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 2010 Archives

A Successful Road Trip?

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By all accounts, this has been a good road trip for the Bulls, even though there is one game left here in Sacramento. 

The Bulls have competed in every game, altho a couple of quarters got away from the Bulls, most notably the third quarter in San Antonio.  This has been one of the better Circus trips the Bulls have had, certainly the best since the days of the Championship years.   Their focus has been great.   Tonight is a game that can get you looking elsewhere as it is the fourth game in five nights and the team is looking forward to getting home.   But Coach Thibodeau preaches staying in the present - don't look back and don't look ahead.

So, yes, the record could have been better, but the Bulls should be pleased with where they are coming back home to the United Center.


-Neil Funk

The End Of The Trip Is Near!

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Welcome to this week's blog. I hope everybody out there had a great Thanksgiving! Tonight the Bulls finish their seven-game "circus" roadtrip. They have the opportunity to finish the trip with a 4-3 record. That would be the first time since the 1997-98 season that Chicago had a winning record on the annual November trip. The question tonight is if Derrick Rose will be back in the starting lineup. Since the Bulls drafted him in 2008 they have gone 1-5 without D. Rose starting. His 26.3 points per game (3rd in NBA) have been missed. Joakim Noah is having a monster roadtrip. He is averaging 14 points and 14 rebounds in the last 6 games away from the United Center. Make sure to tune in tonight on WGN at 9pm ct to see the Bulls face Tyreke Evans, Carl Landry and the Sacramento Kings.

Bulls Game Notes For Tuesday @ Lakers

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* The Lakers have won six overall meetings between these clubs and will be looking to extend their current home winning streak against the Bulls to five games. The Lakers have not lost to Chicago overall since December of 2006.

* The Lakers have outscored their opponents 112.5 to 95.3 during their current four-game winning streak. The Lakers boast the best scoring offense in the NBA this season (112.5 ppg).

* Chicago has held its last six opponents to 92.7 points per game while winning five of those six contests in that span.

* Joakim Noah, the NBA's second-leading rebounder this season, has grabbed a total of 31 rebounds over his last two games. Noah is averaging 17.5 rebounds in his last two meetings with the Lakers.

* Kobe Bryant has scored at least 20 points in seven straight games and in all but one of his 14 games this season. Bryant led all scorers with 42 points in the last meeting between these teams back on December 15, 2009.

* The Lakers are pulling down an NBA-leading 46.9 rebounds per game this season, while the Bulls are averaging the third-most rebounds with 45.2.  

So Far, So Good

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Well, it's only 2 games into the now famous, or infamous, Circus Road Trip, but I like the fact the Bulls competed in both games.   The negative was the inconsistency that they exhibited from quarter to quarter.   They got away with it in Houston and had 3 good quarters in San Antonio, but the 3rd quarter was the one that did them in.

Coach Thibodeau is looking for consistency from his starting corps and from the bench unit.

One thing I noticed on this trip is the mindset of the players.  They are approaching this one game at a time and not looking at it as "The Circus Trip."   They are more confident that they can win games and they are mentally more prepared.

The Bulls Visit Big D

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Hello to all of my "Peeps" tonight from Dallas, Texas. Big "D" has not been kind to the Bulls, they have lost 5 straight here and 12 of their last 13. Ouch! The so called "Texas Triangle" has also given the Bulls fits. In the last 9 times Chicago played 3 consecutive games in Texas they have only had a winning record ONE time, that was in the 1994-95 season. Even during the six championship seasons the Bulls only had a 5-7 record in the triangle. Watch tonight at 8pm on WGN to see if the Bulls can get their first winning record in Texas in Sixteen years.


Bulls Game Notes For Friday @ Dallas

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* Dallas has won three in a row and five of the last six games in this series. Starting in calendar year 1998, the Mavericks are 21-3 versus the Bulls.

* The Bulls have started out 6-4 for the second straight season after not being over .500 in their first 10 contests since 1997-98.

* The Mavs have started out 7-3 or better for the sixth time in the last nine seasons.

* In his last six home games versus the Bulls, Dirk Nowitzki has averaged 29.7 points and 9.2 rebounds, while making 52.9 percent of his three-pointers (9-for-17) and 95.9 percent of his free throws (47-for-49).

* The Bulls have allowed less than 100 points in each of their six wins and more than 100 points in each of their four losses this season.

* Derrick Rose has averaged 28.0 points and 8.0 assists over his last four games, while making 54.8 percent of his field goals (46-for-84).

Bulls Game Notes For Wednesday @ San Antonio

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* San Antonio has won nine of its last 11 home games against the Bulls, holding Chicago to just 90.3 points in those 11 contests.

* The Bulls have won each of their last four games and will be seeking their third five-game winning streak since the beginning of the 2007-08 season.

