Luol Deng, Joakim Noah

Luol Deng says he lost 15 pounds, still feels weak

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Officially, Luol Deng is listed as day-to-day by Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls. He was back at the Bulls practice facility on Thursday.

But he said he has lost 15 pounds though this medical ordeal — which was much worse than the flu that was originally announced — and he didn’t look like a guy who could play, or contribute a whole lot if he did.

His entire interview is above, but here is the money quote via Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com.

“I tried to shoot a little bit and I struggled. I couldn’t do it. We’ll see,” he said after the Bulls’ practice Thursday afternoon at the Berto Center. “I want to play, but I don’t know what I can do. I haven’t done anything. It really sucks.

“It’s really my first day out of the house and out of the hospital. I haven’t really left my bed much or done much,” the NBA’s back-to-back minutes-per-game leader added. “I’m weak and I have headaches; when I’m moving around a lot, my headache increases. That’s really the main thing.”

Deng’s ordeal was not a lot of fun.

“It all started with I wasn’t feeling well. I guess I had the flu. But my symptoms were really bad when I went to the hospital. They wanted to make sure I didn’t have meningitis, which I’m thankful for. They wanted to make sure. I did the spinal tap and after that, I just didn’t respond well. I started having severe headaches, was struggling to walk. I started feeling really weak. I started throwing up, constant diarrhea. I couldn’t control my body really. Because of that, I lost a lot of weight. And still just trying to get back, just trying to get right. I still don’t feel right,” he explained.

The other key injury to the Bulls during these playoffs was to Kirk Hinrich, who had an MRI to look at his injured calf and Thibodeau didn’t sound optimistic he would be back for Game 3 Friday night against the Heat.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.

PBT Podcast: NBA All-Star Weekend talk, predictions with Sean Highkin

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NBA All-Star weekend descends upon frigid Toronto starting Friday, with everything from the Rookie/Sophomore… er, Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, the Dunk Contest/Three-Point Contest on Saturday, and the main event on Sunday.

Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of NBC’s ProBasketballTalk break it all down, from Pau Gasol replacing Jimmy Butler to predictions on the Dunk Contest and if anyone can knock off Zach LaVine. Plus, there is plenty of “why Sting?” talk.

PBT will be in Toronto with reports from the event all weekend, so come back early and often for all the latest (plus trade talk, as all the GMs get together in one city where it’s too cold for them to go outside).

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Pistons retire Chauncey Billups’ jersey at halftime (VIDEO)

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Moments before his jersey went up to the rafters, Chauncey Billups spoke to the crowd about the night the Detroit Pistons wrapped up the 2004 NBA title by routing the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the Finals.

“We had one motivation,” he said. “We wanted to win it here at home.”

Billups was the most valuable player in the Finals that year, and he had his No. 1 jersey retired by the Pistons on Wednesday night at halftime of their game against Denver.

He was the second player from that 2004 team honored by the Pistons this year. The Pistons retired Ben Wallace’s jersey last month at a similar ceremony – in front of a packed house on a night Detroit beat Golden State.

There were some empty seats in the upper level Wednesday, but Billups wanted to be honored while the Pistons were playing the Nuggets. Billups is a Denver native and played for the Nuggets for two stints during his career.

“This was by design, only because there’s a lot of people that contributed to my success as a player and as a man, in Denver, my hometown,” Billups said before the game. “There were several dates that I could have chosen. This one obviously stuck out.”

Billups does have a mild regret about his run of success with the Pistons. He figures they could have won more titles.

“I felt like, two and maybe three championships – we were that good,” he said.

Ben Wallace was on hand Wednesday, and so were Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince from the 2004 champions. Pistons great Isiah Thomas was also at the Palace for the ceremony.

“This is what tradition looks like,” Thomas told the crowd. “This is what it feels like.”