Thougths on Bulls vs Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks first team was able to take out the Bulls second team down the stretch to get the win as Dirk, Terry, and and Butler played at the end of the game.  Apparently the Mavericks didn't want to go 0-2 at home in preseason, but for an old team it struck me as an odd decision.   

In terms of the Bulls, they ran a lot of offense through the big men
starting at the high post or having the big men actually use some
dribble penetration.   Joakim Noah had six assists on the night, and if
he had played a normal amount of minutes would have flirted with a
triple double.  He looked much better than against the Bucks.

The Bulls three point shooting was again a rather unimpressive 6-21, but
that's misleading, because of the guys who will actually play for the
Bulls, they were 6-16 which isn't awesome, but is a solid percentage. 
John Lucas chucked up an 0-5 to make things feel a lot worse.   

Probably the best news when it comes to three point shooting was Luol
Deng knocked down 2-4 bringing him up to 3-7 on the preseason. 
Obviously, seven attempts isn't much of a sample size, but 3-4 shots a
game and 33%+ percentage is what we want from Deng, and he's done it
both games. It's also worth noting that at least two of his three makes
weren't corner threes, but were from the wing (though for the life of me
I can't remember the third, so maybe it was also from the wing too). 
That represents a longer three and hints that his range has actually
improved (or he's gotten lucky so far since the sample size is small).  

The news wasn't so good for Derrick Rose's shooting from distance as he
went 0-3 (though one was a heave at the end of the half, so let's throw it out), and is now 0-3 (4) on the preseason. That said, the preseason is
the time to work on things like this and see if he can integrate them
into his game.  I'm happy with Derrick taking three threes a game, but I
hope in a typical game he'll knock down one of them.  Granted, again,
small sample size doesn't mean much in terms of his overall accuracy,
and overall I like the fact that he's attempting to integrate the shot
into his game.

However, ignoring the threes, Rose played very well while on the floor. 
He did a great job ramping up the tempo and making things happen in
transition, and at times he turned possessions into fast breaks when
there was a Maverick with a 20 foot head start down the court.  Get rid
of the threes, and he shot 7-12 for 17 points on the night, and he's now
at 10 free throw attempts in 54 minutes on the season.  That represents
6.6 FTAs per 36 minutes which improves tremendously on what he averaged last year.   Again, small sample size, but the early returns
are promising.

Kieth Bogans went three for three from the three point line, so we'll
take that.  Obviously a great night for him shooting, but if he can give
us solid shooting then he's doing everything we need.  He also had
three assists, and two steals and generally picked his spots and played
really well in his small role.   

Kyle Korver was unable to follow up his 22 point performance where he
looked like a goto man with a similar performance.  He started off slow,
but still managed to score 10 points on 8 shots on a night where it
didn't feel like he played well.   That's exactly what we need from
Korver, so I'm still quite happy with his performance.  He even had a
tough physical rebound in traffic once which surprised me.

After watching Scalabrine play tonight, I feel I may have underestimated
him some.  It became fairly clear how this guy gets on the court.  He's
just very heady on both ends of the floor.  He had five fouls, but at
least two of the five were head scratchers where he got hosed.   He also
was 0-3 from the field, but he made so many good decisions with the
ball, set up guys with quality shots, and generally did a far better job
on defense than you'd think his athleticism would allow.  I was left
thinking if we could merge Scalabrine's mind with James Johnson's body
that we'd have a star on our hands.

As touched on briefly earlier, John Lucas appeared to try to shoot his
way off the team as fast as possible.  He just chucked up everything,
and appeared to try to shoot his way out of his slump.  He had no
turnovers, but his ball handling looked more suspect than you'd expect
for a guy handling it as much as him with no turnovers.  

Kurt Thomas played much better in his second preseason game.  He
appeared to have no lift to rebound at all in the fist game, but this
game he did a better job establishing position to compensate for a lack of athleticism and did a nice job on the
boards which is what you'd ask for out of Kurt.  Obviously, at this
point, we kind of know what Kurt can bring or not bring regardless of
what he's going to do in preseason though, but it was still nice to see
him play a bit better.

Overall thoughts, I liked the Bulls defense more in this game, they held
Dallas to  a mere .387 FG%, and I think many of the trips to the foul
line the Mavericks received were kind fo sketchy.  The Bulls lost this
game on the glass again with the Mavericks having 18 offensive rebounds
to the Bulls 27 defensive rebounds.  That's the second game in a row
allowing a completely unacceptable level of offensive rebounding to the
opponent, and both times turned games the Bulls could have won into

That said, the Bulls first team was beating up the Mavericks first team
in this game, and the game swung when the Mavericks first team continued
to play against the Bulls deep bench with Lucas, Scalabrine, Korver,
Johnson, and Thomas being the lineup that was abused at the end of the
game by Dirk, Butler, Terry, and two other guys, so I feel pretty good about the Bulls coming out of this one.

