Roy Parry: In addition to Evan Fournier being out tonight vs. Milwaukee, Magic F James Ennis also will not be available due to right hamstring injury management, the team said. For more Magic coverage tonight, follow @OS_ChrisHays and go to OrlandoSentinel.com.
Dane Moore: Ryan Saunders says that Karl-Anthony Towns won't necessarily miss all back-to-backs. Saunders says "the plan is fluid". Saunders says this situation is unique because KAT happened to return on the front-end of a back-to-back.
Josh Robbins: The decision not to play Aaron Gordon (left hamstring injury management) was taken because this is the first game of a back-to-back, Steve Clifford said. Clifford added the hope is that Gordon won't need to be held out any more games in back-to-backs for the rest of the season.
Cayleigh Griffin: #Magic injury report gets longer as Aaron Gordon is OUT (Left Hamstring; Injury Management) Aminu, Carter-Williams, Fultz, Isaac, and Okeke are also out. Fournier is questionable (Back; Low spasms)
Jim Owczarski: The #Pistons will have Blake Griffin back tonight off rest while Josh Jackson (ankle) is considered questionable. They lost Killian Hayes for a long while the other night. The #Bucks, once again, will be without Pat Connaughton, Torrey Craig and Sam Merrill.
Tom Azarly: Kawhi Leonard, who isn't listed on the Clippers injury report, is expected to play tonight against the Warriors. It'll be his first back-to-back set since April of 2017.
Eric Woodyard: Pistons’ Blake Griffin (left knee injury management) and Josh Jackson (right ankle sprain) are out today vs. Milwaukee, according to the injury report.
Mark Medina: Steve Kerr said it's clear how much he will increase Draymond Green's workload. He was at 18 minutes on Friday against Portland. Kerr: "We're not going to all of a sudden throw him out there for 30 minutes tomorrow."
Duane Rankin: #Suns injury report vs. Nuggets Dario Saric (right quad soreness, injury management) OUT. Part of #Suns plan in bringing Saric back as this is 2nd of back-to-back for Phoenix. Played at Utah last night. Abdel Nader (concussion protocol) and Jalen Smith (left ankle sprain) OUT
Josh Robbins: Al Horford (rest) and George Hill (neck spasms) will not play tonight in Oklahoma City against the Magic, said Thunder coach Mark Daigneault.
Brandon Rahbar: Daigneault on if Horford will rest on every back to back: “Remains to be seen but we’ve had success (with Gallinari). It’s certainly not us dictating to Al, we’ve had conversations with him. We’re going to have him on a plan this year to have him play at a high level all season.”
Joe Mussatto: Al Horford (rest) is listed as out tonight against the Magic. Ty Jerome (left ankle sprain) is also out. George Hill (neck spasms) is questionable.
Rod Beard: #Pistons injury report for Monday at #Hawks: OUT: Blake Griffin (left knee injury management) Derrick Rose (rest) QUESTIONABLE: Jahlil Okafor (right ankle sprain) PROBABLE: Sekou Doumbouya (right foot soreness) #DFS
Malika Andrews: The Nets will decide tomorrow morning if Kevin Durant will play in this back-to-back, Steve Nash says. The Nets face the Hornets tonight and the Grizzles tomorrow.
Jovan Buha: Vogel says the Lakers will approach every back-to-back assuming LeBron James and Anthony Davis are going to play, but they will evaluate each one on a case-by-case basis.
Quinton Mayo: Russell Westbrook WON’T play tonight (rest) Wizards announce.
Alex Schiffer: Durant said he's going to talk to Nash and the training staff about the Nets upcoming back-to-back. Wants to play as much as he can, including Sunday, but wants to do what's best.
Ava Wallace: Scott Brooks said the team is still deciding how to handle Russell Westbrook and Davis Bertans' minutes with a back-to-back this weekend. Brooks has said Westbrook won't play back-to-backs. Bertans' minutes will "slowly increase."
“Obviously, every game matters, but we’re competing for something that’s [bigger]. We don’t ever want to shortchange our stuff,” James said before the season. “For me personally, that’s a fine line with me, but understanding that it’s a shortened season. … The offseason is going to be the shortest season for any professional sport ever. We’re very conscientious about what we’re going to do going forward as far as me personally.”
But with a compressed schedule and the disrupted rhythm of a typical NBA offseason, rest will likely be more rampant. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said his plans for James to rest are “definitely fluid.” “There will be conversations between the coaching staff, the front office, the medical team and LeBron,” Vogel said. “Just sort of on a day-to-day basis, see how he’s feeling and we’ll see how that plays out.”
