Bulls dominate the Pacers behind Luol Deng's strong game

The Bulls won their preseason finale to enter the regular season on a strong note, with back to back wins, and a dominate performance at the end.   They held the Pacers to meager 35% shooting while shooting 45% from the field and 41% from the three point line.

Luol Deng threw up 29 points on 17 possessions for an absolutely unreal game.  This is the Luol Deng the Bulls need this season, obviously he's not going to put up this kind of game often, even LeBron James doesn't put up games this efficient often.   However, with his three point shooting and ability to get to the line, he's shown the capability of throwing up the occasional monster game that can single handedly win a game for a team.  

Has Deng fixed his flaw in shooting from 1 step in the line?   Deng's shooting 51.7% from the 3 point line on 3.6 attempts per game.   I'd consider 38% on 3 attempts per game to be a triumphant success if he could maintain it for the regular season, so his effort so far dwarfs that metric.  We'll just have to hope he can maintain something resembling this torrid pace. 

Omer Asik played well in this one, better than his somewhat nondescript stats.  If Asik could raise his free throw percentage up to around 66% (which really isn't asking a lot) then he'd be infinitely more dangerous.   His FT shooting is going to kill him on the season if he can't maintain a level of at least 60% though.   Still, he had plenty of offensive boards, played great defense, and had an overall solid night.  While I'm not riding the Asik bandwagon per se, he does look like a legit back up center at the least.

Derrick Rose played well in limited time and had two monster blocks early on in the game.  He continues to get to the free throw line at a high rate and is scoring and passing well.  Everything about Rose's game screams ready for the regular season to kick off.

In general, it's hard to get too much out of this game, virtually everyone played well while the Pacers were simply abysmal.   The Bulls dominated in all facets of the game, and we can merely hope that they can carry that energy into the regular season.

They have a tough opener playing on the road against Oklahoma City.

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  • THE TIME IS NOW...

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=262843w

  • THE TIME IS NOW (part 2):

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=28ew5df

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    You think so lowly of JJ that he should be in the D-league or out of the league, but you want Denver to take him as one of the major pieces for Melo. JJ and Caspi are just average players and have no impact as a building block and Carl Landry is a free agent anyhow. Plus, they collect all the money they can with Melo being an attraction and who knows he might resign or might find an attractive trade.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    JJ putting together a strong showing must be giving Mr. Happy an aneurysm.....

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    evil,

    No, actually I'm happy that Johnson has improved his trade value.

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    I agree with Happy but everyone else seems to be sold on this Bulls team even though this team hasn't looked good against the better teams in the league this preseason. The Bulls will be exposed when they face the better teams, maybe then everyone will understand why Happy wants the Bulls to make some kind of move. I wouldn't hand them the Division title right now either cause Milwaukee will be a very good team.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    No one is in love with the team as is, especially without Boozer, but Mappy's trade proposals are simply ludicrus in the real world, thus the total dismisal by virtually everybody on this site. I am not going to rehash the reasons.

    I have no doubt that Melo will be moved, but Denver is wise to hold out for the very best offer, which could still come with the pressure of the trade deadline.

    And I am not trading Noah in a Melo trade, unless his replacement comes back to the Bulls in that trade.

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    Come on its preseason. & They are not going to beat the great teams at a rate above or near 50% until they get Boozer.

    I would not only hand the Bulls the Central Division right now, I would hand them the #3 seed. They will dominate the lesser teams of this league, defend their homecourt, and play > or = to the good-elite teams. Then when you get into the playoffs, its a whole new season. I like our chances to make the 2nd round & compete with Miami or Orlando while there.

    No doubt we need to improve though. But its early, you expect that.

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    RYAN THOMPSON:

    Here's Deron Williams endorsement of the kid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rc6Oihko4E&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_fresh+div-1r-14-HM

    I think I know TALENT when I see it. He'd be a nice pick-up by the Bulls' brass.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Yes, you do think so. Unfortunately, to paraphrase the philospher Descartes, just because you think so, does not mean that you do.

