Baseline to Baseline recaps: The Bulls just keep on winning ugly

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What you missed while figuring out how to bring a Woolly Mammoth to life

Bulls 82, Mavericks 77: I feel like I keep writing the sentence “The Bulls won an ugly game.”

The Bulls are winning with defense and with Carlos Boozer out for a third straight the offense has been unimpressive. Derrick Rose and little else. The Mavs have been struggling in pretty much every facet of the game and were on the second night of a back-to-back after an emotional win. Maybe ugly is too strong a word for this game but it certainly wasn’t pretty.

Nobody was efficient in this game, certainly not Rose who needed 28 shots to get his 26 points. But he was the best player on the court, particularly in the fourth quarter.

The real key for the Bulls —17 offensive rebounds. In a slow-paced game (85 possessions each) where neither team shot well the Bulls got a second chance on 34.7 perent of their missed shots. That was enough to secure a win.

Dirk Nowitzki not only shot poorly — 6-of-16 — but he was limping at points on the court and may have rushed back from his knee sprain. He’s had some good stretches but he hasn’t looked right since his return.

Trail Blazers 108, Clippers 93: For everybody jumping on the “the Clippers can make the playoffs” bandwagon — that is the team you have to catch.

LaMarcus Aldridge completely outplayed Blake Griffin. He looked like the All-Star candidate. Griffin had 20 points but shot just 6-of-17 (he also had 18 boards) while Aldridge had 29 points on 13-of-20 shooting. Griffin is strong but Aldridge was able to hold his ground and his length was too much for Griffin.

Bobcats 100, Sixers 97: Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: The Sixers lost  game where they had a lead late. This time the Sixers battled back from eight back to take a lead with only a few minutes left, then gave up an 8-2 run and that was it. D.J. Augustin continues to thrive under Paul Silas and put up 31. Larry Brown really did need to go.

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.

 

 

Video of Kawhi Leonard struggling to board team plane concerning

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The San Antonio Spurs have been very tight lipped about how serious Kawhi Leonard‘s ongoing quadriceps issue is. He hasn’t played in the preseason or now the start of the regular season, with no timetable for his return. Part of that is the nature of the Spurs organization, but it leads to the feeling there is something more there.

Now surfaces this video of Leonard gingerly, slowly making his way up some stairs to the team plane, and it’s concerning.

To be fair, there is a real lack of context here, but according to the San Antonio Express-News, he had just come out of a rehab session. That means he might have been especially sore (and could have been iced up for the flight).

Still, this video makes one think it could be a while longer before we see Leonard back on the floor for San Antonio. (By the way over the past three seasons, including this one, the Spurs are 15-4 when Leonard sits. They will be fine short term.)

Nike “very concerned” after LeBron James’ jersey rips on opening night

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In the team’s first preseason game, the jersey of the Lakers’ Tyler Ennis was torn in the back with a tug from an opponent. Everyone made tearaway jersey jokes and moved on, thinking it was a one-off situation.

Then LeBron James‘ jersey ripped down the back on opening night, on national television.

Now Nike is looking into the issue, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.

Nearly three days after one of its jerseys tore in the first regular-season game of its new deal with the NBA, Nike released a statement Friday expressing worry about the issue, without offering insight as to what happened or what will be done.

“The quality and performance of all our products are of utmost importance,” the company said in a statement. “We are obviously very concerned to see any game day jersey tear and are working with the NBA and teams to avoid this happening in the future.”

This is the first year Nike has the NBA apparel contract, having just taken it over from Adidas. They made the jerseys similar to what had been done for the 2016 Rio Olympics, where there were no issues, but these jerseys are lighter than the former Adidas ones. It’s unclear what, if any, changes could be coming.

Like many of the jerseys from opening night, LeBron’s ripped one is being auctioned by the NBA to raise money for hurricane relief.