Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose says he could’ve played through knee soreness that kept him out of Brazil exhibition

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Derrick Rose sat out of the Bulls’ preseason game against the Wizards in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.

Team personnel made sure to point out that this was simply a precautionary measure; there was nothing structurally wrong with Rose’s knee, and no MRI was scheduled.

Rose seemed to confirm the lack of severity to his condition after the game had finished, when he told reporters that he could have played, but the front office made the decision to hold him out.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

“I’m good,” Rose said. “I could’ve played, but the front office made the decision to sit me out. I can’t complain about it. It’s nothing huge. I know that I should be able to go next game.” …

“If there’s soreness, then we’re going to rest,” [Bulls GM Gar Forman] said. “Any time you’re dealing with any type of injury or soreness you’re concerned. But it’s not a major red flag or huge concern.”

Rose said he knows he will be ready for the regular-season opener in just more than two weeks against the Heat and added he wasn’t startled or nervous about this speed bump.

“You wouldn’t expect it to happen,” he said. “But when it does happen, you can’t be down on it. I know that it’s feeling better day-by-day. I’m just trying to stay positive.”

Given the fact that Rose missed all of last season with the knee injury, anything related to it that causes him to miss time in the future will undoubtedly be highly scrutinized. But it is just the preseason, which makes it the perfect time for Rose to get this type of thing out of the way before the real games begin.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.