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    As I have said before, I hope that the Bulls have a great season this year but they are not an elite team because of the holes that they have on the roster. Can't no one make Denver trade Melo to the Bulls but I hope that the Bulls management are doing all they can to get Melo cause it is obvious that he is gone from Denver and I really don't think that he wants to play for the Nets and the team that he wants to go to the Knicks, basically have nothing to trade but garbage players that no one wants. This is a deal that very well could land right in the Bulls lap but Management has to be aggressive and pursue it by pulling out all stops. Carmelo is a top 5 to 10 player in this league that don't have many off nights on the court and I think that the Bulls if they are not pursuing this guy have no clue what it takes to win a championship in this post Jordan era. If anyone thinks that having Deng, although he is still improving and seems to have finally put his game together is better than Carmelo on this team, then the Bulls will never beat the elite teams in the NBA. Don't get me wrong... I hope Deng does live up to his contract with the Bulls but right now I don't see it, and having Carmelo on the Bulls who is a multiple time all star and an Olympic gold medalist who I feel is not on the right team nor the right system in Denver, would blossom even more under coach Thibs and the Bulls system. Carmelo would have to play defense and rebound with the Bulls. Only time will tell what could be or what could've been.

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    Bulls looked good last night. Deng looks like he could be a borderline all-star at least this year. And they beat some teams without Noah or Boozer and a rookie C, so I wouldn't say the talent gap was that great between the teams.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    No it's not that great but it will make a difference when it comes down to contending for a championship. Getting past the first round should be ok for the Bulls but the 2nd and 3rd rounds will be a lot more difficult.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Rose isn't good enough for the bulls to contend for a championship yet so I wouldn't worry about that.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Deng responds well to a good team atmosphere, and being healthy. His three point shooting on a excellent volume of 3.6(or whatever Doug said) is very encouraging to me. Defensively he's always going to be pretty solid at best due to a lack of upper tier quickness laterally. But he can get the job done with effort, blocks, and steals.

    I just really don't think the Anthony thing will ever happen. If Noah, Deng, and Rose take the next step, and Booze can somehow stay healthy this team could be a force. I see them winning 52 or so games, but coming on in Feb., March, and April winning 18 of thier last 22(or so), and giving anybody but the Heat a serious, serious run for their money. It should be a lof of fun if the team can stay healthy. Which honestly if Noah is over his plantar fascism(ha) then I can see it happening, and this being a terrific season.

    But really it starts and ends with D-Rose. (I know I've beaten this to death) but 24-25ppg from January on with ability to create contact/draw fouls of six or more per game, and using this to lead the team through offernsive lulls(especially on the road) which players like Wade, Kobe etc. use as a major part of them being special to their team's ability to win. I hope Thibs and Derrick get this. Plus, at least attempting three three's a game for D(32% or so will take it).

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    It should be obvious that Mappy has suffered so many aneurysms that he would not even notice one more, nor would we.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Division Champs or NBA Champs, which one do Bulls' fans want?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_vAwGhE2Ko

    I know which one I prefer.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    schaum,

    Denver is going to lose Melo, if they don't trade him.

    That trade would be great for Denver.

    #1.) They get cap relief, which they want.
    #2.) They get get two nice young prospects.
    #3.) They get future draft picks.

    The Knicks and Nets guys are playing like garbage.

    And it's not like the Kings can't use Luol Deng.

  • And I agree, Deng plus crappy picks and low end prospects won't land Melo but realistically the longer Denver waits to make a move, that's exactly what they are going to receive because Melo has only a few or a couple of team that he will resign with. I think Denver's management is stupid because after Carmelo is gone, who do you think will want to be in Denver? I hope they are not looking for all stars to come there in the next few years cause I doubt that happens. I know Deng's contract is not great but he would fit very well in Denver while they rebuild. Deng is really like a poor man's Carmelo so to me they wouldn't be losing that much cause as we all have seen as Bulls fans, Deng can score and do other things good as well. If Denver don't want his contract then the Bulls have to be a little creative and get with other team as a 3rd team in a deal who might want to take on Deng's contract. Bringing Melo to Chicago can be done, the work has to be put in to get it done along with a little creativity.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Personally, I do not believe that Reisndorf is willing to pay a guy like Melo $83 million over the next four years, or $100 million including this season, which is why they are not working hard to be creative to make a deal happen.

    For him to even consider paying that kind of money to Melo, Deng's contract has to go.

    So waiting makes sense for the Bulls, maybe Deng finally blows up under TT, and his value also blows up, I doubt it but you never know.

  • Happy
    Forget about melo we don't need him everyone stop gripping him. Don't get me wrong he's a terrific player but he's also a ball hog, not a great 3 point shooter and not a great defender. They way deng is playing right now I'd rather keep him. Leave your man crush for melo and sam/nick young at the door. This is a bulls blog. When boozer is back and brewer is healthy deng will b playing even better and the bulls will be a tough team to beat.

