Bulls

Schanowski: How will Boozer's return affect D-Rose?

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Schanowski: How will Boozer's return affect D-Rose?

Monday, Nov. 29, 2010
9:41 PM
By Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

That's the question being pondered by fans and media members around the league. Where do you weigh in? Will Carlos Boozer's presence force Derrick Rose to dramatically reduce his shot attempts per game or will he continue to attack the basket at every opportunity? Will the Bulls struggle for awhile trying to adjust to having a low-post scorer on the court? Please post your comments in the section below.

Personally, I think the Bulls might struggle a bit over the next few weeks trying to work Boozer into their offensive and defensive schemes. Rose has never had a low post scorer on his team to work with, and given his unselfish nature, I would expect he'll go out of his way to make Boozer more comfortable by getting him more touches on the block.

In case you haven't noticed, Rose has moved all the way up to number two in the league scoring race, and has the look of a player who could get 25 to 30 points every game if that's what the coaches want him to do. But he's always said winning is the only thing that matters to him, and if that means fewer shot attempts, I'm sure that won't be a problem.

So far, it's been nothing but praise for the equal opportunity offense introduced by Tom Thibodeau, but if Boozer's return means a less effective Rose, that could be a problem for the Bulls. It's become abundantly clear the Bulls are D-Rose's team, and without him attacking and pushing the tempo, they're much less effective.

Boozer did a good job co-starring with point guard Deron Williams in Utah, and he should thrive in screen and roll situations with Rose. But until those guys actually get into game situations and see what works and what doesn't, we won't know for sure what the Bulls offense will eventually look like.

Let's be clear. Signing Boozer was a great move, and eventually his scoring and rebounding ability should make the Bulls a threat in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But in the short term, the players and coaches will have some adjustments to make, so don't expect instant success once number 5 takes the court.
CIRCUS TRIP REVIEW

Let's hope the Bulls finally got the "circus trip" gorilla off their backs after going 4-3 on the annual November tour out west. Rose was spectacular, averaging 30.5 points per game, along with six assists and five rebounds. And, Joakim Noah continued his All-Star level play, consistently putting up double-doubles and making important hustle plays all over the court.

But let's not forget about the rest of the team. Luol Deng played heavy minutes at both forward spots, and did some of his best work late with games on the line. The Bulls also got a huge performance from Taj Gibson in the win at Dallas, and we saw signs of what the bench will eventually contribute with the performances of Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson and Omer Asik.

Watson did his best D-Rose impersonation in Denver, scoring 33 points, and almost singlehandedly carrying the Bulls to an unlikely win before Carmelo Anthony's buzzer-beater saved the day for the Nuggets. Watson may not be a true point guard, but he can score points in bunches, and might get more chances to play with Rose depending on match-ups.

Korver had his best game in a Bulls' uniform in the double overtime win in Phoenix, and it looks like Thibodeau is feeling more comfortable leaving him in games for longer stretches. Korver provides the 3 point threat that's so important to this offense with Rose attacking the paint, and forcing opposing defenses to collapse.

Thibodeau insisted his guys just focus on the next game, and not worry about the past history of futility on the circus trip. It's an approach that should serve this team well over the highs and lows of a long NBA season.

So, how many games do you think the Bulls will win over their 16 game schedule in the month of December? Should Gar Forman stand pat with the roster, or do the Bulls need another shooter to join Korver? And, how will Boozer's return affect D-Rose?

As always we appreciate your comments and feedback. Hope to see you out at the United Center this month. We'll be doing our pre-game shows live from the U.C. concourse on December 1st, 10th and 28th. Stop by and say hello.

Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre- and postgame studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNet Central, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10 p.m.

Bobby Portis apologizes to teammates as Bulls continue to deal with all-around complicated situation

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AP

Bobby Portis apologizes to teammates as Bulls continue to deal with all-around complicated situation

The mending hasn’t yet begun for the Bulls, but perhaps a good sign in moving forward from the Bobby Portis punch that delivered a concussion and broken facial bones to Nikola Mirotic is that it isn’t being ignored.

Fred Hoiberg is being tight-lipped about where matters stand, but he did at least say Portis returned to practice and apologized to the team Friday afternoon. Hoiberg wouldn’t reveal the contents of Portis’ apology and Portis didn’t address the media, but it’s clear things aren’t business-as-usual at the Advocate Center.

“Bobby was back at practice. It was good to have him back in here,” Hoiberg said. “Obviously, everybody’s looking forward to having Niko back in here, as well, hopefully soon.”

When asked about Portis’ spirit, Hoiberg deflected and preferred to talk about what adjustments the team will have to make in the immediate future, especially with rookie Lauri Markkanen having to go against Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge in the home opener Saturday night.

“That’s the biggest thing we have to do as far as preparing until we get our guys back, is throwing different lineups out there and hopefully getting better with our execution,” Hoiberg said.

Justin Holiday admitted that things aren’t normal, saying the actual games to start the season won’t serve as a welcome distraction because this isn’t something that can just be treated trivially.

He wouldn’t venture into getting into his teammates’ head, saying “Bobby came into today like Bobby. We’re not quite sure what he’s thinking mentally. We can’t assume that.”

But one thing that can’t be assumed is a sweeping under or pretending.