Interesting side note, the Bulls have now only had 25 turnovers across two games which is
quite impressive for preseason action where usually players aren't in
sync as much.  Especially given the turnover on the roster, and the new
system, the players have done a great job of hanging onto the ball.


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  • If Rose is able to shoot above 50% from the floor and get to the line 7 times a game, he doesn't need to shoot a single 3 all season. He shoot 49% last year with only 60 3's. If he can consistently hit the open elbow jumper, that's all the bulls need to be successful.

  • i think deng will have a big season. but why wont a coach or even his teammates tell him to protect the ball when he goes to the hoop??!!! he gets stripped every time. And this game was no different. Each time he went to the hoop the ball got stripped. its like no one notices it or something.

  • I agree..With Rose being a little fatigued from FIBA or getting hurt by any chance...we will be in trouble. Kyle Weaver looked ok but we should see how he performs with the second team when he is drawing more attention.
    Actually, Scalabrine was trying to be the backup PG...he was dishing out the ball. I heard Brewer will be able to do some PG duties. We need to give another game for Lucas..but he might be in trouble because Watson will come back the next game and he will lose his minutes.

  • I was very disappointed with the play of James Johnson. Those two loose ball fouls in the 4th killed us. He seemed lazy and unfocused out there. Great that he lost the weight over the summer, but is that the extent of his commitment to make the team?

  • I see lots of positives from these 2 games.
    We should not trade Deng,Taj,and JJ for Melo. I like our versatility with these 3 and we would regret trading them if we did. Deng is a borderline All-Star and now with his 3pt range is very deadly, he is playing great D and is a 2nd or 3rd option in scoring on this team.
    JJ is so scared and is trying to hard and needs to slow it down and keep learning from Pippen, he can be a very good player but is very raw still but has all the potential there just needs to let it come to him and be smart.
    Taj did a awesome job for us last year and won the job away from a athletic freak in Tyrus Thomas because he is so stable and you know he will work and get the job done and not make stupid fouls etc...
    I like Weaver a lot!!! He could play the Salmons role for us, maybe not be a SF backup but could back up Rose a little and our SG.
    I agree we need a true backup for Rose! CJ Watson could be it but hasn't played good so far.
    I really wish T pulled Lucas that guy single handedly shot us out of the game and didn't do anything else.
    I'm like Ginger Scab he's a smart player and does a lot for how unathletic he looks.
    Funny point about making a Scab/JJ hybred...could have a near Lebron player there!!! :-)
    JJ has the size to be a SG/SF/PF for us depending on what scheme we play. I think he makes his mark on defense like Bowen did.
    I have high hopes for JJ still, hang in there and keep learning and getting better playing with Pippen.

  • I think Brewer not being around is really being missed. It's great to see Deng being as strong as he is, and Korver's #s but we still need Brewer.


    I hope the same thing doesn't happen to Kyle Weaver as it did to Derrick Byars.

    Kyle Weaver needs to see more action on the floor, compared to Dickey Johnson.

    It's D-LEAGUE or TRADE for Dickey, unless the Bulls' brass continue to be stubborn.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Why on earth do you call him Dickie. Call the man by his name.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Doug I think that if someone told him to "protect the ball" he would not be STRIPPED EVERYTIME he goes to the hoop because he is conscious of it and may result to more fouls as well.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Someone needs to teach the Bulls players how to pump fake a defender in the air an draw the foul. Fouls get you to the line for easy points and get the other team in foul trouble, but yet WE NEVER DO IT. Billups an Richard Hamilton an Paul Pierce, Kobe etc.... do it all day long.

    Bogans had a nice showing last night. Kurt Thomas will be solid all year long. Scalabrine is solid an a smart player. James Johnson actually scored some buckets last night....that was really nice to see...Hopefully he continues that. John Lucas was a big ball hog in the summer league too, so last night didnt suprise me lol Korver is solid, Taj is solid. Deng needs to get stronger, hes a wimp. Asik is a nice enjoy watching him. He will only get better. Brewer is going to be really good when he comes back. He is a very athletic player.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Is no one else concerned that Rose is still not distributing the ball?? He had 2 assists! That's great!..... IF YOU'RE A CENTER!.

