Raptors' Lucas still connected to Bulls

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Raptors' Lucas still connected to Bulls

TORONTOPrior to the Bulls overtime road win over Toronto, Raptors backup point guard John Lucas III held court.

A third-stringer in Canada, Lucas has fond memories of his tenure with the Bulls, during which, he had a handful of memorable moments, such as out-dueling LeBron James to propel the Bulls to a win over the Heat at the United Center last season.

But just being in Chicago and playing in that arena meant more to Lucas than even his best individual efforts.

Just the Madhouse. More than the game, just the fans and pulling up to the arena, seeing the Jordan statue. Just knowing that you played in the same arena that MJ damn near built, and coming out of the tunnel and seeing the fans. The intro music. You heard that music in 93, 94, when you were watching the game and youre out there with the jersey on, so thats my biggest memory, just being part of that, he said.

Its one of the top franchises in the league and everywhere you go in the world, you see the Bulls logo everywhere, every sports stadiumI dont care where you are in the worldand just to be a part of that was special.

Although Lucas is in a different uniform, hes still close to his former teammates, as evidenced by the warm reception he received in the visiting locker room at the Air Canada Centre after the game.

Its a different atmosphere, different city. Its all right. Im enjoying it, though.
I watch most of all their games, just because I like to see Thibs get mad for little, bitty stuff that he shouldnt really get mad about. Those are my guys. Those are like my brothers, Lucas said. Like my little brother, I stay on top of him, so I talk to them at least once a week, especially Booz.

Lucas is extremely close to Derrick Rose and has had several conversations with the injured superstar during his recovery process.

Off and on, just basically talking to him about his health is coming along, hows the rehab been going and what he thinks about coming back, just stay on top of it, make sure he comes back 100 percent and doesnt try to rush into anything, Lucas explained, before hazarding a guess at when Rose could return to the lineup. Knowing him, probably after All-Star break, though it may be the next month, March, at the end. I just want him to come back 100 percent because the game needs him, not just the Bulls, but the NBA needs him, too.

As much as Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau can be a taskmaster, especially when it comes to his notorious practice sessions, Lucas expressed his gratitude to the man who gave him his first real shot in the NBA.

Thibs believed in me. He knew what I could do and Ill forever be grateful for that because hes the one coach that took the chance and let me just play exactly how I play. It made me show the rest of the NBA that I belong in here and this is not a fluke. Its just a matter of me coming in and making it happen when my opportunity was there. I always felt like when I had that opportunity to play, I was going to do just kick the door down and I had the opportunity last year when D went, and I just wanted to come in, pick up where he left offthats a big pickupbut at least keep it above water and just come in, show everybody, Look, I can play this game. This is what Ive been born to do. This is what Ive been working hard for, he said. We wouldnt have been the No. 1 team the past two years without practices like that, so I embraced it. It doesnt matter to me. I like playing the game, I like the grind, I like going through the long hours we did because I knew it would be better for us as a team and also individually. I improved my game, everybody else improved their game and to me, this is what we get paid for, so youve got to come in, do your job. Were not going to a nine-to-five. Youve only got to come in for games and practices, so why not give everything youve got while youre in here? People every day bust themselves every day from nine to five to make it happen, so weve got one of the best jobs in the world, in my opinion, so why not go in, and if its for an hour-and-a-half, two hours, just give it everything youve got? Youve got the rest of the day to whatever you want to do, so it didnt bother me at all. I actually enjoyed it.

Everyones new, basically, on the team, bench-wise. Those guys come in, learn their new system. Theyve been under another system for so many years or theyve been on this team, that team, so theyve got too many systems that they know. So, they really dont know exactly what their roles are. One thing about Thibs, you know your role, you know exactly what youre supposed to do and everything is just routine. You just constantly go over the same thing until its like second nature, until its like you never forget. To this day, I was watching the film, I knew every play that was happening, when it was happening for them because just in practice, we went over the same plays over and over again, so as soon as I saw the monitor, I was like, Oh, thats this. This is whats going to happen next. You ever see the movie Semi-Pro?thats how Thibs is. Hes just constantly putting it in your mind, putting it in your brain, to where it becomes second nature, Lucas continued, showing how much he still keeps up with the Bulls, later noting, They got smacked! You sure they were at that game? when referencing Atlantas historic loss Monday night to the Bulls. Even though we complained, game time comes and we knew exactly where to be and when to be there. Thats the whole point. Its boring, but usually stuff thats boring is always effective. Thibs knows what hes doing. Hes one of the top coaches in the league and hes been proving that for years, even as an assistant. But now, hes a head coach. Hes paving the way to be one of the top coaches in the NBA.

