Around the NBA: Stars hurt, Westbrook fan feud begins 2023 NBA Playoffs

The Philadelphia 76ers may have gone relatively unscathed in Game 1 of the first round, but the same cannot be said for the rest of the league.

Just a few days after the game started, the drama started. The injuries to the top-quality players are piling up around the rest of the association, the players are rushing the fans – the finals truly have it all.

As the Sixers prepare to take on the Brooklyn Nets in Game 2 on Monday evening, let’s take a look at the rest of the league’s headlines after the first weekend of play.

‘Optimism’ all around Milwaukee BucksGiannis Antetokounmpo after back injury in Game 1 vs. Miami Heat

Bucks star and MVP contender Giannis Antetokounmpo collided mid-air with Kevin Love in the first period of Game 1 of the Bucks-Miami Heat series and took a hard fall on his lower back.

Antetokounmpo tried to play and was out for the rest of Game 1 in the second period – he had six points and three rebounds in 11 minutes of play. The Heat won the contest 130-117.

Things aren’t all doom and gloom for the Bucks, but The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that Giannis is “optimistic” heading into Game 2 and Miami Wednesday night.

Memphis GrizzliesJa Morant left Game 1. Los Angeles Lakers

In a play similar to the one that injured Giannis, Memphis Grizzlies star Jay Morant suffered a hand injury midway through the fourth quarter after colliding with Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis.

Morant left the game and did not return. He finished with 18 points, six rebounds and two assists in 30 minutes. Memphis went on to fall to the visiting Lakers 128-112.

There’s no further word on the extent of Morant’s injury or how long he’ll be out of commission, but Morant didn’t paint a pretty picture in a postgame interview on Sunday.

Miami Heat’s Tyler Hero broke two fingers in Game 1 against the Bucks

2021-22 Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro broke two fingers on his shooting hand while diving for a seemingly innocuous pass before halftime in Game 1 of the Buck-Heat series. Although clearly in incredible pain, Hero stayed on the court for the next possession and sank three in the corner before exiting for the rest of the contest.

Hero reportedly broke both his middle and ring fingers on his shooting hand and will be out 4-6 weeks — leaving the door open for a return for the NBA Finals if the Heat go that far.

They lead the series 1-0 after this weekend’s contest.

Los Angeles Clippers‘ Russell Westbrook argued with a fan during Game 1 and halftime. Phoenix Sun

This one is just weird. A video taken at halftime of Sunday’s matchup between the Clips and the Suns shows Westbrook confronting a Suns fan sitting in the bleachers and saying, “Watch your mouth,” among other expletives. Warning, NSFW language.

Eddie Gonzalez of FanDuelTV said he was close to the incident and said the fan started calling Westbrook “Westbrook.”

Gonzalez went on to say that Westbrook got the last laugh, citing a game-clinching block that Westbrook guessed as time expired to claim Suns star Devin Booker in Game 1 of the Clippers.

But the final clarity on the drama. You (like me) are wondering, “How does it get windy in a club-level environment?” In case you’re wondering, Duane Rankin with AZ Central tweeted that the visiting players were taking a shortcut to the locker room on the side of the clubhouse – the stairwell area.

Something tells me the Clippers players will be taking the long way through the tunnels for the rest of the series.

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