Bowie was a decent player when he was healthy, which was rare; when he retired in 1995, he held the NBA record for most games missed during a career. With Oden struggling to become fit enough to make it onto the court, and revealing himself to be something less than the second coming of Shaquille O’Neal when he does play, there is an apprehension here among once-stung Blazers fans that a mistake made a quarter-century ago again is being played out. Exacerbating the situation is the star turn being taken by Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, whom the Blazers considered taking with the top overall pick in 2007 before they decided on Oden. Durant is the league’s fourth-leading scorer, averaging 26 points, and is making his case as Jordan Lite. And, yes, he is well aware that some impatient fans are comparing him to Bowie. “People say that all the time,” he shrugged. “I don’t worry about it. I mean, what can I do about it? I just have to keep on playing and move on.”
Dwyane Wade, who scored a game-high 27 points and broke the franchise’s single-season record for points — a mark he set during the 2005-06 championship season. “You’ve got to take care of business in games like this, and not let them come down to the finish.”Â The Heat won its second in a row overall and fifth consecutive home game, and has only five of the final 12 games at home, and all against teams far better than Memphis (17-53).
Two weeks have passed since a Miami-based specialist recommended two more weeks of rest for the stress fracture in Luol Deng’s right tibia.Â And Deng, who didn’t accompany the Bulls here, isn’t closer to returning. “It could be [season-ending],” coach Vinny Del Negro said Monday. “You just don’t know how it’s going to react. We don’t want him to come back and really seriously injure himself. He’s still got discomfort and pain. “It’s a stress fracture. Until that healsâ€”and that takes timeâ€”we’ll be smart about it. Luol wants to be out there as much as anybody. But injuries happen and this one is tough.”Â
Zach Randolph, who, pleased to hear that Marbury appears to be navigating through the locker room without any trouble, nodded as if he knew this would happen. â€œIâ€™m happy for him. Itâ€™s good,â€Â he said before the Celticsâ€™ 90-77 win against the Clippers last night. â€œWhen you go onto a great team like that, you have to fall in line. Iâ€™m happy for him. Itâ€™s good. Players like (Kevin) Garnett, (Paul) Pierce and Ray Allen are going to make you fall in line. A bad chemistry guy coming into that situation wouldnâ€™t be any different. Heâ€™d still have to fall in line.â€Â
While the Knicks’ past was on display last night during Legends Night, their future rookie Danilo Gallinari flew back from Italy, leaning toward having season-ending surgery.Â According to a person familiar with the situation, Gallinari is expected to have what’s being classified as “minor surgery” on his back to alleviate the pain resulting from a bulging disc, which would end his rookie season.The person said the surgical procedure would be much less invasive than standard disc surgeries. It only involves a small shaving down of a nerve on which a disc is pressing. Gallinari would be back for July’s Las Vegas Summer League.Â