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.

February 2010 Archives

What's Gotten Into the Bulls?

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There are a number of benchmarks surrounding the Bulls' resurgence.   There was Derrick Rose's complete recovery from his knee injury; there was the improved play of Joakim Noah; Kirk Hinrich's return to the starting line-up; the 5 road wins on the West Coast in January.   All those factors have played a part in the Bulls' great 21-10 record since the end of December.

I have 3 things that I think were the key components of the Bulls' stellar play.   First, putting Kirk Hinrich back in the starting line-up brought an energy to both ends of the floor.   Secondly, Derrick Rose becoming a go-to, take-charge star after battling injury the first couple months of the season.   And thirdly, the Bulls' style of play is much more a run first offense.   I have always thought they could, and should, run more.    The trades the Bulls made brought in 2 more guys who are runners and when you have Kirk, Derrick, Joakim, Warrick and Murray on the floor together (and Luol included), you have guys who know how to run and like to play that kind of game.

Warrick and Murray came over and complimented that style of play and didn't miss a beat.   They are NBA veterans who have played for a number of coaches and have played with many teammates, so it was easy for them to come over and fit in immediately.   They are guys who just know how to play basketball.

This is going to be a fun rest of the season as the Bulls battle for play-off position in the Eastern Conference and I am looking forward to watching it unfold.


                                             -Neil Funk

Keep The Questions Coming - Stacey King

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Hello from Indianapolis where the Bulls will face the Pacers at 6pm ct on WGN. Just wanted to say thanks to all of my "peeps" for the comments and questions. Keep 'em coming!

Game Notes For Friday vs. Blazers

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stats inc.jpg* Portland has beaten Chicago five straight times after the Bulls had won five of the previous six games in the series.

* The Trail Blazers have won three straight road games.

* The Bulls have won five of their last six and seven of their last nine contests.

* Derrick Rose has scored 22.8 points per game over his last six, on 54.3 percent shooting from the field; over that span, he has also dished out 6.2 assists and pulled down 5.5 rebounds per game.

* Since missing a dozen games with a strained hamstring, Brandon Roy scored just 13 points in his first two games combined, but he has averaged 23.7 points over the last three contests.

* Over his last dozen contests, Andre Miller has averaged 18.1 points and 6.6 assists, while making 50.6 percent of his field goal attempts.

Game Notes For Wednesday vs. Indy

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stats inc.jpg* The Pacers lost, 91-82, in Dallas on Monday and have now dropped five of their last six games overall. Indiana is just 7-22 on the road this season - second-worst in the Eastern Conference (Nets - 2-27).
* Chicago dropped a 101-95 decision in Washington D.C. on Monday and had its 4-game win streak snapped in the process. The Bulls are 15-7 in their last 22 games overall - second-best in the East since games of January 9.
* Including a 104-95 victory on December 29, the Bulls have won three straight and seven of their last eight home games vs. the Pacers. Chicago has put 100+ points on the board in six consecutive home contests against Indiana.
* The Pacers' leading scorer, Danny Granger is expected to miss his second straight game tonight due to personal reasons. Indiana is 6-12 without Granger in the starting lineup this season.
* Kirk Hinrich is 7-for-11 from 3-point range in his last three games and now has made 775 career field goals from behind the arc - most of any player in Bulls' franchise history (passed Ben Gordon - 770).
* Chicago has won nine games when trailing entering the fourth quarter this season - most of any Eastern Conference team and tied with Phoenix for second-most in the league (New Orleans -11).

Bulls Beat Pacers

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Warrick Wants To Fit In

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Coach Talks About Noah Foot

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Game Notes For Monday @ DC

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* Chicago has won four of its last five games against the Wizards and will be looking to extend its current win streak against them to three in a row. The Bulls won the first meeting between these clubs this season on January 15, 121-119 in double overtime.

* The Wizards have won three of their last four home games, including two in a row.

* The Bulls are outscoring their opponents 113.8 to 94.5 during their current four-game winning streak. Chicago will be looking to tie its season-high with a fifth consecutive victory.

