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NBA News And Notes for April 15

With the final games of the play-in tournament set to conclude Friday evening, the NBA playoffs officially get underway on Saturday. With the anticipation of who will be crowned the next NBA champion, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories around the league.

Curry Set To Play

One of the biggest storylines around the league is simply who will be able to play as the NBA playoffs start and who won’t due to injuries.

Golden State Warriors’ fans got good news on Thursday as The Athletics’ Shams Charania and Anthony Slater reported that Stephen Curry appears on target to play in the team’s opener.

Since March 16, Curry has been dealing with a left foot sprain and bone bruise that has kept him out of action. Luckily, even without him, the Warriors were able to finish third in the Western Conference and will take on Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets starting Saturday.

This season, Curry has averaged 25.5 points on 43.7% shooting from the field and 38% from behind the arc. He is also averaging 5.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

With Curry in the lineup, the Warriors are the favorites to win this series at -275 and have the second-best odds of winning the Western Conference at +350.

Doncic Out At Least One Game, Maybe More

Unfortunately, Dallas Mavericks’ fans didn’t receive as good of news as it appears that 23-year-old superstar guard Luka Doncic will be forced to miss at least one game due to his left calf strain.

Doncic suffered the injury in the team’s regular-season finale, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there is concern that his absence may extend further into the series.

This season, Doncic has averaged 28.4 points on 45.7% shooting. He also flirts with a triple-double on almost a nightly basis as he is also averaging 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game.

Dallas has just the sixth-best odds of winning the West at +2700.

Other Injury News

Aside from these two, there have been some other injury updates that could impact series throughout the league.

On Friday, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be matching up with the Atlanta Hawks in a play-in game, and both teams have been without star players in Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers) and John Collins (Hawks).

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, it appears that Allen is going to try to give it a go in the matchup while Collins will be sitting out again.

While impactful for the game Friday, whoever wins this game will certainly hope that their big man would be able to return in their opening series with the Miami Heat.

Elsewhere, Zion Williamson has not played a single game this season, but there is still a chance he could return in the playoffs for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Williamson is playing in controlled scrimmages during practices and has come along in his recovery from offseason foot surgery.

Even with the advancements, though, ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth reports that he is unlikely to return for either the last play-in game or with an opening-round series with the Suns (assuming they make it to that point).

Could Nets Finally See Their Trade Deadline Acquisition On The Floor?

The Brooklyn Nets made headlines at the trade deadline when they shipped James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons and other pieces. To this point, Simmons has yet to take the floor, but that could potentially change soon.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, it appears that Simmons could be making a return later in the team’s opening series with the Boston Celtics. In his career, Simmons has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game.

The Nets currently have the fourth-best odds of winning the East at +500, and they are +950 to win the NBA Finals this season.

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