SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – E’Twaun Moore’s Bulls teammates have been vocal about the reserve getting more opportunities to play the last few weeks, and Fred Hoiberg was obviously in agreement.
The versatile guard made his third-consecutive start on Monday, as the three-guard look remained all but mandatory with the roster short-handed in the frontcourt.
With Nikola Mirotic (appendicitis) out until after the All-Star Break, it likely won’t change the next week, either.
“Just try and play fast, play with a quicker pace,’’ Moore said of what the three-guard look hopefully gives his team. “Get up-and-down a little bit more. You know, just try and be a little more energetic.’’
What’s been even more impressive as far as Moore was concerned, however, was the fact that he’s averaged 33 minutes a game on the start of this west coast trip, after playing just 12 total minutes combined in the three games leading up to the trip.
“It’s kind of been what he’s done his entire career,’’ Hoiberg said of Moore. “When his name has been called, he’s gone in and produced. We wanted to make a change with the rhythm of our team. We put him in the starting lineup. I thought he responded really well.
“He’s a very smart basketball player. He’s got a high IQ. We anticipate E’Twaun giving us really good solid minutes whether he’s starting or coming off the bench.’’
The fact that Moore’s teammates have been so supportive of his heavy minutes didn’t go unnoticed by the guard, either.
“That just feels good, knowing you’re getting some support and knowing they appreciate me on the court,’’ Moore said. “It definitely feels good and makes me want to go out there and play even better.’’
Mike Dunleavy joined the Santa Cruz Warriors of the D-League on Monday, and will begin two days of practice with them on Tuesday. If all goes well for the veteran forward, he will rejoin the team Thursday, and a return plan will be mapped out.
Dunleavy has been sidelined the entire season after back surgery, but has had no setbacks on this second rehab stint.
“I’m pain free,’’ Dunleavy said. “I’m feeling good, moving well. A little bit more conditioning to get in game shape. But then just a couple good scrimmages where I say, ‘All right, I can play in an NBA game.’ ‘’