Bulls

Noah ejected from emotional affair, doesn't anticipate a suspension

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Noah ejected from emotional affair, doesn't anticipate a suspension

NEW YORK Nine technical fouls, 50 personal fouls, a dominant Bulls performance, an improbable and ultimately failed Knicks comeback and Patrick Ewing at Madison Square Garden. Just a regular Friday night in Manhattan if it were 20 years ago.

Native New Yorker Joakim Noah never shies away from being a villain in any NBA arena outside of Chicago, so it wasnt exactly a shock when, with tensions rising, he was ejected after garnering his second technical of the evening following a pseudo-altercation with former Bulls center Tyson Chandler, his main competition for an inaugural All-Star Game bid. With 4:39 left in the contest, as the two centers were battling for a rebound, tempers flared Chandler was trying to go after Noah; Noah retaliated and both were tossed.

Things happen. But we won the basketball game and I wish that we wouldnt have got ejected. Two guys, just trying to go for a rebound and unfortunately, guys got ejected, Noah, in good spirits, said afterwards, before being asked by a reporter if he feared being suspended for the incident.

Suspension? For what? What did I do? He head-butted me, he said. Come on, guys. Im trying to play tomorrow. I love this game.

For Chandlers part, the affable big man didnt hold a grudge, telling reporters, I dont think he Noah is a dirty player at all. It was a frustration of the game and we got tangled up. That was that.

Noah now has a league-leading seven technicals on the season, something Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau wasnt pleased with, though he somewhat absolved the center later by also noting that starting with me, fourth-quarter technical, meaning that the former Knicks assistant was also a bit caught up in the moment.

They were tangled up. Jo played a great game. The thing is, you cant put it in the officials hands and we should have all recognized that. They had enough, they werent taking anybody talking to them. I think he was trying to make a point and he got thrown out, so that hurt us, said Thibodeau, who added that he didnt think Noah would be suspended. This year, he got healthy this summer and hes playing a complete game, and thats why its disappointing that he couldnt finish the game because hes a big part of the press break. We throw him the ball and hes a great free-throw shooter, and he has size to pass over the trap, so we missed him, but hes done a great job all year. Hes taken good care of himself, hes healthy and to me, hes playing at an extremely high level. Hes an elite player now.

As far his own technical, Thibodeau added: Well, he gave it to me, so apparently I did. But I thought we had a lot of things going against us. I tried to make a point and he didnt want to hear it.

Noahs fellow New Yorker, Taj Gibson, while he didnt play much due to an ankle injury, identified with his teammates feelings during the intense affair.

It was so much emotion, especially when we were going up. It felt like you were playing in a street tournament, the way the crowd really gets so into the game and talking to you, youre talking to them, he said. They know they game, like they know screen-and-rolls, they know missing box-outs. They were saying everything to you, so its a crazy feeling, but Im just happy we could get the win.

Bulls continue stockpiling young point guards

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USA TODAY

Bulls continue stockpiling young point guards

Point Guard of the Future Part VIII? 

The Bulls added another guard to their already-claustrophobic backcourt on Monday, claiming Kay Felder off free agency waivers, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania. 

Felder, 22, was dealt alongside Richard Jefferson from the Cavaliers to the Hawks on Saturday before being immediately waived.

The Bulls then decided to take a flyer on the Oakland University product because why the heck not? Barring some type of NBA miracle, the Bulls are on a season-long march to the lottery, so adding another young player can't hurt. Even if Felder is now the fifth point guard, joining Cameron Payne, Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacono and Jerian Grant, on the squad. 

In 42 games with the Cavs last season, Felder averaged four points and 1.4 assists in just over nine minutes. He was drafted with the hope that he could further his NCAA reputation as a scorer. However, he connected on just 39 percent from the field during his rookie season. He's also undersized -- like Nate Robinson-Isaiah Thomas Undersized -- lowering his ceiling as a defender. 

Whether he can find a niche as a second-unit heat check guy remains to be seen, but with Kris Dunn expected to miss a few weeks, it gives Fred Hoiberg another option at the very least. He's also former NBA All-Star Steve Smith's cousin, should you believe in the power of basketball families. 

In a corresponding move, the Bulls waived Diamond Stone and preseason hero, Jarell Eddie. 

Observations from the Bulls' preseason finale loss to the Raptors

Observations from the Bulls' preseason finale loss to the Raptors

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Justin Holiday shines again

It's pretty evident who the leader of the Bulls is through the preseason. Whether he wanted it or not - and it seems like he did - Justin Holiday is the go-to man in Chicago. He finished his impressive presason with a 17-point outing against the Raptors, including 6-for-12 shooting, four 3-pointers, a steal and a block in 28 minutes. He even added four assists, showing some playmaking to go along with his scoring. He finishes the preseason averaging 17.2 points on 44 percent shooting, 57 percent (!!) from deep and 1.6 steals. He and LaVine will be fun to watch together on the wing.

Lauri Markkanen's jumper stays confident

Lauri Markkanen's NBA career got off to a rough start. But he's more than righted the ship. Gone is the 1-for-9 performance in his first outing, and in is the 11-for-21 he shot in his final two games. That included 7-for-12 from deep, and he even added seven rebounds on Friday against Toronto. Markkanen has plenty of weight to put on before he can hang inside - Toronto's tough interior pushed him around quite a bit in his 29 minutes - but this was another step in the right direction for Markkanen, whose back issues seemed non-existent.

Jerian Grant flirts with a triple-double

Jerian Grant was likely to earn the starting point guard job out of training camp even if Kris Dunn didn't get injured, and tonight would have solidified it. Grant had 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 27 efficient minutes. Though Kyle Lowry had his way (17 points in 26 minutes) that was more or less to be expected. But Grant was confident stepping into his shot, played aggressive on defense (two steals, two fouls) and found plenty of open shooters. The Bulls may struggle this season, but Fred Hoiberg has to be happy starting a backcourt of Grant and Holiday.

Bobby Portis: Some good, some really bad

Bobby Portis has had a not-so-great preseason, so it was nice to see him score 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting and grab four rebounds in his preseason finale. Then again, he played 18 minutes and somehow committed eight turnovers. Between losing balls in traffic, errant passes and some head-scratching decisions, it was tough to call Portis' night a success. He should find time on the second unit, but he needs to show improvement in all areas, not just scoring.

Antonio Blakeney gives it one (nine) last shot(s)

It'd be nice to see a great story like Antonio Blakeney stick on the Bulls' roster, and he made sure he was remembered in his final preseason game. In 20 minutes he took nine shots, hitting three for nine points. He didn't record any other stat but three fouls in his time on the floor, and was a -21 as the Raptors rode away with the win in the fourth quarter. But we're putting him here because there's a chance he can make the Bulls' roster, especially with LaVine out and Zipser potentially needing to miss time.