Bulls Beat Sixers in Game One Because They're Better, But Rose Injured

Bulls Beat Sixers in Game One Because They're Better, But Rose Injured

I still think we'll win one or two, and I'm still glad we're playing
them instead of the Heat, but man, this Bulls team is pretty good. They
got what essentially amounts to an average game from Derrick Rose (23
points on 9-23 shooting with five TOs, though with nine rebounds and
nine assists), but still easily handled the Sixers, getting fine
contributions from their wings (a combined 36 points on 12-21 shooting
from Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton) and swallowing the Sixers in the
frontcourt, allowing just a handful of layups and completely shutting
many of the Sixers' bigs. The Sixers hung tough for a half but let
things slip away in the early fourth, eventually losing 103-91.

Aside from Elton Brand, who was money all night with his jumper (19
points and 7 rebounds, 8-15 shooting), and Evan Turner, who was the
team's most aggressive scorer and playmaker off the bench (12 points and
5 assists, with a rare five trips to the FT line), it's a lot of mixed
reviews for the Sixers in this one. Jrue attacked early but shot poorly
(16 points on 7-18 shooting) and committed some costly turnovers (three
giveaways to just two assists) early. Lou also got to the line (7-8 FT)
but shot miserably (1-6 from the field), while as per usual, Andre
Iguodala did everything well (six rebounds, five assists, solid D)
except scoring (11 points on 3-11 shooting). And the less said about our
centers—a combined nine points and ten rebounds for the Allen/Hawes
combo, much racked up in garbage time—the better.

Of course, the actual outcome of the game was well overshadowed by the
events of the final 90 seconds, in which Rose, the Bulls' oft-injured
star player, went down with a gimpy knee or some such and laid on the
ground for several minutes. The Bulls could probably beat the Sixers
three more times with a limited or absent Rose, but such an injury would
have untold consequences on both the Bulls' finals chances and the
entire Eastern Conference playoff outlook. (And we'd probably have a
better chance of sneaking out a game or two.) Though it's certainly an
easier matchup for us without Rose, we still wish him the best in
getting healthy and back in the game ASAP—you hate to see injuries so
shaping the outlooks of these series, regardless of opponent. (Not to
mention we might be rooting for them to beat Miami at some point.)

A couple notes for game two: I really hope that Coach Collins stops
overthinking things and just goes with the
Holiday-Turner-Iguodala-Brand-Hawes starting lineup for game two.
Actually, I might prefer Turner over Iguodala to allow Meeks to give us
some three-point production at the two, a look this team might have to
go with a bunch next year if 'Dre gets traded as expected, but there's
no way our All-Star will be coming off the bench in this series. Turner
was the only guy on the Sixers today who really seemed to make things
happen against this stout Bulls defense, and we owe our former #2 pick
the shot to be the breakout performer of the Sixers' (likely short)
post-season run. And Hawes...I just can't see us getting much out of
Lavoy Allen this series, and I just trust Hawes more (albeit still not
much) in the pick-and-pop and maybe battling for an offensive board or
two.

Ultimately, it wasn't a shameful effort, though maybe not a particularly
valiant one either. It's hard to feel too strongly about this game one
way or another, and I guess that's just where we are with this Sixers
team right now. Game Two is on Tuesday and will likely go similarly,
though maybe with Turner in the starting lineup (which I expect will
happen, with Collins going with him nearly the entire second half) we
can get a little juice from that–he seems to get both teams (and the
audience) fired up, at the very least.

If the series proceeds as the game today did, I am glad about one
thing—it makes our team's mission to rebuild (or at the very least,
restructure) in the off-season that much stronger. None of the Spencer
Hawes/Lou Williams/Andre Iguodala trio did much today to demonstrate why
they need to be a part of this team's long-term plan, and hopefully
that will make cutting the cord with all three this off-season a little
bit easier. Still a lot of post-season to play, obviously, and I'd like
to see a bit more from Jrue and Evan before all is said and done, but in
general, I think we're moving in the right direction here—even if
that's cold comfort at best after a loss like this.

UPDATE: Rose is done for the series and the postseason with a torn ACL.

