Bulls

Bulls look to turn the tables on Bobcats

366399.jpg

Bulls look to turn the tables on Bobcats

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011
10:16 a.m.

By Christopher Cason
CSNChicago.com

Returning home after a winning two week west coast road trip, the Bulls now turn their attention to the Charlotte Bobcats as they try to avoid being swept in the season series.

While Charlotte has won the previous two meetings, the Bulls have been a few late game mishaps and a last second shot away from the outcome of those games being in their favor.

In the last game here, the big thing was we turned the ball over and they converted in transition, said Tom Thibodeau about the teams 13 turnovers that Charlotte turned into 16 fastbreak points in the 83-82 loss on Jan. 18. That was the biggest thing that they did against us.

WATCH: Joakim Noah battles Brian Scalabrine in practice

The Bobcats lineup of Stephen Jackson at shooting guard, Gerald Wallace at small forward and Boris Diaw at power forward has given the Bulls trouble with their size and versatility, especially on the defensive ends as theyve been able to switch on pick and rolls and not lose any ground defensively.

Theyre different in the sense that they do a lot of switching defensively, said Thibodeau. I think offensively we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. The turnovers that we had, they were live-ball turnovers. So it put them in the open floor and for us thats a problem. If we can get defensively set, we feel pretty good about our defense but if its in the open floor and it creates three-on-one fastbreak opportunities for them, those breaks are difficult to stop.

WATCH: Taj Gibson honored at CSN Sports Awards

Perhaps, no other Bobcat has benefited more from being cut from Larry Browns control more than third year point guard D.J. Augustine. Hes displayed the floor game under new coach Paul Silas and has seen an increase in not only his production, but his confidence as well.

Augustine has given friend and draft-mate Derrick Rose his share of problems this season as hes averaging 18 points and 8 assists in the two games against Chicago.

Rose, however, is coming off two impressive performances against two of the names that are beginning to get mentioned after his in discussions of the leagues best point guard.

In wins over the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets, Rose finished with averages of 26 points and 6 assists while Deron Williams and Chris Paul finished a combined 26 points and 18 assists on 8-23 shooting from the field.

While Paul and Williams are more highly regarded, the Bulls arent taken Augustine lightly.

READ: Rose's stellar defense on stars quiets criticism

Hes a terrific player, said Thibodeau. Every night, youre faced with those challenges. If you overlook a guy like D.J. Augustine hes terrific. Sometimes, he probably doesnt get the credit that he deserves and when you look at the past couple of years there when Raymond Felton was there, both of them played extremely well and played well together at times. This is a guy whos very confident, hes a good player and he shoots the ball extremely well. If you give him open shots, hes going to make you pay and hes been playing at a very high level for them.

The Bulls are hoping to avoid a letdown in energy after the extended road trip, but wanting to get back at Charlotte for the way theyve lost their past two matchups against them should provide plenty incentive to bring forth their best effort.

They beat us both games, said Rose. We want to get some revenge when we play them and just try to keep it hard on them throughout the entire game. If we come out and play very aggressive and with a lot of energy, I think the game should be very easy for us especially because weve been wanting to play them and we want a little bit of revenge. If our energy is high, we should have no problem.

This will be the second night of a back to back for the Bobcats who come into the game off an impressive 109-89 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

Zach LaVine continues All-Star push with historic outing against Cavaliers

Zach LaVine continues All-Star push with historic outing against Cavaliers

Forget statement games, Zach LaVine is having a statement month. 

In 10 January games, the Bulls’ 6-foot-6 messiah is the fourth-leading scorer in the NBA, averaging 30.6 points on 50% shooting (22.8 attempts). 

To borrow a word from Jim Boylen, his latest installment — 42 points on 19-for-31 shooting in a game the Bulls clawed back from down 19 in the second half to topple the Cavaliers 118-116 — was “herculean.”

“If that's not an all-star performance I don't know what is,” Boylen said. “He’s been a monster, man. He’s been a monster.”

To LaVine, there isn’t much supernatural about these types of nights; he’s been preaching his confidence and readiness to carry this team since day one. LaVine scored 21 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter, and on a night he conceded his legs were a tad worn, he attempted only six 3-pointers, instead finding most of his offense in the midrange and at the rim.

