Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

Bulls punish, bench Butler, Wade

CHICAGO — Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler were dropped from the Bulls' starting lineup in Friday's 100-88 loss to the Heat — Wade's former team — as punishment for postgame comments questioning their teammates' desire after a loss.

"Just based on what happened the other night, we felt it was appropriate to make the change," coach Fred Hoiberg said before the game.

Before the morning shootaround, the Bulls held a team meeting to clear the air after point guard Rajon Rondo fired back at Wade and Butler in an Instagram post Thursday. There was an uneasy detente in place for the three leaders of the scuffling Bulls.

Rondo said he "absolutely" felt he needed to defend the younger players after Wade and Butler teed off on the team after a rough loss Wednesday to the Hawks. He did just that while calling out the two stars and insinuating they were overriding Hoiberg when it came to the game plan — a notion the coach shot down.

Wade insisted he has "no issue, no problems" with Rondo. He also made it clear he has no regrets about his comments.

Butler said he has no issues with Rondo, that he has a right to speak his mind.

"I like it. I like controversy," Butler said.

Butler and Wade both received loud ovations when they came off the bench midway through the first quarter. When Rondo checked in, the crowd met him with some boos.

Wade scored 15, while Butler struggled, scoring just 3 on 1-for-13 shooting. Rondo had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

All three players were fined by the team but not suspended.

CHAIR WINS 'FIGHT' WITH KANTER: Thunder center Enes Kanter will be out at least a month after fracturing his right forearm by punching a chair during Thursday's win over the Mavs. Kanter, one of the league's top reserves, is the team's third-leading scorer at 14.4 per game. "It was tough, man," guard Russell Westbrook said. "To do it the way he did it is very unfortunate." Center Steven Adams added: "He didn't mean to do it, obviously. It's just one of those frustrating times where it just happened. … He's already hard on himself. No one else can be as hard as he is on himself."

Game Highlights: Jrue Holiday scored 23, Anthony Davis had 16 and tied a career high with 22 rebounds, and the host Pelicans took down the Spurs 119-103. … James Harden racked up another triple double with 51 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists as the visiting Rockets beat the 76ers 123-118. … Isaiah Thomas had 21 in just three quarters as the host Celtics routed the Magic 128-98. … LeBron James scored 31, Kyrie Irving added 28 and the host Cavaliers, who had lost three straight and six of eight, topped the Nets 124-116.

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