Joakim Noah blames negativity for Bulls’ 10-10 home record

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The Suns went into Chicago on Saturday playing their fourth game in five nights, and having won just once in the team’s previous 12 games.

That didn’t stop them from putting a hurt on the Bulls, a team that many believe to be in the upper echelon in the East, and capable of competing with the likes of the Heat and the Knicks come playoff time.

That won’t happen, however, if Chicago can’t figure out its issues while playing at home, where the team is now just 10-10 on the season. And Joakim Noah feels that nothing will change until the Bulls learn to be more positive when things aren’t going their way.

From Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago:

“We’re 10-10 at home. That’s not very good, that’s very average,” Bulls center Joakim Noah said.

“I think it’s OK to be wrapped up in big wins. I think you’re supposed to be happy after you win, but I think that when it’s the big game we come ready to play. I think we have to make a conscious effort as players and as coaches — everybody. I feel like we complain way too much. When things aren’t going our way we have to find a way to stick together more.

“It’s just too negative. We have to support one another when things aren’t going well because right now it’s just, when things aren’t going our way, it’s the end of the world. You have to move on to the next play and unite together because I don’t feel like we’re doing that right now.”

The Bulls have gotten off to a 20-15 start, which has them at sixth in the East but just four games behind the Heat for the conference’s top spot. They’ve beaten the Knicks three times this season, and have quality wins over Miami and Boston as well, all without Derrick Rose, who is expected back near the All-Star break.

But a loss like the one suffered at home to a reeling Suns team cancels out the positive feelings to a certain extent, and until Chicago figures out how to recapture its home court advantage, those who doubt whether or not the Bulls are for real will continue to have reason to do so.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.