Hughes takes a shot -- from former teammate

 
 
  • Cleveland's LeBron James (23) chats with Larry Hughes (32), his former teammate, in the final seconds of Sunday's Bulls-Cavs game.

    Cleveland's LeBron James (23) chats with Larry Hughes (32), his former teammate, in the final seconds of Sunday's Bulls-Cavs game. Associated Press

Published: 3/4/2008 12:15 AM | Updated: 3/4/2008 6:26 AM

LeBron James didn't seem to be trying to insult his former teammate when he called Larry Hughes a "high-volume shooter" following the Cavaliers' 95-86 win over the Bulls on Sunday.

"I don't know what that meant or the context around it," Hughes said with a laugh Monday at the Berto Center. "But I shot 20 times and he shot 29. And I played more minutes."

Hughes heard plenty of jeers during his return to Cleveland, particularly after missing long jumpers. He led the Bulls with 23 points, hitting 8 of 20 shots.

During Hughes' 2½ seasons with the Cavs, poor shot selection was a common complaint, and the 6-foot-5 guard didn't disagree completely with those accusations.

"I think I definitely forced some shots because I wasn't getting an opportunity to get easy shots," he said. "When there are not any plays run for you, you tend to force some things to get yourself going. I definitely think I tried to force the issue to get going and make them see that I can score."

Thabo's spot saved:ŒDistributing playing time among the Bulls' guards hasn't been easy since Larry Hughes joined the mix. The crowd will only grow if former starter Thabo Sefolosha returns soon after missing the past two games with a sore groin.

Sefolosha did not practice Monday, but coach Jim Boylan wouldn't rule him out completely for tonight's home game against Memphis.

One reason the Bulls traded Ben Wallace and Joe Smith to the Cavs was to free playing time for younger big men Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah. With that policy in mind, Boylan has no plans to trim Sefolosha's minutes for the remainder of the season.

"No, I don't," Boylan said. "Thabo's been developing at a nice pace. He's been a valuable member of our team. From the beginning of the season to this point right now, he's made a lot of progress and I'm very happy with his development."

Noah loses jump: Bulls rookie Joakim Noah (11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks) held his own Sunday against former mentor Ben Wallace (7 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks). But Noah failed to accomplish one personal goal at the start of the contest.

"What's underrated with him is the jump ball at the beginning of games," Noah said. "He used to always win that in Chicago. I was like, 'I've got to make an effort to go get this one.' And I didn't even come close. He has a secret with that."

Stuck without streak: Ben Gordon was reminded Monday that the Bulls haven't won three games in a row all season and haven't even won two straight since Dec. 28 and 30. They'll try to get one in a row tonight against the Grizzlies.

"It's kind of mind-boggling," Gordon said. "I was thinking about that last night. I guess it's kind of the story of the season. We can't put a streak together and it's hurting us. Every game, we're looking at it as a chance to start something."