C.J. Watson Plays Hero For Chicago; The West Loses An All-Star

Is it better to have won without your best player or worse to have lost with everyone healthy? That’s a preview to today’s conversation around the league, centered on Miami-Chicago. The CHI won despite an atrocious game from Derrick Rose (1-of-13 from the field with two points, eight assists), who was rusty enough the Heat got tetanus shots in case they ran into him. But seriously, it’s expected for Rose after missing 23 games this year, but a subject we touched on today at Dime continued to be proven true. The Bulls don’t need Rose to beat the NBA’s best teams. It makes it easier, but losing him even in a playoff series for a couple games (not that he’d allow himself to miss that many) won’t doom a season. Sounds blasphemous, we know … Is it OK not to get too worked up again about a Miami loss? The way Dwyane Wade (21 points but on 21 shots) brought Miami back in the fourth quarter was impressive even though we know it’s something he can often do. His 10 straight points included two shots that deserved a “Sports Science” special for how they defied physics. He hung in the air over Omer Asik from the free-throw line on one that he released no more than a foot off the ground. When he wasn’t finding the bottom of the net, he Chris Bosh (20 points) kicked an offensive board out to LeBron (30 on 11-of-24 shots, plus six and five) in the corner for a three to go up two. Right about this time Rose got taken out in favor of C.J. Watson (16 points), and that was as forward thinking as buying Apple stock in the ’80s. Watson paid out HUGE dividends by knocking down a game-tying three with 2.2 left. That was just minutes after getting flattened by a shoulder-screen at midcourt by LeBron (seriously, it looked like someone used a Madden “Hit Stick” on Watson). Always take plus/minus stats with a grain of salt but Watson was plus-38. Damn. OT was anti-climatic with the Bulls hitting everything they put in the air … A little lost in all the Wade-Watson heroics was Kyle Korver‘s dead-on night from three, going 5-of-6 for 17 points, including a 26-footer in the final two minutes. A Heat check, in so many ways … Manu Ginobili is just going to keep driving to the hoop until someone stops him. He’s not part of a bench mob like Chicago — he is the bench mob right now. He went for 20 in the Spurs’ win over the Grizzlies, going 11-of-11 from the line. They weren’t crisp by any means, with 17 turnovers, but shades of the old Timmy D broke it from four up in the final five to 10 late. Duncan had 28 and 12 … Matt Bonner and Marc Gasol knocking each other out of the game was the unintentional comedy of the night because it looked so awkward. Gasol got a hand on his nose and Bonner got knocked to the ground … Blake Griffin (19 points, 13 boards and zero turnovers) missed a dunk but the Earth didn’t spin off its axis. We’ve been giving him his due for his week-plus of disrespectful dunks (first Pau, then Serge) so this was a surprise. He got some dunks in later, even on fast breaks, but you know that one miss will be enough to be playoff fuel for his opponents’ fans … Minnesota’s lost eight straight, and its 17 turnovers (to L.A.’s nine) are a clue why. Normally this is a matchup we’ve come to love to watch this season, even without Rubio, but J.J. Barea had seven of them to help L.A. get plus-13 in points off turnovers. It almost gave Barea a triple-double with 10 points and 11 assists … Greg Monroe officially broke out of his weird 10-game slump, getting 24 and 11 Thursday. The cure? The Bobcats, they of 14 straight losses. Monroe just hadn’t been putting shots up in that time, getting four fewer than usual, but that was amended in Charlotte with 14 tries. When he wasn’t getting a nice and-one slam in the first half, Brandon Knight was destroying Charlotte in the third with 17 points (the Bobcats had 22). You won’t be surprised to learn the Pistons got up by 30 in that quarter … Every time TV showed Paul Silas, he looked mortified he had to coach that team. Arms crossed, stare down, the whole thing was working … Hit the jump to hear about how one team lost the only thing going right for it.
It’s a shame to hear Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge is out for the season with a hip injury. He’s a deserving All-Star this year who you can rarely say doesn’t bring it every night. Unless you’re a fan of train wrecks or car crashes (or pick your own careening metaphor) he was the best thing about Portland this season, and especially after he missed time in December after heart surgery. Durant told him to get well soon on Twitter and we echo it … Elsewhere in the NBA Klay Thompson was dealing in Oakland for Golden State, but Dallas — even as big of a head-case team as it’s been — was head-and-shoulders better. The Mavs had 38 bench points in the first half. Thompson finished with 24, along with seven boards and eight steals and David Lee had 30. Brandan Wrigh took advantage of every time he got Thompson on him by going to the post in the first half. He had 16 and Dirk got 27 … Highlight of the game out west was Roddy Beaubois‘ guard-from-guard oop from Jason Kidd (with a ho-hum nine points, 10 boards, 12 assists). … We’re out like C.J. Watson.

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