Dave McMenamin: The Lakers will not play LeBron James and Anthony Davis in their second preseason game against the Clippers today, a source tells ESPN.
A new study on NBA teams in the bubble has examined the effect of travel-related sleep issues and sports performance. The study revealed there’s truth to the idea behind “home court advantage,” according to a press release on the study: It found travel-related sleep issues like jetlag can mess with players’ accuracy and performance.
Researchers found the NBA teams that didn’t travel had improved shooting accuracy and better rebounds compared to before the pandemic. In other words, home court advantage — the idea that a sports team performs better when they play on their own court or field, rather than having to travel to the opposing team’s city — is real.
In a memo sent to teams by the NBA Monday morning, the league laid out resting policies for the 2020-21 regular season -- including granting significant flexibility to teams resting players in non-nationally televised games, particularly at the start of the season. The memo, which was obtained by ESPN, says that flexibility applies to teams playing back-to-back games and presents examples of possible scenarios, including, "to rest a key veteran player who played a substantial role on a team that advanced deep into the 2020 Playoffs, or to rest a player who is still returning to full strength after recovering from COVID-19."
Mark Medina: LeBron James on if he will load manage this season: "We'll be as smart as we can be." LeBron said "every game matters" and "we never shortchange our stuff." But considering the short offseason, LeBron said "we're very conscientiousness of what we do going forward."
Mike Trudell: LeBron on how he feels physically, lining up with basically every other year: “Right now I’m sore as hell … it’s Day 2 of camp. That’s been my whole career except when I was 18 or 19. But nothing that’s stopping me from being on the floor."
Kendra Andrews: Malone wants to be mindful of the load Jamal and Nikola played in the playoffs. He doesn’t plan on playing them crazy minutes in the preseason, but when regular season games come around, he won’t run them into the ground but understands they are needed for this team to win.
Welcome to HeatCulture 2.0, then – the kinder, gentler version that gets the same results without nearly the collateral damage. Erik Spoelstra may sneer at the term “load management,” but what Miami has done with its player usage this season has been a lot more Spursy than anything they’ve tried in the past. Truth be told, the hardcore #HeatCulture has been almost #Cancun-like in terms of the minutes demands on its best players. This carries over from the regular season, too. No Heat player ranked in the league’s top 30 in minutes per game. Butler led the team at 33.8, and he missed 15 games for assorted reasons that were definitely not load management so we won’t call it that. Most notably, he only played in four of Miami’s eight seeding games, and one of them was a 15-minute cameo.
Cayleigh Griffin: To clarify: Russell Westbrook has already been on a minutes restriction the last two games. 25-28 mins in Game 5; 25-30 mins in Game 6. In his media availability, he was asked if he’ll continue to be on one. He said yes. He missed nearly 3 weeks with a strained quad.
Even beyond the overall level of opposition rising significantly as we move through playoff rounds, the exploitative nature of repeated games against the same opponent can change the value of various skillsets. Players who thrive on mistakes can lose effectiveness once those mistakes go away. Predictable tendencies become more easily schemed, specific limitations attackable; witness Chris Paul seeking out opportunities against Robert Covington at the end of Game 6. Covington is a wonderful overall defender who excels in most areas of team defense, but sometimes struggles to contain ball-dominant scorers in one-on-one situations. We don’t have a great model for which types of players tend to fade in this environment, and it is likely that there is a mix of traits which are simply less valuable in the playoffs regardless of opposition, while other situations where the specifics of the pairings turn certain matchups into a bad series for this player or that.
Andrew Greif: Clippers star Kawhi Leonard (injury management, left knee soreness) will NOT play today vs. Portland. Decision was just made. This is the same approach to back-to-backs the Clippers have taken all season with Kawhi. Clippers play Sunday, as well.
Mirjam Swanson: Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts on facing a Clippers team without Kawhi: "Obviously, he's an MVP. he's a defensive player, he's a scorer, he's a key to their team, so it goes without saying that they're a better team with him -- the thing for us ... (against Denver) 1/
Jamie Hudson: Nuggets Injury Report vs. Blazers today: Troy Daniels (right hip; tightness) and Jamal Murray (left hamstring; tightness) are questionable. Will Barton (right knee; soreness), Gary Harris (right hip; muscle strain) and Paul Millsap (rest) are out.
Here’s how it would go, Swin Cash says, if the New Orleans Pelicans give in to what everyone on earth wants them to do – play Zion Williamson 40 minutes a night – and the first pick in last year’s draft got hurt in the Orlando bubble. “If anything were to happen – oh, my goodness,” Cash said with a laugh on this week’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “They’d be ripping us a new one. Fire ’em all!”
