Russell Westbrook and Mike Conley will both be out for their first matches against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets, respectively.
One more night and the Playoffs will begin. Fortunately, the players had the prolonged lockdown to rest their bodies up to continue the season. Only 16 teams remain, and they’ll battle it out until the NBA Finals.
However, some key players like Russell Westbrook and Mike Conley will miss crucial first games of their Playoffs journey.
Russell Westbrook battling a quadriceps injury
Westbrook will reportedly miss the first few games of the Rockets’ matchup against the Thunder. This injury is not a new one. He strained his quadriceps early in the bubble games, but he’s played in a couple of games since sitting out.
The bouncy point-guard is not new to these types of injuries, but he’s been known to be a fast healer. Westbrook doesn’t even look like he had an ACL injury. Nevertheless, the Rockets will still miss his driving and floor general skills. Eric Gordon will fill his spot in the starting line up. However, Westbrook’s minutes will most likely be divvied up among Gordon, Rivers, and McLemore.
The battle between the Rockets and the Thunder will be a magnificent one for the books. They have so much backstory that can only be thought of in movies. Chris Paul getting traded for Russell Westbrook, sent shockwaves throughout the league. Right after the trade, pundits gave the Thunder only a 0.2% chance of making it in the Playoffs.
Mike Conley leaves the bubble
Conley has reportedly left the bubble a day before the Playoffs matches are set to begin. He will miss the first couple of games against the Denver Nuggets and might return late in the series.
Conley will have to enter quarantine protocols before joining his team again. Nonetheless, he’s considered everything and has decided to leave as early as July.
The starting guard for the Utah Jazz has been noticeably offbeat at the start of the season. He seemed to have forgotten how to shoot posting sub 30% shooting in some nights. This is the first time that Mike Conley isn’t the best guard on the floor. He’s also surrounded by proficient shooters that make his job learning the system harder.
Fortunately, he has found his spot alongside the bouncy Donovan Mitchell. His season averages are relatively low compared to his years in the Grizzlies. Conley posts 14.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in the season.
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