Neil Funk and Stacey King bring you behind-the-scenes insight and commentary on WGN's Chicago Bulls "BullsEye" blog. Also check out video of player interviews, photo galleries, and unique Bulls statistics from STATS, Inc.

November 2009 Archives

Happy Thanksgiving - Stacey King

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To start with I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Tonight's contest, at 9:30pm on WGN, ends the league's two year hiatus from games played on Thanksgiving. The Bulls enter tonight's game losing 3 of the first 4 on the annual "circus trip" facing a Jazz team that is coming off a 104-94  home loss to Oklahoma City. The Bulls must start to rebound. Period. During the current 3-game losing streak they have been outrebounded by over 10 boards a game. The Bulls must keep an eye on Carlos Boozer. He missed both meetings vs Chicago last season and is averaging 18.9 points on the season. The team heads home tonight after the game for a few nights sleeping in their own beds before having to go to Cleveland next Friday.  Have a great Holiday!

Bulls Blog - Stacey King

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The Bulls Circus trip rolls into Portland this evening with the squad looking to make up for the loss Saturday night in Denver.  This figures to be a tough test for Chicago tonight in The Rose Garden, where they have lost the last 2 meetings.  Last season Portland swept the Bulls for the second consecutive season and the 10th time in franchise history. The Trail Blazers won by an average of 28 points in the two games, their largest average margin of victory against any team last year.  The Bulls should be able to keep it much closer than that this year because they are a much better defensive team.  Tonight the Bulls must contain LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden.
After tonight's game the Bulls will get a few days rest before facing the Jazz on Thanksgiving evening on WGN.  Thanks for checking in and enjoy Bulls basketball on Channel 9!

Game Notes For Monday @ Portland

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stats inc.jpg* The Trail Blazers have won four straight games in this series, including a 42-point drubbing of the Bulls in last season's game in Portland (116-74).

* Portland's 10-5 start is its best since also opening 10-5 in its 2000-01 campaign.

* The Bulls have topped 100 points in just one game this season (Nov. 17 win at Sacramento), and rank 27th in the NBA in scoring (90.8 per game).

* Joakim Noah leads the NBA with 12.3 rebounds per game. No Chicago player has won a rebounding title since Dennis Rodman did it in three straight seasons ending in 1997-98.

* John Salmons is shooting just 34.5 percent from the field this season (57/165), second lowest among NBA players with at least 100 field-goal attempts (Rafer Alston, NJ - 33.3 percent).

* Martell Webster had season highs in points (21) and rebounds (13) in Saturday's defeat of Minnesota. It was Webster's first career double-double (in 234 games played).

Salmons' Game Spawning Results

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Even though John Salmons struggled early, you had to figure that his poor shooting would not last.   John was settling for perimeter shots early in the season, instead of driving to the basket or driving and hitting some pull-up jumpers.   He has been getting back to that in the last couple of games and you can see his scoring and shooting numbers have gone up.

I guess it's kind of like a baseball hitter who goes into a slump.    You know he's going to come out of it eventually and as a coach, you just have to ride it out.

 

-Neil Funk

Gibson's Contributions

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Taj Gibson finds himself in a very enviable position of being in the starting line-up as a rookie.  He has played very well and is getting heavy minutes filling in during Tyrus Thomas' injury.  He has proven to be a defensive stopper, which probably shouldn't be a surprise since he was the the Pac 10 defensive player of the year last year at USC.

Usually it takes 2 years for a rookie to get used to playing defense in the NBA.   Gibson has figured it out from the beginning.  He is not late on rotations, he's blocking shots and his transition from college has been very smooth.

This starting assignment for Taj is really going to pay off later in the season.   Once he gets used to the NBA life - the travel, the back-to-back games and the number of games - Gibson will be even better in the 2nd half.

 

-Stacey King

Game Notes For Saturday @ Nuggets

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stats inc.jpg* These two teams have alternated wins and losses over their last 10 meetings.

* Despite having a winning record, the Bulls have scored more than 94 points just once all season long.

* Joakim Noah has pulled down at least 11 rebounds in each of his last eight games.

* John Salmons has hit at least one 3-pointer in 29 consecutive games - the longest active streak in the NBA.

Game Notes For Thursday @ Lakers

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stats inc.jpg* Los Angeles has won four in a row over Chicago overall. The Lakers have won six of seven and 10 of the last 12 games between the teams in Los Angeles.

* The Bulls scored 100 points for the first time all season in their win Tuesday over Sacramento. The 14-point win (101-87) was their largest margin of victory of the season.

* The Lakers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 106-93 over Detroit on Tuesday. On the season, the Lakers are 7-0 when scoring 100+ points and 1-3 when scoring under 100.

