Carmelo Anthony says he took a ‘huge risk’ by not having offseason surgery to repair injured shoulder

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Carmelo Anthony played through a partially-torn labrum in his left shoulder for the entire second round of the Knicks’ playoff series against the Pacers.

The injury appeared to occur in Game 5 during the first round against the Celtics.

Anthony was affected by it off and on, but was able to increase his scoring output in each of his final three games. But all it takes is to get hit the wrong way once with an injury like this, and he could be out for an extended period of time.

That’s part of why it was so tough for Anthony to decide whether or not to have offseason surgery — get it repaired, and he’d miss time in the regular season. Allow it to try to heal on its own, and he could potentially be forced to be out even longer if it continued to be a lingering issue.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Carmelo Anthony said he took a “huge risk’’ this offseason in opting not to have left-shoulder surgery and claimed he also had a torn rotator cuff to go along with a partially torn labrum.

“I’m ecstatic going from a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum to not needing surgery,’’ Anthony said. “Let me take that back. Taking a risk in not taking surgery and letting it heal on its down. I took a huge risk in doing that. It meant I had to put more time in the offseason to do what I had to do to get it right.’’

“Everybody has their opinion and brought it to the table, everybody had their pros and cons,’’ Anthony said. “It was the last resort. Doctors sat down [explaining] what will happen if I got surgery. I wouldn’t have been able to start the season. I would’ve been out four, five months because of the severity of the tear.’’

Despite the Knicks finishing second in the Eastern Conference last year, most predict a finish of no higher than fourth this season, given the improvements made by the Pacers and the Bulls. Anthony led the league in scoring last season, and his team will need a similar level of production if they’re going to be able to keep pace.

The Knicks have a very small window here with Anthony in his prime, so saying he took a “huge risk” by opting for rehabilitation instead of surgery is in no way an overstatement of the issue. And the early returns are extremely positive — Anthony finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in just 25 minutes of action in his most recent preseason outing.

Marcus Smart on Game 7: ‘It’s not going to be pretty’

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Game 7s are not pretty basketball. Everyone is tight, shots clank off the front of the rim, and players tend to think rather than just react, sucking the flow out of the game. It’s a game for grinders.

Marcus Smart is good with that, and he told Chris Forsberg of ESPN the team is preparing for this style.

“It’s not going to be pretty. You got to be able to get down and get dirty. You can’t go out and try to look pretty. You have to be ready for a dogfight. We got to be ready to come up with our nose bloodied. We got to be ready to come out with our mouth bloodied. We have to come out ready to fight.”

If Boston is going to win this game, they will do so with the physical, smart, and unrelenting defense that carried them all season. That’s their grit. Without Kevin Love (out with a concussion) the Celtics have one less scorer to worry about, but things do not necessarily get dramatically easier — LeBron James is going to get his buckets, but can the Celtics keep George Hill, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and the rest of the role players from helping out with big nights of their own.

Which one of these teams is better positioned to win a grinding, sloppy game? Who is willing to dive on the floor and give that little extra effort? A case can be made either way, but Sunday night will decide it.

Report: Warriors’ Patrick McCaw cleared, will be available for Game 6

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We haven’t seen Golden State’s Patrick McCaw on an NBA court since March 31, when he was undercut by Sacramento’s Vince Carter and took an ugly, nasty spill.

McCaw is finally cleared by the team doctors and will be active on Saturday night for Game 6 against Houston, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Golden State Warriors are planning to activate swingman Patrick McCaw for Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

McCaw, on paper, would help the Warriors — he’s a 6’5″ switchable defender who can provide some offense in transition. That’s especially true if Andre Iguodala is out for Game 6 (his status is a game-time decision). McCaw played about 17 minutes a night for the Warriors during the regular season.

However, the idea of taking a second-year player who has not been on a court in six weeks and throwing him into Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals — a win-or-go-fishing game for Golden State — is risky, at best. Don’t expect him to get on the court unless this is a blowout.

Kevin Love in concussion protocol, listed as out for Game 7

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As if winning a Game 7 on the road against a younger, more athletic team that has not lost on its home court all playoffs was not difficult enough, things just got harder for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kevin Love has a concussion and is not expected to play in Game 7 on Sunday.

While it is technically possible for Love to clear out of the concussion protocol in 24 hours, it is highly unlikely. He would have to pass a rigorous physical test and have no concussion-related symptoms, something cleared by both the team doctor and a league-approved neurologist. This is something that tends to take days if not weeks to get over.

Love was injured just five minutes into Game 6. Love had set up position in the midpost and was setting a screen for George Hill, who was curling out to the arc. Jayson Tatum was trailing Hill and he banged heads with Love. It wasn’t pretty.

Love spent a few minutes on the ground, went straight to the locker room, and did not return to the game.

LeBron James is going to have to carry even more load in Game 7, and now more pressure falls on George Hill (the bellwether for this Cavs team), J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and others to step up without Love there to space the floor and get buckets.

Report: Raptors interview Spurs’ assistants Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka for coaching job

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It’s not officially a coaching search until some Spurs’ assistants are interviewed.

So it looks like the Toronto Raptors’ search is underway.

Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri fired Dwane Casey right after Casey’s peers voted him Coach of the Year for leading the Raptors to 59 wins and the No. 1 seed in the East. That said, after several frustrating years of running into the brick wall that is LeBron James in the East, maybe the Raptors did need a new voice and some changes to try to take the next step (especially with Boston and Philadelphia coming on fast in the East hierarchy).

But if you’re going to fire a 59-win Coach of the Year kind of guy, you better have an impressive replacement in hand or at least a clear plan.

Ujiri reportedly wanted Mike Budenholzer, but the former Hawks’ head coach took the job in Milwaukee after meeting with Toronto.

The leading candidate for the job is still considered to be Nick Nurse, the Raptors’ assistant who was in charge of their changed and improved offense last season. The Raptors also interviewed two other internal candidates, assistant coach Rex Kalamian and G-League coach Jerry Stackhouse.

Casey, by the way, is the target of the Detroit Pistons.