* Taj Gibson tied his career high with 20 points while grabbing 13 rebounds against Philadelphia on Saturday. Gibson is averaging 12.0 rebounds in his last four contests.

* Andray Blatche is averaging 22.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and shooting 59.4 percent from the field over his last four games.

* Chicago tied its season high with eight made three-pointers on Saturday. However, the Bulls have made the fewest three-pointers overall in the league this season (219).

Bulls Rout Sixers

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The Trade - Stacey King

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Thumbnail image for Stacey King.jpgWelcome to today's Blog! The Bulls made some expected moves before the deadline. John Salmons was sent to Milwaukee and Tyrus Thomas was traded to Charlotte. In exchange for Salmons, and the Bulls' regular 2nd round picks, Chicago received Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander.  Thomas went to the Bobcats for Flip Murray, Acie Law and a future 1st round pick.  Theses were great trades for the Bulls. They not only cleared some salary cap room but also kept their core players intact.

Hakim Warrick: A very similar player to Tyrus Thomas. He averages 10 points and 5 rebounds a game. He brings more experience in the position for the Bulls.

Joe Alexander: Was a lottery pick last season and is trying to get more minutes in an NBA uniform. He gives the Bulls a long range threat.

Acie Law: Was the 11th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.  Appeared in only 14 games this season. A good young player with great potential.

Flip Murray: Playing in his 8th NBA season.  Averaging just under 10 points in 47 games this season. He  will look great in a Bulls uniform and should make an immediate impact.

Thanks for reading and make sure to watch The Bulls battle the 76ers tonight at 7pm ct on WGN!

Game Notes For Friday @ Minny

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stats inc.jpg* The Bulls won the first 16 times that they faced the Timberwolves; since then, Minnesota has taken 17 of 23, including three of the last four.

* Chicago has won four of its last five games after dropping three in a row prior to that.

* The Timberwolves have lost four in a row after winning the previous four straight, and they had dropped the five consecutive games before that

* Over his last seven games, rookie Jonny Flynn has made just 34.7 percent of his field goal attempts (25/72), though he has averaged 10.9 points over that time.

* Luol Deng has scored 22.0 points and pulled down 7.3 rebounds per game over his last six contests, with a 52.2 field goal percentage over that stretch.

* In his last nine road games, Derrick Rose has averaged 24.4 points and 6.1 assists while making 51.7 percent of his shots from the floor.

Forman Talks Trades

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Bulls Whip Knicks

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Health of the League

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The NBA is as well-marketed as any business unit in the world.   For proof, just look at the 108,000 fans who filled Cowboy Stadium on Sunday and all the other events in Dallas over All-Star weekend.   David Stern and the marketing executives of the individual teams have taken the league, and basketball in general, and made it a global phenomenon.

Here in Chicago, we see the United Center filled to capacity on a nearly nightly basis and that is a credit to the marketing efforts of the Bulls and also to the great fans in Chicago who have supported their team in good times and in bad.   Around the league, there are teams that are struggling and for the most part they are teams that have losing records, are in smaller markets or are in markets where there are a myriad of activities to choose from.   But fans will always pay to see the stars like LeBron, Kobe and Dwyane Wade...and eventually Derrick Rose, come to play their hometown teams.  

This summer's free agent class has been the subject of much discussion and we have talked on the air on whether any of the top tier free agents will leave their current teams.   Personally, I feel that if ALL of the top players, ie LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh were to leave their teams and sign elsewhere, it would not be a good thing for the league or sports overall.   I would rather see a team do everything it could to keep its top stars, and I'm sure the clubs involved will do so, but it is a fact of sports business in today's world that their will be movement by players and that includes some of the biggest names in the game.

