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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day A Success: Thoughts on the NBA for 1/21/14

Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the NBA continued its tradition of celebrating one of the most important people in American history. Many players wore special shoes and they also started

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Pass of the Night: D.J. Augustin to Taj Gibson (Video)

The Chicago Bulls, understandably, have had a rough go of things since Derrick Rose went down with another knee injury a while back.

They’ve dealt with injuries to other players, as well as not having a serviceable point guard to replace Rose. Mike James and Marquis Teague, who were the backups, simply weren’t cutting it.

Teague has since been sent down to the D-League, while James was recently cut, leaving the team with no true point guard.

With James cut, the team brought in D.J. Augustin to run the point for the foreseeable future. Augustin has struggled in his time in the pros, but he is at least a true point guard, something the team was lacking.

Last night, the Bulls traveled to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies, in what would be Augustin’s ninth game with the club. He played fairly well off the bench, scoring 10 points and handing out 9 assists. One of those assists was even good enough to grab the spot on Pass of the Night.

Early in the 2nd quarter, Jon Leuer picked up a loose ball after Ed Davis had rejected a shot. Looking to give the ball up to his point guard, Jerryd Bayless, Leuer threw a pass up ahead, but wasn’t aware of Augustin lurking near by.

Augustin picked off the pass and then put on a show. Driving to his right, he faked a behind-the-back pass, getting him past Leuer. In the end, however, he did throw a behind-the-back pass to Taj Gibson, who slammed it home for two.

 

This is the last day of December, and as such, is the last day of Pass of the Night. Thank you for your support of the series. The feature is not gone forever, but is simply taking a break.

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Game of the Day: March 30

Phoenix Suns at Chicago Bulls — 8 PM eastern, telecast on NBA TV

It’s not often that the Bulls are one of the teams playing the NBA’s best game of the night, but this is one of those nights on which the league didn’t really schedule much true entertainment.

That said, the Bulls aren’t that bad to watch anyway. Pair them with the best team to watch in the game, and you’ve got yourself something to watch on TV. This contest pits a waxing star in the league against a waning one, and both those players happen to fill the point-guard role.

Derrick Rose is an electrifying competitor. He’s unstoppable on his way to the rim and has the athleticism to pair the flash with the production. On the other end is Steve Nash, the constantly astounding and reliable distributor with one of the finest shooting strokes ever to grace the Association. When you pair that with the best post finisher in the game in Amar’e Stoudemire, you have quite the problem on your hands as an opponent.

Chicago has been playing well of late thanks to especially strong play by Rose and good work by rookie (and former USC player) Taj Gibson. The Bulls actually managed to top the Suns 115-104 in their January 22 matchup, in which the youngster running the show vastly outplayed the veteran.

But I really doubt the Bulls will take the season sweep. Phoenix is also playing very well of late, and Stoudemire is the hottest of any player league-wide. Averaging 30 points and 10 boards since the all-star break, he’s showing what he can do (even if it only lasts for the remainder of this season, his contract year). So chalk up a win for the Suns, who are still very, very competitive in the West. They’re trying to prove (in perhaps the final year Nashmar’e) that a stellar offense can bring home the hardware in June.

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