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Is There Such Thing as a Good Loss?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 8, 2005 9:16PM

The Bulls are less than a week into the regular season and have played three games so far. They've got a 1-2 record. But Chicagoist is more positive about this team than we were heading into the season. That's because the last two games, while losses, were very tight games against very good teams.

Saturday night, against a very good New Jersey Nets team, the Bulls lost 100-99. Ben Gordon missed a free in the waning seconds that would have given the Bulls a 3-point lead, and then on the ensuring possession Tyson Chandler fouled Richard Jefferson, who still made the basket and then hit the free throw for the win. The Bulls gave that game away, against probably the second best team in the East behind Miami.

Last night, the Bulls faced an even bigger opponent in the World Champion San Antonio Spurs. Since their title, they've improved their roster by adding a couple of players who grew up in Chicago -- Nazr Mohammad and Michael Finley -- to a roster that already included Manu Ginobelli, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.

The Bulls again got off to a slow start, ending the first quarter down 12. They cut the Spurs' lead to 9 by the half and continued chipping away in the third. They began the 4th quarter down just 1 and hung in with the World Champs down the stretch, tying the game at 77 and keeping it within 2 points the rest of the way. However, in OT Tony Parker took over. Scoring 8 points in the extra frame, he also had an assist on Michael Finley's 3-pointer. His outburst was ultimately too much for the Bulls, who fell 104-95.

The Bulls are still trying to sort out rolls, coach Scott Skiles is still trying to find the best combinations of players, they've got a couple of guys banged up, and yet the Bulls have still hung in there with two of the elite teams in the NBA. Teams with superstars that have experience in crunch time. And while the Bulls came up short, things could have gone differently very easily. The opening half of the Charlotte game may have scared some people as they were outplayed by a team in only its second year. But they've shown they are capable of competing with the best teams, too. Like we said in our season preview, we expect this team to take some lumps in November, but they'll be a good team the rest of the way out.