Bulls frontcourt trio leads the way for 'clicking' team

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Bulls frontcourt trio leads the way for 'clicking' team

Carlos Boozer responded to being snubbed for the Eastern Conference All-Star team in the best way possible Friday night, with a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds in the Bulls 103-87 win over the Warriors at the United Center.

Boozer got the Bulls going early and had a dominant first-half outing to help the hosts run out to a huge early advantage. After the game, the power forward claimed that while he was disappointed in not being selected, hes fine with taking a mini-vacation next month.

RELATED: Boozer should join Noah, Deng as All-Stars

At the end of the day, weve got two guys representing us and Im super proud of Joakim and Luol. Obviously I wanted to be in there, too, Boozer said. But Im going to go home to Miami. Im going to come back with a great tan, make all you guys the media jealous.

Joakim Noah, who was selected as a reserve for the East, didnt let his newfound All-Star status go to his head. Instead, the center delivered a vintage performance, scoring 14 points, snatching 16 rebounds, dishing out four assists and blocking three shots, while forcing his former Florida teammate, David Lee, named a Western Conference All-Star reserve Thursday evening, into a 6-for-15 shooting night.

HIGHLIGHTS: All-around effort carries Bulls past Warriors

I was just playing my game. Its not about that. I just wanted to play with high energy and play my game. I still feel like I could have done things better tonight, but its a great honor to be part of the All-Star game, Noah explained. But its not the reason why I play the game of basketball.

Jimmy Butler, the third member of the Bulls starting frontcourt, kept up his solid play in place of the injured Luol Deng the recently named back-to-back All-Star missed his fourth consecutive game with a strained right hamstring with a 16-point, 12-rebound outing, earning the praise of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Hes a pro. Hes a good player. Hes hard playing and I think he can do a lot better, too. But I love his toughness. He competes on every play, hes not afraid. Guys like that can continue to get better, so I want him to stay hungry, keep improving, the coach observed. But he has shown, even last year, in the opportunities that he got, he played well and hes doing the same thing now.

Thibodeau was positive about the efforts of the entire frontline trio, who each notched a double-double the first time the Bulls have achieved the feat this season also lauding the way Boozer and Noah played.

Its huge. Jo was terrific. Offense, defense, rebounding, energy, he said. Carlos, I thought his rebounding and just his presence inside, his cutting, his screening led to fouls, which got us to the free-throw line some, too. But it got us established inside and opened some things up for us.

MORE: Hinrich-Robinson backcourt gives Bulls a new dimension

Perhaps more significantly, the team is clearly finding its groove, even without the services of Deng and the still-sidelined Derrick Rose, making the Bulls a scary postseason proposition as the season continues.

Obviously theres a lot of room for improvement, but I think our intentions have always been good and its just sort of clicking for us right now, Kirk Hinrich explained. Theres kind of a good calmness, but also readiness and sense of urgency at the same time. Weve kind of had that edge."

Joakim Noah added: I think its high energy, rebounding, good defense. We hit shots. A lot of guys stepped up tonight and thats a positive: Jimmy Boy Butler, Kirky Worky Hinrich, Los Boozer. It feels good to win.

We really feel like our basketball is yet to come, when our horses come back, he continued. I feel like we were really active tonight and we were definitely the hungrier team. When youre the hungrier team, it usually ends up with the win.

Boozer concurred: D-Rose is still out, Luol is still out. Were doing it without big pieces of our team being in the game, so thats very impressive.

Every team goes through ups and downs, they go through peaks and valleys and right now, were on the rise.

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

The Windy City Bulls are beginning to feel more like a real team.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls' new NBA D-League franchise that will play games in Hoffman Estates beginning this season participated in the league's expansion draft.

As one of three new expansion teams joining the NBA D-League this season, the Windy City Bulls were allowed to select 12 players from the other 19 teams in the league. Each returning D-League team was allowed to protect the rights to 10 players on each roster with two players being available to the Bulls, Long Island Nets and Greensboro Swarm.

The Bulls acquired the rights to 12 players as here's the rundown of who they selected.

