The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Pacers Game 4

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Pacers Game 4

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 11:49 a.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com
1. In the aftermath of Roses 4-for-18 shooting night Thursday, Thibodeau was still impressed with some of the more underrated aspects of his floor generals game, especially his much-improved ability to draw fouls. Thats who he is. Derricks going to attack the basket, get fouled, hes going to go to the line and come back, and do it again and again and again. To me, thats toughness, said Thibodeau of Rose, who is 44-for-49 from the charity stripe through three postseason contests. Hes been a great leader all year. Its something that hes worked hard at. I think hes gotten better and better as the seasons gone along. Hes very aggressive, hes strong, quick, he can read defenses and he makes good decisions once he gets in there. Thibodeau was also complimentary of Roses floor leadership and poise despite the pounding hes taking at the hands of the Pacers. Its not just the attacking of the rimobviously thats importantbut its decision-making, also. When you look at fourth-quarter scoring, youre seeing that Kyles getting a lot of good shots, Luols gotten good shots, Carlos is getting good shots, so hes doing a great job of running the team, Thibodeau explained. He is human. Hes going to say what he has to say, but I love his poise and his demeanor. To me, hes always under control. Thats a hard thing to do. Theyre taking shots at him, but it says a lot about his toughness. Hes as tough as they come, both mentally and physically, so he wont get discouraged and I think you all saw that he wasnt making shots, but he ran the team great in the fourth quarter, made all the right plays, made the tough plays and again, he doesnt get discouraged.

2. After reviewing two fouls by Pacers big man Jeff Foster from Thursdays gameone on Rose and the other on Deng; the mild-mannered Rose confronted Foster after being elbowed in the face, while Deng writhed in pain after being clobbered over the headthe NBA upgraded both calls to flagrant fouls Friday. In the postseason, players are suspended after accumulating four flagrant-foul pointsin Fosters case, he now has two, since both were flagrant onesbefore getting suspended, an unlikely occurrence for the veteran Pacer, as Indiana is one game away from being eliminated from the playoffs. Let the league make those decisions, said Thibodeau. Were getting to the line. I think we can get to the line more. Added Boozer: Hes doing what hes got to do for his team and were going to do what weve got to do for ours I love it when they let us play, get down, get dirty and have a chance to be men out there. Its fun.
3. Speaking of the physical play in the series, Noah took exception to the perception that the Pacers are dictating the level of toughness in the series. The physicalitys good. I feel like our physicalitys pretty good, too. Theres a reason why theyre playing like that. Were kicking their tails on the boards and weve got a point guard thats gets to the rim at will, so theyve got to do something, said Noah. Noah, who recorded a double-double Thursday, appears to be thriving off of the intensity of the matchup and subsequently regaining the form that earned him recognition in the league. Hes coming back. Hes tipping the ball, blocking shots, running, running with you on fast breaks, setting the picks, giving you extra possessions to score the ball. Hes doing a lot for us and his conditioning is better, getting back to where it used to be, Rose noted. Thibodeau chimed in: His energy was great. I thought he was active, shot-blocking, pursued the ball, made some good plays and again, as time goes on, I think hell get better and better.

4. Thibodeau also had strong praise for the performance of his role players Thursday. Keith makes three threes, he guards hard, you can put him on anybody. Taj was terrific. Taj has been playing well, very well. But because of Carlos foul trouble, he got in earlier, shot-blocking, active, all those things. C.J., in the short minutes that he had, I thought he played well. We got a look at C.J. with Derrick a little bit and I thought that was pretty good. The bench has been terrific, said the coach. Weve said this all along: We need everybody. Even the guys that arent playing, theyre doing a good job of helping the guys stay ready and keeping everybody in tune with everything thats going on.

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

Wake-up Call: Miggy gets the boot; Rodon's rocky debut; More bad news for Cubs?

miguel_montero_cubbies.jpg
AP

Wake-up Call: Miggy gets the boot; Rodon's rocky debut; More bad news for Cubs?

Where it all went wrong for Cubs and Miguel Montero

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

Kris Bryant’s sprained ankle is more bad news for Cubs: ‘You can’t cry about it’

Can Leonard Floyd break out in 2017? The Bears like the early signs

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's next for Blackhawks as free agency looms?

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Nationals today on CSN

Preview: White Sox host Yankees tonight on CSN

Bulls Talk Podcast: An NBA gone wild and Zach LaVine sit down interview

How Rick Renteria has tried to help White Sox players combat travel fatigue

What pushed Theo Epstein over the edge in making Miguel Montero decision: ‘It screamed out’

 

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

The two fastballs that soared to the backstop on Wednesday night should give you a strong indication that Carlos Rodon was far from perfect.

But in making his first start of the 2017 season, the White Sox pitcher also offered his team plenty of signals that his health isn’t going to be an issue.

Rodon returned to the mound for the first time since last September and brought the goods that made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects several years ago. Given he’d missed three months with bursitis in the left shoulder and the potential value he offers to a franchise only half a season into its first rebuild in 20 years, that was plenty for the White Sox to overlook the rust Rodon showed in a 12-3 White Sox loss to the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He started a little rough early obviously, got some high pitch counts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And then he kind of settled down.

“Having him back in the rotation and getting him back out there on the big league field, coming out of there feeling good, healthy. I'm sure he will continue to get better as he continues to get out there and move forward.”

Renteria said he wasn’t surprised that Rodon struggled with his command as much as he did against the Yankees. The issues the pitcher displayed in uncorking a pair of wild pitches, walking six batters and throwing strikes on only 41 of 94 pitches were also present during Rodon’s four rehab starts in the minors.

But as long as the stuff was there, the White Sox would be OK with any issues that accompanied the performance. Rodon began to alleviate those concerns immediately when he earned a called strike on the game’s first pitch with a 93-mph fastball to Brett Gardner. Featuring a four-seamer with an absurd amount of movement and a nasty slider he struggled to control, Rodon checked all the boxes the White Sox hoped for from a pitcher they believe will be a frontline starter for years to come. Rodon also was pleased by how he felt before, during and after the contest.

“I was pretty excited,” Rodon said. “I was going a little fast in the first. But it was good to be out there. Next time out, it’ll hopefully be a little better. Arm feels good, body feels good, all you can ask for.”

Well, it’s not ALL you can ask for, but it’s pretty damn good out of the gate given how slow Rodon’s return took. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph according to BrooksBaseball.Net and touched 97 mph. His two-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 95. And his slider, though he couldn’t control it, nor locate it for a strike, averaged 86 mph.

“You could see (Omar Narvaez) going over to try to catch some balls that were having tremendous run,” Renteria said. “That's (Rodon). He's got some tremendous life, he's just trying to harness it the best that he can and being able to execute where he wants to get as many strikes as possible.”

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The strikes were about the only thing Rodon didn’t bring with him. He walked Gardner to start the game and issued two more free passes after a Tim Anderson error allowed a run to score and extended the first inning. Rodon threw 37 pitches in the first, only 15 for strikes.

He also reached a full count to each of the batters he faced in the second inning. Rodon walked two more with two outs in the third inning after he’d retired six batters in a row.

And there were those pesky first-inning wild pitches that resembled something out of ‘Bull Durham.’

But all in all, Rodon and the White Sox ultimately saw enough in the first outing to be pleased.

“Great stuff, great life, but the goal is to put it in the zone and let them swing it to get guys out early,” Rodon said. “That’s not what happened. I’ll get back to that.”

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s better to be with the guys out on the field grinding than sitting on the couch and watching, for sure.”