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News » Quick return to reality


Quick return to reality


Quick return to realityAfter an impressive win in the opener of their six-game road trip, the Bulls on Thursday night had a performance more in line with most of the circus trips in the post-Jordan era.

With the Bulls never mounting a serious threat after about the middle of the second quarter, the Lakers cruised to a 108-93 victory at Staples Center.

The Bulls (6-5) were led by Derrick Rose with 20 points on 9-for-20 shooting. John Salmons had 18 points (all in the first half), and Joakim Noah posted his eighth double-double of the season with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

The Lakers (9-3) were led by Pau Gasol -- back in action following a hamstring injury -- with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

With his 21 points, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second place on the team's all-time scoring list. Bryant has 24,182 points to Abdul-Jabbar's 24,176.

Sometimes when you play an opponent is just as important as the opponent you play.

The Lakers were struggling a bit earlier in the week, so they were more than happy to welcome back center/forward Gasol for his first action of the season.

''I think tonight will be a big test for us with the Lakers' length,'' Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said before the game. ''They're big, they're long and they're athletic.''

Going into the game, Noah was averaging 12.1 points (56.3 percent shooting) and an NBA-best 12.4 rebounds in just 33 minutes -- and his solid play through the early part of the season already had opened some eyes.

''I think he's a little like Sam Lacey, who played with the Kansas City Kings with Nate Archibald,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of Noah. ''He could run the court, wasn't really a power body. He was tall and angular and could really play the game.

''I admire the way [Noah's] playing, the way he's coming. His attitude this year has been tremendous.''

Despite registering the double-double, this effort by Noah was more of a struggle than most of his recent games. With Gasol and Andrew Bynum (both 7-footers) and

6-10 Lamar Odom often on the court together, the Lakers have more quality big players than most teams can deal with.

Gasol got off to a fast start, scoring 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting in the first quarter as the Lakers took a 25-19 lead. Following their best offensive game of the season in Tuesday's 101-87 victory at Sacramento, the Bulls again were back to struggling for points.

Salmons, coming off a strong game in his homecoming, played well again and pumped in 18 first-half points on 7-for-11 shooting. The problem was, no other Bulls could get much going offensively.

Rose on Wednesday had vowed to be more aggressive, but he was 0-for-5 (all jumpers) in the first quarter. He did get to the basket a couple times in the second quarter, but it wasn't nearly enough to avoid a 53-42 Bulls halftime deficit.

When you take away Salmons' shooting, the rest of the Bulls were 11-for-33 from the field.

In the third quarter, the Lakers extended their lead, getting it up to 20 points on three occasions before taking an 84-67 advantage into the fourth quarter.

After his hot start, Salmons was scoreless and played just six minutes in the third quarter. However, Rose did manage to get untracked and had 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting in the quarter.

The Bulls' offense was a little more productive in the third, but the defense allowed 31 points.

The Bulls never were able to mount a serious charge in the fourth quarter as they couldn't get enough stops or score consistently to mount a threat.

THE RECAP

Bulls 19 23 25 26-- 93

L.A. Lakers 25 28 31 24--108

Bulls min fg-a ft-a o-t a pf pts

Deng 36:33 3-11 0-0 0-6 0 2 6

Gibson 18:22 2-6 0-0 2-7 1 1 4

Noah 39:07 6-12 0-3 5-15 4 4 12

Rose 38:02 9-20 2-2 0-1 6 0 20

Salmons 29:23 7-13 1-1 0-2 3 5 18

Miller 30:34 4-8 7-9 2-5 4 2 15

Hinrich 25:53 3-4 0-0 1-4 4 3 8

Pargo 7:15 1-4 0-0 0-2 1 1 2

Johnson 10:17 3-5 2-2 0-0 0 1 8

Hunter 4:34 0-1 0-0 0-2 1 0 0

Totals 240 38-84 12-17 10-44 24 19 93

Percentages: FG .452, FT .706. 3-Point Goals: 5-15, .333 (Salmons 3-5, Hinrich 2-2, Hunter 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Deng 0-2, Miller 0-2, Pargo 0-2). Team Rebounds: 2. Team Turnovers: 16 (17 PTS). Blocked Shots: 2 (Noah 2). Turnovers: 15 (Noah 4, Deng 2, Gibson 2, Pargo 2, Rose 2, Hinrich, Miller, Salmons). Steals: 9 (Noah 4, Miller 2, Deng, Hinrich, Rose). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 8:09 second; Bench, 5:34 third.

Lakers min fg-a ft-a o-t a pf pts

Artest 34:17 6-13 1-1 4-5 3 0 15

Gasol 35:10 9-15 6-6 7-13 3 3 24

Bynum 24:16 5-12 1-2 2-8 0 4 11

Fisher 26:23 5-5 0-0 0-2 2 3 12

Bryant 37:47 7-21 7-8 1-9 8 3 21

Odom 25:51 4-7 1-2 0-8 2 1 11

Brown 16:34 1-3 0-0 0-1 0 1 2

Farmar 19:51 3-8 2-3 0-1 2 1 8

Powell 6:09 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Morrison 4:34 1-2 0-0 0-3 0 0 2

Vujacic 4:34 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Mbenga 4:34 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 1 2

Totals 240 42-92 18-22 14-51 20 17 108

Percentages: FG .457, FT .818. 3-Point Goals: 6-19, .316 (Fisher 2-2, Artest 2-4, Odom 2-4, Brown 0-2, Bryant 0-2, Farmar 0-2, Vujacic 0-3). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 12 (10 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Bryant, Bynum, Gasol, Powell). Turnovers: 12 (Odom 3, Bynum 2, Farmar 2, Gasol 2, Artest, Bryant, Fisher). Steals: 8 (Artest 3, Farmar 3, Brown, Fisher). Technical Fouls: None.

Officials--Mike Callahan, Jason Phillips, Olandis Poole. A--18,997. T--2:19.

Bulls NOTES

Before the Bulls tangled with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night at Staples Center, someone in the L.A. media asked Lakers coach Phil Jackson if the so-called circus trip was around when he was the coach of the Bulls . ''Oh, yeah, there was the ice-skating trip and the circus trip,'' Jackson said. ''Two weeks around Thanksgiving the circus comes in, and then the ice-skating show comes in the spring.'' ... This was just the second of five games out West for the Bulls . Jackson did an interview with WMVP-AM (1000) on Wednesday and offered his thoughts on the current trip. ''I told them this trip's already successful for the Bulls because they won one game,'' he said. ''They've had some unbelievably tough times out here.'' ... Someone asked if that was the case when Jackson was coaching the Bulls . ''No,'' he said quickly, drawing laughter. ''But it has been tough. Early season is tough to go on the road. Usually teams are full of themselves, the injuries are limited and they're playing at a high level. There were a number of years we had some early great trips.'' ... Backup center Aaron Gray (fluid in his right knee) is out of the hospital. Whether or not he'll join the team later on this trip remains to be determined. ''Now he's just resting,'' coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''Hopefully, by the end of the trip, he can get with us.'' ... Consistency has been a problem for many Bulls players this season, but not with forward Luol Deng, who clearly has been the team's best player. Deng has provided a dimension the Bulls didn't have in the playoffs against the Boston Celtics last spring. ''Having Luol back gives us another weapon, and he's made some big shots for us,'' Del Negro said. ''But defensively, his size, versatility and rebounding has really been a big plus for us.'' ... Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24,161 career points) needed 16 to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for second on the Lakers' all-time franchise scoring list. Entering the game, only Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West (25,192) were ahead of Bryant.

John Jackson


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Added: November 21, 2009

 

 
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