Kurt Helin

Bucks’ rookie Malcolm Brogdon put Nerlens Noel in a poster (VIDEO)

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If the voting took place today, Malcolm Brogdon might come in second in the Rookie of the Year voting (him or Jamal Murray in Denver, the other would be third). The Bucks’ rookie is seeing his role grow.

And he plays fearlessly. Case in point, a throwdown dunk over the Sixers’ Nerlens Noel Wednesday night.

Philly went on to get the 114-109 win behind 20 points from Gerald Henderson.

 

Dwayne Wade: “It just doesn’t mean enough for guys around here to want to win ball games”

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Dwyane Wade hit a midrange pull-up jumper to give Chicago a 10 point lead over Atlanta with 3:02 left in the game. The Bulls had this one in the bag.

Then Chicago fell apart. They shot 2-of-9 the rest of the way while the Hawks got hot, went on a 19-2 run, drained threes, and ended up winning the game 119-114.

After the game, Wade unloaded on his team speaking to the media, via Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.

“I don’t know what happened, but you continue to be in these kinds of situations and lose games like this, you really don’t care enough,” Wade said. “You don’t care enough. It’s got to mean that much to you to want to win. And it doesn’t. So I don’t know. I don’t know happened. I don’t know how you fix it. It just doesn’t mean enough for guys around here to want to win ball games.

“It pisses me off, but I can’t be frustrated and I can’t care too much for these guys. They got to care for themselves. We got to do better.”

Jimmy Butler echoed that.

“I heard what D-(Wade) was over there saying, yeah,” Butler said. “Mother——- just got to care if we win or lose. At the end of the day, do whatever it takes to help the team win. You play your role to the tee. Be a star in your role, man.

“That’s how you win in this league, man. You have to embrace what this team, what this organization needs for you to do on either end of the floor. On top of everything else, just play every possession like it’s your last. We don’t play hard all the time. It’s very disappointing whenever we don’t play hard.”

Wade had 33 points on the second night of a back-to-back — that’s a gift to the team from a player with a lot of miles on him. The Bulls squandered it. You can understand why he was frustrated. Down the stretch, the Atlanta defense focused on Wade and Butler, and the Bulls dutifully moved the ball and got open threes for Paul Zipser and Nikola Mirotic, both of whom missed. After the game, Wade said he and Butler need to be the guys taking the big shots.

The Bulls have gone 4-6 in their last 10 and are 23-24 on the season, which has them clinging to the eight seed. This is not what Wade thought he was signing up for on his return to his hometown. He pictured himself, Butler, and Rajon Rondo leading a core and improving young players into becoming something dangerous. Instead, they don’t have the floor spacing on offense to create great looks, and they are inconsistent defensively. Consistency of any kind has been missing from the Bulls all season.

Maybe this kind of loss is the kick the team needs. More effort and a few more threes falling would help. However, from my vantage point, the problems with the Bulls start with the front office and the roster construction. Wade and Butler and just trying to salvage the situation.

PBT Podcast: Toronto Raptors talk with Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

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The Toronto Raptors are the second best team in the East. They are led by gold medalists and All-Stars in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the team is on pace for 51 wins and have to be the favorite to reach the conference finals against the Cavaliers.

The Raptors also have lost four in a row heading into Wednesday night, and their offense has fallen off a cliff. It stirs memories of 2015, when a good Raptors team slumped into the playoffs and lost to the Wizards.

Which are the real Raptors? Is there a step they need to take to threaten the Cavaliers? We discuss all that and more with Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. We throw in a little “what is LeBron complaining about?” talk, too.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.

Report: Knicks tried to pitch Carmelo Anthony for Kevin Love trade, Cavaliers shot it down

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Of course they did, the only question is did David Griffin laugh so Steve Mills could hear him before hanging up the phone?

As discussed before, the Knicks trying to trade Carmelo Anthony for Kevin Love never made any sense from Cleveland’s perspective — why would they want to swap out 28-year-old and at his peak Love for the 33-year-old and declining, ball-stopping, worse defender in Anthony? LeBron James and Anthony are friends, but LeBron isn’t stupid — he wants to win another ring and Love gets him much closer than Anthony right now, and for the coming years.

But the Knicks tried, according to a report from Marc Stein and Chris Haynes of ESPN.

The Knicks have tried — unsuccessfully — to engage the Cavaliers in Carmelo Anthony-for-Kevin Love trade talks in advance of the league’s Feb. 23 trade deadline, ESPN.com has learned.

League sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday that the Knicks have approached the Cavaliers to gauge their interest in swapping All-Star forwards but were told that Cleveland is not interested in such an exchange.

Why would they be?

Certainly, LeBron wants the Cavaliers to add another playmaker, and Anthony can create shots for himself and get a team buckets. However, right now Love is the better fit, plus Love is five years younger and a few million less expensive (remember, the Cavs already have the highest payroll in the NBA). Love is no great defender, but he’s far ahead of Anthony right now. Love has made the not-so-easy adjustment of playing next to LeBron and is having his best season — you think Anthony will blend in smoothly working off the ball and being expected to move it quickly rather than pound the rock and survey the defense?

I guess the Knicks had to try, just like they will call Doc Rivers and ask about Blake Griffin. But no team is going to trade an All-Star, borderline All-NBA player in their prime for Carmelo Anthony at 33.

Warriors: Jerry West doing well after brief hospital visit

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Golden State Warriors say Hall of Famer and team executive board member Jerry West is doing well after a brief hospital visit following a fall.

Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder was in touch with West’s wife and provided the update Wednesday morning, a day after West was taken to a Southern California hospital for observation and tests.

The 78-year-old West, in attendance during the Warriors’ recent long homestand this month, fell on Tuesday.

TMZ.com first reported West’s hospitalization.