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."

Horace Grant on current state of Bulls: 'No need to panic'

Horace Grant on current state of Bulls: 'No need to panic'

After the Bulls got off to a 3-0 start, it looked like this would be a team that might be able to give LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers a run for their money in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls proceeded to lose their next three, tempering those optimistic expectations. What those first six games proved is that they're an inconsistent bunch, and it's been a microcosm of their season past the halfway mark.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Entering Thursday, the Bulls were slotted in as the No. 8 seed in the East with a 21-22 record through 43 games.

Former Bulls forward/center Horace Grant, who was named a special advisor to president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf last year, joined SportsTalk Live on Thursday to talk about the team's current state, and why Bulls fans shouldn't panic just yet.

Check out his comments in the video above.

See what else he had to say during his SportsTalk Live appearance and on In The Loop below:

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

ATLANTA — Jimmy Butler insisted being a starter in the All-Star Game means next to nothing, but it seems to go against his never-ending battle for credibility and validation as a legit superstar.

Moments after it was revealed he would be an All-Star starter for the first time and make his third overall trip to All-Star weekend, he sang the same nonchalant tune.

"It hasn't changed at all," Butler said on a conference call Thursday evening. "Obviously, it's a huge accomplishment and honor to be named a starter. But it's All-Star weekend. There are going to be a lot of good players there. I guess it's just another name thrown in with some decent players."

The NBA's format for selecting the All-Star starters changed this season, with fans no longer being the sole group that gets to vote for starters. If it was still a fans-only vote, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid would've started in Butler's place.

But with the new formula that allows the media and the players to take part in the vote, the fan vote accounts for just 50 percent of the formula. So Butler joined Cleveland's LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Milwaukee's Giannis Antekounmpo and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan in the starting five for the Eastern Conference.

Butler's is averaging 24.8 points with 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists, career-highs across the board, and had he not been selected as a starter, the Bulls' 20-21 record would not have prevented coaches from selecting him as a reserve as they had the last two seasons.

[SHOP BULLS: Get a Jimmy Butler jersey right here]

He won't be joined in the starting lineup by Dwyane Wade, who finished second in backcourt voting behind Irving, but cast his vote for his teammate anyway and hopes Wade will be selected as a reserve.

"Of course. He's been a huge part of what we're doing here, and I think he has played extremely well the first part of the season," Butler said. "He got my vote. I will tell you that."

Golden State's Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will start for the West, along with Houston's James Harden, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans' Anthony Davis, a Chicago native.

The fun-filled and busy weekend in New Orleans begins Feb. 17, from the league events to the parties to the festivities and then finally the All-Star Game on Sunday night.

Butler likely views it as more of an accomplishment for his team of trainers and confidants then himself.

"It's fun, man. You get to know the other really good players in the league, and you get to know a little bit about them," Butler said. "And the experience that you get to be a part of, whether it be the Jordan party or taking your guys with you everywhere. That's the most fun part for me, my trainers, my brothers, everybody that's behind the scenes helping me gets to experience it too."