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updated: 12/26/2012 6:39 PM

Postponement gives Bulls extra day to regroup

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  • A man rides his bicycle through the streets as he makes a delivery Wednesday in Indianapolis. The blizzard warning issued the day before by National Weather Service came to fruition in the region as winds picked up and snow began falling in earnest. The Pacers postponed their game with the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

      A man rides his bicycle through the streets as he makes a delivery Wednesday in Indianapolis. The blizzard warning issued the day before by National Weather Service came to fruition in the region as winds picked up and snow began falling in earnest. The Pacers postponed their game with the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
    Associated Press

 

The Bulls will have to wait a few days to see how they bounce back from consecutive blowout losses. Wednesday's scheduled game at Indiana was postponed because of a snowstorm. No date has been set to reschedule.

The Bulls spent the night Tuesday in Indianapolis, flying in after their 120-97 loss to Houston at the United Center.

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A team spokesman who made the trip said the players and coaches were at the hotel conducting a walk-through when they got word the game was canceled. Several staff members and broadcasters already were at Bankers Life Fieldhouse when the decision was made.

Forecasts had the Indianapolis area receiving between 7-10 inches of snow Wednesday. As conditions improved in the early evening, the Bulls were planning to fly home.

The Bulls are off until Saturday, when they'll host Washington at the United Center. They could have stayed in Indiana and played Thursday, but the Pacers are set to play games both Friday and Saturday.

This is the first Bulls game canceled by bad weather since Feb. 20, 1986, when a game against Philadelphia was postponed because of fog; it was played the next day. This was the sixth weather cancellation in franchise history.

The last Bulls game to be canceled was on Jan. 12, 2000, when a contest in Charlotte was called off to the death of Hornets guard Bobby Phills, who was in a car accident on the way home from the team's shootaround.

So instead of battling Indiana for first place in the Central Division, the Bulls might be able to turn this mishap into more practice time, with two days off before playing the Wizards.

Their fortunes have taken a sudden turn. After an impressive win at East-leading New York on Friday, the Bulls lost consecutive games by double digits for the first time in Tom Thibodeau's three seasons as head coach.

The trouble started Saturday in Atlanta, when the Bulls fell behind by 26 points in the third quarter and lost 92-75. That one was easy to shrug off as a tired performance on the second night of back-to-back games.

On Christmas night at the United Center, the Bulls were basically run off the floor by Houston, which opened a 35-point lead in the third quarter. The Bulls got as close as 15 points with eight minutes remaining, but that was where the comeback ended. The Rockets piled up a 31-8 advantage in fastbreak points.

"We can't pick and choose when we're going to play," Thibodeau said after the game. "We're not going to outscore people, so we have the wrong mindset right now."

The Indiana game would have been an interesting barometer of the Bulls' ability to bounce back.

Now they'll wait for home games against two of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, Washington on Saturday and Charlotte on Dec. 31. The New Year starts with a trip to Florida and challenging games against Orlando and Miami.

"It's a long season," a subdued Luol Deng said Tuesday. "We haven't played well the last two games. We just have to keep on seeing what we're doing wrong and try to get better."

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com

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