Brandon Ingram

Western Notes: Doncic, Suns, Spurs, Ingram

While Luka Doncic‘s 32 points and nine assists in Tuesday’s Game 2 win over the Clippers were nearly right in line with his regular season numbers, he may have been even more impactful on the other end of the court, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Doncic has never been known for his defense, but he played a key role in limiting L.A.’s shooting percentage on the night to just 36.8%.

“I think his defense has been great this whole series,” head coach Jason Kidd told reporters after his Mavericks evened the series at 1-1. “We know they’re going to put him in pick-and-roll. A couple years ago we saw this, and we had to tell him to participate. But I think he’s participating at a high level on both ends. He’s leading not just on the offensive end but also the defensive end.”

As MacMahon details, the Mavericks had the NBA’s best defensive rating in the final 20 games of the season, and Doncic has made a concerted effort to improve his individual defense. The Clippers repeatedly attacked him on Tuesday, but they made just 2-of-17 shots with Luka as the primary defender, per ESPN.

“I accept it,” Doncic said of the Clippers’ strategy. “It gets me going on defensive end too. That’s fine. I think I played good defense today. I’ve just got to stay locked in.”

Here’s more from around the West:

  • The Suns will need from their three stars if they hope to pull of a first-round comeback against Minnesota, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal combined for just 52 points in Game 2, 20 points below their average regular season total, and turned the ball over 12 times. “Their physicality tarnishes our ability to get into our sets faster,” Beal said on Tuesday. “They do a really good job of just denying [Durant], denying [Booker], being physical with them. [Anthony Edwards] is picking me up full [court]. They’re just making us work before we even get into our sets.”
  • The Spurs have done a good job stockpiling extra draft picks, but now they’ll have to decide how best to use them, writes Nick Moyle of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). As Moyle outlines, San Antonio could have as many as eight first-round picks and eight more second-rounders in the next four drafts. Given the young talent already on the roster and the desire to add complementary pieces around Victor Wembanyama, it won’t make sense for the Spurs to hang onto – and use – all those selections, so some could become trade chips.
  • After being benched down the stretch of the Pelicans‘ first play-in game vs. the Lakers, Brandon Ingram came up big last Friday vs. Sacramento, scoring a team-high 24 points to help New Orleans clinch a playoff berth. However, Ingram contributed just 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting in Game 1 against Oklahoma City. Noting that the Pelicans will need more from the former All-Star going forward, William Guillory of The Athletic explores how they might get him going.

Western Notes: George, Holmgren, Ingram, Kennard

Keyonte George became a big part of opponents’ game plans as the season wore on, and Jazz CEO Danny Ainge feels the young guard will benefit from that experience, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune relays.

“He had some ups and downs, and I kind of liked that he had those ups and downs,” Ainge said. “I kind of liked the fact that the scouting report — the most important person to stop on our entire team many nights the second half of the year was him. So the best defender was guarding him, the team defensive schemes were to stop him, and so he had to face some of that.”

Ainge believes George made bigger strides than another of the Jazz’s rookies this season, Taylor Hendricks.

“He’s just a little further behind than Keyonte,” Ainge said of Hendricks. “His shooting was getting better and better. He’s working a lot on his shooting. His arc of his shots has been a little bit flat. But he shot a pretty good percentage. That’s a big step for him, but he’s got to get a lot better defensively.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Thunder rolled into the playoffs as a No. 1 seed despite being one of the league’s youngest teams. Center Chet Holmgren, the likely runner-up in the Rookie of the Year, said his team must take an even-keeled approach to the postseason. “The playoffs are a time of huge swings,” Holmgren told Darnell Marberry of The Athletic. “And you can’t let the swing of things allow your emotions to run wild in one direction or the other, good or bad. If you win one game, the series isn’t over. If you lose one game, the series isn’t over. So it doesn’t matter what fashion you lose or win with. A buzzer-beater, a blowout, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to get ready for the next game because no team’s going to roll over and give you anything.”
  • With Zion Williamson sidelined by a hamstring injury, the Pelicans will need big performances from Brandon Ingram to get out of the first round, Rod Walker of the New Orleans Times Picayune opines in a subscriber-only story. Ingram had 24 points, six rebounds and six assists in New Orleans win over Sacramento on Friday. “He is a leader for us and we follow his lead,” forward Larry Nance Jr. said. “Every single game, I tell him to be the best player on the court and (Friday) I believe he was the best player on the court.”
  • The Grizzlies have a $14.8MM option on Luke Kennard‘s contract for next season and Keith Smith of Spotrac believes they’ll pick it up, even though it would push them closer to the second tax apron. Smith, previewing the Grizzlies’ offseason, notes that Kennard is a solid backup wing due to his shooting ability and play-making.

