It was the moment Sunday when Lakers fans saw another title flash before their eyes.
Late in the third quarter Pau Gasol went to the basket for a dunk and got a hard (but clean) foul by Nene.
When Gasol landed and crashed to the floor, his knee bent back awkwardly. He stayed down for a minute, got up and shot free throws, then soon after came out and went to the locker room. He came back out and played the rest of the game without a brace or tape, but the Lakers will not mess around with this. Gasol told the Los Angeles Times he thinks he’ll be fine.
“It allowed me to keep playing, so hopefully it will be nothing,” Gasol said. “There’s some swelling in there.”
Still, the Lakers are giving him an MRI to be sure, with the results expected Monday. Don’t be shocked if he gets a little extra time on the bench over the final 10 days of the season.
Andrew Bynum sat the end of that game after Lamar Odom fell into him and Bynum tweaked his surgically repaired right knee as well. Again the Lakers don’t expect any long-term issues, it was minor, but they will treat this as if his knee is made of eggshells. Which it may be.
The Lakers know that Bynum and Gasol healthy is the key to their title hopes. So expect extreme caution.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade on time they faced off 1-on-1: “We was out there killing each other”
James: “We played 1-on-1 one time in our whole life, and it was during the finals. Eastern Conference finals 2010 (they meant the 2010-11 season, that ECF was in May 2011). Our first year.”
Wade: “It was more-so to set a precedent for our teammates because we got our ass kicked the game before, Game 1 by Chicago. They tore us.”
James: “MVP Rose tore our ass up in Chicago, and we came in the next day, we was like we need to set the tone, so we was out there killing each other playing 1-on-1.”
Wade: “We never finished.”
James: “We never finished. We got to the point where (head coach Erik Spoelstra) blew the whistle, like bring it in.”
Wade: “Everybody was just watching us. We was going at it. We competitive, we was going at it, but we was setting a tone for this is how it’s gotta go. You gotta be able to go at this. We’re two of the best players in this game. We going at each other in the Eastern Conference finals right now. We out there killing each other, and this is what ya’ll better do tomorrow. Because we got beat on the boards by 20-something and we have to come with it, and we won four in a row.”
A 2011 Heat practice? There has to be video of this somewhere.
Miami did win that Eastern Conference Finals, but LeBron and Wade should have gone at it again during the NBA Finals, where the Heat lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.
Report: Rockets’ Luc Mbah a Moute expected to miss 2-3 weeks
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s first inclination might be to shorten his rotation. He should mostly resist it.
Home-court advantage is important, and P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza can play more power forward (with Eric Gordon absorbing more minutes at small forward). But it’s also better to play Troy Williams more now than to wear down the players Houston will rely on in the playoffs, when D’Antoni will surely keep his rotation tight.
PBT Podcast: Early trade deadline breakdown with Dan Feldman
The NBA’s trade market did not collapse after the Jahlil Okafor trade.
There’s more to come, but with the trade deadline is less than two months away, we have more questions than answers. DeAndre Jordan very likely could be on the move from the Clippers (and Lou Williams, too). But what is Memphis going to do about Mark Gasol? New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins? Oklahoma City with Paul George? And if any of those guys are available, who is a buyer? Cleveland? Milwaukee? Portland?
Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports break down the high end of the trade market, plus talk about other guys who could be on the move — maybe Nikola Mirotic from Chicago, and what about someone like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Charlotte — before Feb. 8 gets here. The last couple of trade deadlines have been interesting, but will we see a move that changes the landscape of the NBA playoffs in a meaningful way?