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KC Johnson: Give ex bulls an assist in skid buster


Jalen Rose, jeered mildly during introductions and more loudly as the game progressed, returned to Chicago for the first time since being traded to Toronto in a six-player deal Nov. 29.

Behind Jamal Crawford's 27 points and seven assists, the Bulls snapped a six-game losing streak with a 96-89 victory before a sellout crowd of 22,039. In an inspired effort against his former team, Antonio Davis added 14 points and 14 rebounds.

"No explanation necessary," Rose said of the booing. "It was a little interesting. As a visiting player, it comes with the territory. This city has love for me regardless. But people go by what they hear. I'm a brash personality, so it's only fitting, I guess."

Rose already had raised the Bulls' ire with critical comments to Toronto reporters last week in which he labeled the Bulls the worst team in the league.

Jerome Williams, once so passionately identified with the Raptors' franchise that he wore their practice shorts under his Bulls game shorts after the trade, spelled out Rose's comment—which Rose denied making—on a greaseboard in the locker room before the game.

He wrote, "Translation: With the worst players."

Williams feigned ignorance when asked about his pregame motivational move. But it was clear, from a hard foul that Williams delivered early and more effective defense from Eddy Curry, that this was no ordinary game.

"Look at how many wins we have," Williams said. "Every game is emotional. We're at the bottom of the barrel. It doesn't take the Raptors in here to get all pumped up. You should already be pumped up."

Skiles said Curry, who had 10 points and eight rebounds in 32 minutes, plugged the lane well and forced Toronto to shoot jump shots. The Raptors shot only 35 percent.

"He wants me to be a presence," Curry said.

Rookie Ronald Dupree exerted his will on Vince Carter, whom he helped force into 6-for-23 shooting and six turnovers, completely taking the leading vote-getter in All-Star balloting out of the game.

"Of course you don't want to lose to your friends," Davis said. "It always presents something a little extra. But it was more the six-game losing streak. Anytime [Skiles] talks the way he talked to us in the first half, we have to have a sense of urgency."

These teams will play three more times this season, providing more fodder about the trade's impact. Loss or no loss, Rose tried to get the last word.

"I think we got the better of the trade," Rose said. "We have a better record. You can play all the lip service to the sideshows that you want, but at the end of the day, that's what you're going to be judged by."

Good for JYD!! Glad to see he did that.

As for Rose last statement, all I can tell him is, yes we are bad. But Jalen, you have not made the raptors any better. They were .500 when you came and now you are 2 games under after a lot of games have been played. Yes your new team has a better record than us. So do 27 other teams. We were bad with you, we are bad without you. Raptors were average without you and below average with you. What does that tell you????

We broke a losing streak. You are going for 6 in a row next game. We had, 4 players hurt. We won. Today we were the better team.

I hope that what JYD did in the locker room motivates them the rest of the way.
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