Fresh ink: March 4, 2009

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K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “The depth that defined the impressive victory over Orlando and desperation that underscored the comeback victory over Houston weren’t here Tuesday night. Listlessness and sloppiness replaced those elements as the Bulls succumbed meekly to the Bobcats in a 96-80 final that didn’t seem that close. That means the Bulls are 2-4 since new acquisitions John Salmons, Brad Miller and Tim Thomas began playing — altering minutes, shot distribution and creating an on-the-fly chemistry with mixed results. Coach Vinny Del Negro tackled that subject bluntly afterward. ‘If guys were smart and professional, they’d understand the guys we brought in can help us win,’ Del Negro said. ‘That’s what it’s about — winning. It might alter somebody’s minutes or somebody’s shots. But that’s not being a pro. It’s about winning at this level and doing your job every night. I didn’t like our demeanor. I didn’t like our effort. No toughness, no urgency.’”

John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times: “Derrick Rose was on the bench for the final few minutes of the fourth quarter Tuesday night, but this time it wasn’t an issue. The outcome had been long decided by that point of the game, as the Bulls produced another flat road effort in a 96-80 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. ‘They outworked us,’ Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. ‘A very poor effort out there, especially in the first half. No toughness, no urgency to our game, for whatever reason. It’s very, very frustrating to see that effort.’ The Bulls (27-34) fell behind early and never managed to gain momentum. The closest they got in the second half was eight points (68-60) with just under four minutes left in the third quarter. But the Bobcats (26-35) closed the quarter with an 11-2 run and never were threatened in the fourth en route to their fourth straight win.”

Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: “The only way to explain the Bulls’ 96-80 loss in Charlotte was just another miserable effort on the road. They’ve dropped four straight road games to the Bobcats, Wizards, Nets and Pacers – all teams with losing records, with only New Jersey less than 10 games below .500 when it faced the Bulls. This is odd, not only because the last three home games resulted in victories over Houston, Orlando and Denver – teams that were a combined 62 games above .500 through Tuesday. But before hitting their recent road funk, the Bulls were playing very well away from home. Remember, they finished the ice show road trip 4-2, then won in Milwaukee after the all-star break. So why the sudden change in fortunes?”

More K.C. Johnson from the Chicago Tribune: “Luol Deng is scheduled to undergo a CT scan Wednesday on his right tibia contusion after sources said he received a second opinion from outside the Bulls organization that hasn’t ruled out a stress fracture. After Deng missed the second half of Saturday’s victory over Houston, Bulls officials said X-rays showed a possible season-ending stress fracture. However, team doctors read an MRI exam performed Sunday as negative and Deng participated in parts of Tuesday’s morning shootaround. Deng initially planned to play against the Bobcats, but when the injury didn’t feel right during pregame warm-ups, he sat. Then came the opinion from the doctor Deng sought on his own.”

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