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Butler scored 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and also spent time guarding Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas in a Game 1 win. “I had the luxury of playing with a guy named LeBron.” Wade said before Monday’s practice. “And we did the same thing when we played — to Derrick Rose.”
Dwyane Wade: “ You’re not going to slow down Isaiah Thomas from getting the looks and getting opportunities. The guy can score as good as anybody in this game. But just to give them a different look, if you get their offense out a little further, if it takes a little bit more time off the clock, all those things help. It’s good to be able to have a guy like that to say, ‘get us 30, and then go guard the guy that’s got 30.'”
Vincent Goodwill: Butler on Wade returning Saturday: “I’m stoked to have my guy back, let him get out there, get in a rhythm, and do what he’s done for years”
Jimmy Butler: Everybody knows the type of career that D-Wade has had. Obviously he’s gonna be a Hall of Famer, but the person he is off the floor, the things that he’s passionate about, the brand that he’s built, that’s something that I think every player can model after, and the fact that he’s doing everything the right way, he’s probably the nicest guy in the league by far, everybody loves him, that’s a legacy that you wanna leave. On the court, off the floor, he’s the man.
“You just never know how it’s going to shake out,” Wade said Tuesday of the upcoming offseason. “Obviously I’m not happy being [23-23] or whatever the case may be or will be, but there are things I’m happy with. I’m happy with Jimmy [Butler’s] growth and our relationship. I’m happy with the organization and how they’ve approached things, but I’m not happy with our record. But no one on this team is. But it’s months away before I concern myself with that, so I’ll figure it out later.’’
“At the end of the year, you sit back and see what the team is, what direction they’re going in,” Wade told ESPN on Wednesday night. “I would be a liar to say that I want to play on a team with all 21-year-olds. You know what I mean? And be a part of the future building. I would be a fool to say that. But you also want to be in the best position for what you think is for you at that time, too.
“… One of the main reasons I’m here is Jimmy. He’s the one who called me and got me to come here. So that’s a big part of my decision and everything else, is what Jimmy’s doing, what his future looks like and all that. And I’ve made it very clear. So I have no idea from that standpoint. You just have to wait and see and then see what works out.”
“He’s playing as good as anybody in the league right now,” Wade told ESPN.com on Saturday after the Bulls’ 123-118 win over the Toronto Raptors. “What he’s doing in the fourth quarter is even more impressive than the stat line at the end of the day. That stat line is amazing, but everybody knows we’re going to Jimmy. And to still be able to make those plays, make those things, it’s incredible. And then to still guard one or two of the other best players on the other end of the floor in the fourth, that’s impressive, man. He’s playing out of this world right now. His confidence is out the roof, and that goes a long way.”
“So many guys in this league have talent,” Wade said. “Everyone in this league has talent. There’s a lot of things that separate guys and that’s one of them — the mentality. The mentality that it takes to — even if you’re having a bad game like in Cleveland he wasn’t shooting well, to still be able to do that in the clutch, that’s big time. Those players, those are special players right there. And he’s putting himself in the category of just special.”
KC Johnson: Butler: “I can’t let DWade down. DWade has been doing that for years. The fourth quarter is always go time. I want to show I belong here.”
It’s tough to make hard and fast judgments from preseason games, but there is some serious doubt around the NBA regarding Chicago’s constellation of All-Stars. Adding Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo to Jimmy Butler looks good on paper, but they will have to tweak their games to make the band sing in tune. “Rondo, Wade and Butler are all ball-stoppers,” an opposing executive said. “None of them are great cutters or guys that move without the ball. They’re all isolation-type players. They’re all very good players, but it doesn’t seem to be a good fit.”
KC Johnson: Jimmy Butler: “But I’m not going to take a step backward because I have new players on my team. I’m going to still be aggressive. I’ll still guard. I’ll have a voice in the locker room. I’ll say what needs to be said. What I want them guys to do whenever I’m on some bulls**t, I want them to tell me. I want you to say my name, man to man.”
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April 25, 2017 | 8:11 am EDT Update
Lakers president Magic Johnson jokingly made his desire to have George in a purple and gold uniform known publicly during an interview last week with late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel, laughing and winking about how he was well-versed on tampering and couldn’t recruit a player under contract with another team. And one of the league’s worst-kept secrets is that the Lakers have a strong appeal for George given their proximity to his hometown of Palmdale, Calif., and his affinity for Kobe Bryant, even though George actually grew up a fan of the Clippers.
Steve Kyler: There’s this perception (Blake Griffin) would want to go back to Oklahoma City, but I’ve talked to people around that and they find that so laughable. Like, “Look, it’s where he’s from, but he doesn’t want to play there.” It’s nothing against the city, it’s Blake has found an interesting and fulfilling life living in L.A.
Not so much Monday, when he took on a bigger role with Dennis Schroder’s three first-quarter fouls changing the tone. The Hawks went from down 27-18 to ahead 59-50 at halftime behind the spark provided by Calderon (10 points, five assists) and Kent Bazemore (16 points, seven assists) in a 111-101 victory in Game 4 to tie the series at 2. “I always think I’m going to be on the podium,” Calderon said after playing 20 minutes and making 4 of 9 shots, inlcuding two three-pointers.
Perhaps none of this should be surprising. Bryant is an avid Harry Potter and Star Wars fan. He shared with Jimmy Fallon that he frequently watches Disney’s “Stuck in the Middle” with his family. And he sang songs from “Moano” and “Beauty and the Beast” on Fallon’s show. That persona may not exactly match his Bryant’s on-court demeanor. But just like in his playing days, Bryant still remains devoted toward attention to detail and being theatrical.
April 25, 2017 | 6:19 am EDT Update
After the Portland Trail Blazers were swept by the Golden State Warriors on Monday, point guard Damian Lillard told ESPN he’s developed a newfound obsession with trying to take down the Warriors. “You have to be obsessed with that because you know that they’re so good that they’re going to be there,” Lillard said after a 128-103 loss in Game 4. “That’s who you’re going to have to get through to get to where you want to get to. That’s what it is.”
“They’re a championship team,” Lillard said. “Watching them and playing against them, it’s obvious. They’re very consistent, whether they’re up or down, they just continue to play. They continue to be who they are. They play loose. They play together. They have a great understanding of how to play the game. That’s hard to play against when you add that with the talent that they have.
The two-time All-Star is proud of the team’s push down the stretch of the regular season, but he’s not satisfied. “I wouldn’t say it was a successful year,” Lillard told ESPN. “We got tested and I think we answered the bell. I felt like we showed our true colors by the way we fought. But I wouldn’t say successful. I think it was growth. A year of growth for us.”