Bulls

Boozer in starting lineup Wednesday vs. Magic

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Boozer in starting lineup Wednesday vs. Magic

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010
Updated 1:45 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

On a day where league-wide focus is on LeBron James much-anticipated return to Cleveland on Thursday night, all eyes in the Windy City are on the Bulls, specifically whether Carlos Boozer makes his season and team debut Wednesday evening at the United Center.

After Mondays practice, Boozers first full-contact session since suffering a broken fifth metacarpal on Oct. 2, the prized offseason acquisition indicated he was optimistic he would suit up against the visiting Magic -- he even made reference to the shellacking the Bulls received in Orlando during the preseason -- on Wednesday. After Tuesdays practice, however, the two-time All-Star tried to temper expectations.

Its still a little sore. I may or may not play Wednesday, but Im hoping this week or this weekend, cautioned Boozer. I feel close.

When its ready, Ill be out there. ... Well just see how it feels, he added. It got hit yesterday, so it was a little sore today. Look, guys -- Ill be out there when Im out there. You guys will know. Hang in there. If you have any questions about Orlando, we can rap about Orlando, but when my hands ready, you guys will know about it.

Despite Boozer emphasizing patience to the media, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was more optimistic.

Well see how it goes Wednesday, but I cant foresee any problems, he said, adding a decision would be made after Boozer warmed up prior to Wednesdays game, which is standard practice for Bulls dealing with injury issues. If hes not having any problems and as long as hes comfortable, were ready to get started.

Boozer gives you a guy you can run pick-and-roll with, you can post him up and we want to be an inside-out team," continued Thibodeau, who also praised Boozers underrated passing ability. "In order to be successful, you have to be well-balanced. We have a great pick-and-roll game with Derrick already. Carlos will only add to it and now well have a stronger low-post game. When you hit him in the post and you cut, if youre open, hes a very willing passer.

Aside from his on-court contributions, Bulls center Joakim Noah also thinks Boozer has added to the teams chemistry.

Carlos is a good dude, said Noah. Hes been on every road trip with us, hes been at every practice. Hes a good leader, hes a good vet to have around and hes definitely going to help us when he steps onto that court.

Whether that day is Wednesday or not, Boozer is chomping at the bit to make his Bulls debut.

I want to play in the worst way. I hate sitting out and I think our whole team is like that. we all want to win. I just want to be out there and be part of it, said Boozer. Im very anxious. Im looking forward to getting out there.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms 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 announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

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USA TODAY

Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

If you haven't heard, Neil Funk is cutting 20 road games from his 2018-19 Bulls' play-by-play schedule.

Friday, the Bulls announced that Adam Amin, Andy Demetra and Kyle Draper will fill in for Funk for the first five of those games.

Amin, a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, will games on Oct. 22 against the Mavericks and Nov. 14 against the Celtics. He grew up in Addison, resides in Chicago and also does play-by-play for Bears preseason games.

Demetra is from Oak Brook and currently is the play-by-play broadcaster for Georgia Tech basketball and football. He will call games on Oct. 26 against the Hornets and Oct. 27 against the Hawks. He has previous play-by-play experience with the SEC Network, Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports South.

Draper will call the Bulls' Nov. 7 game against the Pelicans. He is the Celtics' pregame and postgame host for NBC Sports Boston and an occasional play-by-play annoucer and sideline reporter for the Celtics.

The Bulls said they will continue providing updates on substitute broadcasters as they are scheduled.

Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East

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USA TODAY

Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East

Finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference last season cost Stan Van Gundy his job as Pistons head coach and President of Basketball Operations. Van Gundy was replaced on the bench by 2017-18 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, who was fired after the Raptors were swept by Cleveland in the conference semi-finals.

Casey’s job in Detroit is to find a way to develop the young players on the roster while getting the team to the playoffs. He has a pair of All-Star caliber players in the front court, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, along with highly-paid, erratic point guard Reggie Jackson.

Griffin has battled injuries in recent seasons, but Van Gundy decided to roll the dice at mid-season a year ago by trading Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley AND a 1st round pick to the Clippers for the former slam dunk champion in a desperate bid to save his job. The trade didn’t work out for Van Gundy, but it’s possible Griffin could enjoy a resurgence in Detroit this season.

The 29-year-old power forward scored 26 points, pulled down eight rebounds and dished out six assists in the Pistons’ 103-100 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Drummond had a monster game with 24 points and 20 rebounds. As Bulls fans know all too well, Drummond has made the 20 rebound game commonplace when facing Fred Hoiberg’s squad in recent years.

As for Jackson, a severely sprained right ankle limited him to just 45 games last season, probably costing Detroit a chance to make the playoffs. The 8th year pro is lightning quick, with the ability to disrupt defenses by getting into the paint and challenging bigger defenders at the rim. Jackson scored 19 points in the season opener against Brooklyn, and he’ll be a problem for the Bulls Saturday night, especially if Kris Dunn is unavailable.

Casey is still trying to figure out how to use the rest of the roster Van Gundy built, with recent 1st round pick Henry Ellenson and former rotation player Jon Leuer getting DNP-CD’s against the Nets. Meanwhile, two other expected rotation players, small forward Stanley Johnson and swingman Reggie Bullock missed the opener because of injuries.

That left second year guard Luke Kennard and 2018 2nd round draft pick Bruce Brown as the other starters in game one, something that’s unlikely to continue once everyone’s healthy.

So, how do the Bulls even their record at 1-1 on Saturday? Here are my three keys:

1. Keep Drummond and Griffin off the offensive boards. This is much easier said than done. Drummond in particular is relentless going after missed shots, and his bulk will cause problems for 19 year old rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Hoiberg hinted at possible line-up changes on Friday morning, which could include starting veteran Robin Lopez at center to battle Drummond inside. Griffin has turned into more of a jump shooter now and doesn’t have the multiple jump capability that characterized his early seasons in the NBA, but he’s still a threat to create 2nd shot opportunities.

2. Close out on three-point shooters. Of all the defensive issues for the Bulls in Philadelphia on Thursday, losing touch with shooters in transition was probably the most troublesome. Robert Covington seemed to be open at the three-point line throughout the game, and Bulls players struggled to handle cross-match situations. Kennard had one of the best games of his rookie season against the Bulls, and Jackson, Ish Smith and Langston Galloway are all capable of heating up from long distance.

3. Attack Detroit’s interior defense. The Bulls were at their best offensively in the first quarter against Philadelphia when they drove to the basket to set up easy scoring chances. Zach LaVine was getting to the rim at will in scoring 15 of his 30 points in the opening 12 minutes, and his penetration also set up Bobby Portis for open looks from the three-point line. Hopefully, Dunn will return to stabilize the point guard position and give the Bulls' first unit another shot creator so they can sustain their pace and scoring potential over four quarters.

Saturday’s home opener is definitely winnable against a Detroit team still finding its way under a new coaching staff. Better effort and attention to detail on the defensive end along with a fast-paced, drive and kick offensive attack should make for an exciting opening night at the United Center.

Make sure to join Kendall Gill, Will Perdue, Kelly Crull and me for a special one hour edition of Bulls Pre-Game Live at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago and the new My Teams app, followed by the play by play call with Neil Funk and Stacey King at 7 p.m. And, stay tuned after the final buzzer for reaction and analysis on an expanded edition of Bulls Postgame Live.