SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 24 (Ticker) --
The Chicago Bulls' rookies refused
to go into the record books as one of the worst teams in
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scored a season-high 22 points and fellow rookies
and Chris Duhon
each made key plays down the stretch
as the Bulls avoided the worst start in club history with a
101-99 victory over the slumping Utah Jazz.
With a loss at Phoenix in its last game, Chicago had matched the
1967-68 squad with a season-opening nine-game slide.
"The rookies came up big for us, and we know that's what they're
capable of every night," Bulls center Eddy Curry
said. "We knew
that even though we were 0-9, we weren't a bad team. We just
weren't able to put a complete game together. Our rookies played
really well tonight; everybody who stepped on the court played
"I thought they played tremendous," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.
"They did a terrific job coming in at us right from the
beginning of the ballgame, and we had difficulty trying to
defend them right off the bat."
After Howard Eisley's
fadeaway jumper gave Utah an 86-83 lead
with 5:03 remaining, Chicago answered with an 11-2 run over the
next three minutes.
On the ensuing possession, Deng used a ball fake and drew a foul
from Andrei Kirilenko
, who fouled out on the play, and hit a
pair of free throws to start the run.
"(Kirilenko fouling out) was important," Bulls coach Scott
Skiles said. "The idea was to go to Luol on the play, not to
foul Kirilenko out necessarily, but maybe he'd be a little lazy
with five fouls and we could get Luol a nice shot. I thought
Luol had nice composure right there and faked him a couple of
times. It was big getting Kirilenko out of the game."
Duhon followed with a 3-pointer that gave Chicago the lead for
good, 88-86. Kirk Hinrich hit four consecutive free throws
around a jumper by Utah's Mehmet Okur
, and Curry's two-handed
slam capped the run with 1:46 remaining, extending the lead to
After Okur hit three free throws to reduce the deficit to 94-92,
Gordon hit a pair of foul shots and two more after Duhon drew a
crucial charge from Matt Harpring
"We had some huge plays out of our young players," Skiles said.
"Ben made his free throws, Duhon took a charge and made a big
three, Luol made a nice pass in to Eddy when we needed it there
at the end."
"I think we all just stuck in there and kept our intensity over
the entire game, and the guys made some tough plays," Gordon
said. "Especially for the rookies, it's our first NBA win and
everybody's happy just to get the monkey off our back."
It was the Jazz's second consecutive home loss to a previously
winless team. On Monday, they fell to New Orleans.
Utah turned it over 20 times, including seven in the fourth
quarter, and allowed Chicago to shoot nearly 61 percent from the
field in the first half.
"The turnovers and things like that as we came down the stretch
really did us in," Sloan said.
Kirilenko scored 10 of his 20 points in the third quarter,
giving the Jazz a 74-73 lead entering the final period.