Tim Duncan

Popovich: Don’t expect big changes to San Antonio

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That one hurt.

Spurs fans have brushed off the whole “the Spurs are dead” talk, but the first round loss to the Grizzlies after a 61-win regular season made it feel real. The way the Grizzlies were more physical made it real.

So, now what San Antonio?

Gregg Popovich told the Express-News Spurs blog not to expect much.

“There will be some changes, but we never get drastic in that sense,” Popovich said. “Somebody asked me yesterday, ‘We lost, do we blow it up’?? That’s the most preposterous attitude you can have.”

There also isn’t a lot of room — the Spurs have $74 million in payroll on the books for next season, which is not only over the current cap it is over the current luxury tax threshold. They can lower that some by not picking up some options, but not a ton. Who knows what the new collective bargaining agreement will look like, but the Spurs will not have much room to maneuver.

And there are big questions. The Spurs have locked up Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but next year Tim Duncan will turn 36 in the final year of his deal. Do you bring him back? Try to trade him? Do the Spurs need to find a new big man to anchor their team?

Getting a guy through free agency is not that simple. As Timothy Varner noted at 48 Minutes of Hell, the problem is that San Antonio has never been a draw, playing with Tim Duncan was always the draw. And it’s not really one anymore.

Maybe it’s not time to blow it up, but it is time to think about some big changes in the next few years. This era is over.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.