Bulls

Dorm Daze: Noah impossible as Florida freshman

Dorm Daze: Noah impossible as Florida freshman

Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010
7:10 PM
By Aggrey SamCSNChicago.com

Chicago will have an unexpected advantage in tonights game against visiting Golden State, as Warriors power forward David Lee will sit out the contest after a freak arm injury suffered in the teams road win in New York (Lees former team) Wednesday night.

I wish I could play this one tonight, but I took a tooth to the arm last night. Coach DAntoni had his guys bite me, Lee quipped before the game. The strange thing about it, it wasnt a very hard collision. It just hit Knicks forward Wilson Chandler square and shattered his tooth in about four different pieces. Not a dirty play, he just came in and tried to knock the ball away when I got the rebound, right when I was pulling it down and he made square contact. Wilsons a good friend of mine. I gave him a Sorry about your tooth, sorry about your arm exchange when he got back. I think he had surgery last night to replace his tooth because he was in worse shape than I was.

They found a little portion of it Chandlers tooth in the arm last night and they had to remove that. This morning, I woke up to unbearable pain. I ended up in Chicago with the team doctor for the Bulls and then ended up in the ER this morning, getting an IV of antibiotics, he continued. Hopefully Ill be able to play on Saturday in Milwaukee, but I dont have much movement in the arm for tonight.

After being on the plane and having it swell up a little bit, and then going to sleep and having it stiffen up, by the time I woke up this morning, it was pretty much immobile. Its gotten much better today. Got a little movement, getting my golf swing back. They cant stitch it up because if there was any sort of infection, it would seal off the infection and wed have a much bigger problem on our hands. At this point, its just gauze pads and wrapped up.

Lee was acquired by Golden State in the offseason through a sign-and-trade scenario with New York. Before signing with the Warriors, however, Leean All-Star last season with the Knickswas also courted by the Bulls.

I came here for a visit one of the first days of free agency. I dont want to put words in their mouths, but I think they were one of the teams that was really after me and it came down to me vs. Carlos Boozer. Then, when New Jersey made an offer to Boozer, they made another offer and decided to go with Carlos. I think hes going to be great for them when he gets back healthy, said Lee, who scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the victory over his former team Wednesday, during which his years of service in the Big Apple was acknowledged by the Madison Square Garden crowd. There is a little extra motivation, not from an anger standpoint or anything like that, but just NBA players are very prideful. Id like to think Im one of the better power forwards in the league and a guy right now thats helping his team win games, thats most important. It wouldnt be any deal where Im coming in, trying to have 40 points or anything. It would have been extra special to just help my team get a win.

Lee doesnt hold any ill will toward the Bullsdespite his diplomacy, it might be a different story with the Knicks, especially after DAntoni fanned the flames a bit with semi-disparaging comments about his former players athleticismespecially since the University of Florida product will always have a soft spot for college teammate Joakim Noah.

The first time I saw him Joakim on campus; he was a freshman and I was a senior. Coach Billy Donovan told me we had a buddy system and I had to make sure he got to class on timewhich, first of all, was absolutely impossible, recalled Lee. I said, Meet me at this designated point. Ill walk you to your first class; you have no idea where the building is. He said, Okay. Cool, B. Cool.

I see the guy on campus walking. He has on shortsdown below his waistno shirt on and a boombox playing music while hes walking. Hes like, Yo, Im ready for class, he joked. Im like, Jo, come on, man. Hes like, What? He looked at me like I was absolutely crazy. That was my first getting him to class experience.

Hes a very free-spirited guy, but I think what makes him so specialtheres very few guysits a skill in the NBA, playing hard night in and night out, providing that constant effort. Hes got a great skill set, but what makes him so special is that intensity he brings every single night, added Lee, who indicated one of the reasons he considered the Bulls was the presence of Noah, a true center, which would allow him to play his natural position of power forward. He was a great teammate for a year at Florida and I know everybody here loves him to death, and for good reason. He really leaves all out on the court and thats very important.

Its a big difference high school and college; probably even a bigger difference between college and the NBA. He was a guy that kind of had to grow into his body and find his skill set. It wasnt until his sophomore and junior year where he started handling the ball a lot and what hes so good at is making passes to other guys. He was always very active, a good rebounder," he went on to say. "He got a lot better at finishing around the basket, him and Atlanta Hawks center and fellow Florida product Al Horford, and adding some skills to the athleticism."

"If he had my vote, Jo's got a chance to be an Eastern Conference All-Star this year. I know the season's very young, so we'll see how that pans out...I wish him the best, except when he plays us for two games."

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

It's Bobby's World in Bulls' lottery-improving loss to 76ers

It's Bobby's World in Bulls' lottery-improving loss to 76ers

The final 25 games was supposed to be all about the development of the Bulls’ recent acquisitions and securing a record worthy of one of the last three envelopes at the NBA Draft Lottery.

Only Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn seemed to matter, with Cameron Payne and Cristiano Felicio being the perfect window dressing for development as opposed to just saying a team is tanking.

But Bobby Portis is making a case that he isn’t to be forgotten in the big picture, that his worth is more than just being a punchline to the jokes that followed his incident with Nikola Mirotic.

The only thing Portis didn’t do right in the Bulls’ 116-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers was missing a point blank shot that would’ve given the Bulls an improbable and unwanted win, and it would’ve given him 40 points.

Instead he had to settle for a career-high 38 as Joel Embiid was bearing down on Portis when he caught a diagonal pass from Dunn with 1.1 seconds left, having the shorter T.J. McConnell on him and taking a power dribble to gather himself.

