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Question of the Day
CHICAGO (AP) - Mike Dunleavy caught an elbow just above the right eye while drawing a charge early in the second quarter Thursday night and left a trail of blood on the court as he ran into the Bulls’ locker room.
Though the team said Dunleavy’s return was questionable, there was never any doubt in his mind.
“I just knew once they got the stitches done I was coming back,” he said. “It was a pretty tough hit. My neck is sore - there’s some whiplash-type stuff - and we’re a little concerned about that, but overall, obviously, I felt pretty good in the second half.
“The hit knocked a little sense into me, I guess.”
Dunleavy’s strong second half paced six Bulls in double figures.
Center Joakim Noah flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in 34 minutes. He was headed for his fourth triple-double of the season, but sat down with about three minutes left because of the lopsided score.
Kirk Hinrich scored 19 points for Chicago, going 5 for 6 on 3-pointers, Carlos Boozer added 18 points, D.J. Augustin 13 and Jimmy Butler 11.
It was a team effort, but Dunleavy’s play was the focus in the Bulls’ locker room.
“I think it inspired the team,” Noah said. “He had a huge knot on his head looking like (Evander) Holyfield, the white version, coming out there putting on a new jersey, gutting it out in the second half shows, it was good for Duke’s street credibility.
“It was very impressive. It shows a lot about the character of this team. … I’ve never seen nothing like that, to get rocked like he got rocked.”
The Bulls improved to 2-2 on their six-game home stand.
The Rockets have dropped two straight. Reserve guard Jeremy Lin led Houston with 21 points, while Dwight Howard had 12 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes. James Harden had eight points on 2-for-7 shooting in 27 minutes.
The Bulls were coming off a humiliating loss to San Antonio on Tuesday. Although they lost by just eight points, 104-96, the game was essentially over after they fell behind by 32 points in the first half. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said his team simply wasn’t ready to play following an emotional win against the Miami Heat two days earlier.
“If we don’t play with great intensity, we’re in trouble,” Thibodeau said before playing the Rockets. “Two or three minutes when you don’t have that edge, that’s 15 or 20 points.”
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