with nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals, and L.A. was outscored by 11 in the 33 minutes he played.

"You kind of get used to the 20-25 minutes [range], and now you push up 10 more minutes, 12 more minutes and now you got to get that wind playing that long for an entire game," Davis said.

When asked if he is capable at the moment of being the same guy who dominated during his first season in L.A., he said: "I think I can be. Honestly."

But he also offered an honest assessment of where the Lakers stand, dealing with yet another setback before the Raptors game when it was revealed that Dennis Schroder would be out because of the league's health and safety protocols.

"The entire team is kind of in a slump right now, a drought. Not more so individually, but just collectively, on both ends of the ball," Davis said. "This is the lowest we've been in a while ... But the only way is up. We really can't get any lower than this."

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma was less diplomatic.

"I just don't think we're connected right now. I think we're unhealthy and just not good enough," Kuzma said. "We're just not together as a whole -- team, staff, everything."

When asked what he would do to begin to repair whatever is causing the Lakers' rut, Kuzma suggested giving more playing time to center Marc Gasol, whose role has been limited since L.A. signed big man Andre Drummond off the buyout market. Other than that, he was at a loss for words.

"I don't know, man. It's just very tough. It's just an unfortunate situation," he said. "It's tough, man. It's just tough. It's very tough. I'm not sure what to do."

Davis mentioned, maybe if only to remind himself, what many on the roster accomplished last season when they won it all. There's a pride that comes with that, and it hasn't died out just yet.

"It's no fun when you're losing, but at the end of the day, we're the champs, man. Like, we are the champs. We're the defending champs," Davis said. "So we got to play that way and play with a little bit more swag."

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