NBA Wrap: Rose hurts hamstring in Bulls' victory


NBA Wrap: Rose hurts hamstring in Bulls' victory

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose had 16 points before leaving in the fourth quarter with a right hamstring injury, and the Chicago Bulls pulled away from the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 96-81 victory on Monday night.

Rose grimaced after he drove down the lane for a twisting layup with 3:39 left. He remained in the game for a short time before he was pulled for Kirk Hinrich, and a trainer then attended to the 2011 NBA MVP at the end of the bench.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said it looks like Rose has a "minor" hamstring injury. He said Rose will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

Kyrie Irving had 16 points for Cleveland, but was 5 for 19 from the field in his first game against Rose. The Cavaliers committed 20 turnovers, leading to 29 points for the Bulls (see full recap).

Rockets outlast Raptors in 2OT
HOUSTON -- Jeremy Lin scored 31 points off the bench, Dwight Howard had 18 points and 24 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets beat the Toronto Raptors 110-104 in double-overtime to snap a two-game losing streak.

Lin shot 10 of 17 from the field and hit 8 of 9 from the free throw line. James Harden finished with 26 points and 10 assists.

Howard was just 4 of 12 at the foul line. Chandler Parsons had 18 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Rockets, who could not hold a double-digit, second-half lead for the second straight game.

Rudy Gay led the Raptors with 29 points and 10 rebounds but shot 11 of 37 from the field. DeMar DeRozan added 22 points, but he struggled as well, finishing 6 of 25 (see full recap).

Clippers edge Timberwolves
LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin had 25 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Paul added 21 points and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-107 on Monday night after Nikola Pekovic missed a tip-in at the buzzer.

Love missed first and Pekovic came up just short to end the Wolves' two-game winning streak.

Paul had 11 assists, Jamal Crawford scored 18 points and DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 11 rebounds to help the Clippers improve to 3-0 at home.

Kevin Martin scored 30 points for the Wolves, who lost their sixth straight against the Clippers.

Pekovic had 25 points, and Love had 23 points and 19 rebounds (see full recap).

Pacers rip Grizz to stay unbeaten
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George scored 23 points and Lance Stephenson had the first triple-double of his career, leading the perfect Indiana Pacers to a 95-79 victory Monday night over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Indiana became the NBA's seventh team to open 8-0 since 2000 -- two more wins than the franchise's previous best start. And they followed a familiar script in the battle between last season's conference runner-ups by dominating the glass, dominating the second half and divvying up top honors.

Stephenson finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists. George Hill scored 13 points and Roy Hibbert added five more blocks to his NBA-leading total.

Memphis was led by Marc Gasol with 15 points and Zach Randolph with 12 (see full recap).

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

CAMDEN, N.J. — Jahlil Okafor has been patient with his right knee. He was disciplined with restrictions and recovery during the preseason, recognizing the goal of being ready for opening night. 

At the same time, once he got back on the court he wanted more. Okafor played eight minutes Friday against the Heat, his first game since Feb. 28 before undergoing surgery to repair a right meniscus tear. 

“I don’t think I’m going to do eight again,” Okafor said Sunday. “They kind of heard me complain about that a lot. I think it’ll definitely be more than eight, but it won’t be much more.” 

Okafor has been limited since aggravating his knee during the final day of training camp. He practiced “to tolerance” on Sunday, according to the Sixers. Okafor did not participate in the team scrimmage and worked out individually with assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning Todd Wright. 

The second-year big man did not feel soreness on Saturday following the game. On Sunday, he felt “kind of stiff” during practice. Brett Brown has been watching Okafor’s movement closely. While Okafor considered it to be “good,” Brown was a tougher critic. 

“I think he looked OK,” Brown said. “He didn’t look great to me today. I’ll give him a B-minus … It’s always how do you move? East, west, north, south, how do you move?” 

Okafor scored four points and had one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover in Miami. He focused on his defense during the game. When he subbed out, he checked in with Elton Brand on the bench to receive feedback from the now-retired veteran. Okafor plans to continue to tap into him for advice throughout the season. 

With opening night three days away, Okafor still plans to be on the floor for it.

“I am optimistic about it,” he said. “I should be ready to go.” 

Robert Covington sprained his right ankle in Friday’s game and did not practice Sunday. Brown anticipates Covington, who has been starting at small forward, also will be ready to go Wednesday. 

“I do (expect him to play),” Brown said. “But we won’t know that for sure yet.” 

Sixers waive retired Elton Brand
The Sixers waived Brand on Sunday, making his retirement official. Brand announced his intentions to walk away from the game Thursday. The Sixers' request of waivers was a procedural step. The roster currently stands at 19. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said last week (see story). “But it’s definitely time now.” 

Brand celebrated his career with his teammates at Komodo in Miami on Thursday night ahead of their preseason finale against the Heat. 

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.