Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs

Lakers’ Matt Barnes to have knee surgery

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UPDATE 7:21 pm: Barnes will undergo surgery early next week for a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee.

He is expected to be out at least two months, which means a March return (before the playoffs). This will mean more minutes for Ron Artest and likely Luke Walton behind him. The Lakers may also use Kobe at the three and Shannon Brown at the two at times.

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12:00 pm: Outside of Andrew Bynum’s knee and the cavalcade of Kobe Bryant injuries that seem to not faze him in the slightest, one of the biggest boons the Lakers have received on their way to their championships has been good health. But after Matt Barnes sprained his knee in last night’s win over the Hornets, Phil Jackson is “concerned” the injury may be more serious than that.

Barnes is scheduled for an MRI today to determine the severity of the injury.

Losing Barnes for any extended period of time would be fairly devastating for the Lakers, even with their depth.  Barnes has been the savvier, more consistent, more stable Ron Artest this year while Artest struggles with both his shot and his continuing issues in the triangle, as well as some tufts with Phil Jackson. Barnes gives the Lakers a toughness that Jackson appreciates as well as being able to space the floor. He backs down from approximately no one and will give the hard foul when at all necessary.

Lamar Odom has been nicked up, Kobe Bryant is dealing with a myriad of issues, Steve Blake tweaked an ankle last night, Andrew Bynum is always one bad step away from crumbling to dust like he’d just made out with Medusa, and Derek Fisher keeps having to turn down requests from the Smithsonian to put him in the Museum of Natural History. Losing Barnes would be a pretty terrible way to start 2011, a year which the Lakers need to go better than the end of 2010.

Then again, the Lakers have had pretty stellar luck during this run, and the test could reveal nothing more than a sprain.

Kings’ Rudy Gay suffers apparent torn left Achilles tendon, would be done for season

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This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.

Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.

Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.

Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings,  and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.

Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.

That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).