Noah starts and Hinrich starts fast vs. Spurs


Jan 25

The Bulls got a nice surprise before the game when Joakim Noah decided he could play after a brief pregame workout.

Then they got an ugly surprise when the Spurs jumped out to an 11-2 lead that left the Bulls reeling into a timeout. But Noah seemed to be running reasonably well and stayed in until there was 4:16 left in the first as he got his second foul with the Bulls trailing 24-17.

“Jo is going to try, but he’s still pretty sore so we’ll monitor that,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said before the game. “He’ll warm up and see how he feels. Derrick didn’t shoot around this morning and has cold, congestion and flu. He’s not feeling great, but I expect him to play. Taj’s foot is sore but feels a bit better. And Brad is sore but as he would say, his game is not based on athleticism. I think he’ll play and be effective in some form.”

So the Bulls were back at—sort of—full strength, though reserve Aaron Gray was on his way to New Orleans for a physical after the trade for Devin Brown, who will join the Bulls in Oklahoma City for Wednesday’s game.

Brown has the easy part. Gray has to fly to get his physical, then join the Hornets for a game out west and then return home with the team.

“Aaron (is) a great guy, worked hard, especially after he got injured,” said Del Negro. “I think it made sense for both teams. (Brown) gives us a little more depth. He can spread the court and I like his toughness defensively. Once I can put him in the games I’ll have a better idea. I’m looking forward to getting him in and getting him acclimated.

Aaron wasn’t going to get much of an opportunity,” said Del Negro. “It’s good for him. Hopefully he’ll get an opportunity. There wasn’t minutes here. He works hard. We’ll see what happens with Devin with minutes here. I told him (Gray) I appreciated his effort and wished him all the best. He was thankful and excited about the opportunity.”

Brown grew up in San Antonio and was a prep and local college star who played with the Spurs early in his career.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the team liked Brown, but it’s often difficult for those role players to hang on.

“He was like a utility infielder (in) baseball. For us he played one, two and three. He handles the ball well for a wing type. He shot it really well then. He played pretty good defense. He was an all around player. He didn’t do anything great. He shot well enough, played D well enough, hustled and was a good piece for us, a good role player.”

But they become disposable pieces.

“As guys get older other people come around who also are utility infielders,” said Popovich. “Teams are going to look for somebody younger to do the same things or somebody who isn’t playing and they’ll trade mine for yours.”

And see if the fit is better.

So starting Wednesday the Bulls get a look at Brown and see how it works.

It worked pretty well for the Bulls, especially Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter with 13 points in making six shots of seven shots (the only miss a halfcourter at the buzzer), as the Bulls got within 31-29 after even taking a lead.

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