Three Stars Go Out
The NBA was just getting used to having Derrick Rose playing again. True, the rust was evident from not playing for more than a year but with each game, you saw the confidence coming back and were reminded how special the 2011 regular season MVP is.
Then in the third quarter of Friday night’s game between the Chicago Bulls and the (red hot) Portland Trail Blazers, Rose’s right knee gave out as he attempted to change direction. Rose limped off the court and on Saturday it was revealed that he had a torn medical meniscus.
On the bright side, it’s less serious than an ACL injury he recently recovered from. However, the Bulls are preparing for the worst -- the possibility that Rose might not play again the rest of this season.
If that’s the case Rose will have essentially missed two complete NBA seasons in a row. Plus, it’s not like he’s just resting up, he’s rehabbing from serious knee injuries. Patience will be key because there will be much pressure for him to return as quickly as possible.
The NBA community immediately reached out to the point guard to wish him the best. Simply put, the NBA is better when all it’s superstars are healthy and here’s to a full recovery for Rose.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only major injury news to effect teams that could vye for the NBA championship.
Marc Gasol, center for the Memphis Grizzlies and last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, suffered a Grade 2 sprain of the MCL in his left knee. He too, has been ruled out indefinitely although Gasol won’t have to undergo surgery like Rose.
At the time Gasol was second on the team in points, rebounds, and assists.
If that wasn’t enough, Golden State Warriors swingman -- and key defensive stalwart who could be the player to push the Warriors over the top in the playoffs -- Andre Iguodala will miss some time with a strained left hamstring. Iguodala went down on Friday night.
"We'll take it serious," he told ESPN.com. "I'm sure I'll be back really soon. My body has been pretty good to me so far. It'll be sooner than everyone thinks."
Nash Not Done...Yet
Continuing on the injury news front, Steve Nash remains optimistic that he’ll be back in the NBA to resume his illustrious career. Nash wants to play as much as he possibly can of the final 18 months he says he has left of basketball as he attempts to recover from the nerve root irritation in his back and hamstrings that has sidelined him for nearly two weeks.
The oldest player in the NBA -- Nash turns 40 years old in a couple months -- told ESPNLosAngeles.com:
"I think people look at the success I've had in my career and they wonder if I still have the motivation just to get on the court. But I do. The perspective is that I've only got a short window of basketball left in my life. I want to try to get in as much hoops as I can before it's time to do something else."
The Lakers are could be looking at tens of millions of dollars in cap space next summer with a presumably healthy Kobe Bryant and Nash along with what should be a bevy of NBA stars. The Clippers are kings of L.A. basketball at the moment, but that may not last long.
CP3 Puts Up Video Game Stats
On Thursday night, in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Paul extended his now NBA-record of 13 games with at least 10 points and 10 assists to start a season. The man he passed? Magic Johnson who began the 1990-1991 season with 11 such games.
Paul had this to say of the record to reporters.
“It’s huge because Magic is a mentor of mine,” Paul told reporters after Wednesday’s game. “He’s someone that I look up to. His basketball credentials are unbelievable, so to be mentioned in anything with him, is huge. It’s an honor, a privilege.”
The streak ended against the Sacramento Kings on a night Paul racked up “only” nine assists. Instead, Paul looked for his own shots down the stretch and hit go ahead free throws with 2.5 seconds left to seal the win.
He’s put up eye-popping numbers before but what he hasn’t done is advance far in the playoffs. True to form of a point-guard, he’s not worried about compiling gaudy numbers. Paul just wants to win.
At 10-5, the Clippers are 7-1 at home but just 3-4 on the road. It’s not unusual for a team to perform better at home than on the road, but even if Paul continues to lead the team to 107 points per game (2nd best in the NBA), they have no shot in the postseason if they continue to give up 104.9 points per game (third worst in the NBA).
Hornets to Invade Charlotte Next Season
Michael Jordan may have just made the best decision of his basketball front office career. He announced that the team will go back to their original Hornets’ colors when the Bobcats switch back to their prior name.
Purple and teal never looked so good.
The Boston Celtics (5-10) ended one of the toughest stretches in the NBA this season (and quite possibly a more difficult stretch than any team will face this year) by topping the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday evening. A Hawks team that might very well be the third best team in the East when it’s all said and done.
However, that was after six straight losses, the last five by double digits.
The Celtics were among the teams to be hit by the injury bug as well. Kelly Olynyk will be out for a couple weeks with a sprained right ankle. Rookie center, Vitor Faverani should see a consistent uptick in his minutes. As ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg points out: Faverani leads the team with a total rebound percentage of 17.4 percent (ranking him in the top 25 in the league among qualifiers). He's really the only true center on the roster, though I really like the offesnive production the combination of Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass brings to the table.
Jordan Crawford, who has admirably stepped into the starting point guard role as Rajon Rondo continues to rehab from his ACL tear, had a very productive week. He scored a team-high 24 points in a loss to the Indiana Pacers and then followed that up with his second 10-assist game of the season in the win over Atlanta on Saturday.
Not only did he post a career-best +24 on the night, but Crawford affirmed that he's the single player on the Celtics roster that you can trust to not only find his shot in crunch time on a nightly basis, but also make those shots.
"He really wanted the ball in those moments, and I thought it was the best thing to get it to him," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "After he made the first couple of moves, the guys came back to the huddle and said, 'Put it in his hands.’ Maybe it will be somebody else some other night, but tonight it was him."