Bulls fall to Oklahoma City showing old problems

It's not a surprise that the Bulls lost to Oklahoma City, and the reason why they lost were a mixture of old and new problems.  The old problems?  The Bulls had no source of traditional efficient offense, few free throw attempts (and bad free throw shooting), terrible from the three point line, and no low post offense.  

The Bulls lost this game in the fourth quarter, and up until that point, Derrick Rose was dominating for the Bulls.   First three quarters, Derrick was 10/21 for 24 points with 4 assists and no turnovers.

Fourth quarter, Rose was 2/10 for 4 points with 2 assists and 2 turnovers.   If it weren't for Rose's dominating brilliance through three quarters, the Bulls wouldn't have had a shot in hell in this game in the fourth.  

If he'd been able to keep it up they would have won.   However, I'm not sure Rose is the type of guy you can expect to shoot the ball 31 times and maintain efficiency all night long.  Eventually, the Thunder just collapsed on him, jammed the paint and forced difficult shots.

The general reaction from the fans will be one of two things:  Rose had 26/6/4, he's awesome, or Rose is turning into a chucker, he sucks!   Well the truth was somewhere in between.  We saw a glimpse of an absolute superstar version of Rose early on, and later on we saw a glimpse of why Rose isn't at that level yet.

Overall, while displeased with the ending, I'm happy to see how much more aggressive he's become and how dominant he can look at stretches.

After Derrick, the next big story of the game was probably the free throw disparity.  The Bulls got to the line 22 times vs the 47 for the Thunder, and the Bulls were really whistled for breathing on a Thunder player wrong while the Thunder were permitted considerably more contact.  There definitely appeared to be some serious home cooking in this one.

Like all games, many things could have happened to swing the outcome of the game, and a more fairly called game probably would have swung this one the other way or at least made it a wire to wire finish.

Luol Deng played solid defense on Durant most of the night and forced him into a poor night.  Many will say poor night?   Durant scored 30!   However, it took him 35 possessions to get that 30 much like it took Derrick a lot of possessions to get his points, KD's game was limited to something the Bulls could have easily overcome. 

Offensively, Deng played poorly.  It was his worst three point shooting night of the year at 1/4, but he did continue taking threes and knocked one down, so I'm still pleased with that effort so far.   He was 5/13 from the field, had four turnovers, and disappeared in the fourth leading us to make some of the general conclusions we've made about Deng in the past.

Joakim Noah had a weak start to the game, and the Bulls were getting beaten up on the glass, however, he really turned it on as the game progressed and finished it out with 18 points and 19 boards to go along with 2 assists, steals,and blocks. 

This was the type of matchup that I said Noah needed to dominate, and he did.  However, it simply wasn't enough at the end of the day.

Taj Gibson also had a big night.  He got most of his buckets on cuts, fast breaks, and generally open dunks, but he looked explosive for perhaps the first time this season, which is another excellent sign for the Bulls overall. 

C.J. Watson, outside of two terrible passing turnovers at the end of the third, looked fairly steady.  He did a better job finding his shot and more judiciously decided between passing and looking for his own shot than in preseason.

Keith Bogans was steady, but unspectacular, about what you'd expect out of Bogans.

Ronnie Brewer was a train wreck offensively continuing his terrible offensive play with an 0-6 from the field.  He seriously needs to give the Bulls something on offense to continue to play.  Brewer downplayed a poor shooting performance in preseason, but it's not preseason anymore.

Kyle Korver ran around like a nut off screens the entire time he was out there, but the Bulls ended up spending a lot of time looking for him on plays that ultimately weren't open.  I liked the activity, but the Bulls need to find ways to run Korver as a second or third option more so than the first option on the plays, so they aren't chewing up so much shot clock looking for him.

On the whole, there was a lot of good things that happened in this game, but there are no moral victories in this league.  It simply counts as a loss.  Against a non elite team or with slightly more fair referring, the Bulls could have come up with a win.  It was similar to what I expected for the game.


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  • Management loves Deng and his 30% deferred contract.

