Kurt Helin

Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic takes, makes ridiculously deep three (VIDEO)

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Stephen Curry might balk at taking that three.

Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic floated out above the three-point line as an outlet for Jimmy Butler after his drive stalled and he needed to give up the ball. Notice that there is still :09 on the shot clock when Mirotic decides this is a good 30 footer to take and launches it. And drains it.

For Bulls fans, it was a “no, no, no, yes!” shot.

Mirotic was hot, shooting 4-of-6 from three on his way to 17 points in the Bulls 108-81 thrashing of the Knicks.

Derek Fisher rips Knicks’ fourth quarter effort after blowout loss to Bulls

New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher gestures during the first half of his team's NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Associated Press
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You know the Knicks had a bad night when they missed their first 10 shots of the game and that wasn’t their worst stretch of play.

The Knicks saved that for the fourth quarter, when they scored just eight points on 2-of-19 shooting. The Bulls’ Doug McDermott outscored Chicago by himself that quarter (11-8). Chicago won that quarter 31-8 and the game comfortably.

After the game, Knicks’ coach Derek Fisher was understandably pissed, as reported by the New York Post’s Marc Berman.

“We don’t want to be front-runners — guys who can play hard when things are going well,’’ Fisher said. “We don’t want to be a team when it starts to rain a little bit, we give in. I thought we gave in a little bit there in the fourth quarter.

“We had shots that didn’t go in in the fourth quarter, and I thought we got discouraged and the energy turned around the other way and it snowballed from there. There should’ve been enough left in the tank.’’

Fisher is trying to motivate the troops — that’s what he’s there to do. The team seemed distracted, which shouldn’t be a huge surprise in the wake of the Cleanthony Early situation. Fisher wants to get their focus back — but don’t dance around the word “soft” if you want to use it, Derek.

This is a team with playoff aspirations that is now four games out of the final playoff spot in the East and has a couple of decent teams to pass (Detroit, Charlotte) if they are going to make it. The Knicks should be playing with some desperation right now, they have work to do, and instead they came out and played like J.R. Smith on an early Sunday start time. Knicks fans were pissed, and they had every right to be.

For all the hope Kristaps Porzingis provides for the future, there are still a lot of questions about this roster that need to be answered. And dealt with.

Referee Joey Crawford to retire at end of season

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Fans of 30 NBA teams are convinced Joey Crawford has it in for their guys.

But they are not going to have him to kick around anymore after this season.

Crawford — who has been recovering from knee surgery this season and is expected to return sometime after the All-Star Break — told Jack McCaffery of the Delaware County Daily Times (his hometown paper) he is out after this season.

“I’m done,” he said.

Recovering this basketball season in his Newtown Square home from knee surgery, the Havertown native hopes to resume refereeing pro-basketball games by March 1. If he grades out, and that is the likely result, he will work in the playoffs, eventually hoping to add to his career total of 50 NBA Finals games officiated. Then, the former worker at the Wayne post office, the former CYO, Catholic League, Public League, Eastern League and any-Delco-bar-league referee will silence his whistle….

“There’s nothing to be sorry about,” Crawford said. “You know what happens? It’s not that you lose your passion. I have that. That’s insanity. But it just comes to the point where you say, ‘I don’t want to make a fool out of myself.’ And it’s been so good that I want to go out on a high note. I don’t want to go out on a low note. I want to be in the NBA Finals, and I don’t want to be reffing just for the sake of reffing.”

Crawford is a fiery referee — remember he got suspended for once challenging Tim Duncan to a fight back in 2007, He once broke a finger he gave a technical so hard, and during last season’s Finals he told Timofey Mozgov to shut up — but he was also the referee you wanted to see if your team had a big game on the road. He didn’t fear making the big call against the home team in the biggest moments. He didn’t care about anyone’s reaction to his decisions. He did what he thought was right.

The first reaction of a lot of fans to this news will be “good riddance.” But you’re all going to be sad you don’t have Crawford to kick around anymore.

Watch Hassan Whiteside drop 25 and 19 on Dallas

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Hassan Whiteside is going to get PAID this summer. Like max money paid.

Whiteside’s talent that will get him all that cash was on full display against the Mavericks as he put up 25 points (on 12-of-16 shooting) and grabbed 19 boards in the Heat’s comfortable 108-82 win Friday. Whiteside had 12 of his points in the second half of the second quarter and the 25 total matched his career high.

Whiteside is making less than $1 million this season because he was just happy to get back in the NBA last season and signed a two-year deal. Remember Whiteside fumbled around for a couple of seasons in Sacramento showing terrible work ethic, and he ended up having to play in China and Lebanon before coming back to the NBA and getting a second chance in Miami. He’s made the most of that chance.

Now he will be an unrestricted free agent big man who can block shots, and he’s hitting the market just as it is flooded with money from the new television deal. He’s going to be a max player and the question is will he be that with Miami or somewhere else (they don’t have his bird rights and can only offer about $3 million more in a four-year deal than anyone else).

 

Hassan Whiteside scores 25, Heat roll past Mavericks 106-82

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MIAMI (AP) — With 17 games to play in 31 days and two brutal road trips awaiting, the Miami Heat know January will be far from easy.

At least it’s off to a flying start.

Hassan Whiteside had 25 points and 19 rebounds, Gerald Green added 19 points off the bench and the Heat rolled past the Dallas Mavericks 106-82 on Friday night to snap a two-game slide.

“You want to be tested,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You want to be measured in this league. You want to be pushed to adversity. … But I don’t want these guys thinking about 16 more games right now.”

Chris Bosh scored 16 points and Goran Dragic had 15 points and seven assists for the Heat. Miami adjusted its starting lineup shortly before tip-off when Dwyane Wade was stricken by flu-like symptoms. Wade got some intravenous fluids and checked in early in the second quarter, just his 10th time playing off the bench in his 13-year career. He finished with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Whiteside made 12 of 16 shots, and the Heat enjoyed their biggest victory margin of the season.

“I’m just trying to get my All-Star ratings up,” Whiteside said.

Dallas had just 10 points in the first quarter – its low for any period this season – and shot just 36 percent for the game, compared to 56 percent for Miami. The Heat have just four home games left in January, two of those in the next five days, and have separate five- and six-game trips this month.

“The bottom line with this tonight is they played an angrier game,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “The combination of that, and our shot-making was just not there all night, we just lost a little bit of our edge.”

Zaza Pachulia led the Mavericks with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Wesley Matthews made four 3-pointers for his 12 points, and Dirk Nowitzki added 11 points for Dallas – which was playing for the first time since topping Golden State on Wednesday.

Dallas’ four-game winning streak was snapped.

“Just not a good night overall, on both ends of the floor,” Nowitzki said. “But we kept fighting. Every time we got a little momentum, we either made a big mistake on the other end or they made a big shot.”

TIP-INS

Mavericks: PG Deron Williams (left hamstring) returned after a four-game absence, playing 20 minutes off the bench and finishing with nine points and five assists. … Dallas lost G Devin Harris to back spasms in the first half. He played only 2 minutes, 22 seconds. … Chandler Parsons was 2 for 8 from the field, missing all three of his 3-point tries.

Heat: Miami is now 6-0 all-time on New Year’s Day, winning by a staggering average of 25.7 points. … Whiteside had 18 points and 13 rebounds at halftime, the seventh time he’s had a double-double in a single half. … Miami is now 8-1 against Dallas since losing the 2011 NBA Finals to the Mavs. … The Heat were again without Justise Winslow (ankle), who tried to get loose pregame but couldn’t play.