Opening Tip: Augustin opens some eyes

CHICAGO -- Even D.J. Augustin was a little surprised that he played 37 minutes on Monday night. But with Kirk Hinrich still out because of back stiffness and Marquis Teague still searching for his confidence, Augustin was thrust into the lineup Monday night and opened some eyes.

Signed Friday morning, Augustin had 14 points and eight assists against the Orlando Magic on Monday night. In the process, he also earned some more playing time.

"I didn't expect it," Augustin said of playing all the minutes. "But you never know. I'm not complaining. We went out there, we fought hard, it was a tough loss for us tonight."

But, given the circumstances, it was a good night for Augustin. By waiving Mike James on Monday, the Bulls opened up a spot for the Texas alum to show what he can do the rest of the season.

"D.J. played great," Bulls forward Luol Deng said. "He got us in our offense. It's hard for him (because) he doesn't know the plays. But he did a good job of just coming in; this is the NBA. It's not easy to just come in and play that many minutes with a new team. I thought he did a great job."

Those were the sentiments throughout the locker room.

"I think he's doing a lot of great things out there," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "All of us -- I think Marquis has got to keep grinding, keep going. I think D.J.'s getting in the swing of things, learning the plays, learning the defensive system. I think he's doing a good job."

Augustin, who spent last season with the Pacers and played just 10 games this season with the Raptors before being released, is just happy to have another chance to prove he belongs in the NBA.

"I think I know (the plays) pretty well now," he said. "And the more games I play the comfortable I feel."

Noah clarifies comments: Many fans wondered if Joakim Noah was talking about Carlos Boozer when he said that his players' "true colors" would come out amidst all the losing the Bulls have endured. After Monday's loss, Noah seemed to make a point of clarifying what he was trying to say -- while also discussing the mindset he wants his team to have moving forward.

"You win together, you lose together," he said, while discussing the fact that Thibodeau tried to take the blame for his team missing so many layups. "It's nobody's fault. It's not pointing fingers at anybody when things get hard. It's what we can do better as a team. I'll never, ever, ever at any player or any coach or anybody. It's just all of us as a unit. We have to do a better job of getting this done."

What's next: The Bulls practice at the Berto Center Tuesday afternoon before flying to Houston.

The last word: Thibodeau, on Mike James: "Mike's done a great job throughout his career. He did a great job for us. We certainly appreciate all that he brought to our team. For us, we just wanted to keep some flexibility as we move forward but Mike's a terrific player. He's a great guy, he did a great job for us."