Boston’s rebounding woes are nothing new; but are they fixable?



nba wholesale jerseys

WALTHAM, Mass. — During one of his pregame radio interviews in early February, Boston Celtics Jerseys coach Brad Stevens was informed that his team was no longer in last place in the NBA in defensive rebound percentage.

cheap vintage jerseys nba

“We’re not? Did a team drop out of the league?” Stevens deadpanned.

cheap youth jerseys nba

The Celtics entered the 2016-17 season with the smallest roster in the league. Routinely quizzed on how Boston could overcome the rebounding deficiencies inherent from its lack of size, Stevens would joke that it was unlikely his team was going to endure a growth spurt so his players would simply have to put an increased priority on boxing out and hope guards could help clean up the glass.

youth nba jerseys cheap

The Celtics finished the season ranked 27th in both defensive (75.3) and total rebound (48.5) percentages. For much of the season, 6-foot-2 guard Avery Bradley led Boston in rebounds per game before Al Horford overtook him late in the year. Even still, Horford’s 6.8 rebounds per game ranked 45th overall in the NBA.

All of that says that rebounding has been an issue for Boston throughout the season. And those struggles were back in the spotlight on Sunday night when the Chicago Bulls Jerseys turned 20 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points as part of a 106-102 Game 1 triumph at TD Garden.

The Celtics finished the night by grabbing just 54.5 percent of available defensive rebounds cheap jerseys, a jarringly low number considering the league average is more than 20 percent higher. Boston was actually far more competitive in the second half but still had instances where second-chance opportunities negated otherwise strong first-shot defensive stands.

When his team huddled to watch film on Monday afternoon at the team’s practice facility, Stevens implored his players to initiate contact when shots go up.

“You’re not going to get every defensive rebound, but you’ve got to hit first,” Stevens said. “And you can’t wait to make contact when [Robin] Lopez is running into the paint. If he’s at the charge circle, he’s winning that battle. The same thing if somebody’s running from the corner to get an offensive rebound. You can’t wait until they get into the paint to make contact. You’ve got to block out sooner than that.

“That doesn’t guarantee you’re gonna get it every time, but that gives you a better chance.”

The Celtics’ big men acknowledged that the team’s issues were rather obvious on film.

“There’s just stuff that we can clean up,” starting center Amir Johnson said. “Some guys were just caught staring, looking at the ball, instead of just hitting the body and going and getting it. It’s just all-out effort and you just gotta continue doing your job; the play never stops until a person gets the rebound. Once you do your job defensively, you get in your defensive coverages, and then the shot finally goes out wholesale nba jerseys, sometimes you just get caught staring at the shot like, ‘OK, I’ve done my job.’ But the job isn’t over until you actually get in front of your man and get the ball.

• Schedule | BPI odds | Forecast | Vote!
• The Grizz can’t stop Kawhi Leonard
&#8226 Winners, losers after opening weekend
• Portis plays game of his life for Bulls
• Isaiah plays through heartbreak
• Beverley leads Rockets in opener
• Beard’s Rockets takes first over Russ
• It’s Dray all day for Warriors’ opener
• “>LeBron’s all-time top playoff games
• Upsets? Series that could surprise
• Experts’ first-round picks: East | West

“It’s a team effort. That’s a big key to winning that game. I thought our half-court defense was pretty good besides [the fact that] it seemed like, if they put up a shot and missed, they got the ball and put the ball back in the basket. Our cheap jerseys half-court defense was definitely up to par. We just gotta rebound.”

Not unlike most teams, the Celtics have pronounced splits in how they rebound in wins versus losses. During the regular season, Boston owned a defensive rebound rate of 76.6 percent in its 53 wins. It dipped to 72.8 percent in its 29 losses.

It’s prudent to remember that defensive rebound rate is not the primary indicator of team success. The Golden State Warriors Jerseys ranked 29th in the NBA in grabbing just 74.9 percent of available defensive rebounds and still won 67 games. Likewise, height isn’t necessarily an excuse for rebounding woes, as the Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys were the second-shortest team to start the season and finished in the top 12 in defensive rebound percentage.

For Boston, rebounding comes down to effort and commitment. It’s a fairly good indicator of how engaged the Celtics are on a game-to-game basis. Maybe Chicago’s Jimmy Butler summed up rebounding best on Monday after gushing about how Lopez impacted Sunday’s Game 1 win.

“If you want to go get the ball, you’re going to go get the ball. Rebounding is 95 percent effort, 5 percent technique,” Butler said. “Same thing with the defensive part. If you want to do it, you’re gonna do it. If you don’t, you won’t.”

The Celtics must come out committed to rebounding on Tuesday night. The Bulls, post-All-Star break (and post-Taj Gibson trade), ranked in the back half of the league in offensive rebound percentage. Boston isn’t going to get to every rebound, but giving up 16 first-half offensive rebounds, like the Celtics did on Sunday, cannot happen again.

Simply being competitive on the glass is clearly important against the Bulls. In Chicago’s three head-to-head wins over Boston this season, including Sunday, the Bulls outrebounded the Celtics by 17, 19 and 20 overall rebounds, respectively.

Boston absolutely has other issues to address moving forward in this series, especially the question of who will step up when Isaiah Thomas is on the bench (the Celtics were outscored 27-11 without Thomas on Sunday). The Celtics must strive to avoid foul trouble, especially at the wing positions, in order to aggressively defend Butler throughout the game.

Rebounding will be the area most eyes are watching, however. The Celtics knew entering the series that they had to be competitive on the glass and were reminded of that on Sunday.

“[Rebounding] was the game. That’s the game. That’s the series,” Crowder said. “If we don’t rebound, we don’t win the series. It’s simple.”

Bulls’ belief in themselves paid dividends in Boston



cheap nba jerseys free shipping

BOSTON — Jimmy Butler always believed in the possibilities.

cheap kids nba jerseys

As the Chicago Bulls Jerseys meandered through one of the most up-and-down seasons in recent memory, Butler quietly held to the belief that all his team cheap jerseys had to do was get to the postseason and they could start anew. He didn’t care that the Bulls continued losing to some of the worst teams in the league during the last week of the regular season, the All-Star swingman was buoyed by the feeling that with him leading the way, and playoff-tested veterans Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade flanking him on each side, the Bulls had a legitimate chance to do some damage in the postseason.

cheap duke basketball jerseys

After watching the Bulls dominate the Boston Celtics Jerseys throughout long stretches of a 111-97 Game 2 Eastern Conference playoff victory on Tuesday night, Butler is proving to be correct in his assessment.

cheap customizable basketball jerseys

The Bulls’ Dwyane Wade rebounded from a poor shooting performance in Game 1 with a 22-point effort on Tuesday night. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

“”I’m not surprised because everybody’s so locked in right now,”” Butler said after scoring 22 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out eight assists. “”Everybody’s putting in extra work right now, watching film, working on their game, and that’s where your confidence always comes from. We’ve got some great field generals out there in these two guys to help out and these younger guys, and to make sure they’re playing hard at both ends of the floor.””

