Joakim Noah was excused from Chicago Bulls practice Friday for personal reasons. Coach Tom Thibodeau said that Noah was in New York for bereavement.
The Bulls are hopeful Noah will be back Saturday and that he will play Sunday in Game 1 of the Bulls’ first-round series against the Washington Wizards.
The All-Star center has been granted an open-ended absence to deal with the personal matter. The Chicago Tribune reported that sources emphasized that Noah isn’t experiencing any physical setbacks and that the personal matter is an off-the-court situation.
The Utah Jazz won a tiebreaker with the Boston Celtics, giving them a chance for a better pick in the NBA draft. Each team finished with a 25-57 record. The Jazz will be slotted fourth in the lottery, with a 10.4% chance at the No. 1 pick, and the Celtics will have a 10.3% chance. If they or no teams behind them move up, Utah will pick No. 4 and Boston at No. 5.
Boston also will have the No. 17 pick after a tie was broken between Brooklyn and Washington, both 44-38. The Nets owe the pick to the Celtics from last summer’s trade that landed them Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Chicago (48-34) won a tiebreaker with Toronto at No. 19.
The ties were broken Friday through random drawings.
Top-seeded Indiana won’t have Andrew Bynum for its first-round series against Atlanta. Coach Frank Vogel said that he believes the Pacers’ oft-injured center still could work his way back for the playoffs. Bynum hasn’t played since March 15 because of a sore right knee.
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Nick Calathes has been suspended for 20 games for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. The league said in a release that Calathes tested positive for tamoxifen. The suspension begins Saturday night when the Grizzlies take on Oklahoma City in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Philadelphia 76ers owner Joshua Harris called the team’s 19-win season “a huge success for us” because the team has two lottery picks, one of them via a trade.
“We don’t want to be 41-41. We don’t want to be one-and-done,” Harris said. “We want this team, this city to be proud of the Sixers.”
TNT analyst Craig Sager will sit out the NBA playoffs as he undergoes treatment for acute myeloid leukemia.