The Chicago Bulls enter the fray without the services of their best player Jimmy Butler (knee), their starting power forward Nikola Mirotic (appendectomy), their heart and soul and rebounding specialist Joakim Noah (shoulder), and their other starting power forward Taj Gibson as he nurses a strained foot. The Bulls have lost all four games since Butler went down against the Nuggets on February 5th and find themselves 27-25, barely hanging on to the seventh spot in the East.
The Cavs won their last three games before the All Star break, beating up on weaklings like New Orleans, Sacramento and the Lakers, lifting their record to 38-14, good enough to stay atop the East and keep the... Read More
Pelicans big man Anthony Davis hit a free throw with 2:14 to play against the Jazz, tying the score at 90-90, and then scored his team’s next 7 points to secure a 100-96 victory. The win came against a red-hot Utah team that had won its previous seven games, and lifted the Pelicans to 20-32, who find themselves in 12th place in the West, six games back in the hunt for the final playoff spot.
Since losing back-to-back games to the Hawks and Heat, the Thunder have gone 28-6, outscoring the opposition 110.9 to 101.6, and winning the battle of the boards 47.8 to 40.3. Like the Pelicans, OKC’s latest win came at the expense of the Utah Jazz, in a 122-106 contest that... Read More
Knicks vs. Pistons (7pm ET Thursday, TNT) Carmelo Anthony scored 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds Tuesday night, but the Knicks still fell to the Boston Celtics 97-89, as Boston’s deeper bench and fresher legs were too much for New York. The loss was the Knicks’ sixth in their last seven games, and brought their record to 23-28, 11th-best in the East. Carmelo’s scored just 16.8 with 8.8 rebounds during the current skid, and Kristaps Porzingis has been even less effective, scoring 12 a game with 5.8 rebounds, with both men making just 35% of their shots. The Knicks looked like they had a playoff run in them, but the 8th seed is going to keep drifting out of sight if those two can’t find their shots.
Knicks vs. Raptors (8pm ET Thursday, TNT) The Knicks have lost five of their last seven games and their only victories were against the Jazz and the 76ers, dropping them to 20-22 in a tie for 10th in the East. Their most recent loss came Tuesday at the hands of the Thunder 128-122, as the lethal tandem of Durant and Westbrook combined for 74 points, 22 rebounds and 15 assists. It was all too much for a Carmelo-less Knicks team. Even if the Knicks miss the playoffs, this season has to be considered a huge success as they’ve already bested last season’s win total. Plus, first-round draft pick Kristaps Porzingis has silenced the boos by displaying a skillset that inspired Durant to call him a “unicorn,” and finds him... Read More
Clippers at Bulls (8pm ET Thursday, TNT) The Clippers won their third straight on Wednesday, a 109-95 victory over the Bucks, bringing their record to 13-9, just 9 ½ games behind the Warriors in the Pacific division. The Clips’ Big 3 was firing on all cylinders, as Chris Paul dropped 18 dimes, Blake Griffin put up 23-14, and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 19 boards and absolutely posterized Greg Monroe. But it was J.J. Reddick who led the way, shooting 6-of-9 from downtown, en route to 31 points. Could it be the Clippers are finding their way out of the wilderness after a 3-8 slide that had them below .500?
The Chicago Bulls lost Wednesday, 105-100, to the Boston Celtics. The teams were tied at 75 at the end of the... Read More
Celtics at Hawks (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT) Though just 7-6 and a half-game out of the 8th spot in the East, the Boston Celtics have to be pleased with their start. Yes, they’re coming off a 111-101 road loss to the lowly Nets, but that’s their only loss to a sub-.500 team, and their 5.9 point differential is the 4th-best in the NBA. Unfortunately, the Celtics will be without guard Marcus Smart for the next 2-to-6 weeks, after he suffered a “subluxation of the proximal tibfib joint” Sunday in Brooklyn.
Tuesday’s tilt against the Celtics offers the 9-6 Atlanta Hawks an opportunity to avenge a humiliating 106-93 loss in Boston on Friday the 13th. But really, that game was just a small part of the 1-4 freefall the Hawks... Read More
Hawks at Knicks (8pm ET Thursday, TNT) The Atlanta Hawks finished the 2015 regular season as the #1 seed in the East, having won a franchise record 60 games. The recipe for their success included some lights-out shooting, a career year or two, solid defense and the weakest schedule in the NBA. They should again be a playoff team, thanks largely to being in the East, and the fact that they bring back the same team as last year, with the exception of swingman DeMarre Carroll. The Hawks are coming off an Opening Night 106-94 loss to the Detroit Pistons, in which they were out-rebounded 59-40 and only got to the free throw line 15 times.
Year One of the Phil Jackson Era at Madison Square Garden saw the... Read More
There are worse ways to kick off an NBA season than showcasing four of the league’s eight most watchable teams, but fortunately, we needn’t worry about them.
Cavaliers at Bulls (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT) The evening begins with LeBron James & LeBron-naires beginning their Eastern Conference title defense in the Windy City, where they’ll face Derrick Rose, one of the league’s most snake-bitten and tone-deaf superstars, and the Bulls.
The Cavaliers’ title quest last season was derailed when Kevin Love suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first round of the playoffs, and then point guard Kyrie Irving went down with a fractured kneecap in Game 1 of the Finals. Love has spent the summer paddle boarding and hiking in Park City, Utah, and has been playing... Read More