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NBA PM: Hawks, Carroll Get Good News

Fortunately, DeMarre Carroll’s knee is only sprained. But can Atlanta win if he isn’t 100 percent?

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Hawks Receive Good News About Carroll’s Knee

Atlanta Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll is, without question, one of the Atlanta Hawks’ most important players in this Eastern Conference Finals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Carroll is one of the team’s best perimeter defenders and must do a great job guarding LeBron James in order for the Hawks to have a chance in the series. Not to mention, he was a huge contributor for Atlanta throughout the first two rounds of the postseason. Against the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards, Carroll was great on the offensive end (averaging 17.1 points) and on the boards (averaging 6.8 rebounds) for the Hawks.

That’s why the air was sucked out of Philips Arena last night when Carroll injured his left knee during the Hawks’ Game 1 loss against the Cavaliers.

With five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Carroll got the ball in transition and then collapsed to the floor as he tried to drive to the basket. It seemed like a non-contact injury, which is usually a bad sign.

Making things even scarier was Carroll’s reaction, as he immediately started to scream in agony and writhe on the floor before being helped to the locker room by teammates.


Fortunately, the Hawks received excellent news about Carroll’s injury this afternoon. An X-ray was negative and an MRI revealed that it’s only a sprain, so Atlanta fans can rest easy knowing that there’s nothing structurally wrong with Carroll’s knee.

In fact, Carroll may actually be able to play in Game 2 on Saturday. He’s being listed as questionable at the moment and the Hawks will continue to update his status as the game gets closer and they have more information.

This is obviously great news for the Hawks and Carroll (who is a free agent after this season) considering how bad the injury looked.

However, even if Carroll has to miss just one game or if he plays and isn’t at 100 percent, that will still be a tough blow to the Hawks. This obviously could’ve been much worse, but the Hawks also have to be hoping that the sprain won’t limit one of their most important players in such a big series.

Even before the injury, Carroll wasn’t very effective in Game 1. He had one of his worst games of the postseason, finishing with just five points. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, hitting just 2-of-7 shots from the field including 1-of-4 from three-point range. James also had a monster game, contributing 31 points (on 12-of-26 shooting from the field), eight rebounds and six assists.

These Game 1 struggles are part of the reason why Cleveland ran away with the contest and it was clear Atlanta would need more from Carroll on both ends going forward in this series, which is why this injury is still pretty concerning despite not being severe.

If Carroll isn’t able to play or is limited, the Hawks would likely turn to Kent Bazemore. The 25-year-old played well in Game 1 (finishing with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field in 16 minutes), but he has never started a playoff game in his NBA career and is only averaging 16.5 minutes this postseason.

The Hawks are already missing one of their best perimeter defenders in Thabo Sefolosha, who sustained a season-ending injury when he broke his right fibula and damaged the ligaments during an incident involving police outside of a New York nightclub last month. Sefolosha – who was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct – has maintained that the police were responsible for his injuries. The NBA and NBPA have said that they are investigating the incident.

Losing Carroll or not having him completely healthy would be very difficult for Atlanta to overcome, especially since he’s been tasked with guarding James and has been one of their most productive two-way players during these playoffs.

Who Made the All-NBA Teams?

This afternoon, the NBA announced the All-NBA First, Second and Third Teams.

This year’s All-NBA First Team features Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.

The All-NBA Second Team consists of Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers, Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls and DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings.

The All-NBA Third Team is Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs.

These are chosen by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. The media votes for All-NBA First, Second and Third Teams by position with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis. Voters were asked to select two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, choosing players at the position they play regularly.

Making an All-NBA Team is a huge deal for a player. Not only is it a great honor that shows a player is respected, it also can trigger contract bonuses, come up in future negotiations and help a player receive endorsement deals (or make more from their existing deals).

In fact, the All-NBA selections are very important these days, since young players can be eligible for a super-max contract (30 percent of the salary cap as opposed to 25 percent) if they’re selected to an All-NBA Team twice while still on their rookie-scale contract. Rookie-scale players can also become eligible for this larger deal if they win league MVP or are voted an All-Star starter twice while on that deal.

The following players didn’t make an All-NBA Team, but they did receive votes (their voting point totals are included): Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio, 155; Paul Millsap, Atlanta, 70; Al Horford, Atlanta, 64 (1 First Team vote); John Wall, Washington, 50; Jimmy Butler, Chicago, 32; Damian Lillard, Portland, 22; Draymond Green, Golden State, 9; Zach Randolph, Memphis, 7; Jeff Teague, Atlanta, 7; Andrew Bogut, Golden State, 6; Nikola Vucevic, Orlando, 6; DeMar DeRozan, Toronto, 3; Rudy Gay, Sacramento, 3; Andre Drummond, Detroit, 2; Gordon Hayward, Utah, 2; Kyle Korver, Atlanta, 2; Joakim Noah, Chicago, 2; Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas, 2; Dwyane Wade, Miami, 2; Carmelo Anthony, New York, 1; Tyson Chandler, Dallas, 1; Mike Conley, Memphis, 1; Brook Lopez, Brooklyn, 1; Kevin Love, Cleveland, 1; Kyle Lowry, Toronto, 1; Khris Middleton, Milwaukee, 1.


Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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