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Former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause dies at age 77

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“Players and coaches don’t win championships. Organizations win championships.”

That quote – inaccurately conveyed, he’d argue – stuck to Jerry Krause.

The former Bulls general manager had a good point: Players and coaches are only part of the organization, and ultimately, the entire franchise wins a championship. Players are the most important parts, yes. But only a part. Ownership matters. The front office matters. The medical staff matters. Scouting, perhaps his favorite department after his time as a baseball scout, matters. It all matters.

But Michael Jordan didn’t want Krause downplaying the superstar player’s contributions to Chicago’s six championships, and Krause was an easy target for derision. So, Krause went underappreciated for his role in role in one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.

It unfortunately too often works this way, but harsh feelings about people typically subside when they die. So maybe Krause will get more credit now.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

He inherited Michael Jordan, but Krause did a masterful job of building a supporting cast around the all-time greatest player: Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, John Paxson, B. J. Armstrong, Bill Cartwright, Ron Harper, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley and Steve Kerr. As great as Jordan was, we’d remember him and the Bulls differently if Krause weren’t around.

Krause is a nominee for the Hall of Fame as a contributor, which is perhaps fitting. He didn’t singlehandedly win any of Chicago’s championships, but he darn sure contributed.

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.)