Chicago Sun-Times

October 2008 Archives

Rose back at practice

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After sitting out Wednesday's practice, Derrick Rose was back on the Berto Center court for Thursday's workout. He said he's fine and will be ready to go for Friday night's game at Boston.

The early impressions of Rose have been overwhelmingly positive, but it is a little concerning how often he seems to be banged up.

"The one thing is he has to make sure he stays healthy," TNT analyst Doug Collins said. "He's been dinged up a bit. He had tendinitis this summer and a couple of little nagging injuries."

Rose's latest bump is a thigh bruise suffered early in the season-opening win against the Milwaukee Bucks. He was asked after practice Thursday if the nagging injuries were a rash of bad luck.

"I don't know what to call it," he said. "I got kneed earlier in the game against Milwaukee by Richard Jefferson. It just happened out of nowhere. I just have to suck it up and get treatment on it. Now I'm allright."


Thabo and the starting five

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Vinny Del Negro announced his starting five: Derrick Rose and Thabo Sefolosha in the backcourt; Luol Deng and Tyrus Thomas at forwards and Drew Gooden in the middle.

Rose hurts hip, out for rest of game

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Derrick Rose left the game midway through the first quarter Friday after he strained his left hip flexor. Rose was injured when he was fouled hard by Milwaukee forward Richard Jefferson with 7:20 left in the quarter. Rose had beat Dan Gadzuric on a fast break drive to the hoop but Jefferson hit the Bulls rookie while Rose was in air. Rose landed awkwardly under the basket.

Hughes expected to miss two to four weeks

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Bulls guard Larry Hughes is expected to miss up two to four weeks with a dislocated right shoulder. Hughes, who initially was expected to be out from six to eight weeks, underwent a second MRI Friday, in which dye was injected into the injured joint, to give a more detailed picture of the damage.
Ben Gordon missed his third consecutive game with a sore left big toe. Gordon did say he would be ready to play Tuesday in the regular season opening game when the Bulls again host the Bucks.
Luol Deng will sit out Friday due to back stiffness and a sore toe.
Derrick Rose, Thabo Sefolosha, Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, and Aaron Gray will start for the Bulls.

The Bulls picked up the options on Tyrus, Thabo and Noah for the 2009-10 season.

Bulls pick up contract options

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The Bulls have picked up the options for the 2009-10 season for forward Tyrus Thomas, guard Thabo Sefolosha and forward/center Joakim Noah.

In two seasons with Chicago, Thomas (6-9, 215) has appeared in 146 games (31 starts) and averaged 6.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 1.01 bpg in 15.7 mpg; he has shot .443 from the field and .673 from the line. Thomas was drafted in the first round (fourth overall) by Portland in NBA Draft 2006 and was traded to the Bulls, along with Viktor Khryapa, for the draft rights to LaMarcus Aldridge.

Sefolosha (6-7, 215) has played in 140 games (26 starts) the last two years for the Bulls and posted averages of 5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.4 apg in 16.5 mpg and shot .427 from the field, .338 from behind the arc and .658 from the line. Sefolosha was selected in the first round (13th overall) by Philadelphia in NBA Draft 2006 and was traded to the Bulls in a draft-day deal for the draft rights to Rodney Carney and cash considerations.

Hughes optimistic shoulder injury is not serious

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Larry Hughes hopes he will be back playing well before the six to eight week prognosis originally given after he dislocated is right shoulder in a win Wednesday at Minnesota. Hughes, who was wearing a sling, said he was surprised how little pain he felt Thursday. He is expected to undergo a second MRI Friday in which dye will be injected into the injured shoulder for further examination.
``I should know more after that test,'' he said.
Ben Gordon remained out with a sore left big toe. Coach Vinny Del Negro said he was unsure whether Gordon, who has not played in a week, would be available when the Bulls host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight in the final preseason game.

The word is Larry Hughes will undergo another x-ray and another mri today on his right shoulder, which he dislocated in Wednesday's game.

Pax's peers predict Beasley as NBA's top rookie

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A survey of the league's GM's didn't do much for Derrick Rose's stock.
Miami's Michael Beasley, whom the Bulls bypassed to tab Rose with the top pick in the June draft, beat out Greg Oden in the rookie of the year voting. Beasley, the No. 2 pick, got 48 per cent of the vote, while Oden, getting ready for his NBA debut after sitting out the 2007-08 season following knee surgery, was the pick of 30 percent.
The general managers polled also predicted the Los Angeles Lakers will avenge their NBA finals loss to the Boston Celtics, according to a survey.
The executives who responded to the NBA.com GM survey also picked Cleveland's LeBron James for the third straight year as the likely MVP. The results of the seventh annual poll were released Wednesday.
The Lakers received 46 per cent of the vote, well ahead of the Celtics (19 per cent). Boston beat Los Angeles in six games in June for its 17th championship.
The New Orleans Hornets got 12 per cent of the vote and San Antonio received eight per cent. It was the first time in five years the GMs didn't tab the Spurs as their pre-season pick to win the title.
James, who has never won the MVP award, collected 56 per cent of the voting in that category. Kobe Bryant, a first-time MVP last season, drew 37 per cent and Chris Paul the other seven percent.

