Kurt Helin

Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler, left, passes the ball past Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) to Taj Gibson during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Associated Press

Jimmy Butler scores 32 points to lead Bulls over Bucks, 117-106

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CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Butler had 32 points and a season-high 10 assists to lead the streaking Chicago Bulls to a 117-106 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Pau Gasol scored 26 points with 11 rebounds, and Taj Gibson added 11 points and 14 boards as the Bulls led the entire way in their season-best fifth straight win.

Derrick Rose returned to the Bulls after missing three straight games with a sore right hamstring. He showed no effects of the injury and took the ball to the basket all night, finishing with 16 points.

Butler was coming off a record-breaking performance Sunday, when he scored 40 of his 42 points in the second half of a 115-113 victory at Toronto to surpass Michael Jordan’s team mark for points in a half. This time, Butler had 20 points in the first half on 8-of-11 shooting.

Khris Middleton scored 26 for Milwaukee, and Michael Carter-Williams had 20 points and 12 assists.

Milwaukee got to 90-89 on Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s basket with a minute left in the third quarter, but the Bulls answered with an 8-0 run. Antetokounmpo finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Chicago shot 61 percent in the first half and led 67-61. Gasol scored 13 points and Gibson added nine. Middleton led the Bucks with 18 on 7-of-12 shooting.

TIP-INS

Bucks: Jabari Parker played his first professional game in his hometown. Parker, a 2013 graduate of Simeon High School on Chicago’s south side, missed most of the 2014-15 season after ACL surgery on his left knee. He finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. … Milwaukee again played without guard Jerryd Bayless because of a left ankle injury. Bayless was back in the lineup Monday against San Antonio after missing 11 games in December with the same injury. “It just is what it is,” interim coach Joe Prunty said. “Obviously, it is frustrating. You want to be at full strength, but that’s part of the NBA. You look at last night’s game – San Antonio’s without Parker. Chicago’s been without Rose. That’s just part of the NBA. The next man has to be ready to step up.”

Bulls: Chicago faced Milwaukee for the first time since beating the Bucks 120-66 in the Game 6 clincher of their opening-round playoff series last year. It was the worst postseason loss in Bucks history.

 

Stephen Curry on re-re-aggravating leg injury: ‘It’s just a magnet’

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LOS ANGELES — “It’s just a magnet.”

That was how Stephen Curry described getting kicked in the leg again — the same leg with the same contusion that caused him to miss two games recently in hopes of healing this injury.

The question is will there be more rest in Curry’s future? He doesn’t want to sit — he wouldn’t even come out of Tuesday’s game when it happened, with the Warriors blowing the Lakers out — but he admitted this could linger. How long is it supposed to take to heal?

“Probably like four weeks, but I’m not going to sit out four weeks,” Curry said. “Just got to figure out how to protect it when I’m out there on the floor and keep playing.”

The re-injury (or is it re-re-injury if this is the third time?) happened the third quarter of the Warriors’ win. Curry drove and made a scoop layup under and around Lakers’ big man Roy Hibbert. But as he did it their legs collided. Shin on shin. The second it happened Curry came up limping, he was in obvious pain going down the court. The Warriors quickly committed a foul and called time out to get Curry out of the game.

Except he wouldn’t come out.

“I wasn’t going to put him back out at first, but he was pretty adamant about going back out,” Warriors “interim” coach Luke Walton said. “I asked the trainers, and they said he’s good, so we put him back out.”

Walton said if the training staff had said to pull him then it would have been out of Curry’s hands, but they didn’t. The Warriors are a player-friendly organization and Walton is the kind of coach who understands trying to play through pain, so he defers to what the player wants. Walton reminded everyone he used to play with Kobe Bryant in this building, a guy who played through a lot worse, and Walton knows elite competitors don’t want to come out. Ever.

Curry didn’t sound like a guy wanting time off, he wants to play through it.

“It’s just frustrating and annoying and any other adjective you want to throw in there,” Curry said. “Long term it isn’t something I need to worry about, it’s just playing through an injury, it’s just there. It doesn’t get worse unless I get kicked, and that’s happened three times since I did it, so hopefully it won’t keep happening. I’m trying all sorts of pads and stuff, but when I’m out there on the floor I’m not worried about it.”

Whether Curry sits will depend on how he feels over the next couple days, but the Warriors are off until Friday. Still at 33-2 on the season, they can afford to sit him for a couple of games to let this heal a little.

Just don’t expect him to be out a month.

Kobe Bryant, D’Angelo Russell both out for Lakers vs. Warriors

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 06:  Kobe Bryant #24 and D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk during the game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on November 6, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  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 Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES — Tuesday night against the defending champion Golden State Warriors, and for the third straight game, Kobe Bryant will be sitting out for the Lakers due to a sore shoulder.

This time, he will be joined on the bench by rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell, who is battling a sore throat.

Hey, coach Byron Scott, are you becoming concerned about the length of Bryant’s absence?

“No, not really,” Scott said before tip-off. “Again, he keeps saying he feels better, so that’s a good sign, that he’s continuing to get better. It’s just taking a little longer than he thought, I guess.”

Kobe remains day-to-day, the Lakers play next Thursday in Sacramento. Scott said he expects Russell will be ready to go by Thursday.

The Lakers have won the last two without Bryant, beating the league-worst Sixers and the only team playing worse than Philly the last 10 games in Phoenix. It’s a different test against the 32-2 Warriors, who are getting healthy again. Stephen Curry will start for Golden State, and Harrison Barnes will again come off the bench for them (with Brandon Rush starting), Golden State coach Luke Walton said.

Even with all the injuries, the Warriors have kept on winning, and Scott said he hopes his team could take something away from that.

“It seems with them it doesn’t matter who plays, it’s the same mentality, they are going to come out ready to go” Scott said. “We’re going to be hard pressed to stop them for 48 minutes, so like I told our guys, this is a great challenge for us, to see where we are and how far we’ve come.”

 

 

Jazz Waive defensive wing Elijah Millsap

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, right, talks with Elijah Millsap during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Elijah Millsap has been as advertised in Utah.

He is a quality wing defender off the bench for the Jazz, but he is a dreadful shooter. He took more than 30 percent of his shots from three and hit 8.3 percent of them. He took more than half his shots in the restricted area and hit just 50 percent.

Those numbers and a non-guaranteed contract led the Jazz to release Millsap on Tuesday.

The Jazz had until the 10th to cut him before his contract became guaranteed for the rest of the season; they chose to make the move a few days early. Doing so gives Millsap a chance to land on another roster, either with a 10-day contract (how he first came to the Jazz last January) or through another deal. I’d be surprised if another team doesn’t give him a look.

Elijah is the brother of Atlanta Hawks All-Star forward Paul Millsap.

Pistons mix Barack Obama endorsement of Andre Drummond for All Star game

Andre Drummond, Ersan Ilyasova
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Flat. Out. Brilliant.

Somebody in the Pistons marketing department should not be buying drinks next time everyone goes out, or at least, give the man/woman a raise. Because this is the best All-Star campaign effort I can recall.

Averaging 18.1 points and 16 rebounds a game, pushing the Pistons into playoff contention, Andre Drummond is having a breakout season. That includes him being third in frontcourt All-Star voting after the first returns. But Drummond is just a little more than 16,000 votes in front of Carmelo Anthony for that last spot, he needs some campaigning.

So the Pistons mixed Barak Obama speeches to Drake’s “Jumpman” and… brilliance. Vote for Drummond now.