KRIS DUNN UPDATE: Dunn met with reporters on Wednesday and said he’s about 80%, but remains in concussion protocol. No time frame for his return. He says he didn’t lose any teeth when he crashed to the floor, but will wear a mouth guard when he returns to game action.
PAYNE IN WCB lineup: Cam Payne played his first game of the season last night, a G-League affair at the Sears Center, as Grand Rapids beat the Windy City Bulls 122-117. Payne, battling back from foot surgery, played 24 minutes, went 10-24 from the field (5 3-pointers) and finished with 29 points, 1 rebound, and 3 assists.
IDLE THOUGHTS WHILE WATCHING CAVS-TIMBS GAME: Love listening to Hubie Brown talking basketball. What he gives viewers/listeners is the same, "coach speak" he delivers at clinics to coaches across the country. It’s concise, direct and more importantly, understandable to the common fan.
OK, I get the hype. Jimmy Butler returns to Chicago. But let’s stop with the, "revenge game" angle that’s being thrown around locally and nationally. Revenge for what? It was a trade. Period. Players get dealt all the time. The Bulls were a .500 club and needed to reset the franchise, which they did with an excellent transaction. Meantime, as expected, Butler has thrived in Minnesota and earned another trip to the All Star Game. I can tell you point blank: the Bulls organization holds the highest degree of respect and admiration for Butler’s presence on/off the court. Will Butler be amped to play the Bulls? Absolutely, guaranteed 100%. He should be. It’s human nature. A player is traded and he wants to play at a high level against his old team. I get it. But this trade was a win-win for both clubs. I wish Jimmy all the best. He was great to me while he played here, and not once was rude to me as a broadcaster on/off the court.
What is being lost in Friday’s game is the return of Taj Gibson. Taj busted his tail 24/7, year after year after year. I loved covering Taj. I loved his post game interviews on BullsTV. He never took a play off. He played through nagging injuries and then some. I have the utmost respect for the guy.
Agree or disagree, but I’m serious about recognizing Jamal Crawford's volume of work by offering him support worthy of a Hall of Fame nomination. A three-time Sixth Man of the Year award winner, Crawford made coming off the bench a valued asset for teams framing their rosters.
NBA NEWS AND NOTES
Free basketball in Cleveland: OT! LeBron James with his ninth triple-double of the season (37-15-10), including the game winner over Jimmy Butler, who played a fantastic game. Both Butler and James missed shots near the end of regulation that would have put their clubs ahead. James came through with a huge block on Butler, dashing in from the weak side. The two teams combined for an NBA record of forty made three-point field goals. James became Cleveland’s all-time leader in rebounds. He’s now one of three players to lead a franchise in points, rebounds, and assists (MJ-Bulls, KG-Minnesota).
Andre Drummond. Are you serious? 17 points, 27 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks (1st player with those numbers since "The Dream" in 1989). Detroit 115 Nets 106. The Pistons are 4-0 with Blake Griffin on the floor.
Houston goes to 40-13 with a 109-101 win over the Heat. Harden with 41. Paul with 24. Miami has lost five-straight. The Heat at 29-26, just one game ahead of the eighth-seed (Philadelphia), and one game ahead of ninth-seed (Detroit).
Under the NBA radar screen is none other than the Utah Jazz. The Jazz won their seventh-straight, 92-88 over Memphis. Ricky Rubio with 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals.
San Antonio 129 Phoenix 81. The Spurs led by 38 at halftime, the lead largest in franchise history.
A leaky roof in New Orleans caused the postponement of the Pacers-Pelicans game.
Lou Williams agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Clippers.
Always a pleasure!