Teague, Horford help push Hawks past depleted Bulls 103-88

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ATLANTA (AP) Kyle Korver hardly cared that Atlanta beat a Chicago Bulls team missing Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose.

Korver just wanted the Hawks to finally get a win.

“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well,” he said. “We weren’t super crisp, but I thought our focus, especially on defense, was really great.”

Jeff Teague scored 19 points, Al Horford added 18 and Atlanta snapped a three-game losing streak with a 103-88 victory over the short-handed Bulls on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Hawks, who ended a four-game home skid – their longest since April 2007.

Chicago, which had won three straight, struggled with Butler, Rose and Nikola Mirotic sidelined by injuries. A sore right hamstring kept Rose out for the second straight game.

Doug McDermott finished with 20 points and Paul Gasol had 16 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls.

Gasol’s jumper cut the deficit to eight in the last minute of the third quarter, but the Bulls couldn’t get any closer.

“We’ve got to hold down the fort ’til everybody comes back,” forward Taj Gibson said. “But we’ve got a shot.”

Horford dunked on Teague’s alley-oop pass and followed with a 3-pointer to make it 95-80 with 3:20 remaining.

The Hawks are 1-3 on a five-game homestand. Miami beat Atlanta without stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and Milwaukee ended a six-game road losing streak by knocking off the Hawks in double overtime.

Atlanta also was outmatched by NBA champion Golden State on Monday despite taking a brief lead early in the fourth quarter.

“It hasn’t gone the way we wanted,” Horford said. “Being able to come out here tonight and get a win is big for us.”

Butler, an All-Star, has been out since Feb. 5 with a sprained left knee. Mirotic is recovering from appendicitis, and Joakim Noah, Chicago’s second-leading rebounder, is sidelined with a sore shoulder.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg was upset with his team allowing 27 points off 21 turnovers.

“That’s all we’ve talked about for the last two days is taking care of the basketball,” Hoiberg said. “You don’t give yourself a chance to win when you have careless turnovers like that.”

The Hawks hit just one of their first 18 attempts from beyond the arc before Tim Hardaway Jr. made it 51-42 in the last minute of the second. They finished 7 for 34 as Kent Bazemore and Korver combined to go 2 for 14.

Bazemore scored 17 points.

ROSE STAYS CAUTIOUS

Hoiberg met with Rose before Wednesday’s win over Washington to discuss his injury.

“He talked about the pain that he had,” Hoiberg said. “He talked about not being able to play his game, being cautious out there.”

The Bulls don’t want Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, pushing himself after operations on both knees. Hoiberg didn’t have an immediate timetable for Rose’s return.

TIP-INS

Bulls: Chicago has lost five straight on the road. … In the 109-105 win over Washington, the Bulls had seven players score in double figures. Only three finished in double figures Friday. Gibson had 11 points. … Hoiberg said Mirotic is still “a couple of weeks away” from returning.

Hawks: Atlanta, which led the Eastern Conference with 60 regular-season wins last season, moved into fifth place, a half-game ahead of Indiana. … The Hawks avoided their first five-game home losing streak since December 2006. … Atlanta has won five of six against Chicago. … G Kirk Hinrich, acquired last week from Chicago in a three-team trade, entered with the Hawks up 17 late in the fourth. He missed his only shot, airballing a 3 from in front of the Bulls’ bench. … Atlanta led by six at halftime.

UP NEXT

Bulls: Host Portland on Saturday.

Hawks: Host Charlotte on Sunday.

Draymond Green not expected to miss any games, Warriors to handle discipline ‘internally’

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Draymond Green is not expected to miss any games for punching teammate Jordan Poole during an altercation during practice, Warriors GM Bob Myers said Thursday.

That’s not to say he is escaping any punishment, it will just be handled internally, Myers said.

Green showed up at Chase Center and apologized to the team and then left, he did not practice with the Warriors, reports Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Draymond apologized to the team this morning, Jordan was there in the room, I was there in room with the team, the coaches, the players and we heard that,” Myers said.

Whatever punishment the Warriors are handing down to Green, it will not include missing games, Myers said.

Coach Steve Kerr added, “I expect [Green] to return on Saturday and get back at it.” That implies a couple of days suspension, likely with a hefty fine.

Kerr was also quick to shoot down the rumors of Poole having an “attitude” around camp as he comes up on a massive contract extension. Stephen Curry echoed that, saying those reports are “absolute BS.”

The Warriors have seen their fair share of Draymond Green incidents over the years, and as a locker room and franchise they know how to move on from it. While this made headlines, the Warriors will shrug it off and move on.

Miami, Milwaukee have their eyes on Jae Crowder

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The Heat and Bucks don’t just have interest in the same player. They’re looking to replace the same player.

