Bulls notes: Boozer's rough night, Deng's status

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Bulls notes: Boozer's rough night, Deng's status

WASHINGTON Carlos Boozer has been terrific throughout January and although his monster month didnt garner him an All-Star nod, despite being named the Eastern Conference player of the week last week, a double-double performance form the power forward is expected.

In Saturday nights 86-73 loss to the Wizards at the Verizon Center, Boozer, like most of his teammates, struggled, scoring only six points and grabbing two rebounds in over 23 minutes of action.

More significantly, he lost his cool in the third quarter. After being whistled for a flagrant foul after an official review for an apparent elbow to the face of Emeka Okafor while battling for post position on one end, on the subsequent position, he again got tangled up with the Washington center and was hit with a technical foul, along with a personal, his fourth, effectively ending his evening early.

Boozer was unavailable for comment after the contest, but teammate Joakim Noah opined, Its just basketball. Its a back-to-back, both teams are tired. Carlos went for a post-up. He had his hands up. It hit Emeka in the face. They called a flagrant foul. On a post-up. It is what it is, man.

Just frustration. Its part of the process, continued the All-Star center, who had a stellar night in a losing effort, nearly notching a triple-double with nine points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. Things werent going our way, but I feel like we didnt give up, so I think thats more important than anything.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau added: Who knows? A guy posts up, its a flagrant foul, I guess. I dont know. There was a lot of banging. Their guys are physical, Carlos is a big guy inside. I dont know. I have to see the replay of it. It didnt look like anything other than two guys getting tangled up. I thought the same thing was happening down on our end, but thats the way it goes. The officiating wasnt the problem. We were the problem.

Deng misses fifth consecutive game, hopes to return soon

All-Star small forward Luol Deng was a game-time decision and even warmed up for the Bulls loss to the Wizards, but ultimately didnt suit up.

Still plagued by a strained right hamstring initially suffered in last weeks overtime win in Toronto in which he left the game in the opening period, quickly returned and eventually hit the game-winning shot and re-aggravated in last weekends overtime victory in Boston, Deng missed his fifth straight contest Saturday.

Its a lot better than when I first hurt it. I thought I was going to be able to go today. I went out there to run, had a little trouble, he told CSNChicago.com. I dont know when Ill play. I really thought I was going to be able to go today.

"I went out, ran a little, had a little discomfort and I thought it was just wiser its just one of those injuries I dont want to tweak and be out for longer. Ive already been out long enough. Tomorrow, Ill do more running and hopefully be able to go by Monday.

Bulls newcomer Cook sees meaningful minutes

Early in the fourth quarter, sharpshooter Daequan Cook checked into the contest and was part of the lineup that helped the Bulls trim a 20-point deficit to 10 in the final stanza.

While they couldnt complete the comeback, Cook received his first playing time of substance in a Bulls uniform. He was 0-for-4 from the field, including 0-for-3 from three-point range, but the shooting guard did snatch three rebounds and it was notable that Thibodeau trusted him enough to put him on the floor at a critical juncture of the game, during which the Bulls employed extended defensive pressure.

I felt pretty good. Guys were looking for me and they were giving me open shots. They just didnt go down. They still have faith and trust in me, he told CSNChicago.com. They still gave me opportunities to knock down shots, they still called plays for me, so thats more than enough of a confidence boost, to know that even though you dont make shots, Coach still has the confidence in me to continue to call plays for me, so I felt good out there.

Thibodeau downplayed Cooks minutes.

Well, we were looking for anything, he said. I told all those guys, we were making it difficult for everybody because if youre not running through and youre not wide, and your spacings breaking down after the first option, its easy to guard that, so he didnt get the looks that he should have gotten. Thats why its so important for everybody to do their job because were all counting on each other, so thats something that we have to correct.

Hinrich accepts responsibility for foul-trouble trend

Veteran Kirk Hinrich, whose brief Wizards career occurred when the Bulls traded him to Washington in 2010 along with current Wizards big man Kevin Seraphin discussed his season-long habit of picking up early-game fouls, something more typical of big men than guards.

Hinrich, an aggressive defender, refused to blame NBA officiating, telling CSNChicago.com, Ive got to be smarter. I definitely feel like Im getting a lot of cheap ones.

Hamilton has fond memories of Washington

Rip Hamilton is best known for his days in Detroit, where he was an All-Star and won a title. However, he began his NBA career in Washington and enjoyed the city enough to lay down roots nearby, as he resides in Annapolis, Maryland, during the offseason.

