In the Post: Asik, Johnson shutting down the paint

In the Post: Asik, Johnson shutting down the paint

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
12:27 AM

By Aggrey Sam

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau played 11 players in the win, including Omer Asik and James Johnson, the two heroes from Saturdays comeback win. Asik, in particular, stood out, putting up six points, snatching seven boards, blocking three shots and forming a formidable interior duo with Noah before fouling out.

I liked what Omer did when he was in there. I thought he and Joakim, their size is a factor and the paint gets shut down or its more difficult to score and then we had some guys who probably played shorter minutes because of their foulsthe length up front with Omer and Joakim has been good, said Thibodeau. We need everybody. A lot of its going to be determined by matchups. I have a lot of confidence in our bench. I think we have a quality bench, so if someone goes down with injury or theres foul trouble.

--Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge continued his trend of playing well in Chicago, scoring 33 points and grabbing nine rebounds against the team that originally drafted him in 2006 before immediately shipping him to Portland in order to acquire the departed Tyrus Thomas.

Its always in the back of your mind, but I think Im past that. They made that decision, but Im always thinking about it a little bit, said Aldridge. Ive just been trying to find my rhythm and finally found it tonight, but overall, I just made some tough shots.

Aldridge had a big night and I thought his catches were a little bit too easy, said Thibodeau. Hes a tough cover because hes got the high release, great touch, post game, he reads defenseshes a tough matchup.

Aldridge also shared his thoughts on the Bulls afterwards: Theyre going to get Carlos Boozer back, Derrick Rose is playing great this year, I think their young guys are getting better Gibson is playing bigger, Noah is playing bigger out there so I think theyre going to be good.

--A quick note on Blazers reserve swingman Rudy Fernandez, the subject of much interest in Chicago. In just under 22 minutes of play off the bench, the Spaniard shot 3-for-10 from the field including 0-for-6 from deep; Portland shot 0-for-14 as a team from three-point distance for six points on the evening. He also committed five fouls and four turnovers.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 26 of 28 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.