Bears

Can Deng keep up early-season scoring pace?

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Can Deng keep up early-season scoring pace?

The season is still young, but through the Bulls first two games, Luol Deng - not reigning league MVP Derrick Rose - is leading the team in scoring.

Now, thats likely to change - after Roses nine-turnover game against Golden State last season, he scored 36 points and with his pledge to be more aggressive after Mondays loss to the Warriors, the All-Star point will attempt to take out his frustrations on the Kings - but Dengs early-season contributions only illustrates how important the underrated small forward is to the Bulls.

The native of Sudan came under much criticism in the wake of his long-term contract extension and subsequent injuries, but after arguably the best campaign of his eight-year career last season -- in which he played in all 82 regular-season games -- he should garner more praise, which I did recently in a column on Dengs qualifications to be the teams secondary scorer.

Take a look at his outings in the season's first two games: Deng poured in 21 points (second on the team to only Rose's 22) as part of his clutch performance in the season-opening comeback win against the Lakers on Christmas Day, then followed that up the next night with a game-high 22 in the loss to the Warriors, where he was seemingly the lone Bulls starter not out of sorts on offense.

However, with the addition of shooting guard Rip Hamilton and power forward Carlos Boozers presence, where will Deng fall in the Bulls pecking order of scorers?

Chime in here on Bulls Talk at CSNChicago.com and share your opinion in the comments section below.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Teddy Bridgewater too expensive for the Bears?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Teddy Bridgewater too expensive for the Bears?

Laurence Holmes, JJ Stankevitz and Mark Grote join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The pressure continues to mount on Rob Manfred as the Astros scandal lingers. He apologized on Tuesday but should that be enough for him to keep his job?

17:00 - Drew Brees is heading back to New Orleans, so Teddy Bridgewater will be looking for a new home. The guys discuss if he'll be too expensive for the Bears. if he is, who could come to Chicago to join Mitch in the QB room at Halas Hall?

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Bulls coach Jim Boylen stumps for Rudy Tomjanovich's Hall of Fame bid

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USA Today

Bulls coach Jim Boylen stumps for Rudy Tomjanovich's Hall of Fame bid

In case you forgot, Jim Boylen once worked for Rudy Tomjanovich. In fact, the former Rockets coach gave Boylen his NBA start, hiring him as an assistant coach and video coordinator way back in 1992.

Boylen saw first-hand the coaching chops and commitment Tomjanovich displayed as the Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles while Michael Jordan was playing baseball in the mid-1990s. So it's beyond loyalty when Boylen says he believes, like many others, that Tomjanovich belongs in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The organization named Tomjanovich a finalist over All-Star weekend in Chicago.

[RELATED: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett highlight Hall of Fame finalists]

"He's deserving," Boylen said. "I don't know why he's not in there yet. It doesn't make sense to me. Two championships, a gold medal."

That's a reference to Tomjanovich coaching USA Basketball's gold-medal winning team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Tomjanovich is an occasional visitor to the Advocate Center to watch Boylen.

"What he did with those Rockets teams and his playoff games — sixth seed in '95 — nobody's duplicated that. To win it from the sixth seed, play on the road like we did," Boylen said. "He has an unbelievable record in elimination games, which I think is a true test of your coaching and being able to communicate your message. I think he's getting in."

Does Boylen possess inside information?

"No," Boylen said, smiling. "He's due."

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