Fred Katz: Scott Brooks on if Russell Westbrook will play in tomorrow’s game: “That’s definitely an option tomorrow. We don’t know yet. See how he feels tomorrow morning.” Westbrook has missed half of every back-to-back this year.
Joe Mussatto: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort and Theo Maledon are all available for the Thunder tonight. Darius Bazley (low back soreness) and Isaiah Roby (right foot soreness) are questionable. Al Horford (rest) is out.
Omari Sanfoka II: Dwane Casey said Wayne Ellington is probably out tonight with a strained calf. Derrick Rose is also out, resting him on the first half of a back-to-back
Tim Bontemps: Kemba Walker says he won't be playing in one half of back-to-backs for the foreseeable future. Not a surprise, given Boston is trying to build Walker up to be ready for the postseason.
Fred Katz: Russell Westbrook is OUT tonight against the Heat, the Wizards say. Westbrook will rest on the second half of a back-to-back. Raul Neto (left groin) is out once again, as well.
Brad Townsend: Carlisle on Porzingis: "I think there's a good chance that, eventually, he'll be playing back-to-backs. I'm just not exactly sure when." Carlisle says he believes Porzingis is working steadily toward meeting that threshold.
Tim MacMahon: Mavs are listing Kristaps Porzingis as questionable for tonight’s game vs. Suns due to injury recovery. They are being cautious about playing Porzingis in back-to-backs — but the Mavs are desperately in need of a win after losing 7 of 9.
Shams Charania: Nets say Kevin Durant (injury recovery) has been ruled out tonight vs. Oklahoma City.
Eddie Sefko: Kristaps Porzingis (knee maintenance) will not play tonight vs. Houston, the fifth game in seven nights for the Mavericks. Victor Oladipo out for Rockets for load management. Rick Carlisle says he's doing exceptionally well.
Salman Ali: Stephen Silas on holding out Victor Oladipo: "The long-term health of Vic is most important and that's how we're approaching it with all of our guys."
Mike McGraw: Otto Porter listed out tonight vs Lakers. Donovan talked this week about possibly resting him on back-to-backs to keep his back healthy. Could open up minutes for Hutchison's return. Wendell Carter (quad) also out. #Bulls
Tony East: Victor Oladipo, whose Rockets are playing on the second night of a back-to-back tonight, is out this evening. He’s still resting on one of the nights of B2Bs, even on his new team.
Omari Sanfoka II: Blake Griffin (injury management) and Derrick Rose (left knee soreness) are out for tonight's game against the Sixers.
John Karalis: Kemba Walker minutes restriction will be similar tonight. Brad Stevens suspects Kemba will "be more and more angry with me" as the keeps the restriction around 20 minutes or so
Brian Robb: Brad Stevens says Rob Williams will be limited to 10-15 minutes tonight in his return to floor.
Anthony Slater: Warriors have a home back-to-back against the Spurs and Knicks coming up. No plans to rest anyone on either side of it, per Steve Kerr.
Nick Friedell: Kerr gave some of his veterans a day off in advance of the upcoming back to back against the Spurs and Knicks. Kerr said as of now everybody’s minutes will remain the same — but he wants to see how the games play out.
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."
September 17, 2021 | 5:16 pm EDT Update
The Denver Nuggets have signed forward Petr Cornelie to a two-way contract, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.
The word in Spanish basketball circles, as reiterated to me Friday, is that Marc Gasol is most likely to play for Girona if he decides to play on, even though the LEB Oro is one level below Spain’s top tier. I’m told he has been working out with new Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio to stay sharp even after negotiating his release earlier this week from Memphis following the Grizzlies’ recent trade with the Lakers to take on the final year of Gasol’s last NBA contract.
Ballots for the NBA’s 75th anniversary team were due back to the league office today. The league previously announced that the official list of its 75 greatest players, as selected by “a blue-ribbon panel of media, current and former players, coaches, general managers and team executives,” will be revealed in October. The voters will also be revealed — not their full individual ballots but the names of those who made the selections.
September 17, 2021 | 3:51 pm EDT Update
After securing the arrival of Mario Hezonja, Russian team UNICS Kazan will announce soon the signing of former NBA guard OJ Mayo.
UNICS Kazan is adding one more marquee name to its roster with O.J.Mayo having a one-year deal with the Russian club. While there’s no signed contract yet, that seems to be more a formality delayed by bureaucratic reasons.
Chris Grenham: Former Hawks guard Brandon Goodwin tells me he worked out with Celtics this week. There is no training camp agreement between Boston and Goodwin yet, but there is interest from both sides. Goodwin played in 47 games with Atlanta last year, averaging 4.9 points and 2.0 assists.