Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Two

Knicks Smith, Martin, Shumpert all skip practice on off day Monday


This news is not ideal, but Knicks fans should be a lot more worried if Tuesday after shootaround we are reporting the same thing.

It was a light practice for the Knicks Monday as J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Iman Shumpert all skipped practice due to injury or illness, the team announced.

Expect all of them to play on Tuesday night in what is a virtual must-win Game 4 for the Knicks, who trail the Pacers 2-1 in the series.

J.R. Smith has been battling a virus for a couple days now. It clearly was one of the things slowing him on Saturday when he was 4-of-12 shooting in the Knicks loss. He is expected to play Tuesday, the question is now much energy he will have?

Martin also is trying to fight off a bug, but you can expect him to play through it Tuesday. But the question, as with Smith, is energy — he has to play well against the big front line of the Pacers.

Shumpert is having pain in his left knee and that is more troubling for a couple reasons. One, the Knicks need his defense and athleticism on the wing to continue to slow George Hill, Paul George and the Pacers offense (such as it is). Secondly, the left knee is the one that had the ACL tear, the one that had surgery from which he returned this season. Not to say the two are related, but it’s the same knee and that’s always a concern.

PBT Extra: How did Thunder, Pacers move up in PBT Power Rankings?

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As they do every Monday during the season, the PBT Power Rankings came out and while the top three remained the same there were some climbers.

Specifically, the Thunder at No. 4 and the Pacers at No. 5.

Why they are there is the latest PBT Extra topic with Jenna Corrado. The simple answer is they are both excellent teams. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Paul George are all playing like Top 10 players.

PBT Podcast: We’re back talking Kobe, 76ers, Warriors, Pistons, more

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The ProBasketballTalk NBA podcast is back.

Sure we’re a month into the season, but we’re going to get this podcast rolling again and you can expect us on each Monday and Thursday, with a variety of guests talking everything around the NBA.

Today NBC’s own Dan Feldman joins Kurt Helin to talk Kobe Bryant‘s retirement announcement, and what that means both for the Lakers going forward this season and beyond, but also what that could mean for Byron Scott’s future as the Lakers’ coach.

We also delve into the “showdown” between the Lakers and Sixers on Thursday, talk about the job Brett Brown is doing there as coach (a good one), we talk some Warriors, some Draymond Green, Pistons, Spurs and Pacers to round it all out.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.


Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins probable to play against Dallas Monday

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It’s this simple: The Sacramento Kings are 5-5 when DeMarcus Cousins plays this season, 1-7 when he sits. (And that win number is a big misleading, they looked like they would have beaten Charlotte with him, but when he left with back pain they lost, they could easily be 6-4 with him.)

So it’s good news that Cousins is expected to return to the Sacramento lineup Monday night. Well not good for Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks, but good for the Kings, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea,com.

This season Cousins is averaging 27.9 points and 11.2 rebounds a game, he has a true shooting percentage above the league average (56.3 percent for Cousins) and he has a PER of 27.1 which is sixth best in the league.

Combine him with the numbers Rajon Rondo has put up lately the Kings become much more dangerous. They’d be even scarier if everyone stayed healthy and George Karl would settle on a lineup.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.