Amare Stoudemire

Biillups out, Stoudemire may join him on Knicks bench Sunday


Injuries are not what led to the now inevitable end to the Knicks season at the hands of the Celtics in the first round. But it did speed the process along.

Point guard Chauncey Billups is almost certainly out for Game 4 and Amar’e Stoudemire may join him on the bench.

Stoudemire’s back tightened up on Saturday after he played 33 minutes — looking stiff when he moved — on Friday night and may not go Sunday, reports our man Howard Beck in the New York Times.

“It’s a strained back muscle,” he said. “So there’s a chance of straining it more, there’s a chance of overcompensating and having another injury. So there’s definitely some risks of playing with a strained back. And I’m not sure we want to take that risk right now when we have such a great future ahead of us.”

If he does not start, Shawne Williams will start. And you will not hear the name Carmelo Anthony without the words “double team” mentioned in the same sentence.

Billups told the New York Daily News he was “praying for a miracle” so he could play Sunday.

PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?

Leave a comment

Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.

Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.

Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question

Fred Hoiberg, Derrick Rose
Leave a comment

The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.

The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).

So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.

The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.

“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.

“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”

Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)

Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.

And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.

Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.