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Pargo plays his part in Bulls win

The mere mention of Jannero Pargo's name usually makes Bulls fans cringe.

It's not that he's a bad guy. In fact, he's one of the most popular guys in the Bulls' lockers room. It's just that Pargo's shot selection can be scary at times. Downright bad.

Like most gunners, there is no stop button. Pargo can miss 10 shots in a row and still believe he'll hit his next 10. Most times this season though [when he's gotten in the game], Pargo is ice cold after he misses his first few shots and then there is no recovery.

Luckily for coach Vinny Del Negro and company, that was not the case on Saturday night.

With rookie James Johnson having to sit out the game because of a torn fascia in his right foot, Del Negro rolled the dice and stuck Pargo in the starting lineup.

It didn't matter that Pargo had gone 6 for 26 from the field during his last four games.

Del Negro had a hunch, and the hunch paid off.

The veteran point guard scored 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting as the Bulls crushed the Nets 104-79.

"J.P. is a pro," Del Negro said after the game. "He's kind of been the odd man out most of the season, but he always prepares well. He's been around now for a few years and understands his role. And tonight he stepped up for us big. We're going to need him to do that the rest of the season to win us some games. He was a huge factor in the win tonight."

For Pargo, he was just happy to contribute after having such an up and down season.

"It's been tough," Pargo said. "Starting off not having an opportunity [to play]. And then finally getting an opportunity and not being able to contribute. It's very stressful. I think my approach right now would be different, just coming in and playing the game and not putting too much pressure on myself."

Although some may be surprised by what Pargo was able to accomplish on Saturday night, Del Negro and his players never seemed to doubt the fact that Pargo would break out of his season-long malaise.

"It doesn't surprise me," Del Negro said. "The guys respect that. He comes in and puts his work in every day. He might not play for two or three or four games, and then you put him in there and he's ready to go. He hasn't shot it overall as well as he's capable of, or he's happy with, but his minutes have been inconsistent.

"Usually when he gets consistent minutes he shoots it a little bit better, but he's got to step up with us. With all the injuries we have right now, he's going to get some minutes, and he needs to produce which he did tonight, which was great."

That sentiment echoed throughout the Bulls locker room.

"We need that," Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said of Pargo's performance. "He played good. Not only him, but the other people on the team stepped up off the bench and made big shots and made big defensive plays. We just got to keep this going. We got a good feeling. We came back from a terrible loss [on Thursday night]. I'm glad to see us play like this. We need to continue to play like this."

Especially Pargo.

Like most streak shooters, you're never sure exactly what you will get from him. But if he can give the Bulls even half of what he gave them on Saturday night, he will be providing exactly the type of offensive boost from the perimeter that they've been looking for all season.

"I've been getting a lot of opportunities of late,” Pargo said. “Unfortunately, I haven't been able to play well and help my team win. Tonight was a different story. [I] came in, played hard, especially on the defensive end. Fortunately, I was able to knock down shots and we got a big win."

If he keeps knocking down some more, he'll probably be saying that a few more times over the last couple weeks of the season.