    The only people thinking about trading Deng are the fans.

    He'll definitely be a Bull all year. In fact, I doubt you'll see any Bull trades this season. They may pick up a waived player or two but I think the roster is set.

  • 1. After some time of thinking about it, I think Deng was decent in a way. Although, for all the talk about this offense helping him, if it makes him put the ball on the floor and pass...that's disastrous.
    He needs to be cutting for layups, jump shots and he can pass a ball when it is not on the floor. But as Doug said, he played good defense on Durant.
    2. Rose is trending towards a superstar. I hope he doesn't turn into an Iverson and more of a team player. I hope he likes assists.
    3. This referring is crazy...What is the point if it is so bad.
    4. Until Boozer gets back, this team is a shell of last year's team except for the internal improvements of Rose, Noah, Deng and Gibson. It looks like CJ Watson is the best FA signing. If Brewer can't even put in layups(forget 3 pt shooting), he needs to play only in blowouts to get back into rhythm if he ever can.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    He either needs to learn how to handle the ball or stop trying to do so, especially in traffic.

  • I came away disappointed. Except for Rose's individual brilliance, there wasn't much difference from last year offensively. It was pick and roll and see if Rose can get to the rim. There was very little recognition of play off of the ball. Bogans made a few nice defensive plays, but 1-4 in 36 minutes is ridiculous. He has to do more with those minutes offensively. Brewer might have been 0-6, but he still matched Bogans with 3 points in less than half the minutes and Brewer was aggressive.

    OKC is going to be a good team and this was a tough matchup, but the lack of offensive diversity killed them in the fourth when they couldn't even get set to run a play. It was still more bulls fail than anything else. And Rose needs to be able "check down" on the play and go to the alternate. Too many passes picked off for easy breakaways.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Agree...I am wondering what happened to all this new offense from Thibs. The rumor was Thibs has more offensive strategies than his defense although he is known as a defensive specialist. But, they were struggling to even get a shot off in the 4th quarter. It is one thing to shoot and clank the shot. But not getting off shots...That's what surprised me..

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    There was one nice play where Rose had a wrap around pass to Taj for a dunk, but other than that and Korver running around like a chicken with his head cut off, I didn't see much to be excited about. Rose needs to be a 20 and 10 guy as opposed to a 30 and 5 guy if this team is going to go anywhere.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Make that 20/10 and 6-8 rebounds, thank you.

  • In reply to bullshooter:


    Watching Durant and Westbrook play that good together, just strengthens the case for Melo.

    And guess wha? Melo wants to be on the Bulls. We'll see if GarPax step-up or waste DRose's career.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    DRose career a waste? With GarPax at the helm, it is a sure thing! Paxson has a knack to assemble unbalance teams. Too small, too slow, too bad. Derrick and Noah are the only positives. Deng is the same crap every single year. And forget about Melo. When Denver scouts the play of Deng and Gibson, it is over. Denver wants no part of Deng contract. And I believe no other team wants it either. It is a BAD contract.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Rose and Boozer should be the Bulls equivalent to Durant and Westbrook.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    I remember reading this Bulls blog a while back, and the topic...get this, was actually debating if trading Deng for Melo would make us better? Hilarious! Can you believe that!!

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    That was yesterday

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    imagine my shock when the Bulls couldnt score late in the game. Its almost as if they need a go to scorer....hmm...i wonder who that could be?

  • In reply to Dmband:


  • In reply to Dmband:

    There are many SG's and PG's who can create/draw contact to produce points. Derrick Rose is not one of these guys yet. He gets caught up in transition running full bore when a big is blocking the way comitting to full speed angles that lead to crazy shots. If he is coached/realizes he needs to slow down, and pump fake/change angles of penetration he will energize the team, and socre during crunch situations and energizing breaks.

