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Report: Kawhi Leonard not expected to return to San Antonio Spurs for playoffs

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Kawhi Leonard is not walking through that door.

The San Antonio Spurs All-Star is not expected to return to the team for the playoffs, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports Shams Charania

The Spurs were routed in Game 1 of the first round series against the Golden State Warriors, 113-92 on Saturday.

Leonard has missed all but nine games this season while nursing right quadriceps tendinopathy, an injury that flared up late in the offseason. He returned to the team’s lineup briefly but has not played since complaining of soreness in his injured thigh following the Spurs’ home win over Denver on Jan. 13.

Leonard opted to go to New York this week to work with his own team of doctors for the second time this season after first working with them prior to the All-Star break in February. The Spurs’ medical staff has been present for both of Leonard’s extended stays in New York to stay updated on his progress.

The 6-foot-7 forward has worked out at the NBA Players Association facility in Manhattan during both of his stays in New York.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Ettore Messina to coach San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 vs. Golden State Warriors

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* Tonight on TNT:  Warriors vs. Spurs (9:30 ET)

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina will serve as coach in tonight’s Game 3 against the Golden State Warriors.

The move comes a day after Erin Popovich, the wife of longtime Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, died at 67. The Spurs confirmed Erin Popovich’s death Wednesday, but did not provide further details.

”We mourn the loss of Erin,” Spurs general manager RC Buford said in a team statement. ”She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support and humor to all of us.”

The Popovichs have two children and two grandchildren. They met at the Air Force Academy in 1970s when he was an assistant coach for the Falcons. Erin’s father, Jim Conboy, was Air Force’s head athletic trainer.

Gregg Popovich has coached San Antonio since 1996, leading the Spurs to five NBA titles. He ran the Spurs’ practice Wednesday.

Messina came to San Antonio from Russia in 2014, where he coached European power CSKA Moscow. He is a two-time Euroleague coach of the year and has also coached in Italy and Spain. He served as a coaching consultant for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011-12 and now is making the jump to a full-time NBA coach.

The 58-year-old Messina has won four Euroleague championships and coached Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili in Italy in 2001. In recent seasons, his name was raised as a candidate to become the first European coach to become a head coach in the NBA.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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Report: Cavaliers’ Love suffers partially torn ligament in left thumb

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The injury bug has once again struck Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love as he sustained a partially torn ligament in his left thumb, according to an ESPN report.

But according to the team, Love is not expected to miss any time and will be ready for Friday’s Game 3 at the Indiana Pacers.

Love missed six weeks earlier this season with a broken left hand. The Cavs’ All-Star had 15 points and six rebounds during the Cavaliers’ Game 2 victory of the Pacers.

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LeBron James sets record straight on postgame interview

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Following the Cavs’ 100-97 victory over the Pacers, TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce interviewed LeBron James about his clutch 46-point performance that helped even the series at 1-1.

LaForce also took the opportunity to ask James for his immediate reaction to the death of Erin Popovich, wife of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

James seemed shocked by the news — which broke while he was playing — and offered his support Popovich.

“Obviously I’m a huge Pop fan. I love Pop,” James said. “That’s such a tragedy and my best wishes go out to Pop and his family.”

When James became aware of that people thought he was blindsided by the interview, he posted a video on UNINTERRUPTED to say “that is absoultely false.”
 

LaForce asked James before the interview if he would discuss the tragic news. And James agreed, although his emotions took over during the exchange.

LeBron went on to say that LaForce followed the proper protocol, praised her professionalism and sent out more thoughts and prayers to the Popovich family.



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