Kurt Helin

Jimmy Butler scores 40, nails buzzer-beater lifting Bulls over Nets 101-99 (VIDEO)

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CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Butler matched his season high with 40 points and hit an 18-footer at the buzzer roughly five minutes after being helped off the court with an apparent injury Wednesday night to give the Chicago Bulls a 101-99 comeback victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Butler scored nine points in the final 2 1/2 minutes to rally Chicago. He finished 11 for 11 from the free throw line and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Bulls overcame a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes for their second consecutive win.

With just more than five minutes left, Butler came down on the foot of Brooklyn guard Randy Foye and had to be helped off the court.

Dwyane Wade had 16 points before leaving early in the fourth quarter with a migraine.

Brook Lopez had 33 points – including a career-high five 3-pointers – as the Nets dropped their 12th straight road game.

Lopez had 19 first-half points to spark Brooklyn to a 49-46 halftime lead. The 7-footer was 4 for 5 on 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes and celebrated by holding up three fingers as he ran down the court following each one.

Brooklyn had a 97-90 lead with just more than two minutes to play and appeared headed for a comfortable win, but Chicago stormed back. Michael Carter-Williams tied the game at 97 with 1:22 left.

It was his first basket since returning Monday from a nearly two-month absence because of injuries to his left knee and wrist. He had missed his first 10 field goal attempts.

Following a Nets turnover, Butler gave the Bulls their first lead of the second half with a 15-footer with 27.7 seconds to go. Lopez, though, tied it with 12.6 seconds left on a dunk over his brother, Robin Lopez.

That set the stage for Butler.

TIP-INS

Nets: There’s no timetable yet for how long G Jeremy Lin (strained left hamstring) will be sidelined, but expectations are it’ll be a long absence. He missed 17 games earlier in the season with the same injury and has only played in 12 games this season. … G Joe Harris, who sat out with a hip pointer, is listed as day-to-day.

Bulls: F Doug McDermott returned after missing one game with a left shin injury. That meant all the team’s players were healthy for the first time since Oct. 31. “It’s good to have your full roster available to play,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We’ll put the lineup out there that gives us the best chance to win.”

 

Joel Embiid doesn’t plan to wait for Cousins to retire to be best center in NBA

Associated Press
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It was fun to watch DeMarcus Cousins and Joel Embiid go head-to-head a few days back — the best traditional center in the game got the better of the up-and-coming rookie, but he had to work for it.

After the game, Cousins had praise for the rookie, jokingly qualified praise.

Embiid is not that patient reports Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I don’t think I’m going to wait until he retires to be the best big man in the league,” Embiid said after practice Wednesday. “But it’s about having fun.”

Karl-Anthony Towns may want to get in on this conversation.

But I’m looking forward to years and years of Embiid vs. Cousins battles — complete with butt slaps.

Hornets mash up Kemba Walker, Chuck Norris for brilliant All-Star campaign

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Kemba Walker should be an All-Star this year. He is the core of the Charlotte offense, averaging 22.3 points a game, shooting 41.1 percent from three, has a true shooting percentage of 57, and has a PER of 22.1 — all of those a career best. The Hornet offense is 9.4 points per 100 possessions worse when he sits. The Hornets are 17-14 and look like a playoff team thanks to Walker. Plus he’s just fun to watch.

But in an Eastern Conference deep with good guards — Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, John Wall, etc. — it never hurts to have a good ad campaign.

Enter “Walker, Charlotte Ranger” — putting Walker (and teammates Frank Kaminski and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) into Chuck Norris’ legendarily bad “Walker, Texas Ranger” television show. Below are the videos the team has already shot to promote Walker for the All-Star Game in New Orleans. And yes, voting is open.

 

George Karl takes shot at Damian Lillard; player’s agent, coach fire back

damian lillard
Associated Press
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The latest stop on the “George Karl will say anything to sell a book” tour was New York Magazine, where in addition to explaining/defending his comments about Carmelo Anthony, the former coach decided to take a shot at Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. A man he never coached.

“I was watching the Portland Trailblazers play, and I was trying to figure out, ‘What the hell is wrong with this team?’ My conclusion is that Damian Lillard is getting too much attention….Who controls the team? The coach and the point guard. And that team is not working. I think their coach, Terry Stotts, is a great coach. So I’m going to say the problem is Lillard. They were a together, connected, committed team last year. This year they’re not. What changed?”

What’s wrong with Portland? How anyone would say “Lillard” and not “defense” is baffling. Portland’s defense is dead last in the NBA and giving up 5.9 more points per 100 possessions than it did a season ago. The Lillard-centric offense is actually slightly better than a season ago, it just can’t cover up for the dramatically worse defense anymore.

However, Lillard doesn’t need me to defend him when he has his coach, Terry Stotts, and his agent, Aaron Goodwin.

Karl may sell some books. But he told New York Magazine that he wants to coach in the NBA again and hesitates to burn another bridge. Got news for Karl, that bridge is in about as good of shape as the one over the River Kwai.

Carmelo Anthony ejected for blow to Thabo Sefolosha’s head (VIDEO)

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The Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha is the kind of player that can get under your skin — he’s long, he’s an aggressive defender who challenges everything, and he can be physical if he needs to be.

Apparently, he had bothered Carmelo Anthony. Sefolosha had been in ‘Melo’s face for chunks of the game, and the two were battling for a rebound in the later part of the second quarter in Atlanta when, as the play moved away, Anthony flung his arm and hit Sefolosha in the head. It was obvious, although it wasn’t clear that the officials saw it at first. There was a quick technical foul called, then a double technical because Sefolosha shoved Anthony back.

Finally, the referees reviewed the play, saw the shot to the head, and Anthony was tossed.

As he should have been — the NBA is cracking down on blows to the face and head, and that unquestionably was one (I wouldn’t call it a punch, but it was a shot). ‘Melo earned the shower. Whether or not it was intentional he was gone — and you can bet the farm after the game Anthony will say it wasn’t.

Anthony left the game with 10 points on nine shots, plus five rebounds.