NBA Star Power Index: Kyrie Irving and CJ McCollum shine in play; Luka Doncic injury don’t fool

Welcome back NBA Star Strength Index: A weekly measure of players who are getting the most buzz around the league. Inclusion on this list isn’t necessarily a good thing – it simply means you’re getting the attention of the NBA world. This is also not a rating. The players listed are not in a specific order. This column will run every week throughout the regular season and playoffs.

Doncic’s injury is difficult. Maf describes him as a tense calf, which is ambiguous. i hate It makes it look harmless, but the strain is a rip off; It’s just about grades, or grades, As you may remember hearing about Kevin Durant’s calf dynasty back in 2019 with the Warriors. It was called that “Light” breed At first, and eventually ruled as a first-class, or perhaps a second-rate dynasty. Durant ended up missing out for over a month before making a comeback in Game Five of the Finals, when he tore his Achilles tendon, of course.

That’s the thing about calf injuries. They can easily become injuries to the Achilles tendon if you return early. It’s all connected, and if your calf doesn’t fully heal (depending on where your calf is injured), you could risk a more serious injury, either to your calf or Achilles. Dr. Alan Bayer, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and executive medical director at the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Newport Beach, California, warned me about this with Durant’s primary calf injury.

“Understand, strain and tear are the same thing,” Dr. Bayer told CBS Sports after Durant’s initial calf muscle strain in 2019. A mild strain, a grade 1 or 2 tear, whatever you want to call it, that’s one thing. But if he comes back in a hurry partially healed, and then ends up ripping him off completely by landing or takeoff wrong, you’re now talking about a 100 percent chance of never coming back. He will regret this decision for the rest of his career.”

Dr. Baer told me this too before Durant rips his Achilles, which becomes a strange warning almost too late.

Now, none of this means Doncic will rip his calf any worse or blow his Achilles. Just pointing out that the “strain” is not as harmful as it seems. Doncic, whose injury is described, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi, as “more than a mild strain” – could easily last longer than you think. As it stands now, the Mavericks are said to be skeptical about when Doncic might be available to play in Dallas’ first-round series against Utah.

Unlike Stephen Curry, who is expected to play in Game 1, Doncic is likely to miss the Dallas opener.

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Irving released his masterpiece in the Nets’ win over the Caves on Tuesday. He made his first 12 shots, which would be a playoff record in the NBA if we were calling the playoffs course, which we technically aren’t. Not missed during the first three quarters. Irving finished 34 points and 12 assists on 12 of 15, including 3 of 6 of 3 and 7 of 7 from the free throw line.

Irving and Kevin Durant, who was brilliant in their own right, especially defensively, finished the first quarter with 19 points out of 10 out of 10. Cleveland actually edged out the net by 13 points over the last three quarters, an effort that helped them keep their net worth to eight. During the first nine-plus minutes of the second quarter, which Durant started off the bench. Brooklyn will have to figure out the combo minutes other than KD-Kyrie, but there won’t be many. Steve Nash is going to play these two guys 40 minutes per game, at least, moving forward. He has no choice.

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Beverly went all out in the Minnesota win over the Clippers (the team that traded Beverly last summer to save on luxury tax money) on Tuesday. I wrote about it here, and I’ll repeat: Don’t let Beverly’s antics fool you into thinking that the only place he has in the league is the instigator. This guy is a great basketball player. A real winner. High-ranking defender. Beverly teams have fought playoffs in eight of his nine seasons in the league, and in the year that didn’t happen (2017–18 Clippers), Beverly played just 11 games.

It’s no coincidence that Beverly appeared in Minnesota and suddenly the Wolves were in the playoffs for only the third time since 2004. He was arguably more effective than anyone in that organization in terms of changing identity. Beverly expects to win, and the guy played like him on Tuesday. He finished with seven points and 11 rebounds, but as usual, his impact wasn’t based on box points.

Against his former team, which he feels disrespected and treated as an outcast, Beverly was ready to take the leap. This is a few seconds of the match.