  • In reply to Maxima23:

    I hope you're right. I would love for this team to be a legit contender but we all know Deng has been inconsistent and injuries have not helped over the years. I'm just tired of watching the Bulls not contend for a championship. It's been 12 years and with the South Beach incident, it may be longer and I would like for the Bulls to do all they can to stop this streak by bringing in the best players. Deng's good but... you add the rest.

  • In reply to Maxima23:

    I'm wondering if we will see signs of them tiring out towards the All--star break and then the end of the season because of the style of playing. They are playing fast basketball and tough defense. We have a good solid rotation but I don't think that's enough. I hope they can keep up their energy and health till the end of the season.

    Besides shooting, what else does Melo bring that is much better than Deng? We already have a very flowing offense and Deng is a much better player off the ball since we either run our offensive system through Rose or Joakim/Boozer. Plus our offense has seen a bigger improvement than last year. If anything, we need to invest in a better back up point guard and upgrade the shooting guard position rather than Small forward position, unless there is something else Melo brings that is noteworthy.

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    Melo would bring consistency and he hasn't been injured quite as often as Deng, so he would be a lot more durable. And a real starting shooting guard would be great who could average 15 to 20 points a game rather than having backup shooting guards trying to be starters. So basically it's one or the other... a solid starting guard or Melo, I hope they can get one of the 2.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    At this point, I would rather have the shooting guard, which is why I wanted to swap Gordon for Monta Ellis a few years back.

    For what it is worth Sam Smith thinks that O.J. Mayo will soon be made available by Memphis, he seems like he would be a good backcourt mate for Rose.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Basketball is a business. Ownership must be willing to spend the money to be able to be contenders year in and year out. Bigger Market Teams are able to spend more because they bring in more dollars to offset players' salaries. During the Spurs' Championship years, Tim Duncan took a pay cut to allow the Spurs to keep the roster intact. Phil Jackson and the overall Lakers organization is taking pay cuts to balance the profits and losses of the business.

    I'm not sure if there's a Championship team that wasn't over the luxury tax (not sure about the teams in the 80s and earlier). I was too young to be interested in the GM/Management side of basketball back in the 90s.

    The Carmelo trade will make sense only if Management/Ownership is willing to go over the tax to build a contender and fill in the needed pieces. Deng, Boozer, and Noah already got paid. Curious about Derrick's next contract. What type of roster will they have by the time they pay Derrick a MAX CONTRACT? Will they let go of players just to make room for Derrick's contract? If Chicago really wants to contend, they need to spend money and everybody needs to be on the same page.

    Sometimes the Bulls are too loyal at fault, but at the cost of not having enough money for the rest of the players, because they are always too focused of building teams that are always under the Salary Cap. Remember, our coach right now is not making a comparable amount compared to the other Elite Coaches around the league. By the time Coach Thib's contract needs to be picked up, will they pay him to stay with the Bulls or will they look for another cheap coach?

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Well actually, Melo played in less games than Deng last year.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I agree with you guys that if you get the right trade you go for it, but how much are we willing to give up for Melo? They can just let Melo walk away, which means that if we do any Melo trading, it will be most likely be when our free agents can be traded rather than now when we can't evaluate our talent or our roster and looking at our holes. Preseason is preaseason, doesn't matter till you start playing actual games when we will see what our glaring weaknesses are.

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    Our glaring weakness is Mr. Happy.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Any suggestions on how to work with that weakness?

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    Just kidding.

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    Somethings in life have no solutions.

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    My question is, will Carmelo fit in with Coach Thib's system or is Deng a perfect fit with Coach Thibs? Carmelo is one of the elite players, but the offense revolves around Melo in Denver. If you put Melo in Chicago, everyone has to adjust their game to make Melo fit in. I'm not sure it's best to trade multiple guys for Melo who may not even be a good fit in our system.

    Will Melo defer to Derrick Rose, or will Derrick defer to Melo? I remember watching Derrick during the World Championships, he didn't look great deferring to Chauncey Billups and Kevin Durant. Derrick is a talented scorer and not so talented as a PURE PG. Derrick will not develop as a MVP caliber if you put Melo in Chicago because Derrick will want to please Melo and his game will take a back seat. Derrick is just now starting to gain confidence and become more of a leader of the team. I was happy when BG went to the Pistons because Gordon was getting in the way of Derrick's growth as a Franchise Player.

