Bulls

Noah, Robinson help Bulls dominate Celtics

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Noah, Robinson help Bulls dominate Celtics

Following Monday nights loss in Memphis, the Bulls (14-10) lamented their rebounding, so Tuesday at the United Center rebounding is what they did, as in bouncing back with a 100-89 victory over the Celtics (12-12).
Besides winning the battle of the boards, the Bulls also employed a solid defensive effort, good ball security and outstanding individual performances, including Joakim Noahs triple-double, an efficient scoring night from Luol Deng and Nate Robinson stealing the show off the bench to close things out.
Sparked by the scoring of forwards Deng (21 points) and Carlos Boozer (21 points, 12 rebounds), as well as the uncanny playmaking of Noah (11 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists), the Bulls started the evening with more of an offensive tone than the previous night. However, they were countered by Bostons balanced scoring, led by future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, leading to a close-knit affair in the opening period.
Marco Belinelli was also a factor for the Bulls in the early going, as was Celtics floor general Rajon Rondo (26 points, eight assists), who was his usual playmaking self, setting up teammates for easy scoring opportunities. But Deng continued to excel for the hosts, leading to a 28-23 edge after a quarter of play.
Behind Dengs propensity for getting to the foul lineand accuracy, as he knocked down his first 10 attempts from the charity stripeand, in an effort to match up with Bostons small-ball lineup, a backcourt featuring Robinson (18 points, 5-of-7 three-point shooting) and Marquis Teague, the Bulls seized control of the contest.
Robinson and fellow reserve Jimmy Butler gave the hosts a boost of energy with their scoring and offensive rebounding, respectively, while Noahs all-around game hinted at a triple-double in the making and by getting out in transition and dominating the offensive glass, the Bulls took a double-digit lead. However, toward the end of the half, Boston battled back behind Rondo, but at the intermission, the Bulls maintained a 53-46 advantage.
After the break, Boozer became the focal point of the Bulls offense, shouldering the home teams scoring load, en route to them once again building the winning margin to double digits. Despite the stellar play of Rondo, who looked more for his shot as his teammates struggled to score, the Celtics couldnt dig themselves out of the hole.
Besides their offensive cohesiveness and improved rebounding after losing the battle of the boards in their three previous outingsthe defense wasnt outstanding, as Boston shot a decent percentageperhaps the biggest key to the Bulls success was their ability to take care of the ball and limit turnovers. Deng picked up the slack on the back end of the frame, then, just like the end of the previous quarter, the Celtics, propelled by Rondo, made another push, but heading into the final stanza, the Bulls led, 79-70.
Robinsons instant-offense scoring from deep gave the Bulls a big lift at the outset of the fourth quarter, giving the Bulls plenty of breathing room and further widening the gap between the two teams. Taj Gibson (13 points, five rebounds, four assists), playing on a gimpy ankle, also made his presence, and was on the receiving end of Noahs 10th assist of the night, giving the center a triple-double, the second of his career.
With Robinson leading the charge, the difference in the game grew to blowout proportions midway through the period and while the partisan crowd was still very much involved, it was all academic by that point in the lopsided affair. Even Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau had to tacitly admit that it was over and his team did a job well done, as he subbed out the likes of Deng and Noah, two of the NBAs leaders in minutes per game.

Carlos Boozer says Nate Robinson was one of his favorite teammate because 'he would bring snacks to every flight'

Carlos Boozer says Nate Robinson was one of his favorite teammate because 'he would bring snacks to every flight'

Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson only played one season together with the Bulls. But oh, what a memorable campaign it was.

And it produced a friendship that still lasts to this day. Cupcakes and snacks will do just that.

Boozer retold a story to NBC Sports Chicago on Tuesday of Robinson and his daughter, Navyi, baking cupcakes for Bulls players on road trips.

"We had so much fun. Me and Nate hit it off right away," Boozer said. "We're both very animated, we're both very loud, we talk a lot, we're great teammates. We love playing passionately, we compete.

"Nate is one of the best teammates I ever had. I played my whole life, I've been playing a long time and he's the only teammate that would bring snacks to every flight. And we'd travel on the road, he would bake us cupcakes for every road game. I never had that before.

"Him and his daughter, Navyi, would bake the cupcakes before every road game. So every road game we'd get to the plane and Nate would hook us up with cupcakes.

