Chicago Bulls

Total domination: Bulls blow out 76ers by 45

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Total domination: Bulls blow out 76ers by 45

Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010
Posted 9:25 PM Updated 11:13 PM

By Chris Cason
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Derrick Rose and Luol Deng both scored 22 points apiece as the Chicago Bulls (17-9) cruised to a 121-76 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers (11-17) Tuesday night.

With second year forward Taj Gibson joining Joakim Noah on the inactive list for precautionary reasons after suffering a concussion in Saturdays game against the Los Angeles Clippers, an emphasis was placed on the importance of starting with intensity and the Bulls answered the bell, dominating on both sides of the floor.

The Bulls jumped on the Sixers 33-19 in the opening frame. Rose, Deng and Carlos Boozer accounted for 29 of those points as the team only trailed in the opening minute.

"I thought we came out, right from the start and had great energy, said head coach Tom Thibodeau. Shots went down for us early. Defensively, I thought we did a really good job with our body position, getting back and challenging shots.

Rose also finished with 12 assists as Chicago led by as many as 51 and were firing on all cylinders, helping shut down a team that had won eight of their last 11 games.

Chicago shot 64 percent and held Philadelphia to 28 of 80 shooting from the field.

I knew the first three minutes of the game, we had no juice, said Sixers coach Doug Collins regarding his team being out of rhythm the entire night. They ran the same play six, or seven straight times. We gauge where we think were going to be in a game by our first ten possessions and they scored eight of their first 10 possessions. I looked at our coaches and said, our guys just arent there tonight.

Chicago outscored Philadelphia 52-26 in the paint - thanks in large part to Kurt Thomas holding Elton Brand to six points on 2 of 9 shooting. They also had a 28-9 edge in fast break points, assisted 32 times on their 49 made field goals and scored 31 points off of Sixers turnovers. There was no lack of intensity in this one and leading 92-54, the Bulls were able to rest all of their starters in the fourth.

I just thought we just did a great job of getting ready to play, said Boozer, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. "We were disappointed how we started last game. Its been a point of emphasis the last couple of days of practice. We came out tonight focused and did a great job of being ready offensively and defensively.

We helped each other a lot, continued Boozer. We dominated the boards, shared the ball a lot, and were efficient inside. We just did a great job of being prepared for this game.

Filling in for Gibson, 16-year veteran Thomas got the starting nod and finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.

Hes been doing it for 100 years, joked Thibodeau about Thomas performance. Hes a smart player, plays great body position defense, great communicator I thought he helped our pick and roll defense tremendously.

In a game with so much exerted energy on both ends, the 38-year old - who has more miles on his body than the entire roster combined - appreciated the game for obvious reasons.

Its best when you have a back to back, that youre able to get some rest, said Thomas. Your main guys are able to get some rest, so thats always good.

The Bulls will play the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. It will be the second time the two teams have met this season, with Chicago taking the first game a 103-96 win on Nov. 13.

It will be their first bout with the slightly new-look Wizards, who traded away long-time franchise cornerstone Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic for Rashard Lewis on Sunday.
NOTES

Taj Gibson told CSNChicago.com that he feels great and would be ready to play on Wednesday, but the decision will determined by the Bulls team doctors.

State of the Bulls: Stacked 2018 draft class

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USA TODAY

State of the Bulls: Stacked 2018 draft class

2018 draft class is loaded at the top

Quietly, you can bet Bulls' front office executives John Paxson and Gar Forman had a little celebration after hearing that prep star Marvin Bagley III was going to graduate from high school early and enroll at Duke for the 2017-18 season, making him eligible for the 2018 draft.

Bagley, a 6'11 power forward from Los Angeles, is being compared to longtime NBA star Chris Bosh, right down to his smooth left-handed shooting touch. Bagley averaged 24.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and two blocked shots during his junior season for Sierra Canyon H.S. He's also fared well against NBA competition at the highly-regarded Drew League in L.A. this summer. Bagley’s physical tools are off the charts, and you can count on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski preparing him well for life in the NBA.

