Woops, apologies folks, but I had the pre-game thread set to 'draft' rather than published, so no stub for game talk.
Anyway, the Bulls overcame a disastrous first half where they allowed the second worst offense in the league to pile up 61 points. Whatever Tom Thibodeau says at half time needs to be bottled and sold though, as the Bulls frequently come out and play significantly better in the second half.
That was the case again tonight, as they held the Cavs to only 30 points in the second half and broke open the game in the third quarter holding the Cavs to only nine.
The Cavs won three of four periods, but they REALLY lost the third
Derrick Rose simply crushed the Cavaliers in the third looking like the MVP candidate he is with 5 assists and 12 points in the period. The Bulls looked absolutely dominant over the course of the third shutting down the Cavs and getting whatever they wanted on offense.
However, outside of the third, which the Bulls won by 23 points, they lost the other three periods by a combined 14 points.
Why has it been such a struggle?
It's been a long time since we, as Bulls fans, discussed a stretch of games where we won 13 of 15 and thought the team could have played significantly better and were disappointed in the two losses.
Do you really call a team that's won 13 of it's last 15 "struggling"? However, watching this team on the court, they seem to have a hard time putting away lousy teams, frequently trailing in games in the first half or letting the teams hang around.
I can't decide if our expectations are simply too high or whether it's really reasonable to complain about this.
Tom Thibodeau knows how to adjust particularly on defense
While the Bulls have struggled against a bunch of fairly mediocre teams at times, they typically have come out of halftime making all the adjustments they need to make to win the games.
The Bulls second half defense has typically been tremendous, and I think that's a sign of an extremely good coach.
The Bulls aren't a running team
The Bulls aren't a good running team right now. That seems absurd with Derrick Rose at PG, but with a front court of Boozer/Thomas the Bulls have little point to breaking.
If Derrick can lead a break and finish himself then all well and good, but otherwise, their early offense isn't yielding the same type of points it would when Joakim Noah is in there.
The team's personality has just shifted, and they can't get into these up and down battles like the first half against Cleveland. They simply aren't built for it right now.
The UC loves JJ Hickson
Really, can we please just change the big mac promotion to be a win and drop the 100 so we can stop booing Bulls for missing irrelevant shots or free throws? Always amusing when the fans go nuts for Hickson for making a moronic, game delaying foul though just so you can get your free hamburger that you probably won't cash in anyway.
Btw people, you can cash in your dunkin donuts coupons or big mac coupons regardless of who wins. If you feel like being a cheapskate just go pick up all the coupons people toss on the floor after losing and get yourself a dozen donuts the next day.
The players don't seem content with the way they're winning. Neither does the coach. Listening to the post game comments, there's always an air of disappointment. While the level of play probably isn't making anyone happy, it's still getting the job done at the end of the day. No one can realistically complain about 13/15 no matter how easy the schedule is.
That said, I think going through some struggles while still winning games probably helps the team. They get the feel of some adversity without the negative effects on their record.
In terms of seeding the Bulls are 2 losses ahead of Orlando, 1 behind Miami, and 3 behind Boston. It will be interesting to see where they land at the end of the season.