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LIVE: Bulls aim for revenge vs. Bobcats on CSN

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LIVE: Bulls aim for revenge vs. Bobcats on CSN

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
10:40 a.m.

Associated Press

The Chicago Bulls avoided a letdown their last time out and aren't likely to overlook the struggling Charlotte Bobcats, either.

Looking for an 11th win in 13 games overall, the Bulls hope to avoid a third loss in four meetings with a Bobcats team that could again be without leading scorer Stephen Jackson on Wednesday night.

After road wins over two of the Eastern Conference's top teams - Orlando and Miami - Chicago (44-18) returned home Monday to face a New Orleans team missing four-time All-Star Chris Paul.

A day after completing a season sweep of the Heat and staying ahead of them for second place in the East, the Bulls were somewhat lethargic against the Hornets and the game was tied with three minutes to play. However, they pulled off an 85-77 victory to move within 2 12 games of Boston for the conference lead.

"It was a good win," said Joakim Noah, who had 13 rebounds. "It was a win that we really needed. You look at the top four, five teams in the East, everything is really close. So every game is very important. We understand that. We're just staying focused on improving and winning."

The Bulls must keep that focus against the Bobcats (26-37), the only sub-.500 team to beat them more than once this season. Chicago lost the first two meetings while averaging just 86.5 points before recording a 106-94 home win Feb. 15 behind Luol Deng's 24 points and Derrick Rose's 13 assists - he totaled 11 in the first two matchups.

Noah, who missed all three meetings with a thumb injury, is averaging 16.5 points and 13.3 rebounds in his last four games in the series.

The Bulls have lost four of five at Charlotte, but they completed a 4-1 trip in Miami and are one road win away from surpassing their total from last season (17).

"The city is excited about this team and I think they have a right to be, but for us as players you know, our mentality is different," Noah said. "You got to take it game by game, not get too excited and really focus on the moment, focus on playing game by game and staying consistent."

One area in which Chicago has been extremely consistent is defense. While they are allowing an NBA-low 91.5 points per game, the Bulls have held opponents to 81.1 points on 40.2 percent shooting over their current 6-1 stretch.

That doesn't bode well for Charlotte, averaging 81.2 points and shooting 40.7 percent over a season-worst five-game losing streak. The Bobcats are 3-22 when scoring 90 or less.

Jackson, averaging 19.0 points, was held out for the second consecutive contest Monday night with an injured left hamstring as Charlotte fell 92-87 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We were close, but anytime you take the best player out of your lineup, you're going to suffer," coach Paul Silas said. "We tried hard. We just didn't have enough."

Jackson's status for Wednesday is unknown, but forward Tyrus Thomas could return following a 23-game absence after undergoing knee surgery.

Thomas, who spent three-plus seasons with the Bulls, had 17 points and 13 rebounds in a 96-91 win over his former team Jan. 12.

"Jack and Tyrus are two big keys to our team," guard Gerald Henderson said. "Overall, we're going to need them to win."

Henderson scored 20 points Monday and is averaging 14.7 over the last nine games - 7.1 more than his season mark.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.

Here's why the Bulls didn't take Michael Porter Jr. last night

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USA TODAY

Here's why the Bulls didn't take Michael Porter Jr. last night

There was angst and anger among the Bulls fan base following the team's selection of Wendell Carter in Thursday's NBA Draft. Though the team had been linked to Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. - and he was far and away the biggest fan favorite - the Bulls passed on the former No. 1 prospect, opting to play it safe and find a complement to Lauri Markkanen on the frontline.

Porter fell farther than just past the Bulls at No. 7. Cleveland opted for Collin Sexton. The Knicks and Sixers went with wings similar to Porter in Kevin Knox and Mikal Bridges.

Porter didn't hear his name called until the very last selection of the Lottery, with the Nuggets grabbing the 6-foot-10 scorer. It's a dice roll for Denver, but one it can afford after it won 47 games and was Game No. 82 away from making the postseason. They're a team on the rise that doesn't need an immediate contribution from a rookie. And that's good, because Porter might not be contributing at all in his rookie season.

Gar Forman and John Paxson were asked about whether Porter was in consideration at No. 7, and if his medicals played any part in the decision to pass.

And while Forman wouldn't address medical situations, he did say the Bulls were in contact with Porter throughout the draft process.

"We spent time with Mike, he’s a great young man," Paxson said. "We’re not gonna talk about medical things. We go through a diligent process every single year.

"This year we probably had more debate and dialogue as a staff. Varying degrees of opinion were really strong. We wish him the best out in Denver."

Paxson didn't say that "debate and dialogue" necessarily included Porter, but multiple reports said the Bulls weren't interested in Porter when it came down to choosing at No. 7.

And it makes sense. The Bulls are in a position where they're beginning to move along in their rebuild. They needed a contributor, and someone who could play right away. Porter wasn't that player, and he wasn't going to be a great fit with Markkanen and Zach LaVIne anyway.

It'll always be fun to think about what could have been, but the injury risk was simply too high for the Bulls to consider using an important 7th pick on a guy who might not play for 16 months.