Just in time for playoff preparation, the Bulls' schedule opens up and gives them three days off for the only time this season besides the all-star break. They won't play again until Wednesday at Indiana, before finishing the regular season a night later at home against Cleveland
"It's going to be important to get a rest, but at the same time, take advantage of it," Luol Deng said. "The playoffs are going to start right away, especially since we end the season with back to backs. So we've got to be smart and just use this time."
In typical NBA seasons, the teams get at least two days off before opening the postseason. This year, it's just one day before the action starts Saturday.
Practice time should be useful for the Bulls because they're trying to get all the pieces working together after Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton missed considerable time due to injuries.
"It's good to have everyone back, so we can kind of start to figure out what our rotation will be," coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Deng worth the wait:
Luol Deng had an interesting performance in Saturday's 93-83 win over Dallas. He played the entire first quarter, but didn't score and took just 1 shot.
By the end of the night, Deng had a game-high 22 points and hit 4 of 7 shots from 3-point range. He scored 9 in the fourth quarter.
"I've learned, I know I'm going to play a lot of minutes," Deng said. "It's just being patient, just taking my shots, not trying to do too much or panicking out there when I start off not getting a lot of shots. Once I get it going, just really try to keep going."
Deng also got some reassurance on his injured left wrist. He had the ball on the fastbreak in the third quarter and was chopped by Vince Carter directly on his brace.
"Yeah, earlier on, I would have held my wrist for a little while," he said. "The wrist is getting stronger."
Hamilton heating up:
After missing 38 games, Richard Hamilton is starting to look like his usual self. In the past seven games, he's averaged 15.6 points and shot 50.5 percent from the field.
"I knew my shots would eventually fall," he said. "They don't need me to score like that every night. We've got plenty of guys who know how to put the ball in the hole."
Hamilton has also stayed healthy to play in 10 straight games. His previous high this season was five.