Pacific Notes: Leonard, George, Allen, Warriors

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue has decided on his fifth starter if Kawhi Leonard isn’t available for Sunday’s series opener against Dallas, according to Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. Lue didn’t reveal the name, but Carr speculates it will be Amir Coffey, who started 13 games this season, often as Leonard’s replacement.

Leonard is still officially listed as questionable with inflammation in his right knee that has sidelined him since March 31. He was expected to take part in shooting drills at today’s practice with more movement than he did on Friday, but he still hasn’t participated in anything involving full contact since the knee began flaring up.

Lue said he’s not counting on any one player to slow down the high-powered Mavericks’ attack led by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

“It’s on all of us. It’s not just one player or two players, it’s all of us collectively doing our jobs and doing it the best we can do,” Lue said. “It’s not on one or two guys, it’s on everybody to produce, as well as me and the coaching staff.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Paul George believes bad injury luck has prevented the Clippers from reaching their potential in the playoffs, Carr adds. George is making his return to the postseason after missing last season’s series with Phoenix due to a sprained knee. “Injuries happen. That’s part of the game (and there’s) no way of really avoiding it,” he said. “So, as much as chemistry and being on the floor together and playing the best basketball you could possibly play at this point of the season, a lot of it has to do with luck, too.”
  • X-rays were negative for Suns guard Grayson Allen, who left today’s game with an ankle injury, tweets Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. Coach Frank Vogel told reporters that Allen has been diagnosed with a sprain. His availability for Tuesday’s Game 2 will depend on how he responds to treatment.
  • The Warriors will need to be aggressive on the trade market to have another chance at a title during the Stephen Curry era, writes Ron Kroichick of The San Francisco Chronicle. Kroichick suggests making a run at Karl-Anthony Towns if the Timberwolves are knocked out of the playoffs early or possibly Dejounte Murray if the Hawks decide to break up their backcourt. He lists Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant, Pacers forward Pascal Siakam and Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram as others who might be obtainable.

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Thompson, Lively, Jackson Jr.

Brandon Ingram‘s outing against the Lakers in Tuesday’s play-in loss was just his second since returning from a bone bruise that forced him to miss 12 games. Ingram was pulled from that loss with 7:38 to go in the fourth quarter and didn’t return, finishing with 25 minutes of game time.

I just liked the group that was on the floor at the time,” head coach Willie Green said. “B.I. is still getting back. Still getting his rhythm. So I didn’t want to force the issue. I liked the group that was going.

However, as’s Christian Clark observes, the Pelicans are going to need to rely on Ingram more in Friday’s play-in outing against the Kings. Zion Williamson, who scored 40 points in the loss, was ruled out with a hamstring injury he suffered near the end of Tuesday’s game.

The Pelicans saw most of their success on Tuesday with a bench-heavy lineup centered around Williamson. Meanwhile, Ingram finished with 12 points while CJ McCollum had just nine. As Clark writes, if Williamson didn’t get hurt, Green may have finished the game without either Ingram or McCollum on the floor. The Pelicans were outscored by 3.2 points per 100 possessions with Williamson, Ingram and McCollum sharing the floor this season.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Magic have previously been mentioned as a potential suitor for unrestricted free agent Klay Thompson. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the Mavericks are another team worth monitoring as a landing spot for Warriors‘ the five-time All-Star. Thompson had his worst shooting night of the season in the play-in against the Kings, missing all 10 of his shots. However, as Amick writes, he’d been playing better toward the end of the season, averaging 21.8 points on 41.6% shooting from deep in the 10 games after getting his starting job back.
  • Dereck Lively II‘s status for Game 1 against the Clippers on Sunday is still in the air, but he went through practice on Tuesday and appeared to be moving well,’s Eddie Sefko reports. Lively, who has been out since March 31 after averaging 8.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in his rookie season, pairs with Daniel Gafford to provide a one-two punch for the Mavericks at the center position.
  • The Grizzlies are looking to add more size to their rotation next season after shipping Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman out in separate deals this season. However, as Grind City Media’s Michael Wallace writes, they’re not yet committed to playing Jaren Jackson Jr. to strictly one position. “I like seeing Jaren out there at [power forward] more, with another big man, and then me coming off the bench,” teammate Brandon Clarke said. “That was kind of how it was the past four years. But we just really got to get healthy first. And we’re going to get a good pick in the draft. So, I trust the front office with what they choose. But sounds like we need somebody big and somebody strong down there for us.

