From Comcast SportsNetCHICAGO (AP) -- Tom Thibodeau sent a strong wake-up message to his team at a heated shootaround Monday morning. He got the response he was looking for.Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds, Luol Deng scored 18 points and the Chicago Bulls held Atlanta to a franchise-low 20 points in the first half of a 97-58 victory over the Hawks on Monday night."Early this morning, Tibs was going crazy on us at shootaround. Just waking up early in the morning and having Tibs just screaming at you and screaming at you and screaming at you," center Joakim Noah said, "we didn't want that to happen to us again."We were ready for this one. We had the right mindset, played with the edge and we rebounded the ball really well. Everyone came in and stepped up."Reserve forward Mike Scott scored 10 points to lead Atlanta as none of the starters reached double figures. Josh Smith and Kyle Korver had nine points each.Jeff Teague had a layup with 7.9 seconds left to prevent the Hawks' lowest scoring total in franchise history.Atlanta has lost five straight on the road and six of seven overall."This was very, very embarrassing," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "From where we were as a team to where we're at right now, we have lost all sense of team on both ends of the floor. And why that's happened I really can't put my finger on it."The Bulls held the Hawks to just five points in the second quarter and led 48-20 at the break. Ivan Johnson had a basket for the Hawks with 2:54 left in the first quarter, and Atlanta did not score again until Al Horford's tip with 5:15 left in the second. The Hawks missed 17 consecutive shots during the drought while getting outscored 14-0.They finished the 2 for 21 from the field in the second quarter, with Smith making a free throw and a jumper for Atlanta's other points. The Hawks shot 20.5 percent on 8-of-39 shooting in the first half. Josh Smith was 3 for 10 and Horford 2 for 8 in the opening two periods."The disturbing thing is the effort part. I shouldn't have to come out and coach effort every single night. Effort is what your being paid, to bring effort every single night. Maybe it's the chemistry right now," Drew said. "I'm going to have to do something to kind of jump-start us again."Right now we've flatlined. Not just from a physical standpoint. Mentally we have flattened. I've got to find a way to resuscitate this team."Boozer had 14 points and Deng eight to help the Bulls to their halftime lead. Noah had 12 rebounds in the half and finished with 16 boards and nine points.The Bulls set a record for the fewest points allowed, eclipsing the previous mark of 59 by Orlando last March 19. Atlanta's 20 points in the first half also set a Chicago record for the fewest allowed in a half, bettering the 22 scored by the Knicks in 1999. The Bulls also limited New York to five points in the second quarter of that game."We have to play a certain way," Thibodeau said. "When we came out I thought Joakim and Carlos set the tone."The Hawks' previous scoring lows were six points in a quarter (at Minnesota) in 1994, and 25 in a half -- accomplished three times, most recently against New Orleans in 2011.Noah wasn't surprise by the defensive performance."I wasn't shocked, but our mindset was more be ready for the first 5 or 6 minutes of that third quarter. We had been in positions where we were up by 25, 26 points and lost before. So we feel no lead is big enough," Noah said.Tensions heated up in the third quarter. After Hamilton was called for an offensive foul on Devin Harris, Harris pushed Hinrich hard to the floor as he was attempting a layup. Hinrich had to be restrained by teammates after he rushed toward Harris, who was called for a flagrant one. In separate incidents, Teague and Smith were called for technicals in the third quarter."We just couldn't buy a bucket and we weren't getting any calls going to the basket. I guess we've got to grind a little harder when it's more adversity hitting us in the face," Smith said.Taj Gibson, who had five blocks, got fans on their feet with a thunderous dunk over Anthony Tolliver to put the Bulls up 79-47 with 7:13 left.NOTES:The Bulls' biggest lead was 44 points. ... In the teams' last meeting, the Hawks beat the Bulls 92-75 in Atlanta on Dec. 22. ... Hawks G Anthony Morrow missed the game with a lower back injury.
WALTHAM, Mass. – Evan Turner will have a number of teams in pursuit of him this summer, all presenting different opportunities to win along with much fatter salaries than what he was looking at two years ago.
But Turner is hoping for his free agency to be a short process that ends with him returning to Boston.
“It [free agency] starts July First, hopefully it’s over July First,” Turner said.
When asked about his preferences for a team next season, Turner has a couple items that stack up near the top of his list – and money wasn’t one of them.
“I want to go somewhere and have an opportunity to win,” he said. “Money’s cool, but I don’t want to sit there getting our brains beaten in and doing all that. I want to go somewhere ideally where the staff and front office [are] big on winning. Hopefully it’s back here. Other than that, winning and great fit are going to be the most important things.”
