Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap, Manu Ginobili

Ginobili “satisfied” with return to Spurs, 8 points in 16 minutes

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It wasn’t the kind of performance that would land him in PBT’s “Three Stars of the Night” but for Spurs fans, it was like seeing the North Star and getting a sense of bearing.

Manu Ginobili was back on the court for the Spurs Saturday night during San Antonio’s win over the Jazz, scoring 8 points in 16 minutes of play.

Ginobili was out with back spasms, a condition that can reoccur, so of course the first questions were about how he felt. His answer showed he still has his sense of humor, via Mike Monroe of the Express-News:

“It felt very good,” he said, smiling broadly. “Of course, very happy to be — wait, ‘happy’ is not a word anymore — but I was very satisfied. I was able to play for a few minutes. I felt better than expected….

“My back is a little bit tight, but I’m telling you, not as bad as I thought and not as tight as I thought it was going to be. So, great. Tomorrow I’ll come back to the gym, get some treatment and stretch. But overall, I’m very satisfied.”

That’s good news for the Spurs, who are off to a fast 3-0 start (you expected otherwise?).

It’s still something to monitor, but this should make Spurs fans happy… er, satisfied.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.