Will Kobe sit out the All Star Game?

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Update: Kobe Bryant will sit out the Lakers game Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs, the second consecutive game is has not dressed for the Lakers. The MRI confirmed it is just a sprain, no tears or other serious damage. Phil Jackson said, however, that this will have no bearing on whether or not he plays in the All-Star Game in Dallas this weekend.

“I think if he feels like he can play, he’s going to play,” said
Jackson. “He’s not going to sit out just because that might extend the
duration (for) which he doesn’t have to play.”

From 2/7: Kobe sat out a game.

He did it (or didn’t do it, as it were) Saturday night in Portland. That in and of itself is big news, as Kobe pretty much comes off as the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“It’s just a flesh wound.”).
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But that could be just the start — he may take off a couple more games and the All Star Game.

Phil Jackson said it would be up to Kobe when he plays again but he would let him take off all the time he needs. That’s subtle Phil, he knows from dealing with other highly competitive superstars that telling them what to do isn’t the way you get things done, you need to convince them it is their idea. The fact the Lakers won without Kobe in their own house of horrors — the Portland Rose Garden — may convince him the team can live without him for a few games. And the parties in Dallas will go on with or without him (although Kobe hates to disappoint fans and not play in these types of exhibitions).

Other teammates also don’t know what Kobe is going to do.

Fish said Kobe might play Monday but “he may decide just to push it to the (All-Star) break and really get himself back.”

For a veteran team like the Lakers, what matters is the games in April (and beyond), not a February Monday night game against the Spurs. This team knows what it takes to climb the mountain, and regular season games don’t affect their confidence. What matters in Los Angeles is a healthy Kobe in the playoffs (and the run up to it), and despite his warrior mentality a week off to heal his body may be good for him and the team. Probably would be.

But does he want it? That is another question entirely.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.