    CJ Watson was a decent scorer in Golden State but if you look at Watson's overall game outside of offense, he doesn't look that good yet in Coach Thib's system. Granted, if Carmelo becomes a two dimensional player and isn't only focused on his offensive strength, he will be a nice ADDITION to the Bulls. Carmelo will bring us closer to a Championship if we get to keep our current roster and just ADD Carmelo (which isn't happening).

    Pau Gasol being added to the Lakers made LA a better team, because they got to keep their core players. If Pau was traded to the Bulls and we had to give up multiple assets, would the Bulls become a better team with just Pau Gasol? Celtics also added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to the Celtics, but they surrounded Boston's Big Three with complementary players and Rondo was able to become a better player. This is why I'm very anxious to see the Heat play this season because they have their own Big Three, but their complementary players are not that good. LeBron is still a monster since he himself made Cleveland a better team, but it wasn't good enough to claim the title.

    My point is, is it worth to give up all of your assets that makes Coach Thib's system work just to have one good offensive player that may not fit in with our current system? Without the right players, Coach Thib's system will not work and look that effective. Would you take TALENT over FIT AND CHEMISTRY?

  • In reply to truniac307:

    sometimes you have to take talent over fit and chemistry cause if a team is not talented enough regardless of how much chemistry they have, it will catch up with them and the result will not be a good one.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I think I would rather take the talent and build the chemistry. that's what every NBA team does anyway is build chemistry.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    In my opinion, balancing fit and chemistry with talented players is the challenge.

    I'm not sure what the stats are, but I think most CHAMPIONSHIP teams have gotten their FRANCHISE PLAYER(S) through THE DRAFT and not by a TRADE.

    (Only looking at the 90s - 2000s)
    Lakers - PHIL JACKSON, Kobe Bryant (draft), Pau Gasol (trade)
    Celtics - Paul Pierce (draft), Rondo (draft day trade from Suns to Celtics), KG (trade), Allen (trade)
    Heat - D Wade (draft), Zo Mourning (trade), Shaq (trade), Udonis Haslem (undrafted by Miami), Payton and Walker (trade)
    Spurs - Duncan, Parker, Manu Ginobili (Draft)
    Detroit Pistons - Lindsey Hunter (draft), Wallace (trade), Rip Hamilton (Trade), Chauncey Billups (trade), Prince (draft)
    Lakers (2000-2002) - PHIL JACKSON, Shaq (trade), Kobe (draft)
    Bulls - MJ (draft), Pippen (draft day trade), PHIL JACKSON
    Rockets - Hakeem Olajuwon (draft), Robert Horry (draft), Sam Cassell (draft)
    Bulls (1st 3-peat) - MJ (draft), Pippen (draft day trade), PHIL JACKSON
    Pistons (1990-1991) - Dumars (draft), Rodman (draft), Isiah Thomas (draft)

    My point is, majority of the TEAMS who have won a Championship has drafted well. If you don't draft the right Franchise Player(s) and complimentary pieces, it affects your Championship chances.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Alright....so Luol Deng is playing better...yes...but what games has he dominated in? Pacers and the Raptors? When the teams get tough is when Luol starts to be average again. Happy and Reese are right, Bulls need another stud to get to that elite level. Right now, im not even sure the Bulls are better then the Atlanta Hawks. For all we know, we could be a 5th or 6th seed. Personally, i could care less about being a above average team, whats the point of playing if your just going to be average every year? By the time the deadline comes around, Melos stock will be dropping, so getting him for Deng, Asik, and some draft picks could happen. I say DO IT!

  • In reply to Csharp:

    So far, we have only seen the Bulls without their main new stud, Boozer, so lets at least wait until we see how the team performs with him before we start blowing it up.

    Deng's play should only improve with a true go to scorer at the opposite forward spot.

    Would Melo and Boozer be compatible.

  • In reply to truniac307:

    I would rather have fit and chemistry. Deng has showed both under TT. I realize Deng does not have Melo's one on one ability but his shot/slashing/def seem as good or better. Happy doesn't seem to realize players in different systems are different players. Rose in FIBA for example. Deng really seems to be effective so far and I know his "D" and the other tradable assets skills sets that would have to be included in a Melo trade seem to fit the Bulls current system. This is why I am not so eager to trade for Melo even if we could. If Melo had Kobe's or LeBrons overall game and wasn't only about scoring then a trade would be a no-brainer. He is obviously a better game finisher but I hope Rose will be that player for the Bulls.

