NBA on Sling: Derrick Rose Back From Mysterious Absence to Face Bulls, Pistons Face Big Test in Golden State
Memphis Grizzlies (24-16) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (23-16)
8pm ET on ESPN
Cleveland Cavaliers (28-9) vs Portland Trail Blazers (17-23)
10:30pm ET on ESPN
Chicago Bulls (19-20) vs New York Knicks (17-21)
8pm ET on TNT
A depleted Bulls squad dropped their second straight on Tuesday, losing 101-99 to the Washington Wizards. Chicago had been up by as much as 7 midway through the 4th quarter, before a John Wall 16-footer put the Wiz up by 2 with 5 seconds to play. The Bulls had welcomed back point guard Rajon Rondo from a team-imposed 4-game exile, but were without Dwyane Wade, who was taking a day of rest, and Jimmy Butler, who’s been battling flu-like symptoms. Before the game, Rondo explained that he’d been told the team was “saving me from myself,” a turn of phrase he found dubious. “I thought it was bulls—,” he said. “‘Save me from myself?’ I never heard that before in my life.” Presumably Rondo, Wade and Butler will all be in action Wednesday.
The Knicks on Monday fell behind by as much as 28 before ultimately falling 110-96 to the New Orleans Pelicans, who were led by Anthony Davis’ 40-18. It was a tough night for Kristaps Porzingis, who hit on just 3 of 13 for 9 points, and grabbed just 4 boards, well off his season averages of 19.8 and 7.6. Making matters worse, the Knicks were without Derrick Rose, who’d skipped out without saying anything to go back to Chicago to be with his mother. Rose and the Knicks are reportedly unhappy with one another, Rose’s absence certainly didn’t make things better, he’s expected to play Wednesday. It was the Knicks’ 8th loss in their last 9 games, and dropped them to 11th in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit Pistons (18-22) vs Golden State Warriors (33-6)
10:30pm ET on ESPN
After notching back-to-back 1-point wins, the Piston on Tuesday blew an 18-point 3rd-quarter lead over the Kings, as Rudy Gay completed the comeback with a pair of free throws to tie it at 89-89, and DeMarcus Cousins drained a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch to seal the win. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Pistons with 21 points, while Reggie Jackson chipped in with 19 and Tobias Harris had 18 – those three, along with Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris, and Jon Leuer are averaging double-digit points this season, but the Pistons are the very image of a .500 team, and will remain such until they start making more than 49% of their 2-pointers.
The Warriors withstood a monster night from the Heat’s Hassan Whiteside, who scored 28 points and 20 rebounds, as Kevin Durant scored 7 points in the final 2 minutes to help the Golden State pull away with a 107-95 victory. KD had a team-high 28 points, along with 8 rebounds, and Steph Curry went 24-8-9, though made just 8 of 21 from the floor. Curry’s taking nearly 3 fewer shots per game versus last season, and his 3-point shooting percentage has fallen from 45.4% to 40.1%, while his rebounds, assists, and steals are all down. And the Warriors yet again have the best record in the league, and a higher point differential than last season. It certainly doesn’t feel like it, but this edition of the Warriors is almost certainly better than last season’s, despite their drop in the ESPN Power Rankings. ESPN’s own Basketball Power Index, a bloodless computation based solely on stats, has them as [#1 in the NBA by a comfortable margin])http://www.espn.co.uk/nba/story/_/page/Basketball-Power-Index/espn-nba-basketball-power-index).
Boston Celtics (23-15) vs Atlanta Hawks (22-16)
10:30pm ET on ESPN
Chicago Bulls (19-20) vs Memphis Grizzlies (24-16)
9pm ET on ESPN