Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics

Doc Rivers says Garnett could return to Celtics Sunday

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UPDATE 12:29 am: Doc Rivers spoke with reporters after Kevin Garnett returned to practice on Thursday. Rivers said Garnett may go through shootaround but will not play Friday night.

However, he said Garnett may go Sunday.

As we said before, this is all good for Boston — their defense is elite when KG is on the court, pedestrian when he is not. What they really need him back for is the playoffs.

9:07 am: The Boston Celtics are not the same team without Kevin Garnett — defensively they fall apart. On the season, the Celtics defense gives up 7.2 more points per 100 possessions when Garnett is off the court (according to NBA.com).

He has missed the last seven games with an ankle injury and Boston has gone 3-4 without him, but it looks like he could return Sunday, according to the Boston Globe.

A team source said that forward Kevin Garnett, who missed his seventh consecutive game with inflammation in his left ankle, is expected to return to action Friday against the Cavaliers.

“Yeah, I guess. I don’t even know,” Rivers said when asked if Garnett would play this week. “Honestly, I haven’t asked one question about it.”

When Garnett went out he was expected to miss two weeks, which would be up over this weekend. So the timing is about right.

The Celtics have locked up a playoff spot and KG should not rush back to play in regular season games — they need him at 100 percent (or as close to it as he can get) for the playoffs. More rest is better than not enough here.

But they sure could use him on the court. And this is KG, you know he wants to get back out there. So maybe Friday.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.