C.J. Watson never seemed very enthusiastic about giving interviews when he played for the Bulls.
Returning to the United Center as a member of the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, Watson talked quite a bit about old times, specifically the two years he spent in Chicago.
The chat got interesting when the topic of how last season ended came up. Watson was criticized for passing the ball to notoriously bad free-throw shooter Omer Asik in the waning seconds of Game 6 at Philadelphia. Asik missed both foul shots and the Sixers scored late to win the first-round playoff series.
"The season ended how it ended," Watson said. "I wasn't worried about that. I knew I could do better. It was a critical mistake, maybe. But at the time, I didn't think it was. I just thought I kind of got mistreated, but it is what it is."
Watson didn't expand on that comment, but it seemed as though he felt mistreated by public opinion, not necessarily the team. The Bulls chose not to pick up his contract option for this season, allowing the veteran guard to become a free agent.
Asked if he considered re-signing with the Bulls at a lower salary, Watson responded with a flat no.
When given a chance to reflect on the two-year success of the Bench Mob, Watson took on a pleasant tone.
"It was fun because we all knew our role, we knew what to do and we knew who was going to get the ball, who was going to score and who was going to play defense," Watson said. "We just fit into our roles and everybody played their role to the best of their ability."
Hinrich sits again:
Kirk Hinrich missed his second straight game with a bruised left knee. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Hinrich is feeling better and defined his status as day-to-day.
Nate Robinson again started at point guard Saturday against the Nets, while rookie Marquis Teague saw extended minutes off the bench. Robinson stayed on the floor in the second half until picking up his fifth foul with 7:05 left in the fourth quarter, then Teague finished up.
Watson carries defense:
Former Bulls guard C.J. Watson said he's tried to bring some of Tom Thibodeau's defensive schemes to Brooklyn.
"I try to take some of the stuff that I learned from Thibs, the defensive stuff and apply it to our team here because Avery (Johnson) is trying to be a defensive coach," he said. "Just trying to teach some of the stuff that we learned in Chicago, because they've been the best defensive team the last couple of years. So it's always good to take away and learn, and take it somewhere else."
Watson was then asked if he missed Thibodeau's practices.
"No, not at all," he answered. "I like these 30-minute, 45-minute practices."
Tickets are on sale for the Bulls annual charity dinner, which will be held Jan. 8 at the United Center. This year's event will honor Scottie Pippen and feature some celebrity guests. Tickets can be purchased at bulls.com. … Brooklyn played a double-overtime home game on Friday against Detroit. Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace each played more than 50 minutes in that one.
… Nate Robinson had an impressive fastbreak blocked shot against Brooklyn's MarShon Brooks in the first half.