Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard both say they are playing through pain

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The Lakers haven’t got time for the pain. Literally. They play the Hornets Wednesday night with their two stars banged up and neither can really take the night off because the Lakers need wins over teams like the Hornets if they want to catch anyone and make the playoffs.

Kobe Bryant suffered a hit on a nerve on his elbow Tuesday night against the Thunder — he said he wears a sleeve on his shooting arm to protect against exactly this. You could see him wince in pain on the court and he left the game to get some treatment more than once. Here’s his quote, from the Los Angeles Daily News.

“Every time you try to bend your elbow and extend it, Bryant said, “there’s a little resistance and a lot of pain.”

You think he’s going to take a game off? Who have you been watching the last decade? Check out this tweet from Kobe.

Dwight Howard doesn’t get the same credit of playing through pain Kobe does, mostly because Howard’s game seems more impacted by the back and shoulder injuries he’s had. And he’s missed games. And he’s not Kobe.

But Howard told ESPNLosAngeles.com he plans to play through the shoulder pain that is still there.

Howard also got hurt in the first quarter, needing the team to call timeout when he reaggravated the torn labrum in his right shoulder that has caused him to miss six games already this season….

“Metta was trying to run through and I was trying to run back and as he was turning around, his momentum pulled my arm all the way back [across my body], and it’s been bugging me since,” Howard said. “I just played through it as much as I can and I try not to worry about it.”

While we’re mentioning it, Metta World Peace is going to play through his ankle pain. He had X-rays taken but they were negative. So he goes.

Wednesday night, on the road in New Orleans, is exactly the kind of game the Lakers MUST win if they are going to stay in the playoff hunt. So injuries? What injuries? The Lakers haven’t got time for the pain.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.