Injuries have dominated the first round of the 2022 NBA Finals so far.
The Suns take on the Pelicans in Game 4 of New Orleans without star Devin Booker out with a hamstring injury. The Bucks are in the same boat with Khris Middleton, who is out for Game 4 against the Bulls in Chicago with a sprained MCL. Both teams that competed in the 2021 final are likely to miss their stars for the rest of their first round.
Phoenix leads New Orleans 2-1, and Milwaukee leads Chicago 2-1.
The Golden State Warriors are moving at full steam after Steph Curry returned to the ranks even though he is on his way off the bench. Warriors are on the verge of sweeping Nikola Jokić and the Nuggets. They go into Game 4 of Denver with a 3-0 league lead.
No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA playoff series.
Sunday’s action rounds off with game 4 in Atlanta between the Hawks and Heat, who are likely to be without Kyle Lowry after a hamstring injury. Miami leads 2-1.
SATURDAY SUMMARY:T’ulves even pulls with the Grizzlies; The Celtics go up 3-0 on the Nets
Fast takeaway from the Bucks’ Game 4 win
One team has Giannis Antetokounmpo and the other team does not. The Bucks star had 32 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks, lifting Milwaukee to a 119-95 victory over Chicago in Game 4. The Bucks own a 3-1 series lead and can eliminate Bulls Wednesday in Milwaukee.
The Bucks made use of the 3-pointer – primarily from Grayson Allen (playoff career-high 27 points) and Jrue Holiday (26 points). Allen made 10-to-12 shots from the field, including 6-to-7 on 3s. , and Holiday got 5-to-8 on 3s. With Khris Middleton out with an injury, Allen has gone up. He had 22 points in Game 3 and is the first Bucks player to make at least five 3-pointers in consecutive playoff games.
Milwaukee are a solid defensive team, so credit where it should, but the Bulls made only 38.9% of their shots and only 25% on 3s. In three losses in the series, the Bulls did not reach 90 in two and did not reach 100 in the third.
Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 24 points and 13 assists, and DeMar DeRozan added 23 points and Patrick Williams 20 points and 10 rebounds. DeRozan missed all five of his 3-point attempts.
Bulls’ Caruso out the rest of the match
Chicago has ruled out guard Alex Caruso for the remainder of Game 4, the team said. The Bulls said Caruso sustained a facial injury, and ESPN reported that Caruso is undergoing an exam for a concussion. Alex Caruso did not start the second half and was not on the bench with the team. Caruso did not score in the first half, but had four assists, four rebounds and one theft.
It’s official: Embiid has torn ligaments in his thumb
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers confirmed Sunday that center Joel Embiid has a torn ligament in his right thumb, but the star will play through it until the Sixers’ post-season ends. It is likely that Embiid will need surgery after the season.
It is clear that the thumb is bothering him. “Obviously, he’s going to struggle a little bit with that,” Rivers said Saturday. “He also has to get used to it. He’s never played with it. I think we’re both going to learn a lot – what he can and what he can not.”
Bucks responsible in game 4
Even without injured Khris Middleton, Milwaukee is trying to make quick work of Chicago in its first-round series. With 2-1, the Bucks led 56-41 in the break of Game 4. Bobby Portis (11 points, five rebounds) and Grayson Allen (16 points, three steals) led the Bucks in the first half. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. Allen continues to make 3-pointers – he was 4-to-5 against 3, and the Bucks shot 47.4% on nine made 3s in the first half.
Zach LaVine had 12 points and Nik Vucevic had 11 for the Bulls, who only had 29.4% on 3s and did not shoot a free throw in the first two quarters.
Heat is Lowry doubtful for Game 4
Miami guard Kyle Lowry (strain in left hind thigh) stands on the official injury report as questionable for Game 4 against Atlanta on Sunday. The Heat own a 2-1 league lead but lost Game 3, with Lowry leaving the game late in the third quarter and not returning.
‘Third Splash Brother’ Jordan Poole has a long history as a playoff star
This is not the first time Poole has decided that the off-season should be his breakout party.
There’s the shot everyone remembers – his buzzer-beater 3-pointer that pushed the Michigan Wolverines past the Houston Cougars in the second round of the 2018 men’s NCAA tournament. Poole, who was a rookie at the time, came off the bench with Duncan Robinson for a team that reached the championship.
But Poole’s playoff balance actually traces his origins to his first year in high school, long before his performance through three games in the 2022 NBA Finals helped the Golden State Warriors take a 3-0 series lead over the Denver Nuggets.
As a teenager at Rufus King – a powerhouse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Poole buried a shot right inside the logo, sending the game overtime. Rufus King won and advanced to the state tournament.
“He’s a winner,” then-coach Jim Gosz told USA TODAY Sports of Denver, hours before Gosz saw the Warriors punish the Nuggets for the third game in a row. Poole had 27 points to supplement games 1 and 2 of 30 and 29, respectively. “Everywhere he has gone, he has won.”
– Chris Cotton