Bulls are being more selective with three-pointers
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org February 15, 2012 8:40PM
Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) takes a shot against Washington Wizards forward Jan Vesely (24), of the Czech Republic, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 30, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Updated: March 17, 2012 10:25AM
The Bulls are a better three-point-shooting team than they were last season, but they’re taking fewer long-range shots, which coach Tom Thibodeau said is partially the result of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah being healthy.
The Bulls’ three-point-shooting percentage of .361 ranked 13th in the NBA last season. While they are taking about two fewer attempts per game, their percentage has increased to .380 this season.
‘‘It was one of the areas we really improved as the season went along last year,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘I don’t think we have as much shooting as we did; that’s one reason why. We’re also doing a better job of playing inside-out. Last year we were also down Carlos and Joakim for quite a period of time, so that was probably more of a reason why they are down.’’
C.J. Watson (.458) and Kyle Korver (.442) have been the Bulls’ best three-point shooters, but neither was invited to participate in the three-point-shooting contest this month during All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Fla.
Joe Johnson of the Hawks, Kevin Love of the Timberwolves, Ryan Anderson of the Magic, Anthony Morrow of the Nets and Mario Chalmers and James Jones of the Heat are in the field. Jones won the competition last season.
Luol Deng had 23 points and a career-high 11 assists Tuesday against the Kings in part because he initiated the offense for much of the night, adding another dimension to his already-versatile game.
‘‘We like some of the stuff he’s been doing lately, and we wanted to go to it more,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He’s a very unselfish player. If there are two players on him, he always hits the open man.’’
Several assists came after Deng grabbed a rebound and rushed the ball up the court before passing to a teammate for an easy bucket.
‘‘It definitely helps a lot when I rebound and I push it,’’ Deng said. ‘‘We’re a lot faster coming down the floor.’’
Derrick Rose didn’t participate in a brief practice at the Berto Center and remains day-to-day, Thibodeau said. That said, it seems doubtful he will play Thursday against the Celtics at the United Center.
‘‘He’s still not quite ready,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘We’ll see where he is. Each day, he has gotten better. We’re encouraged by that.’’