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News » Salmons a big fan of the ex games

Salmons a big fan of the ex games

Salmons a big fan of the ex games At first glance, there's seemingly nothing connecting the Bulls' games Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers at home and Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings on the road that kicks off the so-called circus trip.

But a couple of folks inside the locker room dubbed the games the John Salmons homecoming stretch.

''I didn't realize it, but someone told me today that I'm playing my two former teams back-to-back,'' Salmons said after the Bulls' 94-88 victory over the 76ers at the United Center. ''It's always fun to beat your old team.''

Salmons may not have realized the connection of the two games probably because he hasn't played in Philadelphia for nearly four years and facing the 76ers isn't that big a deal.

But you can be sure he has had Tuesday's game circled on his calendar since the schedule was released over the summer. It'll be his first against the Kings since he was traded to the Bulls in February.

''I think it's gonna be fun,'' Salmons said. ''I still have a lot of friends out there. As soon as we touch down, I'm gonna go out with a couple of friends out there, then get ready for the game.

''I don't know what the fan atmosphere will be like, but I'm just looking forward to it.''

The game is the first on a five-game Western swing that also consists of stops in Los Angeles (Lakers), Denver, Portland and Utah. Before the season, the Kings were expected to be perhaps the worst team in the Western Conference, but they've gotten off to a surprising 5-4 start and have won four in a row.

More surprising is the fact that the winning streak has occurred without leading scorer Kevin Martin, who's missed the last four games because of injury. Rookie Tyreke Evans has stepped up and is averaging 16.8 points and 4.3 assists.

While the Bulls respect what Sacramento has done, their focus is on themselves. Regardless of the opponent, they know they must shoot a higher percentage and get off to better starts. The Bulls quickly fell behind against Philadelphia and trailed 20-6 midway through the first quarter.

''I think we just have to come out with more energy at the beginning of the game,'' said Salmons, who's shooting only 31.7 percent. ''I think that's been setting the tone against us.''

If the players need more fiery pregame speeches, coach Vinny Del Negro said he's up to the task.

''I'm Italian and animated anyway, so it doesn't take me much,'' he said. ''If guys need to have their buttons pushed a certain way, that's my job. But I think we have good guys.

''I do think we have to do a better job, obviously, of shooting the Basketball, for one, but more importantly, better starts and being better focused at times.''

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


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