Even short-handed, the Chicago Bulls’ dominance of the Detroit Pistons continues.
The Bulls continued a five-year winning streak over the Pistons with a 95-94 victory Sunday at United Center, despite playing without three key contributors, including notorious Piston-killer Joakim Noah.
The Pistons (24-50) led most of the game and dominated many of the key statistical categories but untimely turnovers and the Bulls’ big advantage on free throws doomed them.
Charlie Villanueva had a shot in the final seconds to tie, with the score 94-91, but it sailed off line. A Daequan Cook free throw was followed by Rodney Stuckey’s meaningless 3-pointer before the buzzer.
The Bulls have won 18 consecutive games against the Pistons, with their last loss coming on Dec. 23, 2008. They also have won the last 14 meetings at United Center since Feb. 24, 2006.
— Reported by David Mayo of Michigan Live
Bradley Beal scored 24 points in his return to the lineup, leading the Washington Wizards to a 109-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.
Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and John Wall added 18 points and 10 assists for Washington. The Wizards, who came in having lost two in a row on the road, won their seventh straight at home and moved into a tie with Toronto for 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Raptors, losers of six of their last seven. Toronto leading scorer Rudy Gay scored 11 points – about seven below his average – while being limited to 26 minutes due to foul trouble.
Toronto, which has lost six of seven, cut a 20-point third-quarter deficit to six twice in the fourth quarter before Washington pulled away.
After missing five straight games, and 11 of 13, with a sprained left ankle, Beal shot 8 for 14 from the field, including a career-high six 3-pointers – on nine attempts – in 30 minutes…
Gay was held to five points in the half and DeMar DeRozan to four, while Valanciunas scored 16 for Toronto.
— Reported by Harvey Valentine of the Associated Press
Kyrie Irving, the king of the fourth-quarter comeback, was back on Sunday. The fourth-quarter comeback was not.
Even with the All-Star point guard returning from his sprained left shoulder and playing for the first time in three weeks, the Cavaliers ran into their same old problem in the third quarter and lost to the Hornets at New Orleans Arena, 112-92.
Irving missed eight games with the injury suffered on March 10 in Toronto, and he led the Cavs with 31 points in 28:40 on Sunday. But he didn’t have enough help and the Cavs fell to 22-50 as their longest losing streak of the season reached eight games. Greivis Vasques had 25 points and Ryan Anderson added 23 for New Orleans, 26-48.
— Reported by Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Irving was announced as a surprise return less than two hours prior to the game, but he couldn’t help a defense that was beaten badly in transition and around the perimeter. The Hornets made 12 of 21 3-pointers and scored 19 fast break points, a rarity against a Cavs team that typically gives up few points on the break.
— Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich puts Manu Ginobili’s timetable to return from a strained right hamstring at weeks rather than days, a significant setback to the team’s pre-playoff preparation.
“It’s a huge blow for us,” he said, “because he’s the guy that allows our second team to do what they’ve been doing all year long.
“It’s a huge loss for that group, and in game situations it’s a tough one because he’s one of two guys, he and Tony (Parker), are the creators who make things happen for everybody else on the court. It’s an unfortunate loss at this point of the season.”
Popovich said it is unknown if Ginobili’s injury will stretch into the postseason, which begins on April 20. Excluding Sunday’s home game against Miami, the Spurs have nine games remaining in the regular season, with the last coming on April 17 against Minnesota.
— Reported by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News (Blog)
It’s the thrill of the chase.
Needless to say, the Utah Jazz would rather it wasn’t this way. They’d much prefer to have already locked up a playoff berth and save their fans and management the hand-wringing that will inevitably accompany the remaining eight games of a bizarre, disjointed season.
But, still, in their second annual final-weeks push for the eighth spot, there is a sense of excitement around a team left for dead as recently as a week ago.
“I told the guys the other night man, if you like to compete,” coach Tyrone Corbin said, “you like to be in these kinds of fights. This is where you figure out where you are.”
Entering Monday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Jazz (38-36) are in eighth in the West, holders of a tiebreaker with the Los Angeles Lakers by virtue of a 2-1 win in the season series.
— Reported by Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune
Timberwolves assistant coach Terry Porter has known Rick Adelman as a father figure, mentor and close friend.
When Porter first met Adelman 28 years ago, he never imagined that he would be adding “coaching legend” to describe their relationship.
Now that Adelman is closing in on 1,000 wins as an NBA head coach, a milestone only seven other coaches in league history have reached, Porter know as as well as anyone that the description is appropriate and well-deserved.
“I’m sure this is something he will be very proud of,” Porter said. “He might not mention it, but when he looks back on things, how he got started and where he came from … to join such a quality group will be pretty special for him. When you look at the guys in that club, they’re all hall of famers.”
Adelman, 66, is three wins shy of reaching elite status heading into the Wolves’ game Monday night, April 1, against Boston at Target Center.
— Reported by Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press
Louisville Cardinals guard Kevin Ware suffered a grotesque-looking injury in the first half of Sunday’s NCAA Tournament game against the Duke Blue Devils.
Ware jumped out to contest a three-pointer with 6:33 left in the first half and snapped his lower right leg when he landed. He was writhing in pain in front of the Louisville bench.
He was carted off on a stretcher, and a Louisville spokesman said he was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
— Reported by the Sports Xchange
Center Tyson Chandler has missed the past nine games with a pinched nerve in his neck, but the New York Knicks remain optimistic that he will return for the playoffs if not before.
Chandler was expected back about a week ago after an MRI revealed a bulging disk in his neck, but the Knicks have no timetable for his return. He suffered the injury on March 13.
“There’s always a concern, but he’ll be fine,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said, according to the New York Post. “We’re just being cautious. Eventually, he’ll be back. I like to think he’s getting better. He’ll let us know when it’s time for him to step back on the floor.”
— Reported by the Sports Xchange
Andre Iguodala is expected to forego the final year of his contract with the Denver Nuggets and test free agency after this season.
Iguodala, 29, has a player option worth around $16.1 million next season, but admitted he will strongly consider seeking a lucrative multi-year deal.
“Yeah, definitely,” Iguodala, told Fox Sports Florida. “You got to weigh options. Security-wise, a player would opt out, especially with the type of season we’ve had as a team. Teams know what I can bring to them, and I know (the Nuggets) know what I can bring to a team here.
“Players get like $50, $60 or $70 or $80 (million over multiple years), whatever the number was, they gave up a big number (in an option season by opting out). But in the grand scheme of things, pretty much get it back. You got security.”
— Reported by the Sports Xchange
Texas Legends head coach, Eduardo Najera, has received a one-game suspension without pay for receiving his 13th technical foul of the 2012-13 NBA Development League season, it was announced today by Chris Alpert, NBA D-League Vice President, Basketball Operations and Player Personnel.
Under NBA D-League rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 13th technical foul during the regular season. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended for an additional game.
Najera received his most recent technical foul with 10.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter of Texas’ 113-94 loss to the Canton Charge on Saturday, March 30, at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. Najera will serve his suspension tonight when the Legends face the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.