Bulls

Bulls hopeful for strong All-Star presence this season

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Bulls hopeful for strong All-Star presence this season

The fan votes for All-Star starters were announced last week, and on Thursday the coaches selections for the reserves will be made public as well.

Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah warrant consideration for their play that has helped keep the Bulls steady in the absence of Derrick Rose, and coach Tom Thibodeau is hopeful that all three will be headed to Houston next month.

I hope all three make it, Thibodeau said. I think we have three guys who are very deserving.

Thibodeau is not one to bombard his fellow coaches with phone calls, e-mails and gifts in hopes that theyll select any of his players. Instead, he feels that the play of any player, along with team success, dictates the nod.

I dont get wrapped up in that stuff because its political and a waste of time, Thibodeau said. If someone sent me something, I wouldnt even look at it. When they ask me to vote, I try to look at the team success, how the players fit in and theyre all tough choices. You can make the case for a lot of guys. There are a lot of guys that are deserving and its very close. So you try to put a little more thought on team success. Also, how consistently a player has done it. Often times, it takes a couple years to get there. I thought Luol shouldve made it two years ago and he finally made it last year.

Deng could make his second consecutive All-Star appearance if he gets the green light. Carlos Boozer has appeared in two All-Star games as a reserve during his tenure with the Utah Jazz. If Joakim Noah gets voted in, this would mark his first appearance in an All-Star game.

Lauri Markkanen has career-high 26 points in loss to Suns

Lauri Markkanen has career-high 26 points in loss to Suns

Lauri Markkanen continues to impress.

The 20-year-old rookie had a career-high 26 points in the Bulls' 113-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. He also picked up 13 rebounds.

After the game, in which the Bulls fell to 3-11 on the season, coach Fred Hoiberg had high praise for the Finnish.

"I thought Lauri was phenomenal," Hoiberg said. "But when he is open, we gotta get him the ball. When he's got it rolling like he did tonight, guys were switching and we had him a couple of times with the point guard buried in his back and we didn't get him the ball."

Watch what Hoiberg had to say about the Bulls' tight loss in the video above.

Road Ahead: Bulls prep for Lonzo Ball and the Lakers

Road Ahead: Bulls prep for Lonzo Ball and the Lakers

The Bulls have a busy week ahead of them.

It will kick off on Tuesday when Fred Hoiberg & Co. take on Lonzo Ball and the Lakers in Los Angeles.

After that, the Bulls will head to Utah and face the Jazz on Wednesday, followed by the defending champ Golden State Warriors on Friday. Both games — against the Jazz and Warriors — will be on NBC Sports Chicago, and streaming live on the NBC Sports app.

See what Mark Schanowski, Vincent Goodwill, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue had to say about the upcoming week in the latest Honda Road Ahead.