Portland Trail Blazers v Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Garnett to miss at least another week due to back spasms

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Kevin Garnett has missed the last eight games for the Nets due to back spasms, but Brooklyn has done just fine in his absence, winning six of those contests to remain in the playoff picture in the East.

Jason Kidd had maintained the whole time that Garnett was day-to-day, and even that his condition had been improving.

But before Monday night’s game against the Suns, Kidd announced that Garnett would be out for another week pending a re-evaluation that will take place on Saturday.

From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

the 37-year-old center has been ruled out for the rest of the week because of the back spasms that Jason Kidd finally revealed Monday is more than just a day-to-day ailment.

“I was tired of you guys asking me. So I held him back for another week,” Kidd joked. “Yeah, I was tired of answering questions, but I just thought we could hold him out until Saturday and re-evaluate him before (a three-game road trip at Dallas, New Orleans and Charlotte).” …

As recently as Saturday, Kidd said Garnett was feeling “a lot better” and was “questionable” for Monday’s game. Then after some pressure from the media, Kidd said Garnett wasn’t returning for at least three more games.

Rookie Mason Plumlee has started in Garnett’s absence, and has averaged six points and 4.9 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per contest over his last nine games. Those numbers aren’t dramatically different than Garnett’s season averages of 6.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in similar minutes, but that’s not where his impact has been made.

Garnett’s production has declined, but he remains as active and aggressive as ever on the defensive end of the floor. That’s where his skill set will be missed the most if his back issues end up continuing to cause him to miss time into the postseason.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell
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After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.