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4 in row no reason to party
Four-game win streaks used to be cause for celebration at the United Center, whether achieved by the Bulls, the Blackhawks or the lion tamer in the annual circus visit.
Now, with no hockey, 10 months until the circus returns and a hungry Bulls team that is anything but content, fans are left wanting for more when one occurs.
Players certainly are.
"We all know we can play a lot better," Eddy Curry said. "It shows our growth and maturity that we're not happy."
Curry made his observation after Monday night's 94-85 victory over Golden State, marking the second time this season the Bulls have won four straight.
Previously, the Bulls hadn't done so since March 1998.
Othella Harrington's 20 points led the Bulls, who also got 14 points and nine assists from Kirk Hinrich before he fouled out, and 13 points and eight rebounds from Tyson Chandler.
Chandler's tip-in of a Harrington miss with 90 seconds left proved huge as the Bulls staggered to the finish line.
Coach Scott Skiles agreed with Curry's assessment and raised the ante for practice on Tuesday.
"I don't want to seem like I'm down when we win a game," Skiles said. "But there's been an awful lot of talk recently about how great we're doing. We have young guys who are very impressionable. We're getting ahead of ourselves. We're still a very young team that has a long way to go."
Can the Bulls get there?
"We're going to work [Tuesday]," Skiles said emphatically. "So we'll see."
The victory featured another team effort.
With foul trouble plaguing Curry and Hinrich, Skiles used his steady and reliable veterans more. In addition to Harrington's huge game, Eric Piatkowski had eight points in 24 minutes. And Adrian Griffin contributed four points and six rebounds in 15 minutes.
They both were instrumental in a third-quarter surge that featured a season-high 35 points in the period and a 26-9 run that provided a 21-point lead.
That the run came with Golden State shooting free throws for the final 9 minutes 13 seconds of the quarter and with Curry and Hinrich both on the bench with four fouls made it all the more impressive.
As good as the Bulls were in the third, they were that bad in the fourth. They scored one point in the first 7:14 and watched the Warriors pull to within 89-83 on Troy Murphy's three-pointer with 1:47 left.
"It's the fourth game in a row we've lost something and haven't been nearly as sharp," Skiles said.
Then came Chandler's tip-in and a three-pointer from Chris Duhon.
Golden State, which shot 32.9 percent, has lost six straight with leading scorer Jason Richardson sidelined by a sprained ankle.
For the second straight game, Harrington started for the injured Antonio Davis and recalled some of his scoring magic from his double-figure days with Vancouver in 2000.
"I've always been confident in what I can do," he said.
Ben Gordon didn't play in the second half because of a back sprain which isn't considered serious. Skiles benched Luol Deng 24 seconds into the second half because of his third turnover. Deng didn't return.
"Last year if we had played like this, we could've been blown out by 30," Hinrich said. "Bad teams find ways to lose. Good teams find ways to win."