Manu Ginobili leaves with leg injury, questionable for Spurs next game in OKC

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Late in the first quarter of the Spurs’ win over the Celtics on Saturday, Manu Ginobili went down hard after colliding with Boston’s Chris Wilcox.

The injury was reported to be a contusion to the left quadriceps, and Ginobili did not return.

His status is up in the air for the team’s next game, a trip to Oklahoma City to face Kevin Durant and the Thunder.

From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ginobili’s availability for Monday’s road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder is not known, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did not sound optimistic.

“He got a thigh contusion just above his knee,” Popovich said, “and one would think he is going to be stiffer than hell tomorrow. It’s hard to believe he’d be ready day after tomorrow for Oklahoma, but I’m not sure.”

Given Popovich’s propensity for holding players out of games just because, don’t expect to see Ginobili back on the court until there are no lingering effects from the injury, and he’s back to 100 percent.

As an aside, the folks at NESN — who cover the Celtics — blame Ginobili’s flopping history for the injury, and claim that the blame is as much on him as it is on Wilcox for sustaining an injury on the play. They even have an animated GIF showing Ginobili going down on an endless loop, because, obviously, injuries are hilarious.

Ginobili didn’t “suffer the injury while flopping.” He may have exaggerated the contact a small amount, but I would imagine colliding with Wilcox at high speed like that might be problematic for just about anyone. And, this flop that they claim happened wouldn’t even come close to registering on the league’s radar as a violation of the new rules against such actions.

Cover your team in a positive way, and rip players who truly flop to attempt to gain an advantage. But gloating or mocking an opponent on a play where he is injured is as immature as it gets.

LeBron James passes Kareem to become all-time leader in playoff made field goals

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LeBron James is already the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer, having passed Michael Jordan last postseason.

However, LeBron racked up his buckets in the era of the three-point shot (as did Jordan, to a lesser extent), so Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the all-time leader in field goals made in the postseason. A lot of them beautiful skyhooks that still give Celtics fans nightmares.

Monday night, LeBron made history passing Abdul-Jabar for the top spot in NBA playoff made field goals.

Just add that to the already insane resume.

Kevin Love with insane touchdown outlet to LeBron James for bucket

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Not sure what part of this was better.

Was it Kevin Love‘s length-of-the-court outlet touchdown pass that was right on the money, where only the receiver could get it?

Or was it LeBron James, with a catch in a crowd that would make Julio Jones’ draw drop?

Either way, this first quarter bucket from the Cavaliers may well be the play of the game.

Spurs disbanding all-female dance team in favor of co-ed hype team

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Is this the wave of the future?

Since then newly-minted owner Jerry Buss started the Laker Girls’ in 1979, all-female dance teams have become standard around the NBA. However, with how things are now viewed through the prism of the #metoo movement, and reports on how NFL cheerleaders were treated in places such as Washington and Miami, a lot of professional sports teams are re-thinking the concept of female dance teams.

The Spurs are apparently doing away with theirs, to be replaced by a 35-person co-ed “hype team.”

The Spurs have not said officially that this is the end of the Silver Dancers. “Lack of interest” is an odd reason to give — is there suddenly less interest now than there was five years ago? A number of teams have both female dance teams and co-ed “spirit” or “hype” teams.

Far more likely, this is about perception in what is a conservative state and marketplace.

The question is will this become a trend, both around the NBA and professional sports. As the teams try to evolve and make more dynamic their in-arena experiences, are the dance teams going to fade from view?

Just something to keep and eye on going forward.

Just a reminder: Spurs hope to repair relationship with Kawhi Leonard, offer-him $219 million

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It’s everyone’s favorite parlor game around the NBA: Where will Kawhi Leonard play next season? Philadelphia? Los Angeles? Somewhere else? Fans of 29 teams are posting their trade scenarios online, while GMs of 29 teams privately have tried to come up with offers that could tempt San Antonio.

The most likely answer: San Antonio.

While the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs is frayed — and with the people close to Leonard and in his ear seemingly trying to push him out the door — the Spurs would rather keep one of the five best players in the NBA (when healthy) in-house. From Tom Osbourne of the San Antonio Express-News.

Still, the Spurs hope to meet with Leonard and his representatives soon in a bid to mend fences and pave the way for Leonard to come to terms on a five-year $219 million supermax contract that he will be eligible to receive starting July 1. If attempts to patch up the relationship fail, the Spurs will be forced to explore trading a player coach Gregg Popovich once labeled “the future face of the franchise.”

The timing of that meeting has been slowed in part because of the death of Popovich’s wife and everyone involved understandably giving him all the space wants. It will happen.

Can the relationship be salvaged? Maybe, $219 million can mend a lot of fences. There are things the Spurs can and would be willing to do to promote Leonard more (although that all starts with him getting out of his comfort zone and building his brand, starting with speaking more in public). Also, Gregg Popovich was able to sooth LaMarcus Aldridge‘s ego when the big man demanded a trade, and not only did the player stay he had an All-NBA level season. Popovich and Leonard still have a strong relationship.

Is that enough? Time will tell, but people around the league think at best it’s a coin flip. Things are not good right now. However, the Spurs will get the first crack at fixing this before they are forced to consider a trade.