Apr 19, 2012, 2:52 PM EST
Everyone will want to watch the Bulls and the Heat and discuss how this is a preview of the Eastern Conference finals. It’s not.
Oh, these two teams will be there, you can bet on that. But after two rounds of the playoffs teams change and evolve — the Bulls and Heat that take the floor Thursday will be different than the ones that could face off about a month from now as the last two standing in the East.
Especially if Derrick Rose and Luol Deng don’t play Thursday. They are both game-time decisions as of this writing. Of course, the Bulls beat the Heat last Thursday because of their depth and defense, the two things that might matter more this Thursday than D-Rose.
Depth was the key Thursday when they clashed — Chicago’s bench outscored Miami’s 47-7. Shane Battier was a -34, Ronny Turiaf -17. One game +/- numbers can be misleading, but the Bulls depth was what won that game — Rose was rusty so Tom Thibodeau benched him for the overtime and the rest of the Bulls racked up the win. It didn’t matter what five were on the court, the Bulls moved the ball well, took 24 percent of their shots as spot-up jumpers and knocked the looks down. Kyle Korver was on fire, coming off baseline screens and moving to open spaces when his man had to help, he got and knocked down open looks all game. That is a formula Chicago can simply plug Rose into.
This game is not meaningless — it does matter for seedings. If the Bulls win, they lock up the top seed in the East. If the Heat win, they keep alive a chance of catching the Bulls for the top seed in the East. With a Heat win Chicago’s magic number would be three. Meaning basically the Heat would have to win out, the Bulls would have to lose their upcoming game against the Pacers and at least one more … all of which is to say it’s not likely.
Of course, the other question is do you want to be the top seed in the East? If you are you get a Sixers team in the first round that is easier than the seven seed Knicks (that’s the most likely matchups). However, the top seed also is on the Celtics side of the bracket for the second round. The Heat have lost a couple to Boston, although if anyone thinks Indiana is a pushover they haven’t been paying attention.
Whatever seed they want, the Heat have talked about trying to gain momentum heading into the playoffs, about executing better in the half court. Those are things they can come out of this game feeling a little better about. No statements are going to be made, but confidence can be found and built upon. And when they do meet, that feeling could matter a lot.
Dec 13, 2013, 2:28 PM EST
Yes, but what would Jim Boeheim have said if he was successful at recruiting Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker? There’s plenty of talk about teams tanking this season for the chance to draft Wiggins, Parker, Julius Randle, Joel Embiid and the other elite players expected in the upcoming draft. You need franchise changing players to…
Dec 13, 2013, 1:23 PM EST
Gilbert Arenas last stepped on an NBA court on May 13, 2012, as a lightly used backup guard for the Memphis Grizzlies. After the last couple years of his career and at age 32, let’s just say it’s a long shot we get to The Hibachi back in an NBA uniform. But he’s hoping for…
Dec 13, 2013, 12:53 PM EST
The Lakers and Los Angeles Kings share a practice facility in El Segundo — basically near LAX — and a security guard at that facility has been arrested for allegedly stealing two NBA championship rings plus $20,000 in gift cards. The Daily Breeze newspaper, which covers this part of L.A., has the details. Eddie J.…
Dec 13, 2013, 12:25 PM EST
Pau Gasol just does not fit in Mike D’Antoni’s offense. And it shows. In years past I’ve defended Gasol because one segment of Lakers fans were unnecessarily harsh on him because he didn’t play like Shaq — but how Gasol played was perfect for the triangle. The Lakers won back-to-back rings because of him, not…
Dec 13, 2013, 11:20 AM EST
Zach Randolph can, and likely will, become a free agent next summer. He is owed $16.9 million but at age 32 he may want the security of a longer deal even if he takes a little less per year to get it. Which means if you’re Memphis you may not be able to keep the…
Dec 13, 2013, 10:37 AM EST
There’s a small window at the start of next week where we could see a little flurry of trades. On Dec. 15 everyone who signed a contract this summer becomes eligible to be traded. Anyone traded before Dec. 19 can be traded again at the trading deadline (after that you are stuck with the player…
Dec 13, 2013, 10:12 AM EST
NEW YORK – A few leftover items from Thursday night’s big win for the Nets, the team’s third straight. When Jason Kidd parted ways with assistant coach Lawrence Frank a little more than a week ago, it was viewed in one of two ways. Either it was a desperate attempt to shift the blame for…
