Bulls

Bulls look to turn the tables on Bobcats

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Bulls look to turn the tables on Bobcats

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011
10:16 a.m.

By Christopher Cason
CSNChicago.com

Returning home after a winning two week west coast road trip, the Bulls now turn their attention to the Charlotte Bobcats as they try to avoid being swept in the season series.

While Charlotte has won the previous two meetings, the Bulls have been a few late game mishaps and a last second shot away from the outcome of those games being in their favor.

In the last game here, the big thing was we turned the ball over and they converted in transition, said Tom Thibodeau about the teams 13 turnovers that Charlotte turned into 16 fastbreak points in the 83-82 loss on Jan. 18. That was the biggest thing that they did against us.

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The Bobcats lineup of Stephen Jackson at shooting guard, Gerald Wallace at small forward and Boris Diaw at power forward has given the Bulls trouble with their size and versatility, especially on the defensive ends as theyve been able to switch on pick and rolls and not lose any ground defensively.

Theyre different in the sense that they do a lot of switching defensively, said Thibodeau. I think offensively we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. The turnovers that we had, they were live-ball turnovers. So it put them in the open floor and for us thats a problem. If we can get defensively set, we feel pretty good about our defense but if its in the open floor and it creates three-on-one fastbreak opportunities for them, those breaks are difficult to stop.

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Perhaps, no other Bobcat has benefited more from being cut from Larry Browns control more than third year point guard D.J. Augustine. Hes displayed the floor game under new coach Paul Silas and has seen an increase in not only his production, but his confidence as well.

Augustine has given friend and draft-mate Derrick Rose his share of problems this season as hes averaging 18 points and 8 assists in the two games against Chicago.

Rose, however, is coming off two impressive performances against two of the names that are beginning to get mentioned after his in discussions of the leagues best point guard.

In wins over the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets, Rose finished with averages of 26 points and 6 assists while Deron Williams and Chris Paul finished a combined 26 points and 18 assists on 8-23 shooting from the field.

While Paul and Williams are more highly regarded, the Bulls arent taken Augustine lightly.

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Hes a terrific player, said Thibodeau. Every night, youre faced with those challenges. If you overlook a guy like D.J. Augustine hes terrific. Sometimes, he probably doesnt get the credit that he deserves and when you look at the past couple of years there when Raymond Felton was there, both of them played extremely well and played well together at times. This is a guy whos very confident, hes a good player and he shoots the ball extremely well. If you give him open shots, hes going to make you pay and hes been playing at a very high level for them.

The Bulls are hoping to avoid a letdown in energy after the extended road trip, but wanting to get back at Charlotte for the way theyve lost their past two matchups against them should provide plenty incentive to bring forth their best effort.

They beat us both games, said Rose. We want to get some revenge when we play them and just try to keep it hard on them throughout the entire game. If we come out and play very aggressive and with a lot of energy, I think the game should be very easy for us especially because weve been wanting to play them and we want a little bit of revenge. If our energy is high, we should have no problem.

This will be the second night of a back to back for the Bobcats who come into the game off an impressive 109-89 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

MINNEAPOLIS — That feeling of having your knee buckle out of nowhere, Zach LaVine is all-too familiar with it.

That feeling of being on the sidelines and watching Jimmy Butler’s knee give out, Fred Hoiberg has been there, too.

Different perspectives, and different reactions but Butler’s knee injury produced a sick feeling to many who watched it Friday night. Butler turned to pivot in the Timberwolves’ game against the Houston Rockets and immediately collapsed on the floor, having to be carried off.

LaVine tore his ACL in Detroit over a year ago, while it was revealed Butler suffered a right meniscus injury. But it looked all the same and LaVine understood the uncertainty Butler must’ve been feeling before the MRI revealed it wasn’t an ACL injury.

“It’s scary,” LaVine said following morning shootaround at the Target Center Saturday afternoon. “I wish him the best. You don’t want to see that happen to anybody. Especially a player of his caliber and what he’s done for the team.”

When LaVine injured his ACL, he actually played a few more minutes before being removed and going to the locker room. The time between being evaluated by doctors and them coming back feels like a lifetime.

“It’s scary. You know you hurt yourself, you don’t know how bad,” LaVine said. “You think you’re good, you’re a tough minded person trying to get through it.”

“I saw him on the ground trying to get up, (Rockets guard) Chris Paul made him sit down. Jimmy’s a tough dude. Thoughts and prayers going out to him.”

Butler and LaVine were the centerpieces of the draft day trade involving the Bulls and Timberwolves. With Butler suffering the injury the night before playing his former team a second time, the timing produced a bunch of memories.

In Hoiberg’s first year with the Bulls, Butler went down in a somewhat similar manner in Denver, a non-contact injury. It looked just as bad, and Butler was taken off the floor in a wheelchair.

Thankfully it was a right knee strain that cost him several weeks but it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Considering the minutes he’s played over the last few years, Hoiberg was asked if Butler pushes himself too hard to be on the floor.

“Jimmy he wants to be out there,” Hoiberg said. “I remember the first year in Denver, he went down with what looked to be a serious injury. Thankfully he was back on the floor after 15-16 games.”

Actually, Butler missed 11 consecutive games before coming back for a nationally-televised game against the Rockets, playing 34 minutes in a Bulls win and missing the next three games for recovery.

“We really worried when he went down but it wasn’t something that ended his season,” Hoiberg said. “Jimmy’s a worker. He’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve seen. It’s a huge reason for the type of player he is, that work ethic to make him one of the elite players in the league.”

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

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USA TODAY

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

Jimmy Butler won't be facing the Bulls a second time this season.

Butler suffered a non-contact knee injury on Friday night in Houston. The initial X-ray only revealed he didn't have any broken bones, but the MRI had to wait until Saturday.

The Timberwolves announced that the MRI revealed a meniscus injury in Butler's right knee. There is not yet word on how long the All-Star guard will be out of action, but if it wasn't already assumed that he wouldn't play against the Bulls, it's now certain.

Avoiding the ACL tear means avoiding the worse case scenario, but this is likely still going to cause Butler to miss a significant amount of time with about a quarter of the regular season remaining. An update from Shams Charania of The Vertical said Butler could return for the postseason.

The Bulls take on the Timberwolves on Saturday night. Butler dropped 38 points at the United Center in his return to Chicago exactly two weeks ago, but the Bulls won 114-113.

Butler posted on Instagram a reaction to the injury.

Saturday's game will be the returns of Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn to Minnesota after they went the other direction in the Butler trade on draft night last June.