Derrick Rose is getting better — that is video of him running sprints at the Bulls practice facility on Monday. That’s a good sign.
Then comes this report out of the Chicago Sun-Times (hat tip to SLAM)
According to an NBA source, while ‘‘The Return’’ to the court for NBA games is still up in the air for Rose, the all-everything point guard could be just weeks away from practicing with the Bulls again after surgery on his left anterior cruciate ligament last May.
‘That’s the belief that a couple of [the Bulls’] players are under,’’ the source said.
The former NBA MVP’s return to game action has long been slated for February, somewhere around the All-Star break, with the Bulls always saying that he could take as long as he wanted. Rose is their franchise anchor and they want and need him healthy for the long-term, not rushing back to play games in December and January. Rose’s rehab efforts have been chronicled by an adidas “The Return” video series.
When he does return, expect Rose to take a while to return to his old self. That is usually the pattern with guys coming off an ACL injury — first they have to build up the strength in their leg, then they have to learn to trust the reconstructed knee and be able to play without thinking about it. With Rose’s game based in large part on his explosiveness and quick stops and starts, trusting the knee could take time.
But with him back, the Bulls become the team to beat in a Central division where the Bucks and Pacers have been mediocre themselves.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.
John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.
Fred Hoiberg opened himself to clowning by complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying.
So, the Bulls coach got clowned after the Celtics’ Game 5 win.
Late in the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls last night, Jae Crowder leg-locked Robin Lopez – the same dirty play that caused rancor for Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 playoffs.
Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.
Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.
I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.