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Bulls not responding well to other teams' runs
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/11/2009 11:23 PM

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One early warning sign in those recent 30-point losses by the Bulls was the opposing team going on a run. Then instead of answering the challenge, the Bulls would sink into a state of uninspired play.

"We have to find a way to get the spirits up," Joakim Noah said before Friday's game against Golden State. "I feel like we do get in some funks, especially when things aren't going our way, we seem to get down on ourselves and that's been a recurring pattern."

After the Bulls polished off a 96-91 victory, Noah felt his team's improved defense had plenty to do with keeping the spirits up.

"We handled adversity a lot better tonight than we have in a while," he said. "We just tried to make a point today, no matter what the score was, no matter if they made a run or if we were making shots or not, we didn't want that to dictate our effort."

Speaking of lifting someone's spirits, Noah got a call Thursday from his old college coach, Florida's Billy Donovan.

"He's definitely one of my favorite mentors," Noah said. "So it was good to talk to him. He saw that I was down a little bit. He always gives me good advice."

Kirk finally connects: Kirk Hinrich played 34 minutes in his second game back after missing six with a sprained left thumb. He missed his first 6 shots of Friday's game - stretching a missed shot streak to 15 - before draining a 20-footer from the corner with 9:07 left in the fourth quarter.

He eventually finished with 8 points, including the first basket of overtime. With Hinrich back, backup guard Jannero Pargo did not play Friday.

Two weeks for Thomas: Tyrus Thomas spent a long time shooting around before Friday's game and was checked out by the Bulls' team doctor, but said later it will likely be two weeks before he's allowed back on the court. Out since Nov. 6 with a broken left arm, Thomas is no longer wearing a splint, but doctors want him to take another week to make sure the bone is completely healed.

Bull horns: Tickets are still available for tonight's game against Boston. The Celtics don't return to Chicago until April 13. ... With the Celtics already in town, Boston lead assistant Tom Thibodeau sat courtside Friday. ... Keith Smart is coaching the Warriors because Don Nelson skipped the team's five-game road trip to recover from a bout with pneumonia.