Being smart, Cash, the Pelicans’ vice president of operations and team development, knows better. What happens with the Pels in Orlando does not matter when weighed against the next 10 years – at all. No one in the Big Easy will give a damn in three years if the Pelicans rally to the eighth spot in the west now if Williamson is healthy and beasting opponents in 2023. So keeping him on his current pitch count designed by the team’s medical staff will continue to be official club policy, no matter what it does to New Orleans’ postseason hopes, and no matter what NBA Twitter says. Kowtowing to the “microwave mentality,” as Cash puts it, is franchise suicide. And she’s been far too accomplished in her career to recommend giving in to the will of the moment.
Will Guillory: Griffin: (Zion) will not play significant minutes in the next game, and he may not in the next one."
Mark Followill: For tonight's Mavs vs Nuggets game at 7p on @FOXSportsSW. Porzingis (left knee, injury recovery) and Seth Curry (left ankle sprain) are out. Cauley-Stein and Kidd-Gilchrist who were out due to illness in San Antonio last night are probable.
Chase Hughes: Wizards injury report for tonight vs. Blazers: Thomas Bryant won't play due to management of his R foot issue and Ish Smith is now doubtful with a left hamstring problem.
Andrew Greif: What has made this the right time for Kawhi to guard top scorers more consistently? Matchups, in part, Doc said, but "health-wise, as well, Kawhi can guard anyone now. He doesn’t have to worry about his minutes. Now there’s no restrictions on him anymore and so that’s great."
Miller said he doesn't expect to see Oldadipo missing games going forward. The Pacers are the Eastern Conference's No. 6 seed with 23 games remaining, including three back-to-back nights. "The Pacers believe they could put a stretch and run together," Miller said. "I don't see a lot of load management for Oladipo. I think they want to make a push to get to that fourth spot."
Shams Charania: The Timberwolves have been fined $25,000 for violating the league’s player resting policy when team rested D’Angelo Russell -- a healthy player -- during a road game on Feb. 23.
Christopher Hine: Wolves statement on the fine: "The Timberwolves accept the league's fine for resting D'Angelo Russel on the February 23 game versus Denver. While we respect the league's guidelines and standards, we are a player-centric organization that's focused on learning our players' bodies. As a new player in our program, we chose to rest D'Angelo in order to learn his body better and to optimize his health during a difficult stretch of games and travel."
Dane Moore: The Timberwolves total in team salary this season is currently $133,229,188. A $25k fine is .019% of that number. Kinda like a nickel on the ground that you don't bother to pick up.
Jovan Buha: Kawhi Leonard (injury management — left knee soreness) and Patrick Beverley (groin) are out vs. Cleveland today, the Clippers announced.
According to Clippers sources, that’s precisely why they refer to Leonard’s situation more accurately as ‘injury management.’ As The Athletic reported in early November, the fact that Leonard was not considered a “fully healthy player” meant he would sit out as often as the doctors advised this season. Sources say the medical advice, at present, still mandates that he not play in back-to-back games — hence the fact that he sat out against the Hawks despite the fact that the team was already without two other key players.
Andrew Greif: Clippers forwards Paul George (hamstring) and Kawhi Leonard (left knee injury management) will *not* play tonight in Atlanta, per the team. Pat Beverley, who left last night’s win in Dallas with a sore right groin, is “doubtful” to play.
Vincent Ellis: This is the full quote. My bad. #Pistons Derrick Rose: “I feel good, but it’s not up to me with the minutes. It’s up to the coaching staff and the (medical) staff. Of course, I want to be out there, but I guess they see something I don’t, and they’re worried about me.”
Vincent Ellis: More from #Pistons Derrick Rose: “It’s all up to them. It’s not me. Can I play them? Yes, if that’s what you’re asking me. I can play the minutes.”
And Vogel was hired, in part, to enable James. So enable him he did. It’s not a bad plan. As James goes, the Lakers tend to go. On Wednesday, the Lakers were +3 in the 39 minutes he was on the floor and -8 in the nine minutes he sat. The Lakers’ inability to maximize their non-LeBron minutes is extra problematic given the late-night report from ESPN that James may be forced to miss games coming up after aggravating a groin muscle issue on a collision with Beverley in the first quarter. “I’m always around the clock with my body, getting my treatment,” James said. “If I’m feeling great, I’ll be in the lineup. If I’m feeling well I’ll be in the lineup. But like I said, we’ll see what happens.”
