The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Cavs

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Cavs

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
12:38 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
1. Bulls center Joakim Noah concurred with his coach's opinion about Wednesday's game.

"The Bulls are just trying to get a win. It's an important game for us. They're still in our division and they're very capable. They have a lot of offensive firepower and they're very well-coached. We've just got to come with the right energy and the right focus," Noah told CSNChicago.com before the team's shootaround Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena. "The goal is always the same. It's to try to win a basketball game. That's what we're here to do and we've got to come with the right mindset and get ready to play."

2. Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer spent his first two NBA seasons in Cleveland after the Cavaliers selected him in the second round of the 2002 NBA Draft. Prior to Wednesday's shootaround, Boozer spoke to CSNChicago.com about his favorite memories of his experience in Cleveland.

"Just getting drafted. Sitting there and got that phone call from Cleveland that they were going to draft me. I actually played for Bulls reserve point guard John's Lucas III dad former NBA player and coach John Lucas. That's how I know 'Luke' so good. His dad drafted me and I had chance to come here and get to the NBA, so I've always got great memories here and a great level of respect for the organization," said Boozer. "I wanted to prove to everybody that passed me up in the first round that I was good enough to be at this level and I still wear that chip on my shoulder today, to be honest with you. I was proud that the Cavs drafted me. They gave me an opportunity to get down, so for me, I took the pride every night to prove that I was good enough to be here."

3. Thibodeau's opposing coach in the matchup, Byron Scott, has a reputation for turning moribund squads around as a head coach.

"To me, he's an excellent coach. He prepares his team well, they always play hard, they play unselfishly and they'll get better as the season goes along," said Thibodeau of Magic Johnson's former backcourt mate with the Showtime-era Lakers, who took the lowly New Jersey Nets to two NBA Finals with Jason Kidd at point guard and briefly made the New Orleans Hornets a Western Conference contender with Chris Paul running the show.
4. Thibodeau highlighted third-year power forward Hickson as a player to be watched carefully.

"He's got great quickness at his position, so his reaction to the ball is excellent. He can face up, he can drive the ball hard, he's got a good low-post game, get to the jump hook. If he gets deep post position on you, he can hurt you and he's quick -- he can out-quick people -- so you've got to be down and ready on the catch. He's getting better and better as a young player," said Thibodeau. Averaging 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his first season as a full-time starter -- he started in Shaquille O'Neal's absence and prior to Cleveland's trade deadline acquisition of Antawn Jamison, but was demoted prior to the playoffs, a questionable move since the Cavs' front office was loath to include him in a potential trade for Amar'e Stoudemire -- Hickson is regarded as the team's player with the best long-term potential, although his rebounding and defense has been criticized by new coach Scott.

5. Don't forget to follow me at @CSNBullsInsider.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's 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.

Bulls continue stockpiling young point guards


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


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.