Bulls fall behind, stay behind, lose

Fits better than the alternative 'furious rally' recap theme, I think.

When 4 of your starters are terrible, and the 5th doesn't get going until down double-digits in the final quarter (that's right, a Kirk Hinrich sighting), you're going to lose.

Ben Wallace played the entire game and had 8 rebounds and no blocks. Maybe this was Skiles' nod to the media after the 'when I play more I play better' line from Wallace before the game. I can't see a legitimate reason to keep him out there all 48. It's not a good short-term strategy (he's bad, especially in this game) or a good long-term strategy (he's old).

If Skiles was swayed by Wallace's words, there must have been an underground paper that had the corresponding Tyrus Thomas story: "I play better when I sit on the bench" (ghostwritten by Sam Smith). Tyrus played the first 7:24 and didn't come back. I'm sure it will be blamed on 'matchups', and his replacements (Nocioni and Noah) had good games, but come on. He didn't light up those 7 minutes but it wasn't like he was making the dumb plays that usually get the knee-jerk Skiles benching. It's true that he likely had no natural opponent between Dirk and Howard, but it wasn't like they were each in there for the entire game. I'm clinging to the hope of one-game aberration, as with those 4 minutes of A-Drain time.

Superduperstars of the future Gordon and Deng were 8-29 from the field and supplemented that with a total of 3 free-throw attempts (all by Deng). That's a quick strategy for a Bulls loss. Usually the famous Bulls slow starts coincide with Ben Gordon slow starts, but he needs to get going and be a scorer every night. I'm always one to brush off his deficiencies, because he is talent on offense and the Bulls certainly need that. And I'm even ok with the cold shooting nights, it happens. But if it's not falling he needs to get to the line, instead we saw far too many floaters today. Moving on to Luol, while it's not entirely fair to project him based on 'contemporaries' that are all older than him, it'd be nice if he wasn't outplayed by every Tayshaun Prince, Richard Jefferson,  Josh Howard, etc. every time they matched up. Howard just looked like he was in a different class (and you can put your labels on those classes if you must) of player tonight. Deng was certainly playing closer to the basket tonight, and all season, which is something I wanted to see. But that also means the growing pains (implying growth at all, which could be optimistic) of lots of botched inside attempts and being physically overwhelmed.

If it wasn't for a Herculean effort by Nocioni (3-4 from three, 15-16 from the line), the game would've been out of reach by halftime. But it was a wasted effort considering he was tasked with picking up for nearly every member of the starting lineup. Chris Duhon also played well enough to earn a start in the 2nd half over Hinrich (Noah started for Tyrus), but those are the kinds of bench efforts that should supplement the starters towards a win, not have them clinging to a double-digit deficit all game.

No real shame in losing to the Mavericks by five, but this team got some lucky performances to be that close, and the players that will make or break the season weren't up to par, yet again.

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