Bulls

Bulls look for fourth straight road win

983227.png

Bulls look for fourth straight road win

The Bulls more resolved their struggles at home with a franchise record-setting performance, and they'll now have a chance to tie their longest road winning streak of the season when they take on the Raptors tonight on Comcast SportsNet.
After losing two straight inside the United Center, the Bulls' defense made sure not to make it three, allowing just 58 points in a 39-point blowout win over the Hawks on Monday. It was the fewest points allowed by Chicago in franchise history, and the Bulls grabbed an incredible 59 rebounds -- including 29 from Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah -- in the win.
Tom Thibodeau's group surprisingly has had less to prove on the road in 2012-'13, picking up wins in 10 of 15 tries thus far. That 10-5 mark is tops in the East, and behind only Oklahoma City (12-5) and the Los Angeles Clippers (11-5) for NBA road supremacy.
And while tonight's opponent, the 14-23 Raptors, don't seem like much of a test on paper, their 10-8 home record has paced them. It's never easy for teams to cross the border to play one game and come right home, as two of those losses have come in overtime, and just two others have been by double-digits. The Raptors will be comfortable, too, having played six straight home games to start 2013 before a matchup last night in Brooklyn, which they lost 113-106.
And with former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani and 2011 first round pick Jonas Valanciunas out, Toronto -- much like Chicago -- is relying on their pair of bigs to hold down the defense in the frontcourt. Ed Davis is averaging 13.6 points and 8.4 rebounds in 33 minutes in January, while fill-in center Amir Johnson has gone for 15.0 points and 8.1 rebounds in 31 minutes a night since the calendar flipped to 2013.
At the beginning of the year, the pair of lanky 6-foot-10 forwards were expected to spell each other, but have been forced into more significant roles and minutes and have answered the bell. The Raptors are just a marginal rebounding team, but have improved since Davis and Johnson saw an uptick in minutes. Depth is thin in the frontcourt -- they have Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy behind those two -- but they're playing well inside.
But those two aren't the only successful duo in the Raptors' rotation. Point guards Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon also have formed a pairing, in the backcourt, that has the Raptors still in contention for the No. 8 seed in the East -- currently they sit 5.5 games back.
Lowry was the major addition to the Toronto roster this offseason, and he exploded out of the gates, averaging 23.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists through the first three games. But a right ankle sprain cost him six games in November, and a right shoulder injury midway through December kept him out of action for seven more.
His numbers have been solid -- 13.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists -- but since he returned from his shoulder injury, he's been relegated to the bench in favor of Calderon. The seventh year veteran has long been considered one of the more underrated point guards in the league, and he thrived when Lowry was shelved with his respective injuries. In 22 starts this year, he's averaging 12.4 points and 10.2 assists. Off the bench (15 games), his numbers dip to 8.1 points and 4.2 assists.
Lowry is capable of playing the "two-guard," and both have seen time on the court together, but the two-headed attack of Lowry and Calderon has helped an otherwise average offense.
The two are questionable for tonight's affair, as Lowry suffered a sprained left ankle early against the Nets (that he played through), and Calderon suffered a hip injury he also did not come out for. The two are game-time decisions tonight, and if they cannot go former Bulls point guard John Lucas III would get the start. The offensive spark has averaged 4.2 points and 1.7 assists in 11 minutes per game.
See if the Bulls can continue their impressive play away from the United Center and pick up a win out of the country tonight on Comcast SportsNet.

Paul Zipser says he is unlikely to return to Bulls

zipser618.jpg
USA TODAY

Paul Zipser says he is unlikely to return to Bulls

Just two years after being drafted in the second round, Paul Zipser told German media that he doesn’t see the Bulls wanting him next season.

The Bulls have until mid-July to pick up Zipser's option.

"I would not be surprised if they no longer want me.” Zipser said in German and translated via Google Translate

“Actually, I'm pretty sure I will not play in Chicago soon.”

Last month, Zipser had surgery on his fractured left foot, in his native country of Germany, which grew speculation the Bulls wouldn’t pick up his player option for next season. Zipser said the surgery "went perfectly."

Zipser showed some flashes of potential in his rookie season, averaging 5.5 per game and 2.8 rebounds in 44 games. But this past season, he played more games, but injuries derailed him from improving his overall production. He finished with four points and 2.4 rebounds in 54 games, including 12 starts.

Zipser explained that things changed from his first year to his second year.

“They were very varied," Zipser said. "The first year was just going very well. I fought my way into the team from the beginning and showed how I can help the team. The Bulls just needed someone like me. That's why it worked so well. We benefited from each other - that's why we were successful.”

“That was very different. It was not right from the beginning, and I was already struggling with my injury. It was not quite clear what it is. If you have pain in your foot, you automatically go down a bit with intensity. You just do not want to hurt yourself and be completely out. It was then difficult for me to keep my head in the sport - I did not manage that well. Nevertheless, the injury should not be an excuse.”

Nothing is official yet, but it sounds like Zipser might not dress up in a Bulls uniform next year.

Former Bulls guard opens up about having depression

nate_robinson_story.jpg
AP

Former Bulls guard opens up about having depression

During his NBA career, he was known as having a joking, outgoing, clown-type of personality. Now, former NBA point guard Nate Robinson opened up about having depression.

Robinson, an 11-year NBA veteran, told Bleacher Report that he began going to therapy sessions in the 2012-13 season when he played for the Bulls.

He said he would struggle with having an angel and a demon inside of him.

"The NBA gave me my depression," Robinson told Bleacher Report. "I've never been a depressed person in my life."

"The hardest thing in my whole life, of my 34 years in existence on earth, was dealing with 11 years in the NBA of trying to be somebody that [NBA coaches] want me to be," Robinson said.

When Robinson was with the Bulls, he said he would sit in front of the plane so he wouldn’t be tempted to crack jokes. His one year with the Bulls ended up being one of the top seasons statistically in his career. He averaged just over 13 points and four assists per game. He played in all 82 games (starting 23) on a team that finished 45-37 with a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

He thought his behavior was always looked down upon, and Robinson thought he was being punished for his actions.

“It’s like Spider-Man, that Venom. I never wanted that Venom outfit to just consume me,” he says. “I wanted to be Spider-Man. I wanted to be positive. I never wanted that dark side to come out because I know what that dark side could do.” 

This might come as a surprise for NBA fans, knowing how energetic Robinson was on the court, no matter what team he was a part of.

Even though Robinson is just 5-foot-9, he brought a spark of energy when he came into the game.

He hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2015-16 season with the Pelicans and spent last year with the Delaware 87ers in the G League.

Robinson is known for his participation in the NBA Slam Dunk competition. He won three contests, going back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.

One highlight was Robinson jumping over Dwight Howard in 2009, which ultimately gave Robinson his third title. Another highlight is welcoming former 1986 Slam Dunk Champion Spud Webb on the floor in 2006 and jumping over him.

Robinson is still vying for a comeback to the NBA.