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Bulls Begin "Circus Trip"

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 15, 2006 5:00PM

2006_11_sports_bulls_circus.jpgIt's that time of year when the 'Hawks and Bulls are evicted from the United Center by the tigers and elephants, along with the clowns and the rest of the Ringling Bros. Circus.

Kicked out of their home, the Bulls began a 7-game road trip last night in Dallas against the defending Western Conference champion Mavericks, losing 111-99. Hardly surprising, given that since the end of the Jordan Era, the Bulls are just 4-41 on the annual "circus trip" — including one 37-game losing streak from 1999-2004.

The timing of the trip has certainly contributed to the Bulls' slow starts over the years, as they play the bulk of their games on the road to open the season, while trying to acclimate their youngsters to the rigors of the NBA. Perhaps that's why coach Scott Skiles indicated that he may shorten up his rotation and that rookies Thabo Sefolosha and Tyrus Thomas may see less playing time.

Another Bull who looks like he'll be seeing more time on the bench and less on the court is Ben Gordon, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Chris Duhon last night. Because of Gordon's inconsistent play so far this season, Skiles decided to make that change, along with replacing P.J. Brown with Andres Nocioni.

Chicagoist likes this starting lineup better, since Duhon seems to help set a better tone early in the game, while Gordon's spark off the bench helps the team make runs as their opponents' reserves can't stop him. Of course, last night the shake-up didn't help....

With six more games to play against the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, L.A. Lakers and Denver Nuggets, the rest of the trip won't be easy ... well, except maybe for that final game in New York against the Knicks. Let's hope the Bulls can win at least 3 games this trip.