NBA Notes: Magic Johnson takes over Lakers, trades Lou Williams

NBA Notes: Magic Johnson takes over Lakers, trades Lou Williams

With the Los Angeles Lakers mired in the worst years in franchise history, owner Jeanie Buss has turned to Magic Johnson to lead them back to championship contention.

And she removed her own brother from his job to do it.

Jeanie Buss fired general manager Mitch Kupchak on Tuesday and put Johnson in charge of basketball operations. Jim Buss also was dismissed as the Lakers' executive vice president of basketball operations in a major shake-up of the struggling team's front office.

Jim Buss retains his ownership stake in the team, but Jeanie Buss has final say under the structure set up by their late father, Jerry Buss. She used it to chart a new course for the 16-time NBA champion franchise, which has the NBA's third-worst record at 19-39.

The Lakers are almost certain to miss the playoffs for a team-record fourth straight season, and they posted the worst record in team history during each of the previous three years.

"It was such a hard to decision to make, that I probably waited too long," Jeanie Buss said in an interview on Spectrum SportsNet, the Lakers' television network. "For that, I apologize to Laker fans. Now, with clarity and direction, and after talking with Earvin, a change was needed" (see full story).

Lakers: Deal reached to trade Williams to Rockets
The Los Angeles Lakers have swung their first deal of the Magic Johnson Era, agreeing to send Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a future draft pick.

Brewer's agent Wallace Prather confirmed the terms of the trade, which were first reported Tuesday by Yahoo Sports. Neither team immediately revealed the trade publicly.

"Thanx for the love L.A., I've enjoyed my stay," Williams wrote on Twitter.

Williams led the Lakers in scoring at 18.6 points per game, playing off the bench. Brewer was averaging 4.2 points for Houston.

The trade came hours after the Lakers announced the firing of general manager Mitch Kupchak and put Johnson in charge of basketball operations -- part of a massive front office shake-up.

And while the draft pick will help the Lakers' future, the Rockets just got deeper (see full story).

Grizzlies: Healthy roster for stretch run
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies' latest injury reports need a second glance, they appear a bit suspect.

Nobody is listed as hurt or nursing an injury. If someone is out, it's simply for rest.

No knee problems requiring forward Chandler Parsons to sit. No ankle issues for reserve forward Brandan Wright. No lingering problems from point guard Mike Conley's broken back earlier this season, and no more groin issues for defensive stalwart Tony Allen.

There's not even foot problems for All-Star center Marc Gasol.

Having no injuries to report is a relief for a team that has been hit hard the last two years. The Grizzlies are 34-24 and sixth in the Western Conference heading down the stretch.

"I think our chemistry is starting to come," forward Zach Randolph said. "Guys are starting to fill into their roles and starting to play a lot better, especially on the defensive end."

It was just a year ago on Feb. 20, 2016, that Gasol had season-ending surgery to repair his broken right foot, sending the Grizzlies spiraling into a historical season for injuries that finished with Memphis using an NBA-record 28 players . Memphis limped into its sixth consecutive playoff appearance and was mercifully swept out of the first round by the San Antonio Spurs (see full story).

Report: Jahlil Okafor 'will get moved by Thursday'

Report: Jahlil Okafor 'will get moved by Thursday'

Will Jahlil Okafor be traded?

That is the big question surrounding the Sixers as Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline inches closer.

According to one report, there’s already an answer.

Appearing on NBA TV Tuesday night, NBA.com’s David Aldridge said Okafor “will get moved by Thursday.”

Aldridge, who said the Sixers have “a lot of offers to sift through,” mentioned the Pacers and Kings as potential landing spots. Following the DeMarcus Cousins trade, Sacramento is left with Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein, who aren't offensive bigs. Koufos is averaging 6.1 points in 57 games this season, while Cauley-Stein is scoring 5.8 per game in his second NBA season.

“[The Kings] can offer more minutes and more opportunities for [Okafor] now,” Aldridge said.

According to multiple reports earlier on Tuesday, the Pacers have emerged as a suitor in the Okafor trade talks. Indiana is 29-28 and in sixth place of the Eastern Conference, but only a game ahead of Chicago — also a reported Okafor suitor — and two in front of Detroit.

Through a trying season, the Sixers’ second-year big man is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game. He’s played in 38 contests, 22 of which he has started after playing 53 games (48 starts) as a rookie and averaging 17.5 points and seven rebounds.