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Posted at 2:33 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Flip Saunders, JaVale McGee miss practice, Kirk Hinrich returns

By Michael Lee

Coach Flip Saunders used to the off day on Wednesday to head back to suburban Cleveland to spend some time with his ailing mother, Kay. He also missed practice Thursday to tend to her, leaving assistant Randy Wittman to run a short workout. Saunders is expected to join the team on Friday in Oklahoma City, where the team prepares for its longest road trip to this point - a four-game jaunt against the Thunder, Memphis, Dallas and New Orleans.

JaVale McGee also missed practice while dealing with the flu, but Kirk Hinrich returned after missing the past three games with a hyperextended right shoulder. Hinrich suffered the injury while making a pass to Kevin Seraphin in the fourth quarter of the Wizards' 110-91 loss on Friday to Phoenix. Hinrich immediately reached for his elbow and leaned over afterward. He is listed as day-to-day.

Josh Howard is also closer to making his return to practice and Saunders said that the veteran forward is hoping to be back on the court to play against his former team, the Mavericks, on Monday.

John Wall is one of eight finalists for the four remaining spots in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge during all-star week. Chris Paul is already in the competition, but fans will have the chance to select the other four from a list that includes Stephen Curry, Baron Davis, Tyreke Evans, Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and, for some reason, Derek Fisher.

Fans will have to log on to NBA.com/chooseyoursquad to vote for the event, which is like a speedy obstacle course that requires players to make a layup, a chest pass, an outlet pass through a hoop, a jumper, then dribble and shoot a layup. Previous champions include Rose, Deron Williams, Dwyane Wade and Steve Nash.

By Michael Lee  | January 27, 2011; 2:33 PM ET
Categories:  Flip Saunders, JaVale McGee, Kirk Hinrich  
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Next: Rashard Lewis on trade rumors: "You've got to block it out"

Comments

I'm sure Russell Westbrook messed his shorts when he heard we're getting our "dedicated perimeter defenders" back.

Posted by: divi3 | January 27, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sure Russell Westbrook messed his shorts...Posted by: divi3"

LOL -- did he have them on the correct way? 'Cuz apparently it's not that obvious.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 27, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

hey...u know whats more interesting?

hoophypes article about Rashard Lewis being on the Trade Block again..can we get some info on that?

Posted by: mrhney03 | January 27, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The issue isn't about whether Kirk and Josh are good defenders. I think they both are.

DEFENSE IS A TEAM CONCEPT.

If a team calls a pick and roll with Dray and Kirk and the PG gets a layup...you'll whine about Kirk didn't shut him down...when in reality it's a TEAM effort.

They really aren't many defenders that just shut people down anymore...the rules are too catered against that now.

It's takes a group cooperative effort to make that happen. It's not football where you leave a guy on an island. But whatever...opinions are opinions.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 27, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

you'll whine about Kirk didn't shut him down

And everytime a Eugene Jeter drives right past our PG unimpeded, you'll whine that Mcgee couldnt cover 2 players by himself.

Of course defense is a team concept especially with the new rules...but the concept of "staying in front of your man" is still valid. Wall/KH have not been doing it this season.

Posted by: divi3 | January 27, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

And everytime a Eugene Jeter drives right past our PG unimpeded, you'll whine that Mcgee couldnt cover 2 players by himself.

Of course defense is a team concept especially with the new rules...but the concept of "staying in front of your man" is still valid. Wall/KH have not been doing it this season.

Posted by: divi3 | January 27, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Find where I said that...that was on Wall. I said I would've rather give up a 17 footer to Cousins. This isn't about that though. If that's the case NOBODY stays in front of their man. Not even your boy Nick.

Bad defense is bad defense. It's not a Kirk thing or a Josh or a JaVale thing.

At the same time...it's not hard to see that JaVale is out of position a lot...and AB leaves people out to dry on a regular basis.

Still don't know how you try to make a point about Kirk on an example of Wall's bad defense...but that's cool.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 27, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Still don't know how you try to make a point about Kirk on an example of Wall's bad defense

I've said all along both of them have been bad. Jose Calderon destroyed Kirk for instance. Guys like Holiday and Ridnour are doubling their season averages when they play us, it really isnt because Javale doesnt help out.

And all I was doing was responding to LOLs assertion that having KH would have made a difference against Denver. Of course it wouldn't have, Hinrich has struggled against opposition PGs all season.

That's not to say they rest of our D hasnt been bad as well, but the point in question was about the Denver game specifically

Posted by: divi3 | January 27, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Divi3,

don't you dare talk bad about kirk, what with all of the success and prosperity he brings. I mean if he hadn't missed those 21 road games....

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 27, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I've said all along both of them have been bad. Jose Calderon destroyed Kirk for instance. Guys like Holiday and Ridnour are doubling their season averages when they play us, it really isnt because Javale doesnt help out.

Posted by: divi3 | January 27, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

You know that's a big exaggeration, right? Calderon did a bit better than his average, but he averages 12.3 pts per 36 on the season, and scored 15.8 pts per 36 in 3 games against the Wizards. That's the product of one really good game, one OK game, and one lousy game.

