Kurt Helin

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich signals to his players during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to miss 2 games because of family issue

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did not make the trip to Indianapolis for Monday night’s game against the Pacers because of a family medical situation.

The team did not provide details about the situation.

Popovich will be replaced for the next two games by assistant coach Ettore Messina, who told reporters before the game that the team knew of Popovich’s plans before leaving for Indy.

The Spurs play at Minnesota on Tuesday before returning home to play Chicago on Thursday. Popovich is expected to make his return against the Bulls.

Bradley Beal out at least three games for Wizards

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal reacts after making a 3-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Washington. The Wizards won 103-89. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Washington Wizards are 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the East, but with an easier schedule than the teams they are chasing the Wizards still have a shot at the postseason. They just need things to go their way and get on a little run.

This isn’t going to help — Bradley Beal is out, at least, the next three games, reports J. Michael at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

Bradley Beal didn’t travel with the Wizards when they left this morning for a three-game road trip that begins Tuesday vs. the Portland Trail Blazers, a team official told CSNmidatlantic.com.

The Wizards (30-32) held out hope that Beal, who exited in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the Indiana Pacers with a pelvic sprain, would make the trip that ends with games Friday at the Utah Jazz and this Saturday at the Denver Nuggets.

Expect a lot of Garrett Temple in his place, and Temple has played solidly this season.

With Chicago still battling injuries and Detroit still trying to get used to its new rotations after the trade deadline, it feels as if one of these three teams would just get on a run for a couple of weeks they could separate themselves and lock up a playoff spot. It also feels like that’s not going to happen.

Jimmy Butler out Monday night vs. Bucks due to swelling in his knee

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 05: Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls goes up for a shot but is called for a charge against Patrick Beverley #2 of the Houston Rockets at the United Center on March 5, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Rockets 108-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Well, this is not good.

Jimmy Butler was back exactly one game after missing the previous 11 with a knee issue, before that knee problem showed itself again. Butler is out Monday night against Milwaukee because that knee has flared up again, reports Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.

The Bulls went 3-8 without Butler in the lineup (other guys were out in that stretch as well) and have slid into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with Detroit (and Washington is just 1.5 games back and with a soft schedule).

It’s unclear how long Butler will be out, but the Bulls can’t afford it to be very long.

PBT Podcast: Warriors loss, LeBron James tweets, other NBA news with Sean Highkin

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 6: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors bites his fingernails during a time out in the second half of the basketball game against Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center March 6, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Nobody saw the Lakers beating the Warriors. Nobody is quite sure what LeBron James is tweeting. Nobody is quite sure what Ty Lawson will bring to Indiana. Nobody is quite sold on the up-and-down Rockets.

There’s a lot to talk about in NBA as teams gear up for their playoff runs, and Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of NBC Sports get to it all in this latest podcast. There’s also some talk of the playoff battle in the East, and how a healthy Bulls team may be tough to get past.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Celtics’ Marcus Smart fined $15,000 for obscene gesture

<>during the third quarter at TD Garden on March 4, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

With just less than two minutes left in the third quarter of the Knicks vs. Celtics Sunday, Marcus Smart made a cut across the lane to try to get post position but was called for a terrible foul. Knicks’ point guard Jose Calderon knew he couldn’t hold Smart off in the post and got tangled up with him and sold the foul, and the official bought it.

Smart got called for the bad offensive foul, then got a technical on top of it for arguing the call.

As part of that, out of frustration, he made an obscene gesture that on Monday earned him a $15,000 fine from the NBA. And this will get you the fine every time.

Chalk it up to a learning experience for Smart. Not that there was much of a lesson here other than official made bad calls.