NBA News: Bulls Are 4-0, Durant Hits Milestone, Siakam & Watanabe Injury Updates, More


Bulls Off To Best Start In 25 Years

The Chicago Bulls survived a late rally from the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on Monday night and held on for a close 111-108 victory.

The win moved Chicago to 4-0 on the season, marking the franchise’s best start since the 1996-97 campaign, as noted by ESPN’s Jamal Collier.

That year, Michael Jordan and company went on to win their fifth NBA championship of the ‘90s. It was the second title of Chicago’s second three-peat.

The 1996-97 squad jumped out to a 12-0 start before finally losing their first game of the season to the Utah Jazz on Nov. 23, 1996. Chicago, of course, went on to defeat Utah in the NBA Finals that season.

Former Raptor DeMar DeRozan, who spent his first nine years with the franchise, finished with a game-high 26 points to go along with six assists.. Zach LaVine contributed 22 points and four assists.

Nikola Vucecic scored 17 points and led the Bulls with eight rebounds. The Charlotte Hornets’ overtime home loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday left the Bulls as the lone undefeated team remaining in the Eastern Conference.

The season is still young, but the Bulls have already seen their 2021-22 NBA Championship odds move up to +4800. Basketball fans interested in gambling can go here to find the best NBA sports betting sites.

Durant Hits 24,000 Career Points

Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant reached yet another milestone in his Hall of Fame career on Monday.

In Monday’s 104-90 home win against the Washington Wizards, Durant reached 24,000 career points, finishing with 25 on the night to help Brooklyn improve to 2-2.

Durant, who sits 26th in all time scoring with 24,007 points, is one of three players to achieve the feat, along with Carmelo Anthony (ninth all time) and LeBron James (third all time).

Through Brooklyn’s first four games, Durant has averaged 31 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest.

Siakam & Watanabe Injury Updates

The 1-3 Toronto Raptors are sorely missing forward Pascal Siakam, who remains sidelined as he continues to recover from surgery (which he underwent in June) to repair a torn labrum.

A calf injury has prevented forward Yuta Watanabe from debuting this season as well.

Toronto is struggling to generate offense without Siakam and Watanabe. They were held to just 83 points in the season opener and loss to the Wizards on Oct. 20, and to just 95 in Sunday’s home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Per TSN’s Josh Lewenberg, Siakam and Watanabe “practiced in full” on Tuesday. Lewenberg added that the plan is to have both Siakam and Watanabe practice with the Raptors’ 905 G-League Team in Mississauga on Wednesday.

In 56 games last season, Siakam averaged 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per contest. Watanabe, in his first season with Toronto, played 50 games and averaged 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21.

Chauncey Billups Calls Trail Blazers Loss To Clippers “Embarrassing”

Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups didn’t mince words when describing his team’s effort in Monday’s 116-86 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.

“It was embarrassing, it was really embarrassing,” Billups said after the game, per the team’s official website. “Just the effort, I didn’t think that we started the game off with the right mindset.”

The Clippers, clearly missing Kawhi Leonard, dropped their first two games of the season. Leonard remains sidelined for an unknown amount of time as he recovers from surgery on a partially torn ACL.

Billups’ group failed to pose much of a challenge to the Clippers. All-Star point guard Damian Lillard was limited to 12 points (he shot 4-of-15 from the field). C.J. McCollum (20 points) was the lone Trail Blazer to record more than 12 points on the night.

The Clippers didn’t even need star Paul George at his best to blow out the Trail Blazers. George was limited to 16 points and shot 6-of-16 from the field.

It was Luke Kennard, not George, who led the Clippers with 23 points. Point guard Reggie Jackson turned in a strong performance with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Portland will look to regroup when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night (10:00 p.m. EST).

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