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Phil Jackson is tired of waiting for Andrew Bynum


We told you this weekend, Andrew Bynum is close to returning. No, we really mean it this time.

Phil Jackson reacts to that like a coach — he wants to win games now. He knows he needs Andrew Bynum healthy come May and June to get his three-peat, but he sees Indiana being able to get into the paint on his team and nobody defending the rim and he gets frustrated.

So he does a little backhand slap of Andrew Bynum for not being healed on schedule. As if Bynum has ever healed on schedule. But Jackson came off as frustrated with Bynum to the Los Angeles Times.

“We had hoped that (Bynum’s return date) would be three weeks about three weeks ago,” Jackson said Sunday before detailing the months-long wait for Bynum’s return from knee surgery last July.

“This [surgery] is something that was supposed to take place after the season and he was supposed to be ready by the season, and we built our team around that fact. Well, everything got delayed,” Jackson said. “His operation wasn’t done on time, Andrew was late to his operation, there was a whole myriad of things that have gone on in this thing.

“But the type of operation he has is a very unique operation. It’s not just a simple operation, so that changed the complexity of all this.”

Jackson is being a bit disingenuous here. Bynum’s surgery after the season was delayed so he could go to the World Cup and Europe for vacation — something Jackson encouraged him to do. Don’t go blaming Bynum now for something you were good with in July. (The surgery was pushed back two weeks a second time due to the availability of the doctor, unrelated to Bynum.)

Then the surgery ended up being more complicated and requiring a longer healing process than had been anticipated. It was going to take time. Still is taking time. Why the Lakers expected Bynum back on their or their doctor’s timetables remains a mystery. Bynum heals on Bynum time. Always has.

And in the end, as frustrated as Jackson gets, he needs Bynum at the end of the season more than the start. So he needs to let Bynum heal, at his own pace.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

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.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

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, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

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.

Kobe shotchart 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.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“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.