The Clippers essentially didn’t bother to show up Friday night in Toronto, falling behind by as many as 31 points before eventually losing 98-73.
Caron Butler shot just 3-of-12 from the field in 37 minutes, which may explain why he attempted to trick Jonas Valanciunas into getting one more chance to score as the clock was winding down, and after both teams had a tacit agreement that the game was in the books.
As Valanciunas crosses half court and terminates his dribble, Butler approaches him and offers up a friendly, sportsmanlike handshake. Once the Raptors rookie relaxes and accepts, Butler grabs the ball and heads down the floor on the break, before he’s caught from behind and fouled with 2.8 seconds to play.
The Clippers were down 27 points at the time.
This is more hilarious than it is infuriating, because with the only thing at stake being Butler’s personal statistics, he’s entitled to keep playing until the final buzzer sounds. I guess. I mean, no one got hurt, and the final outcome remained unchanged.
If anyone is going to be upset at Butler’s antics, it’s likely to be his own teammates. Extending a humiliating loss longer than necessary isn’t likely to sit well in the locker room or with the team’s head coach.
At least it shouldn’t.
PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?
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
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.