Starting Five: Game 3 Pregame News and Notes


Starting Five: Game 3 Pregame News and Notes

Thursday, April 22, 20101:12 PM

1. After Wednesday's practice at the Berto Center, Bulls head coachVinny Del Negro talked about the teams much-improved performance fromGame 1 to Game 2.

Well, we lost so thats not encouraging, but I felt we respondedwell, said Del Negro. Obviously LeBron James got going in thefourth a little bit, but overall I thought that we were focused, we hadgreat energy, guys were making plays. I thought Derrick, Luol andJoakim had very solid games, Flip was solid off the bench, Taj,everyone contributed. So overall it was a good team effort, we didntlike the final result. Now were back at home. They did what we have todo. We have to step up tonight and play well in order to win thegame."

Del Negro hopes that playing at the United Center will give Chicago aboost, but acknowledged that a better offensive outing will be key togetting a win.

The games emotional, the guys are into it, the atmospheres great,said Del Negro. Tonight were at home, were going to come out with alot of energy. Just because were home doesnt mean all of a sudden,were going to play that much better, but were going to have to playsmarter, be efficient and in the fourth quarter, were going to have toget stops and put the ball in the basket. We have to shoot a little bitbetter and make some open shots to put some pressure on them and gettheir field-goal percentage down. When asked about Joakim Noahs warof words with the city of Cleveland, Del Negro supported his center.

Jo has a free spirit. You have to manage his personality, but hebrings energy all the time, great spirit and wants to get better, wantsto win, so hes got all the right stuff," Del Negro said. "Hes justgot to continually concentrate on what we want to execute and bringthat energy because guys feed off that.

2. Del Negro also addressed criticism of All-Star point guard DerrickRose taking team-highs of 28 and 24 shot attempts, respectively, in thefirst two games of the series.

If he takes 24 shots and makes 20 of them, well then everybody wouldsay, Why didnt he take 30 of them? Theres a balance there, saidDel Negro. We need Derrick to score, but also get his assists and beefficient, and I feel like hes doing that.

3. Del Negro also discussed the 40-point effort of Cavaliers superstarJames in Game 2, and how the Bulls could possibly limit him tonight.

Their record is what their record is because they have depth and whenthe games close, you go to your star player, said Del Negro. Weguarded him well last game and he was still able to make difficultshots -- fadeaways, hes so explosive getting to the basket -- you justhave to pick your spots to make it difficult for him like any greatplayer.

When LeBrons hitting fadeaways and floaters and holding the ball, andwere coming on the double and hes fading away on you, it makes ithardthats what star players do. Weve just got to mix it in on him,weve got to keep him off balance, keep him guessing with the double,play him in single coverage, force him a certain waytheyve seen itall. Were not inventing the wheel here.

Del Negro later invoked the name of another No. 23 familiar to Bullsfans, unwittingly inviting reporters to ask him to make a comparison.

People in Chicago know," he said. "You had a guy here who was pretty good for along time that wore 23. You know how that is. You can have all thegreat defenses you want, but some guys just can make plays over the topof you, whether you bring one, two, three guys. So were just going tohave to get into him, make it as hard as possible and just be effectivein the areas we need to.

Theyre different. Thats animpossible thing to answer obviously. Michael right now, just becauseof his legacy, what he did in the game, to evolve the gameMichael tookit to another level. Im not a big guy on comparing guys because Idont think its fair. In terms of comparing anybody to Michael rightnow is not fair, just because of the MVPs and championships, all thethings he accomplished. And LeBrons at a stage where hes only 25, hehas a long career left and staying healthy and being consistent and allof those things.

4. Rose was absent from Wednesdays practice. Hedidnt participate because of personal reasons -- a family emergency -- butis expected to play in tonights Game 3.

5. Although tonights game is being broadcast nationally, many Bulls fansmay prefer to stick with the insights of the local broadcast duo -- thatknows the team the best -- of Stacey King and Neil Funk. Comcast SportsNet will have the game, as well as Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gillhosting Bulls Pregame Live before the contest and Bulls PostgameLive afterwards. In addition, CSNChicago.com continues to offer afree, live-stream broadcast of the game, including the postgame pressconferences.

The Sixth Man: Dont forget to follow me on Twitter @CSNBullsInsider

-- Aggrey Sam

29 Days to Opening Night: The teams afraid of a Zach LaVine poster


29 Days to Opening Night: The teams afraid of a Zach LaVine poster


We’d like to apologize to Jakarr Sampson if he clicked on this link. Though Zach LaVine was not exactly the model of efficiency in his first season with the Bulls, he certainly had a flair for the dramatic. And that included some ridiculous dunks, some of which came at the expense of opponents.

LaVine finished with 13 dunks in 24 games, a number that is sure to increase with a clean bill of health and a full offseason to prepare for the season ahead. The $78 million man will be showing up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 in no time.

Former Bulls No. 1 pick Elton Brand promoted to GM by Sixers


Former Bulls No. 1 pick Elton Brand promoted to GM by Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers made a shocking move on Tuesday, promoting Elton Brand to be the franchise's newest general manager after a lengthy search. 

Bryan Colangelo resigned from the 76ers back on June 7, and there felt like there was little progress made on the GM-search front as September wore on. But Brand, who was the No. 1 pick by Chicago in the 1999 NBA Draft, is an internal hire that is both inspiring and scary when you consider his lack of experience in the front office. 

He spent 17 NBA seasons playing for the Bulls, Clippers, Hawks and 76ers. And after his playing career ended he dabbled in front office work, joining Philadelphia's staff as a consultant, and then later on as the GM of their G League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. 

Brand's hire could have far-reaching implications. If the Sixers unique front-office structure works out, other franchises will take notice. Brand will be the GM, but head coach Brett Brown—who acted as the head decision-maker in personnel matters during the GM search—will still have a powerful voice, and is more likely to work with, rather than for Brand. And there is nothing wrong with that, but is interesting in the fact that usually we see GMs overrule their coaches on divisive personnel matters, whereas in Philly, big decisions will definitely have a more open-eneded approach when trying to come to a conclusion. 

And the biggest ripple-effect of all comes from the fact that Brand is a (quite recent) former player.

If his initial run as the Sixers GM goes well, it will surely inspire more NBA franchises to take a serious look at former players as front-office candidates. Notably, former players like Shareef Abdur Rahim and Allan Houston have looked for prominent roles in an NBA front office with varying degrees of success, working for the NBA and Knicks front-offices respectively. But Brand's quick ascencsion to GM in Philadelphia could serve as a blueprint for future teams, epspecially those that want to empower their head coach even more, without bestowing upon them the dreaded—at least from a fan perspctive—head coach/President of Basketball Operations role.

The Brand-Brown partnership will allow Brown to focus more on day-to-day team management and less on big-picture team building. And in turn, it will allow Brand to sharpen up his skills as a front-office exec with a team already made to compete, while providing Brown with another voice to rely on about coaching decisions. It is the exact type chance that the Sixers that have become known for taking over the years, the high-risk hiring that could usher in an era of stability or further expose franchise fragility.