This is kindof what I wanted to see during the game against the Rockets: the Bulls using their athletes to outrun a slower older team. Outside of Parker (who was completely shut down today) and Ginobili, the Spurs are a slow team. And with heavy minutes given to Thomas and Sefolosha, Skiles didn't try and out-Popovich Popovich, he let the youth and speed take it to the Spurs.
This may have been the best game of the season. Maybe it's because my own personal 'I have a dream' speech came true on MLK day as Chris Duhon was inactive for the game. ('overslept' = getting silly drunk after watching hometown Saints win on Saturday night? heh). Granted, it's not ideal to have Hinrich play 43 minutes every game, although he had one of his best days, shooting 50% with great supporting stats (10rebs, 7asst, 3to). Duhon could've given him a spot rest here and there, but if he was available we likely wouldn't have seen nearly 13 minutes of Thabo, who was perfect from the field and added the athleticism (along with block&goaltend machine Tyrus Thomas) the team has lacked for years and certainly in recent losses.
So after a blowout win over Memphis and this, the best win of the season, is it safe to say that Skiles is finally learning what newcomers Sefolosha, Thomas, Khryapa, and PJ Brown (great work guarding Duncan today...the only guy on the roster who could've done that) can do? All have had a great week, and it's mostly due to increased minutes. Is that only because of the recent injuries and suspensions?
It's becoming plainer to see that Skiles may have prematurely buried the newcomers after the team started 3-5, giving more minutes to 'his guys', including Nocioni and Duhon. And at the time it was probably justified, especially with the easy part of the schedule approaching Skiles thought it was more important to rack up wins with who's gotten him wins before. And it did work for the whole month of December.
But whether it was the slumping play of the starters or just the recent suspensions and injuries, the new guys are getting minutes and Paxson's offseason decree of getting his roster bigger and more athletic is finally showing itself on the court. I hope that the new guys have earned more minutes even after the roster is back to full strength.