After Saturday, the Bulls don’t exactly have a bye week. But they won’t be playing again for a bit.
The Bulls’ game Saturday against Indiana was their last until Friday at the United Center when they host the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Until then, the Bulls will practice a few times (not Sunday), and coach Fred Hoiberg didn’t seem too bothered by the break.
If anything, he welcomed the chance for more hard practices and correct mistakes the Bulls are making.
“I’m excited about it,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve had very spirited practices. I told our guys (Friday) after practice if we can play with that type of effort, if we can carry that over into the game we’re going to be in good shape. They were dragging a little bit (Saturday) morning – it was a physical, demanding, tough practice – but it’s what we need at this point of the season and just continue to go out there and try to get better.”
When Hoiberg opened his post-game news conference he made sure to direct the media to Isaiah Canaan on the box score. More specifically, Hoiberg pointed out Canaan’s plus-minus.
Plus-40. With eight points and only one made shot in almost 16 minutes.
“That’s an unbelievable stat for a guy that took one shot, for the impact that he had on the game,” Hoiberg said.
“Just trying to come in and give a spark. I never had a plus-minus that high,” Canaan deadpanned.
Dwyane Wade also was impressed.
“I think in this game he helped us out more than any other game and he shot one shot. He was really a floor general out there,” Wade said. “I think that’s a preseason high. It has to be.”
Hoiberg said Denzel Valentine (sprained left ankle) is getting better. Hoiberg said the Bulls hoped Valentine would get on the court early next week to get moving and test the ankle’s recovery. At this point, Valentine hasn’t done any sprinting but the news doesn’t seem bad.
“The good thing is he’s walking without a limp now, and hopefully (we’ll) get him back soon,” Hoiberg said.
Valentine, the Bulls’ first-round pick out of Michigan State, sprained the ankle Monday and is expected to miss at least two weeks.
Pacers star Paul George was rested and didn’t play Saturday night. Still, the fact he’s come back the way he has from his gruesome August 2014 injury when he suffered compound fractures in his right leg while playing for Team USA has impressed Hoiberg.
“To have that gruesome of an injury and to be able to come back as one of the top players in the league says a lot about Paul and a lot about his work ethic,” Hoiberg said. “It was great to see him representing our country (at the Olympics) and getting a gold medal.”
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