Round 1: Wesley Saunders, G/F, Harvard (Austin Spurs)
Round 2: Kiwi Gardner, G, Midland College (Santa Cruz Warriors)
Round 3: Ralph Sampson III, C, Minnesota (Maine Red Claws)
Round 4: Booker Woodfox, G, Creighton (Texas Legends)
Round 5: Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 6: Akeem Richmond, G, East Carolina (Reno Bighorns)
Round 7: Casey Prather, G/F, Florida (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 8: Jon Octeus, G, Purdue (Canton Charge)
Round 9: Justin Dentmon, G, Washington (Texas Legends)
Round 10: Jamal Jones, F, Texas A&M (Delaware 87ers)
Round 11: Xavier Thames, G, San Diego State (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
Round 12: Ian Chiles, C, Morgan State (Salt Lake City Stars)

It's important to note that although the Bulls have the rights to these 12 players for two seasons that many of them might never suit up for the team. Many players from this expansion draft group will head overseas to pursue professional opportunities there. If they do end up signing a D-League contract, the Bulls will have right of first refusal, giving the Bulls rights to these players for two seasons.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Among the notables picked by the Bulls include the 5-foot-7 Gardner, who has had a successful D-League stint in the past as well as some experience in the Saudi Premier League. Local college hoops fans will probably recognize the 6-foot-3 McNeal from his days at Marquette where he played for one season with Bulls star Jimmy Butler. McNeal also has more NBA experience than anyone on the expansion list as he most recently finished out the 2014-15 season with the Phoenix Suns. Former Washington product Justin Dentmon is also a native of Carbondale as the 6-foot-0 guard helped Carbondale High School to a fourth-place finish in the 2004 IHSA Class AA state basketball tournament.

Windy City will tip off the season with a home opener at Sears Centre on Friday, Nov. 11. The 2016-17 D-League schedule was released earlier this week as Windy City will have 24 home games, including 16 that will be played on Friday or Saturday night. 

While the Windy City roster will look very different from this expansion draft list, the Windy City Bulls should help the main Bulls franchise develop young talent in a nearby location as it will be the start of a very intriguing dynamic.  

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose has never been shy about voicing his opinion. And that didn't change once he was dealt to the Knicks in late June.

He told NBA.com in late July that the Knicks, who also signed Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings, had formed a "super team" with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Rose said both the Knicks and Warriors, who won 73 games and then added this generation's greatest scorer in Kevin Durant, were the two super teams in the NBA.

Rose then doubled down on those comments earlier this month, saying every player should "believe in yourself" enough to feel as though you're playing on a super team.

That confidence didn't waver in the last week, as Rose made headlines once again for saying the Knicks have a chance to do something pretty special.

"I think (the Knicks) have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that's rare," he told Yahoo! Sports.

Now, it's important to recognize that Rose is not saying the Knicks are going to go 82-0, or even that they have a realistic shot at doing so (though Rose's other super team in the NBA, Golden State, may have a shot). It'd be even more odd to hear Rose say there were games the Knicks had no shot at winning this season, even though their 32-win season from a year ago would suggest otherwise.

What Rose's comments really show is that he hasn't lost any of the confidence that made him the league's youngest MVP. Even while battling through his myriad injuries Rose maintained that he'd get back to the level he once showed as a dominant point guard in the NBA. And with a fresh start in New York, he's hoping that becomes a reality.

The Knicks have a decent shot at getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. But with new head coach Jeff Hornacek and many new pieces needing to mesh, there's bound to be a few games early in the year that the Knicks have no real shot at winning (like Opening Night in Cleveland).

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

As part of a joint collaboration between CSNChicago.com and SBNation.com's Blog a Bull, Mark Strotman and Ricky O'Donnell are breaking down the latest happenings on the Bulls. Check back all season long for more video hits and features.

On the first edition of the collaboration, Mark and Ricky break down USA Basketball's road to a third consecutive gold medal in this month's Rio Olympics.

It marked the third consecutive gold for Carmelo Anthony, the first man to accomplish that feat, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski finished his career as USA Basketball head coach 88-1, including a 76-game winning streak to end things.

Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler was on that squad and provided crucial defensive work on the team's second unit. The guys break down whether or not he'll be a part of the 2020 team that heads to Tokyo looking for a four-peat.

And Butler wasn't the only member of the Bulls participating in Rio. Mark and Ricky look at Nikola Mirotic's encouraging play for the Spanish national team, as well as Cristiano Felicio getting his feet wet for the host country, Brazil.

See all of what they had to say in the video above, and be sure to check out Blog a Bull all season long for Bulls news and analysis.