Kurt Helin

San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan hugs the ball prior to the Spurs' NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Associated Press

Tim Duncan out for Spurs’ Monday showdown with Warriors


Well, this sucks.

Despite the hype, we know that Monday’s showdown between the Spurs and Warriors is only going to be a window into the playoff series we hope to get this May. But we’re going to be able to see a little less through that window now.

Is Duncan actually sore or is this Popovich gamesmanship? Who knows. It doesn’t matter, the result is the same.

Duncan’s scoring numbers may be down — 8.9 points, 7.5 rebounds a game — but he remains a vital part of what the Spurs do, particularly on defense. The Spurs are 3.7 points per 100 possessions better when Duncan is on the court. Using ESPN’s real plus/minus (an adjusted +/- taking into account other players on the floor, and other variables) Duncan has the best defensive numbers in the NBA. He still plays efficiently.

Expect the Spurs to play David West, Boris Diaw, and Boban Marjanovic more with Duncan out.

Shaq joins Florida cop for pickup game after video goes viral


It all started when a whiny Florida neighbor called in a noise complaint because the neighbor’s kids were playing basketball in the street. The horror. The cop showed up, assessed the situation, and joined in the pickup game. The Gainesville police posted the video on their Facebook page saying “We’re going to let kids be kids. We are going to focus on the ones that commit crimes. #HoopsNotCrime.”

Thank you.

The Cop said he would return with reinforcements for a pickup game. Yesterday he rolled up with Shaquille O’Neal. From our partners at NBC News.

“Told you I was gonna bring some backup, right? You guys ready?” White asks the kids.

“Look at these big guys I brought. You sure you can take them?” he taunts, pointing to a group of officers.

That’s when O’Neal emerges from an SUV to give the kids a true Shaq attack.

“These kids will never forget the day Shaq rolled up to their house to play ball,” the police department wrote on its Facebook page along with video of the game.

That is awesome. And good on Shaq.


Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried says groin injury feels significant to him

Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried dunks against San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Kenneth Faried sat out the Nuggets’ win over the Pistons Saturday night with a strained groin, and he is officially listed as day-to-day.

But those days could add up if you ask Faried.

The high-energy forward was asked by Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post if the injury feels significant.

“Yeah, it does,” Faried said. “When something doesn’t enable me to run and jump and do what I do, then it’s a significant injury. So I’m kind of nervous. But everybody says it’s going to be okay, that it will just keep getting better, and to keep stretching it.”

This sounds like Faried being understandably concerned but the doctors understanding this injury. Faried is the starting four for the Nuggets and averages 12.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, and a block a game. He’s also been coming up in trade rumors recently, although it’s not likely he is moved at the February deadline.

Faried described the progression of the injury this way.

“I came in (on Friday) and got shots up and felt fine,” Faried said. “I lifted. Everything felt fine. but (Saturday) morning I woke up and I was hurting. I thought it was nothing, I thought it was from the workout of course. Then I tried to go through shootaround, and run and it just wasn’t happening.”

Groins, like hamstrings, can be tricky for players because they feel better, and players by their nature want to push through the injury, but that leads to setbacks. Expect the Nuggets to be cautious and take their time getting Faried back on the court.




Sunday’s Thunder at Nets game delayed four hours due to snow

A man operates a snow blower near the Brooklyn Bridge in the borough of Brooklyn in New York on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. A blizzard with hurricane-force winds brought much of the East Coast to a standstill Saturday. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
Associated Press
1 Comment

Previously the 76ers at Celtics game Saturday was pushed back until today (Sunday), and the Jazz at Wizards game Saturday has been postponed to a yet-to-be-determined future date, all due to the storm that dumped more than 30 inches of snow up and down the Eastern seaboard.

It’s so much snow that transportation in New York City is still is difficult as the city continues to dig out from all that snow

Which is why the NBA has decided that the Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center scheduled for 3:30 pm ET today would be delayed to 7:30 pm ET. 

This shouldn’t be an issue for the teams or players such as Kevin Durant or Brook Lopez; they have a routine that sets them up for evening games. Frankly, the early start games are often sloppy because players are thrown out of their routines.

Plus now the players can watch almost all of the Patriots at Broncos game. Which is what half of them would rather be doing anyway.

Tyronn Lue wants Cavaliers to play faster but says conditioning an issue


Tyronn Lue told his team before their first game with him as coach to start having fun again. The pressure to win now, the issues surrounding former coach David Blatt that led to his firing, the grind of a long season all had seemed to suck the joy out of the game for the Cavaliers. Lue told the team they need to start having fun again.

Part of that — run more, play faster. This is a team loaded with athletes and the best outlet passer in the game (Kevin Love), yet the Cavaliers play at the third slowest pace in the league (and were 25th lst . That shouldn’t be; this team should be getting easy buckets and throwing down dunks in transition.

Except they are not in good enough shape to do that.

Lue was honest about conditioning issues after the Cavaliers’ 96-83 loss to the Bulls’ Saturday. Via Hayden Groove of Scout Media (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

Here’s the money quote:

“I don’t think we’re in good enough shape. I think early we wanted to push it, we wanted to open the floor. I think we came out and did that, and then I think we dropped off the map. I think we got tired. Bron came out early, Ky wanted to come out early, Kevin wanted to come out early, so I just don’t think we’re in good enough shape right now to play the style we want to play.”

What you have to like — Lue called out LeBron James first, followed by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. He called the big three out in the media first.

The tired legs also would help explain the poor shooting night for the Cavaliers — 37.2 percent as a team, 4-of-24 from three, and most amazingly 9-of-22 from the free throw line. Not to go all Jeff Van Gundy on you, but this is a make-or-miss league and for whatever reasons the Cavaliers couldn’t throw a pea in the ocean Saturday night (to borrow an old Chick Hearn line).

Conditioning is something Lue can push, but like a lot of the issues the Cavaliers need to fix it comes down to the players taking responsibility — they need to put in the extra time to take their conditioning to the next level.

It’s a title-or-bust year in Cleveland — teams don’t fire a 30-11 coach unless that’s true and they don’t believe he can get them where they want to be.  We’ll find out if Lue can fix the team’s problems. But like this conditioning issue, whether that can be fixed in a meaningful way during this season is a bigger question. No matter what Lue does, it’s fair to wonder if he can solve a lot of the Cavaliers’ issues by June. How much can he change?

And can he whip them into shape?