Schayes: When Stars Go Down With Injuries, It Ain’t Good

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220px-Al_Horford2Kyrie Irving spent a piece of New Year’s Day having an MRI performed on his knee. He went down against the Indiana Pacers yesterday, and he said he “heard something pop.”

That’s usually not good, although the MRI revealed a mere contusion, meaning 2013 did not end with yet another potential landscape-altering injury.

Al Horford? Out for the season, joining Derrick Rose and Brook Lopez.

Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant? See you after the All-Star Game — if your rehabs go according to plans.

Has there ever been a season in which fans realize just how tenuous a team’s fortunes are?

This year’s NBA champion could be team that wins the war of attrition more than anything else. And don’t forget: Dwayne Wade has a gimpy knee and is far from a sure thing. So as the season progresses, we shall see who is standing at the end on two healthy legs instead of crutches.

Bernucca: Melo Needs to Take a Pass on Hero Ball

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Carmelo AnthonyHere’s the bottom line on Carmelo Anthony’s recent play. Using the measuring stick of points per shot, it is his worst four-game stretch of the postseason since the first four playoff games of his career.

Furthermore, when compared alongside other worst four-game stretches of contemporary solo superstars, it is near the bottom.

Following Sunday’s loss to Indiana in the Eastern Conference semifinals opener, the Knicks are 1-3 in their last four games, including 0-2 at home. Their only win saw them nearly squander a 26-point lead in a matter of minutes as they repeatedly force-fed Anthony (and, to be fair, J.R. Smith) in isolation situations.

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Tweet of the Day: Shaquille O’Neal

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“Twitter beef is real.”

That is what former NFL defensive end and current ESPN TV personality Hugh Douglas said on Thursday afternoon’s episode of Numbers Never Lie.

Why did he say that?

Five Reasons to feel positive about the Memphis Grizzlies

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(This is another in a series of 30 guest columns that will run in October, when optimism reigns supreme across the NBA. The theme will be “Five Reasons to Feel Positive About … ” We encourage you to follow the authors on Twitter and visit their sites. – CS)

grizzlies small logoTwo seasons back, the Grizzlies were a Game 7 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder away from making it to the Western Conference finals. To that, they entered the 2011-12 season with greater expectations and visions of finally – for the first time in franchise history – making it past the second round of the playoffs.

Unfortunately, they ran into a Los Angeles Clippers team that actually posed to be a tougher matchup for the Grizzlies than the top-seeded Spurs they ousted in the 2011 playoffs.

As the Grizzlies tried to rebound from an epic Game 1 collapse at the hand of the Clippers, they eventually fell in seven games and suddenly caused many to wonder whether the team as constructed was good enough to make the jump to the next level.

Gone is O.J. Mayo, who signed with Dallas in the offseason. Back in the mix is, well, essentially the same team that lost in the first round to the Clippers. So the question remains: Is this core good enough to get the Grizzlies past the second round of the playoffs? Or are they nothing more than a regular season threat?

Sure, the core is essentially the same, but here are five reasons to feel positive about this Grizzlies team.

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Obama hoops with ‘Melo and Bosh, no media allowed

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Illustration from orangejuiceblog.com

At a certain point, word will leak out about what exactly went down when President Barack Obama played basketball with a group of current and former NBA players.

It happened after a fundraising dinner last night in New York, and the media was not allowed to watch, film or gawk.

In attendance were Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, NBA commissioner David Stern, Charlotte Bobcats owner and closet Republican Michael Jordan, and retired players Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Penny Hardaway and Sheryl Swoopes.

After dinner, Obama participated in an informal shootaround with the NBA players and other guests, according to campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

“He’s not taking any one-on-one game tonight,” Jordan said in introducing the president, according to Hans Nichols of Bloomberg News.

More from Nichols:

  • “Mr. Romney, my opponent, his main economic plan is to give everybody in this room a tax cut,” Obama told the NBA crowd. “Now some of you may find that appealing, but the fact of the matter is we can’t afford it.”
  • More than 250 tickets were sold at prices ranging from $2,500 to $50,000.
  • Obama’s remarks were laden with sports metaphors, and he drew a comparison with what he did for increased political participation in the 2008 election with how Jordan spurred interest among non-basketball fans in the 1990s.
  • “So this is my dream team,” Obama said. “It’s very rare that I come to an event where I am like the fifth or sixth most interesting person.” He made a point to mention NBA all-stars who played at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in a key battleground state. “We have some Tar Heels in the House,” he said. Jordan has “his North Carolina shorts under his suit,” Obama said. “And that’s important to note.”

(RELATED CONTENT: Political donations to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama Revealed.)

(Editor’s note: A few readers and Twitter followers have discouraged political-related reporting on this site, saying we should keep it all-basketball. The feedback is appreciated, but NBA players and owners are becoming more politically-involved than they were in the past, which is an evolutionary pro sports-related social development that cannot be ignored. The publisher of this site is a registered independent, and we strive to keep our coverage politically neutral.-CS)