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KD vs. Giannis twice, LeBron returns for Lakers & Zo’s heating up

LeBron returns to lineup for Lakers


Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James returned to the lineup from a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for six weeks, missing 20 games in the process.


During that stretch, the Lakers went 8-12 despite adding center Andre Drummond to the fold.


James had 16 points on 50% shooting from the field with eight rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes.


It was the most minutes he’s logged since playing 37 minutes against Charlotte back in mid-March.


It’s important to mention here that James is 36 years old and is in his 17th season.


Two nights later, he tallied 19 points on 6-of-11 from the field to go along with seven rebounds, six assists in 28 minutes of action.


Both games James played in resulted in losses; first by four points to Sacramento and then by seven points to Toronto.


However, James did not play most recently against the Denver Nuggets after being held out the final 6:42 of regulation against the Raptors with soreness in his ankle.


He is expected to be held out against the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.


Currently, the Lakers are tied with the Dallas Mavericks for fifth in the Western Conference.


Giannis bests Durant twice


Two former MVPs battled in back-to-back games in what could be a sneak peak at a potential playoff series.


The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks played two games in three nights with playoff implications on the line.


Game one featured both Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokoumnpo going for 40-plus points in an overtime thriller.


Antetokoumnpo’s 49 points upended Durant’s 42 points in a 117-114 win for the Bucks.


Durant missed a potential game-tying three-point basket as time expired.


As for supporting casts, forward Khris Middleton scored 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds while guard Jrue Holiday posted 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.


On the other side, guard Kyrie Irving added 20 points of his own while forward Blake Griffin tallied 11 points and seven rebounds off-the-bench.


In the second game, Milwaukee made a late-game push to secure a 124-118 win over Brooklyn.


This time Antetokoumnpo scored 36 points to go along with 12 rebounds getting major assistance from Middleton’s 23 points on 50 percent shooting and Holiday’s 23 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.


Durant scored 32 points with nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks.


However, the team was led by Irving’s 38 points with six made threes.


Both games lacked the presence of all-star guard James Harden who is still out nursing a hamstring injury.


Milwaukee won the season series 2-1 with Brooklyn winning by two points in early January.


Harden led the way for the Nets that game with 34 points, 12 assists and six rebounds.


Lonzo Ball is heating up


In his fourth season and second in New Orleans, guard Lonzo Ball may be rounding into form.


The former No. 2 overall pick is averaging a career-high 14.3 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game and 5.9 assists per game to go along with a steal and a half per contest.


In addition, he’s averaging a career-best three made three-pointers per game.


He recorded a career-high 33 points twice in the same week recently.


On Saturday, May 1, he did it on 10-of-21 from the field with eight made threes at Minnesota.


He also tallied 11 rebounds and dished out eight assists with three steals.


Three nights later, against Golden State he posted the same 33 points on 11-of-23 shooting with seven made threes.


Both were wins for his Pelicans.


However, the issue has always been consistency for the eldest Ball brother and still is.


On Thursday, May 29, Ball recorded just six points in a win at Oklahoma City.


And in a loss to the Warriors on Monday, May 3 where he posted just seven points.


On a positive note, Ball averaged 8.5 rpg and 7.0 apg in those two games despite shooting a combined 6-of-30 from the field and 1-of-17 from three.


Previous 2nd seeds surging


Last week, both Phoenix and Philadelphia were a game out of 1st place and are both now in first place in their respective conferences.


The Suns are currently tied for first with the Utah Jazz at 47-18 but hold the tiebreaker.


In addition, the team in the Valley have won five straight games and seven of its last 10.


Philadelphia appears to be in a better position with a little more cushion away from the second seed in the Eastern Conference.


The Sixers are a game and a half up on the Brooklyn Nets.


This is largely because while Milwaukee was gaining way on Brooklyn, who have lost their last three games, Philadelphia keeps winning.


The team from the City of Brotherly Love have won five consecutive games as well.


Also, the Bucks have won three straight and are now a game and a half back of the Nets for the second seed and three games behind the Sixers for the first.


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