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Deng wants Bulls to silence LeBron's supporting cast
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/18/2010 8:32 PM

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CLEVELAND - Bulls forward Luol Deng is nursing a sore calf, aching knee and has the thankless task of trying to guard Cavs megastar LeBron James.

Deng suggested an interesting defensive plan on Sunday: More for LeBron, less for everyone else.

"I thought they played really well as a team (in Game 1)," Deng said. "We have to try and take some of that away. Maybe LeBron is going to be LeBron.

"It's a long game - there are some parts when he's going to looks good, there are some parts you're going to take it away from him. We've got to limit the other guys a little bit."

Deng downplayed his injuries, even as he sat on the floor with ice on his legs.

"You want to be 100 percent, but at this time of the season you're not going to be," he said. "You've just got to go out and play hard. My name is on the roster and I'm out there playing, so I've got to do what I've got to do."

Deng is one of several Bulls who need to pick it up offensively in Game 2. He went 5-for-15 from the field for 12 points in Game 1.

"We're going to need him to play well and play at a high level, especially on the defensive end," Del Negro said. "Then knock some shots down and use his slashes and rebounds. Everyone gets enough touches; it's just a matter of where you can be effective."

JJ on hold: Rookie forward James Johnson spent some time guarding LeBron James during the regular season, even starting against the Cavs on March 19 while Luol Deng was out with a calf injury.

Johnson didn't see the court in Game 1 until the Bulls emptied the bench with 40 seconds remaining. He was moving around on the practice court Sunday, so his partially torn plantar fascia doesn't seem to be holding him back.

Asked about Johnson, coach Vinny Del Negro offered no promises.

"We'll see how the games go, maybe get him on LeBron a little bit," Del Negro said. "Depending on how Lu feels. Lu's knee is bothering him a little bit. We'll just see how the flow of the game goes."

Bulls enjoy adversity: The Bulls were particularly loud after Sunday's practice, reacting to the revolving 1-on-1 game featuring Joe Alexander, James Johnson, Rob Kurz and Jannero Pargo. Joakim Noah tried to explain why.

"I remember when I used to do this with Tyrus (Thomas) and the Big Pookie (Aaron Gray) my rookie year," Noah said. "You get tired and you get really ticked off at the coaches. This is adversity in its rawest form, right here. Because you're tired and the coaches are always going to make calls and stuff. It's very interesting to me, all this stuff."