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Harrison Barnes likely to miss Warriors’ next two preseason games in China due to foot injury

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Harrison Barnes started 81 games as a rookie for the Warriors last season, and his explosiveness and athleticism on both ends of the floor were among the reasons the team exceeded expectations by getting to the second round of the playoffs.

Health has been an ongoing concern in Golden State in recent years, so with Barnes experiencing problems with his left foot so early in the exhibition season, it’s no surprise that the Warriors are taking the cautious approach and shutting him down for the next couple of games during the team’s visit to China.

From Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times:

Warriors forward Harrison Barnes likely won’t play the two exhibition games in China next week. Golden State is deciding to rest Barnes so the inflammation in his left foot will subside.

According to a team official, Barnes does not have a condition, such as plantar fasciitis, and the ailment is something that just developed over time. Barnes was in the gym more than any player in the month leading up to training camp, and word coming out of Golden State is his injury is just a byproduct of that.

The expectation in Warriors world is that Barnes’ injury is nothing to be too worried about. But given the injury history, all fingers are crossed.

The Warriors are projected to be in the mix (with five other teams) to compete for the Western Conference crown, especially with other players like David Lee and Andrew Bogut expected to be 100 percent for the start of the season, along with the addition of Andre Iguodala to an already potent lineup.

They’ll need Barnes to be healthy, too, in order for that to happen, so fans in the Bay will just have to hope that the injury plague stays away from their exciting team for once, at least for the upcoming season.

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.