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Vertically Challenged: McGraw on the Bulls in the Daily Herald:

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/bulls.asp

LOS ANGELES — Thanks to last season’s remarkable turnaround from an 0-9 start, hope will stay with the Bulls well beyond the latest Thanksgiving road trip.

Taken in a vacuum, though, there have been some troubling signs this week.

The Bulls are on their way to another bad circus trip, which continues tonight at the Staples Center against Phil Jackson and the Los Angeles Lakers. After a few days at home, the Bulls face a tough back-to-back in San Antonio and Houston next weekend.

So far on the trip, one of the worst fears heading into the season has been realized.

The Bulls’ lack of height is a huge handicap.That’s a difficult issue because it can’t be cured by working harder in practice. In the last two games, at Seattle and Portland, there were times when the Bulls gave up 2 or 3 inches at every position.

The Bulls caught the Sonics flat-footed in the first half Friday night and opened a 15-point lead. But scrappiness can only take a team so far.

In the second half, the Sonics were shooting over smaller defenders, rebounding misses, blocking shots. No-name big men Johan Petro and Vitaly Potapenko wreaked havoc on the Bulls in the fourth quarter and helped turn the game into a 98-84 Seattle victory
The reason behind this problem is old news but worth reviewing one more time: When the Bulls traded Eddy Curry and Antonio Davis to New York, they lost two of their three primary big men from last year’s team.

The minutes played by Curry and Davis are being taken by Michael Sweetney, Othella Harrington and Darius Songaila — three undersized power forwards who are not exceptionally athletic. The Bulls have two 6-10 forwards, Malik Allen and Tim Thomas, who rarely play.

As much as people wanted to blast Curry for his poor defense, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s easier to shoot over a 6-8 center than a 6-11 center. The Bulls got away with using a small backcourt last season. Without a tall front line to balance things out, it’s become more of a liability.
Sam Smith's Column in the Tribune: Shortfalls becoming more obvious on 0-3 road trip


http://chicagosports.chicagotribune...0276nov20,1,5693619.column?coll=cs-columnists


The Bulls are being outrebounded by about two per game, which is one positive because their offensive rebounding stats match their opponents, suggesting a hustle to retrieve misses. But they are minus 35 for the season in fast-break points and minus 30 in points in the paint. Their opponents average two more blocks per game, which create fast-break opportunities.

While the Bulls shoot more field goals as a result of their second-chance opportunities, they commit about two more fouls per game, a sign of being a step slow on defense. Their opponents average about six more free throws per game.

They have failed to shoot 40 percent in any game on this trip and are shooting below 42 percent for the season. Compounding it, at least on the road, has been an inability to sustain defensive pressure throughout games, perhaps in frustration for having to work so hard to overcome their deficiencies
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John Jackson in the Sun-Times: Struggling Bulls need to keep their heads up

http://www.suntimes.com/output/bulls/cst-spt-bull201.html

''It's very much like the beginning of last season, for whatever reason,'' Skiles said. ''We're not as respective of the defensive end as we need to be. We're having some moments, clearly. We had as good a defensive half in the first half as I've seen any team have this year, and I watch a lot of games.

''And then all of a sudden ... little things are happening, and they're just throwing us totally out of kilter. It can't be that way. You have to play all the time. We learned that lesson last season, but clearly we haven't this year.''

Most discouraging was that the Bulls seemed to hang their heads when things went bad.

''I don't think there's any question about that,'' Skiles said. ''That's something we're battling right now. There are moments in every NBA game where there's hustle plays, there's talent plays and things don't go your way. You either fight or flee, and we're having trouble with that right now. When things don't go our way, we tend to hang our heads.''
 

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pax really needs to address the height issue asap.

does skiles seem like he's in denial about it. yeah, maybe a little.

the hanging of the heads bit is cause for concern. they're still looking for their...everyone say it with me now...


MOJO
 

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".... The Bulls got away with using a small backcourt last season. Without a tall front line to balance things out, it’s become more of a liability..."

I wrote this same FACT the day the trade was made. It's obvious that you can't give up height at every position
 

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Re: McGraw: Bulls vertically challenged/Smith: Bulls unable to sustain defensive pres

I have a few problems with this line of reasoning. First of all, our backcourt is unchanged from last season. If there is any major difference in our ability to get stops it should be that opposing teams' frontcourts are anihilating us. I think it's a little bit over the top to say Petro and Potopenko where running circles around us when they were a combined 4 of 8 for 9 points and seven boards (2 offensive) in 44 minutes. Radmonovic and Collision weren't dominant either. We also outrebounded the Sonics in that game. We also outrebounded the Blazers. Randolph had a huge game but he's 6-9 on a good day so I think chalking that up to a lack of size in the front court doesn't really ring true. Golden State only outrebounded us by one and while Murphy had a good game, Richardson did by far the most damage. It seems to me that people are insisting the last few games have proven a conclusion which most had actually formed prior to the start of the season without much factual basis.
 
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