* The Spurs, who are a perfect 7-0 so far this month, have won 12 consecutive November games. San Antonio owns the second-best scoring offense in the NBA this season (108.9).

* After grabbing at least 10 rebounds in each of his first six games to open the season, Joakim Noah has failed to grab 10 boards in each of his last three contests. Noah has one 10-rebound performance in six career games against the Spurs.

* Tim Duncan has failed to score in double digits in each of his last three games, scoring a total of just 19 points in those contests. Duncan is 29 points shy of passing David Robinson (20,790) as San Antonio's all-time scoring leader and one game shy of tying Robinson (987) on the Spurs' all-time games played list.

* Derrick Rose led all players with 33 points against Houston on Tuesday - his second 30-point game of the season. Rose is averaging 15.5 points in four career games against San Antonio.

Bulls Game Notes For Tuesday @ Houston

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* Chicago has won each of its last three games against the Rockets after beating them just once in its previous 12 matchups with them.

* The Bulls have outscored their opponents 105.7 to 92.7 during their current three-game winning streak. The Bulls (0-2) are one of three teams that has yet to record a road victory this season (Was, 0-4; LAC, 0-5).

* Houston has won two in a row and three of its last four games, while holding each of its last four foes under 100 points. The Rockets were allowing 116.4 points in their first five games to open the season (all losses).

* Joakim Noah, who is averaging the second-most rebounds in the NBA this season (13.3), has failed to pull down 10 boards in each of his last two games and has just one double digit rebounding performance in five career games against the Rockets.

* Luis Scola, who is averaging 22.1 points and 10.8 rebounds, is one of just three NBA players averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds this season (Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard are the others).

* Derrick Rose (23.6 ppg, 9.5 apg) and Deron Williams (22.2 ppg, 10.2 apg) are the only two NBA players averaging over 20 points and nine assists this season. Rose has scored 20+ points in each of his last three games against Houston.


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We've heard alot about the defense that new head coach Tom Thibodeau preaches.   How that shows up on the floor is that the players have been taught to think defense first and team offense second.   Luol Deng has been asked to rebound more and Taj Gibson has really taken advantage of the playing time created by Carlos Boozer's injury to show his skills.   The offense involves movement by all players.   Luol Deng has become a very potent weapon in the offense and there's no question he is much more dangerous when he is on the move.  

As for Boozer, the injury may have a positive aspect to it in that Carlos will be playing a shorter season and that may keep him more rested by next spring. 


-Neil Funk

Let Me Hear Ya!

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Hello to all of my "peeps" out there. This season I want to try something new on my blog. I want to hear all of your questions and comments. Before each game on WGN or WCIU I will answer your posts. This is the last game before the annual circus trip so let me hear ya. The next telecast on WGN is Friday night at 7pm from Dallas. The Bulls won't return to the United Center until December 1st, so I am sure there will be some stories from the trip!


Bulls Game Notes For Saturday vs. Washington

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* Chicago has won five of the last seven meetings between these clubs. This will be Kirk Hinrich's first appearance against his former club. Hinrich is the Bulls' all-time career leader in three-point field goals (812) and ranks fourth on the club's career assists chart (3004).

* After averaging 97.5 points per game in 2009-10, the Bulls are putting up 105.3 ppg so far this season. That 7.8 ppg improvement is second best in the NBA, behind only the Lakers (+10.4).

* This game will be the first meeting of the overall No. 1 picks of the 2008 (Derrick Rose) and 2010 (John Wall) drafts. Wall is averaging 19.3 points and 10.2 assists per game, well ahead of Rose's rookie numbers (16.8 and 6.3). But entering this weekend, Rose (23.6 ppg, 9.7 apg) and Deron Williams are the only two players averaging at least 20 ppg and 9 apg this season.

* After averaging 11.0 points per game in October, Luol Deng has upped that to 24.0 ppg so far this month.

Bulls Game Notes For Thursday vs. Warriors

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* These teams split two games in 2009-10, with Golden State's 114-97 victory on January 18 breaking a four-game losing streak in the series.

* The Warriors improved to 6-2 with a 122-117 victory over the Knicks on Wednesday. It is Golden State's best record through eight games since the Warriors opened 7-1 in 1994-95.

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* The Bulls have outrebounded their opponents in each of their last nine games dating to last season. No other team sports an active streak longer than two such games.

* Monta Ellis has established new career scoring highs versus the Bulls in each of his past four games against them, including a 36-point effort the last time he faced Chicago on January 18.

* In his last three games against the Bulls, David Lee has averaged 21.7 points and 15.0 rebounds while also contributing 4.3 assists per game.

* With 19 rebounds on Monday, Joakim Noah has grabbed at least 17 boards on three occasions this season. No one else has produced more than one such game.

