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Chandler wants to face Blazers
Joining Scottie Pippen as the last Bulls to leave the court after Friday's morning shootaround, Tyson Chandler declared yet again that he planned to play Saturday night at Portland.
This news caught Bulls coach Scott Skiles and trainer Fred Tedeschi by surprise. Tedeschi conceded only that Chandler's "window of opportunity opens" Saturday but that his return could be then or still a week to 10 days away.
This much is certain: The Bulls miss the energy of Chandler, who has been out since Nov. 25 with a bad back.
A strong rebounding Golden State team pounded the Bulls 101-81 at Oakland Arena, their 24th straight loss in Western Conference arenas. Speedy Claxton led seven Warriors in double figures with 15 points and eight assists.
Jamal Crawford's 16 points led the Bulls, who trailed by as many as 28 points and have lost nine of 10. Afterward, coach Scott Skiles hinted at lineup changes, with Eddy Curry the most likely to be demoted.
"Right from the beginning, we didn't show up," Skiles said. "The [film] clips we looked at at halftime were embarrassing. We looked like we didn't care. And we got tattooed."
For the second straight game, Kirk Hinrich battled foul trouble, this time fouling out with 4 minutes 55 seconds left in the third quarter with three points.
"Two or three [fouls] were a joke," Skiles said. "He's watched awfully close."
Without Chandler, the Bulls even have been giving minutes of late to Marcus Fizer, who scored 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting Friday.
There is one school of thought that the Bulls are playing Fizer more in an attempt to increase his trade interest in advance of the Feb. 19 deadline. But Fizer is looking at the minutes as an opportunity to prove something else.
"That I can play ballperiod, point blank," Fizer said. "I know I can help this team win. If it's not here, it's not going to be here."
Asked if he would prefer a change of scenery, Fizer frowned. The former No. 4 overall pick has been dealing with such questions almost as soon as he got drafted in 2000.
"That's a trick question," he said. "Everybody in this league wants an opportunity to play. If this is not the place where I'm going to get consistent minutes, then it's not going to be the place. That's up to [agent] Henry [Thomas] and [general manager] John [Paxson] to decide.
"It seems more apparent now because I'm not playing as much. When the time comes, I'll be ready to address it."
Fizer has been linked to trade talks with the Clippers and could draw more interest as the deadline approaches.
Against Golden State, Fizer also benefited from the absence of Corie Blount. The veteran sat after knocking left knees with Nene in Denver on Wednesday. Blount is questionable for Portland.
Pippen is looking forward to that game after spending the last four seasons as a Trail Blazer.
"They'll probably boo the heck out of me," Pippen said, joking.
In reality, Pippen remains extremely popular in Portland, with many fans criticizing the team's decision not to re-sign him in last summer's free-agent market.
"Portland has great fans," Pippen said. "I expect a warm welcome. But when I had the opportunity to come back to Chicago, it gave me a chance to get out of that situation.
"We went to a Western Conference finals my first year and from that point, the team went in another direction the next three years. It was tough. Everything was falling into a losing mode.
"The backing from the fans wasn't as strong anymore because of some of the things that happened off the court."