NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Rose suffers minor hamstring injury — The Bulls and star guard Derrick Rose are still trying to work their way back into their dominant form of a few seasons ago. Last night’s win over the Cavaliers was a big step in that direction as Rose and Co. romped past the Cavaliers to get Chicago back to .500. But in the process, Rose sustained what he termed a minor injury to his hamstring late in the game, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com:
There are a lot of sentences with “Derrick Rose” and “injury” that are no laughing matter. The one Monday late in the Bulls 96-81 pulling away victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers made you smile.
Because this time Rose was joking about it.
Rose sustained what he and the Bulls afterward termed a minor strain in his right hamstring, apparently on an impressive transition drive late in the game that split the Cavs’ defense and put a knife in their spirits. It was part of 9-1 run featuring Rose and Mike Dunleavy that broke open the game after the Cavs got within 78-75 with 4:55 left.
“Right away,” Rose said with a smile when asked if he knew it was a hamstring issue and not a knee problem. “I think I’ve been in the training room long enough, around trainers long enough, to know everything about my body.
“It’s irritating,” Rose added with a laugh, “but just getting them (injuries) out of the way early. I should be fine.”
Rose laughing and smiling. That’s good.
“I really don’t know (what happened),” said Rose. “I remember running down the court, really didn’t feel anything until I came down. Then went back to the bench (as the Cavs called time out). They were asking me about it. Coming back in, there was a play where someone knocked the ball out of bounds (good Rose defense on Irving funneling him to Gibson who blocked his shot). They said I wasn’t moving good enough to be on the court. They subbed me out.
“It had to be on the drive,” Rose thought. “Stuff happens. I’ve just got to play through it and come back healthy. I should be ready (for the Raptors Friday). It’s nothing big at all. I’m still able to walk around, move around the way I want to. Just a little sore.”
“He’ll be evaluated further,” added Thibodeau. “When he gets reevaluated tomorrow (Tuesday), we’ll have more information. It appears to be minor.”
Rose then went out for Hinrich with 3:15 remaining and the Bulls leading 83-76.
No. 2: Rookie Bennett tuning out his critics — The No. 1 pick of the 2013 Draft, Anthony Bennett, hasn’t had the best start to his NBA career. Heading into last night’s game against the Bulls, he was a putrid 1-for-21 from the field (4.8 FG pct.) and registered a DNP-CD against Chicago due to concerns over a nagging shoulder injury. The rookie has been the target of some criticism around the web and in the media, but luckily, the Cavs’ veterans and coaches aren’t letting him listen to the noise. USA Today‘s Sean Highkin has more on Bennett:
Bennett entered Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls having made one field goal this season, in his fifth game. But despite the early struggles, the former UNLV star is staying patient.
“Coming in No. 1 in the draft, everybody has high expectations,” Bennett said Monday. “But in this situation, I don’t have to produce right away. There are a lot of other young talented players in my position that can help me along the way, so I’m just here for the learning experience. Later on in the season, hopefully I can do my thing.”
Bennett, an undersized power forward, is competing for minutes in the frontcourt with veterans Andrew Bynum and Anderson Varejao as well as promising third-year forward Tristan Thompson.
“We have that luxury, we don’t have to play him (right away),” Brown said. “So we’re just helping him along slowly, and we know that once he figures it out he’s going to be great.”
Veteran point guard Jarrett Jack also preached patience.
“This kid is, like, 19,” Jack said. “How many people realized who they were or what they were doing at 19? How critical all of us could probably be of them, not just professionally but also socially. I’m sure there’s a laundry list of things people could dig up.
“But I mean, that’s the part about this business, is that people get to come to your job and critique you. That doesn’t really happen anywhere else. Imagine being a doctor trying to perform surgery, and I’m standing in there like, ‘Oh, that was terrible.’ And you’re 19 on top of that. So that’s just a part about this business that you have to learn.”
After Bennett’s fourth consecutive game without a made basket, he tweeted that he was going to take a break from social media. “Going ghost for a bit, think it’s be best for me at this point,” he wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted.
“I just ignore everything,” Bennett said on Monday. “My focus is on the team right now. I can tune it out. I just thought it was the best decision for me, to stay away from my social media. I don’t even know the last time I’ve been on Twitter. I deleted it (from my phone).”
