Tuesday , Dec , 02 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

New-look Bulls start off on the right foot

=== New-look Bulls start off on the right foot ===

By Warren Blatt, NBA Editor

(Sports Network) – The Chicago Bulls defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, 97-87,
Monday at the United Center with a new head coach and two new players in the
lineup who were acquired in a trade that was completed earlier in the day.

Scott Skiles recorded a victory in his debut as the general of the Bulls. He
was hired on November 28th to replace Bill Cartwright, who was dismissed after
the team got off to a 4-10 start. Chicago lost two more games under interim
coach Pete Myers.

Also new to the basketball scene in Chicago were center Antonio Davis and
forward Jerome Williams.

Davis and Williams were acquired from Toronto along with Chris Jefferies for
swingman Jalen Rose and forwards Donyell Marshall and Lonny Baxter.

The 39-year-old Skiles and his Bulls took a positive first step together with
the victory over Central Division rival Milwaukee.

Chicago point guard Jamal Crawford led the way with 30 points, eight rebounds
and eight assists, while center Eddy Curry contributed 22 points and five
boards.

“That was a good win,” Skiles said after the game. “It may not seem like it,
but I am very happy about that. I thought we played hard. We made some
mistakes that we won’t make as time goes on. We were really handcuffed by a
limited offense with things we could do because we have not had much time and
two new guys. I thought under those circumstances we played very well. We only
lost Michael Redd two or three times where he hurt us. We never allowed him to
get into a rhythm where he knocked down shots and he still had 26 points. One
of our big goals was to get back in transition and we did that very well.
Clearly, our defense, deflections, and getting back on the break were what won
it for us.”

The 30-year-old Williams, who had been with Toronto since February 22, 2001
when he was dealt to the Raptors by the Detroit Pistons, had a productive
debut in a Chicago uniform. He scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in
28 minutes of action.

“I played and coached against him (Williams) over the years,” said Skiles.”He
came into the game, and he does what he does. He is all over the map and
guards multiple positions. I had him on Michael Redd a little bit, and on the
big forwards. He has nice versatility and he just attacks the basketball. He
has improved his shot and his free throws over the years so you can feel
comfortable leaving him out there.”

The 35-year-old Davis, who had been with Toronto since he was traded in August
1999 by Indiana to the Raptors for the draft rights to Jonathan Bender, scored
11 points and grabbed five boards in 27 minutes during his first game as a
Bull.

“We need the practice,” Davis said after the game when asked about his
performance after not practicing. “We had 3 or 4 coaches on the floor telling
us what to do and where to go. We were just playing basketball, bringing some
needed energy. Playing hard for 48 minutes and playing smart.”

With the win over the Bucks, Chicago snapped a seven-game losing streak and
improved to 5-12 this season.

Skiles should be able to pump some new life into the Bulls, while Davis and
Williams will bring a new energy to the Chicago squad.

With Skiles in charge and Davis and Williams in the fold now, the Bulls hope
they have the right mix of leadership, veterans and youngsters to help them
get back on track and into the postseason.

CHI