Norman Powell

Pacific Notes: Curry, Kuminga, Powell, Sabonis

Stephen Curry will return to the starting lineup tonight as the Warriors will open Game 5 with the small-ball unit that has caused match-up problems for the Nuggets throughout their series, tweets Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Kevon Looney will come off the bench as Draymond Green takes over at center.

It will mark Curry’s first start since suffering a sprained left foot and bone bruise in mid-March that forced him to miss the rest of the regular season. He has remained a dangerous weapon as a reserve, averaging 27.5 points per game and shooting 38.9% from three-point range in the first four games of the series.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jonathan Kuminga might see his role expanded now that Andre Iguodala is out for the rest of the series with a neck injury, writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Kuminga played 11 minutes in Game 4, all in the second quarter, producing nine points and making an impact on defense. Iguodala has been struggling on offense, but has contributed in other ways, including logging a few minutes at center last game. “The neck is bothering him again,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters after today’s shootaround. “He’s disappointed, he can’t play.” 
  • An injury disrupted Norman Powell‘s time with the Clippers shortly after he was acquired at the trade deadline, but he believes he’ll benefit from a fresh start with the team next season, per Law Murray of The Athletic. Powell wants to reach the level of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to give the team a third All-Star. “I think I’m ready for that, being that role as a primary guy,” he said. “That’s what I go out there and try to prove every single night that I can hold my own against the best in the world, but also, it’s about winning for me. Not only achieving those individual goals but achieving them as a team is what’s most important.”
  • Kings big man Domantas Sabonis is also looking forward to his first full season with his new team, according to Alex Kramers of Sabonis had to adjust quickly to his new surroundings after leaving the Pacers in a deadline deal, and he’s hoping to build chemistry with his teammates this offseason. “We didn’t have much time to practice and get together and know all the sets, defensive schemes and everything,” Sabonis said. “That’s why I’m excited for the summer. We’re going to get together as a group and try to build on things early before training camp even starts.”

L.A. Notes: Lakers’ Roster, Howard, Rondo, George, Powell

The Lakers‘ hopes of reaching the play-in tournament were extinguished this week, but these final games are still important for a few players, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. The team’s roster figures to look much different next season, and young players such as Mason Jones, who finished third in the G League MVP race, see the late-season contests as a chance to shape their future.

“At the end of the day, I want to be a good player in the league,” he said. “From this day forward, you’ve got to continue to take steps. I was with South Bay earlier and I took that as the right mindset. And I’ll continue to take steps. From here, I want to continue to take the steps and learn from them because possibly, they could be my teammates next year.”

Beyond LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers have only a few players under contract for next season, Goon notes. Talen Horton-Tucker is signed for two more years and Kendrick Nunn for one more, and the team has 2022/23 options on Austin Reaves and Stanley Johnson. That may create an opportunity for Wenyen Gabriel, whose two-way contract was converted to a standard deal on Friday.

“Obviously we didn’t get a lot of wins this month and we obviously wish we could have won more,” Gabriel said. “But I played with a lot of energy, and I feel I showed some things – some tools that the front office thinks can help the next following season. So it’s just them believing in my potential.”

There’s more NBA news from Los Angeles:

  • Michigan coach Juwan Howard has been mentioned as a possibility to replace Frank Vogel as head coach of the Lakers, tweets Steve Bulpett of Heavy, who adds that if that happens Rajon Rondo could join him as an assistant. Rondo, 36, is currently playing for the Cavaliers.
  • There appears to be no concern about Paul George‘s elbow as the Clippers head toward the play-in tournament, according to Joe Reedy of The Associated Press. George, who missed three months with a torn ligament, has been excellent since returning last week and the team has gone 5-1 in the games he has played. “The elbow’s fine. It feels pretty good,” George said. “Overall, I’m trying to take each possession for what it is and trying to make the best play possible.”
  • Norman Powell is happy to back in time for the postseason after fracturing a bone in his left foot shortly after being traded to the Clippers, per Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “I’m excited for what we’re building here,” Powell said after returning Wednesday. “Playing along PG, it still doesn’t seem real to me. He was a guy that I looked up to growing up, a guy, we had some battles in Toronto in the playoffs, and early on in my career he gave me some words of encouragement – my rookie year, that stuck with me. So being able to play alongside with him, and Kawhi (Leonard) when he gets back healthy, it’s going to be fun.”

