Heat 103, Bulls 74: Miami’s offense looked great. Chicago’s game plan — a very logical one — was to take Dwyane Wade out, do not let him beat you with his shot. So he passed, and finished with 10 assists. The Heat pounded the soft inside game of the Bulls with Jermaine O’Neal (24 points), then they posted up Quentin Richardson on Flip Murray. The Heat were active on offense, active on defense. And if you get up on these Bulls early right now, they just fold. The Bulls shot 32%.
Clippers 99, Rockets 93: This review contains sentences I never thought I’d type. Such as: The Clippers just executed so much more cleanly than the Rockets tonight. LA recognized the mismatches and pounded them. The Rockets did not.
Or this one: Great game from the Clippers bench. Four of the five Clippers starters had a negative plus/minus for the night, while the entire bench was in the positive. Craig “Rhino” Smith (still maybe the best nickname in the league) dominated — 25 points, 10 rebounds and was a +25 on the night. He was a beast. Eric Gordon had a nice game spreading the floor for him.
Chase Budinger is a nice player, he is no Kevin Martin. The Rockets really missed him and Shane Battier in this one.
Trail Blazers 101, Mavericks 89: Portland is playing well right now, particularly on defense. They are long and athletic, and that really bothered Maverick shooters. Marcus Camby got right up on Dirk Nowitzki, bodied him and made him uncomfortable.
And Portland did it without fouling — Dallas got to the line just nine times, as opposed to Portland’s 26. Little bit of home cooking in that number, but it’s mostly about the defense
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
Buddy Hield: Vivek Ranadive told me at Kings-Pelicans games, ‘We’re still going to get you’