Here are the poll results:
Which team will win NBA Finals 2009?
1. L.A. Lakers -- 46.2%
2. Boston -- 19.2%
3. New Orleans -- 11.5%
4. Houston -- 7.7%
San Antonio -- 7.7%
Others receiving votes: Detroit, Orlando

Which team will win the Eastern Conference?
1. Boston -- 74.1%
2. Cleveland -- 11.1%
Detroit -- 11.1%
4. Orlando -- 3.7%

Which team will win the Western Conference?
1. LA Lakers - 66.7%
2. New Orleans -- 18.5%
3. Houston -- 7.4%
4. San Antonio -- 7.4%

Which team will win the Atlantic Division?
1. Boston - 85.2%
2. Philadelphia - 11.1%
3. Toronto - 3.7%

Which team will win the Central Division?
1. Detroit -- 55.6%
2. Cleveland -- 44.4%

Which team will win the Southeast Division?
1. Orlando -- 96.3%
2. Washington -- 3.7%

Which team will win the Southwest Division?
1. New Orleans -- 37.0%
2. Houston -- 29.6%
San Antonio -- 29.6%
4. Dallas -- 3.7%

Which team will win the Northwest Division?
1. Utah -- 92.6%
2. Portland -- 7.4%

Which team will win the Pacific Division?
1. L.A. Lakers -- 100%

Bulls make first cuts

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The Bulls announced Monday that they have waived forward Elton Brown and guard Darius Washington.
Brown (6-9, 250) appeared in two preseason games and averaged 2.5 ppg and 2.0 rpg in 8.0 mpg.
Washington (6-2, 195) saw action in two preseason games and averaged 8.0 ppg in 13.0 mpg.
The Bulls' preseason roster now stands at 15.

Rose leaves game with calf cramp

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Derrick Rose's return tonight is questionable after the Bulls rookie point guard suffered a left calf cramp midway through the third quarter. Rose was injured after he drove to the hoop for a basket here at the Assembly Hall.

Gordon to make preseason debut, Hughes out

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Bulls guard Ben Gordon will play tonight here in Champaign when the Bulls host Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz. It will be Gordon's first exhibition game since he has been out since Oct. 6 with a sore right big toe.
``I wouldn't give it a percentage, I just feel OK right now,'' Gordon said. ``I haven't played yet, so I think I'm going to be behind a little bit. I don't know how much, I'm talking about maybe game shape. As far as the plays and the system, I'm pretty much up to speed with everything.''
Larry Hughes will not play due to a knuckle injury he sustained in the Bulls loss Tuesday to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Coach Vinny Del Negro said holding Hughes out tonight was a ``precautionary'' move.

Gordon back at practice

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Ben Gordon returned to the court for the first time in over a week Thursday. Gordon had been out with a sore big toe. Gordon is unsure if he would play his first exhibition game Friday when the Bulls take on the Utah Jazz at U of I in Champaign.
``I don't know,'' Gordon said. ``I'm just hoping it continues to get better. It's still sore.''
Larry Hughes (finger) missed his second practice.

When I read Wednesday about Vinny Del Negro's marathon practice, the first person I thought of was Larry Hughes. And I smirked.

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Marathon practice

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When coach Vinny Del Negro said following Tuesday night's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves that the Bulls had a lot to work on, he wasn't kidding. After an hour film session, the team was on the court for three hours Wednesday.

In other words, a practice that began at 10 a.m. didn't break up until after 2 p.m. A typical practice, especially on the day following a game, is roughly two hours.

"It's probably dark outside," one player said as he left the court Wednesday.

By the way, Ben Gordon (toe), Larry Hughes (hand), Cedric Simmons (ankle), Michael Ruffin (ankle) and Demetris Nichols (leg) didn't practice.

Two scenarios out of New York involving former Bulls players, and they both have to be slightly unsettling to Knicks fans.

Rose, Gordon, and Ruffin don't practice

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Derrick Rose missed practice Monday due to the death of an uncle. Ben Gordon remained out due to a toe injury along with Michael Ruffin (sprained ankle).


Rose starts slow, finishes strong

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Although it might not have been the smashing success he and the United Center crowd was hoping for, I have to assess Derrick Rose's first game in a Bulls uniform a moderate success.

Rose rebounded from a somewhat shaky start to finish with 10 points (4-for-9 shooting), five assists, three rebounds and six turnovers in nearly 27 minutes of playing time in the Bulls' 110-102 loss to the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night.

His performance wasn't great, but it wasn't bad considering the 20-year-old was playing in his first professional game and was matched up against all-star Jason Kidd in the first quarter.

Rose, though, didn't see things that way.

"Terrible, if you ask me," he said when asked to assess his game. "Turnovers as a point guard, you don't want that many. I had five in the first half."

Rose, though, rebounded from the shaky first half with a solid second half. In nearly 10 minutes of playing time in the third quarter -- he didn't play in the fourth -- he had six points (3-for-3 shooting) and one assist and one turnover.

