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updated: 1/5/2012 9:42 PM

Bulls' schedule hectic, but they'll catch tired teams

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Every NBA team is unusually busy, thanks to a condensed 66-game schedule caused by the lockout.

But the frequency of games can work both ways. While the Bulls are in the midst of a stretch where they play 11 games in 15 days, they also will meet some tired teams.

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Every squad was given at least one stretch where it plays games on three consecutive nights. That happens to the Bulls once this season. Next week, they'll play Detroit on Monday, visit Minnesota on Tuesday, then host Washington on Wednesday.

On the other hand, there are three occasions when the Bulls will face a team playing its third game in three nights. The first such instance is Saturday against Atlanta.

The Bulls had to rally from 19 points down to beat the Hawks on Tuesday at the United Center. In the days preceding the rematch, Atlanta hosted Miami on Thursday and will play at Charlotte tonight.

The Bulls will also catch a third-game-in-three-nights team next week at Minnesota and again on Jan. 23 against New Jersey.

Deng delivers in clutch:

After scoring the game-winning layup against Atlanta on Tuesday, Luol Deng joked about his rare chance to hit a clutch basket.

"I've had so many," he said. "I have to go back and watch tapes. I have to go back and see which one is my favorite."

Playing with either Derrick Rose or Ben Gordon during his entire Bulls career, Deng hasn't gotten the call very often to win a game in the final seconds. He did knock down a tiebreaking 3-pointer against Miami last season with 16 seconds remaining.

Thibs' words of warning:

Following the Bulls' relatively easy 99-83 victory at Detroit on Wednesday, coach Tom Thibodeau paired praise for his team with words of caution.

"I like the way we're moving," Thibodeau told reporters after the contest. "I think we responded to our performance (Tuesday against Atlanta). I want us to move in the right direction. This was a good day. But in this league, once you start feeling good about yourself, you're going to get knocked on your butt. We've got to be ready."

Goodbye to Rip:

The glory days of the Detroit Pistons seemed well in the past when a tiny crowd came out to the Palace of Auburn Hills to greet Richard Hamilton's return with the Bulls.

"It's going to be weird," ex-Bull Ben Wallace told the Detroit Free Press before the contest. "But for the most part, I'm just happy that he's happy where he's at. I feel like he was not only a good teammate, he was one of my brothers. I'm just glad he's happy. I hope he's having fun where he's at."

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