Andre Drummond remains out, but did go through full practice

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UPDATE 3:01 pm: Just to make me look bad, Andre Drummond went through a full practice on Thursday, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. He described Drummond as “upbeat.”

There is officially still no timetable for his return. Everyone will want to wait a day and see how his back and body respond to the workout. But it sounds like his return is close.

10:37 am: When Andre Drummond went out with a back injury, the Pistons became far less interesting to watch. He averaged 7.4 points and 7.5 rebounds a game, but he was efficient — shooting 59.2 percent with a PER of 22.3.

Without him the Pistons are just not very good — they are 5-19 since he sat down, they have lost nine in a row, and since Drummond went down Detroit is bottom six in the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions). In their last 20 games the Pistons are a -12.5 points per 100 possessions, second worst in the NBA in that time.

The one hope is that Drummond — who was looking like a dark horse candidate who could make a run at Damian Lillard’s Rookie of the Year trophy — would come back this season and make things a little more interesting, forming a good young front line next to Greg Monroe.

But Drummond is still out with no timetable and when speaking with the Detroit Free Press he doesn’t sound all that confident he will be back this season at all.

“Oh, of course,” he said, when asked about wanting to return this season. “I don’t want to sit out, but if it has to come to that, then that’s what it has to come to.

“We’re just going day by day really. (Trainer Arnie Kander) tells me every day I’m closer and closer, so I just go from what he tells me and continue to follow his instructions.”

Rightfully, the Pistons don’t want to pressure his return (although when I saw him do a pregame workout a couple weeks ago he seemed to move pretty well). And with the season lost more Ping-Pong balls in the lottery is not a bad thing. But when Drummond and Monroe are next to each other and healthy (with Brandon Knight in the back court), you can see some hope for the future. Which is why the last 19 games have been so hard to watch, that hope is in a suit on the sidelines.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.