Report: Dirk Nowitzki doing drills, could return next week

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The Dallas Mavericks are off to a stumbling 2-6 start this season, with the main culprit being a bottom five offense. Not so coincidentally, Dirk Nowitzki has played in only three games — and wasn’t his vintage self in the ones where he did get on the court — because of a sore Achilles that he strained in the season opener.

On that front there is good news for Dallas fans — Nowitzki is moving closer to a return. He could play next week, reports Marc Stein of ESPN (you know, the network that doesn’t do enough Mavs coverage).

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, recovering from a strained right Achilles, told ESPN.com on Thursday that he has begun to resume on-court work as he moves toward a return to the lineup.

But Nowitzki stressed that, as much as he wants to play in Dallas’ two-game swing on the East Coast next week, he’ll need to get through a full-speed practice or two this weekend with no setbacks before he’s cleared to play.

“It’s definitely better, but I really haven’t done much yet,” Nowitzki told ESPN.com.

Dallas is not going to rush its biggest star back to the court if he’s not 100 percent, especially when the only real treatment for a sore Achilles is rest.

Harrison Barnes has played well in his expanded role, averaging 22.6 points per game, but the Mavs need more scoring options on the floor. Nowitzki certainly is that.

Quote of the Day: Trump makes Toronto look much better

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“I want to thank Trump for making Toronto an unbelievable destination for athletes.”

Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri, while accepting Sports Media Canada award, via Donnovan Bennett.

Before you go off on your pro-Trump/socialized medicine sucks rant in the comments, admit this: That’s a funny line. That’s why we’re running it.

Like every other GM in the NBA, he will use whatever advantages he has to sell his team to prospective free agents. This could be part of that. Maybe. Then the player will choose the place that offers the most money, as basically always happens.

The President is okay, but Cavaliers players lined up to get pics with Michele Obama

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The Cleveland Cavaliers made the traditional “champions visit the White House” stop on Thursday: President Barack Obama cracked jokes, J.R. Smith wore a shirt, and quietly people discussed if next year’s champion will come meet with then-president Donald Trump.

But what the players really wanted was a picture with First Lady Michele Obama.

At least if you trust what players posted on social media that’s true. Photos with the First Lady were all over the Cavs’ Instagram pages.

White House Visit. First photo with the First Lady @michelleobama!!

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What a day!

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What a honor to be alongside the First Lady!!!!

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Honor to be here

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Allen Iverson addresses Sixers team, tells them city demands effort


Allen Iverson was an inspiration and hero to a generation of NBA players.

Just not the players on the Sixers’ roster right now, they are a little young — Joel Embiid was 7 when Iverson won his MVP and took Philadelphia to the NBA Finals. Still, game recognizes game, and the Hall of Fame point guard with his number retired up in the rafters spoke to the young team after practice Thursday, reports Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

Iverson’s message was to keep working hard.

Iverson also is high on the young Philly core.

The Sixers are winless on the young season, and they aren’t going to rack up a ton of wins over the course of the season, but Philly fans have to see the potential of this roster and how hard they are playing. The wins will come. Just stick with the process.

PBT Podcast: Five biggest surprises of young NBA season

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Dwyane Wade is knocking down threes? The Lakers are fun to watch?

A couple of weeks into the NBA season it’s difficult to say much of anything is certain, this is all still very small sample size. But we do know when we are surprised — there have been teams and players who have caught us off guard.

Dan Feldman and myself from NBC Sports take the time to discuss what has surprised us through the first couple weeks of the NBA season. There’s Lakers talk, the Bulls, and some discussions of pace and space, among much more. It’s certainly been an interesting first few weeks.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.