Kevin Love out for second round, Smith to miss two games


Kevin Love out for second round, Smith to miss two games

The Bulls weren’t going to get dragged into the conversation surrounding the expected losses the Cleveland Cavaliers suffered yesterday in their clinching win over the Boston Celtics, as they could lost
Kevin Love for the entire second round, it was announced late Monday afternoon.

And J.R. Smith was suspended for two games by the NBA, it was announced shortly after the news about Love came down, meaning he won’t be available until Game 3 of the next series, which could be at the United Center, assuming the Bulls take care of business against the Milwaukee Bucks.

As much as Joakim Noah isn’t a fan of anything Cleveland, he wasn’t doing cartwheels when asked about Love’s injury.

“Unfortunate. Very unfortunate,” Noah said. “You don’t want anybody getting hurt. You don’t wish that on nobody.”

In a statement, the Cavaliers said Love, after having his arm twisted by Celtics center Kelly Olynyk, had suffered an acute dislocation with torn labrum, certainly not an injury a player can come back from in a few days.

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League sources reached by CSNChicago.com early Monday said a normal tear takes 4-6 weeks but if an MRI showed no significant damage, a player would have to decide if he could deal with the pain.

Unfortunately for Love, the MRI revealed real damage and it changes the complexion of a potential Bulls-Cavs series, which could begin next weekend in Cleveland.

That was more than Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would say on the matter, flatly answering “no” when asked if he had any thoughts on Noah’s injury. He repeated the same deadpan remark when asked about the possibility of Smith missing one or more games in Round 2 after his whack on Celtics swingman Jae Crowder, which earned Smith an ejection.

“No. I’m just worried about Milwaukee,” Thibodeau said. “I leave that to you guys. It’s the playoffs. It’s important to stay disciplined, concentrate on what we have to do. Let’s face it: It’s easy to get distracted if you let yourself get thrown off course. So I really haven’t thought about it.”

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Nobody would’ve believed him if he said he didn’t watch the Cavs-Celtics game Sunday afternoon, so he didn’t dare fight that battle. Tempers flared before Smith’s altercation with Crowder, as Kendrick Perkins was in the middle of some rough play in the first half. Perkins is one of Thibodeau’s favorites from their days in Boston, where Thibodeau was an assistant to Doc Rivers, so he wasn’t surprised Perkins was an instigator.

“No. He’s a great competitor,” Thibodeau said. “When you put great competitors on the floor competing for the same thing, they’ll be some flare-ups.”

The Bulls and Bucks have had their share of emotional moments, resulting in flagrant fouls and technical fouls over the four games. Thibodeau wasn’t surprised at that breaking out in Boston.

“That’s usually playoff basketball,” Thibodeau said. “Boston played with desperation. Cleveland is tough. You’re going to have some flare-ups. With two teams competing for the same thing, that’s what happens.”

Coby White focused on development, winning for Bulls, not All-Star weekend

Coby White focused on development, winning for Bulls, not All-Star weekend

On Friday, Coby White will find out if he makes the Rising Stars Challenge as part of All-Star weekend in Chicago.

“It would mean a lot,” White said Tuesday. “Hopefully, I’ll be one of the ones selected. But like I always say, if not, it's not the end of the world for me. I won't let it define who I am. But to represent Chicago in Chicago for All-Star weekend, it would be a big deal for me. It would be a blessing for sure.”

White said he hasn’t spoken to Lauri Markkanen or Kris Dunn about the experience, which pits prominent first- and second-year players in a Team USA vs. Team World format. Both of those Bulls have played in the contest, which is scheduled for Feb. 14.

“We’re just trying to focus on winning right now,” White said.

White has produced several memorable scoring binges this season, although the Bulls drafted him with the No. 7 pick in last June’s draft to eventually play a lead guard role. Coach Jim Boylen said White’s decision-making is “developing,” which is typical for young players.

“I’ve seen some terrific improvement from Coby in his decision-making, his ability to get us organized,” Boylen said. “We all know that he knows he has room to grow there. But he has focused on it, he’s been pounding the film. He watches the film with the assistant coaches and then he watches film with me before every game. We have about a 20-minute spot on game day that him and I sit and watch film, talk about situations.’’

Bulls' Jim Boylen on Victor Oladipo's return: 'It's good for the league'

USA Today

Bulls' Jim Boylen on Victor Oladipo's return: 'It's good for the league'

One year and six days after rupturing his right quad tendon, Victor Oladipo is scheduled to make his return Wednesday against the Bulls.

The Pacers All-Star guard was averaging 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists when he went down.

“I'm very happy for him. He's a terrific kid, a terrific guy. That injury he had was a really tough one. I'm sure he's worked as hard as anybody, from what I know of him,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “As I've said before, injuries in this league are heartbreaking. But he's a competitive guy and it's good for the league that he's back.”

The Pacers not only surprisingly weathered the storm of losing Oladipo to win 48 games and qualify for last season’s playoffs, they currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference at 30-17.

The Bulls, who are vying for their first three-game win streak of the season, are two games out of the playoffs as they begin a three-game trip.

“We had a moment in Orlando where we were playing a team that was close to us in the standings, that we were trying to catch, and we fell short in that moment,” Boylen said of a Dec. 23 road loss. “Now we're going to be in another situation where, first we've got a division opponent, then we have a team that we're chasing in the standings. So we'll see how we handle those situations.

“The beauty of this is we have a young group that's going to play some meaningful game. That's what we hoped for, that's the situation we're in and we'll see how we handle it. I expect this group to play hard and play together and we'll see what happens.” 

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