But despite the obvious struggles, he showed flashes of the athletic ability that makes him such a coveted point guard. He had an impressive drive and finish against Dallas 7-footer DeSagana Diop for his first basket and hit a nice pull-up jumper in the second half. His pass-first philosophy was obvious and he should start racking up the assists when his teammates become more comfortable with him.

"It's a huge learning curve," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It's the hardest position to learn and it's going to take time. He's only going to get better. It's a matter of time and putting in the work to improve, and I know he's going to do that."

Rose doesn't have to wait long for another shot. The Bulls play the Indiana Pacers Friday night in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Rose starts, starts slowly

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Rookie Derrick Rose was among the five starters new coach Vinny Del Negro sent out for the Bulls' preseason opener Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks in the United Center and received a rousing ovation when he was introduced. The rest of the starting lineup was Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas and Drew Gooden.

Starting, no doubt, fulfilled one dream for Rose, but I'm sure the No. 1 pick in the June draft wanted to get off to a better start. In just under 10 minutes in the first quarter, he had one point, three assists, one rebound and was 0-for-3 from the field (all jumpers) while matched up against all-star Jason Kidd.

Rose scored his point after he was fouled on the receiving end of a alley-oop pass from Hinrich and made one of two free throws.

Speaking of alley-oops, Rose set up Thomas with a perfect pass on the Bulls' second possession, but the ball slipped through Thomas' hands.

After heading to the bench with 2:22 remaining in the first quarter, Rose returned to the game with 7:25 left in the second quarter and quickly scored his first professional field goal on an impressive drive over 7-footer DeSagana Diop with 6:46 left in the first half. Diop came over to block the shot and the 6-3 Rose seemed to keep floating higher until he could get the shot off.

That ability to finish over bigger people in the lane is one of the things that separates him from most point guards. He finished with four points (1-for-6 shooting), four assists, two rebounds and five turnovers in 17 minutes in the first half.

Former Bulls Duhon gaining favor in NY

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Wondering where former Bulls guard Chris Duhon fits into the New York plans. The New York Daily News indicates Duhon could start for the Knicks.

Heres the report: To start at point guard for the Knicks these days, there are several basic requirements: The more favorable comparisons you draw to Steve Nash, the better. And if you don't answer to the name Stephon Marbury, you're really ahead of the game.

To no one's surprise, Chris Duhon is two-for-two in those categories heading out of training camp and into the Knicks' first preseason game under Mike D'Antoni, on Wednesday against the Raptors in Toronto. The former Bulls backup has been playing with the first team, with Marbury taking his long-expected demotion.

"He shoots the ball a little bit better than I thought," D'Antoni said of Duhon, a career 39% shooter. "The toughest thing for a point guard is to be able to distinguish between when do I shoot and when do I play for the team. Steve Nash is probably the best at being able to distinguish between my shot and everybody else's shot. I think that's something that with confidence and time, (Duhon will) be able to distinguish better."

Duhon doesn't have to worry about playing time. Although widely viewed as a solid bench player, he's projected as D'Antoni's starting point man.

"The first thing about this offense is, like Steve, you have to be able to never take your foot off the accelerator," D'Antoni said. "There are times you have to slow it down. Like I told (Duhon), 'When you feel it's getting a little bit away from you, you've got to slow it down, get them settled, and then we get going again.' He'll learn that."

Duhon signed a two-year deal at nearly $6 million per season, which was seen around the NBA as the Knicks' typical overpayment for talent. But D'Antoni would rather put the ball in Duhon's hands than Marbury's.

Asked about Marbury's play in Saratoga Springs, D'Antoni delivered a lukewarm endorsement. "He came ready to roll and did everything we asked, played well," he said.

But it's not about Marbury anymore, as the team looks to move him.

The coach has his reasons for trusting his new floor general: Duhon ran a similar offense at Duke. D'Antoni's boss at the Beijing Olympics was Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"Talking with Coach K, he told me what kind of kid he was, how he never gets tired and how he really wants to play this way, and that kind of got my antennae up," D'Antoni said. "So he hasn't been a surprise, because it's true."

But doing it at Duke and performing on a high level for the Knicks are two different matters. "I was a little surprised when the Knicks said they wanted me," Duhon said. "But having watched the Phoenix system over the years, every guard would love to play in that system."

Noah out due to eye injury

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Bulls forward Joakim Noah has a left eye Hyphema (blood in the anterior chamber of the eye). He will likely be out five days. Noah was poked in the left eye during practice Wednesday.
*Michael Ruffin and Aaron Gray are out with left ankle sprains.
*Tickets for all home games are now on sale today at bulls.com, ticketmaster.com, and at the United Center box office.

Gordon, contract status still on hold

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Ben Gordon remained unsigned Wednesday, so he sat out for a third practice. Gordon, a restricted free agent, has until the league deadline of 11 p.m. tonight to sign the team's one-year qualifying offer of $6.4 million. Gordon has been monitoring the team's two-a-day sessions from the sideline.
General manager John Paxson and Gordon's agent, Raymond Brothers, have been negotiating again since Monday. But a long-term deal, and indications are one is not currently on the table, remains a long shot as the two sides have been at an impasse for a year.

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