Deng dishes a bit on Bulls experience

  • The Cavaliers' Luol Deng said that he and Joakim Noah "weren't so nice to each other on the court if one of us didn't play hard" when they were Bulls teammates.

    The Cavaliers' Luol Deng said that he and Joakim Noah "weren't so nice to each other on the court if one of us didn't play hard" when they were Bulls teammates. Associated Press

Updated 1/28/2014 8:04 PM

While dishing out some tough love to his new Cleveland Cavaliers teammates, Luol Deng shared some insight about how things worked with the Bulls.

The Cavs had a tough home loss Sunday against Phoenix. Cleveland led by 18 points at halftime, then scored 6 points in the third quarter and ended up losing 99-90.


"We did a lot of good things, but we did a lot of disappointing things -- things that reminds us that we're not that good," Deng told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "At some point, you've got to compete," he said. "You've got to get upset and demand more of your guys."

At one point, Deng even said, "You've got to do your job," which is straight out of the Tom Thibodeau quote book.

"I'll be honest with you -- and I really want to put Chicago behind me -- but me and Joakim (Noah) weren't so nice to each other on the court if one of us didn't play hard," Deng said. "And it made us better friends, and play harder. The same with Derrick (Rose). We knew when Derrick didn't play defense. As good as he is, even his MVP year, if he didn't play defense, we all said, 'Yo, you're not playing defense. You've got to step it up.'

"I think we all love each other in this (Cavs) locker room, and I see it. Guys are so close to each other. The one message we keep telling each other is it's OK to scream at each other."

The Cavs were 5-5 since trading for Deng heading into Tuesday's game against New Orleans, which is better than they did without him.

Rubio knows Mirotic:

Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio played against Bulls draft pick Nikola Mirotic many times in the Spanish league, but he didn't want to make a prediction about how well Mirotic will do in the NBA.

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"(He's a) tall guy who can shoot the ball very well. Smart-playing and a scorer," Rubio said of Mirotic. "We will know when he comes here. We never know. A player who can play pretty well in Europe, maybe he's not as good here as he was in Europe or he's even better. You never know until he tries."

The 6-foot-10 Mirotic is averaging 13.8 points and shooting 56 percent from 3-point range for Real Madrid in EuroLeague play. Rubio played for rival Barcelona before signing with Minnesota.

Love for Minnesota star:

When Taj Gibson was asked about Minnesota forward Kevin Love after Monday's game, Gibson pointed out that he's played against Love in high school, college and the NBA. Love scored 31 points against the Bulls and hit 14 of 14 free throws.

"I faced Kevin at all three stages," Gibson said. "I think he's elevated his game. He's lost a ton of weight over the years. He's real agile. The way he moves, how slick he is with the basketball, he knows how to get a lot of foul calls. He's real crafty. He knows a lot of old-school tricks as far as getting fouled. I think he's improved his game a whole bunch."

Love was at UCLA for one season while Gibson played for USC. During their high school years, they knew each other from AAU competition.

"AAU basketball is one of the best things, because you get to know each other; get to be in dorm rooms and all-American camps and stuff like that and really connect with one another," he said. "Over the years, his growth has been great. He's a good dude."


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