    When Boozer gets back the Bulls will become a different team. he's a very important element/scoring post big to be without. It just doesn't look like Derrick has the mentaility and the skills(FTA's/converting on congested need to score penetration and transition) to become a prolific scorer of 27 ppg or more. Which is too bad because even at his size he has the talent to do it(IMO). But with Booz back, and Taj, Noah etc. this will be a very good team if Korver can start hitting threes, and C.J. to me looks like he will work out eventually. But what about Brewer? If he could return to the player he's been( double digit scoring on very high field goal percventage and good perimeter defender) this team could nip at Boston or Orlando's heals. Or they could just be a second tier very good 50-52 win squad. It's too early to tell yet whether they are fun to watch or top three/excellent eastern Conf. team.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Without Boozer, it will be impossible to really know what kind of team the Bulls are.

    Without him, they are last years team, with a better(way)coach and hopefully a better Rose and much better Noah.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    I believe that his name is Carlos Boozer.

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    There are people who talk about this everyday and every minute. The point is most of them are not opposed to Melo but there are some negatives to him coming here. There were some negatives even for LBJ. But that doesn't mean you don't take Melo/LBJ for cheap.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:


    And what exactly are the negatives in acquiring a top 5 talent?

    And I don't want to hear about Melo's defense.

    - 88 steals twice in his career
    - over 90 steals twice in his career

    His defense is just as good as Deng's and in fact better in certain areas.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    First of all, he is not a top 5 talent in the league. But definitely, Deng Vs Melo is no contest. Melo is the superior talent.
    And it is not his defense. I am sure a good coach/system can make him a decent to good defensive player.

    He is a volume shooter as many have carefully explained. You saw how a volume shooter(like Rose was yesterday), could screw up the team. Well, it is just one let's wait before we start making fantasy trades;-)...
    Based on one or two games,
    Cleveland without LeBron is greater than Miami Heat with, let's wait. But that said, if Denver accepts Deng, Gibson, picks for Melo right now...Gar/Pax will be dancing...

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    No it isn't. And if it were just Deng for Melo, the deal would be done already. Denver is the one who isn't trading Melo more than the bulls aren't trying to get him. Denver is holding out and teasing everybody to see what the best deal they can get is.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    This game pretty much summed up Deng's primary weakness: If his defender is 3 inches shorter (or more) than him, Deng can take him in the post and shooter over the top. If his defender is slow, Deng can beat him off the dribble. If he's left wide open, he's deadly from mid range and improved from long range.

    But he can't create his own shot against athletic wings with length. And if that athletic wing with length is a good enough defender to keep up with Deng as he runs through screens, Deng won't get those wide open looks and will have a sub-par night. The same can be said about Korver.

    It should be noted that OKC was an outstanding defensive team last year and they'll likely be even better this year. They're long and athletic do a great job of challenging shooters and clogging the lane against dribble penetration. This game underscores how important Boozer will be against the better defensive teams.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    How did we "lose" Thabo S."?
    Him and Tyrus Thomas are defensive beasts!
    I bet TT would have loved for those 2 players to still been on the Bulls! LOL Man I miss TT, he was a bone head but wow was he fun to watch and Thabo's blocks last night were amazing! He met Rose in the air..and didn't draw a foul! WOW!

  • In reply to smiley:

    I can't remember who (or what) the Bulls got for Thabo. It's interesting that they traded him a couple of seasons ago only to end up with pretty much the same type of player in Brewer. I hope Brewer gets his rhythm back soon. He was missing layups last nights.

  • In reply to smiley:

    First game of the season, our main New Stud out, new superstar looking great but overworked at the end, problems at SG due (hopefully!) mainly to Brewer's injury... uncharacteristic missed free throws throughout... home-cooked calls (one missed charge and one wrong goal-tend were very influential early on)... new team, new coach, on the road against one of the consensus best West teams... and we were STILL in with an improbable chance to win, until that very difficult period in the middle of the 4th, when we stopped them for three minutes but failed to score ourselves and build a lead, so when they finally got going they could leave us behind at the end. You ALL saw it, saw the ending coming...

    Did you also see what a GOOD team we're going to have when these issues get solved? Brewer or SOMEONE will start to play well at SG. Lu won't have to chase KD every night, nor will Thabo be in Korver's face every night... I think this will be a fun season to watch. Especially after Carlos gets back. And just wait until DRose and TT work out how to use his amazing skills to the max! This is gonna be great... soon... WHEN, dammit???

