The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Magic

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Magic

Friday, Jan. 28, 2011
1:24 p.m.
By Aggrey SamCSNChicago.com

1. Derrick Rose talked about facing the Magic, who throttled the Bulls in both the preseason and their first regular-season matchup, in which Carlos Boozer made his Bulls debut. Oh, this is huge. Theyve been beating us bad every time we played them, so this is our chance to go out there and let them know were ready to play, said Rose. Theyve been playing well, shooting the ball great. At first, they had to get used to each other, but they jelled very quickly. Theyve got Turkoglu; hes playing very well for them. Everybodys shooting the ball good and Ryan Andersons playing great. He also discussed how Orlandos midseason blockbuster trade improved their roster. Orlando is more of a threat now. The way theyre shooting the ball right now is unbelievable. Theyre averaging nine three-pointers a game and nine can easily change a game, so if a team like that has the green light to just shoot whatever shot they wantespecially threesit can get ugly out there.

2. Thibodeau also talked about the threat Orlando poses. Magic All-Star center Dwight Howards dominance and athleticism, strength and ability to get deep into the paint. If they throw the ball anywhere near him, hes got great hands. It pulls you in. It requires you to have more than one person on him, said Thibodeau. Because of the way they shoot, you have to pull in, but you also have to react out. If they hit a couple threes, now they really set up his post-up and its probably the best way to set up a post-up in todays game, is through the pick-and-roll. It allows him to get deep position and if he gets two feet in the paint when he catches, its either a score or foul. The guy, hes dominant and their shooting really spreads you out. He continued: Magic power forward Brandon Bass has really played well for them, but when backup power forward Ryan Anderson comes in, now its another three-point shooter theyre putting on the floor, so they spread you out pretty good. Ive said this before: Magic point guard Jameer Nelson doesnt get enough credit. The guys a terrific player I think each game tests you in different ways. Certainly when you look at the make-up of their team, it puts a lot of pressure on you. Were concerned with whoever is front of us, but theyre a well-balanced team and a team to be reckoned with.

3. Thibodeau also talked about how the Bulls three-day break between games could benefit the team. We had an opportunity to get some practices in and well see tonight. Itll reveal how the practices were, said Thibodeau. I think it did give us a chance to get our legs under us and there were a number of things we wanted to clean up that you could only really do in practice. He also shed some light into whether injured center Joakim Noah would travel with the Bulls on their upcoming, five-day, West Coast road trip. Depending on what the doctors say and Fred, what they have in store for him Noah, in terms of getting his cast off, said Thibodeau. At some point, Im hopeful that hell be on the trip.

4. Rose talked about playing with fellow Chicago native Dwyane Wadethe Miami Heat star was voted the Eastern Conferences other starting guardin the All-Star Game. Ive never played with himexcept for the All-Star Game last year and that was only for a little bit, because I was injuredso its going to be exciting, said Rose. When asked about whether anybody big contacted him in the wake of selection as an All-Star starter, Rose quipped, I dont have Obama on speed dial or anything. I dont hang out with a whole bunch of celebrities. Rose is also a nominee for the All-Star weekend Skills Challenge. Four finalists--Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Baron Davis of the Los Angeles Clippers, Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder are the other candidateswill compete against New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul in the com
petition.

5. Dont forget to follow me on Twitter at @CSNBullsInsider.

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.

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.

It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.

“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”

Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.

“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”

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The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.

“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”

Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.

Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).

When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.

“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”

[MORE: Pau Gasol relishes consistency with Spurs he couldn't find with Bulls]

Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.

“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

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