Things are a little tense in the Chicago Bulls front office.
According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the recent tension between Bulls Vide President John Paxson and coach Vinny Del Negro turned physical.
After a loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 30, an irate Paxson walked into the coach’s office at the United Center and confronted Del Negro over a narrow breach of a management-imposed minutes limit on injured forward Joakim Noah(notes). Sources said Paxson first grabbed a hold of Del Negro’s tie and seemingly tried to provoke him with two successive jabs into his chest. Paxson was even heard to angrily challenge Del Negro to a fight.
There were several staff members present, sources said, and assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff stepped between Paxson and Del Negro and pulled Paxson away.
The Bulls are now investigating the incident.
Despite the Bulls being in the middle of a playoff push — including a big game tonight against Boston — Joakim Noah has been on a management-imposed 35 minutes per game limit, imposed apparently by Paxson. It has been there all season due to Noah’s foot injury, and the minute limits have gradually increased through the year.
When the Bulls were losing to the Nets the other night in a close game that went to overtime, Del Negro wanted to use Noah more. He had his assistant ask general manager Gar Forman, who had to go ask Paxson.
Del Negro comes out smelling pretty good in this one so far, especially for someone who has reportedly been on the hot seat. He did not take Paxson’s bait. He has gone through channels to get more playing time for Noah in what should be a coach’s decision. He has done fairly well with a team that was set up to have cap space next year and not win this year, then suffered a rash of injuries and some trades. Yet the Bulls are close to making the playoffs.
Is it ever good when vice presidents become involved in player minute micromanagement?
Kawhi Leonard scored 16 straight points for the Spurs at the end of regulation to give San Antonio the lead and a chance. Then Mike Conley hit a floater in the lane forced overtime.
There Mike Conley hit a floating bank shot that had the Grizzlies up three with :47 seconds left, only to have Leonard answer with a three to tie the game. Marc Gasol would break that tie and get Memphis the series-evening win.
Conley and Leonard traded blows through the clutch parts of Saturday’s epic Game 4 between Memphis and San Antonio. It’s worth checking out the highlights again.
There’s not going to be many plays better than this in the entire playoffs.
There wasn’t a lot for Wizards’ fans to cheer in Game 3, the Hawks took control early and routed Washington, making it a 2-1 series. But there was this, John Wall going coast-to-coast with the ball, going around-the-back and throwing it down left handed.
Wall is just so fast end to end.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 34 points, Klay Thompson added 24 and the short-handed Golden State Warriors overcame a slow start to take a 3-0 lead in their playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 119-113 victory on Saturday night.
The Blazers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but couldn’t hold off the Warriors, who can clinch the series with a win Monday night in Game 4 at the Moda Center.
Golden State was without Kevin Durant, who was sitting for a second straight game cause of a left calf strain, and coach Steve Kerr stayed back at the team hotel because of illness.
The Warriors took a 108-100 lead after Andre Iguodala‘s dunk with 4:05 to go.
Noah Vonleh‘s dunk got Portland within four at 110-106 with 1:29 left, but Curry answered with a 3-pointer that all but sealed it, sending fans streaming for the exits.
CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 32 points, while Damian Lillard added 31.
The Atlanta Hawks owned the Washington Wizards from the opening tip Saturday, making it a 2-1 series with an easy win.
It’s a series now — and that includes trash talk.
Paul Millsap had 29 points, pulled down 14 boards, got to the line 11 times, and led the Hawks to the win. He got the calls he wanted this game, but Washington’s Markieff Morris was not exactly down with high praise for Millsap.
The key line here: “”He just did more for his team. He’s a crybaby. Get all the calls and you a crybaby.”
Millsap was asked about that comment in his postgame presser — and the best part may be Dennis Schroeder’s reaction.
“It definitely got personal now, yes. I mean, I don’t care. So what? He can take his loss and go back to the hotel and be ready for the next game.”
These two have already had a beef this series.
Game 4 in this series just got a lot more interesting.