  • In reply to petert23:

    I agree Peter theres a lot to be encouraged about. This city seems to be over the top one way or the other someitmes. Its time to think objectively and see both the good as well as the bad.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    The only people thinking about
    trading Deng are the fans.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    this is one game lol....yall make me laugh with your panicking. We didnt play our best and still almost won the game....calm down damn lol

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    He's a punk ass bitch who will ruin team chemistry.

    Not saying that I would trade him for Deng and crap in a heartbeat, but he isn't available for that.

    I am in the camp that won't trade Noah for him, I want Noah next to him and Boozer.

    Come up with a trade not involving Noah that Denver will do in real life, not in your little world(aka, mind) and we can talk.

    You keep trying to trade a guy you compare to Dickie Simpkins for a guy you think is top 5 in the league, that is what I call Stepping up.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    FYI - 88 steals a year is nothing. That's less than half of what led the league last year. Also, it's .3 more than Deng gets a game. Meaning he gets 1 more steal than Deng every three games. Please do not mention superior defense as a reason for acquiring Melo.

    Deng is a good defensive player. Melo is not. 1 more steal every 3 games is virtually nothing.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:


    I'm telling you, that's how get to Carmelo Anthony.

    - $13 million under the cap
    - They have cheap and expiring contracts.
    - They have young talent with upside.
    - They have a strong need for a starting SF.
    - Evans and Cousins don't get BIG MONEY, until Deng's contract expires.
    - They are a playoff team with Deng and Gibson added to that roster.

    * I'm sure the Maloof's want to make the playoffs. It would help the development of Evans and Cousins just like it helped the development of Rose and Noah.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    The Sixers could be another trade partner cause Iggy is said to be not pleased with the team and told management if they were not going to win this season he would be open to a trade. Rumor had the Bulls and Sixers in preliminary talks about a Deng for Iggy swap, Denver has had interest Iguadola so there you have another trade suitor.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Why would Denver take Igoudala who makes more money than Deng. They want to reduce their costs...that's one reason they supposedly rejected NJ's trade.
    You can tell that Denver wants one impact player or a player to build around(like they hope Derrick Favors would be). That's why don't want any of the Knicks guys. It is the promise of the unknown or the sure knowns. The only hope is they buckle after a few months of talking with Melo and take Deng or some other team facilitates based on this season...(like a Minnesota/Sacramento/Clippers might be surprisingly doing well and they want to speed up their progress to take a Deng).

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I liked your analysis of this game. You saw it pretty much the way I did, except for not mentioning the poor defensive effort by Watson on Westbrook. He had a decent offensive game and still ended up a -10! Bad! If he had stepped up in any kind of way defensively to help offset the foul trouble by Rose this might've been a different outcome. Also many people will be down on Deng again, but the dude just competed defensively on probably the best scorer in the league! It takes a lot of energy to stay with a beast like that. I don't think its a mystery why his offense failed him in the 4th after expending that much energy defending Durant. I swear the novice fans get on my nerves. Its not all about scoring people!!!! I also thought those awful foul calls limited the Bulls aggressiveness overall on defense and Roses on offense as he settled for too many jumpers afraid to draw a penalty. I think you score this one refs 1 Bulls 0.

  • In reply to jackhammerebm:

    The point about the poor officiating cramping the aggressiveness is a very important one.

    I mentioned this play in a different thread, but the one where Durant literally took the ball, pushed it into Deng's chest (like he was attempting a Granny Free-Throw) and got to go the line was just an abomination.

    You can't compete against that.

    For a minute, I thought I was rooting for the Mavs, and they were playing in the 2006 Finals!

