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'Active' Noah's NBA debut a rare bright spot
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/7/2007 12:18 AM

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Joakim Noah seemed to earn some trust in his first regular-season NBA appearance.

The 6-foot-11 rookie stayed on the floor for more than 12 minutes in the second half of Tuesday's 97-91 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Noah's only points were a pair of free throws with 5:57 left in the third quarter, but something was going right defensively.

During the 12-plus minutes Noah was on the floor in the second half, the Clippers went 3-for-22 from the field and scored just 9 points. Noah also produced 4 rebounds and 3 blocks in 19 overall minutes.

"I thought he was active," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "I thought he protected the basket pretty well for us. He changed ends OK. And he just happened to be on the floor with a lineup that we were able to come back and do something with.

"I didn't want to disrupt that lineup. In hindsight I probably shouldn't have."

More bouncing Bulls: The Bulls have built a reputation as a good bounce-back team the past three years. They start seasons slow and finish strong. They usually play well after a poor performance and can be counted on to mount a furious, futile rally when faced with a large deficit.

"I think that's a pretty fair assessment," Scott Skiles said before Tuesday's game. "It's one of the reasons why we're not in any sort of panic mode or anything.

"We've tended to start this way. I don't know how we could be kicked in the teeth any more than these first three games. Hopefully we'll get a good response."

J-Will update: Former Bulls guard Jay Williams has no plans to resume his basketball career. Williams is working for a fitness company, doing motivational speaking and wants to advance in the business world, according to agent Kevin Bradbury.

The No. 2 pick of the 2002 draft, Williams attempted an NBA comeback last season after taking three years to recover from serious injuries he suffered in a motorcycle accident on Chicago's North Side.

The 6-foot-2 guard played five preseason games with the New Jersey Nets, then spent about a month with the Austin Toros in the D-League before being released Dec. 31.

Talking in circles: Scott Skiles admitted he misjudged the team's mood, mistaking poor play for preseason lethargy. In hindsight, is there anything he'd do differently?

"Talk about it with the guys a little bit more, maybe," he said. "We're pretty talked out, too. We've done a lot of talking. Who knows? There isn't a whole lot we would have done differently."