Manu Ginobili, Ty Lawson

Manu Ginobili very close to making his season debut


After Tony Parker’s clutch basket led to a thrilling victory over one of the west’s elite powers, the Spurs are again showing they will be a team to be reckoned with this season.

It’s scary to think, then, that the Spurs are about to get even better but that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Manu Ginobili, who missed the Spurs’ opener against the Thunder with back spasms, is getting really close to returning to the team and that will spell trouble for the rest of the league:

“He’s really close,” Popovich said. “I think he’ll be OK for the weekend. He hasn’t practiced in five, six, seven days and missed a game (Wednesday) night. It doesn’t make much sense for him to play when he hasn’t practiced or had any contact.”

This is classic Popovich in that he won’t rush any of his star players back for regular season games. He’s the best in the league at stepping back, seeing the big picture and managing his players in a way that promotes the team’s long term success.

Holding out Ginobili for an extra day or two allows Pop to invest time in his other wing players who need developing. Then when Ginobili does return, the Spurs have a deeper roster of players who understand what it takes to win games.

The rest of the NBA should take note. They should also be a bit concerned.

Ginobili will make a big difference for this team and with the Lakers faltering early and the Thunder trying to find their way sans James Harden, the Spurs may just find themselves at the top of the conference again. The more things change, the more they stay the same it seems.

PBT Extra: How did Thunder, Pacers move up in PBT Power Rankings?

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As they do every Monday during the season, the PBT Power Rankings came out and while the top three remained the same there were some climbers.

Specifically, the Thunder at No. 4 and the Pacers at No. 5.

Why they are there is the latest PBT Extra topic with Jenna Corrado. The simple answer is they are both excellent teams. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Paul George are all playing like Top 10 players.

PBT Podcast: We’re back talking Kobe, 76ers, Warriors, Pistons, more

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The ProBasketballTalk NBA podcast is back.

Sure we’re a month into the season, but we’re going to get this podcast rolling again and you can expect us on each Monday and Thursday, with a variety of guests talking everything around the NBA.

Today NBC’s own Dan Feldman joins Kurt Helin to talk Kobe Bryant‘s retirement announcement, and what that means both for the Lakers going forward this season and beyond, but also what that could mean for Byron Scott’s future as the Lakers’ coach.

We also delve into the “showdown” between the Lakers and Sixers on Thursday, talk about the job Brett Brown is doing there as coach (a good one), we talk some Warriors, some Draymond Green, Pistons, Spurs and Pacers to round it all out.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.


Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins probable to play against Dallas Monday

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It’s this simple: The Sacramento Kings are 5-5 when DeMarcus Cousins plays this season, 1-7 when he sits. (And that win number is a big misleading, they looked like they would have beaten Charlotte with him, but when he left with back pain they lost, they could easily be 6-4 with him.)

So it’s good news that Cousins is expected to return to the Sacramento lineup Monday night. Well not good for Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks, but good for the Kings, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea,com.

This season Cousins is averaging 27.9 points and 11.2 rebounds a game, he has a true shooting percentage above the league average (56.3 percent for Cousins) and he has a PER of 27.1 which is sixth best in the league.

Combine him with the numbers Rajon Rondo has put up lately the Kings become much more dangerous. They’d be even scarier if everyone stayed healthy and George Karl would settle on a lineup.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.