There hasn’t been much that D.J. Augustin hasn’t shown he can handle since joining the Bulls, and you can check “performing on the big stage’’ off the list after his 22-point performance in the win over Miami on Sunday afternoon.
“D.J. has been playing great basketball and we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in right now if we wouldn’t have picked him up,’’ All-Star center Joakim Noah said of the point guard. “He’s playing really confident, and it was just big to see him play at that level [Sunday]. It was a pretty big stage and D.J. stepped up huge for us. We wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for him, that’s for sure.’’
Augustin was told of Noah’s praise after the Tuesday shootaround, and while he appreciated it, his focus was on weighing exactly what he’s accomplished so far this season once the year comes to an end.
“I’ve just been in the moment, trying to work hard every day, and just go out there and play hard, play well and do whatever it takes to help the team win,’’ Augustin said. “And we’ve been doing great.
“This is probably the most comfortable I’ve felt in a long time, maybe since my Charlotte days and just getting an opportunity. Being out there playing and playing through mistakes. [Coach Tom Thibodeau] gives you the opportunity to play through mistakes and that just helps a player’s confidence level.’’
Augustin and the Bulls will again be tested tonight, as the defending Western Conference Spurs come to the United Center.
“They have the same great players that they’ve always had,’’ Augustin said of San Antonio. “They have a system that they stick to and they play together. They’re very smart and you can’t make any mistakes against a team like that. They push the ball in transition. We have to get back and that’s going to be a big key tonight. And just try to stop [Tim] Duncan and those guys, and play together like we’ve been doing.’’