Kawhi Leonard “didn’t do much” at Spurs practice, Andre Iguodala, Zaza Pachulia did practice with Warriors,

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If the Spurs are going to hold home court and make this an exciting Western Conference Finals, Kawhi Leonard is going to have to be a part of it and play on Saturday in Game 3.

The Spurs practiced Thursday, and nothing should make Spurs fans optimistic. From Melissa Rohlin of the San Antonio Express-News.

At Spurs practice Thursday, the players said Leonard was in the building. But that’s about all they said about Leonard, the Spurs’ leading scorer and two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, who missed Game 2 because of a sprained left ankle.

“He was sitting nicely on the sideline,” Pau Gasol said.

Leonard missed Game 6 against the Rockets last round because of a sprained ankle, but was back for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals last Sunday. He played brilliantly and was +21 in 24 minutes before he had to leave the game after re-spraining his left ankle twice. The first time he stepped on the foot of David Lee (who was on the bench) while trying to run upcourt. Leonard came back in the game but later rolled his ankle again after Zaza Pachulia slid under him on a jump shot and took away Leonard’s landing space on a controversial play.

The Warriors have battled injuries as well, although not to their core players.

Andre Iguodala and Pachulia both missed Game 2 but were practicing Thursday and could be on the court when the series resumes Thursday night. From Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Expect the Warriors to go easy on Iguodala’s minutes if they don’t need him this round, he will play a much bigger role in the Finals if the Warriors face off again against the Cavaliers as expected.

LeBron James named to 11th All-NBA First Team, ties Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone for most ever


As LeBron James continues to play at an elite level going into his 14th season, as he keeps moving up list after list of historic records, as he’s about to lead a team to a seventh consecutive NBA Finals, there seems to be a realization — even among his detractors — that we are witnessing greatness. And we need to savor that because it doesn’t come along often.

The latest reminder of that? LeBron James was named to the First Team All-NBA for the 11th time this year, gathering 99 out of a possible 100 first team votes (one media member had him on the second team, same with Russell Westbrook).

As noted by the NBA History Twitter account, only two other players in NBA History have been named to the First Team 11 times: Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone.

LeBron may well move past those two next year.

LeBron has been named to any All-NBA team 13 times now, two back of the record held by Kobe, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Tim Duncan.

James Harden, LeBron James headline All-NBA Teams


James Harden was a unanimous First Team choice.

LeBron James and Russell Westbrook came within one vote of the same (one voter each had them on the second team).

While we aren’t going to know who won MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or other NBA awards until their new ceremony June 26 (after the Finals and Draft), the All-NBA teams had to be different. Because it impacts bonuses and future contracts — most notably if players qualify for Designated Player max deals this summer — teams needed to know early, before the Draft. So on Thursday the NBA released the prestigious All-NBA team, a snapshot of the best in the game.

Here are the three All-NBA teams:

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota, 50 (2); Chris Paul, LA Clippers, 49; Marc Gasol, Memphis, 48 (2); DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans, 42 (2); Paul George, Indiana, 40; Gordon Hayward, Utah, 27; Hassan Whiteside, Miami, 18; Kyrie Irving, Cleveland, 14; Klay Thompson, Golden State, 14; Nikola Jokic, Denver, 12 (1); Damian Lillard, Portland, 12; Paul Millsap, Atlanta, 3; LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio, 1; Blake Griffin, LA Clippers, 1; Al Horford, Boston, 1.

These were voted on by 100 members of the media, their votes will be made public June 26 with the rest of the award voting. (Full disclosure, I was one of those voters.)

The big takeaways: Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, and Stephen Curry (already an MVP) are eligible for Designated Player max contracts. In the case of Leonard it would be five years at around $217 million, and while he would sign next summer it wouldn’t kick in until the summer of 2019. Wall can sign his extension this summer (he has more experience) but his deal will not kick in for a couple.

However, Paul George and Gordon Hayward did not make an All-NBA team, which could impact their summers because now the Pacers and Jazz cannot offer their stars those Designated Player max contracts. (That contract is only for players who make the team the past year or two of the last three, or are a former MVP.)

In the case of George (who made all-NBA regularly before his leg injury, now has not made it two of the last three), that means the Pacers may consider trading their star this summer. George is a free agent in 2018 and there is a lot of buzz he is going to leave (either to a contender or the Lakers), and Indiana’s new man in charge Kevin Pritchard may feel he needs to get something for George rather than just let him walk. However, the trade market for George will not be robust because teams feel he wants to be a free agent in 2018, so he could be a one-year rental.

For Hayward, it means the Jazz can only offer a little more than other teams — about $2 million a year more on average over the deal, but also a guaranteed fifth year, so it works out to $46 million more guaranteed (but Hayward would get paid somewhere that fifth season, just not as much). That may be enough to keep him, he likes Utah, but it’s known Boston — with Hayward’s college coach Brad Stevens — and other teams are going to come hard at him.

Some will question putting Anthony Davis at center, but he spent 64 percent of his time on the court this past season at the five (as tracked by Basketball-Reference.com). That likely will not be the case next season with DeMarcus Cousins in the picture.

LeBron James does Kelly Olynyk wrong, turns back on him, then blows by him (VIDEO)


Kelly Olynyk may not be the LeBron James stopper Boston needs.

Olynyk was the hero of Game 7 against Washington Monday night, and two nights later he got a quick call off the bench in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland. Even in the first quarter things were getting ugly for Boston, and Olynyk was brought in to hit shots and try to turn the tide.

Instead, defensively he got switched onto LeBron on a couple pick-and-rolls, and it wasn’t pretty.

Olynyk doesn’t have near the foot speed to stand a chance in that matchup. Olynyk’s man Tristan Thompson would come out to set the pick and force the switch, then LeBron would step back in isolation — the first time turning his back on Olynyk is a move that was almost disrespectful (see above). Then LeBron would get up a head of steam and drive right at Olynyk —and there was nothing Olynyk could do, he can’t cover LeBron. (There may be only one player in the league who can, and he is getting ankle treatments in San Antonio right now.)

LeBron only turned his back once, but when Cleveland finds something that works they go back to that well.

It was a rough night for Boston and Olynyk. Boston made the choice to stay home on Cleveland’s three-point shooters, so LeBron and the Cavs went right at the Celtics and scored inside. James finished the night with 38 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Every adjustment from Boston feels like it will just open up another aspect of Cleveland’s game. Olynyk will likely be better in Game 2 — he had two points on six shots in Game 1, it couldn’t get much worse — but in Boston the question is will that, or anything they do, be enough?

PBT Extra: Breaking down NBA Draft Lottery winners (Joel Embiid) and losers

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The NBA Draft Lottery brings a lot of drama to the stage, and as teams move up and down the board there are winners and losers.

I talk about them in this latest PBT Extra. We know who the winners were with the top picks — the Celtics and Lakers — but my favorite winner was Joel Embiid, who was the highlight of an often tedious broadcast. His face as they explained the Sixers/Kings pick swap was awesome.

Not many losers in this draft, but sorry Orlando.