As he did for the Bucks, Kurt Thomas answering the call


Dec 28

Count Bucks coach Scott Skiles among those who are not surprised at the job veteran Kurt Thomas has done in filling in for the injured Joakim Noah.

“Nothing is going to occur out there that he hasn’t seen before a hundred times,” Skiles said of Thomas, who filled in for Andrew Bogut in Milwaukee at the end of last season after Bogut went down with a broken hand. “He knows what he’s doing out there. As his career has gone on, he doesn’t try to do things he can’t do. He’s fit in wherever he’s been. We have a lot of respect for Kurt.

“It was a big pickup for the Bulls,” Skiles continued. “He had some DNPs earlier and now, boom, he’s out there and he’s a factor. That’s what he does very well.”

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau concurred with Skiles’ assessment, calling Thomas’ effort at the end of last season in Bogut’s absence “terrific.”

“Eighteen years in the league,” Thibodeau remarked. “Every time he’s been called upon, he’s been ready. He’s a great professional and a terrific defender. You can count on him.”

Even with Joakim Noah sidelined for 8-10 weeks, Skiles doesn’t anticipate that the Bulls will relinquish their position atop the Central Division and among the upper echelon of teams in the Eastern Conference.

“I’d be really, really surprised if the Bulls somehow took any sort of step back,” he said. “With the guys they have right now and the way they’re playing—not that some other team can’t win 12 out of 13 or something and climb right back in it—but I don’t see them taking a major step back.

“The East is open,” Skiles added. “We’re hanging into our spot and that’s what we have to find a way to do right now.”

Banged up Bucks extra shorthanded without Boykins

With the NBA’s one-game suspension of Bucks point guard Earl Boykins for making intentional contact with a game official forcing him to miss Tuesday’s game against the Bulls, it makes an already thin Milwaukee backcourt even thinner.

Starter Brandon Jennings is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after having surgery on his left foot. Drew Gooden (plantar fasciitis) is day-to-day for Milwaukee, while Carlos Delfino (concussion-like symptoms) and Michael Redd (left ACL/MCL) are out.

On Tuesday, Skiles shook up the starting lineup a bit, sending Chris Douglas-Roberts to the bench to start Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a favorable defensive matchup against Luol Deng. Skiles said that John Salmons will likely see some reserve minutes at point guard, and Douglas-Roberts will fill in at the shooting guard and small forward positions.

Bulls forward Kyle Korver to host coat drive on January 1

Kyle Korver and the Bulls are teaming up with Operation Warm® to host a coat drive on Saturday, January 1 to provide new winter coats for children with the Midtown Educational Foundation. Prior to the tip-off of the Bulls’ home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, fans are encouraged to drop off new children’s winter coats at any of the United Center admission gates (gates open at 4:30 p.m.).

Fans who attend the game and donate a new children’s coat or donate $15 or more will receive a ticket which will allow them to get an autograph from Korver after the game. Monetary donations to Operation Warm in conjunction with the coat drive will also be collected at the gates that night. Fans not attending that evening’s game can still assist in the collection by making a donation in the virtual coat drive at Each $15 donation will provide a high quality, new winter coat to a child supported by the Midtown Educational Foundation.

Bulls vs. Bucks season notes

Milwaukee won last year’s season series 3-1 … in their first meeting last season, Chicago squeaked out a victory over the Bucks at the UC 83-81 (11/03) … Luol Deng had the first 20-20 double-double by a Bull since 2004 (Marcus Fizer) with 24 points and a career-high 20 boards, while rookie Brandon Jennings scored a game-high 25 points for Milwaukee … since the 2003-04 season, Chicago has gone a combined 17-7 against Milwaukee (10-2 at the UC) … since the 2004-05 season, Chicago holds a 7-5 record against the Bucks at the Bradley Center … Chicago has won eight of the last nine contests over Milwaukee at the United Center … the Bulls won the season series 3-1 in 2008-09, with their lone loss coming in Milwaukee (12/03) … Chicago is 6-4 against the Bucks in its last 10 meetings with Milwaukee.

Audio—Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (12.28.10):

Audio—Bucks Coach Scott Skiles’ pregame comments (12.28.10):

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