Injuries, a coaching change and loads of drama: The 10 worst moments from the Bulls’ 2018-19 season

How bad was this Bulls season? Depends on your criteria.

It probably felt like the worst ever from a fan’s perspective. Between the times the team was on the wrong side of the scoreboard, the messy coaching change and the string of injuries, it added up to months of misery.

Quantitatively, this season’s 22-60 record and .268 winning percentage were not dead last. The franchise’s most dreadful record in terms of winning percentage was in 2000-01, when the Bulls were 15-67 (.183). The 1998-99 squad managed a team-record-low 13 wins, but that season was only 50 games.

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The Bulls were 5-19 (.208) in December when they made a coaching change, ousting Fred Hoiberg for assistant coach Jim Boylen, who went 17-41 (.293). Call it incremental progress.

Much of team’s struggles could be blamed on a lack of health. The Bulls lost 276 player games to injury or illness, including Denzel Valentine’s zero games played.

This year’s Bulls spent 16 days in the basement of the Eastern Conference and five days in last place in the NBA. They finished with the fifth-worst record in franchise history by winning percentage.

Yet all those dour figures only begin to capture how headache-inducing this season was. Here’s how we rank their worst moments.

Bogdan Bogdanovic Finds His Groove in Second Season

At 26, Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic has the cool, laid-back vibe of a longstanding veteran who’s seen and done it all, gliding to his spots on the floor, taking control of a game in critical junctures and rarely making costly mistakes.

A professional basketball player since age 18, starter on the Serbian National Team in the Olympics and EuroLeague champion, he understands, as well as anyone, the importance of cohesion, trust and confidence for a winning team.

So, while many around the NBA were surprised when the Kings remained in the Playoff hunt into late March and exceeded their preseason expectation by a League-best 14 wins, Bogdanovic wasn’t one of them.

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The seeds were planted, he says, months earlier, while the team was beginning to find its footing and forging its current high-octane playing style.

“(Last season), we just started bad, and it was all about the start, I think,” he said. “From January or February, we started playing (well) and from that moment, we were making the small steps.”

“Bogi” wasn’t on the court for the first 10 games cheap nba jerseys
of the 2018-19 campaign while recovering from a surgical procedure on his knee, but once he returned, he settled into a crucial role as the first player off the bench in place of either point guard De’Aaron Fox or shooting guard Buddy Hield.

Bogdanovic, an All-Rookie Second Team selection last year, thrived while typically employed as the primary ball-handler and focal point in the second unit.

“I love it,” he said. “I think I can create a lot of open shots for others and for (myself).”

In nearly identical minutes as his first season (27.8 per game), he averaged more points (14.1), assists (3.8) and rebounds (3.5), and despite an uptick in usage (22.3 percent compared to 19.6), was even better at taking care of the ball. Among all wings, Bogdanovic ranked in the 94th percentile in assist rate, with a hand in 19.8 percent of his teammates’ shots, as well as in the 80th percentile in turnover rate (13.0), according to Cleaning the Glass.

Bogdanovic continued to be one of Sacramento’s biggest threats in the pick-and-roll (0.83 points per possession, via Synergy Sports), and with opponents forced to respect his perimeter jumper, drove to the rim more frequently (2.9 attempts inside five feet, versus 1.9 last season). His reliable mid-range shot was still a major part of his offense, but he reduced his attempts from that zone by nearly a quarter in favor of more threes and layups.

Bogdanovic, however, is the first to acknowledge that his sophomore season wasn’t flawless, and even a player as poised and experienced isn’t immune to periodic mishaps.

“It was a good season; a nice season, with a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “A lot of stuff to learn and do better.”

Those ups for No. 8?

Chief among them was his favorite moment of the season, the night he drilled a fadeaway three-pointer over Lakers center Tyson Chandler as the final buzzer sounded at Golden 1 Center on Dec. 27, 2018. The unforgettable shot, in a game he previously deemed a “must win,” lifted the Kings over their division rival in thrilling fashion, as his teammates mobbed him near the bench and the crowd exploded in jubilation.

