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Bulls outscored 97-73 by Pacers after first quarter (and lose, obviously)

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I was taking some notes during that game, but they mysteriously get sparse in the 2nd half. Tough to pick on specifics when you're giving up 40 points in a quarter (73 in the second and third combined) to the Pacers.

And that's after a stellar first quarter for the Bulls, where soonafter they built up a 16 point lead in the first half.

Coincidentally (or not), the wheels fell off after the TyrusThomas-TroyMurphy scuffle, especially unfortunate considering Tyrus was having himself a nice night, with 4-6 shooting, 3 boards, no fouls or TOs in 9 minutes. He may get a suspension, but I don't know if the league truly defines 'punch' as the criteria for one, and if so, if they'd consider what Tyrus did a punch. I wouldn't be surprised either way on the ultimate decision.

Speaking of Tyrus, I'm not getting Skiles' stance of using only Noah or Tyrus in the rotation. For a few games it was Tyrus who was bumped, but it seems like Noah's now getting that treatment, and he was only in because Tyrus was ejected  and it soon became lineup-boggle in the 2nd half. Kelly Dwyer mentioned today that Noah and Tyrus are never on the court together, and it's certainly strange. Instead we get Joe Smith (who had his 2nd straight nice game, 'predictable mediocrity' is served) starting, leaving for Tyrus, and then when Wallace comes out Smith's back in at center instead of Noah. Then the likely Skiles quote saying he shouldn't play Smith so much.

The Noah-aversion even got weird enough to where Aaron Gray came in for the final minute of the first half. He even chucked in a jump hook, likely causing many Bulls fans to subsequently change their underwear.

What makes such rotation decisions important is that there are going to be games like tonight where Ben Wallace is a corpse. He was lazy on defense (even failing to close out once because he was too busy whining to the ref...I almost could see 'Pistons' across his chest) and was not only missing shots (which I can handle), but making passes when he was wide open underneath the basket, which kills the entire offense. Just a complete waste.

Second game of a back-to-back, it's not that unexpected that Wallace would be so terrible. Skiles has to realize that and yank the guy when the signs are there. It didn't help that one of his other frontcourt options, Nocioni, was his usual roaming self on defense and managed no rebounds and 4TOs in 21 minutes. Noc is entitled to have a bad game, but man, it hurt, especially when Indiana spent most of the game bombing away and converting.

Meanwhile, Ben Gordon "carried over" his great game against Seattle through a whole quarter. Then he pretty much disappeared with 6 points the rest of the game. Like the rest of the team, in that first quarter the Bulls looked unstoppable. What occurred afterwards was the newest embarrassment of the season. That's why you shouldn't buy into 'momentum' between games. There's good games and bad, and so many bad games makes you a bad team.

They better beat the Knicks on Friday, and as a reminder: the day after that game is December 15th. Skiles shouldn't feel so damned safe either.