Kurt Helin

Spurs’ David Lee forced to leave game, cannot return to action

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The basketball gods are just being cruel to the Spurs now.

David Lee had a good start to Game 3 in San Antonio, hitting two-of-three shots for four points and making an impact in just more than two minutes of action.

Then he went up at the basket, drew a foul to the body from Draymond Green for an and-1, landed awkwardly and was instantly in pain.

Lee couldn’t even stay in the game to take the free throw, which means by NBA rule he cannot return to this contest.

A camera in the hallway to the locker room showed a dejected Lee having to go back in a wheelchair, unable to walk.

Lee, because he struggles defensively, had a limited role for the Spurs in the series against the Warriors.

San Antonio was up 33-29 after the first quarter and is showing some fight at home, down 0-2 in the series and without Kawhi Leonard or Tony Parker, too.

Michael Jordan’s 1984 Olympic jersey going on auction block

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In some ways, the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles was Michael Jordan’s coming out party — he had won a national championship at North Carolina, but as he was about to enter the NBA he went on the big Olympic stage and averaged 17.1 points per game on 54 percent shooting, leading the last team of amateurs that won gold for the United States in the Olympics. (The USA won bronze in 1988 and responded with the Dream Team, again with Jordan, in 1992.)

Jordan’s No. 9 jersey from that team can be yours… if you have a remarkable amount of disposable income for such things. It goes up for bid on June 2 at Gray Flannel Auctions, and here is their description.

This jersey is properly tagged, was presented to us as game-used and in our opinion shows excellent use remaining in pristine condition…. This jersey has been conclusively Photo-Matched to the USA Olympic exhibition games, the preliminary Olympic trials and progressively matched to actual Olympic play. We believe this to be the only red color-way uniform that Jordan wore for this historic gold medal run.

Bidding starts at $10,000, but you may need to add an extra zero to that if you want to win the bid.

Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas out for rest of playoffs

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Ugh.

What has been a string of blowouts in the conference finals seems destined to continue with the news that Boston’s leading scorer Isaiah Thomas is out for the remainder of the postseason, the team announced. He re-aggravated a “right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear” during Game 2 Friday night, an injury that kept him out of the second half of that blowout.

“Isaiah has worked tirelessly to manage this injury since it first occurred,” said Celtics Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian McKeon in a released statement. “The swelling increased during the first two games against Cleveland, and in order to avoid more significant long-term damage to his hip, we could no longer allow him to continue.”

This is an injury Thomas has been playing through since March 15, according to reports. At this point, the Celtics are wise not to let it get worse.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge spoke for a lot of Celtics — and just basketball — fans.

A femoral-acetabular impingement means that the ball joint in the hip socket is not moving freely around the cup it sits in (the hip is a ball and socket joint). It is partially caused by the labral tear, which is a rip in the lining of cartilage that surrounds the hip joint. What all this means is  Thomas would feel pain when cutting or pivoting or making sharp moves, which are things one does a lot on the basketball court.

It sucks to see a fantastic, All-NBA season by Thomas end this way.

Boston has been blown out in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals on its home court, and now the series shifts to Cleveland for Game 3 Sunday. What has been an uncompetitive series just got even less interesting.

To answer your next question, the have a locked-in start date of June 1. So get ready for a long break between series.

Quote of the Day: Gregg Popovich says Tim Duncan “just comes for the free lunch”

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Kawhi Leonard will not play for the Spurs Saturday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs remain without Tony Parker due to injury as well.

San Antonio needs help against Golden State. Tim Duncan was hanging around the Spurs practice facility Saturday, so a reporter jokingly asked Gregg Popovich if he could pull Duncan out for a game.

Pop is the best.

Pacers get permission from Hornets to interview Chad Buchanan for front office spot

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Larry Bird has stepped aside in Indiana, and Kevin Pritchard has taken over as the head of basketball operations for the Pacers.

Now Pritchard is starting to round out who he wants in the front office, and he has reached out to Charlotte for that, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Buchanan is well respected around the league and seems a good fit.

The Pacers face some big questions this summer, starting with do they trade Paul George, or keep him and try to convince him to stay? George can be a free agent in 2018 and has sounded frustrated with the direction of the team and them not being a contender (although the buzz is he wants to go to the Lakers, who even with George would not be a contender in two years).