Injury Notes: Ingram, Giannis, Green, Robinson, Melton

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, who has been sidelined since March 21 due to a left knee bone contusion, is expected to return to action on Sunday vs. the Lakers, TNT’s Chris Haynes said on Thursday night’s broadcast (Twitter video link via Pelicans Film Room).

Ingram’s impending return will give him an opportunity to get acclimated back into the Pelicans’ lineup ahead of the postseason. He’ll also get the chance to try to help New Orleans clinch a playoff berth — the team currently has a one-game lead on Phoenix for the No. 6 seed in the West. Since the Suns hold the tiebreaker, the Pelicans will need to win its remaining two games or have Phoenix lose at least once to hang onto the sixth spot.

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

  • Bucks head coach Doc Rivers said this week that he isn’t sure whether or not star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will be ready for the start of the playoffs (Twitter link via Jamal Collier of ESPN). Antetokounmpo was in a walking boot on the sidelines during Wednesday’s game (Twitter link via Harris Stavrou of SPORT24). Milwaukee had another player bitten by the injury bug during that contest, as swingman A.J. Green went down with a left ankle sprain (Twitter link via Eric Nehm of The Athletic). Green has been ruled out for Friday’s matchup with Oklahoma City.
  • After missing five games due to a back issue in late March, Heat forward Duncan Robinson returned to action on March 31 and appeared in four more contests after that, but still wasn’t quite right, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Robinson will miss a third consecutive contest on Friday vs. Toronto as a result of that nagging back problem, and his availability for the start of the postseason is up in the air.
  • Sixers guard De’Anthony Melton returned on Tuesday from a lumbar spine injury, playing for just the fourth time since January 12. He admitted that the recovery process was a long, challenging one, as Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “Throughout the whole process, it was a lot of ups and downs,” Melton said. “Some days [were] better than others. Definitely there was a little doubt that crept into my mind. But I just kind of tried to stay with it and, every day, just take it moment by moment. And now we’re here.” Head coach Nick Nurse said Melton felt good after playing nearly 16 minutes on Tuesday, adding that the team will look to increase his minutes a little on Friday (Twitter link via Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports).

Pelicans Say Brandon Ingram Making Progress Toward Return

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram has been cleared to begin individual on-court workouts as he recovers from a left knee bone contusion, according to a tweet from the team.

Ingram, who hasn’t played since March 21, had his condition reevaluated this morning, the Pelicans stated. He will gradually increase the intensity of his rehab work, but a firm timetable hasn’t been set for him to resume playing.

Ingram has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game at Phoenix and Tuesday’s contest at Portland, but nothing is definite beyond that. New Orleans will play Thursday at Sacramento and Friday at Golden State before ending the season at home against the Lakers on April 14.

Ingram was projected to miss at least two weeks when he was diagnosed with the injury, so his comeback is right about on schedule. He also hyperextended his knee in that March 21 game against Orlando and had to be helped to the locker room.

The Pelicans have fallen into play-in territory after dropping their last four games, so they need Ingram back as quickly as possible. He’s their second-leading scorer this season at 20.9 PPG while shooting 49% from the field and 35.6% from three-point range.

Injury Notes: Luka, Warriors, Zion, Ingram, Young, Turner

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was ruled out for Friday’s matchup with Golden State due to right knee soreness, as first reported by Marc Stein (via Twitter). Sources tell Stein there’s optimism that Doncic will return on Sunday vs. Houston.

The injury “shouldn’t be long term,” head coach Jason Kidd said (Twitter link via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon).

It will be the 10th missed game this season for Doncic, which will hurt his chances of claiming his first MVP award — frontrunner Nikola Jokic has only missed three games. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the other primary candidate for the award, will miss his seventh game of 2023/24 on Sunday in Charlotte.

Mavs big man Maxi Kleber, who played 21 minutes in yesterday’s win over Atlanta, is also out Friday with back spasms, the team announced (via Twitter).

The Warriors will also be shorthanded for Friday’s matchup in Dallas, which is the second of a back-to-back for both clubs. Andrew Wiggins is out with left ankle soreness, while Jonathan Kuminga — who warmed up with the intent of playing — will miss his sixth straight game with knee tendinitis, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter links).

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

  • Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, who is dealing with a left finger contusion, was considered a game-time decision for Friday’s contest vs. San Antonio. However, he was later ruled out (Twitter link via the Pels). Prior to Friday’s game, head coach Willie Green also provided an injury update on Brandon Ingram, who is currently sidelined with a left knee bone contusionHe’s jogging on the treadmill,” Green said, per Christian Clark of (Twitter link). “He’s in the weight room. Other than that, we don’t have anything new to report.” Green confirmed a recent report that New Orleans is optimistic about Ingram returning before the regular season ends, Clark adds.
  • On his podcast (YouTube link), Hawks point guard Trae Young provided an update on his rehab from hand surgery, as Brad Rowland relays (via Twitter). “I got another call with the doctor next Monday,” Young said of when he could return. ” … Hopefully next week I can make a fist and I can get out of this cast. And then I can play. So hopefully next week.”
  • Pacers center Myles Turner suffered a dislocated right index finger in Monday’s victory over Brooklyn, which caused him to miss Wednesday’s rematch with the Nets, but he was back in the starting lineup on Friday against Oklahoma City, the team announced (Twitter link). Turner has dealt with several injuries over the course of his career but he has been relatively healthy in ’23/24, appearing in 73 of 78 games.

Injury Notes: Leonard, Barrett, Quickley, Mitchell, Ingram

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss the team’s game on Tuesday against the Kings due to right knee soreness, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Leonard, who played 37 minutes and scored 23 points against the Hornets on Sunday, returned to Los Angeles on Monday for treatment. His status for Thursday’s game against the Nuggets is uncertain.

The fact that Leonard’s flared up is a troubling development for the Clippers, who are pointing toward to a deep playoff run. Leonard has appeared in 68 games this season, his most since the 2016/17 campaign. Norman Powell will move into the starting lineup in his place, Youngmisuk tweets.

We have more injury-related news to pass along:

  • RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley are active for the Raptors’ game against the Lakers tonight, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Barrett hasn’t played since March 11 due to personal reasons and re-conditioning. Quickley has been out since March 17 for the same reasons.
  • The Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell, who has been battling a sore left knee, will miss Tuesday’s game against Utah, Chris Fedor of writes. It’s the first game of a back-to-back, with Cleveland facing Phoenix on Wednesday. Mitchell has appeared in 51 games this season and is ineligible for postseason awards.
  • There’s optimism that Brandon Ingram will be back in action for the Pelicans next week, The Athletic’s said Shams Charania during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (video link). “Brandon Ingram is going to be reevaluated at the end of the week, that’ll be the two-week mark, and the hope is by that three-week mark next week, he’s going to be back in the lineup,” Charania said. Ingram is working his way back from a left knee bone contusion.

Southwest Notes: Daniels, Ingram, Jones, Whitmore, Wemby

Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels, who has been sidelined since February 9 due to knee surgery, has been cleared to return for Saturday’s game vs. Boston, tweets Christian Clark of

Daniels wasn’t a major part of the Pelicans’ offensive attack earlier in the season, averaging a modest 5.5 points per game on 43.8% shooting (29.1% on threes). However, he started 15 of his 52 games and played 21.9 minutes per contest, in large part due to his defensive prowess. Assuming he’s not slowed by his knee at all, Daniels figures to reclaim a rotation role down the stretch.