The Bulls have looked nothing like the eighth-best team in the East, a seed they earned after backing into the postseason with a lackluster 41-41 record. They’ve simply outplayed the top-seeded Celtics throughout most of the first two games of this series cheap nba jerseys. Each time a frazzled Boston team tries to make a run, the Bulls have an answer.

“”You play the 82 games to learn a little bit about yourself,”” Wade said. “”And one thing I learned about this team is through adverse situations, this team sticks together. We had adversity as every team has, and that’s the thing that’s made us closer and stronger together. The credit for this team sticking together through injuries, through everything, putting ourselves in a position to make the playoffs, it goes to everyone, from the coaching staff, to the leaders, to the young guys — everyone did it together.””

We’ve got you covered all the way to the Finals with the latest news, schedules, analysis and more. 2017 NBA Playoffs »

• Schedule | BPI odds | Forecast | Vote!
• The Grizz can’t stop Kawhi Leonard
&#8226 Winners, losers after opening weekend
• Cavs Big 3 rules Game 2 win
• McCollum, Lillard seek to even score
• Grit, grind and center who shoots 3s
• “”>LeBron’s all-time top playoff games
• Upsets? Series that could surprise
• Experts’ first-round picks: East | West

To put the Bulls’ performance in some historical context, there’s only been one other No. 8 seed in history that went on the road and won its first two games. That would be the 1992-93 Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys, who went into Phoenix and earned two victories, then proceeded to drop the final three games of the five-game series.

The Bulls don’t look like a team that is ready to fall back into bad habits, though. The reality is that despite what the seedings say, the Bulls simply look like the better team through the first two games. Wade bounced back after a poor Game 1 showing to score 22 points, while Rondo was an assist shy of a triple-double with 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds to go along with five steals wholesale jerseys. The Bulls are playing with a level of trust together on the floor that they haven’t shown consistently all season.

“”We had our backs against the wall in the couple weeks leading into the situation we’re in right now where we had to win,”” Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg explained. “”And our guys did a good job of doing what had to be done to get us into the postseason. So, we’ve been playing high-pressure basketball for several weeks. I think that does help you when you come into playoff time.””

It has certainly seemed to help the Bulls’ role players as they get acclimated to the bright lights of the playoff stage. Two days after Bobby Portis played the game of his young career, scoring 19 points in Game 1, rookie Paul Zipser followed suit by coming out of seemingly nowhere to score 16 points. Combine this with the fact that Robin Lopez continued his steady play with 18 points and eight rebounds and the fact that the Bulls are playing some of their best defense of the season, and it’s easier to understand why they are feeling even more confident. If they can keep getting production from their younger players while Rondo, Wade and Lopez stabilize the starting unit, then Butler can do what he loves to do and take over the game late.

Check out the team site for more game coverage

Check out the team site for more game coverage

“”It’s really simple,”” Butler said. “”When I’m open, I normally shoot the ball. Sometimes when I’m not open, I also shoot the ball. But most of the time, I pass it to the open guy. And when they’re making shots, my job’s a lot easier. People can’t load up on me, and then on top of everything else, these two do a lot of that as well. When they’re attacking, they’re aggressive, they’re getting people involved as well. And getting stops. When we’re getting stops, we’re pretty tough.””

Now the Bulls head back to Chicago for what will surely be a raucous atmosphere in the United Center for Game 3 on Friday. In his 14-year career, Wade has never dropped a series in which his team had a 2-0 lead and the Bulls, led by Butler, Wade and Rondo, don’t expect to blemish that record.

“”You can’t be satisfied,”” Hoiberg said. “”You got to go home and keep playing. This is one of the better road teams in the league. We have to continue to go out and fight, continue to learn, continue to make adjustments and hopefully play well.””

Melo can’t believe Dwyane Wade left Heat for Bulls



cheap throwback nba jerseys

CHICAGO — Like many people around the NBA, New York Knicks Jerseys superstar Carmelo Anthony couldn’t believe that Dwyane Wade actually decided to leave the Miami Heat Jerseys and sign with the Chicago Bulls Jerseys.

team basketball jerseys cheap

“I was shocked,” Anthony said before Thursday’s Team USA practice at the United Center. “I was shocked more from a standpoint it was just hard to see. It’s hard to see some players in different uniforms and he’s one of those guys who I never thought I would see in a different uniform other than Miami. But it happened, and I got a chance to talk to him and sit down with him and really dig deep about his feelings and what happened. He’s at peace now. And when he’s at peace, I’m at peace with it.”

nba store clearance

Wade surprised many in the league by spurning the Heat to sign a two-year deal with the Bulls earlier this month. Anthony, who was wooed by the Bulls two summers ago but ultimately decided to re-sign with the Knicks cheap jerseys, acknowledged that the free-agency process can be mentally taxing for players.

nba jerseys cheap wholesale

Carmelo Anthony, right, can’t believe that Dwyane Wade left the Heat. Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

“I don’t think the masses really understand how difficult those decisions are,” Anthony said. “And what goes into those decisions. And as athletes what’s going through our mind during those decisions. A lot of people think we can just wake up and we can just make those decisions — it’s not that easy.”

Anthony’s comments come just a few weeks after two of the most successful Bulls in recent memory, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, landed in New York. Rose was dealt to the Knicks last month. Noah signed as a free agent.

“We love them,” Anthony said. “We love those additions. And we’re looking forward to getting the season going. And I think everybody is excited, the excitement is back. Right now there’s an adjustment on paper wholesale mlb jerseys, but of course we have some work to do putting it all together, making it work. But we’re going to ride the wave of this excitement right now.”

As for a rekindling of a rivalry between the Bulls and Knicks, Anthony said he knows that it’s possible with all the moves both teams have made.

