Kobe to skip Lakers preseason game with shoulder strain

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It’s Kobe Bryant and an injury, so you know if this were a regular season game he would be out there on the court. He is the Black Knight from “Holy Grail” — ‘Tis just a flesh wound.

But it’s a preseason game so Kobe is going to sit out against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. It is not serious and he is expected to play for the Lakers on Saturday.

The best part is how Kobe injured his shoulder — dunking all over Antawn Jamison in practice (the second dunk on the video below, at the :16 second mark). According to the LA Daily News, Kobe didn’t notice it at the time and kept practicing, did ball handling drills and even dunking more. After practice when he cooled down he started to notice it.

No Kobe means more Jodie Meeks. And what person that paid for a ticket can complain about that? Nobody, that’s who.

Not a big deal, but it does speak to the challenge before Lakers coach Mike Brown to keep Kobe and Steve Nash healthy. Which means keeping their minutes down and not leaning on his stars as heavily as he did last season.

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.)