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Confidence Slowly Returning For Bulls
Derrick Rose and the Bulls are slowly starting to gain back something they've lost over the last month of the season.
The budding confidence was on full display Saturday night as the Bulls came from behind to claw out a 101-98 overtime victory over the Hawks. Rose had a regular-season career high 32 points and chipped in six assists and four rebounds as the Bulls fought back to knock off a team that had beaten them by 35 points just two weeks ago.
"We've been playing hard," Rose said after the game. "We knew coming into this game we had a chance of winning . Everybody's just focused now and everybody's on the right page."
While a modest two-game winning streak doesn't mean that the Bulls have turned things around, it does give the team reason to believe that better times are ahead. Luol Deng had 21 points and 12 rebounds while John Salmons chipped in 16 of his own, including several clutch shots that he had been missing over the past two weeks.
"If you put your work in, eventually good things happen," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We have a lot of young players that have to find a way to continually improve. And I think that's the biggest part of my job and the staff's job is to continually find ways every day, no matter what outcomes are, to develop these guys. And believe in them and let them gain confidence, because they're young."
Schedule: Monday, Dec. 21
Back In Blue
Monday Game Notes
• On Monday, Shaquille O'Neal will make his first appearance in Phoenix since he was traded to Cleveland in June. The Suns posted a 61-42 record (.592 win percentage) in the 103 games that O'Neal played for them, compared to a 74-29 mark (.718 win percentage) in the 103 games immediately preceding his arrival in Phoenix. O'Neal scored only five points in 15 minutes, shooting 1-for-7 from the field, in the Cavaliers' 102-95 loss at Dallas on Sunday. It was the first time in more than a year, and only the eighth time in his 1,139 NBA games, that Shaq made fewer than two field goals.
• The Spurs have won 13 straight home games against the Clippers as well as 13 straight overall meetings. The 13-game overall win streak is tied for the longest active streak against a single team in the NBA.
• The Magic have won four straight at home and are 5-3 against Western Conference opponents this season. Utah is playing its fourth game of a five-game road trip, with every game coming against teams from the Eastern Conference. The Jazz are just 5-7 away from Salt Lake City this season.