Two nights later, he dropped 21 points in Los Angeles – his third outing with 20 or more in four games – capping off a terrific two-month stretch during which the Kings outscored opponents by 8.9 points per 100 possessions when the multifaceted reserve ran the offense without a traditional point guard on the court, according to NBA.com.

As the team’s most versatile weapon and highly effective floor-spacer, he thrived with or without the ball in different lineup combinations; a three-guard unit with Bogdanovic joining Fox and Hield generated a superb plus-12.7 net rating over his first 24 appearances.

But soon after, the heavier workload and a fluctuating role began to take their toll on the second-year standout.
While Bogdanovic averaged 15.4 points on 44.1 percent from the field and 37 percent from behind the arc through the end of December, his production dipped to 13.4 points on 38.8 from the floor and 31.5 percent from distance over the subsequent two months.

Looking back, he might’ve put too much pressure on himself, Bogdanovic acknowledges, while trying to build chemistry on the fly with newly-acquired teammates and shifting in and out of the starting lineup – all while simultaneously trying to rediscover his own missing rhythm and comfort zone.

“I had so many different roles at one time,” he said. “I was just trying to help the team.”

But shooters, as the saying goes, shoot. So Bogdanovic didn’t fidget with a routine he’s kept consistent throughout his career or become apprehensive about his trusty mechanics.

He replayed stretches of ineffective play in his head and poured through hours of game film to find a way to rectify the problem.

When the shot clock ticked toward zero, he noticed, the ball would often wind up in his hands, with no alternative but to hoist up a prayer while draped by his defender. Other times, he was uncharacteristically rushing plays, especially in transition, where his points per possession declined from 1.26 as a rookie to 0.96 this year.

“It was, sometimes, bad (shot) selection,” he said. “You get frustrated, which is normal. You want to score and then you take a bad shot. That’s another experience (to learn from).”

A player who’s fueled by confidence in his shot-making, Bogdanovic, naturally, broke out of the slump, posting his customarily efficient splits (47.4/49.1/81.0) over the final 10 games of the season. Among 51 players with at least 50 three-point attempts during that segment, only five were more accurate.

One of Sacramento’s best post-All-Star break units came once Bogdanovic returned to the bench and shared the floor with fellow reserves Marvin Bagley, Harry Giles, Corey Brewer and Yogi Ferrell. That five-man combination outscored opponents by 14 points in 30 minutes of playing time, while dishing 21 assists compared to only four turnovers.

His second season may not have come with as steep of a learning curve as his first, when he debuted in the fast-paced, physical NBA after spending six years in a European game that emphasized setting up the half-court offense and methodically moving the ball. But the challenges he encountered and found a way to overcome may prove to be even more impactful in the long run.

With his polished skill set and ability to influence the game in a multitude of ways – combined with that calm and composed demeanor – it’s easy to envision Bogdanovic blossoming into one of the most dynamic playmakers in the League.

“I’m ready to be even better,” he said. “(I’m) getting into my prime in my third season and (I’m going to) continue to play at the highest level.”

‘I don’t want to be Boogie’ — DeMarcus Cousins tries on something new for size

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers
DeMarcus Cousins of the Golden State Warriors during warm-ups before a game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 12, 2018, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. Robert Laberge/Getty Images
There are two stories of how Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins got his nickname. One is true, one is apocryphal. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some truth to that one as well.

One begins in Alabama, where there’s a proprietary way big black bodies get treated by the people who need them to win ballgames. As a 6-foot-9-inch 10th-grader, Wholesale nba jerseys Cousins was kicked off his Birmingham high school team after an altercation with a coach on the bus after a game. Soon, people were saying that Cousins had beaten up his coach — because with Cousins, the story always gets bigger — and that was the beginning of the Boogie Man.

