Bulls bench overwhelms Pacers

Bulls bench overwhelms Pacers

With a compressed schedule, teams will rely on the depth more than usual which bodes awfully well for the Chicago Bulls regular season record. The Bulls starters played poorly, but the bench simply overwhelmed the Pacers bench.

The Bulls bench was largely +20 on the night, while the starters, outside of Rose, were largely -10 mostly due to a horrific first quarter.

Jimmy Butler mania starting in 3.. 2..

Jimmy Butler played like a veteran. His statline, 8 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 16 minutes was very solid, and his defense was excellent. He was crisp in his rotations, didn't try to do more than he was capable of, didn't hesitate, and played nothing like a rookie.

That said, it was 16 minutes of preseason action, so let's not get carried away. We've seen glimpses of lots of players who looked outstanding in preseason and failed to translate that over into consistent solid play in the regular season.

However, his play was a strong positive, and he looks poised to give Chicago exactly what they hoped to get out of him. Excellent defense and opportunistic offense.

There's the C.J. Watson we need

C.J. got his scoring on, knocking down all three of his shots from beyond the arc and contributing 15 points on only 10 shot attempts. The Bulls will certainly get a big lift out of C.J. if he can focus a bit more on scoring and a bit less on waiting for Korver to come off double back picks.

So much for Carlos Boozer beasting

Carlos came into camp in great shape, and the reports were that he was simply beasting guys in practice. Maybe he was. However, that certainly didn't translate to the game against the Pacers. Boozer looked as lost as ever on defense, unexplosive on offense, and generally struggled mightily.

Nothing to panic about after one game, but certainly nothing to get excited about either. The Bulls will definitely need Boozer to play significantly better in the playoffs to advance, so hopefully he's able to pick it up.

Sir not appearing in this game

Richard Hamilton didn't play, but we did learn he'll get to wear a headband. Seriously, can we remove the headband rule so that every time we woo a free agent here we don't have to discuss whether he can wear a headband or not?

The Bulls have transitioned into a team that wins on talent

For so long in the Hinrich/Gordon/Deng era, the Bulls would win games by outworking opponents. They'd win by scrappy play, out grinding, and out hustling their opponents. If they didn't dominate in the intangibles, they struggled.

In short, to use a football reference, they won a lot based on "special teams".

Despite holding a two rebound lead overall, the Bulls were dominated on the glass when you view defensive/offensive rebound percentage. They gave up 10 more turnovers than the Pacers, and they had five more fouls leading to 10 less free throws. The kind of stats that would have doomed them in the past.

However, they dominated in every other aspect. They shot near 50% while holding the Pacers to under 40%. Their base offense was able to score, their base defense was able to stop scores. They've transitioned into a team that wins in the core parts of the game rather than requiring an unending supply of hustle and energy to stay ahead.

A strong start

Plenty to work on, but after the first quarter, the Bulls absolutely annihilated the Pacers. The Bulls gave up just 53 points over quarters two through four after allowing 33 in the first. All in all a nice tune up for Chicago against an active, physical opponent.

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  • The refs were calling a really tight game. It got pretty frustrating having them stop play for touch fouls.

    You could definitely tell there's some rust, but I think they settled down nicely. CJ's stroke looked good and Jimmy Butler looked comfortable, which is promising.

    I'd like to see Boozer be more active on offense, and try and bang in the post a bit more instead of settling for those jumpers. I like using Noah at the top of the key as a passer, but I think the Bulls ran it an awful lot. All in all, good win, and I'm glad basketball is back!

  • After watching the Pacers preseason game I am looking forward to one particular transformation concerning the Bulls roster
    Boozer Amnesty = Taj Gibson Extension + Mirotic Signing.
    I see those pieces/transactions being highly related to each other and a great improvement for the Bulls (along with an Asik Extension). Is there any possible way Mirotic can get to the Bulls in 2012? Or must we absolutely wait until 2013?

    I’m sorry, but I have serious doubts Boozer will ever be a starter in the NBA Finals – on any team. He’s just not good enough.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I was just thinking the same thing yesterday while watching some Mirotic highlights on youtube. I wonder if Boozer sees the writing on the wall that GarPax are saving the amnesty clause for him in a year or two? Hopefully he proves us wrong and starts beasting people, given his 20lb weight loss and that he's healthy again.

