Super Bowl Sunday, the perfect time to catch up on all that basketball you’ve been missing.
Red flags for the Bulls. — The pot that is the relationship between the Chicago Bulls’ front office and coach Tom Thibodeau has boiled over in the past. It’s not the first time during the last few seasons that disputes between the two parties have gone public, but this time, it certainly seems to be the most significant, as the disagreement between Thibs and the management over players’ minutes has permeated post-game interviews. Derrick Rose was asked this week if the coach has lost his team, a notion the star guard flat-out dismissed, but he may be losing his job, as reports continue to circulate that this could be Thibs’ final run as the Bulls’ head coach.
No matter what side of this debate you fall on, it’s hard to deny that it has begun to affect Chicago’s season.
Howard out, again. — After missing a couple weeks earlier this season with inflammation in his right knee, Dwight Howard has to sit again, and the Rockets are fearful it could be for multiple weeks again.
This is a blow to Houston, who need Howard healthy to fully realize their vision as a team. Not to mention, they’re fighting off the Clippers right now for the third spot in the West. Gotta stay healthy, Dwight.
Wade out, again. — A less important injury note in terms of its effects on the league standings, but notable because it’s one of the league’s most famous and injury-prone stars getting hurt again. Wade strained his hamstring, which has given him so much trouble in the past, and will be out for an ‘indefinite’ period of time. While this is a bummer for the Heat, hopefully it means we can bed all the “LeBron would have been better off staying in Miami”-talk. This guy can’t stay on the court.
All-Star reserves are in, and so are the snubs. — It was a tough call in the Western Conference once again, where Kevin Durant was a controversial selection for the squad, especially when Boogie Cousins and Damian Lillard were left at home. In the wake of Kobe Bryant’s season-ending surgery, Cousins was rightfully named to the roster, but Lillard will unfairly be sitting at home. Still, can’t choose everyone.
It’s too bad the selections are made by conferences. Dwyane Wade’s absence means a whole extra spot will be open on the Eastern Conference roster, and hopefully the coaches choose to fill it with Kyle Korver instead of Brandon Knight. Korver’s having a historic season shooting the ball, and he’d be deserving as the fourth Atlanta player on the squad, after Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford.
Jacque Vaughn Gone? — As the Orlando Magic continue to wallow in inconsistency, reports are emerging that the team’s lack of development could cost Jacque Vaughn his job. In third year of losing more than 70 percent of the team’s games, it would be hard to argue with such a choice. Indications are he could be gone by the time the football game is over Sunday night.
Kevin Love returns to Minnesota, Cleveland wins 9th in a row. — Despite their troll of an advertising campaign, Love was good-natured about returning to his old team. The fans were more bitter, booing Love, but even they received a treat that night: another 30-point game from Andrew Wiggins, the Timberwolves’ crown jewel in the Love trade. Despite suffering a loss mainly at the hands of James and Love, Wiggins’ starry showing means Minny fans might be having the last laugh.
Ricky Rubio set to return Monday. — More good news for T-Wolves fans: Rubio, who severely sprained his ankle back in November, is set to finally take the floor again Monday night, depending how he feels. The young point guard is in the first year of a 4-year, $54 million extension with Minnesota, and the Wolves are anxious to see how he can coexist with their other potential members of their young core.
One year anniversary of Adam Silver’s installation as commissioner. — The good: Silver’s lobbying to legalize sports gambling in the US. The bad: he wants to raise the age limit, again. I guess with the commissioner, you win some, you lose some. Sounds familiar.
Bird Watching: Hawks go 17-0 in January, have won 19-straight. — Last and certainly most important team item from last week: the Atlanta Hawks continue to stomp on the rest of the NBA. They just finished up the first-ever 17-0 month in NBA history and are on pace to go something like 68-14. They haven’t lost since the day after Christmas. Back then, people were just starting to look at the Hawks as for real. Now, that conversation doesn’t even need to be had. With a 13-2 record against even the Western Conference, these guys are hands down a championship contender.
DUNK OF THE WEEK: Oh, don’t mind the Greek Freak taking the time in a real game to warm up for the Dunk Contest.