With the seventh seed in the East now sewn up, the Heat will rest their three priciest players and their first-round rookie draft pick tonight against the Wizards, the team has announced (Twitter link).
All-Star center Bam Adebayo will be unavailable due to a left quadriceps tendon strain, small forward Jimmy Butler will miss the bout with a right hand contusion, and veteran point guard Kyle Lowry will rest with a knee ailment. Rookie power forward Nikola Jovic will also be out due to a back injury.
Three other players are considered questionable with various maladies. The statuses of guards Tyler Herro and Max Struss are uncertain due to a right quad contusion and a hyperextended right finger, respectively. Veteran big man Kevin Love‘s availability is murky due to a right rib contusion.
Here are more injury notes:
- The Sixers will sit All-Star center Joel Embiid, a 2023 MVP hopeful, point guard James Harden, forward P.J. Tucker and shooting guard Tyrese Maxey against the Hawks, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Forward Tobias Harris and reserve guard Jaden Springer are questionable to suit up.
- The Knicks have announced that they will rest starting center Mitchell Robinson tonight against the Pelicans (via Twitter). At 47-33, New York is now locked into the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed, as the team is three games ahead of the Nets in the East standings with just two games left in its regular season schedule.
- The Suns will sit their top four players tonight against the Lakers. Sources inform Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter) that Phoenix, playing in the second night of a back-to-back set of bouts, will be without All-Star forward Kevin Durant, All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker, future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul, and maximum-salaried center Deandre Ayton against Los Angeles tonight. Charania notes that the Suns have locked up the West’s fourth seed.
- The Mavericks tweet that All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, guard Josh Green, wing Tim Hardaway Jr., and frontcourt players Maxi Kleber and Christian Wood will all sit out tonight’s game against the Bulls. Dallas is just 0.5 games behind the Thunder for the West’s No. 10 seed, but sitting all these key rotation players appears to signal a subtle surrender of the club’s season. The Mavericks are currently tied for the 10th-worst record in the NBA, and given that they owe a top 10-protected first-round pick to the Knicks this year, it makes sense that they would hope to preserve their future draft selection.