Mike Dunleavy adjusting game for Bulls, nothing he hasn’t done before
BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter December 27, 2013 7:44PM
Mike Dunleavy scored on back-to-back fast breaks in the third quarter Wednesday, helping the Bulls pull away. | Seth Wenig/AP
MAVERICKS AT BULLS
The facts: 7 p.m, CSN, 1000-AM.
Updated: January 29, 2014 6:09AM
Being the son of an NBA coach has its perks, most notably an exposure to the game that is unparalleled for most. That’s probably a big reason Tom Thibodeau praises forward Mike Dunleavy so much.
Watching Dunleavy play, you can tell he’s the son of a coach. It’s evident in the small plays he makes, whether it’s keeping the offense moving or making the appropriate defensive rotation.
Growing up, Dunleavy was always on the move. His dad, Mike Sr., coached the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trail Blazers, making it difficult for Mike Jr. to call any place his hometown.
“I tell people out west Portland, Ore.,” Dunleavy said. “That’s where I went to high school. It’s kind of my hometown. But we moved around so much I got a bunch of different homes, and it’s not a bad thing.”
Dunleavy has had a similar career as a player. The Bulls are his fourth team in 12 seasons.
He has been forced to adapt, and that has served him well this season. Derrick Rose’s injury slightly changed his offensive game. Dunleavy has found himself scoring more in transition.
He ran the floor on back-to-back third-quarter possessions for four fast-break points that helped the Bulls pull away in their victory Wednesday at Brooklyn. Those types of plays are important in Rose’s absence. It’s the easiest way for a struggling offense to score.
But there’s more to Dunleavy’s game than offense. In fact, his versatility made him attractive to the Bulls when they signed him in the offseason. Thibodeau said after practice Friday that Dunleavy’s rebounding, in particular, has been an asset.
“His experience has served him well,” Thibodeau said. “He’s done just about everything in this league, and I think he has a great understanding of the league and he knows injuries are part of it. It’s how quickly you can adapt.
“He just fits in. You can start him, you can bring him off the bench, you can play him at the two, you can play him at the three, you can play him at the four.”
NOTES: Coach Tom Thibodeau said Luol Deng, who has missed the last three games with an Achilles injury, participated in most of practice Friday. Thibodeau said he was unsure whether Deng would play Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks at the United Center.
◆ Center Joakim Noah didn’t practice because of tightness in his hip. Thibodeau didn’t know if it happened Wednesday at Brooklyn. He will be evaluated at the shootaround Saturday.