Bulls

Five Things to Watch: Bulls square off against Pacers on CSN

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Five Things to Watch: Bulls square off against Pacers on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Pacers tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Yet another three-game losing streak. The Bulls have lost three in a row for the fourth time this season. That's bad news, considering the Bulls have played just 30 games this season. If there's a silver lining, it's that the Bulls are 3-0 in games following those such losing streaks. Perhaps a good omen for Monday evening against the Pacers.

2. Slowing down Jeff Teague. Rajon Rondo's struggles against opposing point guards have been well documented, and Jeff Teague could present another problem Monday night. In his last five games, Teague has averaged 22.2 points, 9.6 assists and 1.2 steals in more than 35 minutes. Paul George is the man in Indiana, but the Pacers go as Teague goes.

3. A back-to-back for Wade. Fred Hoiberg said he expects Dwyane Wade to play Monday against the Pacers after scoring 24 points against the Spurs. Wade has played in four back-to-backs for the Bulls this season, but the results have been anything but great. In 28.0 minutes he's averaging 12.0 points on 30 percent shooting to go along with 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists. The Bulls will need more from him Monday to break their skid.

4. Jimmy Butler vs. Paul George. In a battle of two-way stars, the battle between All-Stars in Paul George and Jimmy Butler will be a fun one. It will be interesting to see what Butler has left in the tank after chasing around Kawhi Leonard all Christmas. But the Bulls will need him at their best to slow down George, who has played great of late.

5. Needing Doug McDermott back. After three straight games with double-digit scoring, Doug McDermott struggled with just five points against the Spurs. As we all know, the Bulls bench needs all the help it can get. That starts with McDermott, even with Nikola Mirotic playing well of late. Look for McBuckets to get back on track in what should be a high-scoring game.

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Kevin Durant sports Toni Kukoc jersey at a workout

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AP/USA TODAY

Kevin Durant sports Toni Kukoc jersey at a workout

Here’s your random, surprising and somewhat meaningless thing of the day: Kevin Durant wore a Bulls Toni Kukoc jersey in a gym.

This isn’t reason to start “KD to the Bulls” speculation, but it is a weird, cool thing that came out of nowhere.


Kukoc was 6-foot-11 and primarily made his living on the perimeter as a sharpshooter. He shot 40.3% from 3-point range during the Bulls’ 72-win season in 1995-96.

Durant, 31, would have been young and impressionable just as Kukoc was entering his prime with the Bulls during those years. He also has grown into having a similar profile as a big man playing on the perimeter. From that perspective, it’s reasonable to think Durant looked up to Kukoc from a young age. Durant will also wear No. 7, Kukoc's number with the Bulls, when he eventually comes back from injury and suits up for the Nets.

It’s still a bit jarring to see one of the best players in the NBA repping someone from a previous era who never made an All-Star team.

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Ryan Arcidiacono enjoys Coby White's historic 3-point barrage

Ryan Arcidiacono enjoys Coby White's historic 3-point barrage

Ryan Arcidiacono had so much trust in teammate Coby White that he was willing to risk pulling a Nick Young.

The former Lakers guard once infamously turned and headed downcourt to celebrate a 3-point shot that missed.

White didn’t, sinking the fifth of his franchise-record seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s victory over the Knicks. And Arcidiacono, who posted his eighth assist on the play, didn’t see it, heading downcourt with his arms aloft shortly after making the pass.

“As soon as I got the ball, I saw Coby spacing out. He had it going. I had the confidence. So as soon as I let it go to him, I’m like, ‘I’m about to turn. And hopefully I don’t pull a Nick Young and the ball doesn’t go in,’” Arcidiacono said. “But that’s just how much confidence I have and I know our teammates have in Coby. I saw the fans’ reaction, so I was like, ‘All right. I was successful in that.’

“Our bench was going crazy as well. It was good stuff.”

The Bulls’ celebratory moments have been few and far between. One could say Arcidiacono’s celebration walked the line between supporting a teammate and throwing sand in an opponent’s face.

Jim Boylen, who obviously is biased, wouldn’t be one of those people.

“These guys like playing together,” Boylen said. “Like I’ve said all along we have a high-character group. They care about doing the right things. They relish in a teammate’s success.

“The way that ball was popping back to (White) and they were finding him, they knew exactly what they were doing. I think they honored him that he was rolling and they got the ball to him. It’s just fun to watch. That’s how it’s supposed to be. The fact that he, I think he turned and ran, and hey, I think that’s great. Trust. He has confidence. That’s a cool thing.”

Arcidiacono, who called White’s 3-point barrage “crazy,” saw his celebratory move similarly.

“You love to see a player who works as hard as he does show it in a game and be that successful in a quarter,” Arcidiacono said of White.

The performance also helped serve as a temporary reprieve for the three-guard lineup that Boylen has utilized with first Chandler Hutchison sidelined by a strained hamstring and now Otto Porter Jr. out indefinitely with a sprained left foot. White scored. Arcidiacono passed. Kris Dunn added to his league-leading steals total.

“We try to scrap defensively,” Arcidiacono said of the three-guard look. “I know we’re not the biggest unit out there. We gotta toughen up. We switched a little bit and started battling with the bigs.

“On the offensive end, I think our second unit does a good job of moving the ball and putting each other in good positions. We know we’re not always going to score with the best. But when we get someone going like that, we try to feed the hot hand. And we know we’re always going to try our best defensively to keep us in the game.”

Arcidiacono missed his lone 3-point attempt but is shooting 7-for-15 from the distance on the young season and committed just one turnover in 21 minutes. He finished plus-25.

“He’s a confident, high-character guy that will assume any job you give him. He can play on the ball, off the ball,” Boylen said of Arcidiacono. “He’s improved the things that I’ve asked him to work on which is finishing at the rim and taking his open 3s. The rest of it he had. He can drive it, he can spray it. He made the assist to win the national championship game, right?”

That was back when Arcidiacono played for Villanova. Asked lightheartedly if he ever performed a similar celebration for local product Jalen Brunson, Arcidiacono said that team’s focus was to get back on defense.

But Arcidiacono has made a small name for himself with his in-game celebrations. From the bench, he used to mimic Robin Lopez’s array of post moves. The Bulls and Arcidiacono face Lopez and the Bucks Thursday in Milwaukee.

“We played them in the preseason, so I shed a tear when he was at the free-throw line,” Arcidiacono said. “I couldn’t imitate his hair pull and his waiting at the top of the half-circle stuff. I loved playing with RoLo.  It will be weird not being able to imitate him.

“I like to have fun, try to keep it loose and bring energy to our team.”

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