Bulls’ Portis Suspended 8 Games for Punch – The Chicago Bulls have suspended forward Bobby Portis for eight games for punching teammate Nikola Mirotic during an altercation that left Mirotic with facial fractures and a concussion. Mirotic is expected to miss at least four to six weeks. John Paxson, the Bulls’ vice president of basketball operations, acknowledged that both players’ tempers escalated during practice Tuesday. “Both players owned responsibility in the incident itself,” Paxson said Wednesday. “But only one player threw a punch. And that punch connected and for us that is inexcusable. It’s not who we are. It disappoints us in terms of what happened, and because of that we’ve determined that we’re going to suspend Bobby for eight games.”
Paul Sits Out End of Rockets’ Win With Sore Knee – Chris Paul was a crunchtime spectator during his Houston Rockets debut, cheering on his teammates from the bench for the final 4 minutes, 47 seconds of Tuesday’s 122-121 comeback win over the Golden State Warriors, a decision coach Mike D’Antoni attributed to lingering soreness in the star point guard’s left knee. “Dragging his leg a little bit; I had to get him out of there,” D’Antoni said. Paul, the nine-time All-Star who pushed for the offseason trade from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Rockets, went to the end of the bench after subbing out but showed no sign of displeasure with D’Antoni’s decision. Paul was on his feet for most of the final 4:47, smiling and rooting for his teammates, while waving a towel in celebration on several occasions.
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green told ESPN’s The Undefeated that his knee is “very sore” and he will get it looked at on Wednesday. Good news was he walked out on his own power and said he doesn’t think the injury was major. UPDATE: Draymond Green to undergo an MRI on his left knee today, a league source tells ESPN.
Chicago Cubs 1 – Los Angeles Dodgers 6 (LAD leads 3-0)
Highlights: Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series. Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles improved to 6-0 in this postseason, setting a franchise record for consecutive playoff wins. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip, on a long foul ball in the first inning. Making their third straight appearance in the NLCS, the weary Cubs also hurt themselves with a couple of big mistakes. Carl Edwards Jr. walked Darvish on four pitches with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, continuing a rocky postseason for the reliever and leading to a round of boos from a frustrated crowd of 41,871. A passed ball brought home another run in the eighth, and pinch hitter Kyle Farmer hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.
Bulls’ Mirotic Breaks Jaw in Fight With Teammate – Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic is out indefinitely after suffering fractures to his upper jaw and a concussion in an altercation with teammate Bobby Portis at practice Tuesday. The players had been talking trash to one another in practice, going back and forth before those exchanges escalated into a physical encounter, league sources told ESPN. Mirotic charged at Portis twice before Portis threw a punch and connected with Mirotic’s face, league sources said. Mirotic dropped to the floor and lay there for a short time before getting up, league sources said. Mirotic was taken to the hospital and released later Tuesday, sources said. The Bulls announced that surgery is likely for Mirotic. In a statement, the Bulls said they are evaluating disciplinary action.
- Boston Celtics 99 – Cleveland Cavaliers 102
Highlights: Gordon Hayward (see NBA News), one of the new Celtics who was going to help them close the gap on Cleveland, broke his left ankle just five minutes into his debut, and Boston was beaten 102-99 on Tuesday night by LeBron James and the Cavaliers. James scored 29 points, 14 in the fourth quarter, in his most extensive action in three weeks because of a sprained left ankle. The superstar also fed Kevin Love for a critical 3-pointer with 46.3 seconds left to put the Cavs up 102-98. Irving, who asked to be traded this summer after six seasons in Cleveland, had a chance to tie it with a 3-pointer at the horn but his shot was short. Jaylen Brown scored 25 and Irving 22 and 10 assists for the Celtics, who overcame an 18-point deficit in the third and led with 2:04 left.
- Houston Rockets 122 – Golden State Warriors 121
Highlights: Confetti began to fall and the Golden State Warriors thought they had pulled off a wild opening-night win. The Houston Rockets emphatically signaled otherwise, insisting that Kevin Durant‘s baseline jumper had swished through the net after the buzzer. After one official got hurt, two remaining referees reviewed the play and ruled the Rockets had escaped with a 122-121 victory Tuesday on the night the Warriors received their championship rings. Trevor Ariza‘s 3-pointer with 2:09 remaining pulled Houston within 119-118 then Patrick McCaw hit a baseline jumper immediately after Golden State’s timeout. James Harden made a layup and PJ Tucker hit two free throws with 44.1 to make it 122-121. Nick Young came off the bench to hit six 3-pointers and score 23 points in a brilliant Warriors debut, Curry scored 22 points and Durant had 20 after a slow start. Klay Thompson added 16 points. Chris Paul had four points on 2-for-9 shooting in his Rockets debut, while Harden scored 27 points, Eric Gordon 24 and Tucker 20 for the Rockets. Houston opened the fourth with a 9-0 run to get back in it.
Haywood Fractured Ankle Minutes Into Debut – Celtics forward Gordon Hayward was stretchered off the floor in Cleveland after suffering a horrific-looking ankle injury a little more than five minutes into his Boston debut Tuesday night. The team later announced that Hayward fractured his ankle. Hayward’s left leg bent awkwardly after he went up for an alley-oop pass, collided with LeBron James and collapsed under the basket with 6 minutes, 45 seconds left in the first quarter. Teammates and Cavaliers players, including James, rushed to check on him as he was stretchered from the court. Hayward’s left ankle turned at such an odd angle that teammates stood in shock as he motioned for help from the sideline.
76ers’ Embiid Says Minutes Restriction is BS – The Philadelphia 76ers are going to be cautious with Joel Embiid early on this season, and the star center isn’t thrilled with that plan. Sixers coach Brett Brown, when asked how much Embiid would play in Wednesday’s season opener against the Wizards, told reporters that he didn’t have a set number of minutes in mind before acknowledging “somewhere like in the teens.” “That’s f—ing bulls—. I wish I was playing more minutes,” Embiid told reporters on Tuesday. “I think I’m ready. I think I’m ready for more than whatever number they have. I don’t know. I wish I was playing more, but we’re going to see how that goes.” Embiid, who signed a five-year, $146.5 million extension last week, said he will lobby to play more minutes.
McCollum Suspended for Blazers’ Opener – Portland Trail Blazers star guard CJ McCollum has been suspended for Portland’s regular-season opener after he left the bench area during an altercation in Wednesday’s preseason game against the Phoenix Suns. The NBA announced the one-game ban Saturday, saying McCollum will be suspended without pay for the first game “which he is eligible and physically able to play.” McCollum left the Blazers’ bench area in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game when Portland’s Caleb Swanigan and Phoenix’s Alex Len got into a shoving match with 9:33 remaining. Both Swanigan and Len were ejected.
E. Okafor to Play for Sixers’ G-League – Emeka Okafor has agreed to play for the Philadelphia 76ers’ G League team, the Delaware 87ers, in hopes of signing with an NBA team in the coming months, league sources told ESPN. Okafor, the second overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft, was in training camp with the 76ers before the club waived him on Saturday. Okafor, 35, hasn’t played in an NBA regular-season game since April 15, 2013, because of a herniated disk in his neck. Okafor, the 2005 NBA Rookie of the Year, was medically cleared to play five months ago.