Bulls look to turn the tables on Bobcats

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Bulls look to turn the tables on Bobcats

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011
10:16 a.m.

By Christopher Cason
CSNChicago.com

Returning home after a winning two week west coast road trip, the Bulls now turn their attention to the Charlotte Bobcats as they try to avoid being swept in the season series.

While Charlotte has won the previous two meetings, the Bulls have been a few late game mishaps and a last second shot away from the outcome of those games being in their favor.

In the last game here, the big thing was we turned the ball over and they converted in transition, said Tom Thibodeau about the teams 13 turnovers that Charlotte turned into 16 fastbreak points in the 83-82 loss on Jan. 18. That was the biggest thing that they did against us.

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The Bobcats lineup of Stephen Jackson at shooting guard, Gerald Wallace at small forward and Boris Diaw at power forward has given the Bulls trouble with their size and versatility, especially on the defensive ends as theyve been able to switch on pick and rolls and not lose any ground defensively.

Theyre different in the sense that they do a lot of switching defensively, said Thibodeau. I think offensively we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. The turnovers that we had, they were live-ball turnovers. So it put them in the open floor and for us thats a problem. If we can get defensively set, we feel pretty good about our defense but if its in the open floor and it creates three-on-one fastbreak opportunities for them, those breaks are difficult to stop.

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Perhaps, no other Bobcat has benefited more from being cut from Larry Browns control more than third year point guard D.J. Augustine. Hes displayed the floor game under new coach Paul Silas and has seen an increase in not only his production, but his confidence as well.

Augustine has given friend and draft-mate Derrick Rose his share of problems this season as hes averaging 18 points and 8 assists in the two games against Chicago.

Rose, however, is coming off two impressive performances against two of the names that are beginning to get mentioned after his in discussions of the leagues best point guard.

In wins over the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets, Rose finished with averages of 26 points and 6 assists while Deron Williams and Chris Paul finished a combined 26 points and 18 assists on 8-23 shooting from the field.

While Paul and Williams are more highly regarded, the Bulls arent taken Augustine lightly.

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Hes a terrific player, said Thibodeau. Every night, youre faced with those challenges. If you overlook a guy like D.J. Augustine hes terrific. Sometimes, he probably doesnt get the credit that he deserves and when you look at the past couple of years there when Raymond Felton was there, both of them played extremely well and played well together at times. This is a guy whos very confident, hes a good player and he shoots the ball extremely well. If you give him open shots, hes going to make you pay and hes been playing at a very high level for them.

The Bulls are hoping to avoid a letdown in energy after the extended road trip, but wanting to get back at Charlotte for the way theyve lost their past two matchups against them should provide plenty incentive to bring forth their best effort.

They beat us both games, said Rose. We want to get some revenge when we play them and just try to keep it hard on them throughout the entire game. If we come out and play very aggressive and with a lot of energy, I think the game should be very easy for us especially because weve been wanting to play them and we want a little bit of revenge. If our energy is high, we should have no problem.

This will be the second night of a back to back for the Bobcats who come into the game off an impressive 109-89 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

Rajon Rondo declares himself out for Bulls-Celtics Game 5

Rajon Rondo declares himself out for Bulls-Celtics Game 5

BOSTON — Rajon Rondo is out tonight for Game 5 of the Bulls’ series against the Boston Celtics and if he is to be believed, an appearance in Game 6 or 7 doesn’t seem likely because “my finger is broken.”

If he is to be believed.

Rondo threw cold water on the report that he had a “secret workout” in the attempt to get back on the floor for Game 5 at TD Garden, saying he went to work on his floaters because he airballed one in practice Tuesday.

“No I’m not playing. I got an X-ray yesterday. The thumb is still the same. It’s still broke,” Rondo said. “I knew last week it wasn’t going to be fixed in a week. My finger is broken.”

Rondo being without a cast on his right hand was due to the wrist injury he suffered in the last remaining games of the regular season, when he tore ligaments and missed a few games.

Knowing his history of playing on a torn ACL and injured forearm, the expectation was that Rondo could find a way to play through the pain — which makes his words hard to completely take a face value, given the hard sell he presented to reporters.

“My thumb is the same as it was last week,” Rondo said. “I think I’m Wolverine but it hasn’t healed that quickly yet.”

As he reiterated time and time again, “my thumb is broken,” a statement he made almost incredulously considering the thought he could come back in a relatively quick time considering this injury occurred in Game 2.

And while the thumb is no longer discolored and looks to be close to its usual form, he still has to use a big cast on it and even when he practiced yesterday with the team he was using a lot of his left hand, according to people who were in attendance.

“Nothing. I can still dribble without it,” Rondo said. “Basic dribbling. But it’s still a big part of my game. I have a big cast on it while I’m playing so it’s not really effective.”

If he does decide to get out there in a clinching Game 6, he could risk further injury to his thumb, and due to the break occurring on the tip of his thumb, he can’t numb it up with a shot or a general painkiller.

He would have to have a wrap on it, and given the high stakes it would be a target for the Celtics players to slap at it to further injure it.

“I’m not worried about somebody else slapping it,” Rondo said. “I’m worried about the way I play — diving on the floor, trying to get my hand in on loose balls. I play on instincts. I can’t go in there with my finger tucked and trying to steal the ball. The game doesn’t work like that.”

“My finger is broke. I can’t go out there without anything. The slightest fall on the floor might further damage it. If I was to go out Game 7, 8, 9, I would probably have a wrap. I finished the game. My finger was broke in the third quarter.

“I can affect the game in different ways. But obviously the scouting report would be different, how they would play me. I might get hacked a couple times on the right side of my body. It could affect the entire hand. If I play, that won’t be my concern.”

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg seemed pretty amazed at the speculation that lasted all of 10 hours as the possibility of Rondo playing began to grow by the hour, but still calls it a “longshot”.

“He still has a broken bone in his thumb. He’s got a significant amount of swelling and he’s got a lot of soreness. So he’s out tonight,” Hoiberg said. “He is trying to increase his activity just in case by doing some extra running, and [Tuesday] was actually the first day he touched a ball with his right hand, so again, like I said [Tuesday[, it is a longshot.”

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox crush Royals; Cubs shutout Pirates; Bulls battle Celtics tonight on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox crush Royals; Cubs shutout Pirates; Bulls battle Celtics tonight on CSN

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from Tuesday: 

Five Things To Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in pivotal Game 5 on CSN

Preview: Cubs aim for sweep tonight on CSN

Three more hits for Leury Garcia as White Sox pound Royals

Kyle Hendricks outduels Gerrit Cole in Cubs win

Rajon Rondo return seems possible for Game 5

Clemson's Deshaun Watson is the one situation where a Bears reach has epic upside

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

NBA Buzz: Time for Fred Hoiberg to make adjustments for the Bulls

Duke chatter unlikely to stop, but newly extended Chris Collins wants to be at Northwestern: 'There's no reason for me to look elsewhere'

Teammates see Mike Glennon taking command of Bears offense