UPDATE 1:25 pm: McGrady is now listed as probable for tonight’s game against the Celtics. 9:38 am: For one game, we all saw the Tracy McGrady we wanted to see, wanted to believe was still in him. A guy who could drive and pass or hit the three. The guy who could just take over a game.
In his second game, we saw the Tracy McGrady we’ve seen all to much of in recent years — he was limping on the court and hit just 5 of 14 shots.
McGrady said afterward he knocked knees twice and wouldn’t guarantee he’ll be healthy enough to face the Celtics tonight in Boston.
“Hopefully it’s not sore [Tuesday],” McGrady said. “Maybe I’ll lace them up and play, but we’ll see. We’ll see how it feels before the game…”
“In the first half, I knocked knees with somebody. I didn’t really feel it until I came in here and sat 15-20 minutes and went out,” McGrady said. “Toward the end, I banged knees again. Coach saw me limping, so he pulled me out.”
This sounds like the kind of thing that is sore, but where there is no structural damage (although sore could keep him out tonight). Nothing serious would be a good thing for the McGrady comeback, and for the Knicks who clearly need his offense — New York scored a season-low 67 points with the slower McGrady running the show. Part of that slower play for McGrady was due to him getting 32 minutes of burn in the previous game while still trying to get his game stamina back.
Hopefully for the Knicks and their fans, it’s not more than that.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.