Bulls

Rose willing to play through pain against Kings

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Rose willing to play through pain against Kings

Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010
12:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Despite a sore neck, Derrick Rose expects to play in the Bulls game Saturday night against the Kings.

"It's up to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. It's a little sore, but I'm willing to play through it," said Rose, who received a massage in the training room during Chicago's buzzer-beating Friday night loss to Denver. "It feels decent. We'll just have to see. I still have problems turning fast certain ways, but I think when I'm playing, I should not be thinking about it."

"I'm just trying to stay positive right now, just think that I'm going to play the whole game. C.J. Watson played great yesterday, so if I can't play, I know that he'll come in and back me up pretty good," added Rose, who later indicated the decision to play rested with him. "I'm going to go test it out now, shoot for a little bit and see how it is. If it's hurting, take a pill and still go out there and play."

Rose, received treatment -- electronic stimulation -- on the team's flight from Denver to Sacramento following Friday's game.

"He's doing a lot better today. He's going to go through pregame warm-up and if he's fine after that, he'll go," said Thibodeau. "Once he gets out there, if he feels good, we want him to play. But if he doesn't feel good, then we don't want him to play. If he's injured, he should sit. But if he's just hurting, then he should play. If he sits out -- like I said yesterday -- I'm more than confident in the guys that we have on that bench."

Thibodeau said power forward Taj Gibson -- who received limited minutes last night, getting pulled early in both the first and third quarters and never returning in either half -- would likely play.

"He's going to go through the warmup and if he's feeling fine, he'll go. He seemed like he was moving around OK at the hotel," said Thibodeau.

Newly-signed point guard John Lucas spoke to CSNChicago.com about missing two clutch free throws in Friday's loss, which enabled Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony to hit the game-winning basket.

"That game's over with it, it's behind us," he said. "I told them I'm sorry I let them down just because I make free throws. Like Coach Thibs and everybody told me, just move on to the next game. We've got Sacramento. You have no excuses. It doesn't matter about your flight or what you were going through that day. It comes down to knocking the shot down, knocking the free throws down with confidence. I went in there with a lot of confidence to shoot them. The second one, I knew it was in there, but when it hit the back of the rim -- it's a tough situation. I washed it off and moved on to this game.

"Everybody wants that opportunity to make that big shot -- that home-run shot -- and for me, to take the ball out, I'm always going to make the right decision to get the ball in because that's more important than anything else, especially when we didn't have any timeouts left," continued Lucas, who played for Thibodeau in Houston when the Bulls head coach was a Rockets assistant. "Just for him to put me in a situation like that -- just getting here -- shows a lot. I just apologize to my team. I feel like I let them down. I didn't just let my teammates down. I let the city of Chicago down and the whole organization."

Thibodeau explained his thought process for having the newly-signed guard in at crunch time late in the game in Denver.

"John is capable of inbounding the ball. He fulfilled that role for us in Houston," explained Thibodeau. "You base your decisions on the players you have available at that particular time. John was actually in C.J.'s position, C.J. was in Derrick's position and then Kyle Korver was the guy obviously we were trying to get the ball to.

"In those situations, John's an excellent free-throw shooter and I'm confident in his ability to make those. I've seen him make big free throws before. It didn't work out last night, but it will the next time."

As far as the seven-game road trip as a whole, Thibodeau isn't concerned about the Bulls' history -- or even recent history -- on the dreaded Circus Trip.

"Well, I don't want to look back and I think the big thing for us is looking at the game that's in front of us because that's what we try to do as a team. The big thing is coming into tonight's game concerned about Sacramento; the last game of the trip, making sure our focus stays on Sacramento and not thinking about going home. For the most part, I think our guys have done a great job with their attitude and their approach to each game," said Thibodeau. "There's good and bad with everything. When you look at where we are right now, there's a lot of areas we think we can do better in, so we want to continue to concentrate on our improvement. We've done some good things, I think we've shown some toughness, but there's some areas I think we can do a lot better.

"It's a probably a combination of a lot of things. The big thing is to develop the right mindset. You can win in any situation and if you look hard enough, you can find an excuse every night. That's part of the NBA -- the back-to-backs, the four games in fives nights -- everyone has to go through it and I think the real quality teams in this league find a way to overcome those things."

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.

