suntimes
BRISK 
Weather Updates

Deng: Minutes won’t take toll

storyidforme: 40778629
tmspicid: 15065892
fileheaderid: 6851891

GET YOUR free BULLS ipad EXTRA

Head over to the App Store and download our free Bulls Extra app to get a comprehensive preview of the 2012-13 NBA season. It’s loaded with app-specific content you won’t find anywhere else, including videos and statistical breakdowns.

Updated: December 29, 2012 6:29AM



Luol Deng leads the NBA in minutes, averaging 41 per game. Teammate Joakim Noah is second with 39.2.

But, no, the starting lineup isn’t being run into the ground.

Carlos Boozer’s 30.3 minutes per game is higher than last season’s number (29.5 per game) but is still the third-fewest he has averaged since entering the league in 2002-03.

Richard Hamilton is at 28.2 minutes per game, the fourth- lowest total of his 14-year career.

The only concern should be Noah, considering this is uncharted territory for him.

He said after the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks that he was holding up just fine, and Deng reiterated that point Tuesday.

“I’ve played this amount of minutes before and handled it, and I think those guys will do a good job handling it, but the lineup might change again, I don’t know,’’ Deng said.

Hard-capped

It has been well documented that the Bulls are nudged up against the hard cap, so the idea of adding a significant player isn’t a reality.

Still, coach Tom Thibodeau insisted that management was looking, sort of.

“That’s what management does; they do that every day,’’ Thibodeau said. “But we have enough here. We’re fine.’’

The hangover

There aren’t many instances when a team has a 27-point lead with 2:50 left in the third quarter and loses the game, so all eyes will be on the Bulls and how they react after the loss to the Bucks.

“The next few games will tell; I hope not,’’ Deng said of a hangover. “We’re going to come out [Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks] and play hard, and hopefully I’ll be able to have a better [postgame] interview than I did [Monday] night.’’



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.