John Wall’s return to the NBA from a stress fracture in his patella is not going to come with the lightning speed of him on the dribble. No, it’s going to come in small, measured steps.
Which is what the Wizards announced Friday through a statement from the team physician, Dr. David Altchek, as reported at CSNWashington.com.
“John’s examination today showed improvement in his stress injury that will allow him to begin ramping up his activity level. There is still some irritation in the knee which we have treated over his last several visits with a series of three lubricating Synvisc injections, the last of which was given today. He will continue to be evaluated on an ongoing basis.”
What does that mean? Small steps.
There is running and conditioning and a lot of steps to get back on the practice court, then eventually into games. This means Wall can start to get on that path. But as my man Ben Standig at CSN notes, that is very different from a timetable.
Meanwhile, the Wizards are a league worst 3-16. Which means there is no reason to rush Wall’s process — the playoffs ship has sailed (Washington is 7.5 games out of the playoffs just 19 games into the season and would need to leapfrog seven teams to get the 8 seed). Time to think long term, and Wall’s long-term health.
Of course, Wall is eligible for a contract extension this summer. That is not a conversation the Wizards are ready to have.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.