Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) Derrick Rose hears MVP chants from Chicago crowd after he puts on a show in his hometown. Derrick Rose is a Chicago legend. He was born there, played on the blacktop and in the high school gyms there. Came back from college as a member of the Bulls and went on to win an MVP there with an exciting and dynamic style. He is still loved there, no matter how it ended.
The prodigal son returned home Wednesday night wearing a Timberwolves jersey and in the middle of a renaissance season — 18.7 points per game, 4.7 assists, shooting 45.5 percent from three and with a 19.7 PER — that is his best since he wore a Bulls uniform and heard MVP chants at the United Center.
He scored 24 on his old team Wednesday and heard those MVP chants again.
Rose’s highlight package on the night was vintage Rose. He attacked, absorbed the contact, and made plays. What he has now that he didn’t have in his time in Chicago — besides healthy knees — is craft to his game. He’s much more than just an athlete now.
Rose had 24 to lead the Timberwolves in a thrashing of the struggling Bulls, 119-94.
2) Don’t look now, but the Nets have won 9-of-10 and Spencer Dinwiddie is a stud. When Spencer Dinwiddie recently signed a three-year, $34 million extension with the Nets, there were a lot of casual fans around the sports universe who said, “who got how much? Damn NBA is out of control.”
Not in NBA circles. Talk to league executives, and you heard a lot of “Dinwiddie could have made more in July but he took the security of the payday now.” Not that anyone blamed him (execs think the Nets made a smart move with the extension).
Wednesday night he showed why there were a number of teams eyeing him heading into free agency, scoring 37 in Brooklyn’s double-overtime win against Charlotte.
This was an entertaining game to watch from the start, but how it got to overtime in the first place was one of the oddest end-of-game sequences you will ever see.
The Nets have won 9-of-10 and are back in the playoff picture in the East as the nine seed, just 1.5 games out of the postseason. Which is remarkable and speaks to the effort of the players and the culture being built in Brooklyn. The Nets are making this run with an elite offense — 114.5 points scored per 100 possessions in their last 10, third best in the league — covering up a bottom 10 defense. That is not only winning them games, but it’s also making them fun to watch, and everybody is noticing.
3) Danny Green drains game-winning three and the Raptors keep on winning, 106-104 vs. Miami. Not only are the Toronto Raptors 26-10 this season, it just feels different from the past Toronto teams (the ones that flamed out in the playoffs with a predictable offense and guys that didn’t always step up in the moment). The win over the Heat in Miami on Wednesday showed why.
First, they have Kawhi Leonard now, and he dropped 30 in this game. He’s better than any player this franchise has ever had (sorry, Chris Bosh) and we know he can step up in the postseason because he’s got a ring and a Finals MVP trophy to prove it.
Then there are the role players. Danny Green might be the best under-the-radar pickup in the NBA last season, a throw-in as part of the Leonard trade but a guy with a championship ring, an All-Defensive team player, and a guy who all season (and throughout his career) has knocked down the big shot in clutch moments. Like he did Wednesday night.
The real test for Toronto will come in May (and maybe June), but right now I would not doubt this team.