I know you didn’t get to watch a lot of NBA on Sunday because you were preparing for the biggest football game of the year — the Pro Bowl. Actually, the NHL All-Star Game was the story of the day. That said, NBA machine kept right on rolling, so here’s what you need to know from around the Association Sunday.
1) Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler both Bulls lack discipline. After a couple of days off in Los Angeles, the Chicago Bulls came out against the Clippers Sunday on national television and… looked like they enjoyed those couple of days off in Los Angeles. The Bulls were an unfocused defensive unit against a Clippers squad that without Blake Griffin spreads the floor better and provides real challenges. The Bulls weren’t up to it. Pau Gasol nailed why:
“We’re not disciplined,” Gasol said. “Yep. We’re not. That’s it. It’s true. It’s a fact.”
Jimmy Butler echoed those thoughts, via Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.
“We’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Loose ball, you gotta get that, rebound, you gotta get that,” Jimmy Butler said. “We lack discipline in a lot of key areas, which is why games turn out the way they do at times.”
This is a team that had discipline screamed into them by former coach Tom Thibodeau, but the Bulls missed some shots Sunday then seemed to sulk on defense afterwards — they and had a defensive rating of 124 (points allowed per 100 possessions). The Bulls didn’t defend the arc well — Los Angeles shot 17-of-32 from deep — nor did they have an answer for the athleticism of DeAndre Jordan inside. It was the kind of day for the Bulls that even when they went to hack-a-Jordan he hit some free throws.
The Clippers continue to roll without Blake Griffin. The Bulls continue to be a pretty good team that is not going to scare an elite team. Chicago lacks the discipline to do that.
2) Suns fire coach Jeff Hornacek. Well, this should solve all their problems. Suns management has made a series of mistakes the past couple years. They thought when they won 48 games in 2014 they could shortcut the rebuilding process. They brought in Isaiah Thomas, then when that didn’t work sold low on him and sent out one of the most valuable trade chips around (the Lakers pick this season or next, top three protected) so they could get Brandon Knight (who has battled injuries). They brought in Tyson Chandler, who has been injured and looked old. They traded Marcus Morris in an attempt to clear cap space and impress LaMarcus Aldridge, and in the process angered Markeiff Morris, who has tried to push his way out of town and has played terribly. Add on to that injuries that nobody could control, like the current one to Eric Bledsoe, and you have a 14-35 team.
So how did the Suns deal with all those issues? Fire the coach, of course. Jeff Hornacek is out and either Corey Gaines or Earl Watson will take over in the interim. Long term, rumors have the Suns chasing Luke Walton and Mike D’Antoni. We’ll see. But until the front office picks a viable direction in building a team, then sticks with it for multiple years, it’s not going to matter who coaches this team.
3) Lakers get booed on home court after franchise record 10th straight loss. Remember how the Lakers fans thought last season was going to be the bottoming out in the rebuilding process? Nope. The Lakers went scoreless the final 3:50 of the third quarter in a loss to visiting Charlotte Sunday, and as the misses and misques kept piling up, the Laker fans let the team know how hard this is to watch — the boos got louder and louder. The fans want to buy into hope for the future, but the Clippers need to show them some. Charlotte won 101-82, the 10th straight loss for the Lakers at Staples Center, another new franchise record. The Lakers can’t defend, lack shooters, and lack confidence. It’s not pretty. But sure, Kevin Durant is going to come this summer, because this team looks so appealing.
4) Klay Thompson, Draymond Green keep Warriors right on rolling. Stephen Curry is human. The man was 5-of-17 shooting for 13 points on Sunday. Curry struggled against the Knicks. Not that it mattered — Klay Thompson scored 34 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double (his ninth of the season), and the Warriors won again. That’s 44-4 on the season, if you’re still scoring at home.
5) Aaron Gordon put back dunk. One of the upsets of the day Sunday was Orlando knocking off Boston 119-114. The Magic had lost 12 of 13, but played one of their better games in a while Sunday. The big star was Aaron Gordon, who tied his career high with 19 points, and he added 14 rebounds. Plus, he did this as a kind of dagger late.