Down but not out, Pacers look to corral Rose

Down but not out, Pacers look to corral Rose

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 12:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam

Indiana wouldnt reveal what adjustments theyd make as far as defending Derrick Rose heading into Game 2 of their first-round series against the Bulls. Maybe thats because it would be all too familiar to Chicago.

Im not going to be a guy that tries to get all in him and pressure him full court, but we had a talk with Coach Frank Pacers interim head coach Frank Vogel before the game and he wanted me to be a Scottie Pippen type of player against him, said Pacers rookie Paul George, referring to the Bulls legendswho happens to have joined Comcast SportsNets broadcast team for the seriesdefensive versatility, which allowed him to guard point guards. I try to angle him, send him to my teammates. They did a great job helping. All I could really do was try to stay in front of him.

I got film of the game Game 1, went back and really studied him, really figured out what his tendencies are and really stayed true to my abilities. I knew I had the length and the foot speed to stay in front of him and gap him, as well, continued the 6-foot-8 rookie starting shooting guard out of Fresno State, who worked out for the Bulls prior to last years NBA Draft. He kind of took over last game later in quarters, so we tried to get the ball out of his hands. Thats where the trap came in. We wanted the Bulls to beat us with their other players, but hes a great player, so he made plays.

READ: Bulls know they must improve as series shifts to Indy

I knew I had to step up this time and really try to get the ball out of his hands or try to make him hit tough shots and thats what he did, hit tough shots.

Based on Roses scoring alonehe dropped in 36 pointsit would appear that the Pacers strategy of assigning a swingman on the lightning-quick point guard was none too effective, but George hounded the Bulls superstar into 10-for-25 shooting and six turnovers, as well as finishing with four blocks, three steals and what Vogel said was a team-record 18 deflections.

Hes a gifted defender, said Vogel. Very, very proud of his effort tonight.

Were just trying to give him some different looks. Give him a steady diet, he picks you apart, he continued. We tried to trap Rose out at halfcourt, as opposed to him drawing our whole team and then finding him.

While Rose wasnt exactly befuddled by Georges defense, his opponents combination of size, length and agility, as well as Indianas trapping defense, did appear to give him pause at certain junctures of the contest.

Ive got to use more ball fakes. Hes definitely a tall guy. He was playing almost the whole game. But ball fakes and making sure I play smart the whole game, even through fatigue, said Rose. Ive just got to get used to it, make smarter decisions, look at film tonight, go over it tomorrow and we should be ready for how their bigs step up a little bit more, and it should be easy basketball after that.

WATCH: Relive Bulls' Game 2 win over the Pacers

Praised Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, somewhat of a defensive connosieur: Paul George is a terrific player, good defender.

George guarding Rosealthough Vogel surprisingly assigned leading scorer Danny Granger to him on critical late possessionswas part of the Pacers game plan and although Darren Collison struggled with Roses size advantage and powerfully compact frame, Vogel didnt even have the option to deploy his diminutive starting point guard after he suffered a sprained left ankle, following a first-half fast-break layup and subsequent tumble into baseline photographers.

Right now, I think its day-to-day. Most likely, Im going to try to be back for Game 3, said Collison, who tried to test the injury at halftime. It an X-ray was negative. Right now, its just real sore and swelled up pretty bad, but well see.

Ninety percent of the time, if I have an injury like that, Id go right back out there and play on it, but its just frustrating because I cant even jog on it, he continued. Im definitely going to be treating it as much as I can. I definitely need to be out there for myself. Its disappointing, unfortunate that it happened.

While also disappointed in the loss, Collison was positive of his teams effort, singling out Georges defensive play and the job his backupsA.J. Price and veteran T.J. Forddid in his absence.

WATCH: Rose knows Indy will be a tough place to play

A.J. played well. T.J.s an experienced point guard. Hes been in the playoffs before. Im definitely very confident in those guys, said Collison. Its frustrating, but for the most part, our effort was there. Paul George did a good job defensively, made some shots tough for him. hes going to make shots, hes going to shoot the ball the majority of the time, so I thought we did a good job, solid, on defense. It came down to us and as a basketball team, if it comes down to you, then you have a legitimate shot to win the game.

Im proud of everybodys effort. Weve battled the last two games. I think everybody questioned whether we were going to come back in Game 2 and do the same thing, but all along, we kept telling people thats how weve been playing. Weve been playing like that throughout the whole season; thats how we play, so respect or not, I think people are going to start noticing our effort.

His 37-year-old rookie coachthe youngest in the leagueechoed his sentiments. When asked about his teams resiliency, Vogel, who prefaces postgame press conferences with an impromptu opening statement, took on an air of defiance.

Do you guys have any questions about that? I dont, he queried reporters. Were standing toe to toe with this team. Im very proud of our guys. Well take it back to Indy, see what happens.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's 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.