“I know you guys want that,” Anthony said. “I know you’re living for that. But we embrace that. I think as players, as competitors, we embrace all of those challenges and rivalries, that’s what makes the sport great again, so we embrace that.”

Anthony seemed certain that when the schedule comes out, the Bulls and Knicks would be facing off against each other either on opening night or Christmas Day as one of the league’s premiere matchups.

“Oh, they’re waiting for that,” he said. “Might be opening night — one of the two. I guarantee you it’s one of the two.”

Vucevic, Hezonja lead Magic past Bulls

nba basketball jerseys

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Magic used a strong defensive effort and a big game from rookie Mario Hezonja to get a relatively easy win over the Chicago Bulls Jerseys.

cheap jersey nba

Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points, Hezonja added a career-high 21, and Orlando beat Chicago 102-89 on Wednesday night.
where-to-buy-nba-jerseys-cheap

cheap jersey nba uk

The Magic coasted through the second half with leads as big as 22 points. Victor Oladipo had 17 points and Aaron Gordon added 13 points and 13 rebounds.

wholesale reversible basketball jerseys

Orlando led 60-50 at halftime and never saw the advantage go under double digits the entire second half.

”This was definitely a step forward,” Magic coach Scott Skiles said. ”I felt like our energy at the defensive end of the floor was good.

”And Mario had a lot of pop in his step. I thought it was overall his best defensive game. He did a nice job chasing people.”

Hezonja, the fifth pick in last summer’s NBA draft, has started three straight games in place of the injured Evan Fournier. Hezonja had 10 points in the first eight minutes of the game, hitting four of five shots, including a 3-pointer. He was matched up against Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy, who had only eight points on 3-for-9 shooting.

”It was good obviously because we got the win, but I’m never happy with myself individually,” Hezonja said. ”I made some mistakes in the first half, but we came up with more energy in the second half.”

Chicago never matched the Magic’s energy at any point in the game. The Bulls, coming off a lethargic effort in a 129-111 loss to Miami the nba basketball jerseys night before, were down by 14 just 10 minutes into the game and never made a serious run at the lead the rest of the game.

”It’s frustrating because we dig ourselves a hole again coming out of the gate,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”It’s a trend that must stop if you want to make any kind of push. They scored at will on us, especially on the fast break. Those are baskets that breed confidence.

”We’ve got 22 games left to figure this out.”

Derrick Rose led Chicago with 16 points, all in the first half. Pau Gasol had 12 points and Doug McDermott was the only other Bulls player in double figures with 11. Chicago has lost four straight games and dropped to ninth in the Eastern Conference standings.

”There are no excuses,” Rose said. ”The season is not over. We still have a shot to be in the playoffs. This is foreign ground to a lot of us. We’ve got to find ways to make it up.” View gallery ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 2: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic Jerseys shoots the ball against the Chicago Bu …

Both teams were on the second game of back-to-backs and it looked it. Orlando hit only 40.2 percent, while Chicago shot just 38.4 percent from the field.

The Magic took a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter and were wholesale jerseys never seriously challenged. Rose and Gasol didn’t play in the final period and the closest the Bulls’ reserves could get was 90-74 with 8:14 left in the game.

The Magic hit five of six shots to start the third quarter, including a 3-pointer by Hezonja that helped Orlando take a 74-54 lead. Payton and Oladipo pushed the pace against the Bulls’ lackadaisical defense and the quick tempo provided plenty of open shots in the 15- to 18-foot range.

The Bulls’ offense also stayed on the perimeter, but without much success. Rose was 0 for 4 and Chicago hit only seven of 24 shots (29.1 percent). The Bulls had nba basketball jerseys only one basket the final three minutes and trailed 84-67 going into the final period.

BULLS FRUSTRATION SHOWING

Chicago’s fourth straight loss left players wondering what is happening to this season.

”Honestly, we have a lot of holes everywhere,” Dunleavy said. ”It’s kind of just across the board. As this thing goes and we continue to struggle, we are not losing too much ground cheap nba jerseys amazingly in the playoff race We just have to hang in there.”

Rose added: ”First off, we have to find out what’s the problem? Is it defense? Is it communication? That is something we are trying to figure out.”

TIP-INS

Bulls: Aaron Brooks Jerseys was ejected with 6:31 left in the game after receiving two technical fouls for arguing. … F Taj Gibson (hamstring) missed his first game this season. … G Jimmy Butler (knee) could rejoin the Bulls for practice Friday, but is not expected to play for another 10 to 12 days. … Chicago has given up 102 or more points in 15 straight games.

Magic: F Evan Fournier missed his third straight game with a sore wrist. … Elfrid Payton tied his season high with 12 assists. … Orlando is allowing opponents to shoot 47.8 percent and average 107.1 points in the last 27 games. … Vucevic made his second 3-pointer this season, just beating the shot clock at the 7:09 mark of the first quarter.

UP NEXT

Bulls: Host Houston on Saturday

Magic: Host Phoenix on FridaySports & RecreationBasketballChicago Bulls JerseysMagic

Curry leads Warriors to 50th win, 102-92 over Hawks

nba jerseys cheap

ATLANTA (AP) — The Golden State Warriors Jerseys reached 50 wins faster than any team in NBA history.

youth basketball jerseys cheap

Sounds nice.

nba jersey wholesale

Doesn’t mean more than that to this group.

nba-shop-black-friday-sale

nba hats cheap

With their eyes on more than regular-season records, the Warriors improved to 50-5 as Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Golden State bounced back after squandering a 23-point lead to beat the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys 102-92 on Monday night.

authentic cheap nba jerseys

The Warriors eclipsed the mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls Jerseys, who needed one more game to win their 50th. Of course, that’s the team Golden State is chasing, moving another step closer to the record 72-10 mark put up by Michael Jordan & Co. at the height of their six-titles-in-eight-years dynasty.

”Fifty wins is great,” Curry said, ”but we’ve got to keep plugging away and staying hungry, because nobody wants to talk about that in June.”

Curry and the defending NBA champions appeared headed for a rout against the struggling Hawks, pushing out to a 70-47 lead approaching the midway point of the third quarter. Atlanta closed the period on a 28-6 run and grabbed the lead briefly early in the fourth, igniting the sellout crowd.

But the Warriors would not be denied cheap jerseys, bouncing back to hand the Hawks their fourth straight home nba jerseys cheap loss.

”I liked our response,” coach Steve Kerr said. ”They were on fire in their home building. Everything was going against us, and we maintained our poise and pulled away down the stretch. It was a really good win.”

