Good Morning Dub Nation,
The logjam in the Western Conference standings has been well documented this season. To put it in perspective, the Golden State Warriors currently hold the fifth seed in the West with a record of 34-32. Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz are the 13th seed in the West and trail the Warriors by only three games at a record of 31-35.
Teams having their best players available at this time of the year is especially critical under these circumstances as a bad stretch of games could easily be detrimental to any postseason aspirations. That being said, Wednesday’s news cycle included several massive injuries to superstar players such as the Phoenix Suns’ Kevin Durant and the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic which should greatly impact the playoff chase in the West.
Kevin Durant slipped on the court during pregame warmups and will miss tonight’s game vs OKC with an ankle injury.— Guru (@DrGuru_) March 9, 2023
(via @ShamsCharania, h/t @sportingnews)
Mavericks' Luka Doncic says his quad injury is "not good" and that he will get an MRI on it tomorrow.— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) March 9, 2023
Doncic says it's been challenging to push off of the leg and that he's felt it since the second game after the NBA All-Star Break. pic.twitter.com/KoMOkIk8Kd
Phoenix currently holds the fourth seed and is three games ahead of Golden State with a record of 37-29. Durant’s injury occurred on Wednesday night when he appeared to slip during pre-game warmups and fell awkwardly on his ankle. According to Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic, there is concerns that Durant may be out for an extended period of time.
The Arizona Republic has learned that there is concern within the organization that Durant has a grade 2 sprain, which would keep him out for between four and six weeks.
Phoenix’s regular season finale is April 9, meaning it’s possible Durant could miss the remainder of the regular season and potentially the start of the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks are the eighth seed in the West but trail the Warriors by only half a game with a record of 34-33. On Wednesday night, Doncic was pulled in the third quarter of Dallas’ game against the New Orleans Pelicans after reportedly feeling pain in his left thigh. Head coach Jason Kidd acknowledged that his star point guard was “not moving well” and decided it would be best to pull him out of the game. Doncic is set to get an MRI on Thursday.
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd on Luka Doncic's left leg injury that ruled him out midway through the loss against the Pelicans:— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) March 9, 2023
"We all can see that he's not moving well — shooting, defense — it's affecting everything. He's trying to fight through it and help his teammates, but he… https://t.co/cCIuU0XbBT pic.twitter.com/VPbeGZvuMW
Other injury and inactive news include the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson and the Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant. The Pelicans hold the last play-in spot but are expected to be without Williamson for at least two more weeks due to a hamstring injury he suffered in early January. The Grizzlies lead the Warriors for the third seed by five games with a 38-26 record. However, their superstar point guard Morant continues to remain away from the team as he deals with problems outside of the basketball court.
Zion Williamson was recently re-evaluated for his right hamstring strain. Medical imaging revealed that Williamson’s hamstring continues to heal. His next examination will take place in approximately two weeks.https://t.co/ProDBynngM— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 8, 2023
The Warriors are no strangers to having their best players miss extended periods of time this season. Although they are still without forward Andrew Wiggins and the newly re-acquired Gary Payton II, the good news is that Golden State seems to be in line to have everyone healthy by the start of the postseason. Considering the current state of other teams in the West, the Warriors may be able to make a jump in the standings if they take advantage of the opportunity.
Here are the rest of today’s stories:
In case you missed it from Golden State of Mind:
- Preview: Warriors bringing their shooters to Memphis to face Grizzlies
- Mailbag: The broken Warriors
- Draymond Green attacks vest-wearing ‘idiot’ on podcast
- Ja Morant remains out vs. Warriors
- Steve Kerr felt a ‘disconnect’ cost them in loss to Thunder
Other Warriors News:
- Draymond addresses Dillon Brooks’ comments & delivers a message to Ja Morant (Draymond Green Show)
- Steve Kerr says ‘Draymond knows he was wrong’ to give up on play in OKC (95.7 The Game)
- How Warriors Can Solve Their Biggest Questions as Playoffs Approach (Bleacher Report)
- Klay Thompson urges Warriors to stay present as road struggles continue (Mercury News)
- Bay Area media column: Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto no longer with 95.7 The Game (The Athletic)
- Kevin Durant injures ankle in pregame slip, to undergo MRI (ESPN)
- Raptors’ Fred VanVleet blasts official after loss to Clippers (ESPN)
- Grizzlies’ Ja Morant not charged in Denver nightclub investigation (The Athletic)
- Mavericks’ Luka Dončić exits game vs. Pelicans with left thigh strain: How serious is the injury? (The Athletic)
- Former NBA star Shawn Kemp arrested on shooting charge (NBA)