  • In reply to saigman:

    Good points. Its the NBA. This stuff happens. If not for the Fouls the Thunder most likely fall too far behind to catch up in their eyes and offset all the ESPN hype. Lets face facts here. The NBA orchestrates things to suit an agenda. I'm sure the Bulls will get their time too. Bulls still were in it at the end and fell apart in a time that was evenly officiated. I think the last 4 1/2 minutes was just a team trying to learn their way. Even Rose said they blew their sets. Thats not knowing your defining roles. Communication was very ad there too. there'll be a time when all they have to do is look at each other and know what to do without even talking. I thought this game showed that the Bulls can compete athletically with anyone, but still need to get the mental aspect down. Reminds a little about what the Bears offense is going through right now.

  • In reply to jackhammerebm:

    Only one game so I'm not going to be ridiculous and pretend to miss Tyrus Thomas. I wil lsay that Rudy was 2 for 2 from downtown last night :-)

  • In reply to jackhammerebm:

    Only one game so I'm not going to be ridiculous and pretend to miss Tyrus Thomas. I wil lsay that Rudy was 2 for 2 from downtown last night :-)

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    You keep talking about Sacto, you do realize that Melo plays for Denver, ipso facto, we have to propose a trade that Denver thinks makes them a better team, just sayin.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    They definitely have some wrinkles that need to be ironed out, but overall I thought the Bulls did a decent job (they simply choked down the stretch). Keep in mind; this was the first official game of the season, where the intensity and opponent

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:


    PG - Udrih/Jeter
    SG - Garcia/Head
    SF - Deng/Greene/Wright
    PF - Landry/Gibson/Jackson
    C - Dalembert/Cousins/Whiteside

    To Bulls: Carmelo Anthony (who wouldn't mind a trade to Chicago)
    To Nuggets: Jason Thompson, Omri Casspi, James Johnson and multiple picks
    To Kings: Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Cash

    From a Denver Nuggets' perspective...

    PG - Billups/Lawson/Carter
    SG - Afflalo/Smith
    SF - Casspi/Johnson/Forbes
    PF - Harrington/Thompson/Balkman/K. Martin (who they would trade next)
    C - Nene/Anderson/Williams

    * They would cut $7 million dollars from their payroll and could still make the playoffs.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Queston, based on your daily conversation with GarPax and Jerry, is Reinsdorf willing to pay Melo $100 million over the next 5 seasons(including the current one).

    I don't know the answer to that question(my gut feeling is no)but since you know everything directly from the horses mouth, why don't you inform us.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Melo can only be signed to the 3 year $65 million extension by Denver, then traded. If he hold out on signing till after the season, he'll make less because a new CBA will go into effect.

  • In reply to notfol:

    And no team is trading for him until he signs that extention.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Overall, the Bulls played well, especially given all the FT's OKC shot. The Thunder seemed to kick in to a higher gear at the end, that the Bulls just couldn't match.

    I wasn't as bothered by Rose forcing some shots at the end as I was by his apparent confusion at the beginning of some sets. Hopefully, it's just still learning Thibodeau's new plays.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I agree Mr. Happy. I'm a fan of the Kings too and they have awesome fans and it would be a shame if the Kings left Sacramento because they couldn't get a new stadium. They really could use Deng in Sacto per your 3 team trade and we sure could use Melo with Rose and Noah. With 1 7 ft big we could go deep into the playoffs.

  • In reply to smiley:

    And Denver the team giving up the greatest player in the history of the world ends up with crap, but hey at least the fans in Sacto and Chi-town are happy, or is it Mappy.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    EXCUSE ME...Denver would be cutting $12 million dollars from their payroll in that trade.

    Melo = $17.1 million
    Thompson, Casspi and Johnson = $5.1 million

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Wow, why isn't Denver on the phone right now trying to convince Sacto to make that deal today, I can't understand what is wrong with them.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I think that Rose lost his mind in the second half, he went from attacking the rim in the first half to jacking up lazy jump shots and that stupid teardrop from 15 ft.

    Someone has to teach him that that shot should never be put up from over 10 ft, it is a specialty shot, not the basis for your offense, anything past 10 ft is a hope and a prayer shot, not a legitimate offensive move.

