Bulls notes: Gibson receives flop warning

Bulls notes: Gibson receives flop warning
December 22, 2013, 9:30 pm
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Taj Gibson was issued a warning for flopping in the first quarter of Saturday’s 100-84 Bulls win over Cleveland at the United Center, the league announced Sunday.

While running the floor after a Bulls rebound, the big man ran the floor and was bumped by Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, leading to a trip to charity stripe—Cleveland was in the penalty—with 3:10 to go in the opening period.

If Gibson is cited for flopping by the league again, he will be fined $5,000.

Teague’s role changing?

With D.J. Augustin starting for the third straight game Saturday after only six games with the team, it appears as if second-year point guard Marquis Teague has been again relegated to backup duties and when Kirk Hinrich comes back, he could only see spot minutes. Teague played 12 minutes against Cleveland, hitting a three-pointer and even sharing backcourt minutes with Augustin, who went for 18 points and 10 assists in 46 minutes of actions.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau recently discussed the 20-year-old’s progress.

“Marquis has had some very good moments. He’s had some moments in which I think he’s capable of doing better. But it’s our whole team. As I said, our margin of error is very small and, so we can’t have a three- or four-minute stretch where we jog back or we don’t finish our defense or we challenge a shot, but we don’t get to a body, we give them a second or third crack at it. We can’t have that. Offensively, we’ve got to make quick decisions. The ball has to move. We can’t settle for tough shots,” the coach explained. “He’s young and there’s going to be a learning curve. He’s got to keep working at it and as long as he’s improving, he’ll be fine.”

[RELATED: Gibson continuing to flourish inside]

Augustin might have played the entire game Saturday if he didn’t have to leave the contest late because of hamstring cramps. Meanwhile, when veteran Kirk Hinrich returns to the lineup after now missing five games because of a back ailment, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Bulls revisit assigning Teague to their D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, something they did last month before immediately recalling him after Mike James suffered a sprained MCL.

Evaluating Cavs’ Waiters

While it’s unlikely to occur, with the rumor persistently mentioning a potential Bulls-Cavaliers swap involving All-Star small forward Luol Deng, in exchange for Cleveland’s second-year shooting guard Dion Waiters, perhaps it’s relevant to know what Thibodeau thinks of the scorer, who didn’t play in Saturday’s game due to a wrist injury, but now regularly functions as the Cavs’ sixth man.

“Waiters, I had a chance to work with for Team USA,” said Thibodeau, an assistant coach for USA Basketball, who cut his teeth with the national team in last summer’s Select Team mini-camp. “He’s very, very talented. I didn’t know him before that, but I had a chance to spend some time with him. He did a good job out there, so he’s a good young player."

Waiters is averaging nearly 15 points per game for Cleveland, but lost his starting spot in the wake of reports about an incident and ongoing tension between he and Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. A strong and athletic 22-year-old, the Philadelphia native is regarded as an emotional player and not necessarily committed to defense, but the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft is also an explosive instant-offense scorer who thrives with the ball in his hands.

Bryant’s injury hits home

In light of Deng’s sore left Achilles’, which caused him to miss four games earlier this month and now has him sidelined again, Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant’s latest setback is relevant.

The future Hall of Famer recovered from his own, more severe Achilles’ injury, then last week suffered a knee fracture that’s expected to sideline him for six weeks, though his personal timetable could differ from doctors’ expectations. Thibodeau has a relationship with Bryant going back to Bryant’s high-school days outside of Philadelphia, when the then-76ers assistant coach would put him through individual workouts.

“It’s unfortunate. You hate to see it,” Thibodeau said of Bryant. “He’s coming off the Achilles’ and he’s such a great competitor. It’s bad for the league, but he’ll bounce back. He’s got a lot of toughness."