Bulls

Schedule released for Bulls-Pacers playoff series

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Schedule released for Bulls-Pacers playoff series

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Posted: 1:00 p.m. Updated 11:55 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Bulls announced that Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series against the Indiana Pacers will begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. Game 1 from the United Center will be aired live on Comcast SportsNet.

Now that the regular season is complete, ever-focused Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau allowed himselfand his playersthe pleasure of looking ahead to the Bulls first-round opponent, Central Division rival Indiana.

Theyre playing well. They can put a lot of points up on the board and they have a little bit of everything, said Thibodeau, who tied the record for most wins by a first-year NBA head coach. We had a pretty good regular season.

All-Star point guard Derrick Rose agreed, referencing the Bulls loss to the Pacers the last time the two squads played, an overtime loss in Indiana.

They play together, they play hard, said Rose. Anytime you play against a team like that, you never know whats going to happen.

Joakim Noah chose to focus on the elevated atmosphere surrounding the postseason.

Its just a whole different environment. Were playing for something big. This is what its all about. Your whole life, you dream about playing on the big stage and it doesnt get much bigger than that, said Noah. Everything is magnified. Its a different game, but weve been preparing for it all year. Were not going to change much.

The regular season is over with. We had a great regular season, great team effort, but as a team, I think we have to come into this, the playoffs, and just forget about the seeding. Just locking into Indiana and really focus on Indiana, respect them and come out, and try to beat them. We cant come in with the mindset that were a higher seed, were a better team. We cant do that. Weve just got to come and play, said Deng. Its a different ballgame now. Its the playoffs. Its zero-zero.

Deng, who will be matched up with Pacers leading scorer Danny Grangerwho made comments likening the Bulls to a one-man gang (as in Rose) and preferring to play Chicago over Bostonrefused to take the bait when asked about his fellow small forwards comments.

Im not that guy, said Deng. Its not about me and Danny Granger.

Hes got to back it up now. I dont think theyre going to shut down Derrick, but I guess thats their game plan, he continued. Comments made by one guy doesnt really make a difference about what were trying to do here.

Noahtypically less reserved than his teammatechimed in: Slow him down, then.

Its easy to talk about it. I havent seen too many people slow him down yet. Maybe he can do it, he added.

As for Rose himself, he appeared nonplussed when informed of his USA Basketball teammates opinion.

Thats his opinion. Ive got winners on my team, said Rose. Well be preparedI know Ive got other guys on my team that can play basketball.

Chicago won the season series vs. Indiana, 3-1. The loss was their only defeat by a division opponent back on March 18. Derrick Rose scored 42 points, but the Bulls gave up 115 and fell in overtime.

On Jan. 29, Luol Deng had one of his best all-around games and Ronnie Brewer threw down a poster-dunk in a 110-89 win.

On Jan. 14, Derrick Rose produced a double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds in the Bulls' 99-86 win in Indiana.

Here is the schedule for the first-round series:

Series schedule

Date Time Location TV Game 1: Sat., April 16 12 p.m.
Chicago CSN Game 2: Mon., April 18 8:30 p.m.
Chicago CSN Game 3: Thur., April 21 6:00 p.m.
Indiana
CSN
Game 4: Sat., April 23 1:30 p.m.
Indiana
CSN Game 5: Tue., April 26
TBD Chicago CSN Game 6: Thu., April 28
TBD
Indiana
CSN Game 7: Sat., April 30
TBD Chicago
CSN-if necessary

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls fail to close another close game in loss to Raptors

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls fail to close another close game in loss to Raptors

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine react to the Bulls 93-92 loss to Toronto.

0:45 - Reaction to losing another close game

2:00 - Kendall Gill stops by to give Matt Peck a hard time about Derrick Rose

3:30 - On Wendell Carter Jr and wanting more

4:45 - Viewer comment on Bulls shooting 46 three-point attempts

7:20 - Concern over Lauri Markkanen

8:10 - Viewer comment still believing in Lauri

9:40 - Viewer comment on Wendell Carter and Daniel Gafford

12:10 - Viewer comment on running more pick n roll w Zach and Lauri

15:35 - Viewer question on Otto Porter and Hutchison

16:30 - Viewer trade idea: Kevin Love for Markkanen

17:15 - Any comfort in coming close to beating two of the top teams in the East?

