Charlotte Bobcats v Miami Heat - Game Two

It’s official: Bobcats’ Al Jefferson out for Game 4 Monday vs. Heat


UPDATE 6:50 pm: Bobcat’s coach Steve Clifford made it official — Al Jefferson is out for Game 4 Monday night. Bismack Biyombo gets the start in his place.

Clifford said if this were the regular season Jefferson would have been out 2-3 weeks at least, but he tried to play through it.

12:15 pm: Al Jefferson had the kind of season that should land him on an All-NBA team (second or more likely third). He has been brilliant inside averaging 21.8 points (shooting 50.9 percent) and 10.8 rebounds a game and leading the Bobcats all the way to the playoffs.

But because of a very painful strained plantar fascia (the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot), he has not moved well since the playoffs started and his scoring has suffered (18.7 points a game on 49 percent shooting). Jefferson and the Bobcats have fought gamely, but they trail the Heat 3-0 heading into Monday night’s game.

A game Jefferson appears likely to sit out, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Jefferson skipped the Monday shootaround due to the foot pain.

“He couldn’t do anything this morning. I would say it’s doubtful he’d be able to play,” (Bobcats’ coach Steve) Clifford said…

Asked about his level of pain, Jefferson said, “This has been like stepping on nails. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody….

“Regardless of what happens (tonight), this has been a wonderful season,” Jefferson said. “We need to continue to build and continue to get better.”

Jefferson is the Bobcats MVP and without him, and with the Heat likely focused to end this round and get some rest before facing the Bulls or Wizards, this may well be the end of the season for Charlotte.

It’s a season they should be proud of — they defended well for Clifford, they played hard, they took smart advantage of the assets they had. Charlotte set a foundation they can build on, and they made the postseason. It’s a year they can be proud of.

It’s a season Jefferson should be proud of as well. No matter how it ends.

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.

Luke Walton: Warriors concerned about health, not 72 wins

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Stephen Curry acknowledges the Warriors – who are 18-0 and won four straight to end last season – talk about the NBA record of 33 consecutive wins.

But what about another major record Golden State is chasing, 72 wins in a season?

Shooting guard Klay Thompson called it possible. General manager Bob Myers deemed it impossible.

Interim coach Luke Walton would prefer everyone just keep quiet.

Walton, via CSN Bay Area:

“The 72 thing is far, far away,” Walton said. “We shouldn’t be spending any time thinking about that.

“I’ve also said before that we’re not going to coach this season trying to chase that record,” Walton said

“We’re still going to give players nights off on back-to-backs,” he added. “And we’re going to do our best to limit minutes for some of our players. Our main concern is being healthy come playoff time.”

I don’t think Golden State will win 72 games, but prioritizing health won’t necessary stop the Warriors. They’re so deep.

They outscore opponents by 5.8 points per 100 possessions when Curry sits, 5.6 when Draymond Green sits. Those marks would rank seventh among all NBA teams.

Golden State has the luxury of resting players and continuing to win. That’s what makes the chase for 72 realistic. This team is less likely than most to wear down late in a season where it’s pushing to win every game.

Health entering the playoffs is important, but a 72-win season would raise these Warriors to legendary status. If they’re in range late in the season, I think they’ll go for it – even if the top seed is already secured.

But for now, Walton is probably taking the right approach. Plenty of teams start fast (though never this fast) then drift back toward the pack. No point risking Golden State’s health yet.

Kevin Durant to media: You treated Kobe Bryant ‘like s—‘

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant once told the media, “You guys really don’t know s—.”

The Thunder star expressed regret, but if he knew how we were going to treat Kobe Bryant, he might have stuck to his guns.

Durant, via Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

I did idolize Kobe Bryant. I studied him, wanted to be like him. He was our Michael Jordan. I watched Michael towards the end of his career when he was with the Wizards, and I seen that’s what Kobe emerged as the guy for us.

I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys treated him like s—. He’s a legend, and all I hear is about how bad he’s playing, how bad he’s shooting. It’s time for him to hang it up. You guys treated one of our legends like s—, and I didn’t really like it. So hopefully, now you can start being nice to him now that he decided to retire after this year. It was sad the way he was getting treated, in my opinion.

But he had just an amazing career, a guy who changed the game for me as a player mentally and physically. Means so much to the game of basketball. Somebody I’m always going to look to for advice, for help, for anything. Just a brilliant, brilliant, intelligent man. And it’s sad to see him go.

Kobe is shooting 20% from the floor and 30% on 3-pointers for a 2-14 team. How else should we describe his season?

Why not bash the person most publicly critical of Kobe? Or the many people around the NBA who recognize how far Kobe has fallen? Or Byron Scott, who has repeatedly intensified discussion of Kobe’s demise?

Why is the media, which is not some monolithic entity anyway, the primary target?

There are writers who fawn over Kobe, writers who criticize him and many more who do both. We don’t all think alike.

If we did, Durant would be bound to treat Kobe like s—, too.

Hassan Whiteside thanks Hassan Whiteside in Kobe Bryant tribute


Like many players, Hassan Whiteside posted a tribute to Kobe Bryant upon the Laker star’s retirement announcement.

But Whiteside’s is a bit, um, different.

Whiteside salutes himself for making Kobe smile. (That’s not a smile.) The Heat center also tweeted a screenshot of the Instagram post with the hashtag “#koberetire,” which sounds pretty commanding.

Is Whiteside in on the joke or is he that self-centered? I’m honestly not entirely sure.