In his new residence, Toronto, Lucas is appreciated by Raptors head coach Dwane Casey for his leadership, even if that hasnt translated into consistent playing time yet.

Ive said from Day 1 how much I love John Lucas and hes done a heck of a job. He had a great exhibition. He did a really good job of shooting the ball, hit a little slump offensively, probably because of playing time being up and down a little bit, but the guy knows the game, Casey said before the game. I think hell be a great coach whenever he gets ready to retire from basketballI think its in his DNAbut totally positive. I talk to him all the time, letting him know how important he is to our team, the character of our team, the fiber of our team. But he can be on my team, any team, any time of the day.

For the first time in his professional career, Lucas is armed with some security, as a result of his two-year, guaranteed deal, but he still speaks with a tinge of regret when discussing his departure from Chicago.

Ive never been put in that type of position. I just wanted to play ball, but also turning 29, I had to make a decision financially and set myself up for the rest of my life, and thats really what it boiled down to, he said. I didnt want to leave, but everybody makes decisions. They went in a different direction and I went in a different direction.

CSN announces its 2016-17 Bulls season coverage details

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CSN announces its 2016-17 Bulls season coverage details

Pre-Season Action begins Oct. 3, First Regular Season game on Oct. 29, Plus – Live Pre/Post-Game Shows all season long and comprehensive nightly coverage on ‘SportsNet Central,’ Highlight 2016-17 Schedule Live streaming coverage of EVERY Pre-Season and Regular Season Bulls telecast – including all Pre/Post-Game Shows – to be made available to authenticated subscribers on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app

CSNChicago.com to feature 24/7 reporting from Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill; website to also feature live video of Post-Game Press Conferences

“Bulls Pulse” Social Media Center, Daily Player/Coaches Interviews, Game Highlights, plus In-Game Twitter updates from CSN talent and much more!

Chicago, IL (September 28, 2016) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Bulls, is once again ready to deliver another thrill-packed season of NBA excitement with 42 live regular season Bulls games (21 home, 21 away), including in-depth pre-game and post-game shows, and the most thorough 24/7 online Bulls coverage to date on CSNChicago.com!

In addition -- EVERY pre-season and regular season Bulls telecast on Comcast SportsNet, including surrounding Bulls Pre/Postgame Live coverage, will once again be streamed live on CSNChicago.com and will be made available via the NBC Sports app on tablets and smart phones.  The live stream of CSN’s Bulls telecasts is presented by Xfinity.  Authenticated Comcast SportsNet Chicago subscribers can watch live Bulls action from anywhere in the United States.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  For a full list of carriers and more information about CSN Chicago’s live streaming service of Bulls games, viewers are urged to visit the following link: http://www.csnchicago.com/live-faq .  

The 2016-17 Chicago Bulls regular season on Comcast SportsNet/CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app gets underway on Saturday, October 29, as three-time NBA Champion/12-time NBA All-Star/Chicago native Dwyane Wade & NBA Champion/four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo join two-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler, along with Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Bobby Portis, Tony Snell, newcomer Robin Lopez, and rookie Denzel Valentine among others, as the Bulls host the Central Division rival Indiana Pacers at 7:00 PM CT, featuring the always-entertaining announcing tandem of Neil Funk and Stacey King (NOTE: Coverage gets underway with an expanded, one-hour edition of Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light at 6:00 PM LIVE from the United Center with hosts Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Will Perdue).  Kia Bulls Postgame Live immediately follows the game featuring Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s post-game press conference, along with live locker room player interviews and complete post-game analysis.  Plus – CSNChicago.com Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on Bulls Pre/Postgame Live and during home game telecasts.

