Miller joins starting five as Gibson heads to the bench


Dec 8

By Adam Fluck

Along with the snow, winds of change have arrived in Chicago.

After losing seven of their last eight games, Head Coach Vinny Del Negro made a change to his starting lineup, giving veteran Brad Miller the nod at center and sliding Joakim Noah to power forward. Rookie Taj Gibson, who has started 15 of the team’s 18 games, will move to the bench.

“Shake it up a little,” Del Negro said of his reasoning. “We’ve got to get Brad going. I think Taj has done a tremendous job, especially for a rookie. He plays hard every day and is a great kid. This might take a little pressure off Joakim to put another veteran guy out there with some more size.”

Del Negro added that Miller will likely guard New Jersey’s Brook Lopez to start things off. Lopez leads the Nets in points (18.9), rebounds (9.0) and blocks (2.3, tied for 2nd in the NBA). He also said that Gibson has been bothered by a sore foot most of the season, though it did not influence his decision.

Del Negro said the key for the Bulls to keep the Nets from pushing the ball—and preventing New Jersey from recording only its second win on the season— is an emphasis is on defense that has clearly been lacking during the team’s slide.

“We’ve got to guard, it’s how we’re going to win,” he stated. “We haven’t been doing that as well lately. We need to pick our energy up on the defensive end; that’s going to get us going offensively. If we can be more efficient offensively, it always helps your defense, especially your transition defense.”

Del Negro also touched on the status of injured forward Tyrus Thomas, who may still be a couple weeks away from his return.

“He’s just starting to stretch a little bit and do some things,” he said. “When he’s ready, he’ll be out there.”

Audio—Bulls Head Coach Vinny Del Negro discusses facing the Nets, whether or not aggressive teams get the calls, and the Jarrett Jack shoe-tying incident (12.08.09):

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