Norman Powell To Return On Wednesday

7:21pm: Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said Powell will come off the bench and play Wednesday (Twitter link via Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times). Lue indicated Powell might start the second half in order to get accustomed to playing with Paul George, as the two have no experience together.

3:04pm: Clippers wing Norman Powell plans to return to action on Wednesday night against Phoenix, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

According to Wojnarowski, a final decision on Powell’s availability will be made following the team’s pre-game warmups. The Clippers have officially upgraded Powell from doubtful to questionable.

Powell, 28, began the season in Portland after signing a new five-year deal with the team last summer. When the Trail Blazers shifted into rebuilding mode midway through the season, he was shipped to Los Angeles along with Robert Covington in a pre-deadline deal.

In just his third game as a Clipper, on February 10, Powell fractured a bone in his left foot. The injury sidelined him for nearly two full months, but it looks like he’ll be back in time to help the club try to secure a playoff spot in next week’s play-in tournament.

In 43 total games (32.9 MPG) for the Blazers and Clippers this season, Powell averaged a career-high 18.8 points per game on .457/.407/.807 shooting. He’ll give the Clips another option on the wing who can impact the game on both ends of the court, making L.A. an increasingly dangerous play-in team.

Although Paul George is back for the Clippers and Powell is on the verge of returning too, it remains to be seen whether Kawhi Leonard, who is less than nine months removed from ACL surgery, will play at all this spring.

Health Updates: D. Murray, Hayward, Mobley, Zion, More

Dejounte Murray, who missed a third straight game on Tuesday due to an upper respiratory illness, may not accompany the Spurs on their trip to Minnesota for Thursday’s game, head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters, including Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).

As it turned out, the Spurs didn’t need their All-Star guard available in order to clinch a play-in spot with a victory in Denver on Tuesday. The Spurs are just one game behind the Pelicans in the standings for the No. 9 spot and hold the tiebreaker over New Orleans, so if the two teams finish with identical records, their play-in game would take place in San Antonio.

Here are a few more health updates from around the NBA:

  • After making his return from a foot injury on Saturday, Hornets forward Gordon Hayward missed Tuesday’s contest against the Heat. According to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), head coach James Borrego referred to it as a precautionary move and said the team doesn’t want to push Hayward too hard following a lengthy absence.
  • Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley did a lot of on-court work on Tuesday and is making progress in his recovery from a sprained ankle, tweets Chris Fedor of A source tells Fedor there’s a chance Mobley will play in Brooklyn on Friday. The team will know more after Thursday’s practice.
  • Pelicans head coach Willie Green didn’t provide an official update on Zion Williamson‘s injury rehab on Tuesday, but sources tell Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter links) that the star forward has progressed to more on-court work. He remains out indefinitely.
  • The Clippers upgraded Norman Powell (foot) from out to doubtful for Wednesday’s game vs. Phoenix, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. It still sounds like Powell probably won’t play tonight, but it’s a good sign that he’s moving closer to a return.
  • Heat power forward P.J. Tucker left Tuesday’s win early due to what the team has initially diagnosed as a right calf strain, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Acting head coach Chris Quinn said Tucker will get looked at more extensively on Wednesday.

Injury Updates: LeBron, LaVine, Murray, Powell, Knicks, More

Facing a must-win game in Phoenix on Tuesday and looking to keep their play-in hopes alive, the Lakers will once again be without star forward LeBron James, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. James, who continues to deal with a left ankle sprain, has been ruled out for a second consecutive game and will now have missed three of the last four.

