Tony Parker, dealing with bruised calf injury, says he’ll ‘definitely’ play in Game 4

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Stephen Curry wasn’t the only one who suffered an injury late in the Spurs’ Game 3 win over the Warriors.

Tony Parker, who was spectacular for San Antonio on Friday with 25 first half points on the way to a game high 32, suffered a bruised calf at some point during the fourth quarter. He received treatment for it on the bench, and had a bit of a limp when he returned to action.

Parker’s injury doesn’t appear to be as serious as Curry’s at this point, and he’s confident he’ll be able to go in Game 4 on Sunday.

From Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Nursing a bruise in his left calf he says is the size of a baseball, Parker was a spectator at practice but says he hopes — nay, expects — to play in what could be a pivotal Game 4 on Sunday afternoon against Golden State.

“I just can’t see myself not playing,” Parker said. “I’ll definitely play.”

Team doctors appear relatively confident in the diagnosis of a bruise. No X-rays or other precautionary tests have been scheduled.

Much like the Warriors with Curry, if Parker is limited, it could dramatically affect his team’s chances.

Parker’s ability to consistently hit midrange jumpers was huge in Game 3, because that’s what the Warriors were willing to give up defensively. Without that offensive explosion, and before the Spurs had made defensive adjustments to slow the hot shooting of both Curry and Klay Thompson, Golden State got out to large leads in each of the first two games.

The battle of who’s healthier between Parker and Curry will likely go a long way in deciding Game 4. If both players are limited, you’d have to give the edge to the Spurs, considering the way the last two games have been decided in their favor while Curry was forced into shooting a low percentage over the last six quarters of the series.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.