Bulls season ends, plenty of blame to go around

Bulls season ends, plenty of blame to go around
Photo by John J Kim

The Bulls' season mercifully came to an end Tuesday night when they dropped a 75-69 decision to the Wizards in the United Center.

The Bulls struggled shooting the ball all season long, but two main themes were the cause of their elimination loss- missed layups and missed defensive rebounds.

The official play by play was a pretty good synopsis of the Bulls season:

  • 10:24 MISS Noah 3' Layup
  • 03:42 MISS Augustin 3' Layup
  • 01:05 MISS Gibson 4' Hook Shot
  • :34.9 MISS Snell 1' Driving Layup
  • 11:20 MISS Dunleavy 2' Layup
  • 10:16 MISS Hinrich 2' Layup
  • 03:05 MISS Dunleavy 3' Reverse Layup
  • 02:43 MISS Gibson 3' Layup
  • 07:39 MISS Noah 1' Layup
  • :18.8 MISS Butler 1' Layup

None of those misses were among the 11 shots the Wizards blocked, they were just misses. A high school team shouldn't miss nine layups in a game, let alone an NBA team that won 48 games during the regular season. It's obviously no surprise that the Bulls shot 33.3% from the field for the night.

During the fourth quarter, the Wizards did everything they could to hand the Bulls a victory. They shot 27.8% (5/18) from the field, missed half of their six free throw attempts, and committed four turnovers. But the Bulls refused to take advantage, allowing Washington to grab EIGHT offensive rebounds.

After DJ Augustin hit a pair of free throws with 2:18 left in the game, pulling the Bulls to within three points, the team did not attempt another shot until there were only 42.8 seconds to play. In between, the Wizards missed three consecutive shots but Marcin Gortat grabbed the offensive rebound each time, slowly but surely putting the knife into the backs of Bulls fans everywhere.

Coach Tom Thibodeau once again has to shoulder a decent amount of blame for the loss as he again refused to alter his rotation. Augustin had another putrid shooting night, making only 1/10 shots and missing all four of his 3pt attempts- as Jimmer Fredette sat there on the bench watching brick after brick.

Augustin averaged three more shot attempts than any other Bull in the series, even though he shot only 29.2%- and he was even worse from behind the arc (26.9%). No, those aren't misprints, and I am surely not the only Bulls fan who cannot fathom how a guy who is playing that poorly can continue to get the call time after time after time.

Of course, the "funny" thing about the whole situation was that Thibs once again mentioned in the post-game presser that the team needed "more shooting". Hello coach, Fredette may be slow and bad defensively and not a very good ball-handler, but he's one of the best pure shooters in the world.

If Thibs had coached the dynasty Bulls, John Paxson and Steve Kerr would have probably never gotten off the bench.

All of this being said, it was a very exciting year for Bulls fans, as they had no business winning 48 games after Rose got hurt again and Deng got traded. But they also had no business losing this series- they blew double-digit second half leads in their first two losses, and only needed to score 76 points to win last night.

 

 

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. The same year (1980), as a student assistant at Seeger Memorial High School in West Lebanon, IN, he was one of the first in the world to use, study and implement analytics in basketball. He attended Daytona State College and Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround: The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters), where he was fortunate enough to work with many rising stars, including NFL Network's Dan Hellie, Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Magic radio and TV personality Dante Marchitelli, and WSB-TV (Atlanta) Sports Director Zach Klein. In addition to running the Bullsville blog and officiating basketball, baseball and football for the KHSAA, he is also a bass player and vocalist who writes and produces music in his spare time (you may remember his internet hit "I Hate Eddy Curry"). He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. He's seen Primus 9 times and thinks Les Claypool walks on water. By far his greatest accomplishment is being a father of three and grandfather of one.

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