Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls - Game Two

NBA schedule out, here are some news and notes

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The NBA schedule is out and there is a lot to comb through. Here are some things that jumped out to us at first glance, plus the basic details you need to know.

• Games tip-off on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, with five games.

• It is a 66 game season that runs through April 26 (about a week later than normal).

• Game 7 of the NBA finals could be on June 26, again about a week later than normal. (The NBA could not push back farther due to the Olympics, Team USA is expected to open camp July 5.)

• There are 42 sets of back-to-back-to-back games (three games in three nights).

• Miami gets a soft start to the season — 11 out of their first 19 at home and they only leave the Eastern time zone once (against Dallas in the opener).

• The Lakers, on the other hand, open with a back-to-back-to-back (host Bulls, at Kings, home to Jazz). However, they stay west of the Rockies until the middle of January.

• The Lakers are on national television 29 times (counting cable games like NBA TV).

• Miami has one back-to-back-to-back, Feb. 12 to 14.

• Dallas also opens pretty easy early as well with six of their first nine at home and all in the central time zone.

• Over at Daily Thunder they report Oklahoma City has 17 back-to-backs and but only one back-to-back-to-back.

• Oklahoma City gets a soft end to the season — 10 of their last 11 games are against teams that did not make the playoffs last year.

• The league tried to schedule a lot of marquee games. For example the Celtics get the Heat and Bulls both the maximum of four times each.

• Worst schedule stretch of the year goes to the Grizzlies in April — five games in six days starting at the Thunder, home to the Warriors, at Dallas, at Miami, home again to Dallas. Brutal.

• Boston does have an April stretch (13th to 19th) with five games in five different cities and two countries in six days. It’s part of a pattern as Boston spends 18 of its last 27 games on the road.

• Boston has to play 18 of its last 27 games on the road. They also have their first three on the road against the Knicks, Heat and Hornets.

• The Orlando Magic do not come out to Los Angeles to face the Lakers or Clippers this year. So no Dwight Howard in Los Angeles, unless….

• The Bulls circus road trip kicks them out of the United Center from Jan. 29 to Feb. 12, nine straight games. Bulls also start season with seven of first nine on the road.

• The Knicks have three games in four nights in early March and it is harsh: At Boston, at Dallas, at San Antonio.

• Starting Jan. 21 Spurs will spend 13 of 17 games on the road, plus they got two back-to-back-to-backs. The schedule was not nice to the old guys.

• Denver has to play 13 of its last 19 games on the road.

Report: Bucks brought Jabari Parker off bench for discussing with media team’s meeting

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, center, looks for an open teammate as he is surrounded by Miami Heat players during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Bucks 109-97. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Associated Press
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The Milwaukee Bucks had lost four in a row and had slid out of a playoff slot in the East. It’s not one end of the court — in their last five games, the Bucks had the second-worst defense and fourth-worst offense in the NBA. After that fourth loss, the team held a players’ only meeting, one where Jabari Parker reportedly ripped his teammates for a lack of togetherness.

In the postgame media sessions that followed, Parker told the press he confirmed there was a meeting and said he had been “thrashed” by his teammates for what he said.

It was that speaking to the media that got him benched for a game — as decided by his teammates — reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker did not start in Saturday’s road loss to the Miami Heat for violating a team rule that prohibits disclosing locker room discourse to the media, league sources told ESPN…

Parker’s teammates deliberated and decided the appropriate punishment for the violation was to bring him off the bench against the Heat, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time this season that he did not start.

The meeting and the benching didn’t help, the Bucks fell to the lowly Heat 109-97. (Team/players meetings are overrated in how often they help teams turn things around.)

The good news for the Bucks is that in a tight East they remain just a game out of the playoffs and three games out of the five seed. It’s going to be a tough week to turn that around with the Rockets, resurgent Sixers, Raptors, and Celtics on the schedule.

 

Denver’s Kenneth Faried gets up, blocks DeAndre Jordan dunk attempt (VIDEO)

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Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the lineup, the Clippers don’t have much going for them offensively. However, there is one thing: DeAndre Jordan can still run to the rim and dunk with authority.

Denver’s Kenneth Faried took that away Saturday.

Faried hustled back in transition, showed he still had some hops and swatted away a Jordan dunk attempt.

The Nuggets went on to win the game comfortably, 123-98, behind 19 points and 10 boards from Nikola Jokic.

Suns’ Devin Booker sinks three that defeats Knicks (VIDEO)

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The Knicks last three losses have come by a total of six points. The team is not good, a little banged up, and doesn’t play any defense, but New York also has just had a run of bad luck.

The latest example: Phoenix’s Devin Booker draining a three to knock off New York, 107-105. It was a mistake by Derrick Rose, who sagged down to the free throw line watching Eric Bledsoe with the ball coming off the pick, which led to the open pass. Also, notice that Booker set up three feet back of the three-point line — this is a trend a lot of teams and good shooters are following (watch a Rockets’ game) because it makes the closeout harder. Rose would have contested a shot at the arc, but Booker gets a clean look from where he spotted up, and drills it.

Carmelo Anthony got a shot to win it for the Knicks, but his rimmed out.

Kawhi Leonard drops 41, Spurs best Cavaliers in OT in what may be game of the Year (VIDEO)

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The Spurs would like you to include them in your conversations about contenders.

Without Pau Gasol (hand) or Tony Parker (foot), San Antonio went into Cleveland and beat the defending NBA champions in OT 118-115 in what was one of the wildest, most entertaining games of the season. Check out the clutch-time action above, including LeBron James hitting a three Shaker Heights.

But the real star was Kawhi Leonard, who put up a career-best 41 on 30 shots. He’s the guy who has to create and make plays for this offense, and he did it on a big stage. LeBron added 29 points. Between them, they put on quite a show.