    I dunno, its just a bit annoying when you see this John Wall kid come out of the gates with almost a double double in his first 2 games.. I just hope Rose doesn't become to shot heavy and needs the rock in his hands all the time. I hope to see him use his dribble penetration ability to create plays for others.. Because that's when he'll really be unstoppable.

  • In reply to rustumt:

    Sorry csharp, that wasn't meant to be a reply to yours.

  • In reply to rustumt:

    I am not really sure why so many people talk badly about Deng (some even in this post). Deng has been one of the bright spots so far this pre-season. His defense has been great & is shooting well. csharp - why is he a wimp? He has been our most solid defender so far.

  • In reply to rustumt:

    On a seperate note, I am really hoping Brewer is going to be healthy this season. There are many people doubting that he and Deng should be in the starting line-up together because they have similar strengths (mainly defense), but I am getting quite excited to see it. I thinbk these two could possible be the best tandem wing defenders in the leauge if healthy. And if these past 2 games aren't a fluke, Deng will be able to stretch the the floor, score down low, and make strong cuts to the basket. I also like the idea of Korver anchoring our bench scoring.

  • In reply to rustumt:

    Scalabrine being out there really seemed to kelp Asik defensively. he said that on d the big men have to be very vocal and Scalabrine really was. assuming that any player where english is their second language, it must be difficult to be vocal and be a leader for the rest of the team. i liked kyle weaver as well, but ive always kinda liked him. he did a good job for okc 2 seasons ago, until they got thabo, and well he was injured last seasons. jj really showed flashes that overall hes gonna be a better player than say, sam young. jj on d, blocking dirk, that was great. over all bulls 2nd and 3rd even 4th line against the stars of dallas, very good game. and as usually, no one really cares about a preseason record. i just like to see who plays well with which players. wall vs rose will be fun tonight.

  • In reply to rustumt:

    There's something different about this Bulls team already. I think Doug hit on it with the 12 turnovers per game which is obviously good. I can't remember for some time the Bulls moving the ball this well as a team. No one on one, standing around dead zones.

    One thing a lot of the Bulls players do is when there's an openng they simply try to run/drive to the basket and often miss forced up shots with extended arms/hands in their faces.

    Good NBA offensive teams have players with patented/signature half court/ mid to low post moves to get open. Baby Davis, Perkins, Pierce etc. all have known moves to get space to can short jumpers around the basket. Not everyone can hit threes or get to the line many times a game. But they can develop some patented moves to get open and can easy shots.

    Noah has shown he can hit that righty hook. Taj has some post moves. But Deng, Noah etc. too many times just try to drive to the basket instead of having one reliable counter move. It's hard to believe Thibs doesn't see this lack of high percentage conversion game. Hopefully he will have Lu, Jo, and Tak working on these, and we will see more signature moves to produce, and not just unskilled wild runs/drives to the basket.

    I was hoping Taj would look stronger/heavier this season, but can't see any difference. But the rap on him will be at his age and body type that's not going to happen. It does take time though for most skinny bigs who are eventually successful so I'm not giving up hope.

    From what I've seen of this team so far my biggest question marks are Brewer(health/seeing him actually play), Watson(looked awful), and Derrick seeing if he will get better at drawing contact, and not leaving himself open to sprawling into the lane to get knocked down hard instead of using fakes and collecting himself so he's not vulnerable to that.

    If Boozer gets his butt back sooner/early Dec., and Watson and Brewer turn out to be solid players then I think the Bulls will be a top four team in the East. Hopefully Taj will get his shot back, and quit getting into foul trouble under Thibs because he and Joakim together can be a defensive menace under Thibs particularly.

    Finally, I hope Thibs at some point soon shows a little humor/comraderie with the players that good coaches do. Guys don't respect someone who's a carping/admonishing presence all the time. Though understandable as they are raw for his system/what he's implementing. Still, he needs to show some carrot and back off the stick just a little at some point.

  • In reply to rustumt:

    I like Deng....i just think he needs to get tougher. A tougher mentalility. Attack the rim, attack the defense...dont settle for long range jump shots. Post some people up, draw contract, jump into defenders. Be aggressive. He's just soft lol I guess thats what im saying. Hes to nice....he needs to get a mean streak or something.

  • the mind of Scal and he body of JJ, isn't that almost always the problem, if it weren't we would have entire teams of AllStars and All NBA players.

  • that 6.6 FTA per36 rose is getting is worthless; or at least, it tells me its going to be business as usual come the regular season. look at the boxscores: refs always call a lot of fouls preseason.

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