Thibodeau: They came out in third quarter and smoked us
DENVER—Backup shooting guard Marco Belinelli missed the Bulls’ blowout defeat Thursday night to the Nuggets as he recovers from his right-ankle injury suffered in Monday’s loss in Indiana.
Belinelli didn’t participate in the team’s morning shootaround and they won’t have an on-court session prior to Friday evening’s game in Utah, so he’s unsure if he’ll to return to the lineup to face the Jazz.
“We’ll see tomorrow morning how I feel,” he said. “I don’t know yet. I’ve got to have treatment tonight, tomorrow morning, too.”
Boozer takes trade rumors in stride
When asked about the reports circulating about a potential trade to Toronto, Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer took it in stride.
“That’s part of the business,” he said. “I can’t worry about that.”
CSNChicago.com confirmed that the Bulls have held exploratory trade talks with the Raptors, with a proposed deal sending Boozer and backup point guard Nate Robinson to Toronto, in exchange for former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani and former Bulls fan favorite John Lucas III.
Noah “rusty” in return to lineup
All-Star center Joakim Noah returned to the Bulls’ lineup Thursday after missing the team’s previous three contests with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
In 23 minutes of play, Noah finished with two points, five rebounds, three assists and three turnovers.
While he gave it a game effort, it was clear that Noah was laboring—a byproduct of not being able to practice or do conditioning drills, as he had to stay off his foot—and struggled to find his rhythm.
“I’ll be all right,” he told CSNChicago.com. “I feel rusty. We’ll see how it goes.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau concurred with Noah’s opinion.
“Rusty,” he said. “Just timing. A lot of his game is finesse and timing, and it’ll come back. I thought he moved fairly well, but he’s got to get out there and play. He’s missed a lot of time.”
College reunion for Noah, Nuggets’ Brewer
Noah was a two-time national champion at the University of Florida, alongside Atlanta Hawks star Al Horford.
Also on that team was swingman Corey Brewer, who many observers thought would experience similar stardom on the professional level.
However, the athletic Brewer bounced around early in his career, but has seemingly found a niche in Denver as a defensive stopper for the up-tempo Nuggets.
At the Bulls’ morning shootaround, Noah lit up when discussing his college teammate and close friend.
“Well, I think he’s comfortable, he knows his role and they’re playing winning basketball. I know Corey’s a winner and I’m happy that he’s playing a style of play that fits his style,” he said. “He’s like a little ‘bro’ to me, so I’m proud of him and I wish him nothing but the best, but I hope he stinks it up tonight.”
Brewer scored six points in Denver’s win.
Countrymen Belinelli, Gallinari stay in touch
Although Belinelli didn’t play Thursday, the fact that he got to visit with fellow Italian national team member Danilo Gallinari made the trip to Denver a bit more pleasant.
“I played against him when he was like 18. I think he was playing [for top Italian pro league team Armani Jeans] Milano and he was a good player. Everyone knew that. He was young, but he really proved that he was the guy who wanted to be better, who wanted to work a lot on his game. It was good to play against each other,” Belinelli told CSNChicago.com. “We’re still good friends. We text each other, we talk every time. We go out the night before a game, go out to dinner.”
The Nuggets forward was also happy to see his compatriot and spoke highly of Belinelli’s development.
“We started to play against each other when we were in Italy, so we’ve been knowing each other for a long time. We played together for the national team, so we know each other very well. I think that Marco’s game is getting better every year, especially in the last month, month-and-a-half, he’s playing very good for Chicago, so he’s been settling in very good. He likes the city, so I’m happy for him,” he told CSNChicago.com. “Three Italians in the NBA, so we’ve got to stick together.”
The third Italian player in the league, ironically, is the Raptors’ Bargnani.
Cook shows his stuff in defeat
Sharpshooter Daequan Cook lived up to his reputation Thursday, albeit in garbage time of a blowout loss.
Still, the shooting guard scored a team-high 19 points, including four triples, in his best outing in a Bulls uniform.
“I’m just getting a rhythm. That’s basically it,” he told CSNChicago.com. “Just shooting my shots and taking the shots that I’m given.”