Containing Blazers’ Roy takes a team effort


Nov 1

When Portland shooting guard Brandon Roy and the 3-0 Trail Blazers take to the court, don’t expect one Bulls defender to shoulder the burden of slowing him down.

Rather, as Coach Tom Thibodeau explained, Roy will see several defenders as the Bulls play their second game at the United Center in three nights.

“It won’t be an individual matchup; it’s going to be a team matchup,” said Thibodeau of defending Roy, who’s averaging 25 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. “His versatility is what makes him so hard to matchup with. There will be times when he’s coming off screens in catch and shoot situations, sometimes he’s posting up, sometimes he’s handling the ball and running the point for them.”

“You have to be prepared for everything and you have to make him work as much as possible for his points,” Thibodeau continued. “He’s also a terrific decision maker. If you over-help, he can make you pay with the pass.”

Shortly after Thibodeau spoke, Blazers Coach Nate McMillan offered his thoughts on stopping Bulls guard Derrick Rose, which sounded quite familiar.

“It has to be a team effort,” McMillan said of slowing Rose, the NBA’s leading scorer at 33.5 points per game. “He’s definitely one of the fastest guys in the league from baseline to baseline. He does a great job of playing in your paint. He’s fearless and explosive once he gets there. It’s not one guy that’s going to be assigned to him; you have to form a wall to try and keep him out of the paint. Now, he’s shooting the jump shot and knocking that down. He’s a tough guard.”

Boozer cast to come off; Asik and Johnson impress

Carlos Boozer is scheduled to have his cast removed on Tuesday. Thibodeau anticipated that once the doctor examines his hand, next steps will be determined. … Thibodeau said pregame he was very pleased with the bench play of Omer Asik and James Johnson in the team’s come from behind win over the Pistons on Saturday. “We’re going to be looking to get them into the rotation,” he said. “We’ll go from there.” … Two members of Vinny Del Negro’s coaching staff last season are back at the United Center as assistants with the Blazers. Bernie Bickerstaff and Bob Ociepka joined McMillan in Portland. “They’ve seen a lot of different things as far as style of play,” said McMillan. “Defensively, Bob has done a good job of working with our guys. Coach B has seen and coached against every style since the ‘70s.” … Not only does Rose lead the league in scoring through the first two games of the season, Joakim Noah leads the NBA in rebounding with 18.0 boards per game (Reggie Evans is next with 15.0 rpg). … Actress/singer and Chicago native Jennifer Hudson is expected to attend Monday’s game.

Blazers lose a legend in Maurice Lucas

The Bulls will honor the life of former Trail Blazers star Maurice Lucas with a moment of silence before the game. Lucas passed away at the age of 58 on Sunday after a long fight with bladder cancer. He was a five-time All-Star who helped lead Portland to 1977 NBA title.

“We lost a great man, a proud man. I lost a dear friend, a brother,” said McMillan of Lucas.

During McMillan’s rookie year in the NBA, it was Lucas who took him under his wing, he said. Lucas later became a member of McMillan’s staff in Portland for five years.

“He was an enforcer,” McMillan fondly recalled. “He understood that role and he played that role out on the floor. He understood how to be an intimidator. He was a hit first guy when that was legal. He played mind games with you and was not afraid—almost like a Muhammad Ali in the sense that they played mind games and he would go after the biggest guy. He felt like in that situation, the rest of the guys he didn’t have to worry about.

“But off the floor, he was totally opposite,” McMillan continued. “He was fun, loved laughter and loved to joke. He just enjoyed life.”

Audio—Coach Nate McMillan remembers Maurice Lucas (11.01.10):

Bulls vs. Trail Blazers season notes:

These two teams split the season series last season … since the 2004-05 season, the Bulls hold a 4-2 record against the Blazers … the Bulls have dropped eight of their last 10 at the Rose Garden … Chicago is 33-19 all-time in meetings in the Windy City and hold a 23-31 all-time record in Portland … Chicago has swept the season series two of the last six years, while Portland has swept the two out of the last three years … their matchup during the 2008-09 season at the Rose Garden was Chicago’s worst defeat (116-74) in its series history against Portland … in two games against the Bulls last season, LaMarcus Aldridge averaged 28.0 ppg and 10.0 rpg, while Luol Deng (24.0 ppg) and Derrick Rose (23.5 ppg) both averaged 20 or more points in their two contests against the Blazers … the Bulls and Blazers have played seven overtime games, including three that went multiple overtimes (two double-overtime games and one quadruple-overtime contest) … Chicago is 3-4 all-time against Portland in overtime contests.

Audio—Head Coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (11.01.10):

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