Ricky Rubio threads needle for 10th first-quarter assists vs. Wizards (VIDEO)

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Ricky Rubio‘s court vision just makes him fun to watch.

The Wizards did a lot of watching on defense in the first quarter as the Timberwolves put up 41 points and Ricky Rubio had 10 assists. The 10th, which you can see above, in transition to the rim running Nemanja Bjelica.

That had the Timberwolves up 20, but the Wizards fought back to make it a more interesting game in the fourth quarter.

Isiah Thomas asks Draymond Green, “Why’d you guys forfeit the game” to the Spurs?

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What if the NBA set up a nationally televised showdown between the two best teams in the NBA and no stars showed up?

It happened Saturday night when the Spurs beat the Warriors. San Antonio was without three key players due to legitimate injuries (Tony Parker‘s back, Kawhi Leonard‘s concussion, and LaMarcus Aldridge‘s heart condition). However, Steve Kerr and the Warriors chose to rest Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala because it was the end of a long road trip and they had played tired. With that, the Spurs won easily and are just half a game back of the Warriors.

On Player’s Only Night on TNT (broadcasting the Hawks/Spurs), former Bad Boy Piston Isiah Thomas teased the Warriors’ Draymond Green asking, “Why’d y’all forfeit the game?”

Draymond took it in stride, and the thing is it wasn’t his call anyway. Steve Kerr gets the blame, but frankly, it was him, the team trainers, and the team management that all thought their team looked tired and needed to get their legs fresh. Rest in that game and they have three nights off before the next one, back at home.

What to do about players resting in big, nationally televised games — and even just road games in general — needs to be a topic discussed around the league this summer. It’s not something just the league can or should make an edict on, rather the league, players union, team representatives and others need to sit in a room and come to some kind of consensus. Don’t bet on it happening soon, but the conversation needs to begin.

Grizzlies’ Chandler Parsons has partial tear of the left knee meniscus, likely done for seson

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Chandler Parsons has had a disappointing season in Memphis as he tried to bounce back from right knee surgeries. He only played in 34 games and shot 33.8 percent overall and 26.6 percent from three when he did get on the court. The Grizzlies have been 4.9 points per 100 possessions better when Parsons sits this season. In his last five games he’s up to playing 22 minutes a night, shooting 30.8 percent, and scoring six points per night.

Now it looks like that season is over.

Parsons has been diagnosed with a partial tear of the meniscus in his left knee (not the one that had the previous surgeries), the team announced. He is officially out indefinitely, but with 16 games left in the season it almost certain he is done for this season and the playoffs.

“To suffer a setback like this after working so diligently to rebound from the injury to his right knee is obviously tough. That said, we know he will continue to work tirelessly to return to the court with his teammates and contribute,” General Manager Chris Wallace said. “Chandler has the full support of myself, Coach Fizz and the entire team and we are all focused on getting him healthy.”

Parsons has not been near the floor-spacing, perimeter shot creator the Grizzlies hoped to be getting when he signed a four-year, $94.4 million max contract last summer. Hopefully, for him and the Grizzlies, he can bounce back next summer.

Kawhi Leonard returns to Spurs lineup Monday night vs. Hawks

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The Spurs have kept winning despite Tony Parker missing time with his back, Kawhi Leonard with a concussion, and LaMarcus Aldridge (heart condition). They kept winning, but the team was not the same.

San Antonio is getting one of them back Monday night against Atlanta.

Leonard had been out since the third quarter of a game against the Thunder, when he took a blow to the head (see video at the top of the post).

The Spurs are just half a game back of the Warriors for the best record in the West and the NBA, and the two teams are tied in the loss column. The Spurs have made up ground quickly as the Warriors stumbled, but the Warriors are home now for a stretch with a soft schedule and likely turn things around. The Spurs need to keep getting wins, and the Hawks will present a challenge.

Having Leonard back will help. He is having an MVP-caliber season averaging 26.2 points per game, shooting 38.4 percent from three, and he has become the fulcrum of the Spurs offense. On the other end of the court, he draws the toughest perimeter assignments. He made his case for MVP with some plays against James Harden recently.

Aldridge and Parker remain out. More clarity on Aldridge’s situation is expected later in the week after more tests.

Jimmy Butler reiterates he wants to stay with Bulls


Does Chicago Bulls management want to build a future contender around Jimmy Butler, or do they want to move on from him and start over? Is the entire front office even on the same page about this? It’s hard to tell when last summer we heard about the plans to keep and build around Butler after the Derrick Rose trade, then they made stopgap moves to bring in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo (but not enough shooting).

Will Butler be a Bull at the start of next season?

This much we know: He’d like to be. From an interview with ESPN where he as asked directly, “Do you hope to finish your career with the Bulls?”

“Yes. I can’t see what tomorrow will bring, but I love it here. You know, they took a risk on a kid that was not very good with the 30th pick in the 2011 draft, so I feel like I owe the city the little amount of talent that I have on that basketball court. I love it here. I love these people. I want to be here.”

Butler has said this before. He would join a long list of elite players who said this only to leave via trade or free agency (Butler is under contract for three seasons after this, so he would need to be traded).

The Bulls have at least listened to offers for Butler since at least last summer, but have yet to see an offer that would bring them back close to what they are sending out — a top 15 player who can impact the game at both ends. It would take a front-line player and an impressive pick just to get the conversation started, and there are limited teams which could make that kind of offer.

The thing is, the Bulls have done an odd job of building around Butler, or building a team with the shooting to play the system coach Fred Hoiberg was brought in to run.

Dwyane Wade is right, the questions about the Bulls’ direction need to be answered by the front office. But it’s not likely we will get good answers or see a change there either.