It's still a Merry Christmas for Chicago fans

Sure, we lost to the Knicks, and for many Chicago fans that's probably about as bad a loss as you can get.   The Knicks love shooting from distance against the Bulls apparently, as they went ape crap from beyond the arc again, which basically was the difference in the game just like last time.

Of course, you could also blame the loss on Derrick Rose forcing bad offense at the end of the game, lack of defense, some Christmas calls for the Knicks, or a general failure to play Bulls basketball, but a 40% performance from beyond the arc by the Knicks, and the Bulls win the game. 

However, despite the loss, don't get too down.   The winning percentage of remaining opponents for the Bulls is the lowest in the NBA.  Despite Noah's injury, despite today's loss, things are looking good for Chicago.  

The team should get Noah back with plenty of time to gel for the playoffs, and they're a mortal lock as a top 5 seed since they have no challenger in the central.   The East is so top heavy at this point that there may not be a real advantage to finishing 3rd rather than 4th.

Right now, finishing 3rd lands you Orlando in round 1 and Miami in round 2.  I'll take 4th with those matchups, but by April things are likely to look entirely different.  However it works, there's no use sweating the seeding just yet, and it's a great time to sit back and be happy that we have Derrick Rose and a fun team to watch even if they didn't show it today.

As for the game, well with the Christmas festivities, I can't say I was watching it with as much care as I normally would.  It was on in the background as I put together toys, cleaned up the house and entertained guests.

Some general observations though:

Derrick Rose played kinda totally awful

He had a couple stretches where he annihilated the Knicks on offense, but he had a lot of stretches where he couldn't get anything done offensively and his defense left plenty to be desired.   He looked like he was sleep walking through the gaem for large stretches wasn't pushing the pace, and generally didn't look like the Derrick Rose we know.

Carlos Boozer crushed offensively, not so much defensively

He just beasted inside, especially on the offensive glass.   He was having his way with Amare Stoudemire offensively.   Unfortunately, the reverse was true for as much as the two were matched up.  The Bulls frequently played other players on Amare who tore up everyone who was on them.

Boozer defended the pick and roll pretty terribly most of the day, not providing enough help on the drive, hedging the screen well, etc.. It's telling that he was the Bulls best option offensively by far, but was still -13 on the court for the day.

Bogans is killing us

Seriously, he had about five wide open looks in the third period from behind the three point line and just passed out of them or missed.   The Bulls need someone who's at least a threat to shoot the wide open jumper even if he's not a dead eye shooter. 

If not, might as well play Brewer and let him at least attack the basket with the dribble or off ball cut.

Quick thoughts

Most of the rest of the team played as you'd expect.   Luol was particularly bad early, but played better in the 2nd half.  He gave the Bulls a slim chance to make a run at the end by knocking down a three.

Kurt Thomas keeps playing hard and made a few plays at the end, but looked really overmatched against a more athletic front court. Despite that, he was the only Bull with a positive plus/minus.

Korver did knock down 2 of 4 threes, but he's still not playing or shooting well IMO.

Overall, the Bulls defended the pick and roll bad, gave up too many open looks from the three point line and didn't play Bulls basketball.

Comments

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  • at what point do we stop giving thibs the benefit of doubt with bogans? until recently, we've all assumed that thibs was privy to some knowledge that the rest of us didn't understand. However, right now, i'm more than willing to yell at thibs every first or third that bogans starts.

  • Final thought, yes it's still a very MERRY CHRISTMAS but watching these other teams shooting guards score when needed is depressing knowing that the Bulls do not posses such an option. Maybe Thibs is trying to force Gar and Pax to make a trade by playing Bogans cause his terrible play is so obvious. Rose and Boozer cannot do it alone. I said before if those two have a bad game or go cold in scoring who else will step up and score when needed,and I will say it again... Deng is too inconsistent. Sorry but the truth hurts sometimes.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Reese1, you and I have been in agreement for some time.

    Bulls rode as far as they could on the backs of Rose and Boozer. This Bulls roster does not have the wings to truly contend. When GarPax finds a way to add a legitimate 3rd scoring option (not just a role player) to star alongside Rose and Boozer is the day we fans can start to entertain thoughts about contending.

    I'm not saying GarPax has an easy task - no one said building a contender was easy. I'm just saying that's the reality.

    But I don't think Thibs is trying to force a trade. Rather, I believe GarPax need to trade Bogans to prevent Thibs from playing him anymore. Oh, and come January 10th don't guarantee the contract of Thibs other pet Lucas.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yeah I know Edward, I mean I know It's only one game as some fans will continue to say but it is what it is... this team either needs to start Brewer at the shooting guard position or management must get creative and put in the work for a trade. The Bulls may have to lose some valuable assets to get something done but to solve the obvious, this is what they might have to do.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    he's not just inconsistent. he's unable to get his own shot. When teams take rose out of the game. Double boozer, it'd be nicer if one of our other wing players could get their own shots.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    Yep and come playoff time that's what teams will be targeting, shutting down Rose and Boozer in order to make someone else beat them and the Bulls don't have that at the moment.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Yes, the roster holes are obvious to the realistic fans, but the solution is not so obvious.

