Weekend Rewind: Giannis, Ja, Herro injured in NBA Playoffs

Weekend Rewind: Giannis, Ja, Herro injured in NBA Playoffs

Let’s talk some NBA here at the top, and also get into some other news and nuggets in several other sports…

-Like I’ve always said, the NBA Playoffs are all about who’s hot and who’s healthy and not necessarily in that order. Well, we saw three big injuries take place on Sunday that could have a massive impact moving forward. First, Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo went down hard on his back and did not return to his team’s series opener vs. Miami.

Weekend Rewind: Giannis, Ja, Herro injured in NBA Playoffs

X-rays were negative, though, and the diagnosis of a “back contusion” is the best possible outcome for the Bucks. Although they lost 130-117 in Game 1, it seems as if he’s got a decent chance to play in Wednesday’s Game 2. The fact that Milwaukee has an extra day off with the next game on Wednesday helps, too.

Jimmy Butler was spectacular yesterday, producing 35 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and three steals in a dominant performance. He hit 15-of-27 field-goal attempts to help his team win outright as a nine-point underdog. The Heat cashed +370 money-line tickets at DraftKings.

Miami got a huge boost from Kevin Love, who had 18 points, eight rebounds and one assist without a turnover in 22-plus minutes off the bench. Bam Adebayo finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and a pair of steals.

Tyler Herro had 12 points in the first half, but he suffered a broken hand. Herro, who averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 67 regular-season games, is out indefinitely and is probably done for the rest of the postseason.

As of early Monday afternoon, most books had the Bucks listed as 8.5-point favorites for Game 2. The total was 223.5 points and the Heat were +300 on the money line.

-The good news for Memphis is that X-rays on Ja Morant’s wrist were negative. The bad news is that his hard fall looked terrible for his right (shooting) hand/wrist/fingers. Morant is listed as ‘questionable’ for Game 2, but I seriously doubt he’s going to be able to play effectively 72 or so hours after sustaining that injury (that you can see in slow motion below).

Weekend Rewind: Giannis, Ja, Herro injured in NBA Playoffs

The Lakers took a 1-0 lead in the series with a 128-112 win as four-point underdogs. Rui Hachimura was the catalyst for the Lakers, draining 11-of-14 FGAs and 5-of-6 treys in a 29-point effort. Austin Reaves had 23 points, three rebounds and four assists without a turnover. Anthony Davis finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, seven blocks, three assists and three steals, while LeBron James had 21 points, 11 boards, five assists, three blocks and a pair of steals. The Grizzles are 1.5-point home favorites in Game 2, with the total at 228.

-Kawhi Leonard is back to his old self in recent weeks. He led the Clippers to a 115-110 win at Phoenix as eight-point underdogs in Game 1 last night. They cashed +275 money-line tickets at BetMGM. Leonard produced 38 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Eric Gordon finished with 19 points. Russell Westbrook was an abysmal 3-of-19 from the field, but he had 11 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and two steals. He made an incredible defensive play at crunch time, too. The Suns are 7.5-point home ‘chalk’ for Tuesday’s Game 2.

Weekend Rewind: Giannis, Ja, Herro injured in NBA Playoffs

-Denver captured a 109-80 win over Minnesota in last night’s series opener as an 8.5-point home favorite. Jamal Murray led the way with 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists compared to only one turnover.

-Todd Golden continues to do solid work in the transfer portal, securing a commitment last night from former Seton Hall big man Tyrese Samuel. The Gators have now added four players from the portal in ex-Marshall center Micah Handlogten, former Yale power forward E.J. Jarvis, ex-Iona guard and MAAC Player of the Year Walter Clayton and Samuel. Clayton and Handlogten are four-star transfers (per 247 Sports). Samuel averaged 11.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game for the Pirates in 2022-23.

-Golden is doing really good work in the portal, but Arkansas HC Eric Musselman continues to do great things. He’s now brought in four players who are four-star transfers (again, per 247) in ex-Louisville guard El Ellis, former Temple guard Khalif Battle (who led the Owls in scoring with a 17.9 PPG average), ex-Washington point guard Keyon Menifield and former Houston guard Tramon Mark. The Razorbacks appear poised to have a great chance to go to a fourth straight Sweet 16 next season.

-Notre Dame 6-foot-8 forward Ven-Allen Lubin has entered the transfer portal. As a true freshman this past season for the Fighting Irish, he averaged 17.4 minutes in 28 games played (seven starts). Lubin averaged 6.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots per game. He shot at a 58.0 percent clip from the field. Lubin is an Orlando product.

-Max Holloway collected his 20th career UFC victory Saturday night at UFC Kansas City, winning a unanimous decision over previously-unbeaten Arnold Allen. Holloway has requested to face ‘The Korean Zombie’ next.

-I’ve always been a big fan of Clay Guida, but that “fake retirement” nonsense after Saturday’s loss was lame as hell.

-Hat Tip to Ed ‘Short Fuse’ Herman, who called it a career after 24 UFC fights over a 17-year stretch after losing to Zak Cummings by KO in KC on Saturday.