  • In reply to truniac307:

    I think that by the time the deadline comes around we will know if a trade makes sense. And for everyone who loves "Talent" all you have to do is look back on some of the Olympic and National team results and see that much less talented players that "Fit and have Chemistry" have given the USA team fits and even loses. This is why Team USA has tryed to construct a good fitting team lately and not just the most talented.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    No those teams then were young and some of the players they had were not that talented. This past Olympic had the right amount of chemistry and ridiculous talent. I will take a team with talent and you take a team with chemistry and I bet I win. Talented players know how to build chemistry.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    USB is factually correct, the US teams that embarassed the entire nation for most of the past 2 decades had ridiculous talent(including Melo and Lebron and Bosh), far more pure talent than this summers team, yet they never won the gold and finished 6th the year the tournament was in the US.

    For you guys to young to remember Wilt, West and Baylor never won a championship playing together, probablt the best collection of talent on one team ever.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Look we would all take Melo for any of the idiotic trades that Mappy has proposed.

    If Denver is stupid enough to accept any of those deals, we do them in a heartbeat(assumming Reinsdorf pays).

    If Denver is stupid enough to accept any of those deals, then Maybe Mappy is their GM. Mappy, Masri whats the differnce.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The right kind of talented players can build chemistry. I agree talent wins most of the time. But egos can destroy the chemistry. It is one thing to let go of egos in the olympics/FIBA(they know it is for a month's time), but it is tough to do it for their entire career. That's why there is so much astonishment at LBJ's decision.

    Look, the bottom-line is we all want Melo and probably Gar/Pax/Reinsdorf too. Denver doesn't want to trade him now. And the theory that they will get nothing if he walks is flawed. His salary will probably be reduced and Denver knows it has the upper-hand on what it can demand even if it is not equal. They know he is gone unlike Cleveland with LBJ(they had a lot of hopes that he will be back). There might a lot of good players let go if teams have to cut salary like the Blackhawks did this year.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Great point.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    If all it takes is Deng,Asik and Draft Picks to get Melo....WWould you guys do it?

    What team would you rather have going against the Lakers,Celtics,Magic or Heat?

    Rose,Brewer,Melo,Boozer,Noah
    OR
    Rose,Brewer,Deng,Boozer,Noah

    Choice is obvoius in my opinion. The team with Melo in it. Theres many things that Melo can do that Deng can not. A couple main ones are Melo is a superstar so he gets calls from the refs. In the playoffs, thats huge. You get the other team in foul trouble,create mismatches. Melo is much more aggressive then Deng is. Hes a go-to player. When your struggling or need a big bucket...Melo can get that for you, Deng has a hard time even creating his own shot. When your going against Elite Players...Deng doesnt show up most of the times...Melo is consistant against anybody.

    If Melo did come here, im pretty sure he would know what he is getting himself into. Thibs is a defensive coach...everyone knows that. Its not like Melo will come here an not play D...especailly in the playoffs when games matter the most. The guy is a winner.

    And another thing to think about is if Melo doesnt work out....WE CAN ALWAYS TRADE HIM....TEAMS WILL GIVE A ARM AND A LEG FOR THAT GUY. So if he doesnt work out, which i dont think will happen, we can just trade him. Maybe we will get a great SG plus some draft picks for him. Win Win situation if you ask me.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    I would rather have Melo. The one idea I forgot is that it would be nice to ALWAYS have a great scorer/creator on the floor. It would be nice to be able to rest Rose or Melo and know the other is in to lead the offense.

  • In reply to Maxima23:

    Whoops.

    We already have a very flowing offense and Deng is a much better player off the ball and we need that since we either run our offensive system through Rose or Joakim/Boozer when the center or PF gets the ball at the top of the free throw line. *

  • Agree..very much.. It is not easy as we fans desire. Just because Happy keeps repeating a zillion times about the same trades, he thinks it will happen or Gar/Pax will somehow make it happen. If the new CBA reduces the salaries, salary cap or gives small market the franchising ability, the nuggets have a plethora of options.

    Off-course, Deng lacks the lateral quickness and ball handling skills. But he is a tough guy. One thing we forget is Deng is just getting into his prime. Not to compare him to LBJ, Melo but Deng started playing basketball at a late age and we all know it takes a couple of years more for most foreign players to make impact although Deng has played in the US from high school. It is just not the game but it is also the cultural adjustment, being away from the family etc..
    Finally, as you said...Melo is great if we can get him on the deal as some guys say. But it just doesn't make sense for Denver to give him for these kind of trades when they can maybe take contracts which they like rather than only from these trades.

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