Bulls outrun the Kings in easy victory

Bulls outrun the Kings in easy victory

The Game would have been a slaughter if the refs didn't move to keep it close by whistling the Bulls for a foul every two seconds. The Sacramento Kings had no answer for the Bulls fast break offense; they were lazy, undisciplined, and didn't get back on defense.

Chicago ran up the score early with fast break opportunity after fast break opportunity. It's tough to contain Derrick Rose on the break, but there's no excuse to let the opposing offense get out in front of you on the break around 10-15 times in one night. Yet that's exactly what the Kings did.

Chicago is fortunate they did, they struggled in other areas of the game.

The Kings had 18 offensive rebounds, an absolutely ridiculous amount for a supposed elite rebounding team like the Bulls to allow, but the number was largely inflated by DeMarcus Cousins rebounds which were largely tips at his own misses. The Kings knocked down 8 of 17 three point shots largely due to poor defense of the three point line.

Once you got past the copious amount of easy baskets Sacramento allowed, the Bulls offense was up and down. Trying to close out the game, Derrick Rose generated three straight wide open mid range shots for Boozer and Hamilton, all of them bricks. Hitting open shots was still a challenge for Chicago, but it was one made meaningless by the Kings pathetic interior defense.

A good team probably beats Chicago last night.

Derrick Rose found a nice groove

He hit just the right not of aggression in this game. He destroyed the Kings with his speed in transition and found his way to the basket whenever the Bulls needed a score. He finished the night with eight assists, but could have easily had 15 if guys knocked down their open jumpers.

Against a better opponent, I think Rose might needs to become even more assertive, but he hit the perfect note in this game.

Carlos Boozer played pretty well

I know I usually like to whip Boozer for lousy defense, padded rebounding stats, and offensive stats that impact the game less than the numbers, but not so today. Most of his rebounds were tough, contested boards. Though the Bulls gave up a lot of offensive boards, Boozer did a nice job of boxing out, and the team felt considerably better with him out there.

His low post offense was working for him this game, no surprise given that he was defended by the 6-6 Chuck Hayes, and he was aggressive all night long.

I rip on Boozer enough not to point out that even playing well he only scored 16 on 16 shots, but there are other days to complain about his level of play. [yeah I know what I did there]

Did you like Rip Hamilton in this one?

He played his best game as a Bull to date, scoring 16 points on 15 shots. He had a few veteran plays like the leak out after a jump ball for an easy hoop and made nice decisions in transition.

He also missed a handful of wide open jumpers in the 6-18 foot range which pissed me off to no end, especially when Kyle Korver [2/2 from down town at this point] passed up a wide open three to get Hamilton a wide open 16 footer that missed.

It shows how hard the team is trying to get Rip involved, but come on now, Kyle, you don't pass up wide open threes unless they yield dunks or uncontested layups. I'll take Kyle's efficiency as an open three point shooter over anyone in the NBA shooting open mid range jumpers.

It was also Rip's first play in crunch time for Chicago and indicates that Thibodeau probably prefers to play Hamilton at the end rather than Brewer and benched him for poor play the previous two nights rather than simply wanted to go with Brewer consistently.

Deng and Noah solid but not starring

Neither Deng nor Noah had a whole lot special to add to the game. Both scored the ball efficiently on relatively low volume.

Noah's rebounding numbers were low due to playing a ton of help defense away from the basket, and he kept getting out of rebound position trying to defend Cousins. His early foul trouble also caused him to play limited minutes which hurt any attempt at gaudy stats. However, I liked his game when he played. He had a nice coast to coast finish at the hoop and shot the jumper without hesitation [though he missed it both times I appreciated the confidence].

Deng blended into the offense more tonight than starring like he has in previous nights. He still performed well, just at a bit lower volume than he's had recently. It would have been nice to find a way to get him some more rest, I'm not found of Thibs playing his security blanket for 40 minutes a night in compressed season.

Speaking of Brewer, two for two from down town?! NICE!

Ronnie Brewer had a nice night going five for five from the field, his other three baskets included a couple of uncontested dunks, but what impressed me most was his lack of hesitation on throwing up some corner threes.

Brewer wasn't sitting all alone Keith Bogans style in the corner when he shot these puppies, he had the defense running out in his face, but he knocked them both down.

I don't know if Brewer ever consistently makes the wing or center three which is longer, but it's a HUGE upgrade to the Bulls as a threat if he can knock down the open corner three, and it was great to see him with the attempts.

Side note, 5/5 for 12 points in 12 minutes, but we can't get him any more minutes? Really?

CJ Watson gave the team a tremendous lift

Derrick Rose was in foul trouble after the refs decided to closen up this game with some ridiculous foul calls which pushed Watson into a higher minute role. Overall, Watson has been one of the bright spots so far this season, for those thinking the Bulls can upgrade at backup PG, I simply don't see how. Certainly not without spending more than Watson makes.

His defense has been very solid, his shooting has been out of this world, and in this game he found the open man all night long. It was a tremendous game by C.J. and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Are people stepping off the Omer Asik bandwagon yet?

Through three games hid defense hasn't been special and obviously anything he gives you offense is nearing a fluke. He's still a solid young big man, and I love him as a backup center, but let's not kid ourselves about how we can't possibly trade him to upgrade the team.

