<span class="vcard">Dan Feldman</span>

Manu Ginobili dishes halfcourt assist while sitting (video)

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Manu Ginobili‘s great court vision apparently extends to when he’s lying on the court.

The Spurs guard sat up to make this awesome pass to Kawhi Leonard, who converted the layup.

Marcus Smart dunks hard, hits the court harder (video)

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Marcus Smart just returned from an 18-game absence due to a knee injury. Was that going to make him play with any less reckless abandon?


The Celtics guard went over Julius Randle for the putback slam and landed hard on his backside.

It sure look like that fall hurt, but Smart popped right up and stayed in the game.

76ers 2-1 with Ish Smith, 1-30 without him


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Ish Smith scored five of his 18 points over the final 3 1/2 minutes and Jerami Grant made three late free throws to help lift the Philadelphia 76ers to a 110-105 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

The 76ers have won two of their past three games since acquiring Smith in a trade with New Orleans, improving their NBA-worst record to 3-31. Nerlens Noel had a season-high 20 points with nine rebounds while Grant finished with 16 points, a career-best 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Isaiah Canaan scored 15 points for Philadelphia, and reserve Hollis Thompson had 12.

DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento but fouled out with 1:47 left.

Without Stephen Curry, Warriors routed by Mavericks


Stephen Curry‘s MVP campaign? Stronger than ever.

The Warriors’ chase of 72 wins? On shakier ground.

With Curry out due to injury, Golden State suffered its most lopsided defeat of this season or last –  a 114-91 loss to the Mavericks.

The Warriors had struggled when Curry sat, but few expected his first missed game of the season to produce such a drastic result. Dallas built a 16-point lead early in the second quarter and never looked back.

Klay Thompson (10 points on 4-of-15 shooting) and Draymond Green (11 points on 4-of-15 shooting) both struggled in bigger offensive roles. Though they’re quality players, Curry drives Golden State’s offense.

At 29-2, the Warriors are still real threats to match the 1995-96 Bulls’ record of 72-10. But it’s a pursuit that gives little margin for error. If Curry – who’s listed as day-to-day with a bruised lower left leg – misses enough time, Golden State might have to pivot to more-modest goals – like just a championship.

For most teams, injuries like this happen without consternation. Losses like this happen without consternation. But the Warriors’ success has drawn increased attention.

That’ll boost Curry, whose production is still somehow considered by too many to be a product of Golden State’s system. The Warriors won’t always play this poorly without him – beginning, they hope, tomorrow at the Rockets – but this game leaves a mark. Suddenly, a team that is outscoring opponents by more than 13 points per game is losing by 23. If Curry were a system player, Shaun Livingston would’ve looked a lot better starting in his place.

Sitting Curry should only help him be ready for the playoffs. If he gets fully healthy soon, Golden State will be right back in pursuit of 72 wins.

In the meantime, it was jarring to see the NBA’s best team lose so badly. But that’s just what happens without the NBA’s best player.

Jimmy Butler beats Paul George for game-winning tip (video)


Excellent play call by Fred Hoiberg.

Excellent pass by Pau Gasol.

Excellent cut and finish by Jimmy Butler.

Butler made that look easy, but getting over a defender and athlete like Paul George to convert that lob is tough.

The shot gave the Bulls a 102-100 lead, which they held when George missed his own lob on the other end. Frank Vogel badly wanted a foul on that play to no avail.

That left the Pacers’ biggest highlight as the prior possession, when Monta Ellis missed then – after a Solomon Hill offensive rebound and kick-out pass – made the game-tying 3-pointer: