Last week we discussed how the fine folks of Chicago cannot muster the hate for Dwyane Wade that Clevelanders have so easily tapped into for LeBron James.
Why is that? He is a born-and-raised Chicago guy who flirted with the city before deciding to stay in Miami (and join forces with LeBron and Bosh). Why not hate?
A couple things hold it back, from the sports attitudes in Chicago to Wade himself. We asked your friendly neighborhood Bulls blogger, Matt of Blog-a-Bull — one of the longest-running and most-respected bloggers out there — about Wade and Chicago.
He said the LeBron and Cleveland dynamic was very different than Wade in Chicago, in large part because Wade wasn’t Chicago’s to lose.
‘Chicago’ and the ‘Bulls’ aren’t entirely in sync. The Bulls are a worldwide fandom (thanks to Jordan, of course), yet will always be an afterthought in Chicago sports behind the Bears and baseball. There are many Bulls fans who aren’t from Chicago and don’t care about the city aspect of it.
Also, Wade wasn’t a major star when he was a high school player here. He was definitely good, but famously was under-recruited before going to Marquette. So it was more of seeing his star blossom elsewhere and being a returning hero than the homegrown version.
…which of course brings to mind someone who WAS a star through high school here, and that’s Derrick Rose. Basically, if there are any special feelings toward a hometown superstar (and there are), they’re given to Rose, and Wade is then an afterthought…
I believe most fans feel that Wade was at best merely giving the Bulls a courtesy, but at worst leveraging his family situation to throw the Bulls off and help Riley with his master plan… But even so, he’s not nearly as reviled as LeBron or Bosh, maybe as at least some kind of respect for a guy working for his franchise. We’d be alright with Rose doing the same to help the Bulls recruit free agents. So Wade will be booed upon his return, but that’s just because of his jersey. I think the ties to his home are personal and separated, and that’s probably healthiest for us as fans anyway.
The Los Angeles Clippers had a rough go of things against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Up by 18 with more than five minutes to go, LA blew their lead and were left to watch as the Kings sealed the game late.
The final possession for Sacramento came on a missed corner 3-pointer by Clippers guard Jamal Crawford. The Kings got the outlet pass out on the rebound, but Ben McLemore took it to the rack and missed. That’s when Willie Cauley-Stein stepped in, cleaned up the board, and put the game-winning shot home with less than two seconds left.
Los Angeles lost in spectacular fashion, and became the only team this season to lose given their game situation.
Here’s a compilation the NBA put together of Sacramento’s epic comeback:
Meanwhile, Chris Paul called it the worst regular season loss of his career.
The Clippers peaked too soon. Like, the first 20 games of the season too soon.
Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double on Sunday. The Oklahoma City Thunder star notched 13 assists in the loss to the Houston Rockets, 137-125, and one of them came on a nifty pass to teammate Victor Oladipo.
The play happened with the Thunder on the fastbreak early in the third quarter. Westbrook was moving from left-to-right across the middle of the floor with the ball while Oladipo streaked down the right wing.
With the Rockets defense collapsing, Westbrook reached halfcourt and fired a bounce pass that sliced through the opposition.
Oladipo finished with the clean dunk.
Still not sure it beats this one, but I think we’ll have to compare once the season comes to a close.
The race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook for the 2017 NBA MVP has narrowed to a two-man race toward the end of the season. The Oklahoma City Thunder star is averaging at triple-double this year, and the Houston Rockets guard is doing things nobody has ever done on a basketball court before.
It’s a tough decision to decide between them, so much so that even former Los Angeles Lakers great and 2008 NBA MVP Kobe Bryant can’t do it.
Speaking on ESPN on Sunday, Bryant said he thought the league might have to just bite the bullet on Westbrook vs. Harden.
“We might see our first co-MVPs this year,” said Bryant.
That would be a huge step for the league, but I’m not entirely sure they would do it. There have been co-NBA All-Star Game MVPs in years past, but never league MVP.
Still, can you decide between Russ and Harden? The Mamba can’t.
Houston Rockets center Nene is from Brazil, but on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder the South American native went full euro.
On a fastbreak possession, Nene took on Thunder big man Enes Kanter near the rim and absolutely shook him with a nasty eurostep.
The play was so good that it forced Oklahoma City to call a timeout as James Harden and the rest of the Rockets bench met Nene on the court to celebrate.