The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Magic

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Magic

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010
2:08 PM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

1. The Bulls spent their Thanksgiving in Denver, where they ate a holiday dinner together at former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elways restaurant. After the team meal, Joakim Noah had an encounter with the Hall of Famer. Its weird that you mention that because I was in the steam room. We had a little time in the hotel and I was in the steam room by myself, just focusing, enjoying the day off, Thanksgiving and he was there. He just came in. I dont know too many football players, but I know him, said Noah after Tuesdays practice. Its kind of weird. Its a true story, though. Continued Noah: I actually didnt say anythingIt was a kind of weird moment. Kind of awkward. Even though, according to Noah, It was just me and him in there, he ultimately declined to introduce himself to the NFL legend. I was going to say something, but then I was like, Maybe he just wants to spend some time alone.

2. His statistics havent been gaudy, but Bulls reserve swingman Ronnie Brewer has been gradually picking up his play as of late, resembling the dynamic and versatile player he was in Utah after a hamstring injury during training camp got him off to a slow start.Im getting more comfortable, more confident. I think Thibs is getting more comfortable with allowing me to do some of those things. Allowing me to push the ball and make plays, drop it off to different players and attack the basket. Im still trying to find my niche with this team and hopefully I can continue to improve my play, Brewer told CSNChicago.com. Brewer believes his role on the Bulls is an energy guy. Weve got a lot of guys on this team that can score pointsJoakims been doing a great job, D. Rose, Booz comes back, Luoland for me to go out there and contribute, that means knocking down open shots, get to the basket, put pressure on defenders and try to make plays for other people, and be a lockdown defender. Thibodeau acknowledged Brewers improved play. When you think about what Ronnie went through. He was hurt for half a season last season and couldnt do a whole lot over the summer. Hes finally in really good shape again and now I think were seeing the activity hes shown in the past. Im very pleased with the way hes playing.

3. Chicagos starting power forward to this point, Taj Gibson, returned to practice Tuesday after sitting out Mondays practice to rest his sore right ankle. Its day-to-day. I talked to Coach Thibs Tuesday. He was extremely understanding about the injury. I talked to the doctors Monday. Its just day-to-day. They told me to ice it, get a lot of treatment on it and just hope for the best, said Gibson. Its not the plantar fasciitis. It was the injury I got from the Bulls practice in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. It was the right ankle ligamentits been real painful, but Ive just been playing through it and just been pushing. The doctors came in and said Im not in danger of hurting myself any further. To tend to the injurywhich Gibson said throbs sometimes when he pushes off his right foot or runs hardthe second-year player has had a lot of hot and cold treatments, stim electronic stimulation, then they just double wrap it with a little pad around it before playing. Speaking of his lingering plantar fasciitis, he said, The plantar fasciitis is up and downIve been on top of it, keeping my feet in an ice tub, which I hate, but its been helping me. If Gibson is bothered about losing his starting spot to Boozer, he certainly isnt acting like it. I talked to Coach Thibodeau this Tuesday morning. It doesnt affect anything the way I play. He told me about the whole focal point of our team. It was a great talk, having your coach be behind you 110 percent. As far as him Boozer coming back, thats great for our team. Weve shown a lot of people with him down that were a great teamcoming off the bench, its going to be even better for me because coming off the bench last year, I thrived, said Gibson. Sometimes I might be in with CarlosWe play together and we go against each other in practice, we go against each other in drills. He talks to me. Its great having somebody like that being around you. We have great guys on our team. Theres no animosity, everybody cheers for one another.

4. Chicago attempted to woo Orlando shooting guard J.J. Redick in the offseason, but the Magic eventually matched the Bulls offer sheet to the veteran sharpshooter. This season, Redick has slumped, shooting 27.7 percent from 3-point range and 34.8 percent from the field while averaging 7.1 points in 22.4 minutes per game off the bench behind Vince Carter.

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

--Aggrey Sam

Jonathan Marchessault's hat trick leads Panthers rout of Blackhawks

toews-325.jpg
AP

Jonathan Marchessault's hat trick leads Panthers rout of Blackhawks

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Jonathan Marchessault scored his first career hat trick, James Reimer stopped 25 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Florida Panthers routed the Chicago Blackhawks 7-0 on Saturday night.

Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and three assists, and Aleksander Barkov added a goal and two assists for Florida. Reilly Smith and Nick Bjugstad also scored to give the Panthers their largest margin of victory since an 8-0 win over Toronto on Feb. 5, 2008.

Marchessault had two goals in a 3-1 win over Arizona on Thursday. He has nine goals over his last nine games and leads the Panthers with 28.

Corey Crawford stopped 21 shots for the Blackhawks before being lifted at 4:59 of the third for Scott Darling, who allowed three goals on six shots.

Already leading 3-0, the Panthers poured in four goals in the third.

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Joe Maddon's T-shirt slogans can get a little old at times, but the Cubs manager found a new audience in Brett Anderson, who liked the idea of "Be Uncomfortable" after signing a one-year, prove-it deal with the defending champs.

"It's been awesome so far," Anderson said. "That's my running joke – we're a month into it now or whatever it is – and I don't hate anybody yet.

"That's a testament to the group as a whole – and maybe me evolving as a person."

Yes, Anderson's sarcasm, social-media presence and groundball style fits in with a team built around short-term pitching and Gold Glove defense. The if-healthy lefty finished his Cactus League tour on Saturday afternoon by throwing four innings (one unearned run) during a 7-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies in front of 13,565 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Anderson will open the season as the No. 4 starter after a camp that has been remarkably low-key and drama-free.

"I'm kind of cynical by nature, but it's a fun group to be a part of," Anderson said, "(with) young guys that are exciting and happy to be here. And then obviously the mix of veterans, too, that are here with intentions of winning another World Series."

To make that happen, the pitching staff will have to again stay unbelievably healthy. Anderson rolled with a general question about how he physically feels now compared to where he's usually at by this time of year.

"Obviously better than last year, because I was walking with a gimp and all that stuff," said Anderson, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a bulging disk in his lower back last March. "No, my body feels good, my arm feels good and you're getting into the dog days of spring training where you're itching to get to the real thing."