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News » On balance, a good win

On balance, a good win

On balance, a good winThe Bulls have had better defensive efforts, and this might have been their sloppiest game of the season (season-high-tying 21 turnovers).

But, for a change, they made a few shots -- enough at least to overcome another slow start and pull away (sort of) for a 94-88 victory Saturday night over the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center.

''It's a nice win for us, there's no question about it,'' Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''It's a good way for us to get out on this road trip, get that bad taste from the last two games out of our mouths a little bit.

''It wasn't a perfect game, but I was happy with the way that we got a lead. I wasn't happy with the way we finished the game, with our transition defense and our turnovers -- we kind of let them get back in it a little bit -- but we made enough plays to win.''

The Bulls (5-4) had six players score at least 14 points, led by Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich with 19 points each. Joakim Noah had 14 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double and sixth of the season.

''We can still improve offensively, especially pushing the ball up the court,'' Noah said. ''We can be a better team in transition. That's probably the big thing right now.''

The Bulls shot 35-for-78 (44.9 percent) from the field, not great but better than the 42.1 percent they were shooting entering the game. The big difference was they finally got some production off the bench as Hinrich and Brad Miller combined for 33 points on 11-for-19 shooting.

''They were the key to the game,'' Del Negro said. ''We need those guys to play well. They played well tonight, and it gave us a big boost.''

After getting off to slow starts in nearly all of their home games, the Bulls were looking to get out of the gates a little quicker and avoid having to make a big comeback.

The game was only a few minutes old before those hopes were dashed.

After scoring the game's first basket (a Deng jumper), the Bulls went scoreless for more than four minutes as the 76ers (4-6) raced to an 11-2 edge. Midway through the quarter, the lead was 20-6 as Philadelphia made seven of its first eight field-goal attempts.

But just when it seemed the Bulls might get blown out, the momentum made a dramatic switch. The Bulls ran off 16 consecutive points for a 22-20 lead in the final seconds of the first quarter.

The 76ers went scoreless for 5? minutes before Andre Iguodala (game-high 24 points) sank a 40-foot heave just before the buzzer for a 23-22 76ers lead at the end of the first quarter.

Both teams exchanged periods of bad Basketball in the second quarter. They both shot under 40 percent and scored only 18 points apiece for a 41-40 76ers halftime lead.

Amazingly, the Bulls got off to another slow start at the beginning of the second half. Philadelphia scored the first eight points of the third quarter for a 49-40 advantage, but the Bulls responded with eight in a row to make it a one-point game again.

The Bulls pulled even at 50 on a Noah dunk with 5:37 left in the quarter and regained the lead, 52-50, on Miller's two free throws on the next possession.

The Bulls had a 63-59 lead after three quarters and opened the fourth with a 10-2 run to take control. They led by 17 (82-65) midway through the quarter.

It was a good thing the Bulls had a large cushion because they had some shaky moments down the stretch and allowed the 76ers to close the deficit to five points in the final minute.


Philadelphia 23 18 18 29--88

Bulls 22 18 23 31--94 FG FT Reb

76ers Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Young 44:29 5-15 5-6 0-5 3 1 16

Brand 31:02 5-11 1-2 3-6 2 3 11

Dalembert 33:31 4-9 0-0 5-12 2 5 8

Williams 35:11 7-15 4-6 0-4 5 6 20

Iguodala 44:53 9-16 3-7 0-5 6 2 24

Green 10:16 0-4 0-0 0-2 0 1 0

Speights 15:36 3-5 0-0 1-2 0 0 6

Kapono 9:45 0-3 0-0 1-2 0 3 0

Holiday 5:40 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

Carney 9:38 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 3 3

Totals 240:01 34-81 13-21 10-40 19 24 88

Percentages: FG .420, FT .619. 3-Point Goals: 7-20, .350 (Iguodala 3-6, Williams 2-4, Carney 1-2, Young 1-3, Holiday 0-1, Green 0-2, Kapono 0-2). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 18 (14 PTS). Blocked Shots: 7 (Dalembert 5, Carney, Williams). Turnovers: 16 (Iguodala 5, Brand 3, Dalembert 2, Young 2, Holiday, Kapono, Speights, Williams). Steals: 10 (Williams 3, Brand 2, Speights 2, Carney, Iguodala, Young). Technical Fouls: None. FG FT Reb

Bulls Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Deng 43:31 7-16 5-6 1-9 2 2 19

Gibson 17:24 0-5 0-0 1-6 0 2 0

Noah 37:56 5-11 4-4 5-12 1 2 14

Rose 36:43 7-12 0-0 1-3 3 0 14

Salmons 41:12 5-12 3-6 0-3 2 4 14

Miller 28:40 5-9 4-4 3-7 3 1 14

Hinrich 30:05 6-10 5-8 0-4 7 5 19

Johnson 4:29 0-3 0-0 0-1 0 2 0

Totals 240:00 35-78 21-28 11-45 18 18 94

Percentages: FG .449, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 3-8, .375 (Hinrich 2-3, Salmons 1-3, Deng 0-1, Johnson 0-1). Team Rebounds: 12. Team Turnovers: 21 (23 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Gibson 2, Deng). Turnovers: 20 (Rose 7, Noah 3, Gibson 2, Hinrich 2, Miller 2, Salmons 2, Deng, Johnson). Steals: 4 (Deng 2, Miller, Salmons). Technical Fouls: None.--21,837 (20,917). T--2:20.

Officials--Dan Crawford, Courtney Kirkland, Ed Malloy.

AP-NY-11-14-09 2249EST


Without Tyrus Thomas (fractured left forearm), the Bulls' rotation has been significantly shortened. Coach Vinny Del Negro essentially is using an eight-man rotation with a few minutes for rookie James Johnson, usually in the first half. To avoid overextending certain players, Johnson has to play a larger role. ''[Johnson is] improving all the time in practice,'' Del Negro said. ''He's doing a better job defensively and making less mistakes. As he gets more minutes, he'll become more comfortable. We're gonna need him. I need to start playing him more when I feel comfortable with that. I'll try to get him at the three position, where he's a little more comfortable, depending on matchups and how we're playing out there.'' ... Del Negro used only eight players in the first half, the starters plus Kirk Hinrich, Brad Miller and Johnson. Jannero Pargo, who had been part of the rotation, didn't play in the first half. ... Rookie Taj Gibson, who played for Tim Floyd at USC, said he sent his former coach a text message welcoming him back to the NBA. Floyd was hired Thursday as the lead assistant for new New Orleans Hornets coach Jeff Bowers. ''I'm happy that he's back,'' Gibson said. ''He's a good coach, he deserves it and I can't wait to see him when we play the Hornets.'' Gibson keeps in contact with Floyd mostly through general manager Gar Forman, who was brought to the Bulls by Floyd. ''Him and Gar Forman, they talk, and Gar tells me what he says,'' Gibson said. ... Center Joakim Noah entered Saturday tied with Gerald Wallace of the Charlotte Bobcats for the league lead in rebounding at 12.3 per game. ... Count Lakers coach Phil Jackson among those who agree with LeBron James that Michael Jordan's No. 23 should be retired leaguewide. Jackson said it should be similar to what the NHL did with No. 99 to honor Wayne Gretzky. It might be ''a little step on the toes for a guy like Magic [Johnson] or Larry [Bird],'' Jackson said.

John Jackson

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Added: November 17, 2009


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