Tag:Chicago Bulls
Posted on: March 12, 2010 2:39 pm
 

Bulls shouldn't be without Rose for long

The Bulls got welcome news on All-Star point guard Derrick Rose's left wrist Friday when MRI results came back negative, according to a source. Rose will be re-evaluated further, but the original diagnosis of a sprained left wrist turned out to be accurate.

Losing Rose for an extended time would've all but crushed Chicago's playoff hopes. The Bulls, in a fight for the eighth playoff spot in the East, saw Rose go down hard after colliding with Orlando's Dwight Howard on a drive to the basket in a 111-82 loss to the Magic on Thursday night. It was the second time this season that Rose was injured in a collision with Howard.



Posted on: May 3, 2009 1:42 am
 

NBA gets Gordon 3-pointer right

BOSTON -- As the Bulls started climbing back from double-digit, third-quarter deficit -- closing to within three points early in the fourth quarter in Game 7 against the Celtics on Saturday night -- I couldn't stop thinking about Ben Gordon's 3-pointer that was incorrectly ruled a 2-pointer way back in the first quarter.

It's a good thing the NBA got that one right.

Gordon lost the ball, and the crowd roared for a double-dribble, before he launched a 3-pointer that should've given the Bulls a 14-6 lead with 8:32 left in the first quarter. The game offcials called it a 2-pointer, much to the chagrin of the Bulls bench.

TV replays showed Gordon was clearly behind the 3-point line and should've been credited with three points. The referees reviewed the video during a timeout with 3:37 left in the quarter and inexplicably let the 2-point shot stand.

The way this series had gone, it seemed inevitable that Game 7 would come down to the thinnest of margins -- that being one meaasley point. Then the Bulls did what you expected them to do. They trimmed what had been a 12-point deficit late in the third quarter to three points, 81-78, early in the fourth.

Uh-oh. What a shame it would've been for this epic, classic series to end with an officiating controversy -- especially after the Board of Governors earlier this season had voted to expand the use of replay review to determine whether 2-point and 3-point baskets had been judged correctly on the court.

With 5:44 left in the game, the public address annoucer at TD Banknorth Garden informed the crowd that Gordon's first-quarter shot had been reviewed and changed to a 3-pointer. The extra point actually had been added to the scoreboard after the third quarter, but hardly anybody noticed. After the initial review by the game officials, the Bulls apparently called the league office to protest the ruling. Good thing they did -- especially if Game 7 had gone down to the wire like five of the other six games in this series.

See, it all works out in the end. Most of the time.




Posted on: May 1, 2009 6:29 pm
 

No punishment for Rondo, Hinrich

The NBA reviewed video Friday of the scuffle between the Celtics' Rajon Rondo and Bulls' Kirk Hinrich and took no further action, ensuring that the two guards will be available Saturday for Game 7 of their epic first-round series Saturday.

The flagrant foul called on Rondo for tossing Hinrich into the scorer's table and then throwing an elbow that didn't connect, and the technical foul assessed to Hinrich for rushing Rondo and shoving him, "stand as called," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said.

It's the right decision because nobody threw or connected with a punch, and neither player took any action to escalate the violence beyond the initial Heat-of-the-moment skirmish. Those are key criteria league officials use in deciding whether to upgrade flagrant one fouls to flagrant twos, and whether to issue suspensions.

Had crew chief Joey Crawford hit Rondo with a flagrant foul, penalty two, he would've been automatically ejected from Game 6, won by the Bulls 128-127 in triple overtime. The league office didn't single out this altercation for review. All flagrant fouls are reviewed to determine if the game officials made the right call.
Posted on: May 1, 2009 1:15 pm
 

Big ups to Bulls fans

When I attended Indiana University, I encountered many people from Chicago. As far as sports fans in general and Bulls fans in particular, I didn't think much of them. Part of it was that I was cranky about having to watch the Colts and Bears every Sunday during NFL season and never got to see my Giants. Part of it was that I was a Knicks fan, and as such hated the Bulls with a passion and also came to believe that their fans were spoiled brats. (And not the kind you eat, although I hoped that they would eat some spoiled brats.)

Hey, if the Knicks had Michael Jordan, they would've won six championships, too. That was my attitude. (Plus, New York was better, so there.)

I went to a game at Wrigley Field with some college buddies one summer. This was when the Knicks were playing the Bulls in the second round and while Michael Jordan was trying to hit a curveball. We left the Cubs game early to watch the end of the Knicks-Bulls at the Cubby Bear. The Knicks won the game -- I believe it was the one with the awful call on Scottie Pippen resulting in the Hubert Davis free throws -- and I came pretty close to getting my head handed to me on a platter at the Cubby Bear. This is a favorite pastime of wise guys from Long Island; just ask Prisco.

