Three things to Know: Can Lakers still make playoffs despite LeBron’s injury? More whispers free agent James Harden could return to Houston this summer Poole, Thompson rally Warriors to beat Trail Blazers 123-105 Vanessa Bryant settles helicopter crash photos lawsuits for $28.9 million Raptors sign Will Barton to add wing depth for remainder of season

“Three Things You Need to Know” is NBC’s five-day coverage of last night in the NBA. Check Every weekday morning for what you missed the night before, plus the gossip, drama, and dunks that make the NBA a must-watch.

1) Can the Lakers make the playoffs despite LeBron’s injury?

This photo amazed Lakers fans.

After the trade deadline, the revamped Lakers, with their improved roster, were successful. However, to return to the playoffs, there was always a lot of work to do, there was no room for error.

Then came the word LeBron James will be out for a week with a leg injury. The news of the injury sparked much speculation in the league that the Lakers had taken their own lives.

But is it?

“Mission hasn’t changed for us.” – Lakers Coach Darwin Ham It is reported by the Associated Press.

It’s entirely possible that the No. 12 Lakers can hold out in the coming weeks, playing well enough to give LeBron a reason to get back into the postseason as quickly as possible – the Lakers remain just one game out of 10 seeds. However, for this, the Lakers need wins – instead, they were defeated by the Grizzlies on Tuesday night. The Lakers didn’t have an answer to I am Morantwho scored 28 points in the third quarter alone en route to 39 points and a triple-double for the game as the Grizzlies went on to win 121–109.

The Grizzlies have been struggling since their last loss in Los Angeles to the Lakers, and their social media team knew how to celebrate.

The Lakers are now 5-10 without LeBron this season, trailing 7.9 points per 100 possessions when he’s off the court. Most of those losses have come against this new roster – they are now 1-2 without LeBron with this roster, one win was against the Warriors – but there is a path for them to get enough wins to stay.

It requires Anthony Davis continue to play as “bubble Davis” – he did it against the Grizzlies with 28 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks. It requires D’Angelo Russell soon to return from an ankle injury and then become a shot-maker for others and a floor general, he hasn’t been in Minnesota for most of that season. This requires other role players to activate every night − Malik BeasleyDennis Schroeder, Austin Reevesanyone – and pick up the slack.

The Lakers have the advantage of both New Orleans and Utah – the current 9th and 10th – who struggle and fall back to them. However, the Lakers need enough wins to overcome both positions just to be at the bottom of the play-in because the motivated Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers finished in 11th place and are in contention for the playoffs themselves.

Also know that the Lakers are not going to rush LeBron – and where they are in the standings when he gets close will play a role in whether and when he returns to the court.

“As an organization, we’re going to make sure we’re kicking tires and looking at everything that needs to be looked at,” Ham said. “Never in a hundred million years will we put a person in there who risks even more damage to what is happening. It’s not just about LeBron. This goes for any of our players.”

The Lakers may make the playoffs, but they no longer have the right to make a mistake. They have a lot to do to get to the part of the play-in where they need to win two games to get the No. 8 seed.

But it is possible.

2) Dallas loses again, this time at home to the Pacers.

Dallas Mavericks are now 1-4 since then Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic joined the line-up.

Once again on Tuesday night, offense was no problem, with the Mavericks having an outstanding 121 offensive rating after Luka Doncic’s 39 points and nine rebounds.

However, the Pacers had a 126.5 offensive rating against the Mavs’ poor defense. Tyrese Halliburton had 32 points on his birthday, while Miles Turner broke in 24. The Pacers only had two games out of the play-in and didn’t give up hope.

Over the last five games with Irving and Doncic, the Mavericks have a 121.6 attack rating, the fourth-best record in the league so far. They also have a defense rating of 120 (25th in the league). It’s a positive net rating and maybe they should be more like 3-2 compared to those five, but when a team doesn’t get a stoppage, it happens.

Offensive should be smoother in upcoming games and comeback Max Clay Tuesday’s lineup should help the defense a bit, but Dallas doesn’t have the staff to be a good defensive team and there isn’t much that coach Jason Kidd can do.

3) Spurs end 16-game losing streak

Maybe Gregg Popovich portrayed Kyrie Irving at his best and strolled through the Vivint Arena before Tuesday’s game. Or maybe he just sat in his arena office and drank a fine Pinot, but whatever he did, it worked.

The Spurs snapped their 16-game winning streak by beating the seemingly uninterested Jazz team 102–94. Utah threw 35% overnight and didn’t score. In the last three minutes of the game.

Keldon Johnson led San Antonio with 25 points, and Doug McDermott added 19.

This is the Spurs’ first away win since December.

Good to see San Antonio. While their focus is on Victor Vembanyama’s lotteries, such a large loss is simply hard on any organization.

Bonus to know: Quin Snyder lost his first game as Hawks manager. Snyder is a good candidate for the Hawks, a person who can create the organizational culture that an owner aspires to.

He won’t be able to do that much to turn this campaign into over 60 games a season. As evidence, we present his first game, a 119-116 loss to the Washington Wizards at home. It will be a job in Atlanta.

Whispers about James Harden Return-to-Houston bouncers circled the league all season, and though Harden downplayed them, they were the subject of speculation on All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City.

Now comes another report that Harden is seriously considering returning to the city he calls home. From detailed, well-lit material Sam Amick and Kelly Iko of The Athletic:

Sources, who, like all other sources in this story, have been granted anonymity so they can speak freely, said The Athletic Houston is expected to go after the 13-year veteran point guard if, as expected, he refuses. from your player option. for the 2023-24 season. And more surprisingly, sources familiar with Harden’s worldview say he’s as serious about a possible comeback now as he was when he left town…

They are “not worried” about losing him this summer, according to a senior Sixers source familiar with the team’s work. That confidence seems to be rooted in the belief that only Philadelphia can give Harden the two things he holds dear most: a title shot and maximum earning potential.

How the 76ers handle this postseason could play a major role in Harden’s decision. If Philadelphia makes it to the Eastern Conference Finals or the NBA Finals, it could feel very different to him than a second-round exit (or worse, a first-round disappointment).

Then there is money. The maximum salary in Philadelphia or Houston (which will have enough room for the ceiling next summer) will start at about $46.9 million (the exact figure depends on the final value of the salary cap). However, the 76ers are able to offer an 8% raise and an additional guaranteed year, making a $272 million five-year contract. Houston can only offer a raise of 5% and four years, or a total of $201 million.

Ultimately, for Harden, it may come down to chasing the ring rather than being at home and in your comfort zone. Harden has personal reasons to return to Houston, including his family, and is deeply involved with philanthropy and business in the city. However, the rebuilding Rockets won’t compete with him (and things will feel different on the court than the last time he played in the city). Philadelphia is one of the top five (maybe top three) teams in the NBA and will be a serious contender for the title if Harden stays and they can pay him more. This is a huge draw.

Harden must decide what matters most to him, and how Philadelphia performs this postseason will influence that decision.


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