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News » Bulls get show on road

Bulls get show on road

Bulls get show on roadBigger challenges await them down the road, but the Bulls began their five-game Western trip with an impressive and mostly comfortable -- save for a few minutes in the fourth quarter -- 101-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday at ARCO Arena.

''That fourth quarter wasn't real pretty, but fortunately we got some stops when we needed to and came out with the victory,'' Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''A good start to a long trip.''

This was the first meeting of the teams since that big trade last February, so it was only fitting that guard John Salmons, the key to the deal from the Bulls' perspective, busted out of his recent shooting funk to led the team with 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting.

Kings forward Andres Nocioni wasn't able to play against his former team because of a hip injury, but Salmons and Brad Miller (11 points, four rebounds) played well enough to keep the story line fresh.

Both players were warmly received by a modest crowd of 12,634.

''It definitely felt good that the fans recognize what you did for their team while you were here,'' Salmons said. ''When I go to Philly, I still get booed.''

The only Bull to get repeatedly booed was center Joakim Noah, who had 15 points and 14 rebounds, including a couple of clutch tip-ins down the stretch for his seventh double-double in 10 games this season.

''Joakim was a monster, especially in the second half,'' Del Negro said. ''He had a couple of great tip-ins.''

Donte Green, starting for injured Nocioni, led Sacramento (5-5) with 24 points. Nocioni will have to wait until the Kings visit Chicago on Dec. 21 to face his former team.

''I like to compete and I like the challenge of playing Chicago,'' he said before the game. ''But I hurt my hip really bad last game, so I don't think I can make it. I'm a little bit frustrated about that, not having the chance to play against Chicago.''

The Bulls led 27-23 at the end of the first quarter and stretched the lead to double digits in the early part of the second behind nine quick points from Jannero Pargo, who also hit a three-pointer just before the buzzer ending the first.

Pargo's 12 points led a balanced attack as the Bulls scored a season-high 61 points in the first half on 24-for-48 shooting. Salmons had 11 points, and Noah and Miller each had nine points. The 61-47 halftime lead was their biggest of the half.

The Bulls scored 60 points in the first half of their previous road game at Toronto only to score a season-low 29 points in the second half.

Things didn't start off particularly great in the second half as the Kings scored the first five points. But the Bulls responded with six straight points to build the lead back up to 67-52. They led by 17 points (75-58) before the Kings scored eight straight to trim the lead to 75-66 with just under three minutes left in the quarter.

The Bulls , though, closed the quarter strong as Salmons scored his team's final nine points for an 86-72 lead entering the fourth quarter.

But no win has come easy for the Bulls this season and neither would this one. They managed two points in the first five-plus minutes of the quarter as Sacramento went on a 9-2 run to pull within 88-81.

But Luol Deng (16 points) broke a scoreless stretch of more than three minutes with an 18-foot jumper and the Bulls turned up the heat defensively. The Kings went scoreless for nearly four minutes as the Bulls pushed the lead to 92-81 with six minutes left. Noah tipped in a Kirk Hinrich miss to push the lead back to double figures and followed another tip-in on the next possession.

''I think this win was important,'' Noah said. ''We have the Los Angeles Lakers next and some big boys coming up.''