Oh, it was great. It was the team that drafted me. I still live here now, he told CSNChicago.com It was great for me because I was a virgin to the NBA and they were the ones that kind of brought me in. Great city, awesome city, awesome fans. Just a great place."

2016-17 Bulls player preview: Isaiah Canaan

2016-17 Bulls player preview: Isaiah Canaan

Chicago Bulls training camp is right around the corner, with the first preseason game coming Oct. 3 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Between then and now, CSNChicago.com will take a look at each player on the Bulls’ roster to preview and possibly project their importance to the team as the Bulls hope to qualify for the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

Player: Isaiah Canaan

Position: Point Guard/Shooting guard

Experience: 4th season

2015-16 stats: 11.0 points, 1.8 rebounds

2016-17 Outlook: It’ll be a game of musical chairs in the Bulls’ backcourt this season with the backup positions and Canaan will be in the mix for playing time at both positions, despite his small 6-foot-0 frame.

He’s more scorer than facilitator and looks for his offense, being aggressive in the pick and roll and in the open floor. It could be a change of pace from Rajon Rondo’s style, as Rondo can push the pace but will definitely be in control. If Canaan beats out Jerian Grant, Spencer Dinwiddie and Denzel Valentine for minutes, he’s going to play at a breakneck speed, looking to force the action and reacquainting himself with a familiar statistic: Field Goals Attempted.

Per 36 minutes last year, he took 13.2 shots and nearly nine of them came from the 3-point line, which accounts for his career shooting percentage being below 37, as he gets up a huge bulk from the long line.

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Having spent the majority of his career with the then-tanking Philadelphia 76ers, Canaan’s value is hard to project and one wonders if he’s gotten accustomed to losing environments.

In Philly, though, he was able to get plenty of experience, playing 77 games last season in what was probably as eye-opening for him as anything he’s ever endured in the NBA.

With the depth, though, seeing the above-mentioned players likely being ahead of him in the rotation means the Bulls won’t be as dependent on him for wins — but during those dog days of the season, when the injuries can pile up and the excitement is low, one wonders if Fred Hoiberg can toss Canaan out there and his energy can help the Bulls to a win or two in February — which could come handy in April when all wins matter if you’re trying to compete for a playoff spot.

2016-17 Bulls player preview: Doug McDermott

2016-17 Bulls player preview: Doug McDermott

Chicago Bulls training camp is right around the corner, with the first preseason game coming Oct. 3 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Between then and now, CSNChicago.com will take a look at each player on the Bulls’ roster to preview and possibly project their importance to the team as the Bulls hope to qualify for the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

Player: Doug McDermott

Position: Small Forward

Experience: 3rd season

2015-16 Stats: 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds

2016-17 Outlook: It’s been a steady progression for Doug McDermott from his rookie year to last season, as he’s symbolic of what Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg wants his system to be: A floor-spreading, free-wheeling wide open system, one that displays the new reality of the NBA.

McDermott, at times last season, showed his proficiency despite his limitations. Few were better from the 3-point line, as he shot 42.5 percent, ranking fifth in the NBA. In semi-transition, he was a sure bet to spot up from the left wing and position himself for a pass and quick release.

With Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo all able to make plays, McDermott will be counted on more than he has before to make shots with space at a premium.

McDermott and Nikola Mirotic will have to provide the shooting to keep defenses honest, which could lead to McDermott being the first sub off the bench for a guy like Wade or Butler, leaving the latter to anchor the second unit in the second quarter.

His game opened up last season after the All-Star break, especially with his ability to create his own shot. It’s not a staple of his game and who knows how much he’ll have to use it with the ballhandlers on the floor, but he did have a reliable baseline fadeaway and one-legged runner he would go to every once in awhile.

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The Bulls’ offense ran better with him on the floor, averaging 116 points per 100 possessions. February produced his best month as a pro, averaging nearly 15 a game on 52 percent shooting—splits that could be more common as his career progresses. But what he gives, he often gives away on the defensive end and it’ll be a battle to keep him on the floor with some of the concerns the team will have as a whole.

Keeping players in front of him with his lateral movement is an issue, and even being in the right place defensively off the ball isn’t a given. But a lot of that is scheme and the Bulls have to be better collectively.

Expecting him to take another step this season as he knows what to expect and gains more confidence in his own game isn’t unreasonable—and finding consistency will be important to his future in the league, as he’ll be eligible for an extension following his third season.

In other words, there’s plenty of tangible and intangible incentive to improve.