Catching up with Brian Scalabrine: Part 2

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Catching up with Brian Scalabrine: Part 2

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

Earlier this week, Brian Scalabrine looked back on his career with the Boston Celtics. In Part 2 of this exclusive series with CSNNE.com, he looks ahead to the upcoming season with the Chicago Bulls, including playing for Tom Thibodeau, fitting into a new system, and returning to the Garden as the opponent.

Brian Scalabrines time in Boston may have come to an end this summer, but the connections he made on the team were the start of a new beginning.

As Scalabrine hit the free-agent market, former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau was stepping into the head coaching role for the Bulls.

Both Thibodeau and the Bulls organization were familiar with Scalabrine. Thibodeau had been on the Celtics coaching staff for the past three seasons and the Bulls' front office had seen Scalabrine play his entire career in the Eastern Conference.

"Tom, being our old assistant coach, really wanted me to come along," Scalabrine explained. "He saw me play for three years and he liked what I could do off the bench. He liked my locker-room presence. He knows whether I'm playing, not playing, I'm always going to be the same guy. He knows that he can count on me."

Scalabrine signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Bulls in September. He had kept an eye on them over the summer as they made moves to bolster their roster, including the acquisitions of Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer. Scalabrine knew the direction Thibodeau wanted to take the Bulls, and was excited by their potential.

"Every guy that they signed, it was like, that's a good guy, he's a hard-nosed player," he said. "Carlos Boozer really fits in well with Derrick Rose. We've got shooters on the wing. I hear great things about Ronnie Brewer and his defensive energy. So when you start hearing this as it goes along, you start saying, 'I could see myself really fitting in here.' "

Even in a new uniform, Scalabrine sees himself playing a similar role on the Bulls as he did on the Celtics. He looks to spread the floor, add energy off the bench, and step in should a teammate go down. (Earlier this week, Boozer suffered a broken hand.)

When Scalabrine isn't playing, he says he can help with rotations and use his work ethic to serve as an example of professionalism on the team.

My role is not going to be, 'I'm starting for the Chicago Bulls,' " he said. "That's not my role. My role's going to be all of the above, those other things."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers believes "those other things" will benefit the Bulls.

"Scal is more important than people think," he told CSNNE.com. "When he's not playing, he's low maintenance. When he's playing, he does the right thing for your team. He's the guy you want at the end of your bench. It's a good pickup for them."

Scalabrine enjoyed playing under Rivers and now feels the same about playing under Rivers' former assistant. He believes that like Rivers, Thibodeau pays attention to the little things and puts a spin on the game that sets him apart from other coaches.

"He's a great teacher and a great communicator," Scalabrine said. "He did it well when we were in Boston, but him and Doc always played off each other. Tom would get us going in a drill and Doc would chime in, or Doc would get us going in an offensive drill and then Tom would come in - 'Screen and step. Open to the ball. Be strong with it.' Now, it's him teaching. I knew he was a good communicator and I knew he was a good teacher, he's just better than I even imagined then. He's very thorough in what he does."

This season, Scalabrine is dedicated playing for Thibodeau and to helping the Bulls succeed. He understands the reality of a non-guaranteed contract, but believes he has the skill set to play for the team. That would mean a return to the Garden against the Celtics on November 5.

Even though Scalabrine is open to coming back to Boston after his career is over to work in local television or for the Celtics organization, those days are in the future. Now he is focused on coming back to Boston to get a win.

"I don't want to play for anybody else but the Bulls," he said. "My focus is right here. My focus is on us winning an NBA Championship."

Spoken like true team player.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato.

Celtics-Hawks preview: Thomas 'not worried about' Schroeder

Celtics-Hawks preview: Thomas 'not worried about' Schroeder

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. –  Isaiah Thomas has respect for the Atlanta Hawks team.

So when I asked him about the Hawks, Thomas spoke glowingly about Paul Millsap as being a “special player” and Dwight Howard having a huge impact on shot attempts whether he’s blocking them or not.

But he knows all eyes will be on him and Hawks point guard Dennis Schroeder who had some not-so-nice things to say about Thomas following Boston’s 103-101 win at Atlanta on Jan. 13.

The two waged a feisty, highly combative game most of the Jan. 13 game with Thomas getting the better of Schroeder in just about every statistical category such as scoring (28 points for Thomas compared to 4 for Schroeder), assists (nine to three), and minutes played (36:16 to 22:36).

And then there was the one statistic that mattered most … the win.

But after the game, Schroeder told reporters that Thomas had spoken badly about his mother.

“I’m playing basketball,” Schroder told reporters after the game in January. “If he think that he got to curse at my mom or say some dumb stuff about my family, that has nothing to do with basketball. That’s his choice. I’ve got too much class for that. Next one, we are going to get it.”

The news got back to Thomas who emphatically denied he said anything along those lines.

“I don’t talk about nobody’s mom,” Thomas said when he became aware of Schroeder’s comments. “I don’t cuss at anybody’s mom and I don’t talk about people’s family. So whatever he said, that’s a 100 percent lie and he knows that.”

When I asked Thomas about Schroeder following Boston’s 104-98 win at Detroit Sunday night, he had little to say about the Hawks point guard.

“Man I’m past that. I’m not worried about that guy,” Thomas said. “Once he did that the last game, where he tried to damage my character, (saying I was) talking about his parents … I’m past that. Hopefully we can beat the Atlanta Hawks. I’m not even worried about him.”

Schroeder may not be on Thomas’ radar as a major concern, but the players he spoke of earlier – Millsap and Howard – are two players who can have a significant impact on whether the Celtics can continue to build off of the good things they did against the Pistons.

And Atlanta (32-26) will come in extremely thirsty for success having lost their last three games – all by 15 or more points - and four of the last five.

Despite the Hawks recent struggles, the Celtics understand that despite their success this season they are in no position to take any team lightly.

“They’re a good team. They play the game the right way,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “They have some really good players, some really good shooters, really good bigs down low. We have to come out and play harder than them, match their intensity, execute, move the ball, share the ball and have fun.”

Shaughnessy: Why I'm not a fan of Celtics not trading at deadline

Shaughnessy: Why I'm not a fan of Celtics not trading at deadline

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Sunday and talks with Felger about why he hated the Boston Celtics not making any moves at the deadline.