Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah will not start Saturday, sounds like a guy who may not play all series


It’s not that the Chicago Bulls plans have to change dramatically if Joakim Noah is out during the playoffs, they are still going to try and be physical and grind the Nets down. They just aren’t going to be as good at it.

Noah sounds like a guy who is not going to play. Not in Game 1 Saturday, maybe not for a while.

Officially he is day-to-day, but Nazr Mohammed is starting, and you read what Noah said (via Aggrey Sam of and tell me you think he is going to play soon. As in maybe all series.

“I’ve got a tear in my foot. It is what it is. I’m upset at myself because I let this linger for a long time and I have no one to blame but myself. I just wish that I was a little bit smarter. I played games in the regular season that I shouldn’t have played. It’s going to be tough, but these are the cards that I was dealt and I’m just going to do the best that I can to get back as quick as I can….

“I’m just taking an lot of anti-inflammatories just to be able to play. It just flares up on me at nights. Even in the limited time I had in the last two games, it wasn’t pretty. It’s painful and I’m just trying to find solutions. It’s tough, but at the end of the day, it’s not about one player. I’m really proud of this team and I think that we put ourselves in a pretty good situation. I think we’re a very capable group regardless, but I definitely want to be there and help us as much as I can,” he continued.

This is why Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers and a host of elite coaches rest their players occasionally during the season and a lot down the stretch. In the NBA the playoffs are a second season, a more important season, and now the Bulls for the second straight year will be without their best player from the regular season.

The Bulls without Derrick Rose already had little margin for error. Now they have none.

If that.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.