    I'm not typically a Boozer hater, but I do think the Bulls wouldn't lose much if anything by replacing him with Taj in the starting lineup. I think Boozer's offense is a bit overrated and Taj's O is underrated, which makes it a bit of a wash. Give them equal minutes and I think Taj does more to help them win than Boozer.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Earliest the Bulls would amnesty Boozer is in year 4 of his deal. He'll be here for at least this year and next year IMO.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yes Doug, that is the way the situation looks now - 2 more years of Boozer. I just wish there was some way to accelerate to next season Mirotic's signing with Bulls . Because Mirotic could make Boozer expendable. Another option for next season could be Taj starts and Bulls find a backup PF while amnestying Boozer.

    While Reinsdorf would certainly gag on amnestying 3 seasons of Boozers salary, perhaps Boozer's poor play will make it more palitable.

    The handwriting is on the wall for all who care to read. Boozer is not a championship PF.

  • In reply to Edward:

    palatable. (typo)

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Unfortunately, that is almost certainly the case, unless we could find anyone dumb enough to take Mr Amnesty in trade.

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    If Butler plays like this in the next preseason game, and then maybe in some early bench appearances in the regular season, I think he will have probably earned a spot on the bench– rather than the D-League– for the season. Not only would he be showing that he belongs (and doesn't need capital D "Development"), but in this season's compressed schedule I think there is more role than usual for defense/energy guys off the bench. He could help keep our other 2/3's from wearing down, and hopefully that could also help keep them healthy.

  • In reply to Sitnah7:

    It's just hard to see who Butler replaces.

  • In reply to Sitnah7:

    unfortunately, for Butler we already have a veteran 10 man rotation, which is already too many guys even in the regular season.

    However, next year, when we will have to drop Brewer, Korver and Watson, just to match the offer that Asik is likely to get as a RFA Butler will become essential, so we better develop him to the greatest extent possible this year.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Excellent Point!

    You know how most pundits say the late 1st round draft picks aren't worth much? And its better to have an early 2nd round pick because its not a guaranteed contract? Well, that may be true if the player is a bust, but what about the reverse?

    If a good selection is made, the late 1st round pick is much more valuable! Look at Gibson locked into 4 years at low salary. And now Butler, and soon Mirotic. Don't we wish now that Asik was a late 1st pick instead of a 2nd? We'd have two more years at rookie scale before needing to extend.

  • Nice writing. Obviously Doug built up some steam waiting for NBA basketball to return. His faithful reports throughout the lockout weren't just a going through the motions chore. Genuine, thought out appraisals adressed the events as they transpired. He is without a doubt a true fan of the game But, he's already been patted to death on the back so now let's go win damn some basketball games(that is witness the Bulls doing so).

    I agree from the numbers/ Doug's synopsis that talent won out, but we'll see if guys like C.J. can score points per minute with decent efficiency as the season progresses. Being able to focus more on his scoring as he was effective at G.S. rings true.

    Of course we will need Boozer in the playoffs, but I'd rather play him during the season as a starter in name only. When he's playing well offensively up him to 34 other wise 30 Minutes a game keeps him hungry and healthy(hopefully) plus minimizes lost defensive momentum. And Taj and Joakim in tandem rebound, block shots, defend the interior with the best of them.

    (If) Joakim comes back as an impact/good to very good player his presence along with Taj's defensively and in general will lift this team as it has before. Jo, Taj, and Rip are all big keys for me. Something tells me Derrick is in somewhat of a funk/crossroads even, but if Thibodeau has the players moving forward in positive fashion then he will come around. Derrick in the end, is a winner, though the playoffs/Miami are calling.

    I liked Jimmy Butler in college. But how many guys do you "like" that just doon't have the abiltiy to put the ball in the hole on this elite level or the type of focused mindset needed for night after night, grinding, pro basketball. It's easy to root for him. If he proves he belongs(as he stated) then that bodes well for a talent infusion/pick me up. I'll be glad to be able to watch the game Tuesday night. Joakim, come back full force, and this year(if players are heathy)will end up being a great ride.

  • It was noted on the RealGM board that after the game CBooz went to high five JNoah and Joakim looked at him and turned away.

    I didn't see that, but did see that often when Noah was in motion around the key he continued to be in the same space as Booz and his man.

    It's also been noted that often Noah picks up fouls reacting and covering for Boozer's inadequate rotation.