Dec 13, 2013, 8:45 AM EST
There is a whole lot of spin going on around the idea of a trade of Kyle Lowry from the Raptors to the Knicks, but a couple of themes seem to be consistent: 1) The Raptors want a lot to give up Lowry. By a lot we mean Raymond Felton plus some combination of Iman…
Dec 13, 2013, 8:00 AM EST
By Brett Pollakoff NEW YORK – It was only a week ago that the Nets were a sinking ship on the verge of capsizing completely, following consecutive losses at home where the team didn’t even seem capable of competing much less staying close enough to win for anywhere near the requisite 48 minutes. Jason Kidd may…
Dec 13, 2013, 2:50 AM EST
Our quick look around the association on a busy Thursday night, or what you missed while worrying about what could happen to Santa’s home due to global warming… LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers. I’ve been saying he is the best power forward in the game all season (yes, better than Kevin Love) and he showed…
Dec 13, 2013, 12:12 AM EST
There was a time when “Deron Williams or Chris Paul?” was a legitimate question worth debating. Not for the past few years however — D-Will has hobbled around with injuries while CP3 has assumed the title of best point guard in the game (with reason). But for a night, the debate could be on again.…
Dec 12, 2013, 10:46 PM EST
NEW YORK – Things were going almost perfectly for the Nets by the time the team suffered its latest injury blow, a sprained ankle to Brook Lopez that prematurely ended his night. Lopez returned to the game briefly after coming out to get the ankle looked at with four minutes or so remaining in the…
Dec 12, 2013, 9:41 PM EST
NEW YORK – Deron Williams began the night by falling to the floor after being victimized by a crossover from Chris Paul. The fact that he stepped on the foot of teammate Brook Lopez was what ultimately caused him to crumble, but Paul’s action at least sent Williams sliding in that direction. In the second…
Dec 12, 2013, 8:30 PM EST
After trying to play through it for a month and it not really working, Golden State’s Jermaine O’Neal is going to have surgery to repair the torn ligaments on the outside of his right wrist, the team announced Thursday. 1 of 2) @jermaineoneal will undergo arthroscopic surgery tomorrow to address a torn ligament in his…
Dec 12, 2013, 5:45 PM EST
We don’t need to tell you the Pacers are doing just fine without Danny Granger — they have the best record in the NBA (19-3) and knocked off the Miami Heat this week. Yet with Granger, they either will improve or they will have a potential trade piece to shop around at the deadline (or…
Dec 12, 2013, 4:43 PM EST
The Lakers, already without Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar due to injuries, will now be without Steve Blake until likely the start of February at least. Blake has a torn ulnar ligament in his right elbow at least six weeks, the Lakers announced. Speaking with the media, Blake said if he were a baseball player…
Dec 12, 2013, 3:25 PM EST
Glen Davis, even down to the lowest weight of his career, is big. After games, he’s big and sweaty. So, FOX Sports Florida’s Dante Marchitelli faced quite the challenge of staying focused during this, literally, touching interview. That man deserves a raise! Marchitelli, not Davis. Davis is paid just fine, and at least it’s his…
Dec 12, 2013, 3:05 PM EST
The Nets and Knicks have been the NBA’s two most underwhelming teams this season, but some statistical models predicted New York would slip. Few, if any, expected Brooklyn to struggle like this. From afar, I recognize Brooklyn’s troubles, but like most, I’m mostly numb to them. That’s certainly not the case for Kevin Garnett certainly,…
Dec 12, 2013, 2:33 PM EST
Rajon Rondo’s high school coach said Carmelo Anthony was recruiting Rondo, a 2015 free agent, to New York. As Kurt wrote, those types of conversations happen all the time. Of course, nobody publicly admits to them while they’re ongoing (except Chandler Parsons, who bragged about recruiting Dwight Howard to the Rockets). Anthony, via Ian Begley…
- Pau Gasol expresses frustration with D’Antoni offense. Lakers have to think trade. 14
- Report: Grizzlies shopping Zach Randolph around, want deal with Pelicans 6
- Nets notes: Kidd takes some credit, Lopez downplays injury, and Pierce off the bench 2
- Report: Knicks’ owner shoots down trade to get team Kyle Lowry 22
- The Extra Pass: Deron Williams is the difference for Nets; plus Thursday’s recaps 1
- NFL legend Jim Brown takes shot at Kobe Bryant, Kobe fires back (64)
- Why question “When did basketball get so bad?” misses mark (62)
- Pacers win first Conference Finals rematch vs. Heat (51)
- Raptors trade Rudy Gay to Sacramento for multiple players (47)
- Adam Silver: NBA to consider doing away with divisions (39)