Lakers’ physical therapist: Kobe Bryant has highest pain tolerance I’ve ever seen

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Lakers head physical therapist Judy Seto has worked with the Lakers for more than 20 years. Plus, she has experience outside basketball.

So, Seto has seen a lot.

And Kobe Bryant stands apart.

Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated:

Kobe’s remarkable pain threshold

“It’s the highest that I’ve ever seen.  He channels his focus so well in terms of just the task at hand. But also when he’s had pain, he can block that out.

“I think that trait makes him who he is, and his ability to focus also allows him to channel his energies. It’s not that he doesn’t feel pain; it’s how he responds. Everybody responds to pain a little differently. There’s some people that if you have an injury, you perseverate on it, an injury here can manifest to an injury over here or somewhere else in your body. It can be extremely debilitating. That’s the other stream.

Usually Seto measures a patient’s pain on a scale of 1-10. But with Bryant, “I don’t even ask him.  He just looks at me. ‘Why are you even asking me this? What’s the point?’

“So there’s no point in asking him, ‘How bad is your pain?’ He would just go, ‘Why are you asking me about my pain? Just take care of whatever the problem is and let me get back to what I need to do, or I can’t do it, so tell me I can’t, then we’ll deal with it.’

“It’s kind of like useless.  I mean, I’ll have to ask him, ‘Does it hurt?’ I have an obligation to ask. But I don’t think I’ve asked on a scale of zero to ten how much it hurts because it doesn’t matter for him.”

As an example, Seto cited Kobe making the free throws after tearing his Achilles.

No doubt, Kobe is unlike other players. His mental capabilities are unmatched, and that apparently includes his ability to handle pain.

But ignoring pain gets a player only so far, especially a 36-year-old. I believe Kobe will get the most possible from his body, but aging remains undefeated. Even if Kobe can withstand more than anyone else, he can’t move as well as he once could. His injuries will still limit him.

Kobe is extremely well-prepared for the injury-related challenges that await him this season, and his pain tolerance helps. But that goes only so far.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

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.