    It was postulated last year that sooner or later that guys were gonna start reacting to Boozer's inadequacies. Whether picking up fouls or hustling on D for 18 seconds to then have Boozer not rotate and give up an easy 14 footer.

    This team is too close. They know it.

    If Boozer doesn't pick up his game, I believe he'll become this years Bogans. Not 17 minutes per game, but only playing closer to 20.

    Plus his veteran having been there routine will be replaced by Hamilton's quiet leadership.

  • In reply to Waldock:

    I certainly do not want to overreact to Boozer's poor performance in the first (preseason, no less) game of the season. However, if 2011-2012 Boozer looks anything like 2010-2011 Boozer, I think the Bulls FO's decision to not package Taj or Asik in a trade for a larger upgrade at SG was absolutely the right move.

    It's very possible that Gar was hesitant to deal Taj/Asik due to the uncertainty surrounding Boozer, both in his performance and fit with the team. If so, it will be an interesting storyline to follow this season.

  • In reply to bryield:

    Yeah, that wouldn't shock me. Especially if Mirotic looks like the real deal and can be persuaded to come over.

    Of course, that's the tough thing with Mirotic. The Bulls might not get him for 2-4 more years or maybe not at all.

  • In reply to Waldock:

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Boozer. I think the thing with Booz is that if he was giving the team 18 points a game of offense while shooting over 50% then the team could live with his deficiencies on offense.

    However, he wasn't able to manage his offensive load in the playoffs last year, and this preseason game didn't really fill anyone with confidence on what he can do on the offensive end either.

    When Boozer's offense isn't going, it makes it hard to defend him for his defense.

  • I am concerned about Rose more than Boozer or Noah. Off-course, he was the MVP and he is a humble, wants to win kid. But that said, he seems to struggle to pass and have a vision of getting his teammates involved. He seems to want to pass and he does gets assists stats-wise. But, the point is his mentality is to take over more than passing which is ok in some circumstances/situations. If the Bulls are win to a c'ship, he needs to be more patient with his teammates .
    He is trying to either setup the easiest of shots for his teammates by bull-dozing near the basket which works sometimes but doesn't a lot. of times. He needs to take the defenders to other places and then pass/setup teammates. I wish we had Jason Kidd to mentor him for the last couple years.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    He was a pretty good passer at Memphis.

    He didn't originally look to shoot on the Bulls. He was the only one that could originate his own shot and often had to take over.

    He'll do what it takes to win. His assists will go up considerably with Rip.

  • Hanborough is a tough opponent for boozer.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    Yes, that is a true statement. Now think about the implications. Boozer cannot hold his own against the league's better PFs.

    Compare Boozer's defensive effort to rookie Jimmy Butler. Boozer just doesn't have it. Oh, he'll pile on stats in the regular season, but I just don't see Boozer competing well deep in the playoffs. It's a problem solved only by a roster change.

    Bulls have got to realize the problem, but like Bogans, they will never acknowledge it publicly. It will simply come as a headline to an article:
    "Bulls waive Bogans"
    "Bulls amnesty Boozer"

  • In reply to Edward:

    Edward, glad to see that you have joined me on the Bozo the Boozer as Mr. Amnesty, sooner rather than later for both our sake and the Bulls championship hopes sake. But like Doug said, the earliest that Reinsdorf could even fathom swallow giving away all that free money would be the summer of 2013, with "only" 2 years($32million) left on his deal.

    That will also be the season that Taj's new deal as a RFA kicks in, as well as year 2 of Asiks RFA deal, and year 1 of the super luxury tax, so the money might actually work out for JR. And if we are really lucky, it could be year 1 of the Mirotic era, although I think he doesn't get here until the next season(2014).

    So like Doug said, it looks like we are stuck with BTB for at least the next 2 seasons, hopefully not as a fake starter like Bogans was.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    All these things you say are quite true about the timing of the contract extensions and the super luxury tax. And from a money standpoint the logical time to amnesty Boozer is after two more seasons.

    The problem with that timing, which I see very clearly is: BULLS ARE LITERALLY WASTING TWO PRIME YEARS of Rose, Deng, Noah, Taj, and Brewer's careers!

    Boozer can be hidden or managed in the regular season. But in the playoffs his shortcomings hurt the team so much he will keep Bulls from advancing to the Finals as long as he is on the roster. Past the 1st round of the playoffs teams have 6'10-11" PFs and deep frontlines with size. Boozer can't compete against that.

