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There wasn't anything going on Monday with regard to actual games, as it was a day off for the West and the Eastern Conference Finals won't begin until Wednesday night. But there were still happenings off the court, most notably a couple injury updates from the Clippers and Suns. And Team USA picked up some commitments ahead of next month's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with eight of the 12 available spots now spoken for. Let's get into the Daily Dose.
Leonard, Paul both ruled out for Game 2
The Clippers and Suns will both be without a starter for Game 2 of their series Tuesday night, as Kawhi Leonard (sprained ACL) and Chris Paul (health and safety protocols) have been ruled out. Neither player has a timeline for return, with there being some question as to whether or not Leonard will be able to return at all this postseason. As for Paul, Sunday night it was reported by Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes that the point guard remains symptom-free after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. With that in mind, the focus regarding CP3 now turns to Game 3 Thursday night in Los Angeles. His absence means another start for Cameron Payne, and Devin Booker will see an ample amount of time on the ball as a primary playmaker as well.
Moving back to the Clippers, Leonard's knee isn't the only concern at this point in the series. Marcus Morris, who was limited during Game 1 due to a sore knee, is considered to be questionable for Game 2. Ivica Zubac started the second half of the series opener with Morris sidelined for further treatment, and he could move back into the starting lineup if Morris can't play Tuesday.
This would also impact DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 11 points in the second quarter Sunday afternoon. This was his first extended run since Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Leonard's absence means another start for Terance Mann, who knocked down all three of his 3-point attempts in Game 1 and finished with nine points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal in 27 minutes.
Team USA beginning to take shape for Tokyo
On Monday it was reported by multiple outlets that up to eight players have committed to representing the United States in the Tokyo Olympics. Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, James Harden, Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum have all committed to playing, which leaves four spots for Jerry Colangelo and Gregg Popovich to fill. Harden certainly looked limited in his return to game action after suffering a Grade 2 hamstring strain, but the hope is that he'll be good to go when the Summer Olympics begin July 23.
Two players who won't be in the running for a spot on the team are Stephen Curry and Donovan Mitchell, as both withdrew their names from consideration. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Curry cited offseason commitments as his reason for declining an invitation to play. As for Mitchell, he's decided to use the offseason to recover from the right ankle injury that limited him during Utah's second-round series loss to the Clippers.
76ers' Simmons appears unlikely to play in Olympics
Ben Simmons' season came to an unceremonious end Sunday night, as the 76ers lost at home to the Hawks in Game 7. His shooting woes, and subsequent reluctance to attempt shots, became the focus of many and the question now is how Simmons will go about addressing this issue. It was reported on Monday that Simmons is now doubtful to represent Australia in the Summer Olympics, with the Boomers scheduled to begin their pre-Olympic training camp later this week in Los Angeles. Simmons is instead expected to focus on skill development.
Monday afternoon 76ers coach Doc Rivers said that the team has a plan to help Simmons address his shooting issues, most notably at the foul line. Due to his struggles there Simmons didn't touch the ball much in crunch time during the second round, at times leaving Philadelphia to play 4-on-5 offensively. If the 76ers are to be true title contenders, and the franchise remains committed to Simmons, that will have to change.
Billups, Hammon to get second interview in Portland
The coaching carousel continues to churn along, and on Monday it was reported that the Trail Blazers plan to conduct second interviews with both Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and Spurs assistant Becky Hammon. Billups was one of two names mentioned by Damian Lillard when he was asked about possible head coaching candidates, with the other (Jason Kidd) removing himself from consideration.
Billups is in his first season as a coach at the NBA level, but he's a popular name due to his experience as a player. He has also been in contact with multiple teams that are still searching for a head coach. Hammon, who would be the first female head coach in league history if hired, was also an accomplished player and has worked under Gregg Popovich for the last seven seasons. Another name in the running for the Portland job is Nets assistant Mike D'Antoni, according to ESPN's Wojnarowski.