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

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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 CSNChicago.com) 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.

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.