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Jerry Zgoda's NBA short takes

  • February 9, 2013 - 5:11 PM

To play or not to play

Lakers star Pau Gasol is out for six weeks or more because of a torn foot muscle, so Kobe Bryant is urging Dwight Howard to play through the pain of his injured shoulder before their playoff hopes all but disappear.

So Howard did play in Thursday's lopsided loss at Boston, which led to a difference of opinion among TNT analysts Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley.

Barkley called out Bryant, terming his challenge "a technical foul" that's "not cool at all" while O'Neal said all great players play through pain. "If you're so hurt all the time, stop smiling on the court all the time," O'Neal said.

Don't forget to send a card

It was a year ago this weekend that the circus -- and then some -- came to Target Center in the form of a carnival named Linsanity.

Jeremy Lin came out of nowhere to lead the Knicks to seven consecutive victories, including one at Target Center, and became an international sensation in the process.

Lin now is in Houston after New York didn't match the Rockets' rich free-agent offer, and the Knicks are chasing Miami for the East lead with a remade team loaded with veterans.

Knicks center Tyson Chandler called it "like a period in time" and told reporters: "We didn't have the type of cast we have now. This team has the chance to do something special."

One that got away?

San Antonio long has led the NBA's international movement, so you can bet the Spurs tracked Frenchman Mickael Gelabale's career long before the Timberwolves signed him to two 10-day contracts and now for the rest of the season.

"We looked at him but never really had a position [with San Antonio]," coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's somebody we thought about a lot the last couple years."

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