The Bulls began the second half of the 2007 season with an easy 106-81 rout over the Atlanta Hawks, leaving the media, fans and even coach Scott Skiles wondering when the team’s season-ending collapse would come.

“This was a great win,” Skiles said. “It was so easy it was almost boring. But I’m just wondering when we’re going to rip off like 15 losses in a row. I’d just like to be able to plan ahead for the Disney Cruise I’m taking during the second round of the playoffs.”

In recent seasons, the Bulls have been excellent after the All-Star break, with just 24 second-half losses the past two seasons combined. So why all the negativity surrounding this season’s chances? According to Skiles, it all comes down to a complete lack of any major or “quasi-major” stars on the team.

“It’s sad but it’s true,” Skiles said. “The last two seasons we had Tyson Chandler, so I guess you can count him in that quasi-major category. Now, unless we trade for Kobe, Shaq or pull Spud Webb out of retirement, we don’t have a chance of making the playoffs.”

Despite being accosted by negativity, the team remained upbeat after the win. Chris Duhon led the team with 17 points and Ben Wallace grabbed 14 rebounds. Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich both had 16 points and solid defensive efforts to match. And even P.J. Brown did something worthwhile with 9 points and 11 rebounds.

Andres Nocioni sat for what Skiles thought would be his final game out. He is expected to start Thursday’s game in Cleveland, and pitch a hissy fit after fouling out halfway through the third quarter.

Number of the night: 1
Days until the Bulls don’t make the trade for Memphis Grizzlies center Pau Gasol and their season is pronounced dead by the local media, who will then collectively rattle off at least 75 trades the Bulls should have made.

heckler editorial staff