Bulls 27 34 25 15--101

Sacramento 23 24 25 15-- 87 FG FT Reb

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

Deng 40:47 8-14 0-0 2-10 2 1 16

Gibson 11:27 3-5 0-0 1-2 0 6 6

Noah 35:56 5-8 5-8 7-14 1 4 15

Rose 33:38 2-12 6-6 0-3 7 0 10

Salmons 44:14 9-18 2-4 0-5 1 0 23

Miller 22:36 4-7 2-2 2-4 2 1 11

Pargo 14:35 5-8 0-0 0-0 2 3 12

Hinrich 30:18 1-9 1-1 0-1 6 0 3

Johnson 6:29 2-2 0-0 0-2 0 1 5

Totals 240:00 39-83 16-21 12-41 21 16 101

Percentages: FG .470, FT .762. 3-Point Goals: 7-12, .583 (Salmons 3-5, Pargo 2-2, Johnson 1-1, Miller 1-2, Hinrich 0-1, Rose 0-1). Team Rebounds: 10. Team Turnovers: 17 (18 PTS). Blocked Shots: 7 (Noah 2, Deng, Gibson, Johnson, Rose, Salmons). Turnovers: 15 (Gibson 3, Salmons 3, Hinrich 2, Miller 2, Pargo 2, Rose 2, Deng). Steals: 12 (Salmons 4, Deng 2, Hinrich 2, Rose 2, Noah, Pargo). Technical Fouls: None. FG FT Reb

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

Greene 33:42 10-19 2-6 1-5 0 2 24

Thmpsn 34:27 3-7 2-3 4-9 0 5 8

Hawes 24:00 2-8 3-3 2-4 2 1 7

Udrih 32:38 5-13 2-2 0-2 5 1 13

Evans 41:58 8-19 4-4 1-4 4 2 20

KThomas 17:39 0-0 0-0 3-8 0 3 0

Udoka 16:46 1-5 0-0 0-1 1 4 2

Rdrguez 20:02 4-6 0-0 1-3 5 1 9

Casspi 17:57 2-4 0-0 1-4 0 1 4

Brockman 0:51 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

Totals 240:00 35-81 13-18 13-41 17 20 87

Percentages: FG .432, FT .722. 3-Point Goals: 4-21, .190 (Greene 2-8, Rodriguez 1-1, Udrih 1-4, Casspi 0-1, Hawes 0-1, Udoka 0-2, Evans 0-4). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 21 (28 PTS). Blocked Shots: 7 (Evans 3, K.Thomas 2, Hawes, Thompson). Turnovers: 21 (Thompson 7, Casspi 4, Evans 4, K.Thomas 2, Udrih 2, Rodriguez, Udoka). Steals: 8 (Evans 2, Greene, Hawes, Rodriguez, Thompson, Udoka, Udrih). Technical Fouls: None.

Officials--Tom Washington, Eric Lewis, Scott Wall. A--12,634 (17,317). T--2:08.


Backup center Aaron Gray, who hasn't played this season because of a stress fracture in his lower left leg, was hospitalized Monday because of fluid buildup in his right knee. After being examined by a Bulls physician, Gray was admitted to the hospital so the antibiotics used to treat the condition could be administered intravenously. Gray was expected to be released from the hospital by this morning. ''He's feeling better,'' coach Vinny Del Negro said before the Bulls played the Sacramento Kings late Tuesday. ''Hopefully, he'll be on the trip sometime. Not exactly sure when he'll be on the trip, but he's feeling better, and they got some of the redness out.'' ... Even though he was traded in February, Andres Nocioni still paid close attention to the Bulls' dramatic first-round playoff series with the Boston Celtics. ''It reminded me what happened with Miami a couple of years ago, the year we went to the second round,'' he said. ''I think Chicago did a great job of really competing and really playing hard. Going to a seventh game against Boston is really nice, so I think they enjoyed that.'' ... Besides facing his old team and seeing some friends, Brad Miller had the chance to take care of some personal business during the Bulls' two days in Sacramento. ''I've been looking forward to it for a while,'' he said. ''I sold my house, signed the papers [Tuesday]. I stayed there [Monday] night, and I get one more night there.'' ... The game Tuesday also was a chance for Miller to face an old pupil in third-year Kings center Spencer Hawes. ''I didn't teach him all my tricks, but over a couple of years, I definitely taught him a few things,'' Miller said. ''It'll be interesting to match up with him and [Jason Thompson].'' When asked if he held anything back, Miller said: ''Of course. You can't give all your tricks away until you retire.'' ... New Kings coach Paul Westphal coached the Phoenix Suns during the 1993 NBA Finals against the Bulls . ''The only thing I regret,'' Westphal said, ''is that [John] Paxson hit that shot.''

John Jackson

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