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Report: Damian Lillard has strained Achilles, is doubtful fo

Damian Lillard has suffered a strained Achilles tendon and his availability for Game 4 of the Milwaukee Bucks' first-round NBA playoff series versus the Indiana Pacers is in doubt, as reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania. The star guard is currently wearing a walking boot because of the injury.

Lillard hurt himself in Game 3 on Friday night while taking the ball to the basket in the first quarter. He landed hard on his left leg and appeared to injure his knee. Lillard was taken to the locker room for examination, but returned to the game in the second quarter.

The injury appeared to affect Lillard in the second half and the Bucks had Patrick Beverley bring the ball up the court on most possessions. The eight-time All-Star scored 17 points after halftime and looked as if he might lift Milwaukee to a win. But he wore down toward the end of the game and wasn't a factor in the fourth quarter or overtime.

Following the game, Bucks coach Doc Rivers told reporters that Lillard hadn't injured his knee, but rather his Achilles.

"Significant" soreness in that Achilles has been an issue Lillard has played through in recent weeks, according to Charania.

Lillard averaged 32.3 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 44 percent from 3-point range in his three playoff games for Milwaukee.

Injuries already left the Bucks short-handed going into the playoffs with Giannis Antetokounmpo out due to a calf injury. Khris Middleton was also questionable for Game 3 with an ankle injury, but scored 42 points with two game-tying 3-pointers late in the contest.

Without Lillard and Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee's chances of rallying from a 2–1 series deficit appear to be in serious jeopardy. Even if the Bucks somehow prevailed in this series, how far could they be expected to advance without the two stars that made them an NBA championship contender?

Game 4 of the Bucks-Pacers series is scheduled for Sunday in Indianapolis. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET, with the broadcast televised on TNT.

  • Lakers defeat Nuggets to avoid elimination: 'We've given ourselves another life'Dan WoikeSun, Apr 28, 2024, 10:13 AM GMT+7·5 min read37Lakers forward LeBron James, center, drives to the basket against Nuggets forwards Aaron Gordon, left, and Michael Porter Jr. during the first half of Game 4 on Saturday at Crypto.com Arena. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)LeBron James, in the Lakers’ white uniform, stood at the scorer’s table, filled his hands with chalk and tossed it into the evening air — the same as always.Yet Saturday, even if it was like the previous 11 meetings with the Denver Nuggets, was always going to be different.Before Saturday, a loss didn’t mean the Lakers might make a coaching change.Before Saturday, a loss didn’t mean the Lakers were going to have to reimagine their roster.Before Saturday, a loss didn’t mean James might’ve thrown that chalk into the air for the last time as a Laker.Read more: Plaschke: Darvin Ham is on the hot seat as the Lakers are on the brink of eliminationThe stakes were so high — but the feeling was so familiar.With 12 minutes left — two hours or so since James threw the powder into the air — the Lakers were at that point again.Stand or fall. Resist or crumble. Lead or lose.Back to Denver or off to Cancún.For the first time in this Western Conference playoff series — really for the first time since the end of the 2022 season — the Lakers didn’t fall apart against the Nuggets’ second-half force. They didn’t panic as Denver pushed and as the Lakers’ shots rimmed in and out.James drove through the Denver defense to hit the big buckets in the fourth quarter, D’Angelo Russell bounced back from a nightmare Game 3, Austin Reaves was aggressive and Anthony Davis dominated as the Lakers won 119-108 in Game 4 at Crypto.com Arena to extend their series with the Nuggets at least through Monday.Lakers forward Anthony Davis tries to steal the ball from Nuggets center Nikola Jokic during the first half of Game 4 on Saturday. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)“Beautiful day to be alive in order to stay alive,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “That was the message yesterday and the message today. Just win one game.”The win ended a stretch of 11 straight losses to the Nuggets.“We get another opportunity to go play one more game. And if we win, we'll come back and play another and keep moving from there,” Reaves said. “I obviously wish we won 4-0. The odds aren't stacked in our favor. But anytime we can keep ourselves floating above water, we have an opportunity to do something special. And we're ready for the challenge.”James scored 30 points, Russell and Reaves had 21 each and Davis scored 25 with 23 rebounds.Nikola Jokic led Denver with 33 to go with 14 assists and 14 rebounds.Russell, for the second time this series, bounced back from a bad game with a strong one — finishing with a team-best plus-15 rating.“I mean, this isn’t a place that you can come out and try to dominate the game when you got LeBron and AD right next to you. So, for me to come out [in] Game 3 and not score and then come out and be ultra aggressive and do all that extra stuff, that’s not really me,” Russell said. “I know that’s what people were expecting me to do, so it may be easy for me to prepare my mind for that approach and let the game come to me and be aggressive and it was as simple as that. We looked up, everybody was aggressive, everybody was pitching in.”The Lakers, as they have all series, outplayed the Nuggets early, outscoring them by five to extend their point differential to 27 points in first quarters.That lead grew to double figures in the second quarter, the fourth time that has happened this series despite the Nuggets' spotless record.It grew to 15 early in the third quarter, as Denver took a timeout to try to gather itself. And while Jokic sank consecutive threes, the Lakers, for the first time this series, punched back.The Nuggets' late-game shot making, which has broken the Lakers’ backs for the last 15 months, surprisingly dried up.And the Lakers’ attention to detail was at a series high, led by James, who was extra demonstrative. He screamed at the Lakers’ assistant coaches for not calling a timeout to trigger a fourth-quarter review. And after the Lakers got beat on a backdoor cut by Aaron Gordon, he yelled at Reaves.The intensity, which has dipped throughout the series, never faded, the Nuggets never leading.“The only opportunity for us is just to play the next game. And we’ve given ourselves another life. We’ve given ourselves another lifeline and it’s a one-game series for us,” James said. “…Monday’s game is the most important game of the season for us and we understand that and we know that, so it’s that stage where you lose, you’re done. You win and you keep going. So, it’s not much to talk about.”Not yet, at least. The big decisions, the big moments move forward to a Game 5 when they start over again.“It sucks to get swept. Nobody wants that feeling, especially going into the summer. You gotta live with that feeling for the rest of the summer. So we didn't really talk about it, not just me and Bron, but the entire team. We know what's at stake,” Davis said. “Like I said, nobody wants that feeling in their mouth for the rest of the summer. So the way we play tonight is the way we gotta play for the rest of the series: a sense of desperation and coming out with a sense of urgency."Sign up for our weekly newsletter on all things Lakers.This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.