With Derrick Rose a last-second scratch, E'Twaun Moore steps forward


With Derrick Rose a last-second scratch, E'Twaun Moore steps forward

Derrick Rose was announced as a late scratch with right hamstring tendinitis, about 45 minutes before the Bulls’ win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

It’s the second game Rose has missed this month, his best statistical month since the 2011-12 season before the first of his three knee injuries. Taking the game off before the start of a three-games-in-four-night stretch seems to be the aim, as he said his body doesn’t feel 100 percent and he doesn’t want to risk serious injury.

“A little bit yesterday (Tuesday) after we practiced, while we were practicing. Then this morning, that’s when I really felt it,” he said. “Just don’t want to take any risks.”

Pau Gasol was battling the flu and was a game-time decision, but was in the starting lineup against the Wizards, a team chasing the Bulls for the eighth playoff spot.

With the Bulls’ 109-104 win, they rose from eighth to sixth in the East, so every game is of the essence.

The Bulls will travel to Atlanta on Thursday for a game against the Hawks on Friday, then return home to play the surging Portland Trailblazers on Saturday, where Damian Lillard looks to give Rose all he can handle if they match up.

“I’m taking it one day at a time, trying not to risk it,” Rose said. “That’s what it’s all about, just reading my body.”

[MORE BULLS: Taj Gibson leads short-handed Bulls in surprising win over Wizards]

Rose is averaging 21.9 points, 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds this month on 44-percent shooting, so making sure he doesn’t disrupt momentum appears to be the main goal.

“I love the way I’m playing. I feel like I’m playing to win,” Rose said. “I feel like I’m in a good mood, great place mentally. Just trying not to risk all of it by just going out there and playing crazy.”

E’Twaun Moore stepped up in Rose's absence, which came as a surprise to most but not Moore, who’s been playing in the starting lineup for awhile and just so happened to slide over to point guard in this pinch.

He tied for a team-best 17 points.

“Just knowing I can play,” said Moore when asked where his confidence comes from. “Every time I played I’ve been productive. It’s not like I haven’t done it before or haven’t played in games. It’s my fifth year, they think it’s my second year. I’ve been other places and had big games before.”

Scoring eight in the fourth quarter against John Wall, he got in the crevices of the defense and made some momentum-turning plays, but did it calmly without being frenetic.

“It’s in you. It’s either in you or not,” Moore said. “It’s no other way around it for me. I’ve never been scared for any opportunity.

“I definitely look forward to it. It gets me going. When things get tight, everybody excited. I love it.”

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Moore had his hands full on the other end with Wall and didn’t allow Wall to perform his usual end-to-end theatrics, earning the respect of all his teammates.

“He guards the best wing. He puts points on the board. Listens to the coach, never complains,” Taj Gibson said. “He’s always there to help. The biggest thing is he never complains. When he knows one of our players messed up on coverage, he never complains. He does his job like a true professional.”

And while he comes across very smooth and not boastful, don’t think Moore doesn’t want to show how good he believes he is at every opportunity — you just won’t hear him because he whispers.

“I talk. I talk a little bit. Not a lot, a little bit,” Moore said with a smile. “It’s just my personality. I’m laid back. I’m not quiet. I talk a little bit, I’m just not loud.”

Bulls sign local product Tyler Ulis to two-way deal

Bulls sign local product Tyler Ulis to two-way deal

The NBA preseason has finished and teams are finalizing their rosters before the beginning of the regular season.

For the Bulls, that meant claiming Tyler Ulis off waivers and signing him to a two-way contract.

The Athletic's Shams Charania first reported the move.

Ulis, a product of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, was waived by the Warriors on Friday. He spent two years at Kentucky before getting drafted in the second round by the Phoenix Suns in 2016.

In two years with the Suns, Ulis made 58 starts and played in 132 games. He averaged just over 7 points per game in both seasons. Last season, Ulis also averaged 4.4 assists per game against 1.8 turnovers in 23.4 minutes per game.

The Suns waived Ulis after the season and the Warriors signed him for the preseason. He averaged 3 points and 1.5 assists per game in four preseason games with the Warriors.

The two-way contract means Ulis could be spending more time with the Windy City Bulls than at the United Center on game days, but backup point guard is a question mark for the Bulls. Cam Payne looks like he will get first crack at the role behind Kris Dunn with Denzel Valentine injured. Ryan Arcidiacono just made the team and could also figure into point guard minutes.

Ryan Arcidiacono's persistence pays off with roster spot inclusion

Ryan Arcidiacono's persistence pays off with roster spot inclusion

Cuts during the NBA preseason aren’t exactly as gut-wrenching and tension-filled as they are in the NFL. NBA teams cut from somewhere in the late teens down to 15, and the potential for two-way contracts exist for those players who don’t make the roster. But for Ryan Arcidiacono, Saturday was filled with angst as he waited for a call. It never came.

“I was thinking about it. It’s like Hard Knocks when you’re watching. You don’t want to get that phone call,” Arcidiacono said Sunday before practice. “I was just thinking to myself after the game (Friday), nobody said anything to me. I was talking to (assistant) Pete (Myers) and he said, ‘Just get outta here, man. I’ll see you at practice on Sunday.’ I was still a little nervous on Friday night. Saturday morning I felt better after I talked to my agent and everything became more official.”

It’s quite the journey for Arcidiacono, who spent time both with the Bulls and their G-League affiliate in Hoffman Estates last season. In 37 starts with the Windy City Bulls, Arcidiacono averaged 13.9 points and 8.5 assists in 39.6 minutes. His two longest stints in Chicago came in late January and at the end of the year, and that 24-game audition was enough for the Bulls to re-sign him in July.

Arcidiacono found more comfort this summer in Year 2 with the Bulls. Though his playing time in the preseason was limited he showed enough in camp to warrant a spot on the roster. It also helped that the Bulls find themselves thin at the point guard position behind Kris Dunn, with Cameron Payne struggling and Denzel Valentine on the mend with an ankle injury.

“I think last year really helped me with the two-way, getting acclimated with what Fred wants to do,” he said. “I think getting up and down with the G League. (Head coach) Charlie (Henry) really helped me a lot. Knowing our point guard situation, I just tried to be the hardest playing guy on the floor anytime I step on and the rest will take care of itself.”

It’s unknown whether Arcidiacono’s stint in Chicago will last. His contract will be guaranteed on January 10. He’s an important body for now with Lauri Markkanen out for the foreseeable future and Valentine still recovering from his own injury. But he’ll also have the opportunity to push Payne for that back-up role. Payne struggled much of the preseason, averaging 4.2 points and 3.2 assists on just 25 percent shooting.

“Arci has done a lot of really good things,” Hoiberg said. “I liked the way he looked in the game the other night off the ball. Defensively, made some really good solid plays and again, when there’s an open man on the court Arci’s gonna find him.”

He won’t move the needle on the Bulls’ season, and his minutes will likely be minimal once the season begins. But for now it’s a great story of persistence that gives the Bulls another hard-working body in practice.”

“Whatever our team needs, that’s what they’ll get from me,” he said. “Whether that’s being a backup or the third point guard spot, I’m just here to compete and make our team better and hopefully get us some victories.”