Dwyane Wade says Chicago never fully embraced him

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Dwyane Wade is a Chicago guy, born and raised.

Well, he seems himself that way. But he went to high school at Richards High in Oak Lawn, Ill., almost half an hour outside the city’s core. He played his high school ball in the suburbs.

So the city never embraced him as one of their own as it has guys like Derrick Rose or Doc Rivers, guys who grew up and played in the city. Don’t take my word for it, look what a local sports editor told Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

“There’s no question when you think basketball in Chicago, your natural tendency is to think Mark Aguirre, Isaiah Thomas, Doc Rivers, Terry Cummings and Derrick Rose,” said Roy Schmidt, editor of Illinois Preps Bulls-Eye. “So I can certainly understand Dwyane saying that.”

What is Wade saying? That playing in the ‘burbs left him outside the city’s lore.

“It’s always been a knock on guys who played in the suburbs,” said Wade… “You didn’t get as much attention because they think it’s not as tough or whatever the case may be. I think I represent the city. Guys are proud of that, but it’s something different between guys that go to school in the city and the suburbs.”

But look at Wade versus those other careers. Isiah Thomas is the only guy on that list in Wade’s ballpark — and he played out in Westchester, yet he is embraced. (To be fair, Rose is 24 and it’s too early to judge his career.) Wade has two rings, same as Thomas, a Finals MVP, nine All-Star Games and is a Hall of Fame lock. And he could well pick up another ring or three in the coming years.

Of course, a couple years ago Wade talked with the Bulls about coming home, instead choosing to stay in Miami and bringing Chris Bosh and LeBron James to join him. If Wade had chosen Chicago, this story might be different. But it isn’t.

When it’s said and done, when he hangs up his sneakers, Wade will be the best player Chicago has ever produced. Even if some in Chicago don’t count him among their own.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!

Luc Mbah a Moute sets modern record at +57 in Rockets’ win over Nuggets

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Luc Mbah a Moute is a quietly good player.

He’s an effective and versatile defender. Offensively, he shoots 3-pointers well enough to score efficiently and spread the floor. Most of all, the 31-year-old just understands how to play and plays within himself. His teams tend to perform better when he’s on the floor.

That’s an understatement for Wednesday night.

In a 125-95 win, the Rockets outscored the Nuggets by a whopping 57 points in Mbah a Moute’s 26 minutes. That’s the best single-game plus-minus in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to the 2000-01 season. It tops Joe Smith’s +52 in a 2001 Timberwolves win over the Bulls, a 53-point game that also produced a +50 for Wally Szczerbiak and +48 for Terrell Brandon.

Mbah a Moute’s traditional stat line was impressive, though not overly so: 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with four rebounds, four steals and an assist. He played well, contributing to winning in all the small ways he often does, and the Rockets happened to play excellently around him.

Now, Mbah a Moute tops the leaderboard in single-game plus-minus since 2000-01:

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Did Russell Westbrook get mad at Steven Adams for not taking potential triple-double-clinching shot? (video)

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Russell Westbrook chases triple-doubles.

That hardly makes him unique. He’s just close enough to the feat more often than other players, so he chases them more often.

But he still chases them.

Late in the Thunder’s 108-91 win over the Warriors last night, Westbrook was heading toward his final line of 34 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. His teammates shot off his passes on three of Oklahoma City’s final four possessions before he took a seat (including one assist). The exception came when he passed to Steven Adams, who passed rather than shoot – clearly upsetting Westbrook.

Was Westbrook mad because he missed his chance at a triple-double? Maybe.

Was Westbrook mad because Adams passed as the shot clock neared expiration? Maybe.

It could be both!

Watch Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry on Golden State’s bench. They clearly found something funny.