The Spurs have been without Tim Duncan for three games with his latest injury. They have now lost all three games after the Grizzlies edged the Spurs 111-104. And while they are 6-4 in their past ten, the slide has been apparent. The Spurs are entering the playoffs neither healthy nor high on momentum.
Add Manu Ginobili to Tim Duncan on the shelf as Ginobili caught a nasty thigh contusion on a Marc Gasol steal and could not return in the second half. From the San Antonio Express-News:
“At first, when I came to the bench, I thought I was going to be OK,” Ginobili said. “Then it stiffened up. I can’t put my full weight on it.”
Ginobili would not rule himself out of Monday’s Portland game, hoping — perhaps against hope — that compression machines on the team’s charter flight home from Memphis would provide adequate healing powers. But he certainly didn’t look like a man less than 24 hours from his next NBA game.
“I’ll get some rest and some treatment, and then we’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” Ginobili said.
via Spurs Nation » Ginobili’s status in doubt after leg contusion.
The Spurs broke down defensively, especially against the Grizzlies’ bench which dropped 42 points. Granted, the Spurs’ bench landed 48 thanks to George Hill’s 30 points, but the elements are clear. The Grizzlies have some matchup advantages against San Antonio. And if the Spurs don’t figure out their issues in the next two weeks, they’re going to get to see those matchup problems up close and personal. They can blame injuries for the loss to the Grizzlies Sunday night, but Memphis has split the season series.
The Spurs could learn a thing or two from Memphis about getting hot at the right time.
Before the drama around Draymond Green and Kevin Durant against the Clippers, Green had missed a couple of games due to a sprained toe. Against the Clippers, he was 3-of-9 shooting and did not move like he is capable of. Then, after a one-game suspension, Green came back against the Rockets and struggled again, shooting 0-of-3 and not looking like himself.
While some will want to tie this to the Durant incident, the fact is Green’s toe needs more time to heal and he is going to get it, starting with sitting out Saturday vs. the Spurs.
Green said this after his suspension game, via NBC Sports Bay Area.
“After playing 42 minutes against the Clippers, it was pretty sore that next day,” Green said of his injured toe, and he then joked, “Thank God I got suspended. I was sore, really sore, so I sat there and iced the whole day. Did some treatment at home. … Everything happens for a reason.”
Kerr said “We decided to give [Green] some time off. Don’t know how long it’ll be.” Which makes it sound like this will be more than one game.
The Warriors are -10.5 points per 100 possessions worse defensively when Green is off the court. Combine that with Stephen Curry still being out with a strained groin and the Warriors are battling through some injuries, and suffering some ugly losses because of it, early this season.
Anthony Davis went into this season wanting to be seen as the best player in basketball.
Part of that perception is team success, and while the Pelicans are a good-not-great 8-7 to start the season it’s not because of Anthony isn’t doing all he can. He dropped 43 points and 17 rebounds on the Knicks, helping spark the Pelicans comeback against the Knicks. Check out the video above.
Davis is averaging 26.5 points with a quality 56.4 true shooting percentage, plus 17.1 rebounds a game. His PER of 26.8 is sixth best in the NBA. When Davis gets some help, and the Pelicans play a little defense, this is the kind of team AD might want to stick with.
Carmelo Anthony is in limbo now. He’s not with the Rockets, not suiting up for games or playing, but he’s still on the roster. Houston has yet to waive him because they and his agent have not yet found a landing spot for him — other teams don’t want to get into the Carmelo Anthony business right now. Maybe that changes as injuries come and rosters shift, but right now there are no takers.
It has led Tracy McGrady and others to suggest Anthony retire.
Allen Iverson disagrees, speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Iverson is right, Anthony needs to be in the right situation. I’m just not sure what that is.
Anthony, like all great athletes, wants to leave the game on his own terms. The challenge is he is no longer a top two or three player on a good team, yet he feels entitled to be put in that role (or, at least, be treated like one of those guys). ‘Melo came off the bench in Houston but didn’t like it. The problem is that’s where his game is at that point — he’s a bench role player who can get some buckets but hurts the team defensively. That limits when he can be put on the court, especially in the playoffs. Can he accept that spot on a team?
Eventually, a team is going to give Anthony a chance, and I hope that works out. I would like ‘Melo to leave the game with us remembering him as the Hall of Fame player and elite scorer that he was, not like this.
Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia now, but he is not done throwing shade at his former teammates in Minnesota.
Butler had 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including the game-clinching layup, as the 76ers beat the Jazz 113-107 Friday night. After the game, he got the walk-off interview with Serena Winters and took a dig at his former Minnesota teammates.
“It’s so fun to win. So much more fun to play with these guys… Everybody wants to win, and when somebody messes up, you talk to them and they do their job.”
Part of Butler’s issues with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins was he felt they didn’t want to win badly enough, that they didn’t measure up to his level of passion. Butler is still in the honeymoon phase with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the Sixers, but so far he likes the intensity so far and is happy to make a note of the difference.
By the way, they’re happy in Minnesota without him — the Timberwolves are 3-0 since the trade, Karl-Anthony Towns is back to playing like his All-NBA self, and he says the communication is better now and guys are taking responsibility.