Bulls

Rose voted All-Star starter

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Rose voted All-Star starter

NEW YORKAs expected, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was voted a starter in the NBA All-Star Game, the league announced Thursday night. Alongside Rose in the Eastern Conference starting lineup will be fellow Chicago native Dwyane Wade in the backcourt, his Miami Heat teammate LeBron James and Knicks scorer Carmelo Anthony, who faces the Bulls Thursday night, at the forward positions, and Orlandos Dwight Howard at center.

I remember not being in the All-Star Game. Just being in the game is something you should take to heartI take to heartjust wanting to accomplish, especially when Im in this league and one of those accomplishments is being on the All-Star team. Its an honor, Rose said before Thursdays game against the Knicks. It means a lot, especially for my fans to vote for me. I didnt recognize that I had all those votes, but it shows a lot, man. Im appreciative. I dont take anything for granted. I dont take any one of my fans that went on-line and voted for me for granted. I appreciate them all and I hope they continue to watch.

Its definitely fun. You learn more leadership skills, especially playing on a team like that, where everyone of them are different type of leaders and me being a young player, thats something that I can take from there and add to this team, he continued, revealing his insight into actually playing in the contest. This is totally different, where its all All-Stars. All the guys that are there, theyre there for a reason and theyve been putting in work for X amount of years.

You know when you first go into the game, thats when the highlights are, in the beginning of the game. Then, later on in the game, thats when things start to get very serious and competitive, and thats when you want to win, especially if the games are interesting.

Rose, who has professed his dislike for exhibition contests, joked about not bringing back bad habits from the game, to be held Feb. 26 in Orlando, back to Chicago.

Im never going to throw a lob like that, especially on this team. Joakim likes bounce passes, so its just something Ive got to get used to, like back in my college days and I think Ive got a lob in me somewhere, said the leagues reigning MVP, who will start the game for the second consecutive year and play in his third contest overall. When you come back, youre getting back to playing a certain way with your team. Defensive slidesyou know how Thibs isclose-outs, just clicking with one another again. Its definitely tough, but I think this year its going to be a little bit easier because we have a year under our belts together, so we know how each other plays. So, that should help us.

Rose doesnt believe the game, featuring several fellow potential USA Basketball teammates, will prepare them for the 2012 Olympics.

I dont think its going to prepare us for that. The teams that were going to be playing against are definitely good, he opined. All-Star games are really just for the fans, really for the enjoyment, for the crowd, for little kids and for the excitement.

While Rose is honored by his selection, he also admitted that he could use the rest during this shortened season.

Thats a tricky question, Rose said. Everybodys looking for a way to rest, but this year, thats not going to happen, especially with this coming up, then after the season, youve got the Olympics, so this years definitely going to be hectic. This is something Ive been conditioning for and I should be OK.

In the Western Conference, Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, Clippers teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and Thunder forward Kevin Durant were voted in as starters.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Kris Dunn did it: You can’t play that position without an edge, without some form of “basketball killer” in you. Kris Dunn showed at the very least, he has that in his DNA in his best game as a Bull with a career-high 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Leave it to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to point out a forgotten stat: one turnover in 26 minutes.

“That’s the biggest thing I’m proud of,” Dunn said. “Everyone knows I’ve had a lot of careless turnovers in the season. It’s one thing I’ll take credit for.”

Dunn scored 13 with six assists in the fourth quarter alone as the Bulls outscored the Hornets 40-28 for the comeback victory. More than anything, it was his competitive spirit and aggressiveness that stood out. Kemba Walker stood across the way and gave Dunn—and the Bulls—every bit of 47 points.

“He tested my conditioning, for sure,” Dunn admitted. “He’s a great player. He’s been in the league for so long. It was good to go out there and compete with him.”

It could’ve went a different way had Walker not been bothered by Lauri Markkanen’s challenge at the rim, blowing a layup that would’ve given the Hornets the lead back with seconds remaining but he missed it and the narrative changed at least for a night.

And when teams are talking about learning experiences, it’s good to have them in a win every now and again. Markkanen’s challenge at the rim followed by his closing free throws right after, along with a quietly effective 16 points and seven rebounds, proved huge on this night.

Dunn finally having a confidence booster was imperative.

Dunn scored but it wasn’t an easy 20 or a smooth 20. It was an attacking 20, a necessary 20. He did hit some elbow jumpers, especially in the fourth as the defense laid off him.

But his biggest basket was a slithering drive to the rim for a layup with 2:24 left, because he attacked and was under control.

“That’s huge growth for Kris,” Hoiberg said. “He made the right play darn near every time he had the ball in his hands. Rose up with confidence, knocked down huge shots. Defensively got them going, got steals.”

What a relief: Nobody wanted to say it, but it bore out on the floor, the sheer desperation the Bulls played with.

Coming in with a five-game losing streak and headed out west to for four games in the next week, they were staring in the face of a possible double-digit losing streak to end November.

Confidence was sparse after three bad losses, and it’s a dangerous time for a team that will struggle to win games all season.

The United Center crowd got into it, particularly late when the Bulls began climbing back into contention to start the fourth quarter. The fans wanted this win too, even with the eyes being on a larger prize coming in mid-2018.

The relief was written all over Hoiberg’s usually-stress ridden face and he even cracked a couple jokes that weren’t aimed in his direction, as self-deprecation is normally his escape of choice.

“It is important but I asked the guys: is it hard to play with that type of effort? When you play with that type of energy and effort and swagger, it’s fun,” Hoiberg said. “When you play low energy and hang your head, it’s a drag. It’s hard to play at this level with that mentality.”

Starting change: Justin Holiday returned after his quick leave with his wife delivering a baby girl recently and his game-high 27 points showed he missed the Bulls as much as they missed his shooting, hitting four triples and going 10 for 15 from the field.

“Guys were serious about getting their jobs done,” Holiday said. “It was a lot of energy, a lot of energy, competitiveness. That’s how we have to play every night for our team to do well.”

Denzel Valentine, although he didn’t want to say it, wants to be a starter. Hoiberg chose Quincy Pondexter over him recently and then made the change Friday to insert Valentine for more scoring.

Valentine scored 18 with six assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of run—and with those two starting as scoring options, the Bulls surpassed that seven-point first-quarter mark really early and scored 26 overall.

He hit a big triple in the fourth with 2:49 left to give the Bulls a 110-109 lead on a set play the Bulls actually executed between Valentine, Dunn as a setup man and Robin Lopez as a screen to pop Valentine open.

If he continues to hit 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip, especially with the way the Bulls have struggled to start games, he’ll have the right to feel he belongs in the first five.

“It’s definitely more confidence,” Valentine said. “You feel you’re an NBA starter, you get to go in and feel it out for a second and bring some energy to start the game.”

He didn’t mince words about starting, with a little honesty saying, “I think it’s huge being a starter.”

When asked if he felt validated by his performance and the result being a high-scoring win, it was just as telling.

“I think I deserve…I think I deserved a starting role,” Valentine said. “At the same time it’s different combinations, different people that need to be on the floor at certain times, so if he feels like I don’t need to start, I won’t start. But I feel very comfortable starting as well.”

Hack-a-Dwight: It could be Hack-a-Dwight, hack-a-Drummond, hack-a-Wilt or Shaq or Charles Shackleford.

The Bulls went to it and Howard went two of four from the line but it took a little rhythm from the Hornets and probably slowed Kemba Walker down just enough before he got cooking in the last 90 seconds and almost pulled a win out of his keister.

But…

I hate it. Get it out of the game completely.