By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 29, 2005 6:32PM
The Bulls welcome the Orlando Magic to the United Center tonight, their first home game in over two weeks. They concluded their annual "Circus Trip" on Sunday, when they beat the Houston Rockets 94-89. That win pulled the Bulls record on the West Coast swing to an even 3-3.
The road trip started poorly, with loses in the first three games. They lost to Golden State , a team they beat just days earlier at the UC. In spite of a monster game from Michael Sweetney, the Bulls dropped the second game of the road trip to Portland. They saw a big first half lead turn into a big second half defecit as Seattle beat them by 14.
Before returning home for some R&R over the holiday, the Bulls stopped in Los Angeles, beating the Lakers and former coach Phil Jackson 96-93 despite 43 points by Kobe Bryant. Friday night, the Bulls road trip resumed in Texas where they knocked off the World Champion San Antonio Spurs. The win over the Rockets gave them a .500 record on the trip and boosts their overall record to 6-5.
Perhaps no player have been more key to success for the Bulls to this point than Chris Duhon. While missing sitting out their victory over Golden State, Duhon has averaged 16 points/game on 56% shooting in their other 5 victories. In their 5 losses, he's scored only 5.8 points/game on 26% shooting. His improved scoring has been a nice surprise on top of his continued steady ball handling and defense. A second round pick once considered a long shot to make the team, he worked his way into the starting line-up and has kept the flashy Ben Gordon on the bench against this season. His continued improvement bodes well for the Bulls as they try to keep pace with a much stronger division.
At 6-5, the Bulls are in 4th place in the Central Division. Yet they hold the 5th best record in the entire Eastern Conference. At the season's onset, we said we'd be fine with a 4-9 November. They've already exceeded that and follow up tonight's game against Orlando with a game against the Knicks, who sit at 4-9 with their roster full of problem children. Do they want Tim Thomas back? We hear he's available...