Bulls

Word on the Street: Versteeg says no to D.C.

Word on the Street: Versteeg says no to D.C.

Thursday, March 10, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Versteeg won't visit White House

Openly celebrating your former team's victory over your current team probably isn't the best idea. At least, that's what former-Blackhawk Kris Versteeg appears to be thinking. According to the Toronto Sun, Versteeg has declined an invitation to reunite with his old Blackhawks teammates at the White House for a meet-and-greet with President Obama.

"It's pretty cool to get the chance to go the White House, but after thinking about it I just decided to take a pass and let those guys enjoy themselves," said Versteeg, who now plays for the Philadelphia Flyers. "I'm still buddies with (the Blackhawks), but I haven't been on that team for almost a year." (The Toronto Sun)

Celtics lead down to 1.5 games

Within the last week the Bulls have hop-scotched the Miami Heat for second place in the Eastern Conference and now have their sights set on the Boston Celtics, owners of the top spot in the East. After a Bulls victory over the Bobcats last night, the Celtics lost 108-103 to the Los Angeles Clippers. With the loss, their lead over the Bulls slipped to only a game and a half. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Airline, Prosecutor challenge NHL ruling on Pacioretty hit

The NHL is receiving criticism from all over the place in the wake of a nasty hit suffered by Montreal's Max Pacioretty in a game against the Boston Bruins. As a result of the violent hit by Boston's Zdeno Chara, Pacioretty was sent to the hospital with a fractured vertebra and severe concussion.

The NHL decided on Wednesday that they would not suspend Chara for the hit, prompting a Quebec prosecutor to ask police to investigate the hit.

Additionally, Air Canada has informed the NHL that it is considering withdrawing its sponsorship unless the league tightens it rules in an attempt to reduce serious injuries. (Press of Atlantic City)

Chicago State star earns recognition

Chicago State forward Carl Montgomery was named on Thursday to the first-team, all-Great West Conference team. Montgomery, a 6-foot-7 senior ranked third in the conference with 17 points per game and seven rebounds per game. His numbers in conference play were even better, averaging 20.5 points and 8.9 rebounds. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Palatine man trains for marathon by eating...

... ONLY McDonald's. That's right, Joe D'Amico of Palatine plans to run the Los Angeles Marathon on March 20 after training for 30 days on a diet of McDonald's fast food alone.

"My wife told me I was crazy," D'Amico, 36, said. "But I love McDonald's and I love running, and this was a great way to combine the two."

He usually starts the day with a plate of hot cakes, an Egg McMuffin and an orange juice. He eats a grilled chicken sandwich for lunch, washed down with a large Coke, then enjoys a hamburger and fries for dinner, with cookies for desert. His only deviation from the McDonald's menu is a daily multivitamin, tap water, and an energy gel he takes while on the road. (suntimes.com)

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:

Dwindling attendance shows Bulls fans don't want moral victories

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USA Today

Dwindling attendance shows Bulls fans don't want moral victories

Following the Bulls’ second heartbreaking loss in as many nights, Jim Boylen had the floor.

“I coach by faith. I coach and teach every day on where I think we’re going to be. When that’s going to happen, when that’s going to break through, I’m not sure. But I’m going to keep coaching that way. We’ll watch from this, learn from it and grow,” a passionate Boylen said. “We’re playing good, hard basketball. We have to win two or three more possessions — one more defensive rebound, one more loose ball, one more open 3. That’s the difference in this. And I’m not going to let any negativity deter us from that mission. That’s what we’re going to do.”

And with that, the Bulls’ coach exited his postgame news conference, an atypical move for one of the more accessible coaches in the league.

Nobody could fault Boylen. At this point, people are tired of words anyway. And judging from the announced attendance of 14,775, the smallest since Dec. 16, 2004, people are tired of the Bulls’ losing ways, too.

Most any coach in the NBA brings his starters back with 6 to 8 minutes to go, as Boylen did with the Bulls leading by eight. Most any coach in the NBA goes to his most talented player, as Boylen did in calling Zach LaVine’s number, with the game on the line.

In the broken record department, the starters, with Denzel Valentine in for an ineffective Kris Dunn, coughed up another fourth-quarter lead. LaVine, who went scoreless in the second half after scoring 20 points in the first, missed over a double-team near the buzzer.

Making matters worse? LaVine afterward said he should’ve passed to a wide-open Daniel Gafford, in for the fouled-out Wendell Carter Jr.

“I saw Marc Gasol there. I tried to get him in the air and draw a foul. I’ve looked at now. I just wish I would’ve took an extra dribble to see the double-team on me,” LaVine said. “I could’ve hit Daniel. I could’ve kicked it back out. I thought I was making the right play by trying to get in the air and get to the free throw line. It just didn’t happen.”

How are these for some disturbing numbers? Valentine, who wasn’t even in the rotation until recently, took as many fourth-quarter shots as the four starters who played. The bench outscored the starters 18-3 in the final period.

For contrast, the Raptors’ starters scored 18 of their 22 fourth-quarter points.

The Bulls are going to keep recording moral victories, not real ones, until they learn how to close games.

“The starters’ job is to come back in, get re-engaged in the game and close it out. That’s what they did. They brought their guys in and they closed the game out,” Boylen said, alluding to the Raptors. “We have to learn to do that. We’re close. We’re right there. That’s the next step.”

To LaVine’s credit, he’s playing through a shoulder that Boylen called “banged up,” even though it hasn’t landed him officially on the injury report. He also briefly got the wind knocked out of him when OG Anunoby blocked his shot from behind and elbowed him in the back.

“We’re fine. Obviously, you’re upset in the moment. But it’s not like we’re not playing with these teams and competing with them all the way down to the fourth quarter,” LaVine said. “It shouldn’t have even been a one-point possession but that’s what we were left at and we just didn’t make the play.

“It feels like a little bit of a broken record. This is our job. We have to compete every time on the floor.”

The Bulls are on a three-game losing streak by a combined eight points. LaVine has missed game-winning attempts twice in the last three games. They still have yet to beat a team with a winning record.

“I can’t speak for everybody or the fans. I get a lot of positive feedback about our group,” Boylen said. “I think people understand what we’re trying to build. It’s disappointing when we don’t win games. It’s disappointing when we don’t win home games. Nobody is running from that. But this team is playing hard and competing and learning and growing. I think people can see that too.

“We’re going to keep pounding the rock and playing hard and working at it. I’m confident we’ll break through.”

It’s Boylen’s job to remain positive. Is anybody else confident?

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