So a couple of things: First, let this dispel the myth once and for all that I am some sort of Celtics fan. Never. As I've said, the only bad thing about being a sports writer is that you can't be a fan. You write what happens, write your opinion, and the only thing you root for is a good story. My laptop runneth over in this series, and so doth my newfound appreciaion of Chicago sports fans.

It's not just the loudness of the United Center; the Gah-den is every bit as loud, maybe louder. But from my press seat in section 115 -- great seats, by the way -- I noticed that Bulls fans aren't a bunch of drunken rowdies (although there was some of that.) They knew basketball. They were asking the writers about how many timeouts each team had left, why certain substitutions were being made, why a certain play was drawn up for this player as opposed to that one. When Rajon Rondo swiped Kirk Hinrich's layup off the rim and no goaltending call was made, a fan made eye contact with me and made the goaltending gesture. Yes, I nodded. Goaltending. He frowned.

So before I get on a plane and head home to repack my suitcase for Boston, where who-knows-what will happen next in this delicious display of basketball, I just wanted to give you Bulls fans a shout. You, you're much better than I thought.
Category: NBA
Posted on: May 1, 2009 1:59 am
Edited on: May 1, 2009 3:18 am
 

Will Rondo or Hinrich face suspension for Game 7?

CHICAGO -- It had all the potential to be the ugliest incident in this physical, tense series. The Celtics' Rajon Rondo, already at the center of a controversy stemming from his blow to Brad Miller's head at the end of Game 5, got tangled up with Kirk Hinrich while trying to rebound Stephon Marbury's errant 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in the first quarter Thursday night.

Rondo threw Hinrich into the scorer's table, one of those "wanton acts of violence" commissioner David Stern is always talking about. Hinrich, tough as nails, popped up and bolted toward Rondo. With his arms close to his chest, Hinrich shoved Rondo, who appeared to raise his right arm or elbow in an attempt to swing at Hinrich. He never connected, either because he thought better of it or because referee Ed Mallory had grabbed his arm. We won't know Rondo's take until Saturday; he was the last player out of the showers in the Celtics' locker room and did not speak with reporters.

"I was just boxing him out and he tried to throw me to the side," Hinrich said. "I pushed him, so I guess they looked at it and gave him a flagrant and gave me a technical. I just shoved him."

Crew chief Joe Crawford reviewed the replay and assessed a flagrant foul, penalty one to Rondo and a technical foul to Hinrich. A flagrant two would've resulted in an automatic ejection and a Celtics loss that wouldn't have taken three overtimes. Rondo had 19 assists and no turnovers in the Bulls' 128-127 victory, and he was pivotal in the Celtics' 23-3 run that began when he subbed back into the game with Ray Allen with 10:16 left in the fourth.

Hinrich said Rondo didn't punch him, but it will be another busy day at the league office sorting out this incident. No suspensions are expected, largely because both players stopped their aggression after the initial collision and took no escalating action.

"It’s playoff basketball and you're going to have run-ins like that and it happens," Hinrich said. "... I kind of shoved him and then I don’t know who stepped between us. I'd have to look at it. It kind of happened real fast. I don’t think he threw a punch at me. It’s one of those things where you get caught up in the moment and you try to catch yourself and bring yourself back down."
Posted on: April 28, 2009 4:10 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2009 6:53 pm
 

Just what we need: a new ref conspiracy (UPDATE)

BOSTON -- As if the Celtics-Bulls series wasn't already good enough, now it has the final ingredient: a good old fashioned referee conspiracy.

The Boston Herald and Boston Globe both reported Monday that two of the three referees who officiated Game 4 in Chicago are Chicago natives who were seen leaving United Center with family members clad in Bulls gear. The two refs in question were Dan Crawford and Marc Davis. The third officlal, Bill Kennedy, was involved in an incident with Celtics coach Doc Rivers during the team's St. Patrick's Day game. Kennedy ejected Rivers during the March 17 game, and both were subsequently fined.

A couple of problems: After the NBA's extensive and unprecedented efforts to clean up its officiating and hold referees to the highest standards of conduct in the wake of the Tim Donaghy scandal, are we really going to hold them accountable for what kind of clothing their family members wear? Am I biased because one of my sons wears a Dwyane Wade jersey and the other one prefers LeBron James? And finally, there was only one questionable call in Game 4, the block-charge call that was missed on the Celtics' Brian Scalabrine. One key element that is required for a referee conspiracy would be blown calls.

Heading over to Game 5 now. The Bulls' Ben Gordon is questionable with a strained hamstring and says it'll be his call on whether he plays. I suppose that means he will.

