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Boylan: You have to punch the clock
Bulls coach not about to start youth movement
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/30/2008 12:27 AM

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Even though Friday's frantic comeback against Atlanta happened with all five starters on the bench, Bulls coach Jim Boylan chose not to shuffle the lineup Saturday against Milwaukee.

One change was made out of necessity. Forward Tyrus Thomas received his first start since Feb. 29 after Drew Gooden was a late scratch due to a lower abdominal strain. All five starters scored in double figures in a 114-111 over the Bucks.

The Bulls are now 3½ games behind Atlanta in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with nine left to play. But Boylan doesn't think it's time to change the rotation in favor of the younger players.

"At this point right now, we'll just continue to play the way we've been," Boylan said before the game. "We still have a team that's fairly new as far as playing with each other. Young guys have been playing and they'll continue to get their share of the minutes."

Even when the Bulls are officially eliminated from playoff contention, Boylan didn't sound as though he's planning to make drastic changes in playing time. But he does expect a steady effort from his players.

"Whether we're in it or out of it doesn't really matter," Boylan said. "We're paid to do this. That's our job. We should do it well. We should be professional about it. We should give it 100 percent.

"I talked to the guys about it. It's a reflection not only on our organization, but on each individual guy. You have to come to work each day, you have to punch the clock. You're getting your paycheck, so you have to play it all the way through."

Bulls get jump start: A few weeks ago, Drew Gooden took over the role of jumping for the opening tip instead of center Joakim Noah. As it turns out, the switch was made by the players involved, not the coaching staff.

"It's his rookie year and I know a lot of guys are more advanced at the jump ball than he is right now," Gooden said. "I was trying to give him some pointers before one game, right before New Orleans (on March 17). And he told me, 'Well, why don't you just jump right now and show me?'

"So then I won the tip against Tyson (Chandler) and he said, 'You're going to jump the rest of the year.' "

Bull horns: Center Aaron Gray did not play Saturday because of back spasms. Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut missed his second game after undergoing a procedure to repair a broken nose. ... Drew Gooden said this about the lower abdominal strain that kept him out of Saturday's game: "I first noticed it the beginning of this week and it's getting worse and worse. We'll find out (how it is) Monday after a couple days of rest and treatment."