Cousins’ mother, Monique, retells the real Boogie Cousins origin story: about how former NBA star Rod Strickland, then an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, where Cousins was a one-and-done, became enchanted by the smoothness of the big man’s moves and chalked it all up to the “boogie” in him.

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More than a decade later, that story remains true. Cousins, 28, is a 6-foot-11-inch, 270-pound bruiser with this refined, almost feathery touch around the basket. Historically, it is the exact opposite of the touch he’s had with other people, which contributed to his reputation as volatile on the court and a challenge in the locker room. And explains why, to some NBA watchers, the Boogie Man is real.

The four-time NBA All-Star landed a modest one-year, $5.3 million contract with Golden State after rupturing his Achilles tendon in January 2018 while he was with the New Orleans Pelicans. After an injury-shortened season in Oakland, California, Cousins will appear in the playoffs for the first time this spring. Unlike his messy years in Sacramento or his brief time in New Orleans, the Warriors are replete with big names and outsize personalities, and Cousins doesn’t have to be the whole show. This past year, he’s gotten a chance to step back a little and consider which Boogie he’s going to bring to the court and into the future.

With a potential championship on the line and his career in the balance, this season is more than a comeback. This year, Boogie Cousins is trying on something new for size.

Raptors vs. Pacers: Game thread, lineups, TV info and more

The Pacers and Raptors wrap up their three-game regular season series at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.

The Pacers dropped the first two games, both in Toronto, in discouraging fashion but catch a break this time around with the Raps facing scheduling issues and an altered playing rotation. On Tuesday, cheap nba jerseys china the Raptors, without start Kawhi Leonard, ran past the short-handed Kings for a 120-105 win.

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Leonard will sit again tonight, along with OG Anunoby. The Pacers have been home for two day off after rolling past Charlotte on Sunday evening. With so many advantages heading into the game (rest, health, home), the Pacers have to take advantage against a team they are chasing in the East.

Cole Beasley says Cowboys front office may be reason for his lack of targets

The Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers had yet another heated matchup in the NBA and Dallas came out victorious once more.

Last time these two teams met in Dallas, Dennis Smith Jr. had his tooth knocked out by Patrick Beverley. The Mavericks won that game, and they were victorious once again on Tuesday, claiming a 106-98 victory.

The Clippers did not turn the ball over much, but the opposition capitalised at all the right times. Dallas converted Los Angeles’ eight turnovers into 23 points.

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Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 20 points. Luka Doncic and Smith each chipped in 17 points. Smith had missed the past six games because of a back injury and illness cheap sacramento kings replica jersey
while also being at the center of trade rumours.

The Clippers were ice-cold, shooting just 36.3 per cent from the field. Beverley led Los Angeles in scoring with 16 points.

Dallas improved to 21-26 while Los Angeles dropped to 25-22.

Bagley brilliant on first start

Marvin Bagley led all scorers in his first career start, totalling 22 points and 11 rebounds in the Sacramento Kings’ 120-105 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists to help lead the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Portland Trail Blazers 123-114.

Karl-Anthony Towns put up 25 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists in a 118-91 blowout win for the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Phoenix Suns.

Josh Jackson scored a season-high 27 points and had 10 rebounds for the Suns.

MBIII Makes History in First Career Start

During Sacramento’s fourth road game of a two-week stretch away from home, Marvin Bagley III was called upon for his first career start in the Association. A tall task awaited the rookie big man, as Sactown was matched up with one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams. However, No. 35 proved that he was up for the challenge.
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the No. 2 overall pick put in work on both ends of the floor. In his 37 minutes of action, MBIII racked up team-highs with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

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Aside from being a strong showing, it was also a historic one for Bagley.
Although he had a career night, the Kings came up short of topping Toronto, but the Duke product spoke after the game about his mindset through the difficulties.
Sacramento has a chance to bounce back on Friday night as Marvin and the squad head to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies.

‘We need this win’: How Cauley-Stein and Bogdanovic helped the Kings get it

Iman Shumpert was singing in the shower, Buddy Hield was cracking jokes and Bogdan Bogdanovic was smiling for the cameras.

