Chicago Sun-Times

John Lucas III likely to see more playing time tonight

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John Lucas III's father read his son's lips after he made that fadeaway jumper over LeBron James late in Wednesday night's upset of the Heat at the United Center. The long-time former NBA player and coach was one of many people who reached out to Lucas III after his 24-point performance against Miami.

"My dad was the funniest," Lucas III said. "He said, 'Did you say LeBron can't hold you when you hit that shot? You need to jump back inside your body and relax.' He always keeps me in line and keeps me focused."

Lucas will likely see more minutes tonight because coach Tom Thibodeau said after Friday's shootaround at the Berto Center that Derrick Rose (groin) and C.J. Watson (ankle) will be game-time decisions. Rose is not expected to play and will likely rest his groin at least through the weekend. Watson re-injured his twisted ankle against the Heat but remained in the game. Rip Hamilton (shoulder) is also out but Luol Deng (wrist) will play, according to Thibodeau.

"They're getting better," Thibodeau said. "Rip is moving along. He's doing more activity now. He's running. He's gone to the next phase. That's encouraging."

Both Lucas III and Thibodeau were far from disappointed that the NBA's trade deadline came and went Thursday without the team making any moves.

"It's critical," Thibodeau said of the chemistry his team has developed. "It's all part of team building and how everything fits together. There's a lot more to it then just collecting talent. It's talent and how it all fits together. Do you share the same core beliefs? Are you willing to sacrifice and be part of the team? That's all part of it."

"It's rare you have a team like this," Lucas III said. "Everybody gets along. We're a family. If we were to lose somebody it would hurt a little bit, not on the court but hurt us inside because we've formed a brotherhood here and we have each other's back. It's rare when all 14 guys like each other. Everybody gets together when we're on the road."

Lucas III has been perhaps the best example of the team's extraordinary depth this season. His being on the team also adds depth to the coaching staff because he receives free scouting tips and coaching from his father, the former boss of the Spurs, Sixers and Cavaliers.

"Before my game my father called me and told me, 'This is the way they played you last time," Lucas III said, referring to the Miami game. "They were in training camp with you so they think they have a feel for you. Switch it up. Go to this. Go to that.'

"It's always good to have a father who was an NBA coach and an NBA player because he's constantly watching our games, even when I don't play just in case we play that team again. What's their defensive schemes on us? What do they like to do, do they go over screens, do they go under screens, are they blitzing? I'm a student still."

Getting thrown into a playoff type atmosphere like he was against Miami doesn't phase Lucas III in part because of how he was raised.

"I remember hanging with Michael Jordan, who was one my dad's friends, when I was 5 years old," he said. "I remember playing one on one with George Gervin and being next to Isiah [Thomas] and Larry Bird. Larry Bird gave me his jersey after they beat my father in the Eastern Conference Championship, which I still have. I've always been around it. I've never been star struck or nervous because I've been around my entire life. I look at it as another game, another opportunity for our team to get better and for me to get better."

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on March 16, 2012 12:21 PM.

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