                                                              -Neil Funk


The Trade Deadline Is Coming Up - Stacey King

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Thursday is the trade deadline and the Bulls have a lot of different things they could do. They could make a trade to free up money for the summer. They could stay  with the roster that they have, if they think they are good enough to get past the first round of the playoffs. The Bulls could also make a blockbuster trade, like they did last season bringing Brad Miller and John Salmons to Chicago. That deal helped them become one of the NBA's best teams in the second half.  It is hard to tell which direction they will go. Do they blowup this team now to save money for this summer to be a player in the free agent market? Another option is that they could make a deal to get a player with an expiring contract and give up some good players in return and hope that you can compete for free agents. I would not want to be a general manager right now. The Bottom line is that there are 31 games left and the team that they have now can make a playoff run. If they do stay with this team they must continue to play consistent defense and improved offense. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah must get healthy. Derrick hurting his hip last week was a scary moment for everyone. The main objective, if they keep this team intact, is to stay healthy. Once the Bulls are healthy they can take advantage of all the sub .500 opponents that they have in the next month. Chicago could find themselves in the fifth playoff spot at the beginning of March and it is downhill after that.

Thanks for reading and watch the Bulls Tonight on WGN and WGN America.
-Stacey King

Game Notes For Tuesday vs. Knicks

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stats inc.jpg* These teams have split their two meetings so far this season, with each club winning once on its own home court. Chicago has won 10 of its last 11 home games against New York, including three in a row.

* The Knicks have dropped six of their last seven games overall, including three in a row, and will be looking to snap their current four-game road slide.

* The Bulls have lost two of their last three home games after winning eight of their previous 10 at United Center. Chicago has the fourth-lowest scoring offense at home in the league this season (95.1 ppg).

* Wilson Chandler scored a career-high 35 points against Sacramento last Tuesday in the third 30-point game of his career.

* Luol Deng has scored 20+ points in each of his last four games after reaching the 20-point mark just twice in his previous eight contests. Deng is averaging 23.5 points in his two meetings with the Knicks this season.

* New York has made the third-most three-pointers in the league this season (456), while Chicago has made the fewest (201).

Rose On His Big Weekend

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Game Notes For Wednesday vs. Magic

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stats inc.jpg* Orlando is 7-2 against the Bulls since the 2007-08 season, but has lost its last two trips to Chicago, including a 101-93 setback on Jan. 2.

* The Magic have overcome double-digit second-half deficits to win each of their last two games (at Boston and home to the Hornets). They have won six of their last seven games overall.

* The Bulls are 8-1 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the field, as they did in Tuesday's 109-101 defeat of the Pacers (50.6 percent).

* Luol Deng picked up his 10th double-double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday, and has scored 20+ points in three straight games.

* Derrick Rose leads all second-year players in scoring with 19.9 points per game.

* Vince Carter scored 48 points in Monday's win over the Hornets, making 19-of-27 field goals. It was Carter's most points in over four years (51 vs. Heat on Dec. 23, 2005).

Rest For the Weary

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Everyone in the Bulls family is extremely happy and proud of Derrick Rose being named to represent the team at the NBA All-Star Game  in Dallas this weekend.   But for the rest of the team, the All-Star Weekend will be a welcome break in the schedule to get some rest and get away from the daily grind of the NBA season.

You remember some of the early season injuries that were hampering some of the players....Derrick Rose and his ankle is one example.   Those injuries led to more than expected minutes for a lot of guys such as Brad Miller.   Brad could use some time off to rest his knees.   Taj Gibson has already played more games than any of his college seasons.   He is playing starters minutes and could use some rest.   So this break will be good for a lot of the players on the Bulls so they can get in good shape for the final 30 games and position themselves for the play-offs.


                                                              -Neil Funk

Derrick Rose The All-Star - Stacey King

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Hi it's Stacey King checking in on my pregame blog. There are a lot of haters out there like Neil Funk who don't respect my blog but I am down here telling you that I am happy to be doing this for all my "peeps" in Chicago. Keep writing in and I will be sure to answer!  Today we are going to talk about Derrick Rose and his first All-Star game as he will be representing the city of Chicago and the Bulls in Dallas this weekend. It is a great honor for Derrick. He has come on strong after starting the season with an ankle injury. Once the ankle healed he has started to show why he was the number one pick in the draft. Another thing is there has been no sophomore slump. That was the assumption by many people at the start of the season but he has proved them all wrong. Over the last few months he has also shown that he is a go-to guy. He wants the final shot. His scoring and rebounding have gone up, along with his assists. This is a great honor for Derrick. It couldn't have happened to a nicer kid. This will be the first of many All-Star games for him and I would guess that next year he will be a starter. His jersey is the 4th biggest seller this season and that just proves his recognition by a national audience. Good luck on Sunday! Thanks for reading and please send me any of your questions. Watch the Bulls tonight at 6pm on Bulls Net (WCIU Channel 26).


