The Chicago Bulls fell to the Clippers on Derrick Rose's missed free throw. The loss of Noah was obvious on the court, and Taj Gibson leaving the game with a concussion didn't help things much either.
If only Kurt Thomas had fouled out earlier the Bulls may have had a chance. In any one point loss, you can point to many things that caused the loss.
The referees were not exactly a neutral crew
Blake Griffin was getting Tim Duncan after a 5 minute rant respect out there. Taj Gibson got a foul for his chest getting in the way of Blake's lowered shoulder. He drew two charges on ridiculous flops, and basically got every call. Derrick Rose was slammed to the ground a couple times without getting the call. He was upended with an arm to the chest which caused him to land on his back and turned him horizontal with no play on the ball, but did not get a flagrant.
On the flipside, the Bulls did get every call late in the game (though those were accurate calls), so it's hard to say the refs were biased against the Bulls and trying to make them lose (or else they would have made them non calls), but the early action by the refs really hurt the Bulls by taking players out of the game for extended stretches, and the Clippers got a bunch of bad calls in their favor.
I'm not a conspiracy theory guy. The league has no interest in having the Clippers beat the Bulls. A strong Chicago team is better for the league. It was just one of those poorly reffed games, we've had a couple poorly reffed games in our favor as well. It's just the way things go.
Derrick Rose had a really sloppy first half, before transforming into the MVP in the second half, before missing the final free throw
Hard to say much negative about Derrick, but in the first half he was really sloppy with his ball handling and wasn't generating the offense he could have. He had several unforced turnovers,and let the Bulls fall behind by too much.
Still, with 34 points on the night and 24 shots, it's hard to really make that claim, he stepped up big time in the second half and simply didn't get any help.
Carlos Boozer collected too many cheap fouls, but Thibodeau should have put him in earlier
Boozer collected his 5th foul early in the fourth on a ridiculous flop by Griffin after sitting with four fouls. At this point, Thibodeau sent Boozer back to the bench. I would have continued to play Boozer the rest of the quarter, because the Bulls needed his offense.
Note, that Boozer didn't foul out of the game. Maybe if he played one more minute he would have fouled out, maybe two more minutes, or maybe he would have played all nine minutes without fouling out and given the Bulls more offense.
Most coaches theorize that they should save guys for the end of the game, but if the Bulls had kept their best players in the game earlier, then they may not have needed miracles at the end even if that player fouls out. In the end, by benching your player to save them, you're always minimizing the amount of minutes he could give you, so don't do it.
Seriously, playing Bogans hurts so much
Not that either were amazing, but both Watson and Brewer were considerably better than Bogans. At half time, I was screaming to myself "please don't start Bogans in the second half, please please!". Bogans just gives you nothing. 15 minutes, one missed shot, one assist, one rebound, one turnover. It's a typical Bogans line. Maybe on a good night he hits two of there shots, but he's just not offering enough to continue playing.
Why Kurt Thomas and not James Johnson?
If ever there was a game to throw James Johnson into it, this was it. On his good days, he can impact the game with his athleticism, the Clippers aren't sound enough defensively to consistently capitalize on his mistakes, and he would have put some extra pressure on the Clippers offensively that Asik and Thomas were not doing.
It got to the point I was hoping Thomas would foul out already just to get Johnson or small ball on the court. He was just so slow. He killed the team on offense by attracting absolutely no attention then failing to finish any plays when he did get the ball.
Whatever toughness he had did little to impact Griffin, whom he simply fouled whenever he got the ball. It's not to blame Thomas, he is who he is at this point.
Kyle Korver, you're better than that
Korver had a terrible run with the reserves early and never was given much of an opportunity after that. This highlights my issue with the way the Bulls use Korver though. Running him out with the reserves has him as the primary play maker where he's likely to struggle.
Start him over Bogans and let him space the floor rather than play in a role as a shot creator. As a floor spacer who just shoots open shots, Korver is far more deadly and creates much more room for Derrick Rose.
The Bulls missed Noah dearly, and if they're missing Gibson for any length of time then the big man rotation is going to be in trouble. This was a game made dangerous by the Clippers talent, but the Bulls should have won the game easily. The final score doesn't depict how much the Bulls lost this game either as the Clippers missed 12 free throws.
Hiccup games happen, but the Bulls need to get right back on track next game.