Bucks owner Marc Lasry received some sound advice from Michael Jordan

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USA TODAY

Bucks owner Marc Lasry received some sound advice from Michael Jordan

The Milwaukee Bucks, led by reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, are on quite a tear this year. Per NBA.com, the Bucks are No. 2 in the league offensive rating, No. 1 in defensive rating—and by the way, they are a full 2.7 points ahead of the second-best defense—and No. 1 by a very wide margin (5.1 points) in net rating. Any way you slice it, the 2019-20 Bucks have been one of the most dominant regular season teams in NBA history. So with all of that being said, it is no shock that Bucks owner Marc Lasry has lofty goals for his team, including matching the incredible 72-win season of the 1996 Bulls. 

According to a report from Eric Woodyard of ESPN, Lasry spoke with the leader of the '96 Bulls (guess who?) at Friday's Bucks-Charlotte Hornets matchup at AccorHotels Arena in France. Michael Jordan offered up some sound advice for Nasry, who told MJ that he wanted his 2019-20 Bucks to try to be like the '96 Bulls in becoming a part of the illustrious group of teams in NBA history to have won 70+ regular season games. All-time only two teams have won 70+ regular season NBA games, the MJ-Scottie Pippen led '96 Bulls and of course, the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who went on to break the Bulls' record by winning 73 games. 

That memorable '16 Warriors season ultimately ended in heartbreak for the Dubs as they lost the NBA Finals in seven games to the LeBron James-Kyrie Irving-Kevin Love-led Cleveland Cavaliers. A prevailing thought was that the amount of energy the Warriors expended in going for the regular season record came back to haunt them in the playoffs, a similar sentiment shared by Jordan in his advice to Nasry. 

Look, my advice to you is don't focus on beating our record, focus on winning a championship.

-Michael Jordan's advice to Bucks owner Marc Lasry on how to handle this season

Nasry maintained that he wants the Bucks to "do everything," including winning 70+ games and collecting the second NBA title in franchise history. Milwaukee has 35 games left in the regular season and they don't look they have any intention of taking their foot off the gas anytime soon. Entering Wednesday morning, the Bucks are on a nine-game winning streak. Their latest win (on Tuesday night) came without Antetokounmpo playing, but guard Khris Middleton poured in a career-high 51 points in a game in which Milwaukee won by 20 and scored a whopping 151 points.

Head coach Mike Budenholzer has managed the Bucks minutes well enough to go all out and even try to break the Warriors' 73-win mark but as Jordan advised, NBA Championships should always be the primary focus. But Nasry is also aware of the place in NBA lore the 2019-20 Bucks would hold when we look back on it IF they can accomplish all of his lofty goals. As Nasry himself stated, "we're going to focus on beating your [the 1996 Bulls] record and winning a championship.' I think we should do everything, but that's me."

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Thaddeus Young takes on expanded role in Bulls’ offense

Thaddeus Young takes on expanded role in Bulls’ offense

With the NBA trade deadline coming up on February 6, there has been speculation around the league that Bulls forward Thaddeus Young could be headed to a title-contending team. Mostly because his first year in Chicago hasn’t gone the way anyone anticipated.

Young agreed to a three-year contract with the Bulls in the opening hours of free agency last summer and was expected to add veteran experience and dependable two-way production to one of the league’s youngest teams. But with Jim Boylen and his staff installing new offensive and defensive systems during training camp, Young found himself not fitting in as well as he envisioned during his discussions with the Bulls in the free agent process.

The 31-year-old forward is averaging the fewest minutes and points per game since his rookie year with Philadelphia in the 2007-08 season. There were reports last month that Young was unhappy with his role and might even seek out a trade if the situation didn’t change.

Young’s minutes have gradually increased since that time, and he’s now moved into the starting lineup because of injuries to Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Daniel Gafford. He’s still not being used in post-ups as much as he was with the Pacers and Nets, but Young’s offensive role has grown in recent games. Young has played at least 29 minutes over the last three games, and he’s averaging 10.2 points per game over his last 10.

At times Young seems like an odd fit as a weak side spot-up 3-point shooter, but that’s often what is called for in the Bulls’ current offensive system.

The 13-year NBA veteran is at his best attacking the rim, shooting jump hooks off post-ups, or crashing the offensive boards for second shot opportunities. As seen in the video above, the Bulls even ran a post-up play for Young on their first possession against the Spurs on Monday night.

With Markkanen sidelined, and the Bulls currently only two games out of the final playoff spot in the East, it seems unlikely Young will be traded before next Thursday’s deadline. He’s finally getting a chance to provide some of the on-court production everyone expected when he signed with the Bulls last July.

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