20:30 - Viewer comment on losing games

23:00 - Viewer comment on Coby should start

24:05 - Viewer comment pandering to John Sabine

24:40 - Sabine shares his weird dream that involves Jim Boylen

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

In Bulls' loss to Toronto Raptors, Denzel Valentine and Daniel Gafford rejuvenated the United Center

In Bulls' loss to Toronto Raptors, Denzel Valentine and Daniel Gafford rejuvenated the United Center

Monday night, 14,775 fans attended the Bulls' latest in a line of hard-fought defeats: a 93-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors. That's the smallest reported crowd at the United Center for a Bulls game since Dec. 16, 2004.

For stretches, though, it felt like a full house. 

"The UC was great tonight, the fans were awesome," Denzel Valentine said.

The starters carried the team, to start: Of the Bulls' 50 first-half points, 46 were scored by Tomas Satoransky, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter. But it wasn't the usual suspects that pushed the Chicago faithful's decibel count to levels unheard of in the earlygoing of this season.

Thank Valentine and Daniel Gafford, in large part, for that. With the Bulls trailing 61-58 at the 4:45 mark of the third, Jim Boylen turned to a bench-dominated unit of Coby White, Valentine, Thad Young, Gafford and LaVine to spark his group. It was a potential tipping point in the game: The Raptors were in the midst of an 11-3 run and the Bulls' offense was fizzling. White, Valentine, Young and Gafford had four points between them upon entry.

With that move, the fates tilted towards the home side. For a time.

"It was great minutes from them," Satoransky said of Valentine and Gafford after the game. "I think [Denzel] is feeling more himself right now. And DG will always bring that energy. He's one of the most athletic guys I've ever seen, his energy... will always refresh our game."

It certainly did in this one. Gafford blocked three shots and notched 10 points over the game's final quarter-and-a-half. Valentine scored all 13 of his points for the night after that juncture in the third, shooting 5-for-9 from the floor and 3-for-7 from 3-point range. The Bulls finished the night 12-for-46 from 3-point land.

"Just energy," Valentine said, of what that bench unit brought. "We started playing defense. It started on the defensive end, started in transition, getting rebounds. Played with a little bit more life. Playing with each other too. We were moving the ball together."

"We go in, we produce with the minutes that we get," Gafford said. And on what the fans gave back: "There was definitely energy. I was blocking shots, Denzel was knocking down shots, we were getting stops on defense. We were doing everything we needed to do to win the game, and the crowd helped us do that."

Of course, they didn't do it alone. In spite of not scoring, White played a solid defensive game and finished the night with eight rebounds and five assists. Young and Kris Dunn each hit crucial 3-pointers in the third. But watching Valentine and Gafford ignite the home crowd made it even more surreal that neither of them cracked the regular rotation until mid-to-late November.

"We got a bond," Gafford said. "He finds me when I'm open, and I find him when he's open... We just go out and play basketball."

That strategy helped the Bulls build an 85-77 lead with eight minutes left in the game, but the team's good fortunes faded fast from there. After an alley-oop from Valentine to Gafford gave them their 84th and 85th points of the night, the Bulls didn't score for the next five-and-a-half minutes of game action. The Raptors surged down the stretch. The Bulls scrapped, but ultimately faltered when it mattered most.

Both Gafford and Valentine found themselves in the Bulls' closing lineup — Valentine by way of the hot-hand, Gafford in Carter's stead after he fouled out with just under four minutes remaining. A Valentine transition layup, Markkanen 3-pointer and Gafford layup represented the Bulls' only points of the final eight minutes.

"We gotta learn how to put it away. If we can't at the end of the third quarter, we gotta put it away at the beginning of the fourth," Gafford said. "We just gotta learn how to put it away, seal the deal." 

But, as a team, they didn't. And thus, the bottom line doesn't change. The Bulls won a(nother) moral victory or two tonight, but when the final points were tallied, they were on the short end. That's the only stat that matters, especially to those 14,775 that stood behind their team, in person, tonight.

"It’s disappointing when we don’t win games. It’s disappointing when we don’t win home games," Boylen, who has presided over only 10 home victories in his tenure, said. "Nobody is running from that."

"No excuses, nobody cares, we just gotta come out and play hard and learn from our mistakes," Valentine said. "It's tough, because we lose the last three and we were up in the fourth [quarter], I think, in all of those games. So it's tough. But hopefully at some point we'll figure it out."

Gafford and Valentine provided a jolt, but because of the result, they're only would-be heroes — their combined performance amounts to nothing more than an all-too-familiar silver lining. In some ways, that stings even more.

"That's why this game is so frustrating," Satoransky said. "Because I know we were there. Fans were engaged and I think we played very well, and we missed a lot of shots. You know, that always hurts."

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