Prior to today’s contest against the Cavs, Bulls big man Joakim Noah said that he’s not thinking about how to stifle LeBron James in a possible seven-game series, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com writes. If they clash, however, you can bet that he’ll be doing his homework. The Bulls are 9-9 against James in the regular season since the 2010/11 campaign, but they are just 3-12 against James all time in the postseason. Here’s more out of the Central Division..
- Bulls star Derrick Rose told ABC’s Lisa Salters that he’ll likely return to action “sometime this week” (via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune on Twitter). As Johnson notes, Rose was initially given a four-to-six week timeline and Friday would be six weeks to the day of that prognosis. Rose said late last month that he was confident he’d return to action this season.
- The Pistons sent plenty of players down to their D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids this year but they never called anyone up, David Mayo of MLive.com writes. The Pistons planned to try more D-League call-ups this season by paring their roster to 14 and using the 15th spot to try different players once 10-day contracts opened in early January. Instead, they brought in Quincy Miller from the Reno Bighorns. Miller, as president of basketball operations and head coach Stan Van Gundy explained, was the best player available and showed enough to stay on board for the rest of the season. The team also couldn’t keep an open roster spot after Brandon Jennings‘ injury.
- After early season struggles led to speculation about David Blatt‘s job security, James was happy to see the Cavs boss win a Coach of the Month award, Chris Haynes of The Plain Dealer writes. “I just think he continues to learn every single day, and I’m so excited that I can be a part of his transition from the euro basketball league to now the NBA,” James told Haynes. “All the hard work he put into coaching, this is a dream of his and for him to be Coach of the Month, I know it’s a validation. Even though he talks about that he doesn’t need a validation to be a part of this league, it gives him even more of validation to say ‘I belong here.’ I’m a part of his first Coach of the Month, so it’s pretty cool.”