    The refs totally screwed us, and in the end we, led by Rose lost our composure. As of today, Rose has still not shown anything resembling the leadership necessary to direct this team to championship contention. He is looking more and more like a volume scorer than an elite point guard. Why can't he rebound like Westbrook, or Rondo for that matter. TT said that he has emphasized rebounding by the guards to spark the break. Rose had one memorable assist last night(lefty wrap around to Taj), other than that he did little to make his teammates better. Maybe we should have drafted Jrue Holiday last season with the JJ pick, even though he was a point guard, maybe he is the true point that we need.

    Look, other than Noah, Rose is my favorit Bull, I love the guy, but this is the year that we have to be honest with ourselves about what he really is vs what we want him to be.

    It is starting to become painfully obvious that he is never going to be Chris Paul, or Steve Nash, or Deron Williams, point guards who drive their teams.

    I am not going to panic until after Boozer comes back, since he is the biggest difference maker that we added to the team, other than TT.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Wow! What a classic over reaction. Did you watch him before the fouls and after? He got hacked quite a bit too.

  • In reply to jackhammerebm:

    If he doesn't get the calls, then it really doesn't matter if he got hacked or not. If you liked what you saw from Rose in the second half, then I would call that a classic over reaction.

    Rose played like a clueless rookie in the second half, I would expect more from a 3rd year player looking to take that next step, thats all.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I didn't like what I saw from the whole team in the last 4:30 of the game. Not sure what would determine my overreaction because I'm not the one calling Rose a scrub after one game when his team pretty much stood around waiting for Rose to do something instead of being involved. If you noticed the aggressive attacks at the hoop Rose was doing in the first 3 quarters stopped after he had to settle for jays so he didn't draw an offensive charge. And since the team was standing around waiting for someone other than them to do something this forced a lot of bail out shots as time was expiring from the shot clock. Seriously did you even watch the game?

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    And it's not Garcia as the starting SG for the Kings', it's Evans.

    My bad.

    That's a PLAYOFF TEAM w/ Deng and Gibson added to their roster.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:


    Look how it ranks out on the Trade Machine.

    Not too bad.

    Even for Bulls and Nuggets, but a plus 3 for the Kings.

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    We can blame Rose for chucking in the 4th quarter, but we can also blame the lack of offensive solutions and player movement around him (except Korver).
    Execution sucked. Thibs called a t.o. in the final minutes to set up a play and Rose ended up dribbling around the half court and passed it to Korver, who was not open, for a timeclock violation... This is an example of bad execution where everyone is responsible.

    Other than that, it's all a question of match-ups. Noah and Gibson crashed the board as opposition was weak and Deng could not contribute much offensively as he was too busy trying to contain KD.

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    I thought we played great until the 4th quarter when OC just shut us down completely, or should I say shut Rose down. Without Boozer and getting the ball to him close to the basket, it will probably be a frustrating time. Taj surprised me and had 1 of the best games I've seen him play, prob ever. Noah had a terrible start but got going and had 19 boards!
    Well I do like Deng, Taj, JJ, but if those 3 for Melo works let's do it!
    I think Denver wants Noah though so that would be tough...that's the sticking point and will be the sticking point by Denver if NY & NJ don't change their offer.
    As much as I love Noah...when you have a chance of getting a super star, truely Matrix like guy that can single handely dominate a game by himself like so few get that player.
    There is only 1 ball though which the Heat is trying to work out.

  • A lot of those shots were bail outs at the end of the shot clock. Like he said they blew a lot of sets. Its a learning process. OKC have had the same personnel and system for a couple years now and were at home with the benefit of being able to play as aggressive as they liked without consequence. Hard to overcome that.

  • In reply to jackhammerebm:

    It was more than that, he came out in the second half throwing up 3's early in the shot clock for no apparent reason, and he went downhill from there.

    First half Rose, any day all day, second half Rose, not so much.

  • Agreed. But it ain't gonna happen. Melo to New York.

  • Plus, I wonder if Boozer and Melo fit together at all. Isn't Boozer a Melo like power forward, except that he does play defense, if you consider rebounding defense, which I do.

  • Can I get a Boozer.

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