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Bulls try to address shooting troubles

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls did work on layups on Tuesday.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wasn't going to ignore his players' constant struggles around the rim against the Orlando Magic on Monday and made them practice scoring inside on Tuesday. The Bulls missed 22-of-34 shots in the paint, including a potential game-winning layup, against the Magic.

"We got some extra work on shooting today," Thibodeau said. "We did work on our layups. Hopefully, that will be better. We shot a very low percentage in the restricted area. That's something we have to improve.

"It's probably a combination of things. Obviously, we can finish stronger. I think people are collapsing right now because we've got to make perimeter shots. That will improve the spacing. You have to knock some shots down. We have to be able to make some 3s. If we do that, that will open things up."

Inside, outside and everywhere else, the Bulls have had their struggles from the floor in the past six games. Their only win in the last six games also happens to be the only time they shot better than 40 percent during that span. The have shot less than 35 percent three times.

Monday's shooting performance against the Magic was among the Bulls' worst. They were 28-of-81 from the field and 5-of-18 from 3-point range.

Despite those offensive woes, the Bulls had a chance to top the Magic and also were right there with the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks in recent losses.

"When you go back through the games, these are one-possession games; [they're] very winnable," Thibodeau said. "We got to keep grinding, respond to the challenge, pick ourselves up."

Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy believes keeping the games so close is cause for optimism.

"We said last night after the game we're playing our best basketball in the fourth quarter," Dunleavy said. "That's something to feel good about. So let's clean it up over the next three [quarters.] That should be easier. But if we're able to get stops and defend and really play well in the fourth. ... Obviously, we can play better, but we're playing our best defense in the fourth. It's something to build on."

Overall, Dunleavy believes the Bulls just lack some confidence, and they can get it when they play the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

"Most of the time it starts with your mentality," Dunleavy said. "I think with this group we've taken so many hits whether it be on or off the court with losses, to injuries and to the win/loss column.

"It's certainly a mental thing to get over that. How you do it? How you get over it? If we knew, we would do it. I think the first thing is somehow, someway get a win against a very good team. We have that opportunity on this trip."