Morning Shootaround: Schroeder-less

Nuggets hold on for Shaw's first
Nuggets 109, Hawks 107

Rookie Dennis Schroeder got a tough and expensive lesson Wednesday. He had to sit in the hotel and watch the Hawks take on the Nuggets after the NBA handed down a suspension for his <ahem> hit on DeMarcus Cousins' lower region that was not called a foul during the game Monday. 

Denver StiffsWatch the video at your own peril.

The Hawks missed Schroeder's 6.3 points per game when they traveled to Denver on Thursday.

Denver lost a five-point lead in the final minute and missed several free throws to give Atlanta a chance to win the game. But Paul Millsap missed a free throw while the Hawks were down two points and then missed a turnaround jumper as time expired, ensuring the Nuggets would get their first win of the season.

Denver got 23 points and eight assists from Ty Lawson as the team pulled ahead in the fourth quarter. Paul Millsap will be regretting those last moments, but he had 29 points and 10 rebounds while going +13 on the floor. The loss certainly is not on him.

But a loss it is nonetheless.

Cheeks: Drummond, Monroe should emulate Thunder stars
Thunder vs. Pistons, 7:30 p.m.

Maurice Cheeks used to be an assistant coach with the Thunder. Now he is in charge of the young Pistons squad trying to break through. And he has two young stars he is coaching up in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. While they may not play the same position as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Cheeks told Brendan Savage of that his young forwards would do well to emulate the way Durant and Westbrook carry themselves.

Sixers using time off to rehab Noel's jumper
Cavaliers vs. 76ers, 7 p.m.

While Sixers fans are sure to be loud when they welcome back their former center Andrew Bynum back to Philadelphia for the first time, the Sixers are preparing their center of the future. Nerlens Noel is still rehabbing from the ACL injury he suffered in February. Philadelphia is using that time to rehab his jumper, according to Dei Lynam of CSN Philly. Noel was known in college as a defensive ace, but a very raw and rudimentary offensive game. Anything to improve his skills with the ball will be a boost when he does finally return.

Stephen Curry suffers bone bruise
Warriors vs. Spurs, 8:30 p.m.

Stephen Curry left Wednesday's game with an ankle injury. When you say Stephen Curry and ankle, you immediately think the worst. That is what happens with Curry's history of injuries. The fear was that Curry had sprained his ankle but Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times reports the Warriors received news it is only a bone bruise. That leaves his status for Friday's game completely up in the air, but he should not miss as much time.

Wizards taking more 3-pointers
Nets vs. Wizards, 7 p.m.

Washington finally got its first win with a victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday. It has been a real rough start for the Playoff hopefuls from the nation's capital. One thing the Wizards are thinking of doing is hoisting more 3-pointers, according to Michael Lee of The Washington Post. The Wizards took a franchise-record 33 3-pointers in the win over the Sixers. That is not exactly a sustainable formula, particularly since John Wall is not such a great shooter.

Noah still getting together
Jazz vs. Bulls, 8 p.m.

It is hard to figure out exactly why the Bulls have gotten off to a struggling 1-3 start. Derrick Rose's struggles on offense certainly do not help. So too does Joakim Noah's struggles coming back from injury. Tom Thibodeau called Noah's return from a preseason injury a "work in progress" earlier this week. Noah missed all but one preseason game before playing in the opener. He played in less than 30 minutes of Chicago's loss to Indiana on Wednesday.

Rondo not yet cleared for 5-on-5
Celtics vs. Magic, 7 p.m.

Celtics fans got their first win of the season Wednesday against the Jazz. Now they are patiently waiting Rajon Rondo's return. Danny Ainge told Kevin O'Conner of Celtics Blog that Rajon Rondo has not yet been cleared for five-on-five practice. However, Rondo has been cleared for light contact during practice. Rondo has been participating in practices for a while now.

Blake's prayer wins game
Lakers 99, Rockets 98

Steve Blake told Craig Sager he said a little praryer before the Lakers final possession of the game. I do not know if any deity cared about the Lakers and the Rockets, but the prayer was apparently answered. Blake came across a Steve Nash screen and drained a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to give the Lakers a surprising win after they lost a 19-point first-half lead. Los Angeles turned to hacking Dwight Howard and sending him to the free throw line and the strategy worked as it kept L.A. in the game.

Wade gets up for Heat win
Heat 102, Clippers 97

Dwyane Wade really stretched the idea of fall down seven, get up eight times. Eventually we will all wonder if he will get up that eighth time. He is still doing that for the Heat as they held off the Clippers in Miami on Thursday. Wade scored 29 points and dished out seven assists. He and the Heat used their swarming defense to limit Chris Paul to 11 points and 13 assists as the Clippers fell to .500 with their second straight loss.

Pekovic struggling to fit in offense
Mavericks vs. Timberwolves, 8 p.m.

The Timberwolves have really been rolling so far this season with Kevin Love nearing the top of the league in scoring, Kevin Martin sliding in nicely in the backcourt and Ricky Rubio being healthy. One guy struggling to find his fit is Nikola Pekovic. Pek signed a fat new contract with Minnesota, but is getting frustrated with himself that he is struggling to join the fun with the Wolves.

Bargnani excited for expanded role
Knicks vs. Bobcats, 7 p.m./NBATV

Tyson Chandler will be out for the next 4-6 weeks with a fractured leg. That means Andrea Bargnani could be seeing more time in the lineup with Kenyon Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire on limited minutes. That could be a frightening prospect as Bargnani has really struggled at the beginning of the season. Bargnani, for his part, told Anthony Reiber of Long Island Newsday that he is ready for the added and expanded role. Hopefully the Knicks' defense is ready to absorb it.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily