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McGraw in the Daily Herald: http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/bulls.asp?id=119684:

Research shows that the Bulls are the first team in NBA history to begin a season with four games that either went to overtime or were decided by 1 point.

So when the Bulls pulled out to a 16-point lead against the Utah Jazz in the second quarter Saturday, it appeared the coaching staff could finally put away the antacid because an easy victory was in store.

Then again, these Bulls can be creatures of habit.

The Bulls missed 4 of 6 free throws in the final minute, and Utah’s Devin Brown launched a 3-point shot that could have brought the visitors within a point with about five seconds left.

But Brown’s shot missed the mark, and Andres Nocioni added a free throw to give the Bulls a 103-98 victory before a full house at the United Center.

Compared to what they’ve been through this season, this win was a breeze.

Hanley in the SunTimes: http://www.suntimes.com/output/bulls/cst-spt-bull131.html

Given that opponents had raced to early leads in each of the first four games, coupled with Scott Skiles' Indiana roots, the Bulls coach could have started the team's pregame meeting Saturday with "Gentlemen, start your engines!''

"Actually, we haven't talked that much about the start of the games,'' Skiles said before the Bulls hosted the Utah Jazz. "The guys know they need to be ready to play.''

This time, the Bulls (3-2) came out in high gear in a 103-98 win over the Utah Jazz (4-3).

Instead of falling far behind, the Bulls broke away from an 18-18 tie to close out the first quarter with a 14-3 run. The team made 12 of 18 first-quarter shots.

"We have been hesitating lately, and we took our shots in rhythm tonight,'' Skiles said. "When you do that, you have a tendency to find the basket.
Garcia in the Tribune: http://chicagosports.chicagotribune...gamer,1,1205254.story?coll=cs-bulls-headlines

"We've done a good job coming back in the second half when we fall behind, but you can't do that all year long," Skiles said before the game. "Sooner or later, you're going to lose most of those games. You can't come back all the time and think you're going to be that aggressive. You can't constantly be digging yourself a hole and be trying to climb out of it. You have to be more consistent. We know that."

Comparatively speaking, they were on fire in the first half this time.

For the first time this season, the Bulls led at the half, 55-45. This time Ben Gordon went on a roll with 10 second-quarter points. The team's shooting percentage remained scorching at .618.

But the Bulls let the game get close in the second half. Actually, their first-quarter lead carried them through the next two quarters. They were outscored 24-23 in the second quarter and 26-24 in the third. With 6 minutes 8 seconds left in the game, they were clinging to a two-point lead.

It was appropriate that Hinrich got the Bulls started. Going into the game, he was shooting .480 from the field and .545 on three-pointers. Those numbers exceed Skiles' expectations but are expected to drop as the season wears on.

Nevertheless, Skiles points out that when Hinrich's percentages are up, he gives the Bulls an added dimension on offense.
And the Salt Lake Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com/sports/ci_3211201

From that point on, the Bulls mostly acted like jump shots were beneath them. Kirk Hinrich got a running start. Luol Deng just went for it. Andres Nocioni took those giant zero-gravity steps
into the lane. Chris Duhon drove to the hoop so hard, he passed it and had to scoop the ball over his head and back into the basket.

"We couldn't keep them off the basket," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. "We gave up way too many easy baskets."

Pretty ones, though. Starting with a Nocioni fast-break, the Bulls sent everyone racing to the hoop for the rest of the game. Seven of their nine baskets in the fourth quarter were layups, and four other drives resulted in free throws
.

Story Lines

IN SHORT - Even without Carlos Boozer, Matt Harpring and Andrei Kirilenko, the Jazz had a chance to rally in Chicago. But the Bulls began attacking the basket in the fourth quarter, and Utah couldn't stop them.
KEY STAT - The Bulls made 54 percent of their shots and 53 percent in the decisive fourth quarter.
KEY MOMENT - The Jazz still were within five with 90 seconds left, when Milt Palacio missed a shot in the lane. Before most of the defense could cross midcourt, Luol Deng had slammed home a fast-break dunk, extending the lead to seven.
The Knicks play the Jazz Monday night in Salt Lake.
 
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