Bulls Game Notes For Monday vs. Nuggets

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* The Nuggets won both of their games against the Bulls last season, however, they have dropped three of their last four trips to Chicago.

* The Bulls have lost each of their last two games, with each contest being decided by eight points or less.

* Denver will be looking to extend its winning streak to three in a row. The Nuggets are 3-0 this season when holding their foes below 100 points.

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* Carmelo Anthony has scored at least 20 points in each of his six games to open the season, marking only the

second time in his career that he has done so (scored 20+ in 20 straight to open the 2009-10 campaign).

* Joakim Noah, who is tied for the NBA lead in double-doubles this season, has recorded one in each of his five games this season. Noah has two double-doubles in six career games against Denver.

* Derrick Rose is averaging 12.0 assists over his last three games and is averaging 25.0 points in his last two games against the Nuggets.

Bulls Game Notes For Friday @ Boston

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* Boston has won five of its last six regular-season home games against the Bulls.

* Since the beginning of last season, Chicago is 5-19 on the road when allowing 100 or more points (12-6 on the road when allowing less than 100 points).

* In his last game against the Celtics, Derrick Rose scored 39 points on 15-for-22 shooting from the field. His 39 points were the third most by any player in a single game against the Celtics in 2009-10.

* The Bulls are averaging 22.3 fast-break points per game through their first four games of the season, the second most in the league (Warriors - 23.0).

* On Wednesday, Paul Pierce became the third player to reach 20,000 career points as a Celtic, joining Larry Bird (21,791) and John Havlicek (26,395).

* Rajon Rondo's 82 assists are a NBA record for the most by any player in his first five games of a season. Magic Johnson (in 1988-89) and John Stockton (in 1989-90) each had 81 assists in their first five games of a season.


Bulls Game Notes For Thursday vs. Knicks

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* Chicago won three of the four meetings between these teams last season and the Bulls are 16-6 against the Knicks since the start of the 2004-05 season.
* The Bulls and Knicks are shooting 26.7 percent (2nd worst in the NBA) and 29.1 percent (t-3rd worst) respectively from downtown this season.
* The Knicks have recorded an assist on just 46.4 (52/112) percent of their made field goals, the third lowest percentage in the league.

* Derrick Rose has scored 26+ points in each of his last three games against the Knicks, shooting 60.3 (35/58) percent from the field in the process.

* New York has gotten over half (56.8 percent) of its points this season from players that weren't on the team last year, second only to the Timberwolves (63.4 percent).

* Amar'e Stoudemire is shooting 51.7 percent and averaging 12.7 points in the second half of games this season, compared to just 38.1 percent shooting and 8.7 points in the first half.

No Place Like Home

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It's that time of year again for the Bulls, as the road trip out West, commonly referred to as "The Circus Trip" is looming on the horizon.   Because of that trip, the Bulls' schedule is generally front-loaded with a good number of home games and that is the case again this year.   Starting with last Saturday's game against Detroit, the Bulls play 6 of 7 at home before heading out west.

It's important for the Bulls to get out and win these games at home and give themselves a little margin of error.  

But I also think that this team is built to win on the road.   In all likelihood, the Bulls will be without Carlos Boozer for the road trip,   The Bulls are certainly better off with Carlos in the line-up, but they have a lot of veterans on their roster who know how to win away from home.


-Neil Funk

The Next Step

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Hello to all of my "Peeps" out there and thanks for checking out today's blog. I want to talk about the growth of Derrick Rose. Saturday's comeback win gave us all a glimpse of the maturation of the 3rd year guard. He wanted the ball down the stretch. This reminded me of the performance of a Jordan or Kobe or LeBron. This is finally his team. The experience on the National team has also helped not only his game but attitude towards winning. Earlier this summer he said "why not the MVP?" If he can continue at this pace and stay healthy I will also say it. "Why not the MVP?" Send me your comments and question and watch The Bulls take on The Trailblazers tonight at 7pm on WCIU, Channel 26.

Bulls Game Notes For Monday vs. Portland

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* These teams split their two meetings last season, with each club winning at home. However, the Bulls have just one win in their last six matchups with Portland overall.

* Portland will be looking to open the season 4-0 for the first time since opening the 1999-2000 campaign with four consecutive wins.

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* After dropping their season opener against the Thunder, the Bulls defeated the Pistons 101-91 on Saturday. Chicago will be looking to open the season 2-0 at home for the third-straight season.

* After scoring 28 in the season opener, Derrick Rose tied his career-high with 39 points on Saturday. Rose scored 33 points in the last meeting between these clubs on February 26.

* Joakim Noah has scored a total of 33 points and 36 rebounds so far this season. Noah averaged 7.5 points and 9.5 boards in his two games against the Trail Blazers last season.

* The Trail Blazers have held each of their three opponents under 100 points, holding their foes to just 91.7 points per game on the season.