    I'd rather have a one year contract on a PJ Brown type than Boozer.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    He shouldn't be. He's not dominant in size or athleticism. If you can't score on Hansbrough then it's not getting any easier against anyone else.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    How about we trade Boozer and Deng for Hansbrough and Paul George, and we save $20 million per too boot.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I like a lot of your comments, but this one is out there... I just cannot see why Indy would take that trade.

  • In reply to Swish14U:

    I was being totally facectious, however, I realize that it is not always obvious in print.

  • The chemistry between Noah and Gibson is great, they work together well on defense and offense even though they're not offensive titans. We saw this solid chemistry at the beginning of last year when boozer was out and Noah and Gibson getting double doubles and playing solid defense. Trading Gibson is downright dangerous. Hopefully the Bulls braintrust stops being cheap and arrogant and amnesty boozer in a year or so because he will hold this team back and take up precious cap space. The Heat have no problem spending up the dough and getting veterans to come on board.

  • I was wrong about Boozer. He sucks.

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    I think Jimmy Butler looks to be NBA-ready right from the start.

    The thing is, this wasn't really a pre-season game. Technically it is but this was by far the most competitive pre-season game I've seen in a while.

    Teams have to come out and play like the regular-season here or else they don't have time to prepare

  • 1. One thing we need to look for as RW pointed out is Noah's play. His jump shot looks broken and did he make even one? Without Noah or Asik getting their 12-15 foot jumper working, it will be tough for both Rose and Boozer.

    2. Watching Boozer does give you that feeling that even if he is probably smart, his 'at the moment' instincts are terrible for defense. I feel the same with Rose(not as bad as Booze) but Rose seems to overplay on defense instead of using his strength/height on the other player. But we need to wait for Boozer to let go of his rust before we come to conclusion on his offense this year.

    I think Boozer will have a better year than Rose and Noah in the sense of improvement from their last year's performances. Rose 's skills which have to improve are more difficult to improve so fast and I just don't trust Noah on being consistent with his energy.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Sorry to say, but that is nucking futs.

  • I suggested this last season, and now with Rip aboard maybe we should move Boozer to the bench mob, where he could be what he essentially already is the Ben Gordon of power forwards.

    This move might provide better offense/defense balance between the starters and the bench mob.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree that this makes more sense for us - I like the way Taj and Jo play together, especially, if Taj starts to bring more offense.

    However, I don't think there is any way that Boozer would be able to handle that demotion. He would completely shut down... we could only do this midway through the season, if his play continues to be horrible. And at that point, we would do so with the realization that amnesty is imminent.

    This was just one game... Boozer will definitely play better. I really hope to see that Booz an Jo learn how to leverage each other in the high/low post.

  • Boozer and Korver together, even against the other teams bench, would be far too Defensively challenged.

  • In reply to Waldock:

    I totally agree with you, and I vehemently pointed it out many times last year, if you go back to last season they often played together, usually at the end of the 2nd and 4rth quarters.

    However, if Boozer's play continues to trend downward, especially on the offensive end, and the Bulls find themselves falling behind in the first quarter of every game then we might not have any choice.

    I am fairly certain that Rip and Taj will produce more PPG, as well as give up fewer PPG than Bogans and Boozer did last season. Boozer ought to be able to score more easily against second units and should hurt us less on defense against second units.

    Additionally, the problem with Boozer is not Noah, but the problem with Noah is having to carry that extra 265 lbs, or is it now only 245.

    It just becomes a matter of producing the best, most consistent plus minus lineups throughout the entire game, rather than having to battle back from early deficits in the first and third quarters. Boozer, the big egomaniac/baby is just going to have to live with what is best for the team while stealing his $15+ million per year.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Boozer's biggest limitation is he is tremendously undersized for PF and has little lift (combined with zero defensive fundamentals). So when Booz goes against a good power forward or a good frontline with some size (playoff teams), he cannot finish at the rim, he plays scared on offense - short arming those little flips towards the basket hoping he doesn't get blocked. This is in great contrast to how Taj finishes strong at the rim.

    Bulls are wasting prime years of this team's championship potential with Boozer on the roster..

  • In reply to Edward:

    Spot on, Boozer plays scared in the post, he rushes his moves and his shots because he is worried about getting his shot blocked. Unfortunately he has every reason to be worried due to his lack of height and jumping ability.

