Three Things We Learned in the NBA Thursday: Derrick Rose is looking like himself again


If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while laughing at as bad a failed dunk as you’ll see….

Derrick Rose is looking like vintage Derrick Rose, and the Bulls are following along. One win alone does not mean the Bulls’ slump is over — even if they did beat the Spurs Thursday, the Mavericks are up on Friday — but there are some promising signs. One is that Thursday was by far the best the Bulls defense has looked in a long while, holding the Spurs regular starters to 81 points on 37 percent shooting. But bigger than that is Derrick Rose looks to be back to being Derrick Rose. He had 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting in the win, but the key is he is doing it attacking — 11 of his 16 shots were inside 8 feet of the rim. This has been the trend of late, he’s got a feel for the game and attacks again. Also, his three pointers are falling — he was 2-of-4 against the Spurs and is shooting 42 percent from three over his last 10 games. If Rose is back and the Bulls start to find their defense… well, let’s see them do it for a few games in a row before we say the slump is fully over.

No LaMarcus Aldridge, no Robin Lopez, no win for Trail Blazers. Portland is currently the three seed in the West at 31-13, but in the unforgiving Western Conference that means they are just four games ahead of being the seven seed. That is what losing LaMarcus Aldridge for 6-8 weeks really means — especially with Robin Lopez also still out with a hand injury. The Blazers also lost Nicolas Batum to a wrist injury in the third quarter (no word yet on how serious that may be). That’s three starters and a key bench player out for Portland right now, which means some off nights where they fall to teams like the Celtics. A few more of those and suddenly the Blazers are sliding down the standings a little. Blazers fans should be a little concerned.

Only one thing of interest happened in the Clippers/Nets game. And it didn’t have anything to do with the game — that was as bad a rout as you will see. The Nets are a bad team and the Clippers specialize in crushing bad teams. No, the only interesting thing was this Vine, which ended up all over social media. Blake Griffin having fun with one of the Clippers’ staff.

WNBA suspends Riquna Williams 10 games for domestic violence

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NEW YORK (AP) The WNBA has suspended Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams 10 games for a domestic violence incident.

The WNBA handed down the suspension Tuesday. Williams was arrested on April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.

The league conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the WNBA said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun.

The WNBA also will require Williams to participate in counseling.

Williams’ suspension will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.

Report: Bulls signing Luke Kornet for guaranteed $4.5M over two years

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Just three 7-footers have averaged 3.5 3-pointers per game and made 35% of them each of the last two seasons:

The Bulls will now have most of them.

Markkanen is Chicago’s top young player. Kornet will join him with the Bulls next season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

I’m a little surprised Kornet got more than his minimum ($3,383,360 over two years). But it’s worth taking a flier on him.

In addition to his outside shooting, Kornet has shown good timing as a shot-blocker in two seasons with the Knicks. The 24-year-old must get stronger and improve as a rebounder to play major minutes.

But the Bulls won’t have to press him into action. They also have Thaddeus Young, Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio as bigs.

Pistons claim Christian Wood off waivers

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The Bucks waived Christian Wood late last season to ensure avoiding the luxury tax. The Pelicans claimed him. Wood had played well in limited minutes with the 76ers, Hornets and Bucks and in the NBA’s minor league since going undrafted in 2015.

New Orleans gave him his biggest opportunity yet. In 24 minutes per game over eight games, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds.

But the Pelicans filled their roster for next season and waived Wood.

Detroit will take advantage.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has claimed forward/center Christian Wood off waivers.

Wood’s $1,645,357 minimum salary is unguaranteed until the regular season. So, Detroit could still waive him before the season. But it seems he’ll at least go to training camp and get a shot at a regular-season roster spot.

The Pelicans also could’ve kept him through the preseason then waived him before the regular season. They seemingly did him a favor of allowing him to get somewhere he has a realistic chance of sticking.

Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will start in the frontcourt for the Pistons. Markieff Morris and Thon Maker appear to be first in line is backups.

But don’t be surprised if Wood earns playing time. At minimum, the 23-year-old should provide nice depth at both power forward and center.

The Pistons have also now acquired four members of last year’s Bucks – Tony Snell, Thon Maker, Tim Frazier and now Wood.

Knicks: Reggie Bullock has spine injury

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Reggie Bullock had his agreed-upon salary cut by more than half with the Knicks. He’ll reportedly miss at least a month of the regular season.

All because of a mysterious health issue.

The Knicks have finally disclosed what’s happening.

Knicks release:

Reggie Bullock underwent successful surgery today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a cervical disc herniation. The team will plan to provide an update on his rehab and progress around the start of training camp.

Bullock is a good shooter from the wing. New York could use him. Many teams could use him.

But Bullock must get healthy first.

At this point, we probably shouldn’t expect much from him any time soon. The best indication: how eagerly his agent praised the Knicks for their handling of this situation. Again, Bullock settled for less than half his initially agreed-upon salary.