Klay Thompson added 27 points for the Warriors. Both he and Curry knocked down five shots from 3-point range. Draymond Green didn’t do much offensively, scoring only six nba jerseys cheap points, but he had 14 rebounds and nine assists.

Al Horford led the Hawks with 23 points.

”The third quarter is something we can hopefully build off of,” said Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, whose team had the top record in the Eastern Conference a year ago but has slipped all the way to sixth this season.

Curry put on a clinic in the first half, thoroughly dominating Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.

Perhaps the best sequence came when Curry swished a towering 3-pointer from the corner, the ball seeming to disappear into the rafters of Philips Arena at the height of its arc wholesale nba jerseys. Then, after posing briefly in front of the Golden State bench, he hustled back to the other end to draw an offensive foul on Teague, who looked befuddled by what he was seeing.

At the end of the half, with the clock running down and Teague right in his face, Curry somehow found just enough space to knock down another amazing jumper from the corner, though this one with his foot on the stripe.

Someone on the Golden State bench threw a white towel high in the air – partly to celebrate, partly in disbelief.

The Hawks could’ve thrown in the towel early in the third.

Instead, Atlanta finally showed some fight against the league’s best team, making five 3-pointers and nearly 60 percent of its shots in the period.

The Warriors regained control in the fourth, helped by Curry’s 3 that left him wiggling his shoulders in front of the Atlanta bench.

”He senses when he needs to take over,” Kerr said.

SHARING THE BALL

Golden State had 30 assists in a game for the 29th time this season, a franchise record.

The previous mark was set last season on the way to the championship.

In addition to Green’s team-high assists, Curry doled out eight, Andrew Bogut had four and Thompson chipped in with three.

”It’s a special group,” Curry said.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Improved to 45-0 when leading after the third quarter. It looked as though the Hawks would have the lead heading to the fourth, but a video review showed Thabo Sefolosha’s jumper left his hand a split-second after the clock expired, leaving Golden State ahead 76-75. … Bogut played 29 minutes with a strained right Achilles, grabbing 11 rebounds. … Newly signed Anderson Varejao watched the game from the Warriors bench but didn’t play. He was signed after being cut last week by Portland.

Hawks: Have lost four straight home games for the first time since March 21 to April 1, 2007, according to STATS. … Tim Hardaway Jr. had some effective spurts off the bench, scoring 12 points. … Atlanta made 10 of 34 from 3-point range and is 19 of 75 from beyond the arc in its last two games.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Travel to Miami to face the Heat on Wednesday.

Hawks: Host the Chicago Bulls Jerseys on Friday.

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .Sports & RecreationBasketballGolden State Warriors JerseysStephen CurryAtlanta Hawks JerseysChicago Bulls Jerseys

Pistons rout Warriors despite Curry’s 38

cheap throwback basketball jerseys

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Before the game, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said Golden State simply has more margin for error than other teams, meaning the Warriors can win even when they don’t play their best.

cheap blank basketball jerseys

Not on this night against Van Gundy’s Pistons.

cheap authentic throwback nba jerseys

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope held his own against Stephen Curry for most of the night, scoring 20 points as the Pistons handed the Warriors their second loss in three games, 113-95 on Saturday.
cheap-official-nba-jerseys

cheap authentic nba jersey

Much of the pregame talk centered around how well Caldwell-Pope might be able to defend Curry. The Golden State star scored 38 points, but Caldwell-Pope gave the Pistons a boost offensively.

”I think we know that we’re capable of beating anybody,” Van Gundy said afterward. ”The difference between the Golden States, San Antonios, Clevelands of the world and where we are right now, is you’ve got to do it night after night after night after night after night, and that’s our challenge.”

The Warriors (37-4) reached the midway point of the regular season a win short of the best 41-game start in NBA history. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys and 1995-96 Chicago Bulls Jerseys started 38-3.

Detroit retired Ben Wallace’s No. 3 jersey at halftime, and by that time the Pistons led 65-49 on a raucous night at the Palace.

Curry scored 16 points in the third, but the Warriors still trailed by 11 at the end of period. Then Detroit started the fourth with a 16-2 run to lead 101-76.

”We’ve been saying it all year, but no matter where we go, teams are going to give us their best shot,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. ”It was a big night with the crowd, it was a sellout, retiring Ben Wallace’s jersey. They were coming after us. … In this league if you’re not ready to fight back, you’re going to get cheap throwback basketball jerseys blown out.”

Golden State was whistled for three technical fouls. Curry and Draymond Green were hit with technicals late in the second quarter, and Walton was called for one in the fourth after a dunk by Detroit’s Andre Drummond. The technical free throw by Stanley Johnson made it 94-74.

Drummond had 14 points and 21 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson scored 20 points for Detroit. The Pistons had six players in double figures, while Golden State had only three. Klay Thompson scored 24 points for the Warriors wholesale jerseys.

Golden State’s Andre Iguodala went scoreless, and Green had five points on 1-of-7 shooting.

The Pistons took an early 10-point lead, and the crowd gave Wallace a standing ovation during a timeout. Golden State rallied to take a 30-27 lead after the first quarter, but backup center Aron Baynes gave Detroit a lift.

Baynes scored 12 points in the second quarter, making all six of his shot attempts cheap nba jerseys.

Caldwell-Pope outscored Curry 16-15 in the first half. View gallery AUBURN HILLS, MI – JANUARY 16: Marcus Morris #13 of the Detroit Pistons Jerseys dunks against the Golden Sta …

SPECIAL GUESTS

In addition to Wallace, several other former Pistons were in attendance, including Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed cheap throwback basketball jerseys Wallace. Larry Brown, who coached Detroit to the 2004 NBA title, was also part of the festivities. It was the type of celebratory night with a big crowd that the Pistons have rarely enjoyed over the last few years.

”The energy was in the building,” Caldwell-Pope said. ”We felt it tonight. We just fed off it.”

NO EXCUSES

In each of their first three defeats of the season, the Warriors were missing key players like Harrison Barnes, Green and even Curry. On Saturday, Golden State had all of its top scorers, and Green thought they could make a run even when they were down heading into the fourth quarter.

”I thought we could, but we still didn’t get stops and scores,” he said. ”We just didn’t get stops and we fouled them a lot.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: Barnes was in the starting lineup for the first time since returning nearly two weeks ago from a sprained left ankle. He scored five points on 2-of-11 shooting. … Golden State shot 37 percent from the field, its worst showing of the season. The Warriors shot 39 percent at Boston on Dec. 11.

