Bulls highlights since a certain No. 23 left the United Center with just his statue remaining have been few and far between.
There was the shocking season series sweep of the Lakers in 2001-02, last season's strong finish, some memorable performances from Elton Brand and plenty of goofy Charles Oakley quotes.
The crowd of 18,649 that came to watch what passed for a basketball game got treated to one more Tuesday nightthe start of the Paul Shirley era.
In a sign of what this Bulls season has become, the unheralded free agent logged one less first-half minute than Eddy Curry in a brutal 89-81 loss to Philadelphia.
Here's one reason: Curry grabbed one defensive rebound in 34 minutes.
"I wish everyone would quit asking about Eddy's offense," coach Scott Skiles said. "I'm trying to convince him to play defense and block shots. That's how we'll win."
The 76ers flew to Chicago on Tuesday morning after experiencing travel problems Monday night and played without Allen Iverson and Glenn Robinson. But Kenny Thomas' 22 points and 13 rebounds and Aaron McKie's 21 points were enough to power them to their third straight victory and second over the Bulls in four days.
Perhaps one play best exemplified the Bulls' ineptitude on a night they shot 37.5 percent and got booed off their home court.
Trailing 67-65, Kirk Hinrich missed Tyson Chandler with an inbounds pass, basically setting up Thomas' breakaway layup and foul on Chandler. The three-point play highlighted a game-turning 11-2 run.
Shirley didn't play in the second half, but Linton Johnson and Ronald Dupree played extensively, with Johnson snaring a game-high 14 rebounds.
One game after combining to shoot 10-for-38, Hinrich and Jamal Crawford went 13-for-40.
Curry and Crawford each scored 18 to lead the Bulls, who began a stretch of four games in five nights. Upcoming games are against powerhouses Detroit, New Jersey and the Lakers.
"Rebounding and defense are at the front of my mind," Curry said. "But I need to improve."
Despite not playing for essentially the fifth straight gamehe once logged 34.9 seconds of mop-up dutyEddie Robinson said he has no plans to talk to Skiles. He also gave this account of the talk that general manager John Paxson said he had with him.
"He told me, 'I know you're not playing right now, but don't get all down,'" Robinson said. "That's it. That's talking to me?"
Bits: Kendall Gill sat with a scratched right cornea. Johnson signed a second 10-day contract earlier in the day. Management will bring in several players this weekend as tryouts for another minor-league signing continue. Point guard Jemeil Rich is on the Bulls' radar screen, but he must wait until his Gary Steelheads are out of the CBA playoffs. Marcus Fizer is prepared to be waived if the Bulls sign another player. "That way I can get ready for free agency," Fizer said. "It seems like I'm pretty much doing that anyway." Fizer sat for the second of a minimum five-game stint on the injured list. Referee Tim Donaghy worked the game despite rolling his right ankle when he tripped over a cord to a courtside TV camera.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times