Chicago Bulls

Bulls' bench red hot, helps destroy Toronto

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Bulls' bench red hot, helps destroy Toronto

Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011
Posted Jan. 4, 9:39 PM Updated 12:17 AM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

They say familiarity breeds contempt.

Well, in the case of the Bulls and the Raptors, any animosity must be one-sided, as Chicago (23-10) routed Toronto (11-23), 111-91, Tuesday evening at the United Center for the home teams 14th victory in 16 games.

Toronto scored on five of its first six possession to open the contest, a fun fact that clearly didnt amuse Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. Outside of Luol Dengs (24 points, four assists) aggressive approach, the most significant action on Chicagos end of things was a prolonged timeout for blood that eventually briefly sidelined Carlos Boozer (12 points, 13 rebounds).

Sparked by Dengs early hot hand, the Bulls quickly gained ground on the visiting Raptors by the midway point of the contests initial period. Derrick Rose (19 points, six assists) would start to find his groove shortly thereafter even taking a charge on the defensive end and display his ever-varying scoring repertoire with a 3-pointer and a dazzling dribble move and finish included in his bag of tricks.

Despite Chicagos surge, Raptors big man Andrea Bargnani (23 points, six rebounds) finally starting to live up to his potential as a former No. 1 overall pick, albeit on a losing team however, kept the scoring-oriented visitors competitive. At the end of a quarter, the Bulls held a 29-27 advantage.

Offensively, I liked us a lot in the first quarter. I didnt like our defense, but I liked our offense. So, we have to put the two of them together and well be okay, said Thibodeau.

He wouldnt have to be concerned about the team blending solid efforts on both ends for the rest of the contest, as the perfectionist grudgingly admitted by omission that he was pleased with his teams performance.

Perhaps emboldened by the solid first-quarter play of Taj Gibson (16 points, 14 rebounds) at first to spell Boozer following the aforementioned blood timeout and then a strong start to the second period from rookie Omer Asik (career-high 13 points, seven rebounds, career-high five blocked shots, two assists), Thibodeau let an all-reserve unit play extended minutes (Deng started the quarter, but would be subbed for relatively quickly; Thibodeau sent Boozer to the scorers table, then recalled him after evaluating the play on the floor) and his bench responded, widening Chicagos winning margin to double digits.

The bench was great, said Thibodeau. They played with great energy, their defense was terrific. Omer and Taj were great up front, Ronnie was very good, C.J., Kyle. They executed, they did a terrific job.

Added Rose: Theyre playing great for us, playing defense thats the biggest thing rebounding the ball, blocking shots, just chasing the ball down.

We tell Omer just to be aggressive; when you get inside, people are going to foul you and he was trying to dunk everything. Thats what we need. Taj was hitting his jump shot, hitting his layups, trying to dunk the ball. Theyre doing good for us.

While Asik would soon depart for Boozer, Gibson remained on the court and sustained his positive output, as did Ronnie Brewer (12 points, four rebounds), who provided his typical energy and slashing ability.

Thibodeau began filtering his regulars back into the game and the home team continued to click on cylinders, using opportunistic defense the Bulls forced 10 first-half turnovers and held Toronto to 38.5 percent shooting from the field and mostly textbook execution of Thibodeaus desired inside-outside going into halftime with a 59-41 lead.

Chicago sustained its momentum to open the third quarter on a 6-0 run, with Boozer being much more of a focal point offensively and impacting the game in general, quickly joining Gibson in the double-double club.

The Bulls kept the pressure on the visitors on both ends of the floor before some minor slippage permitted Toronto to slice into its deficit, although they didnt put a major dent in Chicagos comfortable advantage.

I thought the offense ran well and what that did is it got them scrambling, and we did a good job of moving the ball and finding open shots, said Deng.

Although Bargnanis diverse scoring, point guard Jerryd Bayless (11 points, eight assists) floor generalship and athletic swingman DeMar DeRozans (18 points) slashing were all somewhat effective for the Raptors, the continued inside presence of reserves Gibson and Asik, combined with the scoring threats of Rose and Deng, allowed the Bulls to maintain an 81-69 lead heading into the final stanza.

Gibsons tremendous outing was curtailed by picking up his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, but Asik picked up some of his slack with his strong finishing, defensive prowess and high activity level.

Deng again playing with the second unit; he was the only starter to do so in the final period helped the Bulls push their lead to over 20 points, with help from C.J. Watson (five assists, three steals), who did a nice job distributing the ball throughout the contest.

I think its big, said Thibodeau of resting his starters. Any rest you can get in a back-to-back situation is important and again, the bench, just the way the played was terrific."

Concurred Rose: Its huge, knowing that the starters except for Lu, he was out there for a minute but everybody should be rested up. I think we came out there and did what we were supposed to do toward the end and thats play defense and make games hard for opponents.

With the game already out of hand midway through the quarter and the United Center crowd clamoring for fan favorite Brian Scalabrine Toronto simply couldnt get anything going. Eventually, both Scalabrine and second-year forward James Johnson entered the contest, a clear sign that even the ever-diligent Thibodeau was aware the game was indeed over, something made official when Scalabrine scored the games last basket.

Scalabrines really good, said Boozer afterwards, responding to a reporters question about the veteran reserve seeing late action. You guys dont see him play a lot, but he can play. Hes been in this league a long time for a reason.

Top to bottom, everybody played great. Everybody contributed. Great game. After the first quarter, we started playing better defense and it took care of itself. We had a big lead, clamped down, rebounded the ball, defended the ball, executed our offense and got a fun win for us, he continued. This is another time where we improved as we won. We had a great practice yesterday, had great preparation today and played a good game.

