The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Cavs

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Cavs

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
12:38 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
1. Bulls center Joakim Noah concurred with his coach's opinion about Wednesday's game.

"The Bulls are just trying to get a win. It's an important game for us. They're still in our division and they're very capable. They have a lot of offensive firepower and they're very well-coached. We've just got to come with the right energy and the right focus," Noah told before the team's shootaround Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena. "The goal is always the same. It's to try to win a basketball game. That's what we're here to do and we've got to come with the right mindset and get ready to play."

2. Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer spent his first two NBA seasons in Cleveland after the Cavaliers selected him in the second round of the 2002 NBA Draft. Prior to Wednesday's shootaround, Boozer spoke to about his favorite memories of his experience in Cleveland.

"Just getting drafted. Sitting there and got that phone call from Cleveland that they were going to draft me. I actually played for Bulls reserve point guard John's Lucas III dad former NBA player and coach John Lucas. That's how I know 'Luke' so good. His dad drafted me and I had chance to come here and get to the NBA, so I've always got great memories here and a great level of respect for the organization," said Boozer. "I wanted to prove to everybody that passed me up in the first round that I was good enough to be at this level and I still wear that chip on my shoulder today, to be honest with you. I was proud that the Cavs drafted me. They gave me an opportunity to get down, so for me, I took the pride every night to prove that I was good enough to be here."

3. Thibodeau's opposing coach in the matchup, Byron Scott, has a reputation for turning moribund squads around as a head coach.

"To me, he's an excellent coach. He prepares his team well, they always play hard, they play unselfishly and they'll get better as the season goes along," said Thibodeau of Magic Johnson's former backcourt mate with the Showtime-era Lakers, who took the lowly New Jersey Nets to two NBA Finals with Jason Kidd at point guard and briefly made the New Orleans Hornets a Western Conference contender with Chris Paul running the show.
4. Thibodeau highlighted third-year power forward Hickson as a player to be watched carefully.

"He's got great quickness at his position, so his reaction to the ball is excellent. He can face up, he can drive the ball hard, he's got a good low-post game, get to the jump hook. If he gets deep post position on you, he can hurt you and he's quick -- he can out-quick people -- so you've got to be down and ready on the catch. He's getting better and better as a young player," said Thibodeau. Averaging 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his first season as a full-time starter -- he started in Shaquille O'Neal's absence and prior to Cleveland's trade deadline acquisition of Antawn Jamison, but was demoted prior to the playoffs, a questionable move since the Cavs' front office was loath to include him in a potential trade for Amar'e Stoudemire -- Hickson is regarded as the team's player with the best long-term potential, although his rebounding and defense has been criticized by new coach Scott.

5. Don't forget to follow me at @CSNBullsInsider.

Aggrey Sam is'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.

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf cheering for Cubs in World Series: 'Cubs fans have suffered enough'

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf cheering for Cubs in World Series: 'Cubs fans have suffered enough'

The White Sox took to Twitter on Saturday night to congratulate their crosstown rivals on earning their first World Series berth since 1945.

Two days later Jerry Reinsdorf took it a step farther.

The White Sox owner told Chicago Sun-Times' Michael Sneed that he'll be rooting for the Cubs when they begin their series against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

"I think it would be great for Chicago if the Cubs won!

"Cubs fans have suffered enough. They deserve to have a winner. It would be great for the city.

"My White Sox fans won't be happy with me saying this. They'll think I'm a traitor. But that's how I feel."

Reinsdorf may have felt different had his White Sox not hoisted the World Series trophy in 2005. But he understands how Cubs fans feel; when the South Siders won the 2005 World Series it ended an 87-year drought. That was the second longest drought in MLB history, behind only the Cubs and their current 107-year streak.

Perhaps the fact that the Cubs are playing a White Sox AL Central rival in the Indians helps matters.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

Either way, Reinsdorf is hoping to see the Cubbies bring home the title for the first time since 1908.

"I have never been a Cubs fan," Reinsdorf said. "But I really do wish them well."


Bulls: Fred Hoiberg, Dwyane Wade soak themselves in Cubs fever

Bulls: Fred Hoiberg, Dwyane Wade soak themselves in Cubs fever

The party that started Saturday night on the north side of town had vibes that stretched all the way west of downtown, as the Chicago Bulls players and coaches soaked themselves in Cubs fever.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has been a lifelong Cubs fan due to growing up in Iowa and of course, Dwyane Wade came back home at the right time to witness the Cubs winning the pennant for the first time since 1945.

“It’s been fun, it’s been fun to watch. I’ve talked about how together that team is, how much of confidence, how much of a swagger they play with,” Hoiberg said. “It’s just a fun team that looks like it has unbelievable chemistry.”

Playfully, Hoiberg admitted he went streaking in Wrigleyville after the Cubs finished off the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field—although if he actually had been streaking, Hoiberg probably would’ve blended in with the deliriousness that took place well into Saturday night.

Seriously, though, Hoiberg admires the unity and joy the Cubs have played with all season—embracing the expectations without letting themselves get engulfed in them.

“It’s a team that I think you can learn from with what they’re doing and the backing that they have from the city,” Hoiberg said. “Cubs fans, from the time they’re born like myself, they’re just, it’s been awesome to watch and see the celebration after the game.”

Wade agrees, and having been part of three championship teams, knows chemistry when he sees it.

“That team has figured out a way, even during this series when it looked like their back was against the wall they came out swinging. They stuck together,” Wade said. “You have to support each other. No matter who’s on the basketball court for us, who’s on the bench, it’s all about supporting each other and really caring about the other guy. When you start caring about the other person, you don’t want to let that other person down on the court. You become a better team because of that.”

With the World Series starting Tuesday in Cleveland, Wade and good friend LeBron James will likely make a friendly wager, with the two exchanging playful tweets after the Cubs’ clincher.

“It’s been a long, long, long time, and just obviously I felt the buzz when I got back to the city, and everyone thinking that this was the Cubs’ year,” Wade said. “And they’ve been obviously playing amazing, so it’s great. It’s great to be in Chicago at this time with the Cubs being as successful as they are so far, and so it’s good to be here and it’s good to be a sports fan at this time in Chicago, so it’s good.”

Cleveland has gone from a national sports joke to one with an embarrassment of riches in the past six months, while the Cubs are trying to end the longest championship drought in the four major sports.

“Just pride in your city. Cleveland has obviously had droughts in sports and then he went back there to change that drought from the standpoint of basketball, and they accomplished that,” Wade said. “And now Cleveland is trying to do the same, and they got to a World Series, which has been a drought for them.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Luckily for the Bulls—or any Chicago sports fan for that matter—Thursday’s season opener doesn’t conflict with a game, but fans won’t be so lucky next Saturday night. The Bulls will play the Indiana Pacers while the Cubs will host Cleveland for Game 4. Wade doesn’t think he’ll have trouble getting into Wrigley Field, but after Scottie Pippen’s unfortunate rendition of “Take me out to the ballgame” Saturday night, Wade wants an opportunity for a reprieve.

“I know Scottie butchered the 7th-inning stretch. I think me and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo could do a good job together if they ask us to do it,” Wade said. “It’s just cool to be a part of it.”

Hoiberg summed it up succinctly, likely echoing the beliefs of many long-suffering Cubs fans.

“Four more to go,” Hoiberg said. “I like their chances just because of how confident they’re playing.”