* Los Angeles has won 19 consecutive games when reaching triple digits in points, the longest active winning streak in the league with 100+ points.

* Joakim Noah, who was averaging 6.6 rebounds per game in his career entering this season, leads the NBA with 12.4 rebounds per game.

* Kobe Bryant scored 40 points on Tuesday against the Pistons, the 100th game of his career in which he scored at least 40 points. In NBA history, only Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173) have more career 40-point games.

Bulls Blog - Stacey King

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The Bulls play the first game of their annual "Circus Trip" tonight on Channel 9 from Arco Arena in Sacramento.  The west coast trip for Chicago teams gives you a chance to bond a little bit and get closer as a team. You are out on the road for two weeks, away from your family and your teammates are the only guys you are going to see. You are together almost 24/7. Another great thing about this trip is that it gives you a chance to see cities you don't usually go to.  Hang out in L.A. for a couple of days, go up to Portland and visit the Nike headquarters. This trip is great even if you are struggling.  Even in the Championship seasons it was a tough trip.
That reminds me of Phil Jackson giving every player a book to read.  He always had a book for each player. I remember I was having my first son and Phil gave me a book on parenting by Bill Cosby. I always thought that was funny trying to teach a twenty-five year old kid about parenting. Til this day I still have not read that book.

Watch the Bulls On WGN Sports Tuesday night at 9pm ct! 

More West Coast Woes?

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The Bulls have notoriously struggled on this early season West Coast road trip, commonly referred to as the "Circus Trip."   This group of Bulls is different.   They are young players who don't look at the teams that have struggled and they don't feel that they are going to have trouble just because of the past.

This trip is different because there are no back-to-back games.   There will be practice time between games, so if the Bulls have a bad game, they have practice time to correct what went wrong.

The Bulls' goal thru the first 20 games - 15 of which are on the road - is to be at the .500 mark.   The Bulls are 5-4 as the trip begins and I think the Bulls are going to play well.

                                                                               -Neil Funk

 

Game Notes For Tuesday @ Sacramento

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stats inc.jpg* The Bulls have won three of their last four games against the Kings, after losing 15 of the previous 16 games in the series. Chicago's 109-88 victory in Sacramento last January snapped a nine-game losing streak at ARCO Arena.

* The Bulls scored a season-high 94 points while improving to 5-4 on Saturday. Chicago is the only team to not score 100 points in any game this season.

* After going 1-4 in their first five games this season, the Kings have won their last four. Sacramento hasn't won five in a row since January 31 to February 10, 2007.

* Joakim Noah grabbed 12 rebounds on Saturday, extending his string of 10-rebound games to six. That's the longest such stretch of his career and longest current streak in the league.

* Rookie Tyreke Evans has registered at least 20 points in each of his last four games, during which time he's averaged 23.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per contest.

* Jason Thompson scored a career-high 27 points last Friday, and has now averaged 20.2 points over his last five games. He began the season by averaging 8.3 points in his first four games of 2009-10.

 

Bulls Beat Sixers

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Game Notes For Saturday vs. Sixers

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stats inc.jpg* Chicago has lost four of its last six home games against Philadelphia.

* Opponents are attempting just 19.8 free throws per game against the Bulls, second fewest in the league. Last season, foes got to the free-throw line 25.3 times per game.

* The Bulls' primary shooting guards, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich, are really struggling from the field, combining to make just 32.3% of their attempts this season (24.6% from behind three-point arc).

* Luol Deng is averaging a career-high 9.3 rpg this season, and has had at least five boards in every game.

Game Notes For Wednesday @ Toronto

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stats inc.jpg* The Raptors have won seven of their last nine games against the Bulls.

* Each of the Bulls' last four games (three wins) has been decided by three or fewer points.

* The Raptors have allowed both of their last two opponents to score at least 129 points and shoot exactly 50 percent from 3-point range.

* The Bulls are the only team that has not scored 100 points in a single game this season. The Raptors, meanwhile, are the Eastern Conference's only team that has not scored less than 100 points in a game this season.

* Last night, Joakim Noah pulled down a career-high 21 rebounds against the Nuggets - the second highest rebound total in the NBA this season (Dwight Howard, 22 vs. Nets on October 30).

* Going back to last season, Chris Bosh has scored at least 20 points in 14 straight games - the second longest active streak (Dwyane Wade 20) in the NBA.

Vinny del Negro on Bulls Buzzer Loss

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Game Notes For Tuesday vs. Nuggets

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stats inc.jpg* Denver has lost each of its last three trips to Chicago.

* After opening the season 5-0, the Nuggets have now dropped each of their last two games. Denver is 2-2 on its current six-game road trip.

* The Bulls are looking to open the season 4-0 at home for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign. Chicago has won three straight games overall after dropped each of its previous two.

