Tony Parker, Stephen Curry

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 with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.

Just a reminder that Joakim Noah would like some more run

Joakim Noah
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Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.

And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.

Three thoughts here.

1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.

2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.

3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.