Thibodeau: Noah understands benching

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Thibodeau: Noah understands benching

DEERFIELD, ILL.Joakim Noah wasnt in the Bulls locker room when the media entered after the teams overtime loss Saturday to Memphis, he wasnt available to reporters after Mondays shootaround at the Berto Center and he, like many players, has a personal policy of not talking to the media before games, so his take on Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeaus decision to bench him for the final 23 minutes of the defeat to the Grizzlies will have to wait.

Thibodeau, as he did after in his postgame press conference, professed that theres no controversy brewing when asked about the situation Monday.

Just a coachs decision. We were struggling, we were behind. The group that got in there got us back in it. It was more the way that unit was rolling. I just felt we were so flat, that group was either going to win the game or lose the game for us, he explained. They were the ones that overcame a big deficit and thats usually the case. In the first half, I always go back with the starters. In the second half, if were struggling, its going to be the group thats going well. Thats the way it is.

Noah understands. Hes been around and the team has to come first. Thats the most important thing. That happens. Its not a big deal, the coach added. Hes responded well since Ive been here, so I always expect that. I expect the best out of him.

Although Thibodeaus explanation holds water because of the ultimately-failed comeback of the quintet on the floorstarters Carlos Boozer and Jimmy Butler, who played in place of the injured Luol Deng, as well as reserves Taj Gibson, Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinsonit did raise eyebrows when he inserted backup center Nazr Mohammed, who hadnt previously played Saturday, into the contest after Gibson fouled out in overtime.

Now, while Noah appeared animated when taken out of Saturdays game, thats nothing new to observers, as the high-energy center always wants to be on the court. Gibson insisted that the teams closeness and belief in Thibodeau should quell any speculation that Noah would harbor any resentment.

Not really because we just look at Jo and Jos calling out plays, calling out different stuff, and we just keep playing. We understand that Coach knows what hes doing and when Coach puts guys in, weve got to keep rolling with whoevers out there on the court, so if Jos not out there, eventually hes going to come in. but unfortunately, Saturday night, he wasnt able to come back. But its a new game, new style of play, big game tonight, so weve got to focus on tonights game, Gibson said. If youre doing well, Thibodeau is going to let you play. Hes not going to take you out. If youre doing your job, hes going to let you rock out. Its all about just helping the team. Thats the way Thibs coaches. Its all about winning.

Noah wasnt edgy at all at Mondays shootaround. We had a great walk-through this morning. We were talking, laughing like we always do, running through plays. Thibs was calling out plays. I thought it was a great walk-through for him and our team, he continued. Disagreements between coaches and players happen all year long, but were like a family here. Weve been together almost three years, going on four, so guys just put that in the back of our heads. We understand that we have a goal, one goal, to win games and challenge for a championship. Its a long season. Things are going to happen, heads are going to get butted, but we all love each other and we all know its for the best of the team, and were men, and one thing about men, you have to just let stuff go and this team, we let stuff go and get ready for the next game.

White Sox Road Ahead: Facing Chris Sale and the Red Sox

White Sox Road Ahead: Facing Chris Sale and the Red Sox

It'll be tough for Chris Sale to be humble when he makes his return to Chicago and faces his old teammates on Tuesday, but he'll do his best.

The former White Sox ace will face off against his old team as a member of the Red Sox (coverage begins at 6:30 on CSN with White Sox Pregame Live) and Dan Hayes and Siera Santos discussed what the atmosphere will be like on this week's Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers. Sale has dominated in his first season in Boston, going 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA.

Sale met with the Chicago media on Monday morning, and Hayes said the biggest takeaway from that presser was just how much Sale appreciated his time in Chicago.

"I think the fact that he realizes how important this was, how much he grew up with the White Sox," Hayes said in the video above. "He talked about that at length. Obviously last year was a little bit of a rouigh year, there were quite a few incidents, he said there were some blips on the radar, but mostly (he) had good times here than (he) had bad times and he said it's what has made him who he is. and he realizes that he apprecaites what he was able to accomplish here. misses the fans buit he's also moved on and he's doing well with the white sox."

See what else Siera and Dan had to say in the video above.

Jose Quintana on Tuesday opponent Chris Sale: 'He was the best teammate I ever played with'

Jose Quintana on Tuesday opponent Chris Sale: 'He was the best teammate I ever played with'

The majority of the talk surrounding Tuesday night's pitching matchup at Guaranteed Rate Field will be focused on the guy pitching against the White Sox.

Chris Sale returned to the South Side for the first time since being traded to the Boston Red Sox this past offseason, and he'll take the mound against his former teammates Tuesday. But the White Sox, who traded away one of the best pitchers in baseball, will be sending another All-Star hurler to the mound to oppose Sale.

Jose Quintana gets the ball for the White Sox, and while the attention will be squarely on Sale — and the emotions he does or does not show and the reaction he receives from the fans — Quintana will have his own emotional roller coaster going on, pitching against a guy who served as a mentor of sorts for the first five seasons of his career.

"Throwing on the same day will be a different feeling for me because he was the best teammate I ever played with," Quintana said. "It will be a different feeling watching him go against me after the last four years when he was my teammate. We talked last night. He said, ‘Hey, I’m in town. I can’t wait to see you guys.’ So I’m excited to play against him."

Sale had a few years on Quintana in major league service, but the duo looked like they would be a near-untouchable 1-2 combo at the front of the White Sox pitching rotation for years to come.

They both represented the White Sox at the All-Star Game last season and both finished in the top 10 in voting for the American League Cy Young Award.

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Sale was shipped to the Red Sox to start the White Sox rebuilding effort, breaking up that duo leading the staff. But as is often the case, it's not the performances and the statistics that Quintana misses the most about Sale but rather the qualities he brought as a teammate.

"I learned from his focus on the game and his passion for baseball," Quintana said. "We talked a lot over the years. But the first thing I learned from him was focus.

"I miss him. He was one of my best teammates ever that I played with. I understand it was part of the game. It’s a business and that happens. ... I miss his energy. We have a lot of guys here with energy too, but I miss the energy he had every time we talked in the dugout, watching the game."

Sale is having one of the best campaigns of any pitcher in baseball through the season's first two months. And while Quintana's start has been shaky at times, he's still the White Sox ace. It's that standing, though, that has had his name the subject of plenty of trade rumors during the offseason, spring training and since Opening Day. There is an expectation, warranted or not, that he will soon join Sale in departing the White Sox for a big prospect haul.

Until then, though, Quintana is taking over for Sale as the team's No. 1. The two old mates will go head to head Tuesday night in a monumental matchup, and Quintana is already projecting that focus he learned from Sale.

"I have just one game, and I have my focus on throwing the ball well for my team, to get a 'W.' That’s my focus every time, to do my job," Quintana said. "It will be a different feeling because I’m pitching against him, but I don’t want to pay attention to the other team. I just want to do my job."