Starting Five: Bulls to face Jordan-owned Bobcats

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Starting Five: Bulls to face Jordan-owned Bobcats

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
10:32 a.m. Updated 4:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

1. Charlotte star swing man Stephen Jackson spoke to CSNChicago.com about the teams mentality under new Bobcats head coach Paul Silas. Well, I think were playing the type of ball everybody wants to play. Its exciting, our style of play and hes giving the young guys confidence, the confidence that they need to for them play well and for us to play well. I think its been great, Jackson told CSNChicago.com. Its Golden State with a defensive mentality. Youve got a lot of guys that can score, that can get up and down the floor quick. Coach is letting us use that talent in that aspect and were trying to get back to the defensive team we were last year. Continued Jackson: Its been hard, but I think were making the adjustment. Weve got guys that can step up. Weve got a lot of young guys that are getting the opportunity to play and are doing a great job. And also, D.J. is coming into his own, which we knew that he could do, so its exciting to see these young guys grow and start to contribute to our team.

Jackson also believes third-year point guard D.J. Augustin is benefiting from Silas guidance. Its been good because you dont have too many point guards in the league that can shoot and also run a team as well as he can, and I think for him, Coach is giving him the confidence to be a leader out there and to be able to take shots and make mistakes, and not worry about coming out of the game. I think its helped his confidence and thats why hes been playing so well, said Jackson.

2. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau coached new Bobcats assistant Charles Oakleya former Bull and one of the leagues all-time tough guys during his NBA careerin New York.

Prior to the teams shoot-around Wednesday morning in Charlotte, he opined on the colorful Oakley as a coach. Whatever he decided to do, I thought hed be great at it, just because of the way he approaches everything. When he goes into something, hes 100 percent committed to it and I think hes figuring out now what he wants to do. He tried the management part of it, now hes trying the coaching part of it. Whichever way he decides to go, hell be great at it, said Thibodeau. The way he played is also the way he practiced every day. Never took a day off and you got 100 percent from that guy all the time.

Jackson also discussed Oakleys contribution to the team. Its good, bringing that toughness that we need, getting our big guys to be physical and to have our best constantly on the court is something that I think he was one of the best at, and its definitely going to help us if our bigs can start playing the way he played.

3. Thibodeau also discussed Silas, another of the NBAs warriors during his playing career, as well as a head coach known for turning teams around quickly. Hes been around the game forever. Hes done a great job in a number of different places. Theres not too many things that he hasnt seen and experienced. Hes been through every situation, so I think hell do a great job here, said Thibodeau. When you look at the way theyre constructed, Augustin with his shooting and then you look at the two, three and four, when you have Jackson, Gerald Wallace and Diaw, because of their versatility, it makes them different. They do a lot of switching, they can spread you out, theyre skilled and now theyre pushing the ball more. But I thought this team has always had a defensive mindset to it and theyre unique because of all the switching they can do. You cant allow that to slow you down or turn you over because now theyre in the open floor. Theyre hard to stop. I like Kwame Brown. Some people have criticized him, but I think hes a terrific defender, he plays hard and then when you look at Tyrus Thomas athleticism coming off the bench, Henderson is playing a lot better right now and Livingston poses a number of problems because of his post-up ability, ability to run the team, great vision, unselfish. So, theyre a talented team.

4. Rose talked about his individual improvement on the defensive end, an area of weakness before this season. I think I improved a lot everything was just new. In college, you dont really play pick-and-roll defense like that. We were a good defensive team, but we never played pick-and-roll defense, said Rose, who credited Thibodeau for his defense becoming better. He forces it. He holds you accountable, especially me, on everythingThibodeau doesnt really do that embarrass players during film sessions, but hell stop the film and tell you what youre doing wrong. Were used to it right now. We watched so much film in the beginning of the year and in training camp of ourselves, that we expect him to be hard on us in film.

Continued Rose: I look at Kobe Bryant. Hes a guy that, he tries to kill you on both ends. Definitely when he has the ball, hes trying to score every single time, but on the defensive end, hes giving his heart outjust watching how almost everybody in the league plays defense. Chris, Deron, Rondojust seeing what they do on defense because in pick-and-rolls, people play different, teams send people different ways. The biggest thing I know in pick-and-roll is that youve got to push yourself into the ball, so that you can avoid all the screens.

Thibodeau chimed in about where he thought Rose improved the most. Guarding the ball, his ball pressure. I think the two areas hes improved the most are getting over screens and challenging shots. Now, I think hes starting to see how he can help with his team defense. I think hes reading plays well and I also think his rebounding. He knows when he rebounds and he busts out with the ball, thats almost an impossible break to stop, said Thibodeau. Fighting over screens is about both effort and technique. Communication by the big, effort, intensity, technique. I think you have to combine all those things and I think you have to continually work on it.

Thibodeau went on to talk about the biggest adjustment defensively from the college level to the NBA. In the pros, youre going to see multiple pick-and-rolls on the same play, so you may handle the first one well and there may be a re-pick and then maybe even a third one. You have to be prepared to do that throughout the course of a game, to develop a multiple-effort mentality, said Thibodeau. You get over the first one and even when you do handle the first part of it, you still have your team help responsibilities after youve done that. Its a never-ending concept. You cant stop and you cant relax. You have to keep going, you have to do it for 24 seconds, you have to do it for 48 minutes, you have to do it day after day. Thats what makes a team special. Thibodeau used his last point guardBostons Rajon Rondo, a highly-regarded defenderas an example. He Rondo really had to work at it, too. Youre coming in from college, I think the biggest thing is getting to learn the players, their tendencies, the teams, their systems. You understand the speed of the game and the strength the players have, and I think that you have to recognize that you have to get stronger, said Thibodeau. I know Rajon has and I know Derrick has the commitment to the weight room, so you can get over things. Youre going to get hit and your body position is critical.

5. Dont forget to follow me on Twitter at @CSNBullsInsider.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

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The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 26 of 28 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.