Bulls stay focused, try to close out Pacers

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Bulls stay focused, try to close out Pacers

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 11:29 a.m.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

INDIANAPOLISDont talk to the Bulls about the potential impact of winning Saturdays Game 4. They dont even want to discuss it in theory.

If we start thinking about all the other things, were going to lose sight of what we need to do, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau before Friday afternoons practice at IUPUIs (Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis) gym, The Jungle.

The big thing in this league is everybody looks at all the other stuff and thats not the way it works, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. I think just being ready for the next game, thats enough and thats what you need to do. The next games always the hardest game in this league.

Added Derrick Rose: It feels good, but we still have one more game to play. I dont want to jinx myself by saying that were winning already, but were almost there. Weve got one more important game.

Chicago knows that despite their 3-0 series lead, the host Pacers wont exactly lay out the red carpet for them on their way to the second round. Indiana has been consistent in their primary focuslimiting Roseand after throwing a variety of defenders (including 6-foot-8 rookie Paul George, swingman Brandon Rush and Thursday, for the first time in the series, veteran Dahntay Jones) and maintaining their rough play in the paint, resulting in a 4-for-18 outing for Rose in Game 3, its likely that Pacers interim head coach Frank Vogel comes up with a few more adjustments in hopes of keeping his teams playoff run alive.

Because youre playing the same team over and over again, youre going to see a couple wrinkles here and there, but theyre not going to change who they are. That doesnt happen, said Thibodeau. Weve got to be consistent with our defense and our rebounding, and weve got to take care of the ball.
Read: Aggrey Sam's The Starting Five for Game 4 vs. the Pacers

Chimed in Joakim Noah: Weve seen a lot and I expect them to try to take the ball out of D-Roses hands and its on us to try to make plays when theres one less defender.

As for criticism that the Bulls arent winning by wide enough margins or playing an aesthetically-pleasing style, the team isnt concerned.

I dont worry about any of that stuff, said Thibodeau. I know that in the playoffs, wins are hard to come by, so you do what you have to do to win.

For a team that only has four players from last seasons 41-41 squad that barely sneaked into the postseason before being bounced in five first-round games, this is heady stuff.

Winning is important to us, more important than any of the controversies or whatever people are saying right now, said Noah. Were up 3-0, Ive never been in this position before, its very exciting and were not going to let peoples expectations get in the way of us enjoying this, enjoying the process, enjoying getting better, enjoying improving, and hopefully we can do big things.

Were going to keep the same approach, he continued. Hopefully get this series behind us and get ready for our next opponent.

If that happens to be in a sweep, all the better.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Bears QB Mike Glennon makes his role emphatically clear: ‘This year is my year’

Bears QB Mike Glennon makes his role emphatically clear: ‘This year is my year’

Mike Glennon stuck to an emphatic mantra during his first meeting with the media since the Bears drafted Mitch Trubisky last month: “This year is my year.”

It wasn’t a surprising line — what else was he supposed to say? — but it was telling in the sense that Glennon didn’t appear to be rattled by the presence of Trubisky, the franchise’s presumptive quarterback of the future. Unofficially, Glennon said some version of that line a dozen times in just over 10 minutes. 

“They brought me here to be the quarterback this year and nothing has changed,” Glennon said. “So in my mind, I have to go out and play well, and I know that, and that’s basically the bottom line.”

Will Glennon work with Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick and presumptive quarterback of the future? Yes. But is that his main focus? No. The job of developing Trubisky falls on offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone, not the guy who the Bears committed tens of millions of dollars to to play quarterback. 

Glennon said general manager Ryan Pace called him about 10 minutes after Roger Goodell announced Trubisky’s name in Philadelphia April 27 to reassure him that he would still be the Bears’ starting quarterback in 2017. Like most everyone — including Trubisky — Glennon was surprised the Bears made the pick, but the 27-year-old said he quickly re-trained his attention back on preparing for the upcoming season. 

“I’m not worried about the future,” Glennon said. “I’m not worried about the past. I’m worried about the present and right now this is my team and that’s where my focus is.”

Glennon’s three-year, $45 million deal is structured so the Bears could cut him after the 2017 season and absorb only a $2.5 million cap hit, $500,000 more than the team took on when Jay Cutler was released in March. His contract was set up that way before the Bears snuck into Chapel Hill, N.C. for a surreptitious dinner and workout with Trubisky — he’s a bridge quarterback with an opportunity to show he’s greater than that label. 

“Even if I were to (look in hindsight) I would still have came here,” Glennon said. “Like I said, this is my year. There are no guarantees in the NFL. The majority of guys in the NFL are playing year-to-year. I’m here to prove myself that I can me the quarterback this year and going forward. But right now my focus is on winning games this year.”

“… I can only say it so many times, this year has been fully communicated that it's my year,” Glennon said. “I’m not going to worry about the future. As long as I play well, it will all work out.’ 

In wake of first-round playoff sweep, Patrick Kane talks about the Blackhawks' 'reality check'

In wake of first-round playoff sweep, Patrick Kane talks about the Blackhawks' 'reality check'

It’s been just over a month since the Blackhawks were eliminated from the playoffs in swift fashion. And as Patrick Kane told WGN Radio on Tuesday morning, the bitter taste hasn’t gone away.

“I think a lot of us didn’t figure we’d be in the situation we’re in right now,” Kane told Steve Cochran and Dave Eanet on Tuesday. “All of us can work this offseason to get better. It’s a long time to wait to get back to that opportunity to play in the playoffs again, so we’ll have a sour taste in our mouth for a while.”

The Nashville Predators, who made quick work of the Blackhawks in the first round, eliminated the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night to earn the first Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history. Kane told WGN he’s been watching the playoffs and said Nashville “has a pretty good system going.”

“They come at you, they play aggressive. I don’t think any of us would be a big fan of the way they defend in the neutral zone, just sitting back and playing that 1-3-1. But at the same time they come at you,” said Kane, who added that the Blackhawks “weren’t even close in that (first-round) series.”

“Maybe we had a chance in Game 3 when we were up 2-0, but it was a clean sweep and that’s probably how it should’ve been,” he said. “So now it’s time to regroup.”

When the Blackhawks had their wrap-up media session on April 22, general manager Stan Bowman was asked if some players, having won three Stanley Cups since 2010, had lost some of the hunger. Bowman didn’t buy that and neither did Kane.

“Four sounds a lot better than three, right?” he said. “It’s a long time away and a lot of work, but sometimes you go through those situations and you realize you won three Cups and it’s almost like you’re going to be there again. That’s where the reality check is for us now, realizing how hard it is to get back in that situation, how hard it is to win a Cup or go deep in this league. There’s a lot of work to be done.”