    Because after dumping assets to clear massive capspace in the LeBron hunt(Hinrich and Bulls 2010 1st round pick; Salmons and Bulls 2011 and 2012 2nd round picks) our Bulls are asset-strapped and have little of value they can afford to trade. So filling the obvious holes is not going to be easy or quick.

    Think of what shape Bulls would be in if Charlotte didn't foolishly trade Bulls a 1st round pick for Tyrus Thomas. Just 4 months later in free agency Charlotte could have offered Tyrus that same $40mil/5 years and gotten him while keeping their 1st round draft pick. All NBA teams knew Bulls would not match offers to resign Tyrus and I somehow doubt there would have been a competition to sign Tyrus to a $40mil/5years offer sheet.

    So I think Bulls got a little lucky with that Charlotte trade. But now they're going to need another stroke of good fortune to fill the SG hole with a real quality starter. I know we're all keeping our fingers crossed.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I'm pretty sure the Bobcats didn't have the cap space to offer over the MLE. The Bulls might not have matched a MLE offer anyway, but I can see the logic in the Bobcats obtaining his bird rights.

    The funny thing is if Tyrus actually played like his has this year he'd be great for us. Tyrus is finally making shots on offense and playing great as a 20 minute a night energy big. If we had him you'd be able to trade Gibson with no regrets at all. Of course being traded was the kick in the butt that Tyrus probably needed and he wouldn't be doing that on the Bulls, but it's funny how he's finally doing something to suggest why he was a #4 draft pick only 4 years too late.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Yeah, Tyrus is a perfect example of why I'm for the 20 year rule David Stern is pushing for in the new CBA. No more one-and-dones coming to the NBA.

    Some people feel differently but that's my opinion.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Ya know, I feel like no-one saw what my wife and I saw... which was just lack of finish: ample opportunity to win this game throughout, killed by missed open jumpers, missed lay-ins, missed tip-ins, missed short jumpers, missed open threes by specialists, missed short push-shots by The Man... and missed free throws. EVERYONE on the team who usually scores, from DRose and Boozer through Deng and Korver and right down to the recently reliable Kurt, all of them missed multiple Gimmes. Call it Christmas on the road, bad luck, an off day, or whatever, it makes me want to stick something in my eye! (Doug, that was an irresponsible metaphor you used! - now my wife is hiding the car keys and hemostat...)

    That said, you KNOW we shoulda coulda won that game, in spite of no Jo and Too MucH Bogans and the rest of it. Doug is right, we'll be fine, let's just hope the guys get Pissed Off enough to take tear strips off the Pistons tomorrow! Happy Holidays, I've got some yummy leftovers to go heat up now... see ya!

  • In reply to petert23:

    I think that was the biggest thing, the fact that everybody on the team was sleepwalking and not used to playing at 12 pm est. Still, if Boozer gets the right call of the and 1 instead of the charge there midway through the 4th, I think the bulls pull this one out.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    All I want for Christmas is the Luol Deng who plays at the United Center to show up for road games.

    He's shooting 50% (and 45% from three) at home and 40% (33% from three) on the road. The Bulls have an 11-3 home record and a 7-7 road record because at home they have one of the best third options in the league, on the road they have a complete scrub.

    I thought Deng had turned it around due to Boozer being back, but we go back on the road and he's back to not being able to hit shots.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    it's really not his fault. After we signed brewer, korver, and boozer, we became the chicago jazz. As a consequence ALL of our players became better at home, and worse on the road. it's a curse, so it's really not his fault.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    lol

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    TRUE OR FALSE?

    http://twitter.com/ChrisMannixSI/status/18766370900545537

    It needs to be Melo (NBA Finals) and/or Nick Young (ECF).

    PERIOD!!!

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    That is an encouraging tweat, but the answer is FALSE because those aren't the only two options.

    Sure I'd love to have Melo and like to have Nick Young, but Bulls are not likely winners for those two players as Bulls have little to trade that other teams want and Melo and his wife have their heart set on the NY area. I'm surprised they haven't shared that with you.

    Bulls can't foolishly overpay (Gibson + Charlotte pick + more) unless its for a sure thing impact player. Who knows something may develop in the next 2 months where Bulls can get good value in a trade. But Bulls should not over pay now before the new CBA and lose what little they have in extra assets.

