UPDATE 3:21 pm: He had it — Webster went under the knife Monday to remove part of a herniated disc in his back that had been giving him problems, according to the Star Tribune.
No word on a recovery timetable, but four to six weeks sounds likely. Someone on the Timberwolves needs to pick up the scoring on the wing with Webster out — Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson will get the call. We’ll see how that goes, but it’s not a cause for optimism.
1:53 pm: Martell Webster was scoring 12 points a game and looking pretty good in Minnesota through the first six games of this preseason, until back spasms sidelined him.
Except, it may be more than that, according to the Star-Tribune. Webster will find out Monday if he needs surgery.
“It’s definitely not long term,” Webster said before saying surgery will be a topic discussed at the doctor’s. “I’m waiting and keeping my fingers crossed.
“Maybe not, ” he said, meaning surgery might not be required. “We’re going to take it one step at a time. I’m not going to come back until I’m fully ready because I don’t want to make the problem chronic.”
He will not play when the Timberwolves open the season Wednesday. When he will play remains a question mark.
But on a team that needs scoring from the wings (unless you really think Beasley is the man there), he will be missed. Our advice: Just get the ball to Kevin Love more. Please.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.