Tom Thibodeau is sold on C.J. Watson’s all-around worth
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org March 21, 2012 9:42PM
C.J. Watson (15 points) drives on Amir Johnson during the Bulls’ road win Wednesday. | Pawel Dwulit~AP
Updated: April 23, 2012 11:47AM
TORONTO — C.J. Watson missed all eight of his shots from the floor in Monday night’s 85-59 wipeout of the Magic in Orlando, but that doesn’t mean he played a lousy game, according to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
“I don’t necessarily judge him by his shots,” Thibodeau said. “I measure him more on how he runs the team and how the team is functioning and how he’s playing defense. He can play well when he doesn’t shoot well. That’s what he did in that game.”
The Bulls were 10-4 without MVP Derrick Rose heading into Wednesday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors, which says a lot about their depth at point guard. John Lucas III and Mike James also have played key roles.
“C.J. has played very well whenever he has started,” Thibodeau said. “He’s been solid. John has been terrific. The bench has been very good. Then our starters have done a good job.”
The Bulls will need continued solid play from Watson, Lucas III and James because Rose might not return from a strained groin for several more days, if not longer.
Rose was walking gingerly at Air Canada Centre during Wednesday morning’s shootaround. He has began working out in water and has done some shooting, but little else. He did not play against the Raptors on Wednesday night. It was his fifth missed game in a row and 15th overall.
“He’s doing more and more,” Thibodeau said. “He’s doing some shooting. He’s in the pool. He’s moving along.”
Finding a way
Luol Deng was in the locker room after the game with a huge bag of ice wrapped around his left wrist.
“The wrist is still here,” Deng said. “It’s up an down but I’m finding way to be effective out there.”
Deng tore a ligament in his left wrist earlier this season. Watson also has been playing with twisted ankle.
“I like the mental toughness that Luol has shown,” Thibodeau said. Same thing with C.J. They’ve shown us that they can play well, even when they’re nicked up and I think that’s the important mentality to have, is to know that whatever amount of hurting you have going on.”
Heat add Turiaf
The size advantage the Bulls have had against the the Miami Heat was addressed when the Heat signed forward/center Ronny Turiaf, according to multiple reports.
The 6-10 Turiaf played in four games for the Washington Wizards because of a broken hand. He was traded to the Denver Nuggets on Monday and then released.
“[Turiaf is] a great defensive player and somebody who’s also very underrated offensively,” Joakim Noah said. “He can shoot a little bit, can finish well at the rim. Whoever picks him up is definitely going to get a great addition.”