Fresh ink: February 4, 2009

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John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times: “The Bulls have had some good fortune on the current seven-game road swing, but that didn’t include Tuesday night when they faced the Houston Rockets with their main core players — Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Ron Artest and Shane Battier — together for just the fourth time all season. ‘Lucky us,’ Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said with a heavy dose of sarcasm before the game. Make that unlucky you as the Rockets — especially 7-6 center Yao — were simply too much to handle as the Bulls saw their three-game winning streak snapped with a 107-100 loss. ‘Yao is tough,’ Bulls forward Luol Deng said. ‘We were trying to double-team him, we were trying to rotate guys. He’s a tough cover. ‘When they’re healthy, this is a very good team.'”

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “The Rockets rarely have been at full strength this season, but there was Yao Ming scoring 28 points, McGrady adding 16 and Ron Artest contributing 10 points and solid defense. Actually, the players who really hurt the Bulls were workmanlike Luis Scola, who set the tone for a physical effort with 13 points and 18 rebounds, and speedy Aaron Brooks with 18 points off the bench. They have physical bodies, and then when our big guys got in foul trouble, I tried to go small and you’re susceptible on the glass even more, coach Vinny Del Negro said. ‘I wanted to run and play more up-tempo.”

Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle: “He leads the Rockets in floor burns. Also in energy, passion, rebounding and defense. Luis Scola is easy to overlook because he’s surrounded by stars, because he does things that don’t always show up in the box score. There he was again Tuesday night, throwing in 13 points, grabbing 18 boards and handing out two assists as the Rockets beat Chicago 107-100. ‘He was so active,’ Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. ‘He rebounded consistently all night long. He has really had a solid year. You can’t give him enough credit, and it’s all effort.'”

Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: “A cold spell late in the third quarter allowed Houston to pull out to a 79-66 advantage at the end of three quarters. But with Yao on the bench, the Bulls chipped away at the lead and got as close as 82-77 with 8:11 remaining on a 3-pointer by Andres Nocioni. But with Yao back on the floor, the Rockets pulled away again. He had a dunk and a 3-point play off an inbound pass, then Bulls center Joakim Noah (2 points, 1 rebound) fouled out on the next possession. Coach Vinny Del Negro tried to cross up Houston with a small lineup, but Yao buried a hook shot over the 6-7 Nocioni to make it 88-77 with 6:43 left.”

More John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times: “Before Wednesday, Larry Hughes hadn’t played in 10 straight games despite being healthy and in uniform for each. The Bulls made official long before Tuesday night’s game with the Houston Rockets that Hughes’ streak would be extended to 11 games. The 6-5 guard was placed on the inactive list for the game and he’ll likely remain there until he is traded. ‘It’s just something we talked about, something Larry wanted to do,’ coach Vinny Del Negro said. ‘Larry’s been great, but right now, the rotation is what the rotation is. We’re just gonna go that way for a while. We’ll see what happens.'”

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3 Responses to Fresh ink: February 4, 2009

    Peter Clayton A. Smith February 4, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    You know there is one Paxson move, or non-move that I just have never understood, and that was not going after Luis Scola when he had the chance. The Spurs were giving him up for pennies on the dollar, and I never understood why Paxson never seemed to make a move at getting him.

    Scola, while not perfect, could have provided the Bulls with a better inside presence than anything they had at the time. Houston got Scola and Jackie Butler from San Antonio for Vassilis Spanoulis, a future second-round pick, and cash considerations.

    Sure this trade happened in July 2007, and the Bulls had just drafted Noah in June, and had Thomas and Ben Wallace on the roster, but one would think that having Scola would have been a nice person to pair up with Wallace in the front court. And it is not like the Bulls couldn’t have gone after Scola earlier because it was known the Spurs were shopping him when they couldn’t agree on a buy out for him in 2005, three years after they drafted him.

    One would logically think the Spurs would have rather had him in Chicago than in Houston, and its not like the Bulls didn’t have the pieces to match up with the trade that brought Scola to Houston.

    Matt McHale February 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    Peter Clayton A. Smith — Yeah, you know, it seems to me that the Bulls already had similar pieces (Noah, Thomas and Wallace) and simply didn’t want to take a chance on Scola. (I guess Pax is just more into hoarding guards.) Also, there were serious questions about his ability to adjust to the NBA game, where he would simply be a part instead of The Part. Forget the Bulls, though, what about the Spurs? They could desperately use him right now…but they didn’t think he could accept a secondary role behind three stars. And, at the time, they didn’t think enough of Scola to worry about giving him to a conference rival. Turns out they were way off on that.

    Banner February 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm #

    Love the site, love basketbawful. Just a note, I should be able to get to your blog’s home page by clicking your banner. That’s just the way this web thing works. That is all. Keep up the good work.

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