Bulls vs. Hawks (8pm ET Friday, ESPN)
It’s a battle for 6th place!
Already limping from the loss of Jimmy Butler, the Bulls on Wednesday were without the services of Derrick Rose, who’s struggling with a balky hamstring, but they found a way to get it done, beating the Wizards 109-104. Pau Gasol was an assist shy of a triple-double, posting 10-15-9, while five teammates scored at least 14. The win was Chicago’s third in a row, making them 30-26.
The Atlanta Hawks’ third loss in a row came Monday as they fell 102-92 to the Golden State Warriors, putting their record at 31-27. Steph Curry tied the Hawks’ Kyle Korver’s record of making a three-pointer in 127 consecutive games. Korver played a feckless 30 minutes, launching just four shots and making just one on his way to two points total – incredibly, Korver had a worse game in January, going zero-for-six for zero points – and wasting a big night from Al Horford, who went 23-16.
Grizzlies vs. Lakers (10:30pm ET Friday, ESPN)
Since playing .500 ball for the first 32 games of the season, the Memphis Grizzlies have gone on a 17-6 tear, their 33-23 record good enough for 5th place in the West. And the team has stayed hot, winning 3 of 4 since losing Marc Gasol to a broken foot for what looks to be the remainder of the season. The Griz’s latest triumph was a 128-119 victory over the Lakers, as Kobe made his last visit to Memphis a forgettable one by making 5 of 14 on his way to a 13-point night.
Hopefully, Kobe can put the night behind him by making a better showing against the Grizzlies. Does the NBA schedule these home-and-home series in an effort to maximize travel? Are they hoping everyone gets blood clots in their lungs, like Heat star Chris Bosh? Anyway, the Lakers have lost seven in a row, falling to 11-48, which is only two games behind the Sixers in the quest for the worst record in the league. If the Lakers can go 9-14 or worse the rest of the way, they will have set the franchise record for worst winning percentage for the second season in a row.