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News » Point is, tall guys take over

Point is, tall guys take over

Point is, tall guys take overTo save time in his pregame remarks Friday night, Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro simply listed the point guards playing -- Lindsey Hunter -- instead of the usual practice of naming the injured players sitting out.

No matter.

With Derrick Rose (right ankle), Kirk Hinrich (left elbow) and Jannero Pargo (lower back) missing the game as a precaution, the Bulls still managed to end the preseason on a high note with a 93-70 victory over the Washington Wizards at the United Center.

''We have a lot of areas to improve in, but I like our effort,'' Del Negro said.

With the little guys sitting out, the big guys took command. Centers Joakim Noah (13 points, 16 rebounds) and Brad Miller (18 points, seven assists, six rebounds) took the reins, along with power forward Tyrus Thomas (19 points).

The Bulls , who finished the preseason 6-2, got off to a miserable offensive start, making just two of their first 18 field-goal attempts. But they suddenly got in a great rhythm in the second quarter behind the scoring of Thomas and the playmaking of Miller. Technically, Hunter and John Salmons played all the minutes at the point, but Miller was the main playmaker while he was on the court. He had six assists in 10 1/2 minutes in the second quarter as the Bulls went 12-for-21 (57.1 percent) from the field to rally for a 41-39 halftime lead.

The Bulls then broke the game open in the third quarter with a 27-12 run led by Noah (seven points, seven rebounds) and Salmons (nine points).

On the defensive end, the Bulls held the Wizards to 2-for-15 shooting in the third quarter.

''Overall, I think we've really improved our defense,'' Noah said. ''We've got to keep it up and keep getting better defensively.''

Although Rose missed his seventh straight game, he probably could have played. He reported no soreness in his ankle Friday morning after practicing for about 40 minutes Thursday. He participated in the shootaround and worked on his jumper right before the game.

''I felt good; my ankle was fine,'' he said. ''Right now, I feel good about playing in the opener.''

Del Negro, though, isn't quite willing to say his starting point guard will be ready for the start of the regular season Thursday against the San Antonio Spurs at the UC -- mainly because he sees no benefit in making that declaration now.

''Let's just see how practice goes,'' Del Negro said. ''If I say he's gonna play on opening night and he practices Sunday or Monday and his ankle's bothering him, he won't. I wish I could predict that; you can't. We'll just take it a day at a time. We'll get him out there and see how he feels.''

After taking today off, the Bulls will return to the Berto Center on Sunday, with four days of practice to prepare for the Spurs.

Ideally in the last few games of the preseason, a coach likes to build continuity among his starters -- and the unit that will finish games. But Del Negro hasn't had that luxury.

''It's difficult when you have injuries and you try to mix and match,'' he said. ''Some of the lineups I have out there, I wouldn't have out there if everyone was healthy.

''I always try to look at the big picture and try to save guys for practice and save guys for Thursday. Hopefully, it works out in our favor. It's a long season, we have a tough opening schedule, and we'll just try to get some good practice as a unit together.''

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 27, 2009


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