“Make or break time, we're not gonna get back in the game by just playing nicely. So I'm gonna attack their body, try to make them make a call. Had some tough finishes, made some tough shots, but I take that upon myself,” LaVine said. 

“Just playing the right way,” he added of his recent torrid streak. “I expect to. I put the work in for it.”

But All-Star berths and widespread acclaim aren’t dolled out based on individual point totals, alone, regardless of how effortless LaVine’s prolificity looks at times. And LaVine knows that. Casting the 42 points aside, he also finished the night with a team-high six rebounds, five steals and three assists. He was all-encompassing. Michael Jordan is the only player in Bulls history to post a line with those minimums in a game.

His contributions to a tightly clamped Bulls defense in the fourth were note-worthy for a player that's often advertised his motivation to grow as a two-way, all-around player. And most importantly, the game ended in victory.

“He [LaVine] wants to win. And he knows in order to win you gotta do multiple things in this league and I feel like he did that tonight,” Kris Dunn said. “He was guarding today, scoring the ball, getting rebounds, getting guys involved. We need that from him.”

LaVine lauded the Bulls’ new-look closing lineup of he, Dunn, Tomas Satoransky, Chandler Hutchison and Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls ventured to switch pick-and-rolls with that lineup late, as opposed to their usual blitzing, and outscored the Cavaliers 31-14 in the final period while forcing 10 turnovers.

“We made a lot of defensive stops, we got in transition. Chandler [Hutchison] came in and made some really big plays. Kris Dunn on the defensive end was incredible,” LaVine said. “And that helped me even recently get in some passing lanes. We put it together in the fourth.”

Tonight marked LaVine’s third 40-point game of the season and tenth straight with more than 20. His 31 field goal attempts were a season-high, three more than he hoisted in his record smashing 49-point night in Charlotte. Night in, night out, the on-court production and responsibility acceptance is there. But behind the scenes, he’s ever-improving, as well.

“He's been talking in the huddles, he's been chattering, he's been locked in,” Boylen said. “He's bouncing back from maybe a poor moment or a bad stretch. He's bouncing back now, he's not playing backward at all. And that's what the great ones do.”

“I stepped into this year from the get-go using my voice more, and you know, I've never been a real vocal person but you know, when I say something I think my voice carries weight,” LaVine added.

LaVine isn’t getting ahead of himself. He called this win — however exhilarating — an “ugly” one and lamented the familiar lackluster play that dug the Bulls their 18-point halftime deficit to begin with.

Still, the statements are piling up. If his overall outing wasn’t enough, LaVine offered another one to the United Center crowd after his final bucket of the evening, an and-one finish through Collin Sexton with 16 seconds remaining to put him over 40 points and the Bulls ahead by four.

What did he say?

“You want the explicit version or the PG-13?” LaVine said with a chuckle. “This my stuff.” 

Continuing to stuff stat sheets, as he has been, is going to make All-Star jurors’ lives that much more difficult.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine makes All-Star statement in win over Cavs

bulls_outsiders_podcast_website_listen_now.jpg
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine makes All-Star statement in win over Cavs

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine react to the Bulls 118-116 win over the Cavs.

1:00        On Zach LaVine and his 42 point effort

2:00        Big Dave does LaVine highlites

4:20        Viewer comment on how much of a boost LaVine will get to his All-Star bid

7:30        On the new lineup in the 4th quarter

8:20        Viewer question on LaVine being the #1 option on a winning team

11:30     Viewer comment on if LaVine can lead Bulls into playoffs

14:45     Viewer comment on Markkanen in the 2nd half

16:30     On Boylen’s timeout usage at the end of the game

18:45     Breaking news: Kendall Gill wants to know if Matt Peck saw what Derrick Rose did tonight

21:45     Viewer comment on Bulls waking up in the 4th quarter

23:30     Viewer comment on if Thibs was coaching Kris Dunn

24:20     On Olympic swimmer Ryan Held wearing a Ryan Arcidiacono rookie jersey

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Outsiders

Subscribe:

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.