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Game Thread #7: Bulls at Dallas Mavericks

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First leg of a trio of road games against the formidable Texas teams this week: after tonight against the Mavs, the Bulls play Thursday at Houston and Friday at San Antonio. Needless to say any victories will be welcome, but not necessarily expected.

The big news coming into the game (and the last few days) is the probable change in the starting lineup, having Gordon and Brown being replaced by Duhon and Nocioni. I assume these moves, if made, will be in tandem, as you'd want at least one of Gordon or Noc to be on the bench for some second unit scoring.

As you've probably assumed based on my dislike of seeing Chris Duhon on the court ever, I am not a fan of this move. Ben is an inconsistent scorer, but why assume that a move to the bench will make him fix that? And while Duhon may be more consistent, it's only 'consistently' subpar. Playing Gordon (as with the team's best players) more rather than less is the best chance to win. If he shoots poorly and they struggle to score, I don't see how replacing him with another poor offensive player helps much. And outside of opening night, Duhon hasn't exactly played well either.

It just completely dampers my enthusiasm after Thabo apparently was passing Duhon in the rotation. Somehow Duhon leapfrogged both him and Gordon in the starting lineup. Just screams of an overall regression within the team's growth.

The dreaded 'small backcourt' problem that Hinrich/Duhon/Gordon causes isn't that egregious against Dallas, who often play small guards Jason Terry and Devin Harris together. Dirk's a matchup nightmare for everyone, but like against LeBron, I think Tyrus Thomas should get a tryout defending the star for a stint(until he commits 4 fouls in 6 possessions, of course). If Noc does start he will get the first assignment, and that's not entirely a bad thing, I think he can do well even if Dirk shoots over him a couple times.

Will the lineup changes make a difference? I'm more interested in seeing the shortened rotation mentioned in the same article. Wallace played the full 48 against Indiana (when was the last time a Bull did that?), and I have no problems with shortening up the rotation, but only if the best players are getting the minutes. Hopefully Gordon has a good game and earns his spot back.

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This is an open game thread, so there is no limit to how many times you can say Stacy King sucks (I still don't think he sucks, btw)...