Pistons: Brandon Jennings left with a jammed left ankle.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Play at Cleveland on Monday night in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.

Pistons: Host Chicago on Monday.

Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtristerSports & RecreationBasketballGolden StateStephen CurryPistonsthe WarriorsDetroitKentavious Caldwell-PopeStan Van GundyBen Wallace

Kobe’s enduring legacy: How his greatness spawned a generation of Kobes

where to buy cheap nba jerseys

On the day her youngest son was born, Rochette Wilson awoke to a big surprise.

cheap official nba jerseys

Her husband had named their newborn baby after his favorite NBA player while she was heavily sedated because of complications during labor.

cheap-basketball-jerseys-nba

cheap wholesale authentic nba jerseys

“When my wife was coherent enough to know what was going on, they bring our son in from the nursery and they’re like, “Here’s Kobe!” Carlos Wilson recalled with a chuckle. “She’s like, ‘Who?’ They say, ‘Kobe.’ She’s like, ‘Who named him Kobe?’ The other people in the room point at me, and she gives me this ‘go-to-hell’ look like I’d never seen before and I’ve never seen afterward. But by that point I had filled out all the paperwork, so his name was locked in.”

cheap plain basketball jerseys

An aspiring basketball coach who had just founded an AAU team in Texas at the time of his son’s birth, Carlos had a deep appreciation for Kobe Bryant even as the 20-year-old Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys phenom was just launching his NBA career. When doctors asked Carlos the name of his newborn son, he made an impulse decision to pick “Kobe” instead of one of the biblical names he and his wife had previously discussed.

View gallery.Seventeen-year-old Kobe Wilson is one of more than 14,000 boys named after Bryant during his 20 years in the NBA. Those namesakes are as much a part of Bryant’s legacy as his five championship rings, two Olympic gold medals and 18 All-Star appearances.

Some of the oldest of that legion of Kobes are just beginning to gain attention for basketball at the same time as Bryant is months away from retiring.

There’s UCLA-bound Kobe Paras, a teenage heartthrob in his native Philippines who hopes to be the next guard named Kobe to star in Los Angeles. There’s Wisconsin-bound Kobe King, a promising shooting guard whose cousin is former Fab Five member Jimmy King. And there’s Arizona-bound Kobi Jordan Simmons, a McDonald’s All-American named after two of the greatest players in NBA history.

The name “Kobe” never cracked the Social Security Administration’s list of the nation’s 1,000 most popular boy’s names until Bryant’s rookie season, but its stature has mirrored the ebb and flow of his career ever since. It rocketed into the low 200s by the time Bryant captured his first championship in 2000, dipped noticeably after he was accused of rape three years later and then climbed again afterward as he gradually repaired his image.

At a time when Americans take cues from Hollywood on everything from clothes, to cars, to charitable causes, it’s no surprise that baby names have also become increasingly celebrity¬driven. You’re more likely to meet a newborn “Mila,” “Reese” or “Arya” today than you are a “Lindsay,” “Patricia” or “Karen.”

[More on Kobe Bryant’s legacy: Five prep prospects named after the Lakers star]

“There’s a real arms race among parents to be new and different, and that’s different from past generations,” said Laura Wattenberg, author of the book “The Baby Name Wizard.” “The name Kobe struck a chord with people because of his image as a player and the very contemporary sound of the name. In a lot of ways, it was the perfect combination.”

When Bryant’s own parents named him after the pricey, well-marbled steak they saw on a restaurant menu, the name was so distinctive that he has insisted he never encountered another Kobe throughout his entire childhood. Now there are boys named after Bryant in every corner of the country, from his native Philadelphia, to his adopted hometown of Los Angeles, to places like Salt Lake City or Sacramento, where he has received only boos and catcalls his entire career.

View gallery.

When McCaskey High School point guard Kobe Gantz was in grade school, his father had this poster of him and Kobe …If his family hadn’t already owned a Rottweiler named Jordan, Georgia native Kobi Jordan Simmons probably would have been called that, too, in honor of the Chicago Bulls Jerseys star. The Arizona-bound point guard instead became Kobi when his 4-year-old older brother suggested combining the names of the greatest shooting guard in NBA history and his heir apparent.

“My wife liked that idea so much she was done after that,” Demond Stephens said. “It was much better than having your son have the same name as your dog. You don’t where to buy cheap nba jerseys want to be like, ‘Jordan!’ and here comes your Rottweiler.”

Kobe Smith, a standout wide receiver and shooting guard from Gardena, Calif., would have been named after Earvin “Magic” Johnson if his father Anthony initially had his way. Only after Smith’s mother recoiled at the idea of naming her son “Earvin” did the couple consider another Lakers luminary.

“He was like, ‘How about Earvin?’ I was like, ‘How about not,'” Smith’s mother Julia Boyer recalled. “If we were going to name him after a Lakers player, it was going to be Kobe.”

Parents who name a son after Bryant often go to great lengths to make sure he loves the Lakers star as much as they do. They hang framed posters or jerseys in their son’s bedroom, shell out $100 for baby shoes modeled after Bryant’s latest basketball sneakers and place child-sized hoops around the house so little Kobe can master a jump shot as soon as he learns to walk.

When Kobe Gantz was still in grade school in Lancaster, Pa., his father had a poster made featuring his son clutching a basketball on one side and an image of Bryant dunking on the other. The poster hung in Gantz’s room until he was about 12, but by then the promising McCaskey High School point guard already had eyes for other basketball players.

View gallery.

Park Tudor High School point guard Kobe Webster (via Isaac Webster)”He still respects Kobe Bryant, but he’s not his favorite player,” dad Collins Gantz said. “Now he’s a big Kevin Durant fan.”

Kobe Webster, a two-time state champion point guard at Indiana’s Park Tudor High School, is such an ardent fan of Bryant that he’ll watch replays of Lakers games from the Kobe-Shaq era and emulate his namesake’s moves at the gym. When a stranger at the barber shop insisted earlier this month that Bryant was no longer worthy of a spot in the Lakers’ starting lineup, Webster staunchly defended his favorite player.

“My son told the guy, ‘He’s Kobe Bryant. He should start until the day he retires,’ ” dad Isaac Webster said with a chuckle. “That’s definitely a guy you can’t talk badly about around my son.”

