Author: Brett Pollakoff

Memphis Grizzlies v Chicago Bulls

Derrick Rose expected to return to Bulls lineup Wednesday vs. Magic


From Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago:

Thibs expects Derrick Rose to play tonight if he makes it through shootaround without any problems.

Thibs expects him to play about 20 minutes. Says he’s open to him playing in Miami too.

Thibs very happy. So are the players. Big sense of excitement for team to have Rose back.

The excitement is understandable.

Rose has missed his team’s last 20 games after undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. It was estimated that the recovery time would be 4-6 weeks, and that’s right about where we are as the regular season is drawing to a close.

Rose returning is obviously huge for Chicago’s playoff chances. Without him, and with Jimmy Butler also missing some time, the team has managed to work its way into third place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Now, with five games left in the regular season, the Bulls will have all of their key players available to build some chemistry as they head into the playoffs. A fully healthy Chicago squad should be considered a formidable challenger to both the Hawks and the Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference title.

Rose is averaging 18.4 points and five assists in 31 minutes per contest. He’s appeared in 46 games for the Bulls this season.

MORE: CSN Chicago subscriber? Watch Bulls-Magic Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET

Pacers’ Chris Copeland stabbed, two Atlanta Hawks arrested in NY night club incident

Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers

Chris Copeland of the Indiana Pacers was stabbed in the abdomen outside of a New York City nightclub early Wednesday morning, and two members of the Atlanta Hawks were arrested for getting in the way of the police setting up a crime scene, according to a report from the New York Daily News.

Copeland’s former fiancee was also “slashed” during the incident, the report says.

Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic were the two Hawks players who were arrested, along with Copeland’s attacker. The incident took place outside of 1 OAK club in Chelsea.

Some additional details:

A second woman was also stabbed amid the fracas, which happened shortly before 4 a.m., as the popular club on West 17th St. was preparing to close. An argument erupted as Copeland, the other victims and the suspect were leaving, the sources said.

The man who was arrested, Shezoy Bleary, 22, pulled out a knife and stabbed Copeland, 31, and slashed 28-year-old Katrine Saltara, described by investigators as Copeland’s wife, in the arm and leg, the sources said.

The second woman, Catherine Somani, 53, was slashed in the abdomen, the sources said.

Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report has more:

Copeland is in town with the Pacers for a matchup against the Knicks, while the Hawks, just coming off of a home win against the Suns on Tuesday, arrived in advance of a game in Brooklyn against the Nets. Both contests will take place Wednesday night.

Pacers president Larry Bird issued the following statement:

“We are aware that Chris Copeland was injured early this morning in New York City. We are still gathering information and will update when we know more. Our thoughts are with Chris and those injured.”

The Pacers have updated Copeland’s status:

“Chris Copeland suffered a knife wound to his left elbow and abdomen this morning in New York City. He is currently in stable condition at a New York hospital. Updates will be provided as available.”

Chris Rock, joking to Mark Jackson: ‘Oh so now Steph Curry’s going to play defense for the white man’

Mark Jackson, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green

Comedian Chris Rock appeared in a tribute video wishing former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson a happy 50th birthday, and used the opportunity to joke about Stephen Curry’s improved defense under Steve Kerr.

Via Diamond Leung at Bay Area News Group:

“I know what you’re thinking,” Rock said before starting to joke. “You watch the games, and you go, ‘Oh so now Steph Curry’s going to play defense for the white man. Couldn’t play it for the brother. Now he’s like Dennis Rodman.’

“Couldn’t do it for you. Yeah, everybody’s boxing out now. Couldn’t do it for a black man. Ooh, they play some defense for the white man, don’t they? Ooh, they play some good defense for the white man.”

Hilarious stuff.

Golden State’s defense was great under Jackson, and finished last season ranked third in defensive efficiency. This year under Kerr, however, it has improved to become the league’s number one defense, and Curry is fourth in the league in steals, up from 13th a season ago.

MORE: CSN Bay Area subscriber? Watch Warriors-Pelicans Tuesday at 8:00 p.m ET

Thunder not in control of their playoff destiny for first time in team’s seven-year history

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Six

We broke down exactly what the Western Conference playoff picture looks like with nine days left in the regular season, and while there’s still plenty to be determined in terms of overall seeding, it’s become clear that the final playoff spot is coming down to a two-team race.

The Thunder currently hold a half-game lead over the Pelicans, but New Orleans holds the tie-breaker — which means that for the first time in franchise history, OKC does not control its fate with regard to gaining entrance into the postseason.

From Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

Here’s what we do know: the Thunder enters Tuesday’s game against San Antonio with a half game lead on New Orleans, but the Pelicans are tied in the loss column and own the tiebreaker. In other words, OKC does not control its own destiny.

It’s the first time that’s happened in the Thunder’s seven-year history.

If the Pelicans win out, the Thunder goes home. If the Pelicans go 5-1, the Thunder needs to go 5-0. If the Pelicans go 4-2, the Thunder needs to go 4-1. If the Pelicans go 3-3, the Thunder needs to go 3-2. If the Pelicans go 2-4, the Thunder needs to go 2-3. And if the Pelicans go 1-5, the Thunder would need to win just once in the final five games to make the postseason for the sixth straight season.

The Thunder are in this position because of injuries, obviously — primarily the one that limited Kevin Durant to appearing in just 27 games this season.

What this shows more than anything is how incredibly fortunate the people in Oklahoma City have been. They inherited a franchise loaded with young superstar talent, and only had to endure a single season of growing pains, while making the postseason and contending for a title essentially ever since.

Gerald Green on his future with Suns: ‘I just don’t know if they want me here’

Phoenix Suns v Charlotte Bobcats

When Gerald Green received his first DNP-CD in two seasons with the Suns earlier this year, it wasn’t simply an aberration; it was a sign of things to come.

While trade rumors surfaced as a result of the decision at the time, the real reason for the move was that Green’s defense was no longer something that head coach Jeff Hornacek was willing to trust, especially if his shooting percentage was going to dip.

Green’s minutes and place in the rotation have been erratic ever since. And with free agency approaching this summer, that has led to growing uncertainty as to where Green may be playing next season.

From Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

“He never really seemed to get it going and then it comes to the point where, if you’re not scoring and if your defense isn’t picking up, it’s hard to stay in the game,” Hornacek said.

“The next guy is going, ‘I needed help here and the guy wasn’t here.’ We’re trying to develop something for the future, not just being out here for everybody to play in the game. We want to get to a top-notch winning level and you’ve got to do it on both sides.” …

“I want to be here but I just don’t know if they want me here,” Green said. “Because if you want somebody, you show them. I didn’t think I was playing that bad and now we’re here.”

Hornacek’s remarks are the most telling, and confirm the organization’s chosen direction that became evident after it sacrificed a chance at the playoffs this season in order to rid itself of players who were believed to be selfish.

It’s unclear if Green has been placed in a similar category, or if he simply is no longer getting the job done in the eyes of his coach Either way, it would appear that the end of Green’s days in Phoenix will coincide with the conclusion of the regular season.