All Bull - Chicago Bulls
LeBron James was the leading scorer in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, hitting 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting. But the dominant storyline after Thursday’s 110-95 win by San Antonio was James cramping in the hot conditions.
The air conditioning broke at the AT&T Center, bringing sweltering south Texas conditions inside the arena. James left the game at the 7:31 mark while Miami led 86-84. He tried coming back a few minutes later and scored on a driving layin, but immediately cramped up and had to be carried to the bench.
Obviously, this opened up a new genre of LeBron bashing, including some pointed Tweets from the official account of Chicago-based Gatorade.
“We were waiting on the sidelines, but he prefers to drink something else.”
The Minnesota Timberwolves made a move Thursday – deciding on Flip Saunders as the new head coach (expected to be official Friday). He’s not entirely new, having coached the T’wolves from 1995-2005 and working as president of basketball operations since May, 2013.
But it doesn’t do much to change their biggest issue, what to do with Kevin Love?
People have been trying to turn Love into breaking news, but the situation is straight common sense. The Timberwolves need to either convince Love to sign an extension, trade him by February or risk losing him as a free agent in 2015. Love has never made the playoffs during six seasons in Minnesota.
It’s been quite an awards season for Joakim Noah.
He was named defensive player of the year and was the leading vote-getter for all-defensive team. Now he’s the All-NBA first team center, a very prestigious honor.
Noah is just the fourth Bulls player to ever make first team All-NBA, joining Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Derrick Rose. Jordan made the first team 10 times, Pippen three times and Rose once.
The voting was not close. Noah received 101 of 125 first-team votes. Houston’s Dwight Howard received nine and Charlotte’s Al Jefferson got four.
Noah will get a contract bonus of $500,000 for making All-NBA first team, but that payment will not push the Bulls into luxury tax territory, which could bring benefits down the road.
Bulls forward Taj Gibson sent a sad message out on Twitter -- "They killed my lil superman. Only two more weeks until your 7 birthday. Tears forever."
Gibson was talking about his cousin Prince Joshua Avitto, and the news reports are disturbing. Avitto was riding in the elevator of his Brooklyn housing project with a friend Sunday, when he was attacked by an assailant using a butcher knife. According to relatives, the kids were headed outside to get ice cream.
Avitto was stabbed dozens of times. The friend, Mikayla Capers, 7, survived despite being stabbed 15 times and is in the hospital.
Police are still searching for the suspect, who may have also killed an 18-year-old college student last weekend.
The NBA announced the all-defensive teams today (don't know why it took so long) and Bulls center Joakim Noah easily received the most votes. That makes sense, since he also won defensive player of the year, although it seems like that happened about 3 months ago.
Jimmy Butler made the second team all-defense, while Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich were relatively high in others receiving votes. Of course, that also explains why the Bulls are going to pursue Carmelo Anthony this summer. Too many defensive players. They need some scorers.
In the past, NBA coaches have voted for the all-defensive teams, but that may have changed this year.
UPDATE -- Griffin is also getting a second interview in Utah, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer and other sources, Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin interviewed for the Cavaliers head coaching job on Tuesday.
It's an interesting opportunity for Griffin, since the Cavs have a rising star in Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall draft pick (again) and some flexibility to revamp the roster this summer.
No real favorite has emerged for the Cavs job, who fired Mike Brown one season into his second stint on the job. Vinny Del Negro has been mentioned as a candidate. Cleveland's GM, David Griffin, permanently hired this month, spent most of his NBA life with the Phoenix Suns.
There’s a dangerous trend showing up in the prelude to the June 26 NBA Draft. Foreign big men with no American basketball experience are littering many of the mock drafts.
The Bulls own picks No. 16 and 19, and could use some depth inside. But before falling in love with Clint Capela video, remind yourself how little Bismack Biyombo has accomplished during three NBA seasons.
When a big man hasn’t played college basketball in the U.S., it feels like he hasn’t been properly vetted and therefore, predicting NBA success becomes very difficult.
Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery provided more suspicious good luck for the Cleveland Cavaliers. There’s no way they can screw up this one, right?
Anyway, here’s an early mock draft, knowing plenty could change before June 26.
1. Cleveland – Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
He still has the most star potential in this class and will fit in great with last year’s No. 1, Anthony Bennett. Just kidding about that last part.
2. Milwaukee – Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
First-round centers haven’t worked out very well since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, so look for the Bucks to pick Parker.
3. Philadelphia – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Embiid is the obvious pick here, but what about Nerlens Noel, who’s been out longer than Derrick Rose? The Sixers have plenty of team-building ahead.
The NBA draft lottery is tonight (7 p.m., ESPN). The Bulls are on the outside looking in this year, but do have two first round picks, Nos. 16 and 19 in the June 26 draft.
It will be interesting, though, especially with so many Eastern Conference teams at the top of the naughty list, led by Milwaukee.
The consensus top three players appear to be Kansas center Joel Embiid, Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins and Duke forward Jabari Parker, all freshmen. Most mock drafts have either Wiggins or Embiid going No. 1, but that could change as teams meet with the players.
Here’s a link to a story from April covering the chances of Minnesota’s Kevin Love finding his way to the Bulls.
Yahoo and ESPN reported Sunday that Love has made it clear he will opt out of his contract next summer and is interested in finding a new home.
There is nothing new to the story, really. It was already obvious the Timberwolves will have to make a move with Love or risk losing him for nothing in return next year. A trade could happen during the summer or before the February trade deadline.
Love posted remarkable statistics this season (26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists) and would have been in the MVP conversation if Minnesota had finished closer to the top of the Western Conference standings.