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Dwyane Wade returning for Bulls on Saturday

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Update: Goodwill:

https://twitter.com/vgoodwill/status/849738302538346496

 

The Bulls have gone 6-4 in full games since Dwyane Wade broke his elbow – an injury Chicago said would end his regular season (at least).

That surge has lifted the Bulls to seventh in the Eastern Conference, but a playoff spot is not guaranteed. The Pacers (tied), Heat (half a game back) and Hornets (two games back) are chomping at the bit.

Chicago might get some unexpected help down the stretch – from Wade.

Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago :

Dwyane Wade was in full lather after the morning shootaround at Madison Square Garden, as optimism increases that he’ll be back for the Bulls this season after suffering a right elbow injury a couple weeks ago.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg declined to say whether he feels Wade will be back before the end of the regular season and Wade declined comment altogether, but with the increased intensity of Wade’s workouts suggests there’s a light at the end of the tunnel — be it a probable playoff showing or sometime sooner.

“It’s a day by day thing with Dwyane now,” Hoiberg said. “He’s feeling better but obviously there’s a lot of work to do as far as getting his strength back.”

In these last 10 games, the three Bulls are shooting 39% on 3-pointers. A few players are particularly crushing it:

How much does that have to do with Wade? It seems his absence is mostly coincidentally coinciding with his teammates getting hot than anything else, though don’t discount a surge in Mirotic’s confidence and Rondo’s authority being somewhat related to Wade going down.

The Bulls should be careful with how they integrate Wade if he can return. His high-usage, average-efficiency style can be difficult on his teammates. But Wade is talented, and he should help Chicago overall.

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.)