- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Seen and heard last night at United Center in Chicago:

EX-TERPS REUNION — Former Maryland center Lonny Baxter, who along with the Washington Wizards’ Steve Blake and Juan Dixon led the Terrapins to a national championship in 2002, made his first NBA start for the Bulls.

“It’s real good to see these guys again,” the second-year pro said before last night’s game at United Center. “But tonight I’m trying to focus on just coming out and trying to get off to a good start.”

Baxter, who played in 55 games for the Bulls as a rookie and averaged 4.8 points and 3.0 rebounds, said there is no special incentive to beating his old college teammates.

“No, I’m just looking at it as another NBA game. This is my first start and I just want to contribute in any way I can,” Baxter said.

WELCOME BACK — Who would have thought Scottie Pippen would be back in Chicago, where it all started for him? Pippen, who earned six NBA championships alongside Michael Jordan, re-signed with the Bulls over the summer.

This time around, Pippen’s former teammates, John Paxson and Bill Cartwright, are now his coach and general manager, respectively. And Pippen, 38, is more than happy to be ending his career here.

“It gives me an opportunity to play for guys that I played with,” Pippen said. “That made it a little more special for me.”

Pippen, who signed in July, had opportunities to go other places. However, what probably made the return easier for him was the resignation of former general manager Jerry Krause earlier this year. Pippen and Krause had an adversary relationship after the GM broke up the Bulls’ championship teams several years ago.

“This feels a little more comfortable for me now than it probably would have,” Pippen said. “But I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve got a nice group of guys, young guys, that are interested in getting better. It’s great to have an opportunity to finish my career here.”

STILL KICKING — Former Wizards assistant coach Johnny Bach is back. Bach was believed to have retired after last season with the Wizards, but the 79-year-old Bach is an assistant with the Bulls this season.

“I never said I was retiring,” Bach said.

John N. Mitchell

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