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Anthony Davis back for Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 against Phoenix Suns



LOS ANGELES — With the Los Angeles Lakers‘ season on the line, Anthony Davis will return to the lineup Thursday after missing the previous game and a half of L.A.’s first-round series against the Phoenix Suns with a strained groin, the team announced.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters before the game that the decision to play Davis or not would come down to L.A.’s medical staff after they evaluated Davis at the arena.

The seventh-seeded Lakers trail the second-seeded Suns 3-2 in the series, and a loss Thursday would make L.A. just the sixth defending champion in league history to lose in the first round of the playoffs the following year.

Phoenix, on the other hand, could win a playoff series for the first time since 2010.

The Suns anticipated Davis — who averaged 34 points and 10.5 rebounds in L.A.’s two wins in the series — would be available.

“We’ve prepared for Anthony to play,” Suns coach Monty Williams said before the game.

Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who missed Game 4 and exited Game 5 early because of a sore left knee, will also play, Vogel said.

Marc Gasol will start over Andre Drummond at center.

With L.A. needing a win to extend its season, Vogel was asked whether he would allow Davis and Caldwell-Pope a longer leash to push through their injuries than he normally would.

“I mean, it’s just a feel thing,” he said. “We’ll be communicating with the medical staff throughout, and obviously the coaching staff and I will be evaluating and measuring how well those guys are moving if they’re in there. … So we’ll look at the first half, each minute, each play, and evaluate that throughout the night.”

Following the Lakers’ 30-point loss in Game 5, Vogel said his team would “find out what we’re made of” come Game 6.

He was reminded of the quote before the game and asked whether he had any indication of how the Lakers would respond with the moment fast upon them.

“We’ll find out tonight,” Vogel said. “I know in the walk-through today and yesterday’s film session, our guys were in good spirits and confident and ready to go. So I feel like we’re going to have a good night.”

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Brooklyn Nets security guard won’t work in Milwaukee rest of series, league says, after Game 3 incident with Bucks’ PJ Tucker



The NBA has barred the Brooklyn Nets security official who made contact with Milwaukee Bucks forward P.J. Tucker during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, from working the series’ remaining games in Milwaukee, a league spokesperson told ESPN.

He will also be barred from being on the court during the remaining games in Brooklyn, the spokesperson said.

Game 4 of the series is in Milwaukee Sunday on ABC. The Nets lead, 2-1.

The incident happened with 4:21 to go in the third quarter of Milwaukee’s 86-83 win in Game 3, when Tucker and Kevin Durant — longtime friend and fellow players on Texas’ basketball program — got into an argument on the court after Tucker fouled Durant, with both players earning technical fouls.

In the ensuing dead-ball period after the foul was called, the security official — who is employed by the Nets, but has been working with Durant in a similar capacity since before he signed with the Nets in 2019 — bumped into Tucker while people from both teams were trying to de-escalate the situation.

It’s common for security officials to try to break up situations like this when they come up during games. What made this one stand out was the contact the Nets official made with a player on the opposing team.

“My reaction to it or how did it happen, and to be completely frank and honest in the heat of the moment I have no idea who that guy is with or who he is affiliated with,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said after Saturday’s practice. “In the heat of the moment you know people are coming to de-escalate things and try to get things under control and not bump and escalate and have things become a problem than what we’re trying to address or de-escalate. And, in the 24-48 hours since, if it’s a Nets security guy and he’s bumping our player and things like that, that doesn’t seem like that’s the protocol and what we’d expect from any type of security, whether it’s Bucks or Nets or Fiserv or Barclays Center or wherever you may be playing. I don’t think you want to bump and escalate things.”

Forward Bobby Portis, expressed some level of understanding for how things unfolded.

Portis, however, said that while it was “cool” that the guard had the back of Durant and the Nets players in a hostile environment on the road, that the security guard “probably did cross the boundaries with that.”

“It’s kind of crazy that he just attacked PJ, pushed him specifically,” Portis said. “Most of the time, team security comes in and gets in between everybody, so probably did cross the boundaries with that.

“But, at the same time, it’s just heat of the battle. They’re just coming in thinking it’s them against everybody, so they just had that mentality. So that was cool their security guy had their back in that way but still wasn’t cool for him to do that in that sense. Should’ve just stepped in-between PJ and Kevin and broke them both up.

“I know our team security wouldn’t have done that. They’d have just stepped in between.”

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, who said he knows Durant’s bodyguard, said that while he had sympathy for him trying to do his job, his job is to focus on basketball, rather than worry about whether the security guard was right or wrong in how he acted.

“Well, I know KD, and I know his security guard, so I knew that was his security guard,” Holiday said. “I guess, for the most part, maybe my man was doing his job. I don’t know. He bumped Tuck kind of hard, though. I don’t know if he’s supposed to do that. When it comes down to it, man, my job is to play basketball, and that’s really not something that I really worry about. I like the chippiness and the talking of KD and Tuck, so I’m going to back Tuck every time.

“Dude rocked PJ. He’s also a big dude, so I don’t know how you’re going to slide through there and not touch anybody. But yeah, man, it’s something I think the league has to deal with, and the teams have to deal with. It’s not really my job. I don’t really know how that works.

When Portis said that the security guard attacked Tucker, Holiday smiled.

“But attacking Tuck?” Holiday asked. “I don’t think anybody wants to attack Tuck.”

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Danny Green diagnosed with right calf strain, will miss remainder of Philadelphia 76ers’ second-round series vs. Atlanta Hawks



Danny Green will be re-evaluated in two weeks after an MRI confirmed he strained his right calf, the Philadelphia 76ers said on Saturday.

The injury occurred during the Sixers’ victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 on Friday night.

The veteran will miss the rest of this series, and could return in the next round, if Philadelphia advances.

Green left with 8 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter with Philadelphia up 6-4 and was replaced by Matisse Thybulle.

He returned to the bench in the second half wearing a boot on his right leg.

The three-time NBA champion averaged 4.5 points through the first two games of the second round, shooting just 1-for-9 from 3, but dished a career-high eight assists in Philadelphia’s 118-102 win in Game 2 to help even the series.

Thybulle finished with seven points, Furkan Korkmaz set a career playoff high with 14 and Dwight Howard had 12 to give Philadelphia’s second unit a boost.

“The next guy has to step up. Not sure who that is going to be yet,” coach Doc Rivers said after the win Friday.

ESPN Staff Writer Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.

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Utah Jazz’s Mike Conley Jr. out again for Game 3



Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley Jr. will miss his third consecutive game due to a right hamstring strain, the team announced Saturday.

Conley suffered the injury during the first half of Utah’s series-ending win over the Memphis Grizzlies on June 2 and has yet to play in the Western Conference semifinals against the LA Clippers. The Jazz have a 2-0 series lead entering Saturday night’s Game 3 at Staples Center.

Conley, 33, an All-Star for the first time this season, has missed significant time because of injuries to both hamstrings during his two seasons in Utah. He missed six games in February and nine games in late April and May because of tightness in his right hamstring.

He averaged 17.4 points and 8.6 assists per game for the top-seeded Jazz in the first round.

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