This season when the Bulls played the Heat and Luol Deng was on the court, the Bulls outscored the Heat by 19.5 points per 48 minutes. When he was on the bench, the Heat outscored the Bulls by 1.5 per 48.
You don’t want to read too much into regular season meetings come the playoffs but this much is clear — Deng is key to the Bulls chances in a series where they have no margin for error.
And Deng will be out for Game 1 following complications with his spinal tap, reports Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com.
Being back in the hospital on Sunday morning does bode well for him playing Monday night.
The Bulls remain incredibly banged up. Kirk Hinrich’s calf is still an issue and if he plays he is not going to be 100 percent (officially his is listed as questionable). Joakim Noah’s plantar fasciitis is only going to get better with extended rest. Derrick Rose is not walking through that door.
Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.
This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.
Here was his January try:
As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.
But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.
This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.
At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.
So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.
What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:
Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.
“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”
‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.
But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.