Kurt Helin

Gregg Popovich welcomes Craig Sager back with classic interview

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“Welcome back to the sidelines, Craig Sager.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich — he of the legendary on-court interviews — basically said that above in his own way on Thursday night, as the Spurs took on the Grizzlies on TNT. He was genuinely happy to see Sager, just not to do the interview.

And I can tell you from personal experience, you don’t want to use the word “happy” when interviewing Popovich. Coaches are never happy. In his mind.

Pistons’ Aron Baynes had surgery for broken nose, playing again

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Pistons center Aron Baynes had surgery to repair a broken nose.

The team announced the operation Thursday, saying Baynes received clearance to keep playing after injuring his nose at Oklahoma City on Nov. 27.

Baynes has played in three games since then. He missed all five of his shots from the field in Wednesday’s win over Phoenix.

Baynes is averaging 4.3 points a game on the season.

Kevin Durant drives through Miami defense, dunks around Bosh (VIDEO)

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That was not a poster dunk over Chris Bosh, more of a dunk around.

It doesn’t make Kevin Durant slashing to the rim and dunking any less impressive. KD just sliced Miami up, got to the basket and nobody was stopping him.

Miami had the last laugh, behind 28 points from Dwyane Wade the Heat got a dramatic win at home, 97-95.

Will Lakers retire Kobe’s number 24 or 8?

Kobe Bryant

Midway through his career with the Lakers, as Kobe Bryant was trying to reboot his identity, he changed from No. 8 to No. 24.

Now that Kobe has announced his retirement at the end of this season, the Lakers are faced with a question: Which number will the Lakers retire?

Likely No. 24, but the Lakers haven’t made a decision, according to TMZ.

A spokesperson for the team tells TMZ Sports, “We have had a couple very casual and preliminary conversations internally about this over the past few years. But now that Kobe has officially announced a retirement date, I anticipate we will discuss this more formally in the coming weeks and months.”

What ultimately matters most is what Kobe wants, and at least a couple of years ago Kobe said he wanted 24.

If I were going to guess, I would be 24 goes up into the rafters, but the Lakers “unofficially” retire No. 8 — they will not give that number to another player again. But ultimately the decision is Kobe’s.

Next year. For now, they just need more nights from him like Wednesday.

Hawks send Tim Hardaway Jr. to D-League

Tim Hardaway Jr.

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr., acquired during the NBA draft for a first-round pick, has been assigned to Canton of the NBA Development League

Hardaway has played in just four games as he has struggled to earn a role in coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotation.

In his first two seasons, both with the New York Knicks, Hardaway averaged 10.8 points in 151 games. When the Hawks traded for him, Hardaway was expected to be one of the first players to come off the bench and possibly work as spot starter for Kyle Korver.

Hardaway was inactive for the seventh time as Atlanta lost to Toronto on Wednesday night.

The Hawks also assigned center Edy Tavares to Canton.