Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili leaves with leg injury, questionable for Spurs next game in OKC


Late in the first quarter of the Spurs’ win over the Celtics on Saturday, Manu Ginobili went down hard after colliding with Boston’s Chris Wilcox.

The injury was reported to be a contusion to the left quadriceps, and Ginobili did not return.

His status is up in the air for the team’s next game, a trip to Oklahoma City to face Kevin Durant and the Thunder.

From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ginobili’s availability for Monday’s road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder is not known, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did not sound optimistic.

“He got a thigh contusion just above his knee,” Popovich said, “and one would think he is going to be stiffer than hell tomorrow. It’s hard to believe he’d be ready day after tomorrow for Oklahoma, but I’m not sure.”

Given Popovich’s propensity for holding players out of games just because, don’t expect to see Ginobili back on the court until there are no lingering effects from the injury, and he’s back to 100 percent.

As an aside, the folks at NESN — who cover the Celtics — blame Ginobili’s flopping history for the injury, and claim that the blame is as much on him as it is on Wilcox for sustaining an injury on the play. They even have an animated GIF showing Ginobili going down on an endless loop, because, obviously, injuries are hilarious.

Ginobili didn’t “suffer the injury while flopping.” He may have exaggerated the contact a small amount, but I would imagine colliding with Wilcox at high speed like that might be problematic for just about anyone. And, this flop that they claim happened wouldn’t even come close to registering on the league’s radar as a violation of the new rules against such actions.

Cover your team in a positive way, and rip players who truly flop to attempt to gain an advantage. But gloating or mocking an opponent on a play where he is injured is as immature as it gets.

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
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Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

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

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.