“If I could go back I would’ve just went up the first time off the glass like I always do,” Portis said. “We just have to try to close out games better.”

Embiid showed he’s worth all the trouble with his health problems, scoring 30 with 13 rebounds and five rebounds while Ben Simmons put up 32 with 11 assists and seven rebounds as the 76ers improved to 31-25, good enough for seventh place in the East.

In a game that featured remarkable resolve from a purposely undermanned Bulls team as they sat Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday, they put themselves in position to win after trailing by 18 early. After leading by five courtesy of a LaVine walk-down triple with 1:02 left, they made a couple critical errors that allowed the 76ers to steal a game the Bulls won’t mind them taking at the end of 82.

Denzel Valentine’s inbounds pass with 5.9 seconds left was intended for LaVine, but Embiid stepped in front for a steal as they were in position to make it a free-throw game the rest of the way.

Similar to the Bulls’ unlikely win over the Orlando Magic before the All-Star break, they returned the favor as 76ers rookie Ben Simmons made free throws after the steal to give the visitors a one-point lead, setting the stage for the final play.

If learning lessons is what the last 100 quarters of basketball is supposed to be about, the Bulls got a big-time lesson in a game that ultimately means nothing.

“These are learning opportunities for our team,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I couldn’t be happier, the way we went out and competed. We dug ourselves an 18-point hold and (fought) our way back—have complete control of the game.”

Control was wrestled from the 76ers by Portis’ able and quick hands. Taking more of a scoring posture since Mirotic’s departure, Portis has never been shy about being aggressive.

But now he’s being encouraged in that department, playing a big part in the Bulls’ tying their franchise record of 18 triples with six of his own, scoring 21 in the first half and not backing down one step from the massive Embiid.

“I kind of struggled from (three) in the last six, seven games,” said Portis, who didn’t take much time off during the All-Star break. “I think I’ve shown this entire year, trying to stay consistent and be a spark off the bench.”

Counting the last two games before the break, Portis has been on the best scoring binge of his career—cementing his place in the league when just a few months ago, many were questioning if the Bulls should’ve actually picked up his player option following the Mirotic incident.

His 25.0 points in the last three, along with scoring in double figures for seven straight games are career-bests. With every flex, every energetic plea to the crowd and resourceful score underneath the rim, Portis is becoming a player the Bulls can’t afford to plan without.

The stage was set for a Portis breakout shortly after the incident, when he was serving his suspension to start the season. When the Bulls traveled to Miami and Orlando, he flew on his own to Orlando for dinner with his mentor, former NBA veteran and Magic assistant coach Corliss Williamson.

Williamson, a player who was not to be trifled with during his career, told Portis essentially, “this too shall pass”.

“Just play your game,” Williamson told NBCSportsChicago.com recently. “Don’t put any pressure on yourself about what’s gonna happen after this year. What’s got him here is hard work, how hard he plays in the game. He continues to do that, he’ll be successful.”

Portis recalled the dinner where he was finally able to confide and unleash after weeks of frustration. Calling Williamson a father figure dating back to their Arkansas roots, where Portis played on Williamson’s AAU teams in middle school, Portis put his trust in him and came back reinvigorated.

“We talked for hours about the whole situation,” Portis told NBCSportsChicago.com “He told me when I come back to come 10 times harder. When people play this game and play the right way, they forget about the other stuff. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Scoring 38 tends to remake a narrative.

“Bobby just continues to improve,” Hoiberg said. “He’s a confident kid that goes out and plays with a ton of swagger and toughness. You need that, to go out and play with that type of effort. He’s tenacious on the glass. He’s getting the crowd into the game.”

When speaking of Portis, Hoiberg’s face went from flush to beaming, knowing how far Portis has come in his three years—being a player who wouldn’t take 3-pointers with confidence to now unleashing them whenever a defender’s feet shows the slightest hint of leaning back.

No hesitation.

“Regardless if I’m making shots, I try to leave it all out on the floor,” Portis said. “It felt good making shots, being able to help the team. I wanted the win tonight.”

Portis helped make up for the Bulls not getting their usual production from Dunn, who struggled guarding the bigger Simmons and Lauri Markkanen, who missed all five of his 3-pointers and made just one field goal in 32 minutes.

“You can put he and Lauri together,” Hoiberg said. “It gives you two guys that can stretch the floor and space it, two guys that can rebound, two that can put it on the floor. It’s exciting to think about when Kris gets his rhythm back.”

And now, Williamson’s words have proven to be prophetic for his pupil, because if the Bulls aren’t seeing Portis as a key part of their future, there’s about 25 other teams who’ll be lining up for his services this summer.

“I told him don’t even worry about it,” Williamson said. “Let your game speak for itself. People who really know you, know what type of person you are. You start producing people will forget about it and love you for what you do on the court.”

His game is talking, even if the Bulls’ loss was one they’d rather have taken in silence.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Projecting the Bulls’ future

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Projecting the Bulls’ future

In the latest edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski, Will Perdue and Kendall Gill recap the Bulls’ 116-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, look at the continued growth of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn, and discuss if Bobby Portis is part of the Bulls’ long term future.

They also check in on LeBron James and the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers, discuss whether or not the Golden State Warriors can make another title run and the latest on the status of San Antonio Spurs guard Kawhi Leonard. The guys also discuss how Oklahoma guard Trae Young could look in a Bulls uniform if he’s available for them in the draft.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.