UPDATE: Gordon said an hour before tipoff that he's "50-50," but coach Vinny Del Negro spoke before the game as if Gordon was going to play. He's still officially a game-time decision.

As for the officials, the NBA moved to tamp down any brewing controversy in this series -- and others -- by fining Rivers, Rockets coach Rick Adelman, and Portland coach Nate McMillan $25,00 each -- and their teams $25,000 each -- for criticizing the officials. Between Games 4 and 5, Rivers lobbied for moving screen calls against the Bulls' Brad Miller, who fouled out of Game 4. He also said Kendrick Perkins has been targeted on illegal screen calls.

"Ah, that's a waste of time," Del Negro said before Game 5. "I don't think Brad's fast enough to set an illegal screen. Plus, he was on the bench (with six fouls). So I don't know how much sense that makes."
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 21, 2009 12:18 am
 

Ailing Rondo gets his answers

BOSTON -- Rajon Rondo sought out Doc Rivers before Game 2 of the Celtics' first-round series against the Bulls Monday night. He had more questions on his mind than the inquiring minds who've been quizzing Rivers about Kevin Garnett's knee.

"What do you need me to do?" Rivers said Rondo asked him. "What can I do defensively? What should I do offensively? Am I dribbling too much? Am I not getting the ball to Ray? Am I not getting the ball to Paul? Are we not posting enough?"

Yeesh.

"They were great questions," Rivers said. "They were terrific questions. He’s a student of the game, and I love when he does that. We communicate a lot like that. It was just, in my mind, so many (questions) that we needed to free his mind. Hell, there’s no way I could have played with all those freakin' questions in my head. And I screwed it up by giving him answers."

Rivers walked away from his pep talk with Rondo and was worried that he'd made the situation worse by entertaining his point guard's inquiring mind. A point guard can't be asking questions before the most important game of the season. He has to just play.

"So when I walked into the locker room, I told Rondo that he had the keys to the team and just go play and stop asking me questions," Rivers said. "Just go play. This is your team; go play. I thought that first seven minutes was the best I've ever seen him play."

We will remember the last 4 1-2 minutes of the Celtics' 118-115 victory over the Bulls, which tied their first-round series at 1-1 heading to Chicago. How could you forget the last 47 seconds, with two crazy jumpers by Ben Gordon and two equally crazy 3-pointers by Allen -- including the game-winner with two seconds left?

Who knew Rondo's psyche was even more damaged than anyone thought after what rookie Derrick Rose did to him in Game 1?

Rondo put the doubts and questions aside and came out relentlessly and fearlessly attacking the basket, as if sending a message to Rose. It didn't hurt that Rose picked up two fouls in the first 3:11. When I looked at the stats at the 7:27 mark of the first quarter, it was 18-6 Boston. The Celtics were 8-for 14 from the field, while the Bulls were 2-for-7. What jumped out was that the Celtics had gotten off twice as many shots. That was all Rondo.

"We had a play drawn up to start the game," Rivers said. "We never got to it until six minutes into the first quarter, because every basket was a transition basket – make or miss. And that’s how we want to play."

When you looked at the box score when it was over, you realized that both teams shot 50 percent. But the Celtics had 96 field-goal attempts to the Bulls' 80. And you remember that the first 4 1-2 minutes were just as important as the last 4 1-2 minutes. Just not as memorable. 

 

 

 

Posted on: April 18, 2009 12:03 pm
 

Bulls' Deng says he could be back for Round 2

BOSTON -- With all the focus on Kevin Garnett, there's been barely a mention of another key player missing the Bulls-Celtics series. But Luol Deng said Saturday he may be able to return in some capacity if Chicago advances to the second round.

"In my mind, yes," Deng said in the visiting locker room before the Bulls and Celtics opened their best-of-seven series. "I don't know what the doctors will say, but I feel like I could hopefully do something."

Deng has been out since the end of February with a stress fracture in his right leg. He revealed Saturday that an MRI this week showed the fracture is about halfway healed.

"It's leading in the right direction," Deng said. "It could be a month. It could be longer. I could be OK in two weeks."

Unlike Garnett, who is averse to sitting on the bench when he can't play, Deng said he's OK with it. Garnett, too, told Celtics coach Doc Rivers he'd make an exception and join his teammates on the bench.

"I know Garnett is very intense," Deng said. "I can sit on the bench. It's tough, but I'm fine sitting on the bench."

Rivers and the Celtics were still wrestling with a more serious, off-the-court health situation as they prepared to open their title defense. Team president Danny Ainge was continuing to rest comfortable in Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering a mild heart attack Thursday.

"He told me I've got to start eating better and exercising more, because I have more stress than him," Rivers said. "I told him he's stressing about me stressing. And to relax."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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