    This may sound crazy, but didn't it seem like Drew Gooden was a better power forward when he was with the Bulls than Boozer is now. Maybe we can ship Bozo to Milwaukee for Gooden, HaHa.

  • I can't stand the Boozer hate. we can't just give him the ball in the post and ask him to create, thats not his game. he's a pick n roll player. Bulls don't use him right...thats why he's struggling.

  • There is some truth in that statement. Boozer scored in the flex offense on cuts to the basket receiving deft passes from Deron Williams. That should be written about more.

    When Boozer signed I said he is not a true low-post player and everyone here got upset. Boozer doesn’t have the size or athleticism to work the low post against quality bigs.

    Nevertheless, even in a flex offense Boozer is not a championship PF and Bulls need a roster change.

  • Boozer was a known apathetic defender, and injury plagued player before being signed by the Bulls. And his attitude/integrity playing through minor injuries was questioned as well. Yet Wade, Bronald, and Posh were gone, and the fans would have had a kinniption if Gar/Pax hadn't signed a big "name."

    Doug himself if, I recall correctly, warned/had great reservations about Boozer. At his innitial press conference he actually mockingly referred to " right, Gar and Pax?" with a cheesy smile as if as a new member of the Bulls he could already speak for the franchise ala a Michael. John Paxson and Gar Forman must have thrown up a little in their mouths right then.

    Maybe it takes a hardcore hardass like Jerry Sloan with a proven resume to keep Carlos in line. Here with the Bulls I think Carlos has tried to present himself as the "voice" of the team at times. With a mild spoken Derrick and no other proven/made star entity with a forceful presence who reigns the impish Boozer in? Thibodeau? A first time head coach after thirty years as an assistant who Paul Pierce respected as a defensive wiz/asst., but also joked about how seriously Thibs took himself/lack of personal maturity. Remains to be seen.

    The only answer may be as one poster observed Joakim blowing Boozer off on a high five. Noah, Rose, Taj, Rip, Ronnie step up, and play big. They all simply have to bring something offensively to the table along with comitted defense. Then you simply put Boozer in his place, and if he comes around fine, and if not you continue to keep your distance/blow off his phony braggadacio(?) i.e "We can win an NBA Chmaionship." Coming from a guy who defensively leaves his teammates in the lurch.

    If Jo makes a comeback as an imact player/warrior then I really am not going worry about whether Carlos Boozer "gets it" or not. The only way you're going to get the best out of him is not tolerate all this bullsh*t. That's how Jerry Sloan got prodcution/effort/great numbers offensively out of him for years. Right now, it's the rest of the team that needs to step up offensively because winners are not just defenders and "grinders" they're guys that can put the ball in the hole consistently and in the playoffs. I just wish the Bulls had a good offensive asst. as it did not appear so especially in the playoffs, and no I'm not going to lay all the offensive struggles on the players who historically have high field goal percentages(Rose, Jokaim, Deng, and Taj.)

  • Well put Road Warrior. The best way for Carlos Boozer to silence all of us "haters," is to simply play like a beast. He's been a paper tiger to this point. I had very high hopes for him, but it just seems like improving his playing deficiencies, isn't a major priority for Carlos. I'm glad he's in better shape, and agree with the early post about his pick and roll game. That said I wish he'd show some pride and just bring it. Hopefully he'll prove his detractors wrong.

  • The biggest problem is almost every championship team has two players starting who can not only create and then score about 20 pts consistently. Or they have a megastar like Shaq.with Kobe. Heat have Wade/LeBron. Otherwise, they need a balanced team on offense like Dallas. This defense wins championships is just a useless mantra.

    We can blame and nitpick on Boozer but when his Centers(Noah, Asik) are bad on offense, it puts too much pressure on him in any set. Only a superstar offensive player like MJ, Kobe can overcome that kind of lack of offense with a Center. Unless Noah can make his jump-shot to keep the defense honest, it will be a lot difficult to overcome the elite teams in the playoffs

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    You have raised a valid point.

    I think both are issues that may prevent Bulls progress in playoffs. Boozer cannot compete against the larger PFs and frontlines and is a defensive liability, and Noah and Asik are offensive liabilities.

    The fact that both problems exist creates a weakness on Bulls roster that will likely get exposed deep in the playoffs.

  • Pacers just added another big - PF Louis Amundsen.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/4190

    Pacers lost PF Josh McRoberts to Lakers in free agency so this is his replacement.

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