NBA Notes: Kobe goes overseas for procedure


NBA Notes: Kobe goes overseas for procedure

LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant is heading overseas to have a medical procedure unrelated to the torn Achilles tendon he sustained in April.

The Los Angeles Lakers said Thursday that Bryant is expected to return early next week.

He went to Germany twice in 2011 for a procedure on his sore right knee and a sore left ankle that bothered him at the time.

The Los Angeles Times on Thursday cited people with knowledge of the situation as saying that Bryant was going to Germany this time. He was having a knee procedure that involves removing blood from the affected area and spinning it in a centrifuge. Molecules that cause inflammatory responses are then removed to create a serum that is injected back into the affected area (see full story).

Blazers: Aldridge has hip injury
PORTLAND, Ore. -- All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a hip flexor strain and is day-to-day.

The 6-foot-11 Aldridge sustained the injury during Wednesday night's practice and did not participate in practice on Thursday. His return is uncertain.

The Blazers opened training camp on Tuesday in preparation for the coming season.

Aldridge, a seven-year NBA veteran who was named an All-Star for the second straight year, averaged 21.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game last season.

The Blazers also say guard Will Barton sustained a concussion.

Heat: Spoelstra not changed by success
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Erik Spoelstra dined in a Bahamian restaurant one night this week, and stopped to greet some people before walking out.

Along the way, about a dozen other diners asked to have their photo taken with the coach of the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat, and he happily obliged each request.

After all, it's not like anyone was throwing stuff at him.

This is how far Spoelstra has come. A couple years ago, he was dining outside and someone actually threw a broken piece of a sculpture at Spoelstra, missing him but hitting someone he was dining with. Two championships later, he's revered pretty much anywhere he goes.

He guards his privacy intently, though understands fame comes with the territory when winning (see full story).

Best of NBA: Cavs roll after getting rings; Warriors blown out

Best of NBA: Cavs roll after getting rings; Warriors blown out

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James had his 43rd career triple-double, Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who raised their championship banner before the game, beat the New York Knicks 117-88 on Tuesday night in the NBA season opener.

James scored 19 points and added 11 rebounds and 14 assists in front of a raucous home crowd that was on its feet from the pregame ceremony until late in the game, celebrating the city's first championship in 52 years.

James, who spoke to the crowd before the game, continued his perfect record on ring nights. He was 2-0 when the Miami Heat players were presented with their championship rings.

Irving scored 19 points in the third quarter, when Cleveland used a 20-4 run to take a 74-53 lead. Kevin Love scored 23 for the Cavaliers.

Carmelo Anthony led New York with 19 points and Derrick Rose had 17 (see full recap).

Leonard, Spurs blow out Warriors in Durant's debut
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 35 points and the San Antonio Spurs emphatically spoiled Kevin Durant's long-awaited Warriors debut Tuesday with a 129-100 rout that sent Golden State fans for the exits early on opening night.

Durant had 27 points and 10 rebounds, but little looked in sync for MVP Stephen Curry and the reigning Western Conference champions in a forgettable first game -- and quite a different one after the Warriors dominated at home and came out of the blocks last season with a record 24-0 start.

Leonard scored 31 points by the end of the third, LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points and 14 rebounds and Gregg Popovich thoroughly outdid a couple of his close friends on the opposite bench in reigning NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr and top assistant Mike Brown (see full recap).

Yes, San Antonio sent quite a message to the West.

Blazers win 16th straight home opener
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Damian Lillard scored 39 points and the Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak in home openers to a league-record 16 straight games with a 113-104 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.

CJ McCollum added 25 points for the Blazers, who trailed 83-77 at the start of the fourth quarter. They were still down 102-99 with under 5 minutes left before McCollum made a pull-up jumper and 3-pointer to give Portland a 104-102 lead.

Lillard made a pair of free throws before nailing a 3-pointer that put Portland up 109-102 with 1:02 left and the Jazz couldn't catch up.

Joe Johnson scored 29 points in his debut with the Jazz and Rodney Hood added 26, including a rim-rattling dunk in the third quarter (see full recap).

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel has had surgery on his sore left knee, and the Sixers have not disclosed a timetable for the disgruntled center's return.

Noel has been out since the team's first preseason game. He initially had a left groin strain before experiencing soreness in the knee during rehab, and it was discovered he had an inflamed plica. 

The team is calling the surgery a "minor elective arthroscopic procedure." It was performed in New York by Dr. Riley J. Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Noel eventually will travel to Birmingham, Ala. to rehab with associate clinical director Kevin Wilk at Champion Sports Medicine.

The Sixers expect to have a timetable for his return once Noel returns to Philadelphia. According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Noel is expected to miss three to five weeks. 

This has been a rough preseason for Noel, who hasn't hidden his displeasure with his role on the Sixers' jammed frontcourt. The team has until Oct. 31 to extend his rookie contract but, per a report in the Inquirer earlier this month, the two sides have yet to discuss it.