    Bulls are operating at an asset-deficit from the salary and draft pick dumps made during the LeBron hunt (see my post above) and so don't have assets galore to through around in trades.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I'm sure Chicago is active, but it's one thing to be making calls, it's another thing to have the pieces to get things done.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Shakes, that's a fascinating stastic. Anyone know if this has been true before in his career? Either way, that's something that CAN be worked with, once identified, to improve consistency - and you're right, that third option is critical and consistency is all we ask for. Dammit, it seems Korver is way better at home than on the road too...

  • In reply to petert23:

    No, he's generally been pretty good on the road, which is why it's surprising. Last couple of years it's been Kirk that was the awful road player.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Look I agree we need a shooting guard bad regardless of whether or not Brewer/Korver gets in the starting lineup. Even if Brewer gets the nod we need another perimeter weapon. But these things are obtained over time. The vast majority of trades will happen much closer to the deadline. Have some faith, to quote Edward "any realistic fan" knows that Garpax are working the phones, they aren't just sitting around playing Solitaire and listening to Doug Thonus podcasts. You guys that repeat over and over that we need another scorer, aren't in the minority, but what good does the constant worry do? We're all better off enjoying what we do have and have some good faith that management will do what it takes. Remember, even if we fail to make a trade, we have an excellent core and we will be able to pick up a SG at the MLE so long as it exists, and every day that passes, and with every dumb move Michael Jordan(respect) makes, that Charlotte pick becomes better and better trade bait. You boys would feel a lot better about the Bulls if you just took the time to enjoy what we do have, and let the future take care of itself. I know you guys are rabid fans, like I am, and its hard not to look to the negatives, but lets let this thing play out before we make judgements on the organization.

  • First, I'm new in this blog. i want u to excuse me because of my bad english. i'm from congo, i speak french not english.

    no seriously we're not capable of beating orlando, boston or miami in a playoffs serie. We're good but not enough. I think our greatest weakness is the bench. When Rose gets out, we always looser our leads, the offense didn't move. In my mind, the blame is on Watson. He can't carry a second unit as the PG, he is not a real PG.

    We must trade Thomas for a back-up PG (duhon, gibson, telfair, sessions, jarret jack, TJ ford ...) then trade Watson or Brewer, johnson and with charlotte pick for a SG(Lee, JR smith, Marcus Thorton, anthony morrow, Nick young ...). What about bringing back kirk hinrich or flip murray ?? I still ask myself why this organization let him without anything in return. They could have ask at least nick young or a first pick round from wizards. C' mon hinrich isn't a kind of player u can just throw away like that : he can play 1 and 2, replace rose and bogans, can defends and can knock down open shot. We really missed Hinrich.

    Anyway, what's done is done. But we must get a better back-up PG and a good a SG if not Boston, Miami and orlando are beating us anytime.

  • okay now even I am on board with the out withBogans movement...I do see him talking a lot of defense which is somethig new for the Bulls but the passing up of open shots like he did makes him USELESS on offense....not much of a ball handler either...now if only Ronnie Brewer could really finish around the hoop...say what is Larry Hughes up to? (a joke I swear it!)

  • In reply to drob:

    +1000. Bogans is kiling us, Raja bell, James posey, Bruce bowen, carlos arroyo... can hit open shots. But bogans... !!!

  • I understand what you are saying Doug but lets be realistic... the Bulls need to do something, either start Brewer or they are gonna have to give up one of those assets cause Bogans is like you said... he is killing this team and it is painfully obvious. You make it sound like the Bulls should just settle. Like I said before, the Bulls are probably going to make some sort of trade cause I can't see them starting Bogans for this long for no reason. Thibs was with Boston the past three years and made 2 championship runs with them, he has to know that this team needs to make some serious changes and some of those changes might not be too popular with most Bulls fans. I expect something to happen if not sooner or the trade deadline.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    It is not just passing up or missing his open looks that kills us with Bogans. I remember a time where Booz was posting up and Bogans had the ball on the wing and couldnt make an entry pass cause his guy totally sagged off him so all he could do was rotate the ball. His inability to keep any defenders honest is killing e whole team.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    That is so true, an adjustment needs to be made one way or another cause why go to the playoffs and every team that they play will know exactly what to do to keep them from scoring at critical moments.

  • Yes, Bulls are handcuffed and asset-strapped. How depressing to realize that Bulls don't have a 2nd round pick the next two years due to Salmons salary dump and yet received a nasty Christmas present from 2nd round rookie Landry Fields.

    Also, check out whose playing some significant SG minutes for San Antonio on a $500,000 salary.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/4796/gamelog;_ylt=AmpleXVV5bicF8V9dWrh4P2kvLYF

    It happens every year where a legitimate player falls through the cracks. Without trade assets Bulls other option is the "unpolished diamond" route of developing their own SG talent. But that can't happen while Bulls are wasting valuable development minutes on 31 yr old Keith Bogans.

    Unless GarPax are willing to trade Gibson and Charlotte pick or both (and I don't think they are) that may be their remaining option.

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