With the conclusion of the NBA regular season and many teams entering their third and fourth playoff games, injuries have taken a toll on many teams’ chances to advance to the second round of play. Here are the most notable and impactful injuries that have impacted the NBA postseason in the Western Conference:
In-Game 1 of the Lakers vs. Suns matchup, Chris Paul took a hard fall and landed awkwardly on his shoulder, throwing his game off for the rest of the night. The Phoenix Suns may be haunted by the fact that Chris Paul will not be able to play to his full potential throughout the entire series due to his apparent shoulder contusion. Without Chris Paul at one hundred percent, the Suns will most definitely experience an uphill battle against a tough Los Angeles Lakers team, who are looking to add yet another championship to their winning franchise. Known for his ability to pace the game, handle the ball, and create opportunities for his teammates to score, Paul is considered a vital piece to the Suns’ offensive strategy. Above all, the Phoenix Suns will be lacking in leadership on the court. Thus, it will take the efforts of guards Devin Booker and Cameron Payne to step up and take responsibility for the team when Paul is not on the court for the Suns to be victorious in their first-round matchup.
Luka Doncic, a guard/small forward for the Dallas Mavericks, is playing through a pinched nerve that runs down to his arm. Known for his craftiness with the ball, Luka Doncic is the main scorer for the Mavericks. For a prolific scorer such as himself, an injured shooting arm can disrupt his ability to shoot the ball with accuracy, limiting his effectiveness on the court. Although his injury does not seem quite severe, the smallest of injuries can still make the biggest differences, especially against the high-level competition. It will be tough for Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks to pull out a victory against the Los Angeles Clippers, and Luka’s injury will only reduce their chances of winning.
Kentavious Caldwell Pope:
Currently, KCP is suffering from a bruised left quad, which kept him out of game four against the Phoenix Suns. With the absence of Caldwell Pope, the Lakers will have limited wing depth and ball movement. But more importantly, Kentavious Caldwell Pope brings defensive intensity through his ability to force tough shots and grab loose balls. His teammates, Alex Caruso and Talen Horton Tucker will need to match KCP’s defensive ability for the Lakers to come out on top.
With injuries plaguing many NBA teams in the Western and Eastern Conferences, this year’s playoffs may be impacted the most by injuries than any other playoffs. We have already seen how injuries have shaped the regular season contenders such as Klay Thomson and Jamal Murray and it will be interesting to watch how this year will play out.