Nobody expected Baxter to end up being one of the league's leading scorers and pacing the Bulls to a 5-0 record, but that's exactly where the Bulls were Thursday night after their 82-81 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Baxter is the primary reason for the Bulls' success. He is averaging 20 points and 7.0 rebounds, and is shooting 66 percent from the field. "Lonny's a guy who just knows how to score and he knows how to play,'' said assistant coach Bob Thornton, who is coaching the summer team. "His experience over the last year has really helped him a lot this summer. His defense is improving. His position play in improving. Defenders can't sleep on him because he'll jump up and scare them with some stuff. He's pretty active and, for his size, finds ways to get things done.'' More and more, Baxter is looking like the second coming of Elton Brand, whom the Bulls picked No. 1 in the 1999 draft and who averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds his first two seasons. Then he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and became an All-Star. Baxter plants his big body hard, solid and deep in the paint to consistently post up for easy inside baskets. Plus, that baby hook and running bank shots are valuable weapons. "Yeah, Elton Brand is a good comparison, because Lonny just plays so hard,'' Thornton said. "He battles and gets good position on you, puts that little jump hook on you, and there's very little anybody can do about it.''I think that says more about Elton Brand than it does Baxter. Baxter will be a good "insurance policy" if Fizer's not ready for camp (even though he says he will be). But as good as he's playing now, just remember it's still the summer league, and Lonny is a nice 9th or 10th guy off the bench for ya, nothing more.
That Bulls game last night was supposed to be on ESPN, but the bigwigs there must've thought we'd rather watch the WNBA. Thanks a lot. Anyway their game today is at 5 and its on NBATV if anyone actually has that.