Regardless of where Turner winds up playing next season, he has positioned himself for a significant pay raise after accepting Boston’s two-year, $6.7 million contract he signed in 2014.
Several teams will make a run at Turner with most likely to offer him a contract with an annual salary of at least $10 million.
“It’s going to be way better than it was two years ago,” Turner said of his free agency. “It should be cool. I haven’t really thought about it. I don’t know really what I think about during the day, but I know it’s not that. I’ll once again stay out of trouble until then and try to keep bettering myself and growing.”
It is that approach to the game that has served Turner well during his two seasons in Boston.
When the Celtics signed the former No. 2 overall pick, there were plenty of questions as to how he would fit in considering how things didn’t work out in Philadelphia or Indiana.
But in time, Turner proved himself to be a valuable asset for the Celtics with his ability to score off the bench as well as be a facilitator offensively.
His play off the bench this season was so strong that he was among the top vote-getters for the league’s Sixth Man of the year award, won by Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford.
And while the decision as to whether he’s back will ultimately come down to his camp and the Celtics coming to terms, there will be at least one member of the Celtics organization – coach Brad Stevens – who will be pushing for a deal to get done so that his favorite player in the fourth quarter of games remains with the team.
“It’s definitely huge to be out there in deciding moments,” Turner said. “Once again, you try your best to not let your team down, not let your coach down.”
Still, even with the Celtics having a clear interest in him returning and Turner’s desire to remain with the team, Turner knows getting a deal done won’t be an easy thing to do.
“It’s a lot of stuff going on now,” Turner said. “I understand it and I understand what’s going to occur with the Celtics and the draft picks and the young guys they want to develop and get a superstar, I comprehend it.”
WALTHAM, Mass. – Isaiah Thomas has been beating the odds for about as long as he has been playing basketball.
The Boston Celtics are hoping he can do the same for them during next month’s draft lottery when the Celtics learn exactly where their first round pick from Brooklyn will land in the lottery (top-14).
Because of the Nets' regular season record (21-61), the pick which came to Boston via the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade in 2013, has the third-best chances of becoming the No. 1 overall pick which would presumably be used to select LSU’s Ben Simmons.
Thomas was asked about representing the Celtics at the draft lottery during his exit interview on Friday.
“I’m going to do it,” Thomas said. “I’m definitely going to be that guy, hopefully bring some luck.”
When asked if he had any particular good luck charms he will bring with him, Thomas responded, “Nah. But I’m going to do my research and find something.”
Thomas was selected with the 60th – and final – pick of the 2011 NBA draft, and has exceeded all expectations of player drafted so late.
Most players selected at that point are fighting just to make an NBA roster.
But the 5-foot-9 Thomas has been among the top scorers from his draft class, and this past season was named to his first all-star team.
This past season he averaged a career-high 22.2 points per game along with 6.2 assists. While the playoffs ended on a sour note for Thomas, he still wound up averaging a team-best 24.2 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game.
While some might think being asked to be at the lottery isn’t that big a deal, Thomas sees it as yet another moment that speaks to how far he has come in beating the odds that for most of his basketball career were stacked heavily against him.
“Coming from where I’m from and the story I have, you would never think I would be asked to represent an NBA franchise at the lottery,” Thomas said. “It’s a blessing for him (Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations) to even ask me that. I’m excited to do it. Hopefully I can bring some luck.”
While a settlement between the NFL and Tom Brady seems unlikely -- OK, highly unlikely -- commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN Radio on Friday that he would "of course" pick up the phone if the Patriots or their quarterback called to discuss an agreement.
Still, Goodell didn't say whether or not he would be open to knocking down Brady's four-game suspension that was reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from earlier this week.
"We had a lot of discussions last summer," Goodell said. "There were a lot of offers back and forth about what to do to settle the issue. They chose to pursue the issue and we chose to move forward and we are where we are."
There continue to be voices speaking out on how Goodell may wield too much power when it comes to player discipline, the latest of which being that of Saints quarterback Drew Brees. But Goodell defended his role, as he has most of this week, citing the importance of the "integrity of the game."
"I am not going to hand off the integrity of the NFL to somebody who does not understand our business," Goodell said. "That is what we're going to maintain when it comes to the integrity of the game. Maybe something as it relates to the drug program and whether proper protocol is followed? I get it. Go ahead. Somebody else can make that decision. But when it comes to integrity of the game, that is the commissioner's responsibilities and has been since the day the NFL was formed."