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News » Gibson not playing like NBA rookie

Gibson not playing like NBA rookie

Gibson not playing like NBA rookieIn general, the Bulls have struggled to make shots consistently this season, but don't include rookie Taj Gibson in that group.

After scoring a season-high 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting in the loss Wednesday at Toronto, Gibson is averaging 8.3 points on 51.8 percent shooting. He has filled in nicely at power forward for starter Tyrus Thomas, who is out with a fractured left forearm.

Besides scoring inside, Gibson has stepped out to the perimeter and knocked down quite a few mid-range jumpers.

''I've been confident, I've been capable,'' he said of taking the jumpers. ''It's just guys finding me in the trenches and I'm able to capitalize. I'm a patient player. I just try to do the right things to help the team win.

''In the NBA, you're gonna get those jumpers. It's just a matter of when you're gonna take 'em or if you're gonna be shy and not take 'em. Coach [Vinny Del Negro] has always had a lot of confidence in me taking the shot.''

After a splendid preseason, Gibson got off to a slow start in the regular season, but now he is back to playing with the poise of someone with much more experience.

''The game's slowed down a lot,'' he said. ''I've been able to watch a lot of film, I understand play calls and adjusting to certain plays.''

If only some of the Bulls' veterans could follow the rookie's lead, the team might improve on its .421 field-goal percentage.

''It is early in the season and we have too good of players and too good of shooters not to be able to knock some of these shots down,'' Del Negro said. ''We have to do it consistently to open the court up as well. That will come.''

The game tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center would be a good time for the Bulls -- specifically, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich -- to break out because it's the last home game before a stretch of six consecutive road games.

''We have a long trip coming up, and we'd like to get back on track after a couple of tough losses,'' Del Negro said. ''I expect us to come out and play hard, but we've got to make plays. In order to win, you have to make plays, and we need to be more efficient at the right time.''

The poor shooting has hurt the Bulls in a few games, but the players say it hasn't affected their confidence.

''If our defense was terrible, I think, you would worry more,'' said forward Luol Deng, who is leading the team in scoring with an average of 17.4 points per game. ''We've got guys that have made shots in their careers, and they made them last year. We're not worried about that. That will come.''


76ers AT Bulls

The facts: 7, CSN, 1000-AM.

The story line: This will be the Bulls' last home game of November. They won't play at the United Center again until Dec. 2 against the Detroit Pistons after six consecutive road games. While the Bulls rested Friday night, the Sixers lost to the Utah Jazz 112-90 in Philadelphia.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 17, 2009


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