In addition to the 42 regular season games, Comcast SportsNet/CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app will also televise six Bulls pre-season games starting on Monday, October 3 at 7:00 PM, when the Bulls face the Milwaukee Bucks live at the United Center.  Additional pre-season match-ups will air on Oct. 6 at Indiana, Oct. 14 vs. Cleveland, Oct. 15 at Milwaukee, Oct. 17 vs. Charlotte, and Oct. 20 vs. Atlanta (in Omaha, NB). 

Highlights from this season’s Bulls regular season schedule on Comcast SportsNet/CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app features 27 big games against Eastern Conference foes, ten of which are against Central Division opponents.  Among the key highlights on this season’s Bulls telecast schedule features a huge United Center battle against LeBron James and the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers (Dec. 2), a return home for former Bulls C/F Pau Gasol as the San Antonio Spurs invade the UC (Dec. 8), a home match-up against Dwyane Wade’s former club, the Miami Heat (Jan. 27), a road battle against back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry & the 73-9 regular season/Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors (Jan. 8), a road match-up against former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and his Minnesota Timberwolves (Feb. 12), along with a late season visit to Madison Square Garden when the Bulls take on former team All-Stars Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and the New York Knicks (Apr. 4). (NOTE: Comcast SportsNet/CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app’s complete 2016-17 pre-season and regular season Bulls schedule appears at the end of this release).

For the ninth-straight season, veteran Bulls play-by-play announcer Neil Funk will be teamed up with former Bulls standout center Stacey King, who will handle color analysis all season long.  SportsNet Central’s Bulls beat reporter Chuck Garfien will also be the primary courtside reporter for Bulls home game telecasts this season. 

Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light (featuring hosts Mark Schanowski, former NBA/Bulls/Fighting Illini standout Kendall Gill, and four-time NBA champion center, including three titles with the Bulls, Will Perdue) is a half-hour pre-game show featuring a breakdown of the evening’s match-up, interviews with coaches and players and a look at the other games around the NBA.  Bulls Pregame Live will air prior to every Bulls game this season with additional weeknight Bulls pre-game discussion airing on SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado.  Featuring host David Kaplan, SportsTalk Live will also be the place to hear from numerous Bulls/NBA experts all season long.

Immediately following every game this season, viewers can look forward to the most comprehensive post-game wrap-up show on Kia Bulls Postgame Live.  Kia Bulls Postgame Live (hosted by Schanowski/Gill/Perdue) will also feature live coverage of Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s post-game press conference and live locker room interviews with Bulls players.  Following the majority of evening Kia Bulls Postgame Live airings, viewers can catch GMC SportsNet Central at 10:00 & 10:30 PM and SportsNet Central presented by CLR at 12 Midnight with the most complete recap of the day’s top local and national sports news. 

One pre-season and one regular season Bulls game is currently scheduled to be telecast on Comcast SportsNet Plus (see attached schedule).  Comcast SportsNet Plus (CSN+) telecasts are provided to Comcast SportsNet affiliates and distributed to viewers when two live events are scheduled simultaneously.  CSN+ is available in high-definition on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area/South Bend, IN & on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 285 in the Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets, along with being made available in DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, RCN, and WOW! homes among others; viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER for complete channel location details). Comcast Cable and RCN subscribers can also watch all CSN+ games in standard definition on CLTV. 

In addition to its live stream of every Bulls pre-season/regular season/playoff telecast, Comcast SportsNet’s website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 24/7 Bulls coverage all season long, including the following highlights: 