You were recently called out by Doc Rivers after criticizing Kawhi Leonard’s load management. What did you take away from that? Doris Burke: I had reached out to the Clippers directly and said if Kawhi wants to say anything to me, let him know that I am happy to listen to whatever he might say to me. That’s our job as broadcasters. You have to be able to look that person in the eye. He chose not to do that and that’s fine.
Doris Burke: The same way with Doc. He was speaking from a frustrated coaching perspective and he used me as a launching off point. … If I could do it all over, I would make it less personal. I could’ve used a different term than “ridiculous.” I am aware of the power of the words, so I use those carefully. I don’t regret anything I said, though, I was frustrated from the fan’s perspective of missing out on a Kawhi-Giannis (Antetokounmpo) matchup.
Doc Rivers brought some heat when asked about LeBron's take on load management: "It's our philosophy. I don't know what theirs are. I think theirs is whatever LeBron says it is." (via @MarkG_Medina )
It goes without saying that James is a physical anomaly. This is far from breaking news. But assuming that Father Time will come for James at some point, you might think the Lakers would be taking precautions with him. He has played in every one of the Lakers’ 27 games, but he is playing under 35 minutes a night for the first time in his career — barely, at 34.6. His 25.9 points per game are the second most by a player in a season he turns 35 — second only to Alex English’s 26.5 for the Nuggets in 1988-89.
On Sunday, even as the Hawks were threatening, James got a fourth-quarter break which has become standard procedure. He played slightly above his average at over 36 minutes, but the Lakers have no strong desire to overwhelm him in a game when he doesn’t need to play every second. “My line of demarcation is play him as little as possible to get the win. And just try to keep a smart number in mind,” Vogel said. “Obviously there’s times when we’re going to go over it but I think if I can get him averaging 34 minutes I think that would probably be the ideal situation.”
LeBron James re-iterated Sunday night that he has zero interest in being load managed in Year 17. “If I’m healthy, then I’m gonna play,” James told reporters after posting 32 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in the Lakers’ 101-96 road win against the Atlanta Hawks.
The NBA has said Leonard is not healthy enough to play on consecutive nights because of an ongoing left knee injury. That hasn’t kept the Clippers from being heavily criticized for their “load management,” with ESPN broadcaster Doris Burke among the most prominent voices to question why Leonard sat out nationally televised games earlier this season.
“It’s funny how everyone talks about these back-to-backs and they’re making it better and then they do this,” Rivers said. “It’s the exact opposite of what everyone said they’re trying to do. And then you have the Doris Burkes of the world complaining about guys’ load management and then the network they work on are the ones that are changing the game times.”
“We’re talking about trying to keep players out of harm’s way, and it’s the exact opposite of what we’re doing,” Rivers said. “If you play at 7 you shouldn’t play before 7 the next [day]. I’ve always said that. This is like a 22-hour time change difference and plus we have to travel. So it’s really a tough one but no one’s going to feel sorry for us tomorrow, I can guarantee you that.”
Logan Murdock: Steve Kerr reasoned that Draymond Green earned the right to have rest days because he’s played five straight seasons into the Finals. So I asked if the same logic applies to him as a coach. His response: “The coach does not receive the same treatment unfortunately.” pic.twitter.com/I7y1sl7dpw
January 23, 2021 | 8:06 pm EST Update
Ryan Saunders will remain coach of the woeful Minnesota Timberwolves, at least until he gets an opportunity to coach a stretch with star Karl-Anthony Towns in the regular lineup. “I haven’t even talked to (basketball president Gersson Rosas) about that — he hasn’t brought it up, but you’re asking me, and it’s probably hard to tell a guy that you aren’t doing the job when your best guy isn’t playing,” Wolves owner Glen Taylor said Saturday from his home in Mankato.
Taylor could make a popular diversity statement by naming hard-driving Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve to coach the Wolves. “I kid her about that, but I’m not making any changes — I’m talking to Cheryl, and we’re trying to put a really good team together for the Lynx right now,” Taylor said. “She’s planning on coaching them. “But,” Taylor added, “she’s an interesting person, isn’t she?”
For most of a year, Taylor has explored a sale of the Wolves and Lynx. How’s that coming? “Well, it’s not coming is the best way to say it,” Taylor said. “I haven’t found anything that for sure says I should move ahead.” Taylor’s price tag for the Wolves and Lynx is estimated to be in the $1.5 billion range. With NBA expansion — Las Vegas and Seattle have been mentioned — current team owners could each be in for a reported $160 million expansion fee windfall. “Obviously I’m aware of that — you’ve got to pick your time,” Taylor said, adding that no definite decision for expansion has been made. “The other question: Is now a good time to sell when you don’t have fans? And it’s not a good time.”