Following two weeks of turmoil, the mood in the locker room changed late Saturday night after the Kings battled back to snap a three-game losing streak with a 111-110 victory over the Indiana Pacers before an announced sellout crowd of 17,583 at Golden 1 Center.

“It’s good to stop the bleeding a little bit and see if we can go on a little run here on this next road trip,” center Willie Cauley-Stein said of the Kings, who open the trip Tuesday at Phoenix. The stretch includes back-to-back games at Cleveland and Indiana on Friday and Saturday, and ends at Chicago on Dec. 10. “Any time you get a win, it relieves all the pressure.”

The Kings trailed the Pacers by one when point guard De’Aaron Fox drove inside for a well-contested floater. The ball bounced off the front of the rim, but Cauley-Stein was there for a two-handed putback dunk, giving Sacramento the lead with 16.1 seconds remaining.

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“It’s one of those things like, ‘I need this, we need this and cheap nba jerseys
we need this win,’ so I was locked in on it,” Cauley-Stein said.

Bogdanovic came off the bench to score a team-high 20 points. Hield had 18 points. Cauley-Stein had 17 points and 13 rebounds.

The Kings had lost five of seven amid reports of internal conflict between coach Dave Joerger and at least one member of the front office. Yahoo Sports cited unnamed sources in a Nov. 17 story suggesting Joerger could lose his job over his handling of some of the team’s young players.
The Athletic reported that Joerger suspected assistant general manager Brandon Williams was a primary source for the Yahoo Sports story and that he believed Williams has been trying to replace him since last season. Then, as the Kings were preparing to play a nationally televised game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, Joerger insisted Williams leave the team’s morning shoot-around.

Joerger was asked Saturday about how his players have handled the adversity.

De’Aaron’s Mother Shares Her Inspiring Story

18 years ago, Lorraine Harris-Fox was told she had breast cancer. Despite receiving a heartbreaking diagnosis, she chose to fight and dedicate her time to helping others in their own battles.

In the latest installment of Kings Central on NBC Sports California, Lorraine and De’Aaron came on the show to recount her treatment and the inspiring aftermath.
Just like her son sets up teammates on the hardwood, Lorraine has been hard at work to assist others since her recovery.

She started the Fox Whole Family Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed to support others diagnosed with breast cancer.

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From the very moment he entered the NBA, No. 5 began using Wholesale nba jerseys
his platform to spread awareness for health issues, as well.

When his name was called on Draft Day in 2017, Swipa took the stage and opened his suit jacket to reveal an array of pink ribbons in the lining – a touching tribute for his mother and many more who have been affected by breast cancer.
“I feel like it was a small gesture but it went a long way,” said Fox. “I feel like it didn’t just touch my mom. A lot of people would DM me or tweet me with how grateful they were that I was a supporter.”

Sactown’s floor general is also donating $100 for each assist he records during home games to Kaiser Permanente to help fund screenings and mammograms for the Sacramento community.

“You’re not doing it so you can get any recognition,” said Lorraine about her family’s efforts to give back. “You’re doing it because people legitimately need help.”

Kings 111, Pacers 110: A win in the final seconds

Sacramento was lucky not to be trailing by more than four after the end of the first quarter. In the second consecutive game, the opposing team got off to a hot shooting start. The Indiana Pacers were 11/16 from the field but were also negatively affected by seven turnovers. Their leading scorer was Bojan Bogdanovic, who had 11 points on 4/5 shooting. The Kings had three players with six points: Buddy Hield, Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic off the bench. Their defense was sloppy but Kosta Koufos helped massively by locking down the paint. The first quarter ended 30-26.

