Bulls plan to limit Joakim Noah’s minutes to help plantar fasciitis

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Joakim Noah says right now he feels no pain in his foot, no plantar fasciitis. That despite a summer where he worked out plenty, even training with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. His foot feels fine.

If the Bulls are going to be the contenders they think they are, Noah still has to be fine in April and May (then maybe June). Two of the past three seasons, he has been slowed by plantar fasciitis during the season and postseason.

That means coach Tom Thibodeau has to keep his minutes under control. Which he said he would do, something discussed by K.C. Johnson at the Chicago Tribune.

Thibodeau has said dropping Noah’s minutes is a priority, so both the All-Star center and the Bulls are hopeful the recurring problem becomes manageable. Aiding the situation will be Thibodeau’s trust in Nazr Mohammed. Though the Bulls tried hard to land Marcus Camby and Elton Brand to add big-man depth, not having Mohammed buried on the bench early like last season will help.

Mohammed is nice, but look for the Bulls to consider big men that are cut by other teams during camp. They could use more depth up front (unless you think Dexter Pittman or Malcolm Thomas are really the answers).

The bigger question is can Thibodeau keep Noah and Luol Deng from being right at the top of the league in minutes played? Is Thibodeau willing to sacrifice a couple regular season wins to get his guys rest and keep them fresh? He’s talking a good game but we need to see it in action to believe it.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)