Morning Shootaround

Jan. 28 Shootaround -- Anthony hears the boos at MSG before playing hero

NBA.com Staff

Stay ‘Melo | As the Bulls turn | Celtics making moves? | Doc would trade son if needed

No. 1: Stay ‘Melo — With trade talks swirling the last few weeks, Carmelo Anthony was hearing it from the fans last night at Madison Square Garden like only they can produce, booing him and chanting ‘Trade ‘Melo.’ But with the game on the line and the Knicks in need of a big shot, guess who got the ball? As Marc Berman writes, ‘Melo says he enjoys the pressure:

The embattled Anthony, who called the trade speculation “mentally draining,’’ sank a 14-foot fallaway from the left of the lane over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with 13 seconds left and the Knicks prevailed over the Hornets 110-107.

Anthony, snubbed for the All-Star Game and the subject of trade talks with the Clippers, finished with 18 points during this roiling, rollercoaster season of his. He shot 8 of 26 and heard boos after hitting just the backboard on a jumper in the fourth quarter and missing two straight free throws in the third.

“I enjoy it,’’ Anthony said, smiling.

The Knicks (21-27) won the season series 2-1 — the tiebreaker should the Knicks and Charlotte (23-24) finish tied for the eighth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks are just two games behind eighth-place Chicago.

“It was an important game for us,’’ said Lee, who had his second straight magnificent game, finishing with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, four assists and three steals. “We were playing for each other. It was actually fun tonight.’’

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No. 2: As the Bulls turn — For a team that hasn’t been very good this season — the Bulls are currently 23-25 — the Chicago Bulls sure have managed to stay in the headlines. The latest twist came last night, when coach Fred Hoiberg removed Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo from the starting lineup. As Steve Aschburner writes, it was just another day for this Bulls team:

Hoiberg announced in his pregame media session Friday evening that Wade and Butler would be held out of the starting lineup against the Heat at United Center. Hoiberg said both would play but Doug McDermott and Paul Zipser would take their spots at tipoff.

Entering tonight, Dwyane Wade has played 897 games in his career, but only 10 of those games were played off the bench.

“Based on what happened the other night, we felt it was appropriate to make the change,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve spoken to both of them about it. They both understand. We’re going to move forward.”

Wade and Butler spoke amid the rubble of Wednesday’s collapse against the Hawks, in which Chicago blew a 10-point lead at home in the final three minutes, getting outscored 19-4.

Rondo took exception to the two Marquette products’ criticism of unspecified role players, firing back in an Instagram post Thursday evening. He contrasted Wade’s and Butler’s tactics by lauding the leadership of “my vets” Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce during their time together with the Boston Celtics.

All the involved parties, along with Bulls general manager Gar Forman, spoke after a team meeting and the shootaround workout Friday morning. Forman was promptly criticized for giving a brief statement but answering no questions. Hoiberg and the players all stood in to discuss the mess, claiming there would be no lingering bad blood.

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No. 3: Celtics making moves? — The Boston Celtics made one of the biggest moves in free agency, signing Al Horford to fortify their interior. But the Celtics also have an embarrassment of assets and the ability to keep making moves. And according to a report from CSNNE, the Celtics may be considering making a move for Orlando big man Nikola Vucevic:

If you’ve seen the Boston Celtics play this season, no one can blame Danny Ainge for looking around at any potential big men whose strength is scoring and rebounding.

Which brings us to Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, a 7-foot double-double machine throughout most of his career in the NBA with the Orlando Magic.

CSNNE.com has learned that the Celtics have talked with the Orlando Magic about a potential deal involving the 26-year-old center.

While no deal is imminent, the addition of Vucevic would be a significant boost to the Celtics roster on multiple fronts.

Rebounding, defense and scoring are the Big Three areas the Celtics are looking to upgrade between now and the Feb. 23 trade deadline.

The addition of Vucevic would address at least two of those areas for the Celtics – scoring and rebounding.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Trail Blazers’ twitter account made fun of a Chandler Parsons shot attempt. He responded, and then CJ McCollum responded to Parsons … Meanwhile, Sacramento coach Dave Joerger apologized for a tweet from the Kings that he said went too far … Steve Kerr says he plans on playing all four Warriors All-Stars together during the game … Doc Rivers says he would trade his son, Austin, if it came to that … Rudy Gay’s Achilles surgery went well … Would the NBA come to Louisville? … NBA coaches have been wearing bow ties the last few games as a tribute to Michael Goldberg, who was the executive director of the National Basketball Coaches Association for almost four decades.

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