If the Lakers lose to the Suns and the Spurs win in Denver, L.A. would be officially eliminated from play-in contention by the end of the night.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine (knee) will likely miss Tuesday’s game vs. Milwaukee, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). LaVine’s left knee has been an issue for much of the season, though he has been able to play through the discomfort for the most part — this would only be the second game he has missed since the All-Star break.
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (ACL) has “really ramped up” his activity in the last week, Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown on Sunday (video link). While Wojnarowski describes Murray as “aggressive” in his efforts to get back on the court, he cautions that the guard is still experiencing some soreness at times in his surgically-repaired left knee.
  • Norman Powell (foot) will be a full participant in Tuesday’s practice for the Clippers, according to head coach Tyronn Lue, who noted that the team isn’t playing five-on-five today. Lue is hopeful that Powell will be able to return within the next several days, tweets Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group.
  • Asked today about whether Julius Randle (quad) or Derrick Rose (ankle) will play again this season, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau responded, “I don’t see it happening” (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).
  • Mavericks guards Sterling Brown and Trey Burke are out of the COVID-19 protocols and will be available on Wednesday vs. Detroit, per head coach Jason Kidd (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News).
  • Out since March 14 due to a high ankle sprain, Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels has been upgraded to questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. Washington (Twitter link). I think he’s had a really good week, good evaluation,” head coach Chris Finch said (Twitter link via Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic). “Just not sure if he’s ready to play in the game tonight, but try to push him today in our ‘stay in shape league‘ and see how everything goes.”

Injury Notes: Allen, Mobley, McDaniels, Powell, Fox, Sabonis

Discussions about Jarrett Allen‘s potential return for the Cavaliers have gravitated toward “if” rather than “when,” according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The team has said Allen is making progress in his recovery from a broken finger and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of him returning before the regular season ends on Sunday, but his finger was still in a splint this weekend, says Vardon.

Even if Allen is able to play soon, it’s “highly unlikely” that he’ll be 100% effective, says Chris Fedor of (Twitter link). In Fedor’s view, Evan Mobley – who has missed four games with a sprained ankle and wasn’t walking with a limp after Sunday’s game – is a better bet to be fully effective, or at least close to it, when he returns.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, who has been out since March 14 due to a high left ankle sprain, “looks really good” in his scrimmages, head coach Chris Finch said on Sunday (link via Chris Hine of The Star Tribune). The Wolves will formally reevaluate McDaniels on Monday. Finch expects him to be on a minutes limit when he returns, per Hine.
  • Clippers forwards Paul George and Marcus Morris hinted after Sunday’s game that Norman Powell could be close to returning from his left foot injury, according to Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group, who notes that the injured swingman took part in an on-court pregame workout. “It’ll be great for Norm if he could get back out there in the next game or two, just to get a good feel back,” Morris said.
  • With the Kings officially eliminated from playoff contention, head coach Alvin Gentry acknowledged that shutting down De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will likely be “something we’ll talk about” (Twitter link via Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee). Fox has missed Sacramento’s last eight games due to a hand injury, while Sabonis has been out for six games due to a knee issue.

Los Angeles Notes: James, Davis, Coffey, Ojeleye, Powell

Lakers star forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis are listed as doubtful to play Tuesday at Dallas, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. James injured his left ankle against New Orleans on Sunday and under treatment on Monday. In Davis’ case, it’s an upgrade. Davis went through a full, live practice for the first time since he suffered a mid-foot sprain on February 16.

We have more on the Los Angeles teams:

  • Amir Coffey has been a steady contributor since Clippers forward Paul George was sidelined and his status won’t change when the perennial All-Star forward potentially returns on Tuesday, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register tweets. Coffey is averaging 8.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 1.8 APG in 23.6 MPG in his third NBA season. “He’s earned it, last three years, the work he’s put in … this season he’s kind of kept us afloat,” Lue said.
  • Coffey had his two-way contract converted to a standard one this weekend and Semi Ojeleye was waived to make room for him on the 15-man roster. It was due to the franchise’s desire to reward Coffey rather than anything regarding Ojeleye’s play. Lue said Ojeleye “did everything right” and was sad to see him depart, Greif tweets.
  • Norman Powell still has a number of steps to go before returning from his left foot injury. The Clippers forward has done some shooting but hasn’t progressed beyond that in his recovery, Greif added in another tweet.

Paul George Practices With Clippers

Clippers star Paul George practiced with the team on Thursday for the first time since he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. George hasn’t played in a game since December 22.

George is listed as out for Friday’s game against Philadelphia and there’s no official timetable for his return, but he’s clearly making progress as he recovers from the injury.

He is doing good,” coach Tyronn Lue said prior to Thursday’s practice. “He hasn’t felt any pain so that is a positive thing. Just working on his conditioning and just making sure he can continue to go through the minimal contact without having any issue. So as of right now, it hasn’t been a problem.”

