San Antonio has held its own just fine without Manu Ginobili — they have gone 10-7 without him and held on as the sixth seed in a packed West — but they are nearing the end of that trial.
So reports the Express-News.
Though still a few weeks away from returning to the court, Ginobili is out of his post-surgery splint and has been cleared to do some basketball work with his repaired hand.
“He’s shooting mid-range shots, lefty,” coach Gregg Popovich said Monday. “He’ll be cleared to go one-on-one in a week or so.”
The timetable is still a mid-February return, somewhere during their Rodeo road trip.
When he broke his hand on Jan. 2, Ginobili was playing maybe the best basketball of his career, scoring 17.4 points per game while shooting 59 percent and also creating shots for his teammates. Get him back — combined with the depth that has and the Spurs start to look like the kind of team the elite in the West would like to avoid early in the playoffs. They will be a very tough out.
John Wall is one of the hardest players to guard in the NBA. J.R. Smith found that out the hard way on Tuesday night when Wall sent him flying with a behind-the-back dribble before making an easy layup.
The Wizards beat the Cavs, who are now 13-5 on the season.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.