Bulls' Noah shouts from the bench while they play against the 76ers during their NBA Eastern Conference quarter-final playoff basketball game in Philadelphia

Joakim Noah blames negativity for Bulls’ 10-10 home record


The Suns went into Chicago on Saturday playing their fourth game in five nights, and having won just once in the team’s previous 12 games.

That didn’t stop them from putting a hurt on the Bulls, a team that many believe to be in the upper echelon in the East, and capable of competing with the likes of the Heat and the Knicks come playoff time.

That won’t happen, however, if Chicago can’t figure out its issues while playing at home, where the team is now just 10-10 on the season. And Joakim Noah feels that nothing will change until the Bulls learn to be more positive when things aren’t going their way.

From Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago:

“We’re 10-10 at home. That’s not very good, that’s very average,” Bulls center Joakim Noah said.

“I think it’s OK to be wrapped up in big wins. I think you’re supposed to be happy after you win, but I think that when it’s the big game we come ready to play. I think we have to make a conscious effort as players and as coaches — everybody. I feel like we complain way too much. When things aren’t going our way we have to find a way to stick together more.

“It’s just too negative. We have to support one another when things aren’t going well because right now it’s just, when things aren’t going our way, it’s the end of the world. You have to move on to the next play and unite together because I don’t feel like we’re doing that right now.”

The Bulls have gotten off to a 20-15 start, which has them at sixth in the East but just four games behind the Heat for the conference’s top spot. They’ve beaten the Knicks three times this season, and have quality wins over Miami and Boston as well, all without Derrick Rose, who is expected back near the All-Star break.

But a loss like the one suffered at home to a reeling Suns team cancels out the positive feelings to a certain extent, and until Chicago figures out how to recapture its home court advantage, those who doubt whether or not the Bulls are for real will continue to have reason to do so.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.