Tuesday night showcased the best that the NBA has to offer during the playoffs. With a berth in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals on the line, the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks took the court for a pivotal playoff showdown. On one end of the court, two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo carried the Milwaukee Bucks with a 34-point and 12-rebound performance. On the other end, two-time NBA Champion Kevin Durant became the first player in NBA playoff history to finish a game with 45 or more points, 15 or more rebounds and 10 or more assists. In the end, Durant's Nets needed all of that and more to eke out a six-point win.
Wednesday morning showcased just how important star players are in a championship run. Basketball fans woke up to the news that Phoenix Suns Point Guard Chris Paul had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be out indefinitely. This news comes just a few days after Paul and the Suns advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in more than a decade.
Just a short flight away from Phoenix, basketball fans in Los Angeles are also in panic as their star player, Kawhi Leonard, has just been ruled out indefinitely. Shams Charania of The Athletic has also reported that the Clippers fear that Leonard has torn his ACL. If true, Leonard would be ruled out for the remainder of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, 2021 Summer Olympic Games and potentially the start of the 2021-2022 NBA Regular Season.
Paul and Leonard being ruled out indefinitely is just the latest development in a season riddled with injuries. Last week, NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell missed a playoff against the aforementioned Los Angeles Clippers due to a leg injury. In Philadelphia, NBA insiders fear that NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid has suffered a torn meniscus. Still, the Philadelphia big man continues to play through the pain. Rounding out this recent slate of injuries, Kyrie Irving and James Harden have both had to miss time during their ongoing playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks due to various injuries.
The 2021 NBA Playoffs will continue on June 16 as the Atlanta Hawks take on the Philadelphia 76ers and the Clippers battle the Jazz.