Ridnour averages 14.1 pts per 36 and scored 16 against the Wizards in 35:16, while shooting below his season average. Holiday scores 14.7 per 36 and scored 16.7 in 40:40 against the Wizards.

Assists were up slightly (from less than 1 to 2), but far from double or "lighting it up territory."

Calderon did have his best game of the season against us, but the other two were not even in his top 10 of the season, and one of them was among his worst games. Holiday had one of his better games against us, with the other two way down the list. And Ridnour's game against the Wizards wasn't in his top 10 of the season.

You aren't giving opposing guards enough credit for how well they're actually playing when you use them as evidence that our guards suck.

Posted by: clancy3 | January 27, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

You aren't giving opposing guards enough credit for how well they're actually playing when you use them as evidence that our guards suck.

So every team we face just happens to have an opposing PG who is playing really well? That's why Keyon Dooling went for 23 (season avg 7) in the win against us? On the same night Earl Boykins killed Kirk for 19pts (season avg 8)?

Can you name some games where our backcourt appeared to play above-average defense? I'm sure there are some, but it seems there is a very long list of opposition PGs killin us...and of course a long list of excuses to go with it

Posted by: divi3 | January 27, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Still don't know how you try to make a point about Kirk on an example of Wall's bad defense

I've said all along both of them have been bad. Jose Calderon destroyed Kirk for instance. Guys like Holiday and Ridnour are doubling their season averages when they play us, it really isnt because Javale doesnt help out.

And all I was doing was responding to LOLs assertion that having KH would have made a difference against Denver. Of course it wouldn't have, Hinrich has struggled against opposition PGs all season.

That's not to say they rest of our D hasnt been bad as well, but the point in question was about the Denver game specifically

Posted by: divi3 | January 27, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I guess I got confused when you tried to negate the relevance of Hinrich and Howards defense to rtesult the Denver game with an example of John Wall's defense in the Sacremento game.

Perhaps a game where John Wall didn't play and the PG had a career night? Honestly...that's one way to look at it...but who knows who someone "scores" on....with switches and screens and everything. It's almost impossible to know. That's why it's about TEAM defense.

Across the board they need more intensity and effort on defense. They show it at times...it's just not consistent enough.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 27, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

That's why Keyon Dooling went for 23 (season avg 7) in the win against us? On the same night Earl Boykins killed Kirk for 19pts (season avg 8)?

Posted by: divi3 | January 27, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

That's what I'm talking about...Boykins killed Kirk for 19? It's not one on one.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 27, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

So every team we face just happens to have an opposing PG who is playing really well? That's why Keyon Dooling went for 23 (season avg 7) in the win against us? On the same night Earl Boykins killed Kirk for 19pts (season avg 8)?

Can you name some games where our backcourt appeared to play above-average defense? I'm sure there are some, but it seems there is a very long list of opposition PGs killin us...and of course a long list of excuses to go with it

Posted by: divi3 | January 27, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The Milwaukee game both their guards went off. I agree - I don't base my whole analysis on one or two examples. But I hear an awful lot of "that guy sucks and we can't stop him" - and typically "that guy" doesn't suck anywhere near as much as people make it out to be. They simply want to complain about one of the guards (usually Kirk). Kirk's defensive strengths are moreso in playing well within the team scheme than being an individual lock-down guy, so I don't think being on this team comes anywhere close to maximizing his particular talents.

And whenever a fan really does or does not like a particular player, their analysis goes downhill because they focus on the aspects of a game that confirm their pre-existing feelings toward that player. If Nick has a cold first half then goes off in the 4th he turns it on when it counts; if Kirk has a cold first half then goes off he's inconsistent (or vice versa depending on your personal sentiments toward those guys.)

Anyway, if you want to blame it all on the guards, feel free. It's not that hard to look up the opposing player's stats to see how well they've played against other teams, though, and then you can be fair to our guards. Incidentally, on a per minute basis, Dooling scored 1.69 his normal pts/36 (not quite double, although I probably wouldn't object if you rounded up). On the other hand, it's kind of irrelevant to Kirk if you are intent on attributing Boykins output to him - that was 1.27 times his normal per minute scoring.

Posted by: clancy3 | January 27, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"I've said all along both of them have been bad." posted by divi3

There you go: what other evidence could we need? Sheer repetition, that's the ticket.

Like the saying goes: he's often wrong, but never uncertain.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 27, 2011 6:54 PM | Report abuse

"don't you dare talk bad about kirk, what with all of the success and prosperity he brings. I mean if he hadn't missed those 21 road games....Posted by: lilhollywood10"

Didn't the Wiz have like, four other players out there on the court at all times? Or was Kirk alone?

If he was, then we've discovered a big part of the problem...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 27, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

"That's what I'm talking about...It's not one on one.Posted by: SDMDTSU"

Well, when you eliminate the possibility that Nick Young and Javale McGee could play a part in failure, that only leaves Kirk and two other shlubs to share the blame.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 27, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

"And all I was doing was responding to LOLs assertion that having KH would have made a difference against Denver."

Not that I actually gave Kirk that much credit. Just wondered aloud if the presence of Hinrich and Howard might have made a difference, and said I thought it might.

Hey, if you're going to call me LOL, do I get to call you Dopey? Seems only fair...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 27, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

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