A few days ago, I suggested that this weekend would help determine the future of Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro.
Well, the win over Golden State surely bought him some time. If the Bulls lost both of those games, I wouldn’t have been surprised if a change was made.
But like I also mentioned before, management wants to give Del Negro a fair chance to work through this rough stretch. Ideally that would happen with a full roster, but doctors want Tyrus Thomas to take another week to 10 days to make sure his broken left arm heals completely before returning to the court. So he may not be back until after Christmas for a Dec. 26 home date against New Orleans.
Thomas is so anxious to play right now, it would be interesting to see what kind of boost he could give the team. After hosting the Lakers on Tuesday, the Bulls play six of the next seven games against losing teams with five of those at home.
If there is any hope of the Bulls turning this season around, next Thursday against the Knicks is a good place to start.
--I’m hearing that rumors of the Bulls already showing interest in former New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank are not true.
It’s probably too soon to get a good read on what the Bulls would do if they changed coaches. Assistant Bernie Bickerstaff is obviously an accomplished candidate. John Paxson also seemed to start calling around and settling on Scott Skiles a few days before giving Bill Cartwright the ax in 2003.
--Here’s an interesting quote from John Salmons, who had another rough night against Boston, scoring just 4 points in 29 minutes.
“Today for the first time, I actually looked at my stats, my shooting percentages and all that stuff,” he said. “Even my free throws are down, everything is down. It’s not just my threes. I don’t know. I just can’t get it going.”
You’ve got to feel for Salmons, who is a really good guy. After Saturday’s loss, he’s averaging 13.8 points while shooting 38.5 percent overall and 32.7 percent from 3-point range – certainly not what the Bulls expected.
--Good news of the night: Rookie Taj Gibson has averaged 13.0 points and 7.8 rebounds since being removed from the starting lineup. Where would the Bulls be without him? New starter Brad Miller even played better the last two games.
--Pointless observations of the night: I have a few of them. One favorite was Lynn Del Negro, Vinny’s wife, walking down the hallway after the game with her arm around Celtics coach Doc Rivers. Del Negro and Rivers were once teammates on the Spurs and get along well, obviously.
--The Celtics locker room was filled with boxes of Lou Malnati’s pizza. Personally, it wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it’s obvious Rivers stays close to his Chicago roots.
--When Taj Gibson had a defensive rebound poked away early in Saturday’s game by Ray Allen, referee James Capers blew the whistle and said, “That’s out of bounds, Ray.” Wonder if any refs are on a first-name basis with Joakim Noah?