Hinrich, Noah game-time decisions tonight in Orlando

Hinrich, Noah game-time decisions tonight in Orlando
January 2, 2013, 6:08 pm
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ORLANDOFor their two-game road trip to Florida, the Bulls have four point guards traveling with the team.
One is Derrick Rose, who obviously wont be suiting up. Another is rookie Marquis Teague, whose playing time likely depends on that status of starter Kirk Hinrich, who missed the disappointing New Years Eve loss to the woeful Bobcats, which snapped an 18-game losing streak for Charlotte, with what Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau called a compilation of things, but more specifically is centered around the veterans ailing left knee.
If Hinrich doesnt play, next in the pecking order is backup point guard Nate Robinson, whose contract was guaranteed for the remainder of the season Tuesday, ensuring that 2013 started off on a high note for the diminutive scorer. But Hinrich participated in Wednesday mornings shootaround at the Amway Center and if no complications arise, he expects to play against the Magic in the evening.
Im feeling better, so Im going to go out here and participate in shootaround, and go from there, Hinrich said, adding that he didnt think his minutes would be curtailed due to the nagging injury, which troubled him earlier in the campaign, causing him to miss games against Philadelphia and Brooklyn last month. I think it just depends on how I feel, my comfort level and all that.
Thibodeau chimed in: Kirk, I think, is fine. Well see after the shootaround.
While Hinrich doesnt put up gaudy statistics, it was clear Monday that the Bulls missed his ability to run the offense, be a pesky defender and put his teammates in the right positions, as well as his quiet leadership. While the 19-year-old Teague has potential, hes inexperienced and it appears that Thibodeau is reluctant to trust the offense in his hands, while Robinson, who is a dynamic scorer, is best suited as an energy player off the bench and a change-of-pace option when the Bulls need offensive production, as traditional playmaking has never been his strong suit.
When you look at his plus-minus and how the team functions when hes on the floor, its both offense and defense, Thibodeau explained. Offensively, we play well and defensively, we play well and thats what a point guard has to do, is run the team. Hes played well all season and I think he understands how to run a team and when you look at shot distribution when hes on the floor, the right guys are getting the right shots. Thats a big part of it.
Joakim Noah and Vladimir Radmanovic are also game-time decisions, due to flu-like symptoms, which severely impacted Noah in Mondays defeat.
Jo is still not feeling well, so well see tonight, Thibodeau said.Radmanovic is not feeling well, so those two guys will be game-time decisions.
As for Rose, the former league MVP wasnt made available to the media, but Thibodeau discussed the point guards recent progress, which was first reported by CSNChicago.com after Saturdays home win over Washington.
Hes been around the whole time. You guys dont see him as much as the team does and so, I dont think its that big of a deal. Its the next step in the progression for him. Hes getting up to speed with everything offensively, defensively, his teammates, so its just the next step and hes got to continue to do the things that hes been doing, and the team has to continue to focus on our improvement and our opponent, and then at some point, hell be ready to go. But he still has some time to go. Everyone has to be patient, but its good to have him around, Thibodeau explained. Hes already been in practice and they see him doing his rehab, so that part, it is what it is. Hes still not out on the court and thatll be eventually what we have to do. Hell be part of the group. But right now, everything is good. Our team has to keep working, just focus on the improvement. Derrick has to focus on what he needs to focus on and at some point, hell rejoin the group.
Its when hes ready, so thats not anything that has changed from the start of the season. Its when hes ready. Its not going to be sooner, later, this is the target date. Its just when hes ready, so hes doing practice, the predictable contact in practice. The next step will be regular practice. Then, he has to be able to go through regular practice for a while and then, if everything goes well, then he plays. But theres no time schedule. So, its everything according to plan. Its just the next step. Theres several steps that he has to go through. Theres several more that he has to go through, so everythings going well. Nothing has changed.
Thibodeau is more preoccupied with his struggling team performing well Wednesday night against the overachieving Magic. Under first-year head coach Jacque Vaughn, unheralded Orlando has been competitive something the Bulls know firsthand from their narrow victory at the United Center in November and although theyve been plagued by injuries as of late, the Magic took the defending-champion Heat to overtime New Years Day.
When you look at their personneltheyre down Jameer Nelson and ETwaun Moore the last couple games, but they have good personnel. When you look at Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick and Hedo Turkoglu, those guys have been around and theyve performed well. Glen Davis has gotten hurt for them, but I had Davis in Boston; I know how good he is, Thibodeau said.
The core of their team is very, very good and theyve added some young guys who are very good. Andrew Nicholson is a terrific player, Nikola Vucevic is playing great basketball right now, so the challenge for us is to be ready. But theyre a very talented team, they play hard, they share the ball, theyre skilled, so we have to be ready. Vucevic, 29 rebounds in the last game, so were concerned about that and youre right, they played Miami great. Turkoglu is just coming back right now. Hes been a very talented player, hes got great size and decision-making ability, so they can run their offense through him and were concerned."
He went on to praise Vaughn, saying, I think hes well-prepared, hes got a very good staff, hes got them playing hard, playing together. Very impressive.

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