Chris Paul could return in a week or so

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The Hornets have bravely been carrying on the fight for a playoff birth without Chris Paul. Paul had knee surgery on February 4th, and since then it has been the Darren Collison show. Collison’ done a fantastic job in his stead, racking up points and assists. But there’s still some level of leadership missing that the rookie can’t provide, a spark that only Paul can give.

Good news, Hornets fans. Paul’s getting closer to returning to the floor. From the New Orleans Times Picayune:

Three-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul was medically cleared Friday
to begin running, and he could be a week to 10 days from returning to
the New Orleans Hornets’
lineup.

Paul returning to the lineup would of course be a huge boost, he’s their best overall player. But given the play of Collison, you have to wonder if Paul’s going to be able to make enough of an impact in the seven game gap the Hornets face between them and the playoffs?

The Hornets face an uncertain offseason. Should they hold on to Darren Collison, or trade him at the height of his trade value, since point guard is not an area of need? Who will be the next head coach, or will Jeff Bower keep all the power? Can the Hornets make a significant improvement that might make Chris Paul feel better about his long-term future there?

A lot of questions, but getting Paul back will at least mean the team will be playing at full strength. But given the season they’ve had and where they are in the playoff race, it might be better for them to shut him down for the season.

James Harden’s 12th triple-double helps Rockets end 2-game skid

harden
AP
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NEW YORK (AP) James Harden had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 12th triple-double of the season and the Houston Rockets easily ended their first losing streak of the season by beating the Brooklyn Nets 137-112 on Sunday night.

Held to 105 points in losses to Minnesota and Memphis, the Rockets bounced back with 104 after three quarters and handed the Nets their 10th straight loss.

Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points and Trevor Ariza added 23. Houston made 21 3-pointers and had five players with at least 16 points.

Houston shot just 40.8 percent during its two losses, well below its 46.8 season average, while being held nearly 10 points below its season scoring average. But the Rockets had no trouble bouncing back against the Nets, who allow an NBA-worst 114.3 per game.

Joel Embiid helps bring hundreds of fans to D.C. with ‘Bus the Process’

embiid bus
Twitter
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Joel Embiid has fans all around the NBA. Some even came out to see him during the Philadelphia 76ers game against the Washington Wizards on Saturday despite the Cameroonian big man sitting out due to restrictions on playing in back-to-back games.

#BusTheProcess was the hashtag used to get 350 Sixers fans to the game in D.C. thanks to Embiid, coach Brett Brown, and the podcast The Rights to Ricky Sanchez.

Via Twitter and ESPN:

Fun stuff for some dedicated fans, even if they didn’t get to see Embiid play.

Unfortunately for the #BusTheProcess folks, the 76ers wound up losing to the Wizards, 109-93.

Ball ricochets off Robin Lopez’s face, Bulls score anyway (VIDEO)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31:  Robin Lopez #8 of the Chicago Bulls look on against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Barclays Center on October 31, 2016 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Getty
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Michael Carter-Williams is still shaking the dust off after being inserted into the starting lineup, I guess. At least, that’s about what you can say when you pass the ball off your starting center’s face.

But there’s good news! The Chicago Bulls scored on this play.

Let’s take a look at the whole thing, shall we?

I think the more important question is whether Carter-Williams received a secondary or primary assists on the NBA.com tracking site.

Kent Bazemore, Mike Dunleavy pick up offense as Hawks beat Bucks

Mike Dunleavy, Michael Beasley
AP
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ATLANTA (AP) Kent Bazemore scored 24 points, Mike Dunleavy added 20 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-98 on Sunday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points and was a tough matchup in the paint for Milwaukee, which dropped 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-place Hawks in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta has won eight of nine. The Bucks have dropped three of five.

Dunleavy, in his second game since arriving in a trade last week with Cleveland, had his first 20-point performance since a first-round playoff game for Chicago on April 30, 2015.

Antetokounmpo has scored at least 30 points in eight games in a breakout season.