  • Live stream of Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg's post-game press conferences following EVERY home game telecast.
  • Video highlights from every Bulls game, including in-game highlights at halftime.  Pre-game interviews from team practices will also be provided, as well as extensive post-game reaction from the locker room and analysis from the “Kia Bulls Postgame Live” team.
  • “Bulls Pulse,” a one-stop social media and behind-the-scenes destination that reveals the latest real time trending topics, player buzz and expert insight from Twitter and Instagram.  Plus, “Bulls Pulse” aggregates all Bulls player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag #BullsTalk.
  • “Bulls In-Game Live,” – featuring STATS Inc.’s enhanced Game Zone real-time tracking system – is a second screen platform for PCs, tablets and mobile devices that combine state-of-the-art infographics, data visualization of real-time statistics and game info with rich social interactivity tied to CSN Chicago’s live game broadcasts.
  • Push Alerts: CSN Chicago will deliver Bulls push notifications for breaking team and player news, “Insider” reports, plus game reminder alerts via CSN Chicago’s SportsTalk app for iOS and Android devices.
  • BullsTalk, CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Bulls news and opinion section featuring original commentary, reporting and aggregation. BullsTalk contains interactive content with continually updated insights from the network’s talent, which includes the new #BullsTalk podcast.
  • CSNChicago.com Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill enters his second full season on the Bulls beat. Follow him on Twitter @vgoodwill for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7.  Bulls digital reporter and producer Mark Strotman (@markstrot) will also provide Bulls and NBA reports/features on the beat with Goodwill. 
  • @CSNBulls on Twitter provides 24/7 full team coverage, giveaways, fan photos and game day news straight from the United Center and across the country.
  • Expanded coverage from Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, Will Perdue and Chuck Garfien, CSN Chicago’s Bulls reporting team will provide pre-game and post-game coverage throughout the playoffs, along with digital content contribution and videos for CSNChicago.com throughout the season.  Follow them on Twitter @MarkSchanowski, @KendallG13, @Will_Perdue32, and @ChuckGarfien.
  • Bulls coverage on CSNChicago.com/Bulls is presented by Toyota.

COMCAST SPORTSNET CHICAGO

CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app

 

2016 - 2017 Chicago Bulls Schedule

 

Pre-season:

  1. Mon, Oct 3           vs Milwaukee                            7:00 pm  
  2. Thu, Oct 6            @ Indiana                                7:00 pm
  3. Fri, Oct 14            vs Cleveland                             7:00pm         CSN+
  4. Sat, Oct 15           @ Milwaukee                            7:30 pm
  5. Mon, Oct 17         vs Charlotte                              7:00 pm
  6. Thu, Oct 20          @ Atlanta (Omaha)                   7:00 pm

Regular Season:

  1. Sat, Oct 29           vs Indiana                                7:00 pm
  2. Mon, Oct 31         @ Brooklyn                              6:30 pm
  3. Sat, Nov 5            @ Indiana                                6:00 pm
  4. Wed, Nov 9          @ Atlanta                                 6:30 pm        
  5. Thu, Nov 17         @ Utah                                    9:30 pm        
  6. Sun, Nov 20         @ Los Angeles Lakers              8:30 pm
  7. Tue, Nov 22         @ Denver                                 8:00 pm
  8. Wed, Nov 30        vs Los Angeles Lakers              7:00 pm
  9. Fri, Dec 2             vs Cleveland                             7:00 pm        
  10. Mon, Dec 5          vs Portland                               7:00 pm
  11. Tue, Dec 6           @ Detroit                                 6:30 pm
  12. Thu, Dec 8           vs San Antonio                         8:30 pm        
  13. Fri, Dec 16           vs Milwaukee                            7:00 pm
  14. Mon, Dec 19         vs Detroit                                 7:00 pm
  15. Wed, Dec 21        vs Washington                          7:00 pm
  16. Mon, Dec 26         vs Indiana                                7:00 pm
  17. Wed, Dec 28        vs Brooklyn                              7:00 pm
  18. Fri, Dec 30           @ Indiana                                3:00 pm
  19. Mon, Jan 2           vs Charlotte                              7:00 pm
  20. Mon, Jan 9           vs Oklahoma City                     7:00 pm
  21. Tue, Jan 10          @ Washington                          6:00 pm
  22. Sat, Jan 14           vs New Orleans                        4:00 pm
  23. Tue, Jan 17          vs Dallas                                  7:00 pm         CSN+
  24. Wed, Jan 25         vs Atlanta                                 7:00 pm
  25. Fri, Jan 27            vs Miami                                  7:00 pm        
  26. Sun, Jan 29          vs Philadelphia                          6:00 pm
  27. Fri, Feb 3             @ Houston                               7:00 pm
  28. Wed, Feb 8          @ Golden State                        9:30 pm        
  29. Sun, Feb 12         @ Minnesota                            2:30 pm
  30. Tue, Feb 14          vs Toronto                                7:00 pm
  31. Tue, Feb 28          vs Denver                                 7:00 pm
  32. Mon, Mar 6          @ Detroit                                 6:30 pm
  33. Wed, Mar 8          @ Orlando                               6:00 pm
  34. Mon, Mar 13         @ Charlotte                              6:00 pm
  35. Wed, Mar 15        vs Memphis                              7:00 pm
  36. Fri, Mar 17           @ Washington                          6:00 pm
  37. Tue, Mar 21         @ Toronto                                6:00 pm        
  38. Sun, Mar 26         @ Milwaukee                            2:30 pm
  39. Sun, Apr 2            @ New Orleans                        5:00 pm
  40. Tue, Apr 4            @ New York                             7:00 pm        
  41. Thu, April 6           @ Philadelphia                          6:00 pm
  42. Mon, April 10        vs Orlando                               7:00 pm                                             

