Joakim Noah, Nene, Carlos Boozer

Joakim Noah: ‘There’s no way in hell we’re going to try and lose games to match up against anybody’


As you’ve surely heard, the Heat (52-22) and Pacers (53-23) are competing for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Below them, it seems the next four teams have paired off in their seeding battles.

  • No. 3 and No. 4: Bulls (43-32) and Raptors (43-32)
  • No. 5 and No. 6: Nets (40-34) and Wizards (39-36)

So, barring any of these teams rising and falling a level, Chicago will play Brooklyn or Washington in the first round.

The Bulls have won two of three over the Nets, the same team they beat in the playoffs last season. On the other hand, Chicago is 0-2 against the Wizards this season (with a third matchup coming Saturday).

If Brooklyn moves to fifth and the Bulls are third, would Chicago intentionally lose to drop to fourth and secure a better matchup?

Joakim Noah, via Nick Friedell of

“We’re just trying to play good basketball,” Noah said. “There’s no way in hell we’re going to try and lose games to match up against anybody. I think whatever happens, happens, so we’re just going to keep playing our game, keep winning as much as we can, and then (we) can’t wait for the playoffs.”

Every team says this, but with the Bulls, I actually believe it.

Remember when the Bulls lost Derrick Rose for the season? Remember when they traded Luol Deng for zero help this season? Remember when they were 9-16?

Chicago dug itself out of that deep hole because the team – led by Tom Thibodeau and backed by Noah – has one of the strongest identities in the league. The Bulls don’t quit. They play hard, and they play to win every game – maybe even to a fault.

I don’t think they can just turn that on and off, and if that means trying to beat the Washington rather than Brooklyn in the playoffs, that’s what they’ll do.

Cavaliers stand in middle of Raptors dancers’ routine (video)

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The Cavaliers were ready for their game against the Raptors tonight, and Toronto’s dance team wasn’t going to change that.

The last time I remember something like this happening, Grizzlies guard Tony Allen walked through the Warriors’ kid dancers. This video doesn’t show got the Cavaliers got to that point, but they might have the defense of being there first. Allen definitely didn’t have that.

Wizards score 6 (!) fourth-quarter points in loss to Hornets

Cody Zeller, Ramon Sessions
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Gary Neal made a jumper with 10:12 remaining in tonight’s Wizards-Hornets game.

That was Washington’s last basket.

Jared Dudley made a pair of free throws on the Wizards next possession, and Neal added two more free throws with 23 seconds left.

And that was all the Wizards scoring in the quarter.

Washington, which entered the final period up seven, lost 101-87 after its 1-for-20 final-period shooting.

The six fourth-quarter points were the fewest by an NBA team in a quarter since Cavaliers scored six third-quarter points in a Jan. 26, 2014 loss to the Suns. Last time a team scored so few in a fourth quarter: Nov. 13, 2012, when the Raptors had five against the Pacers.

At least Neal’s late free throws spared the Wizards further shame. Nobody has scored four or fewer points in a quarter since the Warriors managed just two in a Feb. 8, 2004 loss to the Raptors.

As it stands, this is one of only 44 times in the shot clock era a team has scored so few points in a quarter.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell

After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.