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News » A physical education

A physical education

A physical educationFew teams can match the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets when it comes to having multiple long, athletic big men, but you can bet other teams will try to copy the game plan the Lakers and Nuggets successfully used to produce blowout wins against the Bulls in the last two games.

Simply put, the Bulls were pushed around by both teams. That was especially true in the fourth quarter Saturday night as the Nuggets broke open a tight game for a 112-93 rout thanks to a 37-22 advantage in the fourth.

The Bulls didn't match Denver's physical play in the quarter.

''We just have to be tougher,'' guard Kirk Hinrich said. ''It seems like the last couple of games [the officials] are just letting a lot go. We have to have a feel for how they're calling the game and adjust to it. We have to go out there and do what it takes.''

Center Joakim Noah, who saw his double-double streak snapped at six games against the Nuggets (10 points, eight rebounds), said the Bulls have no one to blame but themselves.

''We weren't tough; we weren't tough at all,'' he said. ''We definitely got roughed up, but it has nothing to do with the refs. That's not an excuse. That's more on us. We have to step it up.''

It wasn't only the Bulls' big men who were pushed around. When Denver turned up the defensive intensity, the Bulls became passive with too much stationary dribbling and standing around.

''They got us back on our heels a little bit,'' Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''I think our ball movement has to be sharp, and we have to get the ball from strong to weak, be aggressive and attack.

''We'll make some adjustments, and we'll try to get better. That's all you can do with young guys. We have to give a better effort, give a total game effort next time.''

It'll take a total game effort when the Bulls face the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at the Rose Garden. The Blazers aren't as big or talented as the Lakers or Nuggets, but they have a couple of good young big men in LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden.

Aldridge, the former Bulls draftee, is averaging 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, while Oden -- who struggled much of last season as a rookie -- is off to a strong start, averaging 10.4 points and 8.1 rebounds.

The good news from Saturday's game from the Bulls' perspective is the season-high 28 points (on 11-for-20 shooting) by Derrick Rose. He had 20 against the Lakers, so he has had two good scoring games back-to-back.

''Derrick was more aggressive,'' Del Negro said. ''I liked his aggressiveness.

''He had opportunities, but it was just him being more aggressive, feeling a little better about himself, I think, physically. I expect Derrick to continually improve and get healthier.''

Rose, though, was only concerned with the team's play.

''We've got to hold each other accountable out there, knowing that everybody's got to hold their own, and we have to play together,'' Rose said.


Bulls AT Trail Blazers

The facts: 9, Ch. 9,


The records: Bulls 6-6; Blazers 10-5.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 24, 2009


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