Thad Young pleads Zach LaVine's All-Star case, offers advice to Lauri Markkanen

USA Today

Thad Young pleads Zach LaVine's All-Star case, offers advice to Lauri Markkanen

Before any assorted media had a chance to ask Thad Young a question following Tuesday morning shootaround, he had something to get off his chest.

"Before we start, I just want to say Zach LaVine should be an All-Star. It should be said and done already," Young began, unprompted. "That guy’s been putting on a show for the past couple months. Been doing his thing. He’s been incredible. So Zach LaVine for All-Star. I'm saying it here and now, lets make sure we get this done. Everybody go vote, go do what you gotta do."

Young isn't the first Bull to plead LaVine's case, and he certainly won't be the last. The question, though, is who he is pleading to. Fan voting for All-Star starters ended Jan. 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET, the night before Young's statement.

Perhaps it's a call to coaches. Though the last fan voting returns had LaVine as the sixth-ranked Eastern Conference backcourt player, there remains the possibility of him sneaking in as one of the seven reserves, which coaches vote on.

That pool will be crowded, but LaVine has made a tremendous case for himself with his recent play. This month, LaVine is averaging 30 points (t-6th in the NBA), 5.1 rebounds and 4 assists per game on 49 percent shooting from the field (35.9 percent from 3). He's played 36.8 minutes per night in 11 January games.

"He’s done more than enough, he’s more than capable. He’s shown it time and time again, and he’s been great for us all season long," Young said. "He don’t have to pay me anything [to say this], that was my rook in Minnesota. He’s a great teammate, he’s one of the best ever, he wants to get better each and every day."

But no Young media availability would be complete without imparting a bit of veteran wisdom. When asked what Lauri Markkanen — who's season-long struggles are well-documented — can learn from LaVine's ascension, Young was candid.

"I think the confidence level of Zach and what he’s done can be instilled in Lauri a little bit. Lauri starts to miss shots, sometimes he gets down on himself. Zach misses a shot, Zach’s like, ‘I’m going to shoot the next one. I’m going to be more aggressive. I’m going to try to get to the basket,’" Young said. "And then being able to mix up his game a little bit. Not just, ‘Hey, I’m just going to shoot the 3’ or ‘I’m just going to drive and take it to the basket’ [without] having an in-between game or being able to mix in some post ups here and there."

On Markkanen's ability to do that within the Bulls' system: "Our offense is structured and predicated on 3s and getting to the basket. But coaches are still encouraging him to mix everything up. The coaches are encouraging everybody to mix it up — try to give opposing teams something different, something that they haven’t seen."

Starters and captains for the 2020 All-Star game will be announced Jan. 23, with reserve announcements coming Jan. 30. If LaVine makes it, Bulls fans can look forward to the All-Star draft on Feb. 6.

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Thad Young on trade rumors: 'I’m a Chicago Bull. Whatever happens happens'

USA Today

Thad Young on trade rumors: 'I’m a Chicago Bull. Whatever happens happens'

Last July, when he controlled his free-agency decision, Thad Young chose to sign with the Bulls.

Come the Feb. 6 trade deadline, Young has no control.

“I’m just playing basketball. I’m a Chicago Bull. Whatever happens happens. I understand it’s a business,” Young told NBC Sports Chicago. “If I’m traded, I’m traded and have to go to the next city. If I’m not, then I’m here with my brothers, here with my teammates, and ready to fight.”

Still, given that the first season of his three-year deal hasn’t gone as planned, would Young want a change of address? The Bulls are one of the league’s biggest underachieving stories and Young’s playing time was so low that his camp last month conveyed to management his desire to play more.

“That’s not my focus,” he said. “My focus is on playing for the Bulls and helping us get some wins.”

Young is averaging 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in 22.4 minutes per game. While his playing time has increased in light of injuries to Wendell Carter Jr. and Daniel Gafford, he still is playing the second-fewest minutes of his 13-year career.

A league source previously confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago that the Clippers’ interest in Young is legitimate, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times. A Clippers scout attended a recent Bulls game despite the fact the teams don’t meet again until April.

Even if nothing materializes there, Young is the type of plug-and-play veteran that fits on any team making a playoff run. Young has been traded three times in his career, so he knows both how disruptive it can be on a family but also how it sometimes can lead to a better fit.

Befitting his reputation as the consummate professional, Young is ignoring the rumors and focused on his current situation.

“We’re very upset we keep losing games, Young said. “It’s hard to win in this league. We have to understand that as a team. We have to face the hardness of the game and take advantage of the opportunities we do have. We need to play harder than other teams. We can play great for 38-40 minutes. But there’s an 8-minute span that can be detrimental to our team.”

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