Fire

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Pacers Game 4

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Pacers Game 4

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 11:49 a.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com
1. In the aftermath of Roses 4-for-18 shooting night Thursday, Thibodeau was still impressed with some of the more underrated aspects of his floor generals game, especially his much-improved ability to draw fouls. Thats who he is. Derricks going to attack the basket, get fouled, hes going to go to the line and come back, and do it again and again and again. To me, thats toughness, said Thibodeau of Rose, who is 44-for-49 from the charity stripe through three postseason contests. Hes been a great leader all year. Its something that hes worked hard at. I think hes gotten better and better as the seasons gone along. Hes very aggressive, hes strong, quick, he can read defenses and he makes good decisions once he gets in there. Thibodeau was also complimentary of Roses floor leadership and poise despite the pounding hes taking at the hands of the Pacers. Its not just the attacking of the rimobviously thats importantbut its decision-making, also. When you look at fourth-quarter scoring, youre seeing that Kyles getting a lot of good shots, Luols gotten good shots, Carlos is getting good shots, so hes doing a great job of running the team, Thibodeau explained. He is human. Hes going to say what he has to say, but I love his poise and his demeanor. To me, hes always under control. Thats a hard thing to do. Theyre taking shots at him, but it says a lot about his toughness. Hes as tough as they come, both mentally and physically, so he wont get discouraged and I think you all saw that he wasnt making shots, but he ran the team great in the fourth quarter, made all the right plays, made the tough plays and again, he doesnt get discouraged.

2. After reviewing two fouls by Pacers big man Jeff Foster from Thursdays gameone on Rose and the other on Deng; the mild-mannered Rose confronted Foster after being elbowed in the face, while Deng writhed in pain after being clobbered over the headthe NBA upgraded both calls to flagrant fouls Friday. In the postseason, players are suspended after accumulating four flagrant-foul pointsin Fosters case, he now has two, since both were flagrant onesbefore getting suspended, an unlikely occurrence for the veteran Pacer, as Indiana is one game away from being eliminated from the playoffs. Let the league make those decisions, said Thibodeau. Were getting to the line. I think we can get to the line more. Added Boozer: Hes doing what hes got to do for his team and were going to do what weve got to do for ours I love it when they let us play, get down, get dirty and have a chance to be men out there. Its fun.
3. Speaking of the physical play in the series, Noah took exception to the perception that the Pacers are dictating the level of toughness in the series. The physicalitys good. I feel like our physicalitys pretty good, too. Theres a reason why theyre playing like that. Were kicking their tails on the boards and weve got a point guard thats gets to the rim at will, so theyve got to do something, said Noah. Noah, who recorded a double-double Thursday, appears to be thriving off of the intensity of the matchup and subsequently regaining the form that earned him recognition in the league. Hes coming back. Hes tipping the ball, blocking shots, running, running with you on fast breaks, setting the picks, giving you extra possessions to score the ball. Hes doing a lot for us and his conditioning is better, getting back to where it used to be, Rose noted. Thibodeau chimed in: His energy was great. I thought he was active, shot-blocking, pursued the ball, made some good plays and again, as time goes on, I think hell get better and better.

4. Thibodeau also had strong praise for the performance of his role players Thursday. Keith makes three threes, he guards hard, you can put him on anybody. Taj was terrific. Taj has been playing well, very well. But because of Carlos foul trouble, he got in earlier, shot-blocking, active, all those things. C.J., in the short minutes that he had, I thought he played well. We got a look at C.J. with Derrick a little bit and I thought that was pretty good. The bench has been terrific, said the coach. Weve said this all along: We need everybody. Even the guys that arent playing, theyre doing a good job of helping the guys stay ready and keeping everybody in tune with everything thats going on.

5. Dont forget to follow me on Twitter at @CSNBullsInsider.

Bastian Schweinsteiger finally sees the field in Fire preseason

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USA TODAY

Bastian Schweinsteiger finally sees the field in Fire preseason

Coach Veljko Paunovic still went with a second-choice lineup to start the Fire's preseason match against USL expansion team Nashville SC on Wednesday, but the second half featured the first preseason action for Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Schweinsteiger came on for the second half, along with Nemanja Nikolic, Johan Kappelhof and a few other Fire regulars. The German sat out the first four preseason games, but looked sharp in his 45 minutes.

One of the highlights was this smooth move between two defenders:

Schweinsteiger also had an impressive switch pass to set up a shot for second-round pick Diego Campos in the final minutes of the game. Campos drilled the shot on target, but was unable to beat the goalkeeper.

The team did not say Schweinsteiger was injured despite the repeated absences in matches. The Fire have dealt with injuries to Matt Polster, Luis Solignac, Daniel Johnson and rookie Grant Lillard this preseason. None of those four, along with Dax McCarty, played in the 0-0 draw.

The Fire next play Saturday at Orlando in a final match in Florida before returning to Chicago. The Fire also play Tulsa, the team's USL affiliate, at Toyota Park on March 3 before taking on Sporting Kansas City in the season opener on March 10.

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

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AP

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

The Bulls made headlines on Tuesday when VP John Paxson announced that David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne would be entering the rotation, thus continuing the youth movement in Chicago.

On the surface the moves make sense. The 24-year-old Nwaba, the 25-year-old Felicio and the 23-year-old Cameron Payne will be replacing 28-year-old Justin Holiday, 29-year-old Robin Lopez and 25-year-old Jerian Grant. The Bulls want to see what they have in these younger players who haven't played much; they already know what they have in Lopez and Holiday, and Grant (like the other two) is under contract through next year.

OK, got that? Here's why they're making the move: they're sitting 8th in the NBA Lottery standings and really want to move into the top-5 to give themselves a chance at what should be a loaded front-end of the draft class. It's pretty obvious, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either named Gar Forman, John Paxson or Fred Hoiberg.

And here's why: On Wednesday Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined a whopping $600,000 by the NBA for comments he made on a podcast regarding tanking. The Mavericks are currently 18-40, the third worst record in the NBA. This comes a season after they finished 33-49, netting them the No. 9 pick that turned into talented point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

So when Cuban was asked about the best interests of his Dallas team, which touts young talent but clearly isn't headed for the postseason in 2018, he said this on the House Call with Dr. J Podcast:

"I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs. I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option. [Commissioner] Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that's the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability."

Cuban isn't wrong, and the Mavericks sure as hell aren't the only team tanking. But to come right now and admit that losing is the team's best option wasn't, as Cuban predicted, going to sit well with the league office.

Commissioner Adam Silver sent out a memo with the fine that said Cuban's comments "which concerned his perspective on the team's competitive success this season" were "detrimental to the NBA."

So while the Bulls are going about their business in trying to lose as many games down the stretch as possible, don't expect anyone to admit it's the reason behind their personnel moves. There are 600,000 reasons why.