No matter how enthusiastic their parents are about basketball or Bryant, not every young Kobe inherits the same passion.

In Indiana, there’s a Kobe who’s headed to Purdue on a wrestling scholarship after winning a state championship at 220 pounds last year. In Florida, there’s a Kobe who’s one of the state’s best defensive shortstops and will play at Alabama State next year. Elsewhere, there are numerous Kobes with no interest in sports whatsoever.

Thankfully for Carlos Wilson, his son shares his love of basketball.

Kobe Wilson has blossomed into one of the better point guard prospects in the state of Arkansas and has already begun to receive looks from Division I programs. Perhaps someday he’ll even play for Arkansas State, where his dad is now in his second season as an assistant coach.

Carlos knows he took a risk naming his son after Bryant without consulting his wife, but Rochette Wilson apparently has forgiven her husband.

“She’s a trooper,” Carlos said. “The initial shock lasted a couple days, but about a week into it she was good with it. The name has been a perfect fit. I couldn’t have named him anything better.” Sports & RecreationKobe Bryant

Here’s what the trade market for Dwight Howard looks like

basketball jerseys wholesale

With the Houston Rockets making calls to gauge interest in former All-Star Dwight Howard, The Vertical takes a look at why it could be hard for them to move the 30-year-old center, some possible trade partners, as well as the specifics of Howard current contract.

old nba jerseys cheap

nba wholesale jersey

View gallery.

nba-wholesale

nba jerseys for sale cheap

Dwight Howard is averaging 14.6 points and 12 rebounds this season. (Getty Images)The contract
Dwight Howard is in the third year of an $87.5 million contract signed in 2013.

The current cap hit for this season is $22.3 million, plus a trade bonus that is currently $600,000. The Rockets would pay this bonus to Howard if he is traded. For trade purposes, $22.9 million should be the number the Rockets and opposing teams will use.

Although Howard is under contract through 2016-17, he can opt out of his contract by June 29, thus making him an unrestricted free agent.

The Rockets’ trade rules and hard cap situation
Because Houston is a luxury-tax team, the Rockets can only acquire players who are within 125 percent, plus $100,000 of Howard contract.

The Rockets are also hard capped and cannot exceed the $88.74 million threshold the league mandates. Currently the Rockets are $525,000 below the tax apron.

Why it could be hard for Houston to find a partner
Several factors will limit potential trade partners for Howard to a small pool of teams.

Howard has missed over 50 games the past two seasons with a variety of ailments. Although Howard minutes have been high over the past few months, one has to wonder how much longer his body can hold up.

A team acquiring Howard has no assurance he will sign come July. Unless Houston gives permission, teams are not allowed to make contact with Howard.

Factor in that the Rockets also have eyes on All-Star Kevin Durant this summer. Adding additional salary could make it difficult for Houston to create cap space to sign Durant.

It will be hard to make a deal with any Western Conference team above Houston in the playoff race.

The top-five West teams Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs Jerseys, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers do not need a center. Although the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol recently broke his foot, Memphis does not have the picks or assets to get a deal done.

Would Houston try and make a deal with the three teams they are chasing for a playoff berth?

In Dallas, the Mavericks’ Zaza Pachulia has been one of the most improved players this season. Why trade for a player like Howard when the Mavericks can sign him outright this summer. Utah has Rudy Gobert anchoring down low. Trading for a player like Howard does not fit the rebuild the Jazz have gone through the past few years. The Trail Blazers have been the feel-good story this season with their young core of players. Like the Jazz, adding Howard to the mix goes against how the Trail Blazers have rebuilt their team.

The teams in the lottery either do not have the assets to get a deal done or it would not make sense from a roster standpoint to give away future assets. The Nuggets have the players and draft picks to make a deal, but why do it? Denver is out of the playoffs, has built a nice young core with some veterans and will have ample cap room this summer.

So where does that leave the Rockets?

View gallery.

David Lee’s contract expires at the end of the season. (Getty Images)The team with the players and picks to get a deal done without touching the core would be the Boston Celtics Jerseys.

The Celtics have a treasure chest of draft picks and expiring contracts, something that would benefit the Rockets in the long run.

Here is a look at a hypothetical trade that could work for both teams:

Houston receives
David Lee
Jonas Jerebko
2016 Boston first-round pick
2016 Dallas first-round pick

Boston receives
Dwight Howard
Montrezl Harrell

Although this trade could knock Houston out of the playoff race, the Rockets would be able to add two first-round picks, as well as their own first if they miss the playoffs. The Rockets currently have the 13th pick in this basketball jerseys wholesale year’s draft and will send it to Denver if they make the playoffs. With Lee expiring contract and Jerebko non-guaranteed salary for 2016-17, the Rockets could have close to $27 million in cap space. Good enough for a max salary in free agency.

For the Celtics, the addition of Howard could move them closer to the level of Cleveland and Toronto. Acquiring a player like Howard without moving any of their core pieces would make the Celtics a dangerous out come the spring. The Celtics also would not have to move the unprotected 2016 and 2018 Brooklyn Nets Jerseys first-round picks or Memphis’ future first-rounder.

This deal would not hurt the Celtics in the summer if Howard does decide to walk. Boston would have the same cap space if it would have kept Lee and Jerebko, just minus two first-round picks in the mid 20s.

Aside from Boston, there is a limited amount of teams in the Eastern Conference with the potential to do a deal.

The one team that has plenty of assets and players to make a deal is Toronto. However, center is not a position of need for the Raptors.

A team like Philadelphia that has plenty of picks and cap space now could just sign Howard as a free agent in July. There is no need to risk assets to chase him at the trade deadline.

Two teams fighting for their playoff lives and missing their starting centers are the Chicago Bulls Jerseys and Charlotte Hornets Jerseys.

The Bulls certainly could offer up a package of Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and their own first-round pick for Howard. The tough part with this type of trade is that the Bulls are in the luxury tax and would take on additional salary, thus resulting in more luxury taxes. For Houston, the first-round pick could essentially be better than the ones Boston is offering. Although Gibson has been a high-level sixth man for Chicago, the Rockets would have to take on Gibson’s contract for next season.

Charlotte has played some of its best basketball of late and is currently holding onto the last playoff spot in the East. The Hornets could put a package together of Al Jefferson, Marvin Williams and a 2016 first-round pick, protected Nos. 1-10 for Howard. Of the trades mentioned above, this deal makes the most sense for both parties. Obtaining a player like Howard in Charlotte would likely see the Hornets in the playoffs come April. For Houston, the Rockets would still have a chance of making the playoffs while also obtaining a valuable first-rounder. Although injured, Jefferson could be back on the court in early March.

