Bulls: Rose, Noah have no minute restrictions, Hinrich out


Bulls: Rose, Noah have no minute restrictions, Hinrich out

The narrative surrounding the Bulls now revolves around — what else — their health, as the curiosity with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will no longer be hidden with Game 1 of their playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks just hours away.

Kirk Hinrich is out with a hyperextended left knee and according to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, the reserve guard’s improvement has “sort of plateaued off. He’s been stuck for a few days. Hopefully they can find something to get him better.”

Hinrich suffered his injury in Milwaukee against the Bucks weeks ago and hasn’t been right since. Rose’s final game before the revelation about his torn menial meniscus was a late February game against the Bucks where he shot just 1-for-13, and then this latest odyssey began, leading to this.

But now Rose will play four segments and his playing time will vary depending on his performance, Thibodeau has indicated.

Rose hasn’t played more than 28 minutes in his five games back from injury, a 22-point, eight-assist showing against the Philadelphia 76ers, so it’s not known how much Thibodeau will stretch Rose if he has to in the playoff opener.

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“It’s just him playing well,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll see what he can handle. Same thing with Joakim. From the minutes standpoint, I think we’re in a good place.”

Speaking of Noah, he was in full playoff mode — as in not in the mood to do much talking after morning shootaround — using the phrase “time will tell” repeatedly.

He did reveal he doesn’t have any restrictions on playing time after missing the last two games of the regular season with left hamstring tendinitis.

“Nope, no restrictions,” Noah said.

And when asked about Pau Gasol and Nazr Mohammed having to speak up like they have through the regular season when the Bulls went through their lulls, he ended his media session with this statement:

“It’s the playoffs. Everybody plays basketball this time of year, every basketball fan, everybody’s excited. Trying to stay focused as a unit. Embarking on a young journey.”

Hoiberg, Bulls already facing touch decisions on Opening Night

Hoiberg, Bulls already facing touch decisions on Opening Night

The Bulls’ starting point guard missing the team’s season opener is less than ideal, but that is the dilemma Fred Hoiberg and company are faced with.
Hoiberg made the announcement during shoot around that Kris Dunn would miss the first game of his third NBA season for personal reasons, but noted that his absence is “excused.” 
The Bulls will turn to Cameron Payne as they get set to play the Sixers in Philadelphia Thursday night. The 24-year-old guard out of Murray State will be tasked with running the offense against one of the better defensive teams in the league.
Because of injuries and the numbers game at guard, Payne hasn’t had a chance to show Bulls fans much since he came over from Oklahoma City in a trade that sent Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Thunder.
“I feel like I can be way better,” Payne said when asked about the opportunity to show what he can do. “I know I didn’t make a lot of shots but it’s really not about that. It’s about getting my team involved and make sure everyone gets the ball in their spots to contribute.”
Payne showed flashes over the last 22 games of the 2017-18 season (14 starts), shooting 42 percent from three and averaging 4.6 assists per game in that stretch. The shooting stroke didn’t show up early in the preseason for Payne. 
He was better in the team’s final exhibition against Denver and has shown enough to Hoiberg to earn the starting nod. He’ll have his work cut out for him tonight.
“Obviously we’ve been working on different coverages based on having a full roster, but things like this happen,” Hoiberg said when asked what this does to his game prep. “It’s going to be electric in here. They’re going to come out and play extremely hard and extremely physical. That’s who they are and we have to be ready for that. It’s a little bit of shock and awe with (the Sixers). You have to weather that first storm and hopefully give ourselves a chance with great effort.”
After Payne, the Bulls will have Ryan Arcidiacono as the first point guard off the bench. They’ll also have the services of newcomer Tyler Ulis, who will be in uniform tonight. Hoiberg mentioned that he feels comfortable with Zach Lavine bringing the ball up as well. He also mentioned that Jabari Parker will have his hands on the ball an awful lot with the team’s second unit.
The season hasn’t even started yet and the Bulls are already missing several key players. After an impressive rookie season, Lauri Markkanen will start the season on the shelf with a high grade lateral elbow sprain. Denzel Valentine will also miss tonight’s game with an ankle injury. The team may have Cristiano Felicio, also dealing with an ankle injury, depending on his pregame workout goes.
“It’s not ideal but it is what it is,” Hoiberg said. “It happens at this level. You just have to go out and do the best job you can. It’s an opportunity for our guys to step up with two of our better players out of the lineup – really three with Denzel as a guy that can make plays in that second unit.”   

Bulls will open against Sixers without Kris Dunn


Bulls will open against Sixers without Kris Dunn

The Bulls faced a steep test opening their 2018-19 campaign against the Philadelphia 76ers.

That task won't become any easier with Kris Dunn missing the game for personal reasons, head coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters at shootaround on Thursday.

Dunn's exlusion opens up an opportunity for Cameron Payne, who will enter the starting lineup. Payne started 14 games for the Bulls last season, averaging 9.4 points and 5.6 assists in 26.5 minutes.

It also moves up Ryan Arcidiacono and Tyler Ulis, both of whom will be active, in the rotation. Expect both to see at least some playing time, especially with Denzel Valentine also out while recovering from a sprained ankle suffered in training camp.

It could mean an even bigger evening for Sixers point guard Ben Simmons. The reigning Rookie of the Year posted 19 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists in Philly's season-opening loss to the Celtics on Tuesday.