6 pre-season, 42 regular season (21 Home, 21 Road regular season)

Total 48 Games

 

All Times Central Time/Schedule Subject to Change

 

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

With one Bulls practice in the books and one more to go in the night session, it was evident from the primary parties that Rajon Rondo has earned instant trust and credibility with his play.

Or more pointedly, his brain and his mouth.

“He’s got the best voice on the team,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “When you have point guard out there who can get you into something and talk the way he does, that sets the tone for everybody.”

Apparently the ultra-intelligent point guard has been a galvanizing force since the team starting convening last month for informal workouts, as Hoiberg believes Rondo has grasped his system instantly and brought some of the younger teammates along.

“The biggest thing that I’ve been most impressed with with Rajon is the minute he stepped on this floor when he got back here in August is he pulled everybody together,” Hoiberg said. “If you have a guy not only offensively getting you into something but defensively making sure guys are pointing and talking and making sure guys are pointing and talking and getting back and matched up in transition, that’s where it starts. He’s been here. He’s been great. He’s a guy who you can watch film with in September before we got rolling here in camp. He got us off to a great start.”

Needing Rondo to be vocal will be a plus for Hoiberg considering the coach’s soft-spoken approach, and those two being on one accord will be a key considering Rondo’s history with coaches over time.

Rondo’s intelligence, which most consider to be genius-like, has already come in handy and will help with the perimeter adjustment of fitting himself, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade together.

“Like I always say, when you put good basketball players out there on the floor you just go,” Butler said. “Everything just falls into place, falls into line. You don’t have to worry about too much of anything. And with him he’s an incredible leader. He just wants everybody to be successful. He’s going to put you in position to be just that.”

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Rondo has led the league in assists three times and his career 8.7 assists-per-game average is third among active players behind Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

“He has been around the league a long time,” Hoiberg said. “He studies the league. If he sees a small guy guarding Jimmy, he’s going to find a way to get him the ball on the block. The more you can have those guys recognizing things on the floor---if Robin Lopez is coming down and I have to yell, ‘Get the ball to Robin’ then we have issues -- and Rondo obviously will be a big help with that.”

So yeah, he’ll have the ball in his hands plenty.

“He’s super-smart. He really sees things before they even develop out there on the basketball floor, so it makes everybody’s job a lot easier," Butler said. "And not only is he leading the team on offense, but he’s constantly talking on defense, so he’s letting everybody know where they have to be. Wade’s the same way, so he makes everybody’s job easier as well, and you learn from that, so you just follow suit for the most part.’’

Butler joked that there will often be times where a Rondo pass zigs while he’ll be zagging early in camp while chemistry is developing, saying “I’m sorry, Rajon, because you’re going to definitely get a turnover from me one game,” and that he won’t be opposed to Rondo getting on him or anybody else in the meantime.

“I’m good with that,” Butler said. “I’ll challenge him right back if I see something that he’s not doing correctly. I want him to hold me accountable, me hold him accountable, everybody holding everybody accountable, because then everybody is going to learn from their mistakes and not to it again.”