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Bulls/Lakers reaction roundup

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Some thoughts around the web on last night's Bulls game. Mostly Laker-based, and presented (for the most part) without comment...

Here are game recaps from 20SecondTimeout and SLAMOnline. Selected quotations from Lang Whitaker at Slam:

  • Out of the timeout, the Bulls run whatever Scott Skiles designed and end up having Duhon shoot a three from about four feet behind the line. I can see steam coming out of Scott Skiles' ears from my seat across the floor. Lamar gets an easy two on the other end, and the Bulls come back and Duhon bricks another three. The Lakers come back and Luke Walton nails a three from the corner to give them a 14-12 lead. Bulls come back down and Duhon shoots again, this one swatted by Bynum. Duhon is determined to score some points. This Bulls latte tastes great. [note: he's referencing this -Matt]
  • Thomas gets extended minutes and looks pretty good, getting his hand on balls, diving around. Then he spots up for a jumper from the wing and hits nothing but the side of the backboard, hard, nearly shattering the glass. I think that's the hardest jump shot I've ever seen.
  • PJ Brown finally gets involved, sinking a free-throw line jumper late in the second. Can't believe they're not getting more from PJ. Is he diminishing a little bit? And did the Hornets move him just in time?
  • Nocioni might have the worst haircut of any good player in the League. He looks like a long-lost Barry brother.
  • Watch the speed that Luol plays with, expecially when he's coming off picks. Nobody can keep up with him out there, including many of the Bulls.
  • For all of Wallace's talk about leaving Detroit so he could have a chance to be a part of the offense, that's not happening in Chicago so far. They're not even looking at him on offense.

More on Luol Deng from Eric Neel: (via the comments section)

A glimpse into the future based on little more than feeling. There's always one guy who stands out during pregame warm-ups. Has nothing to do with shots he's hitting, although it does. Isn't about the heights he's reaching, but of course it is. More than anything, it's a feeling you get looking at him move. It's a loose-limbed, easy-as-you-please, sort of something about a guy that says he's ready to go off, every night. Luol Deng is unmistakably that guy for the Bulls right now. He's the threat every club better have a contingency for, and you can see it in him before he ever strips the sweats. He looked good last year (14.3 ppg and 6.6 rebounds), but he's about to be bigger and better still. He's about to be conventional wisdom, shared truth, something we all agree on without debate, like, "Luol Deng, he's the best player on the the Bulls. Of course. What else you want to know?"

Neel also advocates playing Nocioni 40 minutes a night, which I, er, don't.

Kurt at ForumBlueandGold is such a gracious winner:

Bulls fans are frustrated after last night's loss, and I get that. But to be honest, every season there are teams I search out to watch (after the Lakers) because I like their style. Phoenix was that for a couple seasons, but the Bulls are that team for me right now.

I love that roster, Tyrus Thomas is going to be a beast and that motor will make him a fan favorite (Matt from Blog-a-Bull is right, he needs to slow down a little when he gets the ball, like Bynum is doing this year). Thabo Sefolosha is another who is going to be good, combine that with Hinrich, Gordon, Deng and man, that is a good roster and can be fore years to come.

And remember, they have both cap space and the Knick's first round pick this year. They are only going to get better.

The Association with some praise (with backhanded digs at the Bulls in general) for Thabo:

I've been known to crack on Euro players from time to time, but the Chicago Bulls have done a good job at drafting foreign-born players. We all know how good Nocioni is, but I really like how Swiss-born Thabo Sefolosha played against the Lakers. His defense was frustrating Kobe, drawing the artist formerly known as Ocho into some gamesmanship to try to embarrass the rookie. In the 4th quarter, Kobe was constantly dribbling between his legs and showboating a little. Thabo didn't bite and held Kobe in check.

On offense, Thabo let the game come to him and found his spots on the court. Yes, I know two really bad clich?s, but for a rookie going against Kobe, he wasn't going to get drawn into any one-on-one matchup. Instead he stuck to the team plan... which was the typically horrible chuck and duck offense, but at least he respects his coach.

And I close with something Jones wrote last week that was quite prophetic:

What irks me most is the misconception that teams can just come together and automatically be a championship contender. This year, the media christened the Chicago Bulls a team that would be a championship contender this year. I know the Bulls signed Ben Wallace, but how does a 41 win team automatically turn into a championship contender? The only players in the history of the league to change the championship tide in that fashion have been dominant big man (See: Jabbar, O'Neal, Moses, and Chamberneezie), and Michael Jordan (not really a change of team, but a return from retirement). Chicago didn't sign or trade for anyone like that, so why the championship talks? If Chicago doesn't show much improvement this year, believe me, is going to blow up with angry fans suggesting several trade scenarios. Let your team play together for a couple of years before you propose major deals.

Eh, I still think they can both show improvement AND become a contender come May, but he sure pegged some of you 'angry' commenters, heh.