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With almost everyone back at full health, Bulls trying to establish rhythm

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Tuesday night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors was the first time since a Nov. 15 road win at Toronto where the Bulls featured the starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.

In the 22 games during that span, they went 8-14. Hinrich missed five straight games during that stretch because of back spasms. Deng missed nine total because of a sore left Achilles. Butler missed 12 total (11 due to a right turf toe injury and one to a sprained right ankle) and Noah missed a game with a right thigh bruise.

With that kind roster shifting, it’s easy to see why the Bulls (12-18) looked horrendous as a unit on Tuesday as the starting unit shot a combined 15-for 55.

As a team, they shot just 36.6 for the game, 28.6 in the second half and 16.7 in the fourth quarter. It was the 13th time this season that they shot under 40 percent from the field and they fell to 1-12 in those games.

“I know nobody wants to lose and we keep saying (our rhythm) will come, but we got to get going,” said Deng, who returned after missing five straight because of his left Achilles. “I think guys are healthy now. We just have to keep working hard and be patient. We got to get going now that we have guys healthy. It’s been a lot of up and down this year. It’s still a long season. We got to get a rhythm right, keep practicing and get going.”

In the midst of a four-game home stand, now would seem the perfect time to try and start stringing together some wins.

They failed to score 80 points for the fifth time this season in Tuesday's loss --after having seven such games last season -- and fell to 0-5 in those contests. But even with the offensive struggles, the team has no issues with the shots that are presenting themselves; it’s just a matter of those shots beginning to fall.

“I think if we keep taking the shots that we’re taking, they’re going to fall,” Butler said. “I feel like everyone is taking the right shots, no one is taking bad ones. I’ll take our shot selection any day.”


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