Joakim Noah

Report: Joakim Noah out for Game 5, Bulls in heap of trouble


Sorry Bulls’ fans, But Game 5 against the 76ers Tuesday could look a lot like Game 4, just with different logos on the floor. And that’s not good.

Joakim Noah will be out for Game 5 Tuesday due to his ankle sprain, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (via The Bulls trail the 76ers 3-1 in that best of seven series.

All season, we kept talking about how the Bulls embodied “team.” And that is true. Up to a point. But the fact of the matter is talent wins at all levels of basketball and all the beautiful sets and crisp execution in the world can’t make up for a massive talent disparity.

Put simply, if you take two All-Stars off any team, they get much worse. Or try this with any team — take the best perimeter and best interior player off the court and what do you have?

Chicago was in serious trouble when Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL at the end of Game 1, but most thought they could still power through this series. But the combination of Bulls injuries and the Sixers getting back to the ball movement and execution they had early in the season has swung this series toward Philly. That and Spencer Hawes playing well again.

It’s just not been the Bulls playoffs.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?