Friday , Jan , 05 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Gordon has been Chicago’s flash of hope

(Sports Network) – Why isn’t Ben Gordon starting for the Chicago Bulls?

After starting the first six games of the 2006-07 season, Gordon has been
coming off the bench for head coach Scott Skiles and is averaging a team-high
20.8 points a game. Already a recipient of the Sixth Man Award, Gordon is
averaging 27.3 points and shooting 51.5 percent in his last nine contests.

Gordon registered a career-high 41 points in Tuesday’s 97-96 loss to the
Phoenix Suns at the United Center. It was the ninth straight game in which
Gordon has reached the 20-point mark. He also became the second player to post
40 points on separate occasions while coming off the bench. Former Buck Brian
Winters was the first player to record at least two 40-point games off the
bench over his entire career.

Winters had his number retired by the Bucks. Perhaps Gordon will see his
jersey hanging in the rafters at the United Center someday.

But before that happens Gordon must be a starter again. He averaged 12.8
points over his first six games as a starter, then has posted 22.7 points a
game over the next 26 contests. Gordon is on fire and Skiles must find a way
to start Gordon and Kirk Hinrich at the same time. Hinrich is currently
injured and is being replaced by Thabo Sefolosha. Who? Sefolosha couldn’t
carry Gordon’s lunch if he wanted to.

The Elias Sports Bureau noted that former Buck Ricky Pierce is the only Sixth
Man Award winner to lead his team in scoring. Pierce, who achieved the honor
in 1989-90, averaged a team-best 23.0 points in 59 games.

Gordon, who is shooting .443 from the floor, including .352 from three-point
range and .886 from the free throw line, will try to get the Bulls back on the
winning track on Friday when they visit the New Jersey Nets. Chicago had its
three-game winning streak stopped on Tuesday against Phoenix, but is 16-4 over
the last 20 games.

After visiting the Nets at Continental Airlines Arena, Gordon and the Bulls
will play nine of their next 12 games at the United Center where they are 14-3
this season.