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Southtown Paul first this morning:

Paxson trades insults with spouting Thomas

Perhaps it was fitting that on the day Bulls general manager John Paxson responded to the latest shot fired by Tim Thomas, the team went through a strenuous practice the veteran forward undoubtedly would have wanted no part of.
The film session and workout Wednesday lasted nearly three hours, the longest at the Berto Center this season.

Shortly afterward, Paxson charged that Thomas was "delusional" in his recent claim that the last-place Bulls would have 20 additional victories if he hadn't been phased out months ago.

"I've sat for two months and listened to him take some cheap shots at us," Paxson told reporters. "At some point, you have to stop being politically correct with what you say. I disagree with everything that he said."

Concerned that Thomas would set a bad example for the many young players around him — his practice habits had been a source of contention at three previous NBA stops — Paxson advised him to leave after he appeared in only three games for the Bulls.
And this from Skiles on the Bulls' problems:

''When you look at the tape, there are things we've consistently done this year,'' Scott Skiles said. ''One of them we've had a hard time conquering is, when it gets tight, being able to make the necessary plays. We're trying to make things a point of emphasis. So we had a more than normal practice, we went hard, and we went long. At the same time, we're not trying to damage anyone. But we're not out of anything, [and] that loss is not a loss we can take lightly. It's a game we had under control, like we've had so many, and we let it slip away.''
And from Mike McGraw:

Paxson says Thomas didn’t fit standard

Thomas, a 6-foot-10 small forward, has averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 14 games with the Suns.

Thomas wasn’t a good fit for the Bulls from the start. He was only included in the Eddy Curry trade to match salaries, and the Bulls already had Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni at that position.

After spraining his ankle twice in the preseason, Thomas missed most of training camp. Then, less than two weeks into the regular season, he complained that the Bulls should trade him if he wasn’t going to play. A few days later, he developed a back injury and spent most of the November road trip inactive.

When Thomas went home to New York to tend to a family emergency, the Bulls suggested he stay there.

“We like guys who want to be on the practice floor and try to get better,” Paxson said. “With a young basketball team, that’s important. In the last couple years, we have gotten rid of players who didn’t fit that model.”
Plus this little note at the end of the article:
A pair of coaches from England watched Wednesday’s practice and briefed Luol Deng on the potential path of the national team.
And in Mike's second piece we have:

Skiles puts Bulls to work

This late in the season, most NBA teams cut down on practice time to save wear and tear on the players’ legs.

The Bulls, on the other hand, practiced for nearly three hours Wednesday after squandering an 11-point fourth-quarter lead against Orlando in a 97-93 loss the previous night.

“Young or old, after what happened last night, we would have practiced today and we would have practiced hard,” coach Scott Skiles said. “We can’t just let that pass.”

Skiles suggested that if the Bulls had ended up losing Sunday’s game in Boston at the very end, he could walk away feeling good about the effort. Tuesday’s defeat was a different story.

“When you look at the tape, there are certain things we’ve had a hard time conquering this year,” Skiles said. “One of them is when it gets tight, being able to make the necessary plays.

“Last night in situations where we looked a little frozen, we can’t just let that go. We have to get in and work on it. The guys have to get through that.”

Everything was going fine for the Bulls (31-40) on Tuesday until they somehow managed to hit just 1 of their first 17 shots in the fourth quarter. They were outscored 24-11 in the fourth, and 7 of those 11 points came in the final minute.

“Everybody’s disappointed about last night’s game,” said Ben Gordon, who hit 5 of 17 shots for 12 points. “I don’t know what it was. That’s just really uncharacteristic of us.”

And Marlene's back:

Paxson: Thomas delusional

Paxson didn't back off his comment when he spoke to reporters at the Berto Center after Bulls practice.

"I am not going to apologize for us having a certain standard," Paxson said. "That's what it comes down to. He didn't fit into that standard. He can say whatever he wants. He's entitled to that. But so can I.

"I'm not going to apologize for asking our players to work hard and be in shape and those types of things. It's really as simple as that. If he thinks we would have won 20 more games with him, then I used the right word this morning on the radio."

And more on the workout:

Bulls suffer for letting win vanish: Skiles' punishment: grueling 3-hour drill

Now and again, the gymnasium turned silent. The sounds of bouncing basketballs and stampeding feet of Bulls players running wind sprints became muted, which is usually a signal that practice is ending.

On Wednesday at the Berto Center, the silence was temporary, really just a tease, in a three-hour marathon practice.
If the players considered the practice a punishment, they weren't saying so.

"It's not for me to answer," Tyson Chandler said with ice packs on his lower back. "It's not for me to challenge. It was tough. Everybody's tired right now."

The Bulls, who shot 14.3 percent in the fourth quarter Tuesday against the Magic, spent most of their time working on fundamentals, Ben Gordon said.

"Finishing layups, finishing at the basket," he said. "That's a problem we have. We missed easy plays. We just have to be more focused."

Gordon said the staff hinted after Tuesday's loss that the practice would be tough. "I thought it was going to be a lot worse," he said.
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