Lue also said that Norman Powell has begun shooting on the court with the team, but is still limited to non-contact work. Powell broke a bone in his left foot after just three games with his new club. He was acquired in a trade with the Blazers ahead of the February deadline.

At 36-38, the Clippers are currently the No. 8 seed in the West. Despite losing four straight games, their place in the standings is pretty secure, as they trail the No. 7 Timberwolves by six games and hold a four-and-a-half game lead on the No. 9 Lakers with only eight games remaining.

Youngmisuk states that the Clippers hope to reduce the minutes for veterans Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris, and Reggie Jackson ahead of the play-in tournament.

Injury Notes: N. Powell, LeBron, Suggs, Raptors

Appearing on TNT during Tuesday’s broadcast of the Clippers/Nuggets game, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports provided a positive update on Norman Powell‘s recovery from a fractured left foot (video link via Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints).

“Norm Powell, sources tell me, is itching to get back out there and is expected to return at some point before the end of the regular season,” Haynes said.

Responding to the report, Powell seemed to take exception to Haynes’ assessment of his situation, tweeting, What sources? Is saying how I feel? It’s either from me or fake news. Chill with the sources talk. Smh.”

It’s unclear what part of Haynes’ report Powell was objecting to — presumably, the veteran swingman is doing all he can to make it back on the court before the Clippers participate in the Western Conference play-in tournament next month.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Lakers star LeBron James has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game vs. Philadelphia due to left knee soreness, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Since Los Angeles doesn’t play again until Sunday, holding James out tonight will give him nearly a full week to rest his knee, which has bothered him for much of the season.
  • Magic guard Jalen Suggs has missed four straight games due to a right ankle bone bruise, but the team isn’t shutting him down for the rest of the season, head coach Jamahl Mosley said on Tuesday, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. “Him and I actually just had a very good conversation a moment ago about his competitive nature and what he wants to do,” Mosley said. “For that young man, playing is the thing he loves to do the most. Being around his teammates is what he loves to do the most in these situations. We’ll focus on his health, which is obviously the biggest thing. If he’s healthy, we’ll have him on the court ready to play.”
  • Raptors guard Fred VanVleet told reporters that sitting out a game in back-to-back sets is “not doing much” to alleviate his nagging knee pain, but said he understands why the team is going that route (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of I probably would’ve been even less effective than I was (Monday vs. the Bulls) if I would’ve played (Sunday vs. the Sixers),” VanVleet said after Monday’s loss in which he shot just 7-of-22 from the field. “It’s a difficult situation. I gotta figure it out.”
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic (all Twitter links) passed along several more Raptors injury updates, noting that OG Anunoby (finger) practiced on Wednesday, while Gary Trent Jr. (toe) didn’t. Both players are officially listed as questionable for Thursday’s game vs. Cleveland but seem closer to doubtful, says Koreen.

Paul George Shows Progress In Recovery From Elbow Injury

Paul George is progressing in his rehab and Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said he’s willing to play George, Kawhi Leonard or Norman Powell when they’re ready, even if they don’t return before the end of the regular season, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

George has not played since December 22 due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He participated in a 4-on-4 practice against assistant coaches with minimal contact on Sunday.

“He’s feeling better,” Lue said. “That is part of his rehab, having minimal contact with the coaches and trying to get his wind and just kind of see how he feels. To get him on the court for the first time was really good to see, got to continue to keep working and see how he is feeling going forward.”

The Clippers, who have lost three straight, are essentially locked into the play-in tournament. They’re currently eighth in the Western Conference, 6.5 games behind the sixth- and seventh-place Timberwolves and Nuggets with nine games to play. They’re 4.5 games ahead of the ninth-place Lakers.

Leonard hasn’t played this season after undergoing knee surgery last summer. Powell, who fractured a bone in his left foot shortly after he was acquired from Portland at the trade deadline, shed his walking boot last week but hasn’t yet cleared been cleared for contact, according to Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register.

Lue won’t hesitate to use any of them in the playoffs.

“To hit the playoffs going at 100, from zero to 100, that is pretty tough. But if the medical guys say they are cleared and they are able to do that, that is totally up to them,” he said.