“If I get kicked out and Nazr Mohammed gets kicked out at the same time, who wins?”
LeBron is obviously right. If both players had been ejected, that would have played into the Bulls’ favor.
But only Mohammed was ejected, and that hurt Chicago, which was forced to adjust its rotation without its backup center.
Joakim Noah averaged 35:31 of playing time in the series’ first two games. With Mohammed gone for most of Game 3, Noah played 42:22 last night – an extra 6:51.
That might just be too much for him.
In Noah’s final 6:51 of play, the Bulls were outscored by 12 points in what ended as a 10-point loss.
In that span Noah committed four fouls, and though one was intentional late, the other three came from poor, sloppy decisions to pursue rebounds that were already going to the Heat. Noah also grabbed only one rebound in that time and seemed a half step slow to hit the right spots defensively.
By no means was Noah bad – he made both his shots – but he wasn’t at quite the level he’d been earlier in the series.
The Bulls have been slightly better both offensively and defensively in this series with Mohammed on the court. He played just 11:26 per game in the first two contests, but those backup minutes were enough to rest Noah.
A few extra minutes from Mohammed and a little more rest for Noah probably wouldn’t have given the Bulls a win last night. But it might have.
Report: Danny Ferry not expected to supplant Dell Demps as Pelicans GM
Don’t look for Danny Ferry, currently an advisor to the front office, to take over in any shakeup, sources say.
I’m skeptical. Nobody wants to acknowledge an internal coup before it’s executed. Doing so would create a terrible workplace environment until it happens or if it doesn’t.
The Pelicans’ ownership situation makes this a little more tricky. There’s an apparent desire in New Orleans to win quickly for an aging Benson, and that directive has limited Demps’ flexibility.
Still, Demps’ plans have mostly busted. Eventually, he’ll run out of chances to try new ones.
If that happens soon, when the Pelicans search for a replacement, Ferry will be right there with an impressive record building up Atlanta and no stains that make him unhirable to New Orleans. Would the Pelicans, who thought enough of him to hire him once already, really not consider promoting him?
Report: Potential top-10 pick, Indiana’s OG Anunoby, undergoes season-ending knee surgery
Indiana Hoosiers sophomore forward OG Anunoby will undergo right knee surgery and miss the rest of the NCAA season, sources told The Vertical.
The 6-foot-8 small forward is a versatile defender. He has grown as a shooter, and there’s hope he could become a 3-and-D player – or, given his athleticism, maybe more.
Anunoby wasn’t in the top tier of prospects in a loaded 2017 NBA draft, but he was headed toward the lottery, maybe even the top 10. How he recovers from this injury will factor significantly into his draft stock now.
On the bright side, this is less opportunity for scouts to pick apart his raw offense (though it’s also less opportunity for Anunoby to develop).
NBA: Mavericks got away with key late foul in win over Bulls
Curry (DAL) clamps the arm of Lopez (CHI) and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound.
A correct call would’ve put Dallas in the penalty and sent Lopez – who has made 66% of his free throws this season and and 76% for his career – to the line for two attempts.
Instead, not only was Lopez denied his free throws, he committed a frustration foul on Dirk Nowitzki – who grabbed the rebound with help of Curry – moments later. Nowitzki converted one of two free throws.
We’ll never know how the rest of the game would’ve played out after a correct call, but a swing of 1-to-3 points is pretty big in a one-point game.