Dwyane Wade had knee drained before Game 7

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Dwyane Wade looked like he hopped in the Hot Tub Time Machine before Game 7 and went back a few years. He was the second best player on the court in the game — 23 points and 10 rebounds. He had more bounce in his step, hit 6-of-13 from the midrange and got into the paint enough to keep the Spurs honest.

The reason is he got his knee drained before Game 7 — it was that or ask to play limited minutes, reports the Associated Press.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Wade revealed Saturday that his right knee pained him so much that he contemplated asking to play limited minutes in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, and that his left knee was drained and required about eight hours of game-day therapy just so he could play in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

“I went through a lot,” said Wade, who’s now a three-time NBA champion. “But I’m at peace now.”

Now he can rest that knee on a Caribbean beach while celebrating his third title. I’m not a doctor, but I bet your knee feels a lot better in that situation.

Wade said it was Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s words that made him decide to get the knee drained.

“I felt like if I was going to be playing the way I was playing, and hurting the way I was hurting, I wasn’t going to be able to help us move on to the next round,” Wade said. “I was going to say play me short minutes only, and give Mike Miller and guys other opportunities. But I came into the meeting, and all Spo was about was giving me more opportunities and getting me ways to be more successful. So I was like, ‘Well, changed my mind.'”

After Game 7, Spoelstra sang Wade’s praises.

“Really, he should be commended for being out there and doing whatever it takes, putting himself out there for criticism, possible criticism, because he wasn’t 100 percent,” Spoelstra said. “And he just helped us win. That was the bottom line. It was a selfless effort for two months. And some players probably wouldn’t have played.”

He played, and he was a key reason the Heat are back-to-back champions.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.

LeBron James: Reporter warned me about question on Gregg Popovich’s wife before live TV interview

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In her on-court interview with LeBron James following the Cavaliers’ Game 2 win over the Pacers last night, TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce asked him about the death of Gregg Popovich’s wife.

LeBron appeared emotional as he gathered his thoughts.

That prompted some to criticize LaForce for ambushing LeBron on a sensitive subject on live TV. But that’s not what happened.

Uninterrupted:

LeBron:

I’m not on social media right now, but I was made aware through some friends through texts that a question was asked to me postgame, and a lot of people feel I was blindsided. That is absolutely false. Allie LaForce told me that she was going to ask the question and if it was OK.

And once I started talking about it, once we were on air, actually my emotions kind of took over. And that was just my emotions coming straight from my heart about the late Erin Popovich.

It’s unfortunate. It’s a tragic loss. My thoughts, my prayers, once again goes out to the Popovich family, to Gregg, to the Spurs family, to the whole Spurs fan base.

And also guys, please get off Allie LaForce’ back, because she followed the proper protocol and she warned me. So, get off her back, man. She’s very professional, and she does a great job at her work.

Like I said, thoughts and prayers to the heavens above. We all know the man above never makes mistakes, even when we question it. But it’s a sad, tragic time right now for the NBA family, and we’re all praying and hoping for the best.

It would have been surprising if LaForce hadn’t done that. Somewhere between nearly nobody and absolutely nobody in her position is trying to embarrass players.