"Just a great teammate. He'd go through a brick wall for you, never complained, practice every day, play every day, ready to come and give it his best."

Boozer and Robinson will face off against each other during the Big3 Tournament, which begins this weekend in Houston. The league will travel to Chicago and the United Center on June 29.

"I'm looking forward to being in Chicago," Boozer said. "We've got a lot of great fans out there. I miss the (United Center), miss that Chicagotime summer weather and looking forward to getting back out there in a couple weeks."

Boozer's Ghost Ballers and Robinson's Tri-State team won't square off against one another until Week 5 in Miami. But it's sure to be a fun matchup for the two friends and snack buddies.

"He's one of my brothers, one of my closest friends," Boozer said. "Nate has been training like an animal and he's gonna use this platform to show everybody how much skills he has, also to get back into the NBA. Nate's a great talent and I'm looking forward to seeing him get down."

Boozer's team includes co-captains Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis, which gives them a pretty solid trio heading into the event. But no teammate, NBA or Big3, can match Nate Rob and his cupcakes.

Check out more on the Big3 right here.

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

Joe Maddon needed Mike Montgomery to get through at least six innings given the circumstances presenting the Cubs' manager before Game 2 of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Not only were the Cubs short a man in the bullpen (thanks to Brandon Morrow’s pants-related back injury), but Maddon had to use four relievers — including Pedro Strop for two innings — after Tyler Chatwood managed only five innings in Game 1 earlier in the afternoon. 

So when Montgomery — who had only thrown over 100 pitches once in the last two and a half seasons before Tuesday — saw his pitch count sit at 40 after two innings, and then 63 after three, he knew he needed to regroup to avoid creating a mess for the Cubs’ bullpen. 

What followed was a start that, statistically, wasn’t the most impressive of the five Montgomery’s made since re-joining the Cubs’ rotation earlier this year. But it was an important start in that the 28-year-old left-hander didn’t have his best stuff, yet didn’t give in to a good Dodgers lineup. And holding that bunch to one run over six innings was exactly what the Cubs needed in what turned out to be a 2-1 extra-inning win. 

“Especially when you don’t have have your best stuff, you always gotta — that’s when you really learn how to pitch,” Montgomery said. 

It’s also the kind of start that could be a major point in Montgomery’s favor when Maddon is presented with a decision to make on his starting rotation whenever Yu Darvish comes off the disabled list. Knowing that Montgomery can grind his way through six innings when his team needs it the most without his best stuff only can add to the confidence the Cubs have in him. 

Montgomery didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday, issuing more walks (four) than he had in his previous four starts (three). He threw 48 pitches between the second and third innings, and only 25 of those pitches were strikes. Of the nine times the Dodgers reached base against Montgomery, six were the result of fastballs either leading to a walk or a hit. 

Even though the Dodgers were able to bother Montgomery a bit on his fastball, Maddon said that’s the pitch of his that’s impressed him the most over the last few weeks. 

“He never got rushed,” Maddon said. “In the past he would seem to get rushed when things weren’t going well, when he spot-started. Overall, fastball command is better — even though he was off a little bit tonight, the fastball command still exceeds what I’ve seen in the past couple of years on a more consistent basis. The changeup, really, good pitch. He got out of some jams but I think the fact that he knows where his fastball is going now is the difference-maker for him.”

Darvish will throw a simulated game on Wednesday after throwing two bullpen sessions last week. Maddon still doesn’t have a timetable for the $126 million right-hander’s return, and said he’s not entertaining what to do with his rotation until Darvish comes off the disabled list. But Maddon did mention Montgomery’s relative lack of an innings load — the most he’s thrown in a season in 130 2/3, which he did in 2017 — as a reason to perhaps not rush him into a permanent starting role the rest of the season. Going to a six-man rotation is a possibility, too, Maddon said. 

But the over-arching point is this: Montgomery will remain in the Cubs’ rotation as long as he keeps earning it. That can be the product of strong outings in which he has good stuff, or games like Tuesday in which he shows the Cubs the kind of resiliency most starters need to get through a full season. 

“I pitch well, good things happen,” Montgomery said. “I’ve always thought that. Opportunities, you just gotta make the most of them.”