Most NBA scouts and execs expect the No. 1 overall pick to come down to either Bagley or Michael Porter Jr., who will play his one season of college basketball at Missouri. The 6'10 Porter averaged an amazing 34.8 points and 13.8 rebounds last season against Seattle high school competition. He's considered a more dynamic scorer than Bagley with more range on his jump shot. Some scouts believe he could quickly develop into one of the league's elite players with Kevin Durant-type length and shooting ability at the small forward position.

International swingman Luka Doncic is also highly coveted by NBA teams. The 6'8 swingman has excellent shooting range, and is also capable of creating his own shot with outstanding ball-handling ability. Forget the stereotype of European players being mechanical and unable to compete athletically, Doncic is capable of being an 18-20 point scorer in the NBA and should go in the top five next June. He's considered one of the best international prospects in the last decade.

Two 7-footers also will hear their names called early on draft night 2018. University of Arizona freshman DeAndre Ayton averaged 19.8 points and 12 rebounds in high school last season, while Texas freshman center Mohamed Bomba has an incredible 7-foot-9 wingspan. Sure, the NBA has moved away from the traditional low post center, but teams are still looking to acquire agile big men like Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside. Depending on how they fare against top level college competition, Ayton and Bomba could round out the top five.

Other names to watch in the lottery portion of next year's draft include Texas A&M power forward Robert Williams, Michigan State's forward duo of Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., and the latest one-and-dones from John Calipari's Kentucky program, center Nick Richards and small forward Jarred Vanderbilt.

In case you missed it, ESPN released its preseason win total expectations for the Eastern Conference on Wednesday, and the Bulls were dead last with a projected record of 26-56. Now, I'm not sure a team with veterans Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez and the three young players acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota will be quite that bad, but if you're going to rebuild, the idea is to get the best draft pick possible, and the Bulls appear to be on course for a top-five selection depending on how the lottery falls.

If the Bulls are able to land an elite talent like Porter Jr., Bagley III or Doncic in the draft, then use their $40-50 million in cap space to land a couple of quality free agents, the rebuild might not be as painful as some fans are fearing.

Last dance for LeBron in Cleveland?

Well-connected NBA writer Chris Sheridan dropped this bomb on Twitter Wednesday, quoting an NBA source, "This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair." Don’t forget, Sheridan was the first national writer to report James was going to leave Miami to go back to Cleveland in 2014, so his reports definitely warrant a little extra attention.

Okay, we've already heard countless rumors about James planning to join the Lakers after next season. He's built a mansion in Brentwood, is close with Magic Johnson and will be able to bring another superstar with him to L.A. like Paul George or Russell Westbrook. Plus, the Lakers have a number of talented young players in place like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. and a promising coach in Luke Walton.

Add in the likelihood Kyrie Irving will be traded before training camp opens and LeBron's long-standing poor relationship with Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert, and you have the perfect formula for another James' free agent decision next July. Although, I'm not sure why LeBron would want to go West, where Golden State is positioned to dominate the league for another five seasons, with strong challengers like the Rockets and Spurs still in place. 

But if we've learned anything from watching James over the years, he's clearly a man who wants to align the odds in his favor. So don't rule out anything when it comes to James' free agent decision. If the Cavs make a home run trade for Irving, maybe LeBron decided to plays out his career in his home state. If not, look for him to find a team with the cap space to bring in another top star to run with him.

Back in 2010, the Bulls carved out the cap space to add two max contract stars, but lost out to Pat Riley in Miami. This time around they won't be on James' July travel itinerary.

One thing we know for sure. Where LeBron plays in 2018 will be the number one story throughout the NBA season.

Report: Bulls expected to reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Report: Bulls expected to reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade's homecoming may not last much longer. 

According to Nick Friedell's ESPN report, the Bulls are expected to reach a buyout agreement with the 12-time NBA All-Star "at some point in the next few months." 

The news comes two months after Wade picked up his player option, choosing $24 million over earning less on a more competitive team. 

If Gar Forman and John Paxson indeed decide to buy D-Wade out, the "Three Alphas," which consisted of Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo, would all be out just one season after coming together. 

The buyout may also mean more ping-pong balls in next year's stacked draft