Add Nene to “will miss camp, be ready for season” list

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While John Wall is the guy we all will be watching — and the guy who will get too much credit or criticism for whatever happens with the Wizards this season — Nene might be the second most important player on that team.

After years of enigmatic and underwhelming big men in our nation’s capital, with Nene the Wizards have a guy who can defend the rim, is solid defending the pick-and-roll and can score from the block.

Well, he can do it all when healthy. But he battled plantar fasciitis last season, an ailment that requires rest to heal, so playing for Brazil in the Olympics this summer was not ideal. The condition lingers. Which brings us to this tweet from Michael Lee of the Washington Post.

 

Grunfeld also said the plan is to bring him along slowly, to be cautious.

If the Wizards want to turn their dreams of a playoff spot into reality, they are going to need 70+ healthy games from Nene in the middle. They are going to need other things as well — a steady Wall jump shot, floor spacing shooting from Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza, for a start — but Nene is a big part of the puzzle.

So for him to be ready by the start of the season is a good thing, Wizards fans.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)