With a limited market and plenty of questions to answer in the next week, trading Dwight Howard is not as easy as it sounds.

The Vertical Insider Bobby Marks is a former longtime assistant general manager with the Nets.

More NBA coverage from The Vertical:

Sports & RecreationBasketballDwight HowardHouston Rockets

After Game 1, Hawks feel pain of 8 straight losses to Cavs

cheap ncaa basketball jerseys

CLEVELAND — Right now, the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys are the Detroit Pistons Jerseys. No more, no less.

cheap nba jerseys paypal

Whatever encouragement they derived from their Game 1 showing against the Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys Monday in their Eastern Conference semifinal — and they talked about deriving quite a bit, particularly from a second-half comeback in which they roared from 18 points down to one up — it’s worth next to nothing if they can’t find a way to turn “close” into a victory and “victory” into a series.

cheap-custom-nba-jerseys

cheap nba jerseys usa

The Pistons were encouraged, too, facing the Cavaliers way back in April in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. For three of the teams’ four games, Detroit hung around, made the Cavaliers uncomfortable, had chances to push ahead … and walked off night after night with nothing but some atta-boy points as balm for the sweep.

cheap nba jerseys youth

Stan Van Gundy’s crew, at least, was taking playoff lumps and building springtime callouses by design. They were newbies to this postseason tournament business, several years behind the Hawks in timeline and expectations. They’ll be back, better for their failures next time.

By contrast, when Atlanta forward Kent Bazemore spoke optimistically after Monday’s 104-93 defeat about his team’s “growing pains,” it came across as kind of coddling and thus a little embarrassing, considering how much older, more experienced, presumably savvier and even saltier the Hawks are than the precocious Pistons.

Growing pains? This Atlanta team is closer to its end than its beginning. All on-the-job training was to have taken place last year, when the then-No. 1 seeded Hawks got unceremoniously run out in four games by LeBron James and a less formidable Cavaliers roster.

LeBron Goes Off

LeBron James grabs 25 points with 9 assists in the Cavaliers win over the Hawks.

Growing pains? The Game 1 loss makes it eight defeats in a row for Atlanta against the Cavaliers, including last year’s East finals and three regular-season meetings in 2015-16. That’s a fair amount of pain with very little growth. And no indication of real learning, based on the teams’ late-game execution.

The Hawks showed pluck in planting their heels at 72-54 with 3:56 left in the third quarter, the whole affair about to tilt severely out of control like what had gone on in the openers out West over the weekend. They used guard Dennis Schröder’s ability to hit shots when Cleveland defenders went under screens, alternated nicely with Schröder’s slithery drives inside as the basis for a 16-2 close to the third quarter.

Then they chipped away in the fourth, survived a mini-takeover by Kyrie Irving midway through the period and, on a running hook by Al Horford, went up 88-87 with 4:28 to play.

That’s when Cleveland’s poise saw-and-raised Atlanta’s pluck. The Cavaliers went with what works, what they’ve honed and grooved and made their own through two long seasons and a run to last year’s Finals. First J.R Smith looped around the floor one step ahead of defender Kyle Korver for a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Then Kevin Love, on a 4-of-17 shooting night, snookered Bazemore into the air for contact in the right corner, and by hitting two of three foul shots had Cleveland up 92-88.

Next came the backbreaker, as far as Atlanta’s chances were concerned. Out of a Hawks timeout, with James chasing and denying Korver, Schröder lost the ball in traffic at 3:11. Exactly 62 seconds later, James veered into the lane at the opposite end, absorbed some contact and hit a layup. His free throw that followed make it 95-88 with 2:09 left.

In between Schröder’s turnover and James’ and-1, J.R. Smith had missed a pull-up jumper and James missed from 16 feet. But Tristan Thompson and then Smith ran down the rebounds.

That extended the possession. Kept pressure on the Hawks to defend, again and again. And chewed up clock — 62 agonizingly long seconds no longer available to Atlanta, even if it had been able to muster any consistent offense from that point.

Schroder Scores Playoff High

Dennis Schroder goes off for a playoff career-high 27 points in the Hawks loss.

“They hurt,” Bazemore said of the rebounds. “Thompson killed us last year by getting them second opportunities. When a team is good, [giving them] two or three cracks at a bucket, they hurt. It’s definitely frustrating on your end. Sometimes you’re boxing ’em out, doing a good job, but the ball bounces a different way and it bounces right into another guy’s hands. You’ve got to weather those things.”

Bazemore had soared high for an offensive board a little earlier, catching James flat-footed — a James Harden moment, social media cackled — to turn Paul Millsap’s missed 3-pointer into a reset and Millsap layup. Everybody knows the impact of those things. Cleveland just flexed them when they mattered most.

Against Atlanta in last year’s playoffs, Thompson claimed 17 offensive rebounds in four games — the entire Hawks roster grabbed 27. He had five in the second half Monday.

“Against the Hawks, in terms of Millsap and Horford, we are kind of the same ‘active’ bigs,” Thompson said. “For me, it’s just staying relentless on the glass. … As the third quarter and fourth quarter hits, that’s when I try to use my technique to create second-chance opportunities for my teammates.”

Said James, asked if Thompson’s contributions are similar to what Dennis Rodman gave the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls Jerseys: “What Dennis did for the Bulls on the floor — let’s make sure we know that part — ‘Double-T’ does for our team.”

Cleveland wound up finishing the game with a 17-5 advantage over the final 3:32 but it didn’t really qualify as a “run.” It was more slog than whoosh, a veteran team responding one cheap ncaa basketball jerseys possession at a time to very deliberately take the game out of the Hawks’ hands and place it next to them. The way you would if you caught a kid messing with the power tools.

Atlanta did plenty of things well, getting 27 points from Schröder and 15 offensive rebounds of its own. But it never shook Korver (0-for-1 in 37 minutes) free of the Cavs’ game plan. It might have used more Millsap on James when Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha were found wanting. And it couldn’t get the defensive rebound it needed most.

Growing pain? Hmm. We know this much: the Hawks’ pain is growing.