There’s also good news out of New Orleans on injured forward Brandon Ingram, who was able to do some on-court work on Friday in what William Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link) describes as a positive step in his recovery from a knee contusion. Ingram will reportedly remain sidelined until at least Friday, but perhaps by next weekend he’ll be nearing a return.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans will be without guard Jose Alvarado on Saturday for a second straight game due to a right oblique strain, per the NBA’s official injury report. It’s unclear how much more time – if any – Alvarado might miss as a result of that injury.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Christian Clark of makes the case for Herbert Jones to claim a spot on this season’s All-Defensive first team, explaining why the player that Pelicans teammates describe as “our defensive leader” deserves the honor.
  • After missing the past nine games due to a sprained right knee, Rockets rookie Cam Whitmore believes he’s on the verge of returning to action. According to Whitmore, he’s working on getting his conditioning back to 100% and hopes to be cleared in time to suit up against Dallas on Sunday, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). “I feel fine. There’s no pain (in the knee),” he said. “No tweaks, no issues, no nothing. I feel back to normal. I just have to feel better moving around laterally.”
  • Now that he has appeared in the requisite 65 games, Victor Wembanyama deserves serious consideration for this season’s Defensive Player of the Year award, writes Mike Monroe of The Athletic. “If you just watch the game you see how (Wembanyama) affects the game defensively,” Spurs guard Tre Jones said. “It’s tough because of our record, but I think most people know he’s already the best defender in the league. He’s already leading the league in blocks; leads in blocks and steals combined, more than previous NBA Defensive Player of the Year winners.”
  • Count Jalen Brunson among Wembanyama’s fans. After the Spurs‘ No. 1 overall pick racked up 40 points and 20 rebounds en route to an overtime win against the Knicks on Friday, Brunson – who scored 61 points in the losing effort – predicted that Wembanyama will be “one of the greatest players this game has seen,” tweets Paul Garcia of Project Spurs. “Just the way he’s built and what he’s been able to do so far,” Brunson said. “Got a lot of respect for him and it’s definitely tough to get a shot up and in over him.”

Southwest Notes: Irving, Ingram, Jackson, Wembanyama

Mavericks star guard Kyrie Irving is strictly adhering to his daily fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News writes. That made it all the more impressive that he hit a buzzer-beating shot to knock off the defending champion Nuggets on Sunday after not intaking food or drink for over nine hours.

Since Ramadan began, the Mavericks are 3-1 and Irving is reaching new heights while averaging 27.8 points, 8.5 assists, and 6.5 per game rebounds despite 12 hours each day without eating or drinking, Townsend writes.

Ramadan is a special time,” Irving said. “… It’s a difficult journey. To be able to play 48 minutes and do it without having a drink or any food in my stomach is nothing short of a miracle.

Irving converted to Islam in 2021, meaning this is the fourth spring he’s fasting for. Teammates, coaches and staff members, including assistant God Shammgod, have been actively supporting the star guard during Ramadan.

Kai’s been with other organizations where things sometimes have been misunderstood,” Shammgod said. “So it’s my job to make sure he has a gateway to the coaches, to the organization. And have an understanding from both sides.

Ramadan concludes on April 9 and the Mavericks will have played 14 games during that stretch of time.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans star forward Brandon Ingram‘s improved defense and play-making has helped the team achieve one of the best seasons in franchise history. Ingram unfortunately suffered a knee contusion on Thursday and is out for at least two weeks. However, as The Athletic’s William Guillory relays, the Pelicans should be relieved it isn’t worse, considering he may be in position to return ahead of the postseason. Ingram had appeared in 63 games this season, averaging 20.9 points and 5.8 assists. As Guillory observes, if Ingram doesn’t return before the postseason, he’ll still be eligible for any postseason awards despite not reaching 65 games because he was available for 85% of his team’s games at the time of injury.
  • GG Jackson continues to establish himself as an integral piece of the Grizzlies‘ future after slipping to the No. 45 pick in the 2023 draft and starting the year on a two-way deal, Michael Wallace of Grind City Media writes. Jackson is averaging 23.6 points while shooting 37.3% on 9.6 three-point attempts per game in his last seven outings, including a career-high 35-point showing on Wednesday. “We always knew it wasn’t a talent thing for him – it’s about carrying yourself as a pro each and every day,Desmond Bane said of Jackson’s development. “He’s got a lot of great people to learn from in our locker room, and he’s taking full advantage of it.
  • Spurs rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama said he’s going to be sharing his input on San Antonio’s future and is thankful the team wants it, according to’s Michael C. Wright (Twitter link). The Spurs will be consulting their franchise player on their offseason moves and the direction they go.