Bulls

Hawks rookies excited for playoff debut

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Hawks rookies excited for playoff debut

GLENDALE, Ariz. Andrew Shaw couldnt get any more excited about his first postseason game tonight. He thought about it last night before he went to bed, thought about it again when he woke up in the morning.

So, it was a restless nights sleep for the rookie?

No, I got lots of sleep. I wanted to go to bed at 10 last night, thats how tired I was, the Blackhawks forward said. So no nap for me today.

As excited as he and Brandon Bollig are to make their NHL playoff debuts tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes, it hasnt stopped them from getting their rest and going through their usual routines. And the way the rookies are handling the pomp and circumstance around the postseason should bode well for how they handle the games themselves.

Obviously Im pretty hyped up to keep going, but you have to take it as another game, said Bollig, who will be trying to make sure no one takes advantage of Jonathan Toews in his first game back from a concussion. You just want to keep your mind ready and stay well rested.

The energy and aggressiveness the two have brought the Blackhawks was pivotal down the regular-season stretch. Now, as they go into the playoffs, they want to keep that exuberance but avoid getting overzealous.

The first series, in particular, it can be physical with a lot of intensity. We want to make sure discipline is key, coach Joel Quenneville said. Thats our concentration no matter who we play. Careless, needless penalties can change things and turn games a certain way, so dont do it. We want to be hard to play against, go into the tough areas, and we dont want to take away from their strengths. But find that line and stay as close to it without pushing it.

Shaw said hes talked to some of the Blackhawks veterans, and understands what its going to take.

They say its a lot more energetic game and thats my game. They say everyone steps up now, he said. Its that much more exciting and physical out there. Im excited to get started.

Lauri Markkanen has career-high 26 points in loss to Suns

Lauri Markkanen has career-high 26 points in loss to Suns

Lauri Markkanen continues to impress.

The 20-year-old rookie had a career-high 26 points in the Bulls' 113-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. He also picked up 13 rebounds.

After the game, in which the Bulls fell to 3-11 on the season, coach Fred Hoiberg had high praise for the Finnish.

"I thought Lauri was phenomenal," Hoiberg said. "But when he is open, we gotta get him the ball. When he's got it rolling like he did tonight, guys were switching and we had him a couple of times with the point guard buried in his back and we didn't get him the ball."

Watch what Hoiberg had to say about the Bulls' tight loss in the video above.

Road Ahead: Bulls prep for Lonzo Ball and the Lakers

Road Ahead: Bulls prep for Lonzo Ball and the Lakers

The Bulls have a busy week ahead of them.

It will kick off on Tuesday when Fred Hoiberg & Co. take on Lonzo Ball and the Lakers in Los Angeles.

After that, the Bulls will head to Utah and face the Jazz on Wednesday, followed by the defending champ Golden State Warriors on Friday. Both games — against the Jazz and Warriors — will be on NBC Sports Chicago, and streaming live on the NBC Sports app.

See what Mark Schanowski, Vincent Goodwill, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue had to say about the upcoming week in the latest Honda Road Ahead.