Game Notes For Tuesday @ Indiana

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stats inc.jpg* Chicago defeated the Pacers on December 29, 104-95, evening the series at 35 wins apiece since the beginning of the 1992-93 season.

* The Bulls snapped a three-game losing streak with a 95-91 victory over Miami on Saturday. Chicago can get back to .500 (24-25) with a win on Monday.

* The Pacers lost at Milwaukee on Saturday, 93-81, and have won only once (1-17) when scoring fewer than 105 points since December 18.

* Luol Deng is averaging 21.2 points and 8.0 rebounds over his past five games. For the season overall, his scoring average against teams currently below .500 (19.2) is noticeably higher than it is versus teams at .500 or better (16.7).

* In his last four games against the Pacers, Derrick Rose has seen his scoring output steadily rise (3, 16, 24 and 28). He's averaged 26.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in his last two games versus Indiana.

* In his second game back since returning to action. T.J. Ford scored a season-high 20 points on Saturday. He's connected on 13 of 18 field goals (72.2 percent) over the past two games.

Bulls Seek To Move Past Thomas Suspension

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No Noah - Now What?

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The injury to Joakim Noah did not come up overnight.   During the Bulls' 5-game winning streak, you could see that Joakim was not the same.   It was becoming increasingly more painful for him to run and jump.   Joakim tried to play with the pain, but the Bulls were getting diminishing returns as he tried to stay in the line-up, but was not as effective as he had been most of the season.  

The treatment for plantar fasciitis is rest...normally 6 weeks.   The Bulls don't have 6 weeks, so the plan is to shut him down through the All-Star Break and then re-evaluate.  This injuly affects each player differently and a lot depends on the player's threshold for playing with pain.   This injury is especially painful for the Bulls because without Noah on the floor, the Bulls are not a great rebounding team, as you saw in Atlanta on Friday night.

Chris Richard was signed to help out in the front line, but I don't see the Bulls making a trade to replace Joakim.   Any trade that is made is going to made will be made with the objective of clearing salary cap room to make the best possible offer to sign a free agent this summer. 

                                                                                     -Neil Funk

The Heat At The UC - stacey King

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The Bulls return to The United Center to face the Heat tonight at 7pm, on WGN America. Miami has had its way with the Bulls winning six of the last seven meetings. All-Star Dwyane Wade has also given Chicago fits averaging 30 points a game vs the Bulls since 2008-09.  Another storyline in tonight's game is the top two picks in the 2008 NBA Draft will be on the same court. Top pick Derrick Rose was held to 8 points in the first meeting, while 2nd pick Michael Beasley countered with 10 points. This will be a good time for the Bulls to get a win tonight following three straight losses. The Heat have been struggling dropping four consecutive games. Plus the crowd will play an important role.

                               Thanks for reading. Send me your questions and comments!


Game Notes For Tuesday vs. Clips

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stats inc.jpg* Since the 2000-01 season, the Clippers' 14-5 record against the Bulls is their best record against any opponent.

* The Bulls are currently working on a season-high 5-game win streak, with all of the victories coming away from home against teams with winning records.

* The Clippers have lost four straight games, with each of the last three coming by at least 14 points.

* The Bulls lead the NBA in rebounds with 45.7 boards per game. On the year, Chicago is 18-8 when it outrebounds its opponent. Chicago also leads the NBA in blocks per game with 6.48 a contest, and is second in defensive FG percentage at .436.

* Baron Davis has scored at least 28 points in back-to-back games for the first time since March 4-5, 2008.

* Joakim Noah, a career 71 percent free throw shooter, has gone 45-for-49 (.918) from the line over his last 12 games.