Bulls

Burress rips Eli, Coughlin in interview

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Burress rips Eli, Coughlin in interview

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, September 9, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) -- Plaxico Burress is critical of Giants coach Tom Coughlin, quarterback Eli Manning and fans for the way they reacted when he was sent to prison on a gun charge in the October issue of Men's Journal.

Burress said in an interview with the magazine a few weeks before he signed with the Jets in July that he wished Coughlin had shown some concern when he met with him after accidentally shooting himself in the leg in November 2008. He saw the Giants coach on television commenting on the situation "and the first words out his mouth was sad and disappointing.'"

"I'm like, forget support -- how about some concern?" Burress said. "I did just have a bullet in my leg. And then I sat in his office, and he pushed back his chair and goes, I'm glad you didn't kill anybody!' Man, we're paid too much to be treated like kids. He doesn't realize that we're grown men and actually have kids of our own."

He also told the magazine, which hits newsstands next week, that Coughlin is "not a real positive coach."

"You look around the league, the Raheem Morrises and Rex Ryans -- when their player makes a mistake, they take em to the side and say, We'll get em next time,'" Burress said. "But Coughlin's on the sideline going crazy, man. I can't remember one time when he tried to talk a player through not having a day he was having."

Burress said he was disappointed Manning never visited him or tried to communicate with him while he served his 20-month prison sentence.

"I was always his biggest supporter, even days he wasn't on, cause I could sense he didn't have thick skin," Burress said. "Then I went away, and I thought he would come see me, but nothing, not a letter, in two years. I don't want to say it was a slap in the face, but I thought our relationship was better than that."

Burress met with Coughlin and the Giants' front office when he was a free agent -- after the interview with the magazine -- and has maintained it was a pleasant conversation that helped clear the air between them. While the wide receiver didn't speak with Manning at that time, the two recently ran into each other at a movie theater and had what Burress said was a nice chat.

When asked about his comments in the magazine article, Burress said: "I was just being honest."

The article mentions how Burress was nearly robbed at his home in Totowa, N.J., a few days before the nightclub incident and how the murder of his friend and former Washington defensive back Sean Taylor helped shape his decision to carry a handgun -- and how he nearly left his gun in his car that night.

"I had a conscience about it -- but said, Nope, I'm takin' it with me,'" he said. "And that changed my life."

Burress talked about the way New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg treated him -- calling for the receiver to be punished to the fullest extent of the law -- "was totally wrong, stacked those charges so high, I had to go to jail."

While in prison, Burress said he was treated "like a ... axe murderer," and got many letters from people that were less than positive.

"I was a human pincushion," Burress said. "They were like, Yeah, we finally got you.'"

Burress said he now gets loads of positive letters from people, a complete change from what he was getting just a few months ago.

"It's like I'm more popular now for shooting myself than winning a Super Bowl!" he said. "Maybe they see a guy who made a mistake, but didn't hurt no one but himself. I mean, if you can't root for me, you must not own a mirror. All of us have made a big mistake, right?"

Zach LaVine's conditioning at '70 percent' but still on schedule

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USA TODAY

Zach LaVine's conditioning at '70 percent' but still on schedule

Everybody saw the play, that awkward instance where Zach LaVine looked ready for his second dunk of the season but was fouled from behind by Atlanta’s Taurean Prince.

It looked as if LaVine was ready for liftoff but one of his jets misfired, sparking at least the thought of his recovery from his ACL injury being a bit off—but he laughed at the thought.

“I don’t know why everybody keeps talking about it,” LaVine said Sunday at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center, where the Bulls held practice. “The dude stepped on the back of my foot, so I couldn’t get off the ground. Everybody’s wondering if I’m okay, yeah. I just missed a fouled layup.”

The adrenaline from his first two games have worn off a bit, and he missed his first four shots from the field Saturday before hitting a couple in the start of the third quarter in the Bulls’ 113-97 win over the Hawks.

He looked winded a few times during his stint and admitted his conditioning isn’t where it should be—as expected given he’s missed 11 months of real basketball. He said his conditioning is at about “70 percent”, and you can certainly see it in his jump shot not being as fluid as it was last season in Minnesota.

“It was feeling good in practice but in games it’s seventy,” LaVine said. “Playing defense, getting back, running the break, just getting used to it.”

Add to it, the Bulls cover the most halfcourt ground of any team in the NBA with their set offense and Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has long said he’s not slowing down his offense while LaVine is in.

The shooting guard will have to catch up to the pace, and it’ll probably be better for him in the long run.

“I think it’s just ‘okay’ and rightfully so,” said Hoiberg about LaVine’s conditioning. “It’s impossible to simulate game action in practices when you’re doing individual workouts. Every time he plays that conditioning will ramp up. As he plays, it’ll get better and better. And he’s such a good and natural athlete, it’ll come back quickly.”

Hoiberg isn’t concerned about the variances in LaVine’s performances. He came out the gate with such force and adrenaline in his debut against Detroit and two days later against Miami, but it’s tailed off against Golden State and then Atlanta.

“I think Zach’s doing great,” Hoiberg said. “You look around the league where players have come back from significant injuries, he’s gonna be up and down. His first two games he’s been unbelievable. A couple games he hasn’t shot the ball great. He played unselfish basketball last night.”

LaVine’s minutes has been extended to 24 from 20, and he’ll still practice in the off-days as the Bulls want to keep his rehab on schedule as opposed to having him play heavy minutes initially.

He’ll be re-evaluated after Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia and could see his minutes rise before the Bulls host the Lakers Friday at the United Center.

“I should just get used to it,” LaVine said. “Just getting used to the swing of things. It takes a second for your body to get adjusted to it.”

Three Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pelicans

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pelicans

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Pregame Live.

1. Anthony Davis

The five-time All-Star just continues to improve. While he's not averaging career-highs in any major category, no one's going to scoff at his 26.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.1 blocks in 36 minutes per game. He's shooting nearly 56 percent from the field and is on pace for a career-best in 3-pointers made, which is a pretty impressive statistic. Lauri Markkanen will have his hands full, and it may be in the Bulls' best interest to get Nikola Mirotic some early minutes to try and get physical with Davis. There's no real way to slow him down.

2. DeMarcus Cousins

And if the Bulls should so happen to get lucky and slow down Davis, there's another All-Star starter waiting alongside him. Boogie Cousins has been every bit as good as Davis this season, averaging 25.3 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 36 minutes. He's certainly not as efficient as Davis (47 percent from the field, 5.0 turnovers) but is deadly inside. He's shooting a career-best 52.8 percent on 2-pointers this season, and his 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks make him a serviceable defender (although the Bulls could certainly stretch their offense to make him work more).

3. Rajon Rondo

Rondo hasn't been great in his first season with the Pellies, but perhaps he's turning things around. Beginning with his absurd 25-assist game just after Christmas, Rondo is averaging 7.4 points, 8.2 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He's allowed Jrue Holiday to play more off the ball, and while his defense is nothing to write home about he's logging solid minutes for a Pelicans team woefully short in the backcourt.