Dirk Nowitzki

Nowitzki out Monday, still no plans for surgery. Yet.

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UPDATE 11:36 pm: Dirk Nowitzki spoke to the media and said no surgery planned. Yet. Here’s the money Dirk quote from Mike Fisher at Dallasbasketball.com:

“I’m doing everything I can not to have surgery,” Nowitzki said, stressing his wish to be “conservative.” “I guess that’s obvious that I really don’t want it done now. If I want to do it, I would love to do it after the season, get through the season somehow.”

Does it feel like he is postponing the inevitable to anyone else? I get he did it last year and his knee came around, but this year it feels different. We’ll see, but the Mavs will be in a fight to miss the playoffs in a deep West this season and the longer he is out the smaller their margin for error.

10:39 pm: Dirk Nowitzki didn’t play Monday night. Which during the preseason and him battling sore knee is not really surprising.

But Nowitzki is a guy who has had his knee drained twice since training camp started and is contemplating surgery. Then before the game Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said this (via the Dallas Morning News):

“Dirk’s not playing tonight. He’ll talk to you after the game. Next subject.’’


Carlisle then went through the whole “don’t jump to conclusions” thing but pretty much everyone is jumping there in their heads already. (PBT will bring you what Nowitzki says after the game.)

Pretty soon reporters were asking Carlisle what he would do without Nowitzki for a period of time.

“That’s a question that there’s a lot of different ways we could go with that,’’ he said. “First of all, I’d say let’s not make that assumption necessarily. And there’s a lot of different things we can do. But tonight, it’s premature for that conversation.’’

Is it? Will it still be premature in 24 hours?

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry
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The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.