Bulls guard John Lucas III signals his second half three pointer as the Chicago Bulls defeated the Washington Wizards 78-64 Wednesday January 11, 2012 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: February 13, 2012 9:26AM
The Bulls signed point guard Mike James on Wednesday to shore up a position depleted by injuries to Derrick Rose and backup C.J. Watson.
‘‘He’s an experienced guy, tough, hard-nosed, can shoot the ball, can run a pick-and-roll,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’ll fit in well.”
A nine-year NBA veteran, James, 36, was averaging 15.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in three games with the Erie BayHawks of the D-League.
The former Duquesne standout appeared in four games with the Wizards in 2009-10.
He had played in 528 NBA regular-season games, averaging 10.5 points and 3.6 assists in 25.2 minutes.
Thibodeau was an assistant with the Rockets when James played in Houston in 2007-08.
“Defensively, he’s been through the system before, so he’ll pick that up very quickly,” Thibodeau said. “Offensively, he’s always been an excellent pick-and-roll player. We’ll gear his package more toward pick-and-rolls.”
James arrived at the United Center moments after tipoff, marking the end of a long journey. He played a game in Reno, Nev., before flying to Los Angeles, where he and his teammates had a three-hour layover. He then flew to Cleveland and bused the 90 minutes to Erie only to learn that the Bulls wanted him in Chicago ASAP.
James was hustled into a uniform and played in the last 40 seconds of the victory over the Wizards at the United Center.
“This is the greatest show on earth,” he said. “I’d rather be here than there.”
Watson was shooting and doing ballhandling drills before the game. He sprained his elbow against the Clippers on Dec. 30 and hopes to return for the game Monday in Memphis.
“Maybe a little bit,” Watson said when asked if he would speed up his timetable if Rose misses more games. “We’ll see how he feels. I don’t know how long he’ll be out, but Monday is the date for now.”
Rip Hamilton (groin) also did not play.
“[Hamilton is] coming along great, as is Watson,” Thibodeau said. “They’re both very close.’’
Noah hurt, too
Center Joakim Noah injured his left thumb in the second quarter and retreated to the locker room for treatment.
He returned to the game with the thumb taped but spent the fourth quarter on the bench in what is becoming a trend. Forward Carlos Boozer joined him on the bench in the fourth.
Noah missed 30 games last season with a hand injury. X-rays on Noah’s thumb after the game were negative.
“It doesn’t feel great, but I think I’ll be all right,” he said.