The NBA’s new play-in event has one other outstanding critic in LeBron James.
James and the Los Angeles Lakers dropped three in a row and 6 of their final seven after Sunday’s 121-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors. The defending champs have fallen right into a tie with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers for spots 5-7 in the Western Conference. They’re now going through the opportunity of falling into the play-in event for the seventh and eighth playoff seeds.
Even although he is simply getting back from damage, James would not suppose the Lakers’ seeding is overly necessary to their title hopes. But he additionally would not seem to be a fan of the brand new play-in format.
“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day if I’m not 100%, or close to 100%,” James mentioned. “It don’t matter where we land. That’s my mindset. If it happens we end up sixth or fifth, whatever the case may be, or we end up in the playoff, whatever that thing is. Whoever came up with that (expletive) needs to be fired. But whatever.”
James returned to the Lakers lineup Friday after lacking 20 video games with a sprained proper ankle. Sunday was his second sport since returning, however he didn’t end. He went to the locker room with 6:42 left after enjoying 28 minutes.
The Lakers went 8-12 with out James. Anthony Davis additionally not too long ago returned from an prolonged damage absence, which additionally contributed to the Lakers’ tough stretch. It’s left Los Angeles little time to make up misplaced floor.
Under the brand new play-in format, groups 7-10 within the standings will play to decide the seventh and eighth seeds in every convention. Seven will play eight, with the winner getting the No. 7 seed. Nine will play ten, with the winner then enjoying the loser of the seven-eight sport for the No. 8 seed.
Here are 4 extra issues to know right this moment within the NBA:
C’s All-Stars banged up
The Boston Celtics’ 129-119 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers took a probably scary flip Sunday when Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum collided with each on a late inbounds play and couldn’t end the sport. Both have been gradual to get up earlier than hobbling to the locker room with obvious leg accidents. The Celtics didn’t have an replace on both participant after the sport, however any absence by the All-Stars would be an enormous blow. Boston has fallen to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, with seven video games left within the common season to strive to keep away from the play-in event. Brown didn’t communicate to reporters after the sport, however Tatum mentioned he thinks he ought to be wonderful.
“We just collided and he stepped on my foot and he fell on my leg,” Tatum mentioned. “But I should be all right. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but should be OK. I was able to walk off the court by myself, so that should be a sign.”
Giannis outduels KD
Two of the NBA’s best put on a show Sunday afternoon as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 49 factors to overcome Kevin Durant’s 42, and the Milwaukee Bucks edged the Brooklyn Nets 117-114. Antetokounmpo was 21-of-36 from the sector and 4-of-8 from 3-point vary with eight rebounds, 4 assists and three blocks. Durant shot 16-of-33 general, together with 7-of-13 on 3s, with 10 rebounds. Milwaukee pulled inside 2½ video games of Brooklyn for second place in the Eastern Conference. The groups meet once more Tuesday.
“I’ve been working on this,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “I always believed that one day it was going to click. That’s what happened in the past and that’s what’s happening right now.”
Simmons ideas in for the win
Ben Simmons solely made two buckets Sunday, however considered one of them was the most important of the sport. Simmons tipped in Joel Embiid’s missed shot at the buzzer in extra time to give the Philadelphia 76ers a 113-111 win over the San Antonio Spurs. The first-place Sixers maintained their half-game lead on the Brooklyn Nets for the top spot in the Eastern Conference as Embiid scored 34 factors. Simmons had simply 5 factors on 2-of-6 taking pictures however scored when Philadelphia wanted it most.
“I knew Jo was going to get a good look,” Simmons mentioned. “We trust him with those shots. I was just there to clean it up.”
Game of the evening: Nuggets at Lakers
A rematch of final 12 months’s Western Conference finals has big significance because the groups jockey for place heading into this season’s playoffs. The Nuggets have won nine of 10 and passed the Clippers over the weekend for third place within the West. LeBron James is again from an ankle damage, however the Lakers are in want of a win after dropping three in a row and six of seven. The Lakers’ swoon has left them in a three-way tie with the Mavericks and Blazers for spots 5-7 within the West standings.
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.