Bulls prepare for celebrations and Jazz


Mar 12

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It was a festive atmosphere in the United Center Saturday with the players from the 1991 championship team in attendance, many escorting their children who heard their daddies tell stories and finally got to a see a little of what it all was about.

But one of the former Bulls, Horace Grant, got a scare just before coming in from his home near San Luis Obispo, Calif. when he was among those evacuated for fear of the Pacific effects of the Japan tsunami.

“We were having a 13th birthday party for my daughter and friends,” said Grant. “We rented a beach house for a party and sleepover. About two in the morning they had us evacuate because they thought the tsunami would hit.”

Grant arrived in Chicago Friday afternoon and attended the Bulls game Friday, the excitement of the return to mingle with old teammates mixed with the sadness of the tragedy that seemed even closer to home when his family was rushed from the beds overnight.

“It was scary,” said Grant.

But Saturday night in the United Center it was a respite from the tragedies as teammates from that 1991 team mingled with one another and familiar faces among security guards, Bulls staff members and reporters.

Still, there was a game to be played for the 2011 Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau said he was sticking with Kurt Thomas to start for the injured Carlos Boozer until Boozer returns.

“I liked the way both units played,” said Thibodeau. “I did not want to change our second unit because of the way they’re playing. Kurt when he was started functioned well and we’re going to stay with that.”

As for playing newcomer Rasual Butler for the first time in Friday’s win over Atlanta, Thibodeau said, “He’s done a great job. He’s a great pro. He’s put a lot of work in. He’s getting ready. Right now our rotation is set and he understands that. His job is to be great in practice, help the team prepare and be ready if he’s called upon. He’s getting more comfortable and I would not hesitate to use him.”

Thibodeau said Boozer is progressing, but Thibodeau said he has no date in mind for Boozer’s return.

Boozer said he has a date circled on his calendar to return, but is not saying.

Asked if he is angry with Kwame Brown for the flagrant foul, Boozer said, “No. Not at all. It’s a basketball play. I don’t worry about it. I’ve been in the same situation he’s been in. I don’t worry about it at all. It’s part of the game.

“There’s (still) some swelling, a lot of pain, but it’s going down. It’s getting better every day,” said Boozer. “I’m going to be back very soon. Obviously, (at first) I was very worried. All the pain went right to my foot. But I didn’t know where. Bad landing. I’ve go to work on my landings.

“This was one of the more severe (ankle sprains) I’ve had,” said Boozer. “I haven’t had too many severe ones. I had one earlier this season, so it’s probably similar to that one (when I missed there games).

“Obviously, I’d love to play (against Utah), but I’m going to be cheering my guys on,” said Boozer. “It’s a game we need. We’re trying to get in first place. The point is we’re a new team, so we have to go out and prove it. This is all new guys, new system, new coach. We’ve had to prove how good we are, and we’re still proving it. There are a lot to games to go, but we’re trying to prove how good we are.”

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