Well half of my dream prediction came through last night as the Cavs still played hard enough to beat the Raptors, but unfortunately, the Bulls didn't hold up their part of the bargain. I've yet to check in with the cyberworld to see the reaction to the game, which I was at, but I'm sure people are jumping off cliffs.
The Bulls offense didn't show up, and while Kirk was the worst on the floor, Deng played terrible, and everyone was generally bad, the loss falls on Derrick Rose. Rose is the guy the Bulls count on, and he couldn't get anything going. He had a ton of assists, but they came amid six turnovers, poor shooting, and poor decision making and lack of assertiveness. Let's face it, Derrick is the guy we count on out there, and he simply couldn't get much going.
On defense, Rose was simply terrible. He let Luke Ridnour burn him play after play to create looks for himself or others during one stretch, and it was painful watching the team defensive concept get shredded because everyone was trying to compensate for Rose. Fortunately for the Bulls, Milwaukee missed shot after shot after shot. This game shouldn't have been close. Milwaukee missed a ton of open shots all night, while the Bulls struggled to create decent looks all game and missed heavily contested shots, and the few open shots the Bulls got were long range jumpers that they simply couldn't connect on.
A large part of Rose's problem were the plays the Bulls were running. I'm going to assume we can blame Del Negro for the play calling and that Rose wasn't improvising into the same screen and roll play every game. At some point, when the Bucks successfully trapped Rose 100 times in a row, it was time to move away from that. Put Rose in an isolation situation on Ridnour and make him defend.
I think that was the most appalling thing to watch in this game. The five minute stretch were Luke Ridnour destroys Rose on the offensive end of the floor, and the Bulls can't take advantage of him defensively at all. How can you have a matchup of Ridnour/Rose and lose it consistently? You've got a big problem with Rose's defense and the play calling on Rose's offense if that happens.
I've heaped a lot on Rose there. He wasn't the worst on the floor. That distinction falls on Kirk Hinrich who hit a few shots early, but then couldn't throw the ball in the ocean the rest of the night. Luol Deng looked absolutely atrocious trying to score tonight, and the possessions where he used up around 15 seconds trying unsuccessfully back down Carlos Delfino made me want to scratch out my eyes. In the end, let's face it, no one played well, but you need your star player to come through in games like this. It didn't happen tonight.
And don't get me started on the out of bounds play with 14 seconds or so left where Brad Miller gets the ball and drives for a contested two, slips, falls, and gets called for a travel. I don't know what the play call was in that situation, maybe VDN clarified it after the game, but how the ball is in Miller's hands inside the three point line is beyond me.
In this situation, you need a three or an easy two. You can't be working for a heavily defended two with one of your slowest players driving towards the rim. Why did Miller even have the ball outside of being a spot up shooter?
I will never understand the mentality of coaches who go for the two (unless it's an extraordinarily easy two due to the opponent overplaying the three point line) when they're down three with under 15 seconds to play. You're betting on your ability to make two contested two point shots and have one of your opponents best free throw shooters split the free throws vs making one three point shot.
Also want to give a shout out to Justin, producer of the memo, for having his video played at the United Center last night. Justin invited me to go to the game with him, so I appreciate the free ticket. At half-time, they brought him over to hang out with Stacey King while they played the video on air.
The only downside was the video wasn't EQ'd properly for the UC speaker system, and their sound engineer didn't bother to fix any levels while it was playing, so the base overpowered Stacey's voice making it so you couldn't hear the song at all ruining the effect for those who hadn't seen it.
Stacey had already seen the video though, and he had a good laugh with Justin over it. Hopefully, they re-EQ it and play it again another time, because I think it had far more potential there to be a big hit.
As for the Bulls? Well they're still only one game back. They still have a chance, but much like I expected, the Bulls broke my heart when i started to give it back to them. If they beat Toronto in Toronto, then I think the rest of the season works out so that they wind up in, but make no mistake, this was a game they should have won. Milwaukee didn't even play that well, the Bulls just played terrible, disorganized, and uninspired.