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News » Salmons, Hinrich haven't Ben hot

Salmons, Hinrich haven't Ben hot

Salmons, Hinrich haven't Ben hot Through eight games, the Bulls are a respectable 4-4. That's not great, not bad and about where they were expected to be considering the issues they had heading into the regular season.

But what's truly surprising is how the Bulls have played so far, specifically how certain individuals have performed.

The biggest question marks were supposed to be Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, and the givens were supposed to be John Salmons, Brad Miller and Kirk Hinrich.

But Deng and Noah have been the mainstays through the first two weeks, while Salmons, Miller and Hinrich -- the team's most veteran players -- have struggled.

If not for the lack of production from the latter group, the Bulls might have a 6-2 record.

The shooting woes of Salmons and Hinrich have been particularly troubling because they're counted on to make up for the loss of Ben Gordon.

No one expected them to duplicate Gordon's scoring bursts, just provide some steady production and match their production from previous seasons.

That hasn't happened, though.

Salmons, who was 1-for-11 in the Bulls' 99-89 loss at Toronto on Wednesday, is averaging 12.4 points on 30.6 percent.

Last season, he was a model of consistency, averaging 18.3 points with the Bulls and the Sacramento Kings, while shooting 47.3 percent with the Bulls and 47.2 percent with the Kings.

Although last season was his best scoring year by nearly six points, Salmons is a career 44.4 percent shooter, and coach Vinny Del Negro will keep feeding him.

''It's a long season, and you've gotta take the good with the struggling as long as he plays hard and gets after it defensively,'' Del Negro said. ''He's too good of a player not to make shots eventually. A couple of games ago, he had a big game for us. His shot will come around, and we need it to.''

The Bulls also need Hinrich to provide some sort of scoring punch off the bench. They got it in the first half against the Raptors when he scored nine points and the Bulls racked up 60.

They didn't get it in the second half, when Hinrich had two points (one came on a technical free throw) on 0-for-5 shooting and the Bulls scored 29 points.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 14, 2009


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