This wasn’t the last time Beverly and Marcus Morris communicated. Less than a minute into the second half, Beverly almost stabbed Morris in a second technical foul, which would have expelled him. Upon review, it was rightly decided that Beverly…go figure…was the instigator.

From my post game story:

Don’t even try to argue that Morris started establishing a connection with Beverly. Players do this all the time to get to know their man, find out where he is, and watch the jump ball. Beverly cuts Morris’ arm as if it were a concrete block in the kung fu video. Beverly knew he was luring Morris into his second technique, and when he first thought he had succeeded, he began hopping the field waving goodbye like the evil showman he always was. Seriously, if a guy wasn’t good at that basketball thing, he’d have a wrestling heel job in a second. Vince McMahon was supporting the Brinks truck.

But the thing that gets lost in all this antics is that Beverly is a really good player. Defense is a skill, and despite the focus on tall, versatile defenders who are not playing the ball and who roam play in the passing lanes, the old-fashioned defender, who goes inside your shirt, remains the opponent, and no scorer or ball handler wants to see. Beverly low and fast sideways. He has a quick and aggressive hand. He anticipates the way the Great Passage sees plays develop ahead of schedule.

Watch the full decisive fourth quarter possession below. Beverly starts with Paul George, who tells you how cool he is as a defender that Chris Finch could pin the star contender who was cooking in the second half in a two-point game with less than five minutes left. When Morris opens 3 times, Beverly races to tease him a bit. Morris then hands it to Reggie Jackson, who goes to pick-and-roll, which Beverly changes so that Jackson directly guards. Now the shot clock has ticked less than five seconds. Beverly knows that Jackson has to act fast, and he also knows that Jackson likes to pin his dribble to the side before bouncing into a jump or crossing. He expects it. see it. And in this split second, he was hitting. Knocks it loose. It kills possession on its own.

Beverly Jackson picked again with less than 30 seconds to play to officially close the game:

It all preceded a celebration befitting a championship — which, to be fair, is about what the playoff berth in Minnesota looks like.

2 Timberwolves will face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs, with Game 1 scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.

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McCollum led the Pelicans to overtake Spurs in the West game 9-10 on Wednesday, scoring 32 points, seven assists and six rebounds on 12 of 23 shots, including 3 of 5 of 3. He overtook the entire Spurs at the start. Lineup in the first half, 27-25.

With all the talk about the Blazers not being able to win with McCollum and Damian Lillard pairings in the backcourt, you may have allowed yourself to forget that McCollum is the Bucket. It has always been. always will be. In a singles situation, there may not be 10 players in the world I would rather create a shot than McCullum in the playoff scenario.

Blazers fans know it. McCollum was a hugely popular Portland player, and now Reap City loyalists have to attack McCollum—because if the Pelicans make the playoffs, the protected first-round pick that Portland got back from New Orleans in McCollum’s trade won’t deliver. This selection only goes to the Blazers if it falls between numbers 5 and 14. If New Orleans pass the playoffs, they will not be able to pick any number higher than number 15 in the upcoming draft, which will then turn the Blazers selection due in 2025 Milwaukee first round, which does not carry almost the same value.

Portland Want, Need, New Orleans Lottery. This way the Blazers will have their own lottery pick and most likely a second New Orleans lottery pick (unless you beat the odds of a ping pong ball and jump the streak into the top four, which is unlikely). That would give the Blazers two really great assets to hit the market with as they try to rebuild a competitor quickly. If McCollum, of all people, ends up entrusting the Blazers of his choice because he’s out in two game games (he was already halfway there), that would be a very bittersweet pill for the Blazers and their fans.

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Curry has been out since March 16 with a ligament sprain in his left foot, putting him in the Golden State opener against the Nuggets on Saturday “unspecified,” according to the team.

It goes without saying just how much the Warriors need Curry to not only get back on the field, but as close to 100 percent as possible if they’re ever to take a real title tour. Judging by the reports on how Curry is progressing, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t play on Saturday. But even if he doesn’t, he will almost certainly be back on the field relatively early in the series.

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