Dan Feldman

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Report: Spurs’ Tony Parker undergoing season-ending surgery

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Update: Sam Amick of USA Today:

 

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Tony Parker‘s apparent knee injury was “not good.”

Just how not good?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

If Parker is out, San Antonio will likely turn to Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili and maybe Dejounte Murray at point guard.

Mills sometimes relies on Ginobili as a secondary playmaker, but unless Murray plays, Mills will have to shoulder some minutes without that crutch. The Spurs’ offense has clicked– especially with Kawhi Leonard‘s and LaMarcus Aldridge‘s individual scoring skills – when Mills plays without Ginobili, but San Antonio has been selective about when to use those lineups. That luxury would be gone sans Parker.

Murray is a rookie point guard who doesn’t appear ready for the responsibility of major playoff minutes. Trusting him would be a major risk.

But the Spurs are left juggling those unappealing options – and hoping the MRI reveals they’re wrong about Parker.

Spurs-Rockets featured largest Game 1-to-Game 2 turnaround in decades

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The Rockets ran all over the Spurs in Game 1, winning by 27. James Harden picked apart San Antonio in transition and the pick-and-roll. The Spurs’ bigs couldn’t keep up, as Houston generated easy looks at the basket and open 3-pointers.

It was total domination.

“We haven’t won anything so far,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said the following day.

San Antonio proved him prophetic last night, winning Game 2 by 25 to even the series. Everything we thought we understood one game into this series flew out the window.

The 52-point swing was the largest from Game 1 to Game 2 in 22 years and fourth-largest ever.

The Magic beat the Celtics by 47 in Game 1 of the 1995 first round then lost to Boston by seven in Game 2. That 54-point swing was the last time fortunes changed so dramatically from Game 1 to Game 2.

In the 1956 division semifinals, the St. Louis Hawks beat the Minneapolis Lakers by one in Game 1 then lost by 58 in Game 2. The 1973 conference finals featured the Celtics beating the Knicks by 26 Game 1 and then losing to Boston by 33 in Game 2. Those 59-point swings are tied for the largest ever between Game 1 and Game 2.

Here’s every series with a 40-point swing between Game 1 and Game 2:

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As you can see, several of those swings include a massive blowout and a reasonably close outcome. In Spurs-Rockets, each team earned a big win.

This is just the eighth time in NBA history, including last year’s NBA Finals, a team won a playoff game by 25 then lost the next game in the series by 25:

2017 second round: SAS 1, HOU 1 Game 1: HOU 126, SAS 99 Game 2: SAS 121, HOU 96
2016 NBA Finals: CLE 4, GSW 3 Game 2: GSW 110, CLE 77 Game 3: CLE 120, GSW 90
2016 conference finals: GSW 4, OKC 3 Game 2: GSW 118, OKC 91 Game 3: OKC 133, GSW 105
2008 first round: CLE 4, WAS 2 Game 2: CLE 116, WAS 86 Game 3: WAS 108, CLE 72
1982 conference finals: PHI 4, BOS 3 Game 4: PHI 119, BOS 94 Game 5: BOS 114, PHI 85
1980 conference semifinals: LAL 4, PHO 1 Game 4: PHO 127, LAL 101 Game 5: LAL 126, PHO 101
1973 conference finals: NYK 4, BOS 3 Game 1: BOS 134, NYK 108 Game 2: NYK 129, BOS 96
1972 conference finals: LAL 4, MIL 2 Game 4: MIL 114, LAL 88 Game 5: LAL 115, MIL 90

Where do San Antonio and Houston go from here? The Rockets, if they didn’t know it already, learned they can’t rest on their laurels. The Spurs can’t feel secure in their turnaround, not after Tony Parker‘s injury.

After two decisive victories, this series is anything but decided.

Gregg Popovich on Tony Parker’s injury: ‘It’s not good’

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Tony Parker left the Spurs’ Game 2 win over the Rockets with an apparent knee injury, and it didn’t look good. But that’s just my outside assessment.

How is Parker’s injury?

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich:

It’s not good.

They can play Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili at point guard, but the Spurs like to use those two together. Mills’ isn’t the most natural distributor, and Ginobili complements him as a secondary playmaker. Relying on only Mills and Ginobili at point guard would mean staggering their minutes.

Mills has improved at playing without a secondary playmaker (Boris Diaw also filled the role last year), and Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge work in a lot of isolation. San Antonio has selectively chosen the minutes Mills plays without the safety net of Ginobili, but that time has gone well. If Parker is out, entrusting Mills to initiate the offense against Houston’s starters might be the best of less-than-ideal options.

The Spurs can also insert Dejounte Murray into the rotation, but he’s an erratic rookie. That’s a scary proposition in the playoffs.

Spurs’ Tony Parker carried off court with apparent knee injury (video)

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Tony Parker shined for the Spurs in Game 2 against the Rockets, scoring 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting and dishing four assists with no turnovers.

And then disaster struck.

Parker apparently injured his left knee. The point guard tried to walk off the court himself, but then a couple teammates carried him off.

After the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked about it and said, “it’s not good.” An MRI is scheduled for Thursday.

San Antonio evened the series, 1-1. But losing Parker would significantly disrupt stability. Patty Mills would receive a larger role, but behind him, what would Gregg Popovich do? Play erratic, but talented rookie Dejounte Murray? Shift Manu Ginobili from shooting guard?

The Spurs don’t rely on Parker nearly as heavily as they once did, but they’re still better with him able to play.

Report: Pelicans’ Dante Cunningham declining player option

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The Pelicans went 19-16 when Dante Cunningham started and15-32 otherwise this season.

But New Orleans no longer has room to start Cunningham as a small-ball power forward with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis occupying the big-man spots.

More importantly, Cunningham would be due just $3,106,500 if he exercises his player option for next season.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

https://twitter.com/ChrisBHaynes/status/858350659577434112

A former second-round pick, Cunningham has never earned more than $3 million in his seven-year career. At age 30, this could be his chance to cash in.

Cunningham will hit free agency at a time players like him are a premium – long forwards with the ability to defend every position and make 3-pointers.

He could help plenty of teams, including the Pelicans. They’ll have Cunningham’s Bird Rights, but re-signing Jrue Holiday could put New Orleans near the luxury-tax line. Losing Holiday could mean maximizing cap space to chase a replacement point guard.

Either way, it’s not certain Cunningham will be back. But the odds of him getting a raise look pretty good.