Bulls

Bulls' Rose, Gibson Enjoy All-Star Weekend

113394.jpg

Bulls' Rose, Gibson Enjoy All-Star Weekend

Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010
3:53 P.M.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

With two players actively participating in the NBAs All-Star festivities, the Bulls are represented well in Dallas this weekend.

Rookie Taj Gibson played in Friday nights Rookie-Sophomore Challenge, and while it wasnt necessarily the blue-collar forwards preferred type of game, he did contribute to his rookie teams 140-127 win over some of the leagues best second-year playersminus, of course, his teammate Derrick Rose, who was excused from the game to concentrate on todays event, the actual All-Star Game.

In over nine minutes of action, Gibson came up with six points and two rebounds, and was praised by Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, a guest analyst during the game, for his shooting ability. Sacramento Kings point guardand current Rookie of the Year frontrunnerTyreke Evans won the games MVP award with a 26-point (on 11-15 shooting), six-board, five-assist effort, while San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blairs 22 points and 23 rebounds was also outstanding. Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings chipped in with 22 points and eight assists, and Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden added 22 of his own for the Rookie team. For the Sophomores, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 40 points, and received help from Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley, who contributed 26 in a losing effort.

Rose, Chicagos other All-Star participant, was replaced in last nights Skills Competitionhe won the event last yearby the Thunders Westbrook. Phoenix Suns veteran point guard Steve Nash ended up winning the competition. Despite Roses bruised right hipsuffered in a collision with the Magics Howard in the Bulls home loss to Orlando on WednesdayChicagos first All-Star since 1998 confirmed yesterday that he will play in tonights star-studded contest.

According to reports, Rose didnt show any ill effects from the injury at yesterdays Eastern Conference All-Star practice. Although hes coming off an injury, expect Rosewho was clearly excited to play in his first All-Star Game, as he stated before Wednesdays gameto give it a strong effort in the glorified pick-up game, even if hes not his usual full-throttle self. However, the combination of being a young player on a team with well-established veterans and Magic coach Stan Van Gundywho will coach the East teamperhaps feeling bad about overworking Rose after personally witnessing the injury could limit the Bulls guards minutes, although older players wanting to rest could force his hand.

On another note, the All-Star break is known for being somewhat of a networking party among the leagues executives, especially with the NBA trade deadline coming up later this week. The blockbuster deal between Dallas and Washingtonthe Mavericks sent Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton to the nations Capital for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and cashmay have broken the ice, with a rumored swap involving Phoenix All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland perhaps imminent.

While teams are fond of blowing smoke and rumored deals more often than not dont happen, Chicago reportedly is considering a variety of moves, according to league sources. The trade most frequently discussed is disgruntled forward Tyrus Thomaswith other pieces, to make the deal work for salary concernsbeing traded to the Knicks for forward Al Harrington and possibly other less notable New York players. Although guard Kirk Hinrich has been bandied about as a likely resident of a new city, sources say reserve swingman John Salmons is more of a preferred option to be moved, say sources, while rumors of Luol Deng being on the block are less about Chicago shopping the small forward than other teams asking about him.

Regardless, with labor negotiations between the players union and the league also occurring over the weekenda new collective-bargaining agreement is another story for another timeteams are especially conscious of clearing salary for this summer, as arguably the most talented class of free agents in NBA history will be on the market. The Bulls are no exception, so while Thomas departure this week is almost a given, it would no surprise to see another core player leave the Windy City, too.

Now, however, isnt the time to worry about that. Enjoy Derrick Roses outing this evening and be thankful for the fact that while the rest of the nation (and world) get to watch him on a big stage tonight, Chicagoans get to marvel at his feats on a regular basis.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more and read his Running with the Bulls blog.

Michael Jordan delivers heart-wrenching eulogy for Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan delivers heart-wrenching eulogy for Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were more than competitors, more than peers... More than even friends. Jordan made as much clear in eulogizing Bryant at a public memorial for him and his daughter Gigi at Staples Center on Monday.

Amid a beautifully numbing overall ceremony, Jordan’s comments struck the perfect balance between reflective, hilarious, heart-warming and gut-wrenching. My words couldn’t possibly do it justice. Here are Jordan’s, in full:

 

“Maybe it would surprise people that Kobe and I are very close friends,” Jordan said. “Kobe was my dear friend, he was like a little brother. Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe.”

And so he did. Highlights included a perfectly-timed ‘Crying Jordan’ meme quip and Jordan recalling countless late-night (and early-morning) conversations with Bryant about everything from basketball to business to family. On a day meant to be a celebration of life, Jordan delivered a deeply intimate look into his and Bryant’s relationship, and all the ways Bryant inspired him. It was incredibly powerful.

 

“He wanted to be the best basketball player he could be. As I got to know him, I wanted the best big brother that I could be,” Jordan said.

That manifested in those aforementioned conversations, which Jordan said turned from an “aggravation” to a deep passion over the course of knowing Bryant.

“He knows how to get you in a way that affects you personally, even if he’s being a pain in the ass,” Jordan said. “But you always have a sense of love for him, and the way he can bring out the best in you. And he did that for me.

“I remember maybe a couple months ago, he sends me a text. And he said ‘I’m trying to teach my daughter some moves, and I don’t know what I was thinking or what I was working on, but what were you working on as you were growing up trying to work on your moves?’ I said ‘What age?’ He said: ‘12.’ I said, ‘At 12 I was trying to play baseball’... And this was at 2 o’clock in the morning. But the thing about him is we could talk about anything related to basketball and anything related to life.” 

Jordan’s most emotional moments of speaking came when he detailed Bryant’s passion for basketball and family, and his unwavering desire to make those around him better. Those are the things that will endure.

“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” Jordan said. “I promise you, from this day forward, I will live with the memories of knowing that I had a little brother that I tried to help in every way I could.” 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

NBA Power Rankings: Lakers dynamic duo will be tough to beat in the playoffs

davis_thumb.jpg
USA Today

NBA Power Rankings: Lakers dynamic duo will be tough to beat in the playoffs

The latest chapter in the storied rivalry between the Celtics and Lakers unfolded Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles with a national television audience watching all the drama.

Boston’s Jayson Tatum continued his ascension as one of the league’s clutch scorers by pouting in 41 points, helping his team grab a late lead at Staples Center. But when it comes to clutch performances, it’s hard to beat the Lakers’ superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

James hit a step-back jumper to give his team a one point lead and then Anthony Davis hit three of four free throws down the stretch to give L.A. a 114-112 victory, increasing their latest winning streak to five games.

The Lakers are now five games up on Denver for the top seed in the West and they’ve strengthened their bench with the addition of veteran forward Markieff Morris, who was bought out of his contract by the Pistons last week.

While many NBA analysts believe the crosstown Clippers should be favored over the Lakers in a potential conference finals, it’s hard to beat the chemistry that James and Davis have displayed in their first season together.

James has become the de facto point guard for the Lakers, with his primary focus to get the ball to Davis at his favorite spots on the court. James is more than willing to accept the co-star role at this point in his career as he looks to win a fourth championship. And that approach should serve the Lakers well as they get ready to start the playoffs in mid-April.

The Clippers might look good on paper, but with Paul George in and out of the line-up because of a variety of injuries, time is starting to work against Doc Rivers’ team in trying to develop the on-court chemistry that is critical to playoff success.

Barring an upset, the battle of L.A. should play out in an exciting seven game series in late May. Basketball fans can hardly wait.

Now on to this week’s power rankings.