What you missed while pouring out a 40 for Nate Dogg…
Bulls 98, Wizards 79: And with that score, the Bulls move into first place in the Eastern Conference.
The game itself was pretty much all Bulls, they took an early lead on a 20-5 run (despite Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah being out), although the Wizards made a bit of a second quarter push behind Jordan Crawford (15 points in the quarter). But the Bulls defense tightened up in the second half and held Washington to 35 points for the final 24. Which seemed fitting because their defense is why they are on top in the East.
Some individual performances of note. JaVale McGee had 12 blocked shots, including a few out on the perimeter as he chased down blocks all over the place. (The Bulls grabbed the offensive rebound on 38.5 percent of their missed shots, which may have had something to do with McGee chasing down blocks.) Keith Bogans hit 5-of-10 from three and dropped 17 points for his best game of the season.
Pacers 119, Knicks 117: A pretty entertaining game, so long as you are not a coach in charge of either of these teams’ defenses. Second game of a home-and-home and you didn’t really see a lot of changes from the Pacers win Sunday. The Knicks don’t play defense but when they moved the ball and ran in transition they could outscore the Pacers. Tyler Hansbrough had 30, 15 in the third quarter when it looked like the Pacers would pull away. The Knicks fought back, had some questionable execution down the stretch and that opened the door for a dramatic Danny Granger game winner.
Hawks 110, Bucks 85: Joe Johnson was knocking down the jumper (8-of-15 on shots outside the key according to the shot chart, he finished with 36) and when he and his teammates are hitting from the outside they can beat anyone. The Bucks offense still sucks.
Trail Blazers 104, Mavericks 101: Dallas started out 11-11 from the floor and shot 74 percent in the first quarter — yet never led by more than 8 and it was just three after the first quarter. Close game at the end and the Mavericks had looks to tie but could not knock down shots like they could at the start. Big win for the Blazers playoff push.
Minnesota is everyone’s team to watch this coming season — Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggings, strong supporting cast, now all coached by Tom Thibodeau.
But they already were a lot of fun last season. Check out their Top 10 plays from last season.
This is the clearest sign yet that Chris Bosh is going to suit up for the Miami Heat this season.
The past two years Bosh has missed the end of the season with a very serious blood clotting issue. He has been working out, saying this week he’s hooping. He’s been frustrated with how the Heat have handled his health situation, including leaving this season hanging. But it sounds like the owner wants him to be ready to play — and owners get what owners want.
There are questions still to be answered: Will Bosh still be on blood thinners, and will he come off them on game days? Will there be restrictions on his travel? Will there be restrictions on his minutes?
But Bosh wants to play, and it sounds like the Heat owner is down with that.
The Heat are a much better team with Bosh on the court — he averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, shot 36.7 percent from three and a true shooting percentage of 57.1, plus he had a PER of 20.2. He was an All-Star, but couldn’t play in the game because of the clotting issue.
With Bosh, the Heat are in the mix for a playoff spot this season. The question is, will they have him for the full season.
Carl Landry and Tibor Pleiss are going to get paid this year — they both had fully guaranteed contracts for this season.
But they are not going to be playing for the Philadelphia 76ers this season — both were waived by the team on Thursday. This was not unexpected. Both players salaries will count against the cap for the Sixers (they are still $16 million below the league salary floor).
Once they clear waivers, both players will be unrestricted free agents (Landry likely will latch on with another team for the league minimum, Pleiss may as well or could head overseas).
Landry will still make $6.5 million (fourth highest on the Sixers) but would have been battling for minutes in crowded and young frontcourt with Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor (among other potential players, for example the Sixers are high on Anthony Barber).
Pleiss is in the same boat in terms of minutes, he was acquired from the Jazz along with a couple of second round draft picks just a few days back (the Sixers sent Utah Kendall Marshall, who was promptly waived). That trade was really about getting the picks — a very Sam Hinkie move by Bryan Colangelo.
This didn’t move the needle much on the Sixers season.
This is a huge season — a contract kind of season of sorts — for Noah Vonleh in Portland. The team has an option on him next season (the third of his rookie deal), and to impress people he is going to have to earn minutes at the four in front of Al-Farouq Aminu, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Ed Davis.
The Blazers have high hopes for Vonleh, he was a central part of the Nicolas Batum trade with Charlotte. However, watching Vonleh at Summer League — 12 points a game on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds a game in more than 30 minutes a night — he didn’t show the development anyone had hoped to see. He should have dominated at that level. He didn’t.
Now there another injury setback for him.
He should be good to go around the start of training camp at the end of September.
But he can’t afford a slow start in training camp (that set him back his rookie season). He needs to show what he can do from day one, or Portland is going to move on without him.