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.
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.