The early days of the NBA playoffs are so wild and weird that the plot now sounds like the setup for a joke: An underachiever, an overachiever, and a goat come to the bar… …Underperformers were the Golden State Warriors, No. 1 team the Miami Heat and GOAT (duh) performer LeBron James. Okay, so the “bar” isn’t actually a bar, but a conference semifinal game. The joke requires some discussion, but the premise is undeniable: We’re witnessing a playoff game like no other – maybe A sign of something to come. The NBA 2023 playoffs are a painful exercise. All-Stars Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Julius Randle, Ja Morant, Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard have all missed the playoffs due to injuries . The injuries themselves are nothing to be ashamed of: sprained ankles, sprained knees, torn menisci, torn patellar tendons, broken fingers, broken arms, broken eyes, broken backs. While wear and tear is to be expected after seven months of playing in the NBA, specific injuries to certain body parts seem to stand out more than usual. There are 74 pages in the NBA’s official 2022-23 rule book that don’t contain the words “groin” or “crotch,” but in less than three weeks, at least six players have accidentally participated in the Donut Derby. From the play-in round to the second round, from East to West, the battery under the belt has been soaring.
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The game started in the playoffs, with New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Richardson making an exception in a fourth-round series initiated by Thunder wing Josh Guiddy. As the two players approached the midfield mark, Richardson elbowed the Australian. Gidi tweeted a message that seemed aimed at his team and his team: “Survive and keep moving forward.” A week later, a skeptical James Harden told a half-circle of reporters in the Barclays Center locker room. , who did not hit Royce O’Neal in the “private area” after he was ejected from the court. Returned home after defeating Royce O’Neal in the match. Private area. Harden was thrown out for the first time in his 14-year playoff career, and he wasn’t even the first 76ers athlete to tango with the opposing Twins that night: Embiid got into the act in the first six minutes of the game, when He kiwi kicked Brooklyn Claxton’s Nick. Two days later, Dillon Brooks, the Memphis Grizzlies’ arch-villain, opened the second half by squeezing LeBron James’ crown after he lay on the court for more than a minute. Brooks was immediately taken to the bathroom, a decision made easier for league leaders because the technical foul recorded the other day was an early warning, “I poked the bear.” (Brooks is a repeat offender. As was Donovan Mitchell.) (Donovan Mitchell, whose forearm was shoved into the groin by Brooks in early February, said succinctly, “It ended up not being that way.”) Context doesn’t seem to matter to him. None of that. Eastern Conference semifinals opener In the game, Boston’s Marcus Smart scored on a pass during a weak moment in the elimination round, and his teammate Jayson Tatum was hit by P.J. Tucker’s backhand.