* Joakim Noah scored a career-high 21 points against the Bobcats on Saturday while grabbing 16 rebounds. Noah has had 10 or more rebounds in five of his six games this season.

* Carmelo Anthony has scored 30 points in each of his last two games and five times in his seven contests overall this season. Anthony is averaging 26.5 points in six career games at Chicago.

* Luol Deng has scored exactly 22 points in three of his last four games against Denver. Deng is averaging 13.3 rebounds in his three home games this season compared to 6.7 in his three road games.

Bulls Prep For Nuggets

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Luol Stepping Up

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The Bulls expected more offense from each of their scorers with the departure of Ben Gordon.  In the pre-season you could see signs that Luol Deng was physically ready to play, but there were questions whether he was mentally ready.   He had not played at game speed since last February.    In the first 5 games of this season, you can see that Luol is ready both mentally and physically.     He has adjusted to the players, some of whom he had not played with very much last year, like John Salmons and Brad Miller, who came to the Bulls in a trade just before Deng was injured for the remainder of the season.

The Bulls do not have a leading scorer, but Luol has asserted himself with his play and his teammates look to him not just to make big plays, but to make them at the right time as well.

Stacey King's Blog

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The injury to Tyrus Thomas and the fact that the Bulls are on the verge of the annual November "Circus Trip" out west will provide Coach Vinny Del Negro many question marks. It will be important to get the rookies some quality playing time. Taj Gibson will start. He has done a great job coming off the bench and has played well as a starter.  James Johnson is also going to have to get some playing time. He has almost become the "forgotten man" here in the regular season. I thought he played very well in the preseason.  The Bulls will need to find a way to depend on Johnson. It is also going to force the Bulls to play a bigger lineup.  Luol Deng is probably going to play some power forward.  Chicago will miss Tyrus' shot blocking. I think in the long run it is not going to have the impact it would have last season. I'm sure Vinny would love to have Tyrus back, but I don't think it will hurt as bad as everybody thinks.

Be sure and watch Bulls Basketball Tonight at 7pm ct On WGN Sports.

Game Notes For Saturday vs. Charlotte

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stats inc.jpg* The Bulls are 7-2 all-time at home against Charlotte.

* Chicago is 3-2 despite shooting just 40.9% overall and 23.4% from behind the three-point line so far this season

* After putting up 10.5 ppg and 7.0 rpg in his first two games of the season, Luol Deng has averaged 21.7 ppg and 11.7 rpg over his last three contests.

* Derrick Rose shot just 37.2% (16/43) in three games against the Bobcats last season.

Game Notes For Thursday @ Cavs

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stats inc.jpg* The Cavaliers won three of four contests against the Bulls last season, with the Cavs winning both games played in Cleveland by an average of 19.5 points per game.

* Chicago is 2-2 thus far in the season, winning twice at home and losing twice on the road. Dating back to last season's first round playoff encounter with the Celtics, the home team has won eight straight contests in which the Bulls have been involved.

* Since allowing 98.0 points per game and .449 opponents' field-goal percentage in its first two games of the season (both losses), Cleveland is allowing only 85.3 points per game and .413 opponents' field-goal percentage in its three-game winning streak.

* Shaquille O'Neal has 3+ assists in three straight games for the first time in more than two and a half years. O'Neal had a four-game stretch between February 25 and March 2, 2007.

* Luol Deng had 24 points and 20 rebounds against the Bucks on Tuesday, the first Bull to record a 20 point/20 rebound game since Marcus Fizer (30 pts, 20 rebs) did it April 12, 2004 against the Magic.

* Since the start of the 2005-06 season, LeBron James is averaging 33.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game against the Bulls.

Bulls Get Ready For Cavs

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Bulls Come Back to Beat Bucks

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Game Notes For Tuesday vs. Bucks

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stats inc.jpg* The Bulls have won the last seven meetings between these teams in Chicago and are 12-3 in their last 15 contests against the Bucks overall.
* Milwaukee has lost 10 of its last 11 road games dating back to last season, while the Bulls have won 15 of their 17 home games since the 2008-09 All-Star break.

* The Bucks will be without Michael Redd, who is expected to be out at least two weeks with a strained left knee tendon. Redd missed the final 35 games of the 2008-09 after tearing ligaments in his left knee.
* Brandon Jennings is averaging 20.5 points per game, the highest scoring average by any rookie this season.
* Luol Deng has scored 20 or more points in four straight games against the Bucks, averaging 23.8 points in those contests.

* Derrick Rose was held to just eight points on 4-for-15 shooting from the field on Sunday against Miami. Rose hasn't been held below 10 points in consecutive contests since the start of his NBA career.