The Chicago Bulls are a trendy upset pick over the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs (if the five seed beating the four is really an upset). The theory goes that the size of the Bulls front line — Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson — can protect the paint and the Bulls overall defense can just grind the Nets down.
But what if that Bulls front line isn’t right?
Noah played 14 minutes each in the Bulls final two games of the regular season after missing four games in a row before that as he again battles plantar fasciitis — a painful foot condition that really only gets better with rest.
“It’s a combination of how much can we play [Joakim],” Thibodeau said. “Whether he starts or comes off the bench, I think he can handle both and we have to maximize what [Joakim] can bring to our team.
“During the game, he feels fine. I think he’s hopeful that he’ll get better as we go along. It’s the type of injury where he’s going to have to try and manage it as best as he can. The one thing is, he’s doing everything he can to get out there. He wants to be out there very badly. Whatever he can give us is a huge plus for our team.”
The one advantage the Bulls have is that the frequency of the games slows down in the playoffs. The Bulls are off until Saturday, then the series goes Monday and Thursday. Noah will get some breaks.
Which is good — the Bulls do not have much margin for error in this series. The Nets with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are the most skilled team, the more offensive minded team.
Noah looked rusty and limited in his recent comeback games. If that is the case against the Nets, Chicago could be one and done. Again.
Report: Kyle Lowry’s Philadelphia area home was burglarized by jewelry heist ring
Kyle Lowry is a gold medalist from Rio and a Toronto All-Star (and should be again this season), but at heart he is a Philly guy. He was born and raised in Philadelphia, and went to college right there at Villanova. He still has a home in the area.
A multi-million dollar jewelry burglary ring is cracked in the Delaware Valley as investigators are trying to recover all the jewels stolen from victims, including an NBA star player….
The Main Line home of Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry was hit, police sources said.
Responding to an email from CBS3, a spokesman for the Raptors said Lowry, a former Villanova basketball standout, politely declined comment for this story.
Lowry was far from alone in being targeted, and a couple of people who fell victim to the ring lost more than $500,000, according to the report.
The crew had ties to a shop on “Jewelers’ Row” in the city, which served as a front for the ring tried to move millions of dollars in stolen jewelry, according to the report. Wasim Shazad, the owner of the shop, was arrested but is now out on bail as he moves through the legal process.
NBA: Timberwolves got away with defensive three-second violation on pivotal stop in win over Nuggets
To the delight of the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Timberwolves themselves and any other Western Conference team with playoff designs, Minnesota knocked off the eighth-place Nuggets on Sunday. Denver is now just a half game up for postseason position.
But perhaps the Nuggets would have more breathing room if the game featured correct officiating down the stretch.
Towns (MIN) is in the paint without actively guarding an opponent for longer than three seconds.
Towns is clearly matched up with Nikola Jokic, but the rules require Towns to be “within arms length of an offensive player and in a guarding position.” Towns is playing too far off Jokic to qualify.
Danilo Gallinari got away with travelling one second later, but a correct call would’ve stopped play and given any Denver player on the court – likely Gallinari, who’s shooting 89% from the line this season and 86% – a single free throw. Then, the Nuggets would’ve taken the ball out of bounds with a fresh chance to score.
Instead, with Towns covering the paint, Minnesota forced a miss and grabbed the defensive rebound. Denver began intentionally fouling, and the Timberwolves escaped with a 111-108 win that altered wide-open chase for the No. 8 seed in the West.
Pistons-Kings game delayed for smoke over court (video)
LeBron delivered, softening the point everyone amplified (that he wants roster improvements) and emphasizing the point that got overlooked (that he’s on board with Cleveland general manager David Griffin):
I not mad or upset at management cause Griff and staff have done a great job, I just feel we still need to improve in order to repeat…