Larry Hughes didn't need the Bulls' 103-95 overtime loss to the 76ers to remind him that games are played on the court, not on paper.
That's why the veteran guard offered the vocal equivalent of a shoulder shrug when asked about Tuesday starting a stretch of five of eight home games and seven opponents who possess sub-.500 records.
"We're not good enough to do that. That's not saying by January or February we won't be. But we have to fight for everything we get."
The Bulls fought enough to overcome a seven-point deficit with 3 minutes 3 seconds to play in regulation but ultimately were doomed by too many turnovers and too much Andre Miller.
Miller extracted some revenge for being the victim of two spectacular Derrick Rose plays Sunday in Philadelphia, scoring nine of his game-high 28 points in overtime and using his crafty veteran ways to keep Rose off balance and in foul trouble.
Rose led the Bulls with 24 points but tied Drew Gooden with six of the Bulls' 24 turnovers and committed five fouls.
"I had too many turnovers, and I have to learn from it," Rose said. "Miller's a good point guard, a veteran who tried to get me in foul trouble. It got to me a little bit."
A subplot to the disappointing defeat is the fact Luol Deng, who signed the largest contract in franchise history during the off-season, didn't play over the final 9:37.
Andre Iguodala scored the majority of his 25 points against Deng, who ceded to Andres Nocioni for the end of regulation and all of overtime.
Questioned on the move, coach Vinny Del Negro explained.
"Noce was guarding [Iguodala] and making it as difficult as he could," Del Negro said. "We got on a little bit of a roll and got it to overtime. Noce can spread the court. He hit that three [in overtime]. And I thought Tyrus [Thomas] was playing well and was on the glass for us."
Thomas played the final 22:53 and scored 14 points with 13 rebounds and three blocks. He seemed to be in every major play of the regulation comeback, blocking Miller's shot authoritatively before committing an offensive foul while making a left-handed shot that would have tied the game.
Then, Thomas offered strong help defense to force an Iguodala turnover and ferociously slammed home a Rose miss at the other end with 17.6 seconds left to tie the game 90-90.
When Miller's three-point attempt from directly in front of the Bulls' bench came up well short just before the regulation buzzer, momentum appeared to be on the Bulls' side.
But Miller started working his magic and the Bulls missed their first seven field-goal attempts in overtime.
"Too many mistakes, not enough ball movement," Del Negro said. "They were definitely more aggressive. We didn't execute well enough and they were a step faster than us for whatever reason."
That's why the games are played.
76ers 103, Bulls 95 (OT)
Miller, 76ers get revenge on Rose, Bulls
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