Ex-Jazz step up for banged-up Bulls


Ex-Jazz step up for banged-up Bulls

To a man, the Bulls (34-9) use the phrase no excuses so often, it might as well be their motto, especially in this challenging campaign in which theyve been cursed with multiple injuries.

Saturday night they embodied it, easily handling the Jazz (19-21), 111-97, at the United Center, even without the services of starters Rip Hamilton (right-shoulder injury), Joakim Noah (sick) and All-Star Luol Deng (resting his left wrist, in which he previously tore ligaments), as well as key reserve C.J. Watson (sprained left ankle).

After both teams struggled with their shooting to begin the contest, the Jazz went to their veteran inside duo of Paul Millsap (26 points, seven rebounds) and Al Jefferson (16 points, eight rebounds), who each delivered on their early opportunities. For the Bulls, sharpshooter Kyle Korver (26 points, 6-for-11 three-point shooting, seven rebounds, six assists)starting in Dengs placebounced back from a tough ending to Thursdays loss, in which the normally-reliable marksman missed multiple open looks at the end of the game, to power the Bulls in the opening period.

Another ex-Jazz player, Carlos Boozer (27 points, 13-for-17 from the floor, eight rebounds), also got off to a quick start against his former team, continuing the trend of knocking down his mid-range jumper with accuracy, enabling the hosts to erase Utahs slim cushion. After a quarter of play, the score was tied at 22.

Behind Boozer maintaining his hot handbefore picking up his second foulthe Bulls jumped out to their own slight edge early in the second quarter, as the Jazz could muster little offense besides the aforementioned post tandem. One bench mainstay and two reserves not usually in the rotation, Bench Mob stalwart Taj Gibson and the seldom-used pair of John Lucas III and rookie Jimmy Butler, energized the home team and its crowd, with feisty, aggressive play that kept the Bulls ahead.

Thibodeau eventually reinserted Derrick Rose (24 points, 13 assists) into the contest and the reigning league MVP immediately made his impact felt as both a scorer and playmaker, following a relatively dormant initial stint of action. With Boozer keeping up his aggressiveness, the two regular starters staked the Bulls to a 48-41 halftime lead.

Playing a more up-tempo style after the intermission, the Bulls built a double-digit advantage on Roses back, as the dynamic Englewood native was nearly unstoppable in transition. Though Josh Howards (15 points) scoring added some diversity to the visitors offensive attack, the hosts stout defense ensured the gap between the two teams remained to the Bulls satisfaction.

Boozer also continued his strong play, as did the third former Jazzman on the Bulls, swingman Ronnie Brewer (11 points), who was his typically active self after a mostly silent first half. However, the story of the period was Rose and Boozer, who combinedoften in pick-and-roll scenarios, but also individually, with Boozers mid-range game and Roses penetrationto dominate their overmatched opposing defenders and propelling the Bulls to a comfortable 79-63 lead at the end of the third quarter.

In the final stanza, the Rose-Boozer partnership, along with able assistance from Korver, again buoyed the Bulls, who kept up their large margin of separation over the Jazz. The red-hot Korver erupted as the period waned on, knocking down a trio of long-range jumpers, which delighted the audience, who received free Big Macs when the Bulls hit triple digits on the third of his three-pointers.

The three-headed monster of Rose, Boozer and Korver continued to pick apart the visitors, until Thibodeau mercifully went to his shortened bench with the game in its final moments. The short-handed squad survived its prelude to consecutive games against much more high-profile guests to the Windy City, New York and Miami, intact.

Former Bulls guard opens up about having depression


Former Bulls guard opens up about having depression

During his NBA career, he was known as having a joking, outgoing, clown-type of personality. Now, former NBA point guard Nate Robinson opened up about having depression.

Robinson, an 11-year NBA veteran, told Bleacher Report that he began going to therapy sessions in the 2012-13 season when he played for the Bulls.

He said he would struggle with having an angel and a demon inside of him.

"The NBA gave me my depression," Robinson told Bleacher Report. "I've never been a depressed person in my life."

"The hardest thing in my whole life, of my 34 years in existence on earth, was dealing with 11 years in the NBA of trying to be somebody that [NBA coaches] want me to be," Robinson said.

When Robinson was with the Bulls, he said he would sit in front of the plane so he wouldn’t be tempted to crack jokes. His one year with the Bulls ended up being one of the top seasons statistically in his career. He averaged just over 13 points and four assists per game. He played in all 82 games (starting 23) on a team that finished 45-37 with a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

He thought his behavior was always looked down upon, and Robinson thought he was being punished for his actions.

“It’s like Spider-Man, that Venom. I never wanted that Venom outfit to just consume me,” he says. “I wanted to be Spider-Man. I wanted to be positive. I never wanted that dark side to come out because I know what that dark side could do.” 

This might come as a surprise for NBA fans, knowing how energetic Robinson was on the court, no matter what team he was a part of.

Even though Robinson is just 5-foot-9, he brought a spark of energy when he came into the game.

He hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2015-16 season with the Pelicans and spent last year with the Delaware 87ers in the G League.

Robinson is known for his participation in the NBA Slam Dunk competition. He won three contests, going back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.

One highlight was Robinson jumping over Dwight Howard in 2009, which ultimately gave Robinson his third title. Another highlight is welcoming former 1986 Slam Dunk Champion Spud Webb on the floor in 2006 and jumping over him.

Robinson is still vying for a comeback to the NBA.

Bulls Talk Podcast: 2018 NBA Draft primer (and some Kawhi talk)


Bulls Talk Podcast: 2018 NBA Draft primer (and some Kawhi talk)

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Strotman and Scott Phillips get you set for the 2018 NBA Draft. They put together their own mock draft, analyzing each of the first seven picks, analyze a handful of options the Bulls should look at at No. 22, and answer questions from Twitter. They also discuss the Kawhi Leonard trade rumors and whether the Bulls could put together a package that would entice San Antonio.