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GONE A LONG TIME?
Posted by Rob Peterson on March 22, 2005 3 p.m. ET

SPURS WILL MISS MVP

What's the old saying: You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?

Well, it's pithy and mostly true, it's also safe to say that everyone knows how valuable Tim Duncan is to the Spurs. Unfortunately for the Spurs, they're going to find out what it's like to be without their two-time league MVP for a significant amount of time.

Duncan sprained his ankle against the Pistons on Saturday and could be out until that little thing around here we call the playoffs.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd]

And while that may not knock San Antonio off the Southwestern Division perch in the regular season, a nagging ankle injury (and anyone who has sprained an ankle knows how nagging the injury can be) isn't something you want be dragging around to the playoffs.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd]

Though, one former Spur said Duncan's injury could be "a blessing in disguise."
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd]

While the outlook is less pessimistic from Southwestern scribes, one New York writer thinks the Spurs can't do it without T.D.
-- [New York Daily News]

Hmm. Wonder whatever gave him that idea? That the Spurs went more than 12 minutes without scoring a field goal against the Knicks, who were sans Kurt Thomas?
-- [New York Times, Reg. req'd]

Losing Duncan not only hurts when it comes to offensive production, the Spurs also lose the league's third-best shot blocker (2.68 bpg). Still, as one San Antonio scribe says: "These Spurs can't win a title without Duncan, but they also are less dependent on him than they have ever been."
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd]

All of which means All-Star Manu Ginobili and point guard Tony Parker will need to step it up for Coach Gregg Popovich in the race for the Western Conference's No. 1 seed. It won't be easy. Not only because of the stiff competition from Phoenix, but also because Ginobili himself is coming off an injury.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd]

RECENT COACH TURNOVER

What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on with NBA head coaches in the past two weeks?

First, the Magic dismissed Johnny Davis and replaced him with Chris Jent.

Then, Don Nelson resigns, handing the Mavericks' reins to Avery Johnson, who's already had a taste of what being a head coach is like.
-- [Dallas Morning News]

One columnist says Nellie knew when to (Texas) fold 'em.
-- [ESPN.com]

Just yesterday, the Cavs said goodbye to Paul Silas. (Even Peter Vecsey's headlines drip with acid.)
-- [Cleveland Plain-Dealer, New York Post]

That's three teams, all in the playoff race, with new coaches and fewer than 20 games remaining on the schedule. Amazing.

Still, there could be more interesting developments. Rumblings have the Sixers' Jim O'Brien on the hot seat.
-- [SI.com]

Quite possibily the most interesting thing written about the NBA coaching changes recently is today's New York Times piece addressing the shorter tenures of black coaches in the league compared to white coaches. An interesting read, indeed.
-- [New York Times, Reg. req'd]

RACE FOR NO. 8 IN THE WEST

Do George Karl's defensive schemes + Doug Moe's motion offense = No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs? It's starting to look that way.
-- [Washington Post, Reg. req'd]

Meanwhile, this won't help the Lakers any.
-- [L.A. Daily News]

In Minnesota, the Wolves seem to be stuck in the mud.
-- [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

TIP-INS

Playoffs or lottery? Playoffs or lottery? Nets GM Rod Thorn knows what he wants.
-- [Newark Star-Ledger Reg. req'd]

Boston sports fans must be loving life right now: Sox win Series, Pats win Super Bowl, Celtics run away with Atlantic.
-- [Boston Herald]

NBA players need to make sure they protect those pretty faces.
-- [USA Today]

Who's the MVP of the Eastern leading Heat? It's hard to tell.
-- [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

AND FINALLY...

The Pacers re-live their younger, more precious college days in the NCAA tourney.
-- [Indy Star]

Can Nos. 20 and 9 add up to No. 21?
(David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Heat guard Dwyane Wade on his new friends:

"Dr. J calls me sometimes to talk, not just about basketball but life. Every time I see Bill Russell, he tells me how proud he is of me."
-- [Chicago Tribune]

2004-05 ARCHIVE
March 15 -- Deja View
March 8 -- Top to Bottom
March 1 -- Dynamic Duos
Feb. 25 -- Much Adieu About
Feb. 16-20 -- All-Star Blog 2005
Feb. 15 -- Random House
Feb. 9 -- Reserves, Deserves
Feb. 1 -- All-Starters
Jan. 25 -- South by Southwest
Jan. 19 -- My Kind of Town
Jan. 11 -- 'S Wonderful
Jan. 4 -- Points Well Taken
Dec. 29 -- New Year's Wishes
Dec. 21 -- A Wonderful Life
Dec. 14 -- How Good is Good?
Dec. 7 -- Getting Medieval
Nov. 30 -- LeBron vs. Dwyane
Nov. 23 -- Playing Good Ball
Nov. 16 -- SuperbSonics
Nov. 9 -- Hitting the Blue Note
Nov. 3 -- Bling, Bang, Boom
2003-04 -- Archive