So much for that whole “easing him back in” thing…
Steve Nash will not only be back and play for the Lakers on Tuesday night, he will start, coach Mike D’Antoni told the media, as reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Nash will play the first 5-8 minutes of the game then sit the rest of the first half, then repeat that pattern for the second half.
Steve Blake also is back for the Lakers and will start. The starting five in Minnesota are Nash, Blake, Jodie Meeks, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre.
“I’d Like Steve to warms up instead of sitting down and coming up,” D’Antoni said. “He’s always been a starter. If he can’t go, he can’t go and we’ll make adjustments.”
“That’s a big step that I got through some practices,” Nash said. “It is tenuous. I’m going to have to play some games to be a player and get some games under my belt to build the strength and confidence to protect the area. It’s tenuous. I’m not going to lie. If I can get through that window there where I put some games behind me, there’s a chance I can finish the season.”
“I love the game. I haven’t had a good run of it in LA and I want to be able to contribute,” Nash said. “It’s been one thing after another. Hopefully I can fight through this and get another opportunity to play well.”
Nash will sit out the back-to-back Wednesday when the Lakers head to Cleveland, for that game expect to see Jordan Farmar’s return. Farmar will suit up in Minnesota but is not expected to play.
D’Antoni’s rotation is now flush with guards, having those three back to join Kendall Marshall, who has played solid offense (if not much defense) for the Lakers. Even for D’Antoni and his desire to go small it’s going to be more bodies than minutes available, and we are going to see some interesting rotations.
The Lakers are without Pau Gasol (groin injury) for this week, while Kobe Bryant and his fractured knee remain out until at least the All-Star break.
Two days before Golden State heads into Portland for Game 3 of its second-round series, the Warriors practice ended with a relatively intense scrimmage.
Stephen Curry was a bystander.
Well, not exactly, he was working out with a trainer on another court, but he didn’t play in the scrimmage. And he likely will not play on Saturday in Game 3, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, via Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.
Though Curry’s status has been upgraded from definitely “out” to “probable” for Game 3 against the Trail Blazers on Friday at Moda Center in Portland, it’s more realistic that he’ll return for Game 4 on Monday.
Asked if Curry could be cleared for Game 3, coach Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “Probably not.”
That fits with the original timeline, which was two weeks.
The Warriors are up 2-0 in the series, and regardless of the outcome on Saturday they will want Curry back on Sunday. If the Trail Blazers win at home this becomes the same scenario Golden State faced against Houston, wanting to make sure the Warriors win one game on the road they bring back the once-and-future MVP to the lineup.
Even if the Warriors win Game 3 and have a 3-0 lead, if they can bring Curry back they need to. With all this time off he’s going to be rusty (he looked it in the one part of Game 4 against Houston he did play) and the Warriors need to make sure he shakes that off before the Conference Finals, when the Warriors will need him at full strength regardless of opponent.
What’s next for Kobe Bryant after his retirement tour?
Apparently a little more focus on his retirement tour.
Kobe announced his retirement just after Thanksgiving via a “Dear Basketball” poem on The Players’ Tribune. Now Bryant and his new “storytelling” production company have teamed up with Sports Illustrated to turn that poem into an animated short film. From the press release:
Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Group and NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s new production company, Kobe Studios, along with Believe Entertainment Group, announced an exclusive multi-platform video production and development project devoted to Dear Basketball, Bryant’s poetic tribute to the game. The collaboration includes the world premiere of Dear Basketball the animated short film on SI.com as well as a series of exclusive SI Films mini documentaries taking viewers behind the scenes of the animation process. Dear Basketball is targeted to premiere in the fall on SI.com….
“Dear Basketball is the perfect tribute to something I’ve loved for so long. Glen and John are two legends in their industries, so to partner with them on the creative process is a dream come true,” said Bryant. “Working with Sports Illustrated on this special project is an amazing opportunity to hopefully inspire fans all over the world.”
I have no idea what a poem about basketball turned into an animated short film is going to look like, but it should be interesting. It’s got to be better than that last Sponge Bob movie.
I guess this is a logical first step for Kobe in this kind of production, playing off his brand and into a topic where he should be very comfortable. I’d sit here and be snarky about it, but we all know we’re going to watch it, right?
The Cavaliers are making 3-pointers at a blistering pace.
Cleveland even set a record for any NBA game with 25 3-pointers in its Game 2 win over the Hawks. To get there, the Cavs attempted 11 3s in a fourth quarter they entered up 36.
Did that disrespect Atlanta?
Paul Millsap, via Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:
“It’s a certain way of being a professional,” the Hawks’ Paul Millsap said to cleveland.com. “I’m not mad about it, but just being professionals man. If that’s how you want to approach it, that’s how you approach it. I think our team and our organization has class and I don’t think we would have continued to do that, but other organizations do other things so what can you do about it?”
Al Horford, via Haynes:
“We probably wouldn’t do anything like that [if we were in that position],” he told cleveland.com. “…It’s hard to say, but I would say no.”
We can’t know what the Hawks would do, because they’ve never made more than 20 3-pointers in a game. I’d guess they’d hunt the record if it were within their grasp in an uncompetitive game, but that’s just a guess. Millsap and Horford are guessing, too.
What were the Cavs supposed to do? Just take shot-clock violations? Of course not. As long as they have to shoot anyway, there’s no reason not to take 3s. Even if they didn’t have to shoot, it would’ve been fine to take 3s. Atlanta had one solution: Defend the arc better.
If the Hawks want to tell themselves they should be offended in order to motivate themselves for Game 3, good for them. Just don’t confuse that with Cleveland doing anything offensive.
Phil Jackson has stumped for Kurt Rambis, interviewed David Blatt, talked with Luke Walton and ignored Carmelo Anthony.
It must be exhausting.
So, it appears the Knicks president took off on a tour the American West:
No big deal. Everyone has cell phones. Jackson can still run the coaching search from afar.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
Jackson is on vacation at the moment. The interesting thing here is that league sources say that some involved in the Knicks’ coaching search have been informed that Phil is away at the moment, meaning the search is on hold.
This matters only if Jackson isn’t just going to hire Rambis anyway. But if the Knicks are interested in exploring candidates other teams – Rockets, Pacers and Kings – might want, Jackson is missing a valuable opportunity.
Reminder: The Knicks are paying him $12 million per year – money that could have lured someone with a record of front-office success or even just the commitment to delay a vacation until after hiring a coach.