When we have contributions like that through all 1-13 guys, it makes it easier for everybody. We had fun out there you saw how much fun we had on the bench, watching those guys get busy and thats why were a team. We need everybody.

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.

Report: LeBron James' camp thinks Dwyane Wade will wind up with Cavs

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USA TODAY

Report: LeBron James' camp thinks Dwyane Wade will wind up with Cavs

There was a time in the not-too-distant past that then-Bulls Derrick Rose went toe-to-toe with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat's tag-team duo in the Eastern Conference.

Six years later, Wade has replaced Rose in Chicago. Rose made a pitstop in New York via trade. James, after winning two titles in Miami, went back to Cleveland. Rose joined him earlier this offseason, signing a one-year deal with the Cavs.

Got all that?

The NBA looks different these days, and according to one Cavaliers beat writer it could look way different sometime this year. That's because Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon reported Tuesday that people in James' camp believe Dwyane Wade will play for the Cavaliers at some point this season.

"As of right now, people close to James are fairly confident that, at some point this year, Dwyane Wade is going to end up on the Cavs."

Now, there's obviously a lot to break down here. First, Wade is under contract with the Bulls and is due nearly $24 million this season. Then again, a report earlier this month said that Wade is likely to be bought out by the Bulls sometime in the near future. That part isn't all that wild, but it's far from a sure thing, especially if Wade and the Bulls can't agree on how much Wade should receive if bought out.

Then there's the decision Wade would have to make after clearing waivers. It was pretty clear he wasn't chasing a championship ring when he opted to sign with the Bulls last summer. Who's to say that itch has returned? We already know he'd be welcomed back to Miami, as face-of-the-franchise center Hassan Whiteside said he would.

Going to Cleveland would, of course, put Wade in great position to go chase a fourth NBA title, but it would also put him alongside his good friend James.

There's a lot to break down here, but we know this much: the Bulls have entered rebuilding mode and clearly don't have a use for Wade. But Wade could also be part of a trade in the winter as an expiring contract that nets the Bulls future assets. He's also a heck of a mentor for what will be one of the best young teams in the league. He also puts butts in the United Center seats, which may be more difficult to do than in recent years.

NBA 2K18 releases the all-time Bulls roster...sort of

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AP

NBA 2K18 releases the all-time Bulls roster...sort of

NBA 2K18 released its all-time Bulls roster on Tuesday. Well, most of it. We think.

Check out the players below and we'll break down each one (including the mystery legs in the background)

From left to right:

Joakim Noah: A fairly easy choice considering his entire career. Noah played nine seasons in Chicago, averaging 9.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 blocks in 572 games. He won Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 and was named First Team All-NBA. He also finished fifth in MVP voting and became the face of the franchise post-Derrick Rose injuries.

Jerry Sloan: Another easy choice. Sloan spent 10 seasons as a player for the Bulls, averaging 14.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 696 career games. He was an All-Star twice and made six All-Defensive NBA teams. He was an assistant in 1978 before becoming head coach in 1979. He spent four seasons with the Bulls before beginning his illustrious Hall of Fame career with the Jazz.

Derrick Rose: You knew he was going to be on the list. The youngest MVP in NBA history was simply breathtaking in his seven seasons with the Bulls. He was a three-time All-Star, averaged 19.7 points and led the Bulls back from one of the ugliest stretches in franchise history. The knee injuries slowed him down entirely, and he'll never be what he once was, but his spot in Bulls history is cemented.

Artis Gilmore: The best left-handed player in Bulls history is also the best center in Bulls history, averaging 19.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks over seven seasons. He led the NBA in field goal percentage twice, was a four-time All-Star and led the Bulls to a pair of playoff appearances.

Luol Deng: We see you back there, Lu. One of the most recognizable (and probably tired) Bulls was an absolute fixture of the organization for 10 seasons. He averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 637 games. He was twice named an All-Star (while leading the league in minutes both years) and made the All-Defensive Second Team in 2012. An all-time Bulls team wouldn't feel right without him.

Michael Jordan: Um, yeah.

Dennis Rodman: The Worm was another easy choice for this list. His three-year stay in Chicago resulted in three championships for the Bulls, where Rodman averaged 15.3 rebounds (leading the league all three seasons) and set the tone every night for Phil Jackson's squad.

Scottie Pippen: Another no-brainer. Let's keep moving.

Horace Grant: The power forward for Scottie and MJ averaged a cool 12.6 points and 8.6 rebounds in seven seasons, winning three titles in the early 90s while donning his famous goggles. He made the All-Star team in his final season before taking a big payday from the Magic in 1994.

Toni Kukoc (we think): This could be one of two players: Kukoc or Pau Gasol. But seeing as he's just a smidge taller than Jimmy Butler (to the right) we'll guess it's the 6-foot-7 Kukoc and not the 7-footer Gasol. All Kukoc did in seven Bulls seasons was average 14.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists out of primarily sixth man role. He was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year in 1996, and he was instrumental in the Bulls' second three-peat. He's littered across the Bulls all-time record books, including 3-pointers (9th), assists (10th) and steals (10th).

Jimmy Butler: The youngest player on the all-time Bulls team is the third of three current players no longer with the Bulls. Butler became a star during his six seasons in Chicago, improving his scoring in each season, being named to three All-Star games and earning All-NBA Third Team honors this past season. He didn't leave on the best of terms, but a player of his caliber deserves a spot on this squad.

Mystery guys in the back: To the right of Rodman in the back, we're going to guess that's Steve Kerr. The second digit looks like a "5." It's also a good bet that on the left side Bob Love is behind Artis Gilmore. Chet Walker may be back there, too. We're still holding out hope that Captain Kirk Hinrich took the team photo and is part of the team.