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

Playoff absence may be best move for Bulls’ future

nba wholesale jerseys

Ninth place in the Eastern Conference stinks.

cheap youth jerseys nba

Eighth place equals four or five or six more games, an exercise in futility in which nemesis LeBron James puts them out of the NBA playoffs for the fifth time in seven years.

nba-shop-super-saturday-clearance

youth nba jerseys cheap

Seventh place means matching up against the Toronto Raptors Jerseys, an opponent against whom the Chicago Bulls Jerseys oddly have had their “number” in recent seasons, though that could change considerably Monday night at Air Canada Centre (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass). The Raptors also have a dynamic All-Star backcourt playing the way Chicago’s was supposed to be and an acceptance that they have something to prove to the league — a humility that seems lost on the Bulls.

cheap vintage jerseys nba

(Oh, and there still is a chance that seventh place means a best-of-seven matchup with Cleveland, if the Cavaliers decide to rest and cruise into the postseason without regard for the East’s top seed.)

Sixth place means taking on a Boston team that has demonstrated how much better life can be with no stars than waiting for and worrying about “stars” the way Chicago has all season. Or it means Miami, the team that just completed its season sweep of the Bulls by scoring 240 points in two games in a span of 11 days.

Fifth place? Fifth place would get the Bulls a nose bleed. No way they’re climbing that high anyway, not over so many teams with so few games left.

So maybe it’s time for the perfectly mediocre, 32-32 Bulls — the team whose preseason billing as the “East’s second-best” now echoes as a taunt — to start making peace with the idea of a lottery finish rather than a last-gasp run to the wire. Breaking a sweat, skinning some knees, looking in the mirror and sneering at what stares back? Nah, that’s more accountability than this team has shown itself to be capable of during its 10-20 meltdown after waking up Jan. 7 with a 22-12 record.

For the folks who still fill the United Center 22,000 strong night after night, whether it’s out of habit, for the show-biz stuff between the basketball or because they’ve been on a waiting list since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen romped there, the 2015-16 season is a combination “Groundhog Day” and the “boy who cried wolf” parable.

Heat vs. Bulls

Goran Dragic goes off for 26 points with 9 assists as the Heat take down the Bulls 118-96.

This is Year 6 of championship dreams forsaken, a process built in reverse in which the Bulls reached the Eastern Conference finals in 2011, had the NBA’s Most Valuable Player that season, didn’t make The Finals and has been disassembling ever since. The scaffolding and girders that dominate the arena’s East side (future atrium and retail complex, with the Jordan statue as its centerpiece) is as stark and incomplete at the moment as vice president John Paxson’s and general manager Gar Forman’s master plan. One of them will be spruced up and completed fairly quickly, the other is going to get uglier before it gets better.

Injuries — to Rose, to Jimmy Butler, to Joakim Noah, to Nikola Mirotic, to Mike Dunleavy and, as of Sunday, to Pau Gasol (swollen knee) — have been crippling and undeniable. But as former Bulls forward Luol Deng noted late Friday, after his Miami team scored 64 points after halftime to yank a game out of Chicago’s grasp, those things predated Tom Thibodeau’s five-year run as coach and surely have post-dated Thibodeau this season.

What set management’s hair on fire as Thibodeau’s recklessness with players’ minutes now is written off as bad luck under new coach Fred Hoiberg, Paxson’s and Forman’s hand-picked successor with a veneer more acceptable to the executive suite. But the defense that was the Bulls’ face to the NBA under Thibodeau is gone now, too. And the offense that his bosses wanted Hoiberg to install as its keeping-up-with-the-Warriors idea is under construction more than your typical Chicagoland tollway.

Apparently the old joke about the city’s seasons applies to the Bulls as well. There’s only two — summer and team construction.

The notion that Butler (expected to play at Toronto Monday), Gasol (a week or two away) and Rose (flip a freakin’ coin) can come back, mesh with the role players (Dunleavy, Taj Gibson, E’Twaun Moore, Bobby Portis) and underachievers (Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Tony Snell, Aaron Brooks Jerseys) around them and flip some switch for the home stretch is naïve. Not to mention narrowly held.

The Bulls’ locker room remains empowered in unaccountability, residue from management turning its own coach into a lame duck all of last season? Telling a full roster of players “Aw, pay no attention to that guy, he’s gone” only makes it harder when you bring back that same roster and suddenly announced, “Now this guy is the one you need to listen to.”

The power in this dynamic resides with the players, more so now than with most teams. Rose made it clear when he tapped out before Friday’s loss to Miami that no team circumstance — a playoff berth in the balance, a game on the line — never again will get between him and his sense of secure game-fitness. Or maybe his marketability for 2017 free agency.

GameTime: Pau Gasol

GameTime sits down with Pau Gasol sits down to discuss Bulls’ season and what they can do to improve.

Butler seems to be moving along Deng’s trajectory in Chicago, game to play whenever possible but achingly aware of the physical toll it’s taking, and heeding it a bit more than his mentor did. nba wholesale jerseys Noah, his season done after 30 games with shoulder surgery, might have played his last game with the Bulls; he’s the heart of the team pulled out and shown to them, as if in a Bruce Lee movie, before they actually die.

As for Gasol, he’s smart enough to see what’s going on and to keep his options open this summer, literally in an early-termination of is contract and figuratively. A double-double guy with surprising triple-double capacity lately, the 35-year-old doesn’t even have to be that cerebral to grasp the math involved.

“The season is winding down,” he said, “and every game that goes by it is [fewer] games left to play, and our margin of error is gone.”

Chicago sports radio last week began bandying about the idea that the “second-best in the East” Bulls might miss the playoffs entirely and whether that might be preferable to the decidedly profitable two or three home playoff games in a one-and-done cameo. Folks who argue against it cite the run seven consecutive postseason appearances, the cachet that could help lure a free agent or two this summer and a subconscious organizational fear of ever returning to the team’s 1999-2004 bleakness.

But with Gasol’s opportunities elsewhere, Noah’s uncertainty and both roster flaws in general and mismatches between the talent base and Hoiberg’s preferred style of play, some serious roster reworking is going to be required regardless. Might as well begin it with a longshot lottery pick.

Maybe ninth place doesn’t stink as bad as the spots just above it for the Bulls this season.

Hoiberg tried to perk up his players’ pride and motivation over the weekend when he spliced into the team’s video breakdown a clip from “Animal House.” It was the one in which John Belushi’s character mangles history in his “Nothing is over” speech.

Frankly, the Bulls coach should have used the Kevin Bacon one from later in the movie.

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

  • wholesale sports jerseys