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The Kings outscored the Pacers 32-30 in the second quarter, thanks to a 10-0 run to take a 49-43 lead. However, they gave the lead right back and the Pacers kept a lead late to end the half 60-58. Cheap Sacramento Kings Jerseys Justin Jackson and Troy Williams gave solid production off the bench. Jackson hit two threes, finishing with eight points before being substituted and also threw a perfect lob to Willie Cauley-Stein. Troy Williams had five points, including a three and a grown man’s rebound for a putback. Buddy Hield led the way with 11, while De’Aaron Fox was 1-7 from the field. Myles Turner sure loved sending his layups back to Indiana. The Pacers were led by Bogdanovic’s 13 points, while Tyreke Evans and Turner had 10 each.

Each team scored 31 points in the third quarter, but it was Indiana who held a two-point advantage over Sacramento. It was a mini battle of each Bogdanovic, with Indiana’s Bojan taking his total to 22 and Sacramento’s Bogi going up to 17, leading all Kings’ scorers even off the bench. Fox continued to struggle shooting, but got points through drawing fouls and converting at the line. Iman Shumpert got some threes in as well. The quarter would end 91-89.

Oh, man. This was an intense fourth quarter with the game coming down to the final second, literally. It was a low scoring quarter, due to the fact that no team could hit a shot to save their life and the game was stalled at 107-103 for what seemed like forever. But Fox’s vastly improved defense came into effect against Darren Collison and Cauley-Stein got the game-winning putback. The Indiana version of Bogdanovic missed their chance to win the game and Hield fought for the rebound with Collison to draw a jump ball. Hield won the bad tip, but it fell right to Collison’s hands and the shot went in-and-out. However, that was a violation since he can’t be the first to touch the ball. The Kings got the ball back on an inbounds pass and that was it. A much needed Kings win!

Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat

The San Antonio Spurs coming off a loss at home to Orlando, head to Miami on Wednesday night looking for their fifth win in the last six games. After a strong showing during their winning streak, can the defense regain its footing against a quietly explosive offense in Miami?

November 7th, 2018 | 6:30 CT
Watch: FSSW | Listen: WOAI
Spurs (6-3) vs. Heat (4-5)
The Spurs have won four out of their last five games, but entering Wednesday night’s road tilt against the Miami Heat, the Spurs continue their search for defensive cohesion. After the latest debacle, a 117-110 at the hands of the Orlando Magic on Sunday night, the Spurs have now allowed over 100 points in seven out of their nine games this season. In addition, the usually-stout San Antonio defense sank to 17th in the league in defensive rating, which is far from the norm for a Gregg Popovich-coached team.

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The Heat enter Wednesday night’s tilt with a 4-5 record early in this 2018-19 season, but have played solid offensive basketball in the early going. At 21.4 points per game,cheap san antonio spurs jersey
Josh Richardson leads the balanced offensive roster in scoring this season. In total, the Heat have five players averaging in double-figures, including a spry Dwyane Wade who’s enjoying a strong start to his final NBA season.

Wade is averaging 14.3 points per game on 45% shooting from the field, including a 41% mark from beyond the arc. The Heat have 10 players on the roster scoring seven points or more per contest, leading to an efficient offense regardless of who is on the court. Needless to say, the Spurs’ defense will be tested once again, as they look to hold the Heat offense at bay on Wednesday.

Offensively, the Spurs continue to be carried by All-Star DeMar DeRozan, coming off a 25-point performance in a losing effort on Sunday against the Magic. While DeRozan has been phenomenal in his inaugural season in San Antonio, the Spurs will be looking elsewhere on the roster for offensive consistency. Outside of Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills, the offense for the Spurs has curbed once the starters go to the bench. Pau Gasol, Davis Bertans, and when he’s not starting, Dante Cunningham, need to fill more of the offensive void when the starters leave the game. The inconsistency in bench scoring is the one glaring deficiency for an otherwise solid Spurs offense to date. The bench will look to supplement the starters in a more substantial way when they take the floor on Wednesday.

Injury note: On Tuesday the Spurs announced that Gasol (right foot soreness) and Gay (right heel soreness) would both be out. They did, however, upgrade Derrick White’s status to probable