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Bulls' Rose, Gibson Enjoy All-Star Weekend

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Bulls' Rose, Gibson Enjoy All-Star Weekend

Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010
3:53 P.M.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

With two players actively participating in the NBAs All-Star festivities, the Bulls are represented well in Dallas this weekend.

Rookie Taj Gibson played in Friday nights Rookie-Sophomore Challenge, and while it wasnt necessarily the blue-collar forwards preferred type of game, he did contribute to his rookie teams 140-127 win over some of the leagues best second-year playersminus, of course, his teammate Derrick Rose, who was excused from the game to concentrate on todays event, the actual All-Star Game.

In over nine minutes of action, Gibson came up with six points and two rebounds, and was praised by Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, a guest analyst during the game, for his shooting ability. Sacramento Kings point guardand current Rookie of the Year frontrunnerTyreke Evans won the games MVP award with a 26-point (on 11-15 shooting), six-board, five-assist effort, while San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blairs 22 points and 23 rebounds was also outstanding. Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings chipped in with 22 points and eight assists, and Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden added 22 of his own for the Rookie team. For the Sophomores, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 40 points, and received help from Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley, who contributed 26 in a losing effort.

Rose, Chicagos other All-Star participant, was replaced in last nights Skills Competitionhe won the event last yearby the Thunders Westbrook. Phoenix Suns veteran point guard Steve Nash ended up winning the competition. Despite Roses bruised right hipsuffered in a collision with the Magics Howard in the Bulls home loss to Orlando on WednesdayChicagos first All-Star since 1998 confirmed yesterday that he will play in tonights star-studded contest.

According to reports, Rose didnt show any ill effects from the injury at yesterdays Eastern Conference All-Star practice. Although hes coming off an injury, expect Rosewho was clearly excited to play in his first All-Star Game, as he stated before Wednesdays gameto give it a strong effort in the glorified pick-up game, even if hes not his usual full-throttle self. However, the combination of being a young player on a team with well-established veterans and Magic coach Stan Van Gundywho will coach the East teamperhaps feeling bad about overworking Rose after personally witnessing the injury could limit the Bulls guards minutes, although older players wanting to rest could force his hand.

On another note, the All-Star break is known for being somewhat of a networking party among the leagues executives, especially with the NBA trade deadline coming up later this week. The blockbuster deal between Dallas and Washingtonthe Mavericks sent Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton to the nations Capital for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and cashmay have broken the ice, with a rumored swap involving Phoenix All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland perhaps imminent.

While teams are fond of blowing smoke and rumored deals more often than not dont happen, Chicago reportedly is considering a variety of moves, according to league sources. The trade most frequently discussed is disgruntled forward Tyrus Thomaswith other pieces, to make the deal work for salary concernsbeing traded to the Knicks for forward Al Harrington and possibly other less notable New York players. Although guard Kirk Hinrich has been bandied about as a likely resident of a new city, sources say reserve swingman John Salmons is more of a preferred option to be moved, say sources, while rumors of Luol Deng being on the block are less about Chicago shopping the small forward than other teams asking about him.

Regardless, with labor negotiations between the players union and the league also occurring over the weekenda new collective-bargaining agreement is another story for another timeteams are especially conscious of clearing salary for this summer, as arguably the most talented class of free agents in NBA history will be on the market. The Bulls are no exception, so while Thomas departure this week is almost a given, it would no surprise to see another core player leave the Windy City, too.

Now, however, isnt the time to worry about that. Enjoy Derrick Roses outing this evening and be thankful for the fact that while the rest of the nation (and world) get to watch him on a big stage tonight, Chicagoans get to marvel at his feats on a regular basis.

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 and read his Running with the Bulls blog.

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.