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Pacers' LeVert in protocol for play-in

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The short-handed Indiana Pacers will be down at least one more player for Tuesday night's play-in game against the Charlotte Hornets after forward Caris LeVert entered the league's health and safety protocol.

Team officials made the announcement about five hours before tipoff and a day after coach Nate Bjorkgren said LeVert was feeling better and was expected to play after missing the second half of Sunday's victory over Toronto with a migraine headache.

It's the latest twist for the Pacers in an injury-plagued season. Starting forward T.J. Warren hasn't played since late December because of a stress fracture in his left foot. Center Myles Turner hasn't played since mid-April because of a right foot injury. And now LeVert, who had surgery earlier this year to remove a cancerous growth in his kidney after being acquired in a January trade with Brooklyn, can't return for 10 to 14 days - if the Pacers are still playing.

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Wizards look to stay hot vs. Celtics

BOSTON (AP) The Eastern Conference play-in tournament game between the No. 7 seed Celtics and No. 8 Wizards is a matchup of teams that ended the regular season on divergent paths.

Washington opened the season 3-12 and was on hiatus for two weeks in January because of coronavirus-related issues before rallying to finish the season 17-6.

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Spurs visit Grizzlies for must-win game

The San Antonio Spurs lost four straight games and 10 of 12 as they limped to the finish line of the regular season.

But looking lost and playing poorly doesn't matter now, as a second chance begins Wednesday night when the Spurs visit the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA play-in game.

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NBA makes exception for shot block title

NEW YORK (AP) Upon further review, Indiana's Myles Turner is the NBA's blocked-shot champion for this season.

The NBA said Tuesday that Turner will be recognized as the winner in that category, even though he did not play in the required 70% of games that are typically needed for someone to qualify as a statistical leader.

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Lowry first decision will be on Olympics

The next big decision that Toronto guard Kyle Lowry makes won't be the one that decides his NBA future.

His Olympic future will be settled first.

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Last-place Rockets still optimistic

HOUSTON (AP) Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone said Tuesday that he isn't sure who will be attending the June 22 draft lottery when the team finds out where it will pick in July's draft.

But based on the luck he had in his first season as GM, he joked that he's hoping it's not him.

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Marv Albert to retire after East finals

NEW YORK (AP) From Michael Jordan soaring through the air to Willis Reed simply walking onto the court, Marv Albert supplied the sound that went with the sights.

Albert has called numerous sports during a Hall of Fame career that spans nearly 60 years, though he is mostly linked to basketball.

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Raptors longing to return to Toronto

Fred VanVleet has nothing but great things to say about Tampa. He likes the food. The people in the arena are friendly. The temporary accommodations for the Toronto Raptors were as good as anyone could expect. He didn't even mind that an alligator was living in his backyard.

The Raptors' guard has just one complaint.

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Wolves to build around trio of stars

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) More than a year after acquiring D'Angelo Russell as the pick-and-roll initiator for pal Karl-Anthony Towns, the Minnesota Timberwolves finally closed this season with a full month of games that both halves of their star pairing were available to play in.

Their biggest takeaway from the longest stretch of time Towns and Russell have had together on the floor was that they're actually only two parts of what has quickly become a formidable trio.

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Injuries likely to impact playoffs

The NBA playoffs should be entertaining, as they always are.

Just don't count on the basketball being as good as usual.

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