The Dallas Mavericks have missed Caron Butler.
It’s been hard to tell because they missed Dirk Nowitzki so much for the nine games he was out, then he returns and they miss Tyson Chandler for two games due to the flu — and not so coincidentally their defense turns into, um, organic fertilizer while he is out.
But they will miss Butler, as you will see tonight when the Mavericks take on the Lakers.
Butler told ESPN Dallas his goal is to return from knee surgery for the playoffs.
“I know what muscles to keep fired, what little things to do,” Butler said. “I just need some time. I’ve been through this before when I was 15 years old and it took about 4.5 months to come back from, and I was rolling. I was good. I was healthy. So I just need some time.”
With Butler the Mavericks had put together one of the best records in the West, they were talked about as a potential threat to the Lakers. With Butler they might be able to regain that reputation and see if it was a reality.
Don’t expect the Mavericks to make any moves. The latest reports — again from ESPN Dallas — are they are standing pat with a month to go before the trade deadline. If the team is still slumping in two weeks, that may change. But for now, don’t expect a big move.
Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.
This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.
Here was his January try:
As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.
But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.
This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.
At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.
So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.
What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:
Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.
“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”
‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.
But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.