Two years ago, P.J. Tucker helped Milwaukee win their first championship in a half-century. Last season, he helped Miami lock up the top seed in the East and make the Conference Finals.

With Tucker in Philadelphia, both the Heat and Bucks are looking to fill the void with a different lockdown enforcer that can stretch the floor.

Jae Crowder and the Suns agreed that he won’t participate in practice as the team looks to accommodate his trade request. In a recent ESPN+ article, Zach Lowe made it clear that both Miami and Milwaukee are interested in pursuing a trade for Crowder.

“The Bucks have internal interest in Crowder as that Tucker replacement after getting into the recent Jerami Grant and Bojan Bogdanovic discussions, sources say. They will search all season for one more piece.

“The Heat have interest in Crowder too, sources say, but finding matching salary is tough until Dewayne Dedmon, Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo become trade-eligible in the winter. Martin might start, and the Heat are optimistic Oladipo can play a huge role.”

Grant and Bogdanovic were traded to Portland and Detroit, respectively. The Heat may struggle to find a trade that works since Phoenix probably won’t want to take on Duncan Robinson’s contract. Dedmon, Martin and Oladipo will become trade eligible on January 15th.

Crowder has a history with the Heat, as he helped them make the NBA Finals in the bubble. He helped Phoenix make the NBA Finals two seasons ago and then helped them finish with the best record in the NBA last season.

LeBron says Wembanyama is an ‘alien’ and a ‘generational talent’

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There was a time when LeBron James was the “it” kid coming for the NBA — a freakish athlete like nobody in the league had seen. A player the size of Karl Malone with the quickness and skills of an elite point guard.

Now the “it” guy is Victor Wembanyama, the 7’4″ mold-breaking big out of France — and LeBron is impressed.

“Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years, well he’s more like an alien,” LeBron said after the Lakers’ preseason loss to the Suns in Las Vegas. “I’ve never seen, no one’s ever seen anyone as tall as he is, but it’s fluid and as graceful as on the floor…

“His ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot step-back jumpers on the post, step-back 3s, catch-and-shoot 3s, block shots. He’s for sure a generational talent. And hopefully he continues to stay healthy, that’s the most important for him personally, and as you could tell he loves the game. He was smiling a lot while playing the game last night. I think it was the two best players in the draft on the floor last night and they both did their thing.”

Wembanyama is projected to be the No.1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, just ahead of point guard Scoot Henerson, who scored 28 points with nine assists of his own leading his G-League Ignite to a win over Wembanyama’s Metropolitans 92. Wembanyama scored 37 points in the game, hit 7-of-11 shots from 3, had five blocks and a few other shots changed because of his length (7’11” wingspan) and the threat of his block.

Wembanyama and Henderson face off again tonight in a second game between the Ignite and Metropolitans 92 just outside Las Vegas in Henderson (9:30 p.m. ET on NBATV).

Wembanyama will play, with his agent telling ESPN there are no plans to shut the No.1 pick down to avoid injury and protect his draft status. “He’ll never agree to that. He wants to compete and get better,” Bouna Ndiaye said.

LeBron looked back on his time as the “it” player and said simply, “thank got there wasn’t social media” at the time. It’s a different world now, but game still recognizes game.

And LeBron recognizes it in Wembanyama.

LeBron tells Adam Silver he wants to own expansion team in Vegas

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The odds are good that Las Vegas will get an NBA expansion team. Eventually.

But when it happens, LeBron James wants to be in the Vegas ownership group — and he made that pitch directly to Adam Silver after the Lakers exhibition game in Sin City against the Suns on Wednesday.

“I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi right now, I believe. But he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes through from NBA players,” James said, via the Associated Press. “So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”

Silver is in the United Arab Emirates, which is hosting an exhibition game between the Bucks and Hawks this week. But LeBron doesn’t need to worry about Silver seeing this request. He probably already has.

The widely held belief around the league is that the NBA owners will not entertain expansion until a new CBA and a new television/streaming rights deal are locked in (driving up the franchise prices), things that will take a couple of years. Expansion talk may come after that, and maybe there will be two new NBA teams by the end of the decade.

“We are not discussing that at this time,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said of expansion last June. “As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it.”

If and when expansion happens, Las Vegas, along with Seattle, are the clear frontrunners to land teams. Most importantly, both cities have NBA-ready stadiums and fan bases to support the franchises, and their mayors are on board.

LeBron would be the face of an ownership group. While LeBron himself is a billionaire, Silver had called reports of a $2.5 billion expansion fee per team “low.” And that’s not including all the other start-up costs that come with a team.

But if the NBA is coming to Las Vegas, don’t be shocked if LeBron is involved.