Kurt Helin

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Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki sidelined at least a week with sore Achilles

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The Dallas Mavericks were already off to a rough start — 0-4 coming into Friday, when they lost to Portland at home — but the news got even worse after the game.

Dirk Nowitzki is going to miss at least a week with a sore Achilles.

Here is what Nowitzki himself said, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“It’s been the same for a week now. It gets better on days off, and as soon as I go out there and try to push off, try to show on pick-and-rolls, run backwards, all that stuff is just uncomfortable and sore. So just thought I’d just shut it down. I mean, it makes no sense to keep dragging this for weeks, you know? Obviously, it hasn’t really gotten better, so we’re going to take a few days off and not get on the court, not do all the stuff that makes it sore. And hopefully, I’ll be better in a couple days and we can ramp it back up. But for now, that’s where we’re at. It just hasn’t gotten to the point where I can move well, where I can move pain free, so it just doesn’t make any sense to be out there.”

This is the smart move, pushing through Achilles pain — especially for an older player — can only lead to trouble.

Dallas’ offense and defense both were already in the bottom half of the NBA this season before the injury, this will not help (although Dallas has been better with Nowitzki off the court rather than on so far this season).

With Nowitzki out, expect more Dwight Powell and Quincy Acy.

Knicks rally past Bulls, 117-104, in Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah homecoming

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CHICAGO — Derrick Rose tried watching the video tribute to him and Joakim Noah during a first-quarter timeout in their return to Chicago on Friday night.

Noah, though, would have none of it.

“I watched some of it, but Jo was telling me to stay focused,” Rose said. “I had to listen to my big brother at that time.”

Stay focused they did.

Perhaps inspired by the emotional homecoming, the New York Knicks shrugged off their early season struggles for a 117-104 victory over the Bulls.

Kristaps Porzingis had 27 points and Carmelo Anthony added 25 to help New York (2-3) snap a two-game losing streak. The night, though, belonged to the former Bulls.

Rose, Chicago’s first-round draft pick in 2008, finished with 15 points and 11 assists (five in the fourth quarter), while Noah, a 2007 first-rounder, had 16 points and nine rebounds. They teamed up to play a familiar two-man game late as New York held off a Chicago rally.

Noah hadn’t scored more than six points in a game this season and was held scoreless in two of the previous four games.

“We’re still trying to find ourselves as a team,” Noah said, “but I’m not going to lie: this win felt really good.”

Dwyane Wade led Chicago (3-2) with 35 points on 12-for-20 shooting and Jimmy Butler added 26 points.

“We didn’t come out with the right mentality,” Wade said.

When asked if the game meant more to Rose and Noah, Wade said: “Anybody could sense that.”

Both Rose and Noah received loud ovations from the United Center crowd during pregame introductions, although there were some boos mixed in for Rose. The Chicago native also was booed every time he touched the ball in the first couple of minutes.

“I love when the crowd is into it,” Rose said. “I knew there was going to be some yells, I knew there were going to be some boos. I’m from here, I’m used to it. I’ve been getting it since I was in sixth grade going to play on the West Side and me being from the South Side.”

New York broke open a close game by scoring 10 straight points to begin the fourth quarter for a 94-81 lead with 9 minutes to play.

The Knicks led by as much as 98-83 before the Bulls rallied within 108-102 with just under 2 minutes to go. But Rose ended any hopes of a comeback with a three-point play on the next possession.

TIP-INS

Knicks: F Lance Thomas was inactive because of a sprained left ankle. He is listed as day-to-day. … Noah played just 29 games last season before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. “Right now, I’m just happy to be on the court,” he said.

Bulls: Doug McDermott, who missed Wednesday’s game at Boston with a concussion, was cleared by the NBA’s concussion protocol earlier Friday. … Wade had five 3-pointers to give him 10 in five games this season. He had a total of seven last season.

REGRETS

On the day the Cubs celebrated their World Series title, Rose said the biggest disappointment during his time in Chicago was not leading the Bulls to a championship.

“Only thing I can do about that is say I gave it my all,” he said. “I really tried. I had multiple times, many times, where I envisioned winning a championship here. It never happened, so I’ve got to take (those) visions and take them to New York.”

MOVING ON

Noah said he wasn’t surprised management broke up the Bulls’ core following last season.

“I think it was time for a change,” he said. “I look back on (last season) and I was definitely frustrated. There was definitely a lot of adversity going on there. Now I can look back at it and see where went wrong. It’s not about blaming one person. Everybody in that locker room is good people. It’s just (stuff) happens.

“We didn’t make the playoffs. Everybody was disappointed. It was a team that had high expectations.”

Watch Joel Embiid’s pregame dunking exhibition

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Joel Embiid is making Philadelphia almost must-watch NBA League Pass viewing. He’s that good, and he’s just scratching the surface of his potential.

You can see some of that potential — and athleticism — in his pregame dunks. Through the legs, off the backboard, he’s doing it all.

The Sixers aren’t good (and will not be for a while), but they are watchable and even interesting now. Even in pregame warmups.

That’s a massive step forward.

Ray Allen says his last NBA offer came from Bucks (Cavs made a pitch, too)

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Ray Allen had the chance to complete the circle.

One of the best pure shooters the game has ever seen, he walked away from the NBA when LeBron James left Miami to go to Cleveland. Allen stayed in Miami to live and golf, but he took a step back from the NBA.

That said, his phone kept ringing. He told Dan Patrick on Friday that, yes, the Cavaliers did call. He also said his last call came from the Milwaukee Bucks — the team where Allen started his NBA career. He could have completed, the circle, but decided against it.

This week, Allen made his retirement official. Next stop, the Hall of Fame.

Report: Raptors interested in Nerlens Noel, not willing to make deal yet

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The worst kept secret around the NBA is that Philadelphia is willing to trade Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Well, either that or that Rudy Gay wants out of Sacramento. Or that the Greenhouse Tavern is the best place to eat near the Q in Cleveland.

One team that could be interested in Noel, is the Toronto Raptors, although they are not making any rapid moves to pull the trigger, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

The Raptors are among the teams that have expressed interest in Philadelphia’s very available Nerlens Noel, but sources say Toronto’s initial preference in the wake of losing Jared Sullinger (foot) to injury is to give more minutes to various younger players (such as rookies Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl) so they get first crack at filling the void.

T0ronto wants to add at the four spot and Noel might fit next to the more traditional big Jonas Valanciunas.

Toronto can be patient, they are 3-1, have been good enough defensively, and have been pretty good on the glass this season — sixth in offensive rebounding percentage, 11th in defensive.

But this is something to watch. Philadelphia has a crowded frontcourt — if and when everyone gets healthy — and Brett Brown is just trying to figure out where all the pieces fit. Can Noel and Joel Embiid play well together? Embiid and Okafor? (Probably not.) Where does Dario Saric fit in? And we haven’t even touched on Ben Simmons yet. There will be some weeding out, but Bryan Colangelo is going to want something of real quality in return. The days of the Sixers stockpiling picks is over.