Well the Chicago Bulls really did a “STANK” up job last night vs. the San Antonio Spurs. Well Pippen Peoples the Bulls need to put the loss behind them like they should have put Miami win behind them on Sunday. Tonight, the Bulls get to tangle with James Harden and the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are hitting their stride as well even though they couldn’t overcome Kevin Durant dropping 42 points on them in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden is not the only feature on Houston’s roster. The Rockets have a happy (cue Pharrell’s song “Happy” here) big man in Dwight Howard. After a couple of tumultuous years of throwing Stan Van Gundy under the bus, out in the ocean with no boat (oops I’m starting to rant sorry!) and holding the Orlando Magic hostage, he spent a year watching the Los Angeles Lakers franchise drive to the cliff with “Lottery Lakes” at the bottom. He left in the offseason leaving over 30 million on the table to go to Houston before the Lakers landed in “Lottery Lakes”. Hey money really doesn’t buy happiness. I’d really love to test the theory, but I digress.
The Bulls were off last night, but other teams in the Leastern conference race were in action. The Bulls are currently in 4th place but it’s not safe these days. Let’s take a look at what happened last night. Let’s start with the Bulls biggest threat these days…
#5 Brooklyn Nets (33-30) outlast #2 Miami Heat (44-18) 96-95
Uh oh! This just in to Pippen Aint Easy news, the Brooklyn Nets might have figured it out. The Nets are a Leastern conference best 23-9 since the ball dropped in Times Square to start 2014. If you remember, the Bulls had that distinction a couple of weeks ago. The Nets have seven of their last eight games. The Nets now stand one game in the loss column behind the 4th seeded Bulls and leapfrogged the Washington Wizards for the 5th seed in the conference (more on them later.) Brooklyn beat the Miami Heat for the third time in as many games this year beating the Heat 96-95 in Miami. The Nets were led by Paul Pierce who dropped a game high 29 points including 17 points in the 3rd quarter. This wasn’t a shoot-em up session either. Pierce scored on a real efficient 9-12 from the field including 5-7 from the land of extra. He also helped in containing LeBron James, holding him to 19 points. I don’t know what it is about Pierce but he has a special “something” when it comes to playing Lebron no matter where each other plays. This goes back to LeBron’s Cleveland days. Remember it was Pierce’s Celtics that sent James running from Cleveland for cover in Miami. Shaun Livingston had 13 points but it was a huge defensive play on Lebron on the final play of the game to seal the win. Livingston has been a godsend for the Nets since he cracked the starting line-up. I’m happy for him, I actually saw that HORRIBLE knee injury he had when he was with the Los Angeles Clippers. His leg literally looked like an “L” when he blew his knee out. For him to get to this level and is actually a major factor in the Nets success, it’s wonderful to see. The Nets are 25-15 since Livingston joined the starting line-up.
As for the Miami Heat, I see something, I haven’t seen from King James for a while. He’s tired. There I said it, the man is tired. To the people who wants to know what happened, there you go. If YOU had to be the best player on the team, score the most points, initiate the offense, rebound and defend the best player on the other team wouldn’t you be tired? Now try doing that for three years. After that play on the Olympic team, travel all over the country and take everyone’s best shot. Enjoy! The Heat had better realize two things if they want to repeat again. One, the Greg Oden thing is not going to work. I assume you have to play some games before the playoffs to get playoff ready. Number two, Shane Battier and Ray Allen need to start shooting straight, like soon. They combined for four points on 1-7 shooting. The “Big Three” are going to be there, what about the other nine?
#7 Charlotte Bobcats (31-34) defeat #6 Washington Wizards (33-31) 98-85
Look, the fact that these two teams are in this recap show that times are changing in the NBA. Charlotte went to Washington and beat the Wizards 98-85 to help solidify their first playoff bid since 2010. The Bobcats blew the game wide open with an 11-0 run in the 4th quarter. John Wall finished with 23 points in the game but did not score in the final frame. The Wizards lost their head arguing with the officiating that was going on instead of worrying about the Bobcats. Speaking of the Bobcats, let’s talk about Al Jefferson, who has turned this entire franchise around in less than a year scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He has provided the low post scoring that the Bobcats need to let Kemba Walker and the rest of the wing players operate. Kemba Walker had 16 points while Gerald Henderson scored 13 points in his first game back since suffering a strained right calf. This game was summed up like this. All Wizard players not named John Wall shot 15-42. When Wall stopped scoring, the game was over. Sums it up right there.
This is a shout out to Gary Neal who did not play because an “internal team issue”. Dude, chill out. This team just got you out of NBA’s version of Siberia in Milwaukee. Just do what you can to help the team. Keep this up and you can be the next Ben Gordon. Trust me, that is NOT a good look.
#3 Toronto Raptors (36-27) defeat the Detroit Pistons (25-40) 101-87
The Toronto Raptors for the first time since 2008 are relevant. The Raptors can go to the playoffs. That is an amazing statement considering that this squad was in the process of being blown up. It’s amazing because Kyle Lowry was basically packing his bags to be traded and he started playing out of his mind. It’s amazing because Dwane Casey was seating on the hot seat so long third degree burns would be considered a cold compress. Right now the Raptors are in two races. One race is against the Bulls for the third seed. The second race is against the Nets for the Atlantic Division title. The Raptors have become a great team after Rudy Gay was traded, so much that Gay himself admitted that he could have played better in Toronto. The Raptors have now won 10-13 games. Starting to see why the Bulls HAVE to keep winning.
As for Detroit, let me know when Joe Dumars gets fired. Then let me know if they are stupid enough to hire Isiah Thomas. As a Knicks fan, I can tell you this…if Pistons think it’s bad now, wait to see how bad it gets with Thomas in control. Just sayin.