“I mean I don’t necessarily think this is a situation for us to get past,” Holiday said. “I think it’s a situation that obviously (needs) to be brought to the forefront. It’s a situation that needs to be taken care of for those two to be able to come together and be brothers again. I don’t think we’re trying to get past it.”

Holiday has been a leader during this early time, so his words and definitive tone were noticeable.

“They say sometimes you need time to heal,” Holiday said. “Again, we have to think about both situations in this. One guy is trying to get back healthy. And again, I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish we could just fix this the right way, but that’s not the case.”

It’s complicated all around, with no real precedent.

For Hoiberg, his handling has two faces. Since Portis is able to practice but has to sit out seven more games on a team-mandated suspension, he has to walk the line of incorporating Portis in daily drills and activities but also has to prepare a team that wasn’t prepared for two power forwards being out for an extended period.

That was on display Thursday as Quincy Pondexter likely played that position for the first time in his career, and it’s highly unlikely Paul Zipser practiced there at all with the depth the Bulls had until now.

“We have to get our guys ready to play positions that they haven’t played,” Hoiberg said. “We’re getting them in here early. We’re getting a group in to work on our execution. Quincy not only hasn’t played in two and a half years but I don’t know if he has ever played the 4.

“You just have to do the best with what you have.”

Emotional return to the court for Quincy Pondexter after missing two seasons: 'The journey is worth it'

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USA TODAY

Emotional return to the court for Quincy Pondexter after missing two seasons: 'The journey is worth it'

Quincy Pondexter’s trade to Chicago makes him a newcomer. His birth certificate makes him a veteran. But it’s his story that makes him worth listening to.

Even in the eye of team chaos, Pondexter’s debut with the Bulls had such a special meaning that when he entered the game to start the second quarter, he thought he would come to tears.

Having been out of basketball the last two years after knee surgeries went bad, Pondexter came close to dying in a New York hospital in January when his organs began to fail after a MRSA infection.

Catching MRSA can often lead to death.

“It wasn’t looking good,” Pondexter said. “It was tough. I prayed. My family was there close to me. Being able to play basketball again in less than a year is crazy. It’s all God. This journey has been amazing.”

His journey took him from being in New Orleans, where his knee troubles started, to being an addition to the Bulls in a trade months ago when the Bulls picked up cash and a second-round pick from the Pelicans.

Pondexter joined high school teammate and close friend Robin Lopez on a team needing some leadership, and due to the punch Bobby Portis threw to Nikola Mirotic Tuesday afternoon, it put Pondexter in position to get on the floor as a backup power forward behind rookie Lauri Markkanen.

If the Bulls were smart, they’d probably put Pondexter in a room to talk to his teammates about his struggles, especially the two teammates who may have to share the same floor in several weeks.

“The competitive nature of our team has been really terrific and we wouldn't want to trade that for anything,” Pondexter said. “It hurts those two guys aren't here right now. But we love them and we love what they brought to this team.

“I think my age on my ID solidifies me as one of the veterans. When you do things the right way, that's what it means to be a veteran. Show up first, last one there. That's what it means to be a veteran. Establishing myself there and doing things that are right, the guys have followed and listened and embraced me and I love it.”

No word on whether Pondexter got teary-eyed when he got a breakaway steal and dunk for his first points since the 2015 playoffs, when the Pelicans were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual champion Warriors.

“I know I’m going to get emotional on the court later on and probably tear up,” Pondexter said after the morning shootaround. “I told Robin that a thousand times. People don’t know what you’ve been through. There are a lot of times they’re not there besides your close family and friends. I appreciate them carrying me through this whole process.”

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg can relate to Pondexter, with Hoiberg’s heart ailment cutting his career short. When the Bulls coach speaks about the frailty of the game and how precious things are in the NBA, Pondexter is living, breathing proof.

“I’m really really happy for Quincy. For a time there, his life was in danger with his infection. I know he’s really excited to get his career going again,” Hoiberg said. “I never got that opportunity to get back out there. I tell these guys to cherish it ever day. You never know when it can end. All of a sudden. For Quincy to get this chance, it’s awesome.”

Pondexter, with the straightest of faces, called basketball his “obsession” and he felt happy to get back on the floor, if even for a few minutes.

“I love it to death. It’s my life,” Pondexter said. “Basketball is what got me through it---my family and basketball. It was like, ‘How can I make this story even better? Do I quit?’ No. I watched so many inspirational movies, 'Hacksaw Ridge.' They get you through tough times because you say, ‘That’s going to be me.’ I’m going to be able to inspire someone down the road. That’s really helped me.”

A hamstring injury slowed Pondexter in training camp, which would explain his lack of explosive lift in the season opener.

No one was really sure if the Bulls would hold onto him for the season, but it’s clear he holds value beyond the box score. When he finished his media session, Lopez turned to Pondexter and said, “Now you’re stuck with me”, putting his arm around his teammate.

“Being able to play after two and a half years, it feels like hundreds of surgeries, getting traded to this organization. It's been a lot,” Pondexter said. “I wouldn't trade any of that for this moment right now and how I feel in my heart. I can't wait to get on this floor and play with my teammates and try to do something special. The journey is worth it.”