No. 3: Brown gets good look at familiar system — Sixers coach Brett Brown honed his craft as a member of the San Antonio Spurs organization for 14 seasons as an assistant coach under the legendary Gregg Popovich. Brown knows all too well how efficient the Spurs’ system is at churning out wins season after season and, in his first season as a coach against it, got an even better look at just how brutally efficient it is in Philly’s loss to San Antonio last night, writes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:
he Spurs were off on another one of their patented tears early in Monday’s 109-85 victory at Philadelphia.Tony Parker was going all Cuisinart on the 76ers’ young defense, slicing and dicing his way to the basket. Danny Green was knocking down 3-pointers like it was June in Miami. The ball was ping-ponging around the Wells Fargo Center, moving almost audibly, the way it does when the Spurs’ offense is humming.
Somewhere, Sixers coach Brett Brown had seen all this before.
“It’s a machine,” said Brown, a Spurs staff member for 11 seasons before taking the Philly job last summer. “That thing just moves along and chugs along, and they’ll bang out another 50 (wins) this year and be amongst the NBA’s best again.”
Though Popovich looked forward to dining with Brown after arriving Sunday night, the game wasn’t one he had circled on his calendar.
It’s no fun, he said, coaching against a close friend.
“You have a weird feeling either way,” Popovich said. “If you win, you sort of feel bad. If you lose, you’re sort of happy for the other guy. Which is also a weird feeling.”
It was an odd feeling, too, for Spurs backup guard Patty Mills, who also played for Brown on the Australian national team. Before the game, Mills joked he had nothing to say to his former coach.
“He’s the enemy now,” Mills said.
And a dangerous one, if you had asked the Spurs beforehand.
The Sixers (4-4) are clearly rebuilding, with Brown saying before the season he counted about six sure NBA players on his roster. But Philly was good enough to shock defending champion Miami on opening night and good enough to beat Derrick Rose-led Chicago after that.
It quickly became clear Monday the Spurs weren’t about to join the list of elite teams to be ambushed by the 76ers.
No. 4: Crawford shows off his ‘steez’ in Celtics’ win — Throughout his NBA career, Jordan Crawford has mostly been viewed (and used as) a scoring option off the bench — nothing more and nothing less. The Celtics swingman has found a new life and role under coach Brad Stevens, who has made Crawford his starting point guard of late and is enjoying the spoils that come with that (four straight wins) while Crawford gets to show off his multi-faceted game, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:
Jordan Crawford can’t hide it.
Even when he’s placed at point guard, handed the keys to the Celtics offense and asked to color within the lines, he can’t hide it.
Jordan Crawford can’t keep his “steez” — the word he uses to describe his style, his “steelo” — holstered for too long. After his 10 assists in last night’s 120-105 C’s win over Orlando, the man renowned more in other NBA stops for his willingness to shoot from angles unknown even to Pythagoras was asked about his court vision.
“Y’all just now noticing that, huh?” replied Crawford, the steez dripping from each syllable.
“I was blessed with court vision. When a teammate’s open, you find him.”
He’ll tell you he’s just a basketball player, but he’ll say it in ways far cooler than we could. He’ll tell you that people who’ve criticized his game just don’t look past his manner to see the real Jordan Crawford.
Brad Stevens seems to get him. Instead of reining in Crawford and using him as a potentially explosive scoring weapon off the bench, the new coach has made the hyperactive kid the hall monitor. Stevens has empowered Crawford, making him the starting point guard four games ago.
What’s not debatable is that Jordan Crawford is looking better and better with the ball. He shot early when the openings were there, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the first half and taking just five shots in the second.
He still sometimes dribble-dribble-dribbles a bit much, but there isn’t a coach who wouldn’t take 10 assists and no turnovers.
“He’s really doing a great job,” said Stevens. “He’s got a lot of confidence out there. He’s always been a guy that had good confidence about him, but I think the thing that I’ve been most pleased with through really the entire time I’ve been around him is his consistency.
“That’s an area in which you have to really embrace if you’re going to be a good point guard, because everybody’s depending on you to be reliable on a day-to-day basis.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Until the playoffs draw closer in Clipperland, don’t expect to see Antawn Jamison in games anytime soon … The Hawks’ Kyle Korver is closing in on the all-time record for games played with at least one made 3-pointer … The Pelicans are expected to bring back former big man Lou Amundson … ICYMI, great story detailing some of the little-known facts about Michael Jordan‘s ‘flu’ game in the 1997 Finals
ICYMI Of The Night: Somewhere in the greater Milwaukee area, Bucks guard Brandon Knight likely knows exactly how Marvin Williams feels after getting dunked on so viciously last night …