Kurt Helin

Pistons lose cool, Bulls take advantage in 111-101 win

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Pau Gasol had 31 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls won again without Joakim Noah, 111-101 over the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

Noah dislocated his left shoulder Friday and likely will miss the rest of the season, but the Bulls have had success without him. They improved to 9-2 in 2015-16 when he doesn’t play.

Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit, which was outplayed after taking a 13-point lead in the first quarter. The Pistons also lost their cool, getting called for three technical fouls in the third. Detroit guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope received two of them and was ejected.

Derrick Rose had 20 points and Jimmy Butler added 16 for Chicago.

The Pistons had plenty to feel good about coming into the game. They beat defending champion Golden State by 18 on Saturday night, and they had won their first two matchups this season with Chicago, including a four-overtime affair in December.

Detroit shot 68 percent in the first quarter Monday and led 32-26, but the Bulls rallied and led 56-53 at halftime.

Chicago scored the first six points of the third, and although the Pistons erased that deficit later in the period, they showed constant frustration with the officials. Caldwell-Pope and Andre Drummond received technicals, and then Caldwell-Pope got another in the final seconds of the quarter and was ejected.

Gasol put the Bulls up by 10 in the fourth with a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down. Later, with the score 98-91, Gasol appeared trapped beyond the arc with the shot clock running out, but he was fouled by Drummond while attempting a desperation shot, and the Chicago center made all three free throws.

Drummond had 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Pistons.


Bulls: Chicago was outrebounded for the first time in 12 games, losing the battle of the boards 50-38.

Pistons: After that promising start, Detroit finished the game at only 44 percent from the field.


Paul George on playing in 2016 Olympics: “I’ll just listen to my body after this year”

Team USA Showcase
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Paul George is one of the 30 players to make the list of finalists for the USA Basketball roster this summer for the 2016 Rio Olympics (right here on NBC).

In fact, he appears to have a real chance to make the roster. He was on the roster for the last World Championships — before his horrific injury in Las Vegas — and he’s back to playing at that level. He and Kawhi Leonard could both be key cogs on the wing as defensive stoppers who can also hit threes and get some buckets in transition (or in the post, depending on the matchup).

Does George want to go to Rio? Yes.

Will he? That’s another question, one he can’t answer until the season is over. Here is how he explained it Monday, via Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

This is entirely reasonable, and it’s not out of line with what LeBron James and others have said. There is a desire to represent their country — not to mention push their brand out and pimp their shoes on a massive stage — but it means less rest for bodies that already go through a marathon each season. George is just this season getting back and adapting to playing a full season again; it’s the smart move to listen to his body when the Pacers are eliminated and then make his call.

That said, I expect he will choose a couple of weeks in Rio.

Detroit’s Caldwell-Pope ejected in 3rd quarter (VIDEO)

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Detroit guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been ejected from the Pistons’ game against the Chicago Bulls after receiving two technical fouls in the third quarter.

Caldwell-Pope was called for a foul in the final seconds of the quarter, and then was given a technical, apparently for arguing. He also received a technical earlier in the period.

Detroit’s Andre Drummond also was whistled for a technical in the third.

Caldwell-Pope scored 14 points in Monday’s game.

Stephen Curry hopes Cleveland locker room still smell like champagne; Cavs offended

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

This is from the “NBA players will use any slight — real, perceived, or invented — to motivate themselves” file.

The Golden State Warriors are back in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Monday night for the first time since they won the NBA Finals last season. As you would expect, Stephen Curry was asked about being back in the building and his memories, and Curry was his usual playful self. Here’s the quote, via Chris Haynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Obviously, walking in the locker room, it’ll be good memories,” Curry said Sunday to reporters. “Hopefully, it still smells a little bit like champagne.”

Is that inflammatory? No. I’d say colorful at best. But NBA players — particularly elite ones like Kobe Bryant/Kevin Garnett/Michael Jordan — are known for turning anything that maybe, sort of, from the right angle could be seen as an insult and using it as motivation. Haynes said that’s what happened with the Cavaliers.

Sources are telling cleveland.com that members of the Cavaliers have taken exception to the quote and viewed it as “disrespectful.”

Don’t want to feel disrespected? Beat the Warriors. If the Warriors win on Monday that will be five straight over the Cavs dating back to the Finals last season and that gives them license to talk (yes, I know about the injuries, doesn’t matter).

This whole thing blew up online fast — and I guess a lot of places relaying Curry’s quote only used the second half of it — so Curry took to Twitter to respond.

Rudy Gobert alley-oop finish forces second OT against Hornets (VIDEO)

FILE - This Oct. 20, 2015, file photo, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert looks on during practice before the start of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, in Salt Lake City. Gobert is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury during practice Wednesday, Dec. 2. The team announced he was diagnosed with an MCL sprain in his left knee, but no surgery is required. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File )
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The Jazz needed last-second heroics from Alec Burks to force overtime in Charlotte, then found themselves down two with a dozen seconds left in that extra period and seemed up against it. That’s when a Gordon Hayward steal of an inbounds pass gave the Jazz hope of a second OT period.

Jazz coach Quinn Snyder went to his drawing board, put his best player Hayward in a pick-and-roll situation, and the result was the easiest shot Rudy Gobert will get this season.

If that defensive disaster in Charlotte looks familiar, it should. Remember this from the Hornets game against the Pelicans just days ago.

In the end, the two dramatic plays by the Jazz to keep the game alive were not enough. Kemba Walker had 52 points, and the Hornets hung on for a 124-119 win.