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  • I guess the Bulls will never win like the Heat by hair-rising dunks. I think it is ok to win ugly on the road especially in the beginning of the season. Even Miami/OKC are winning based on last minute shots.
    That said, the interior defense is struggling especially with rebounding. Noah played hard yesterday but he is trying to help too much.
    And I disagree with Doug. Asik wasn't terrible yesterday but not great either. Tonight is a great test for these guys and I doubt they will have the legs or the focus because it is the last game of the trip and it's a back-to-back game against a pretty good team. Look for the Chris Paul homers on ESPN to proclaim he is way better than Rose:-)

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I don't worry for tonight. Rose always takes it personal when he faces the best PGs. Rose won't score less than 25 pts. And we all know that Chicago is a hard team to beat when Rose is in the MVP mode.

  • Eh, I think you're being too kind to Rose & Noah way too harsh on Asik. Can't say Rose had 8 assists without mentioning the 6 turnovers: he was OK and had a few nice drives but certainly not MVP level. And if we can't talk about trading Asik for an upgrade then Noah being the key piece in a trade for Howard is laughable based on last night's performance, he looked no better than Asik overall. Neither guy played great, but Asik played far far closer to his role (backup C) than Noah did his (supposedly second team all defense).

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I agree that Noah is falling short of expectations when you view him a as a high caliber center relative to Asik if you view him as a backup.

    However, if you view them equally, I don't know how you could say Asik performed similarly. This guy is perhaps worse on offense than Ben Wallace.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I wouldn't go as far as saying Asik is worse than Ben Wallace on offfense: at least he doesn't demand a couple of shots a game or else he's going to sulk and not try on defense.

    I base my comment on Noah and Asik performing about the same last night on the Bulls not really seeming to be bothered playing 4 on 5 with Asik out there, but defensively I thought Asik's job on Cousins was better than what Noah did. If the team doesn't seem to need O from the center spot it makes most sense to weigh what they did on D heavily.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Agreed. In my opinion, Noah isn't really better than Asik. I've always thought that Asik is as a good defender as Noah. Thereby, if we trade Noah, we still have a solid guy to replace him.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    That's not my point at all ... I think Noah is a far better player than Asik. I just want him to play like it, and he hasn't so far this year. Last year when rested and healthy he started brilliantly and looked like a genuine all-star, this year it looks like he didn't touch a basketball the whole lockout or something.

  • I'm not on the Asik bandwagon, but I think he needs a little more time too. I read that he came into camp a little out of shape conditioning-wise. He apparently wasn't able to get his conditioning up because he was resting a lot during the offseason/lockout so his injury could heal. I think once he gets in better game-shape, we'll see the old Asik again.

    As far as not trading him goes...I like the kid, but my gut tells me that he'll never really develop much of an offensive game outside of tips and dunks, so if the right deal came along, I would have no problem trading him...as long as we had another decent option at backup C.

  • As all of the analysis showed, the game last night wasn't perfect, but it was a win. I do think that you could see signs of improvement in certain areas of the game compared to the first 2 games. These first couple weeks are not going to be pretty, but I think there's improvement and we'll see a better product on the court pretty soon as they get everything clicking.

  • Asik is still playing himself back into shape due to recovering from his stress fracture. He had to stay off his feet for a long time and couldn't work on conditioning this off-season. So its too early to pass judgment.

    But I think the fact that both Noah and Asik are useless on offense is a big problem for Bulls championship hopes. This won't change with conditioning, they simply can't shoot the basketball.

  • I agree with Doug on if the Bulls would've been playing a better team, this game would have been a loss. Bulls need Noah to get his game going along with his rebounding totals up. But he can't due to the liability on defense named Boozer. Noah has to help Boozer on defense and Boozer is taking rebounds from Noah. Again... these two don't play well together and the Bulls roster still needs to be tweaked cause they will not beat the Heat in a 7 game series.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Sorry my friend but you're wrong. It isn't because of Boozer if Noah is sometimes in foul trouble. Noah helps too much and it's nobody's fault. Chris Bosh had a good serie against us because Noah was helping too much in the ECF. It explains why Thibs was benching Noah the 4th quarter during that serie. Don't blame Boozer for that.

  • I don't think what I said was as harsh about Asik as others have made it out to be. I guess my point is, Asik is a defensive role player. He's a very valuable one, and I noted that.

    I just think when I hear people try to throw him in as a major trade piece or try to keep him out of trades for all stars or borderline all stars that it's silly.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I have heard even the Bulls coaches feel that Asik can be one of the best defensive centers in the league. Cousins could just manipulate through Noah more easily than Asik. His free throw shooting form itself makes him better than Wallace. Wallace was terrible in his form and you could tell the moment it left his hands, it is not going in. Again, to go back to the Heat series... Asik was basically shutting down LeBron/Wade before he was injured.

    Also, Noah's corner jumpshot looked pretty good yesterday even though both of them didn't go in. I hope he keeps trying and get his confidence on that shot. That will be huge.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree with that, if the right trade comes along and Asik has to go then he has to go. I do think he has some trade value though, obviously not as the main piece in a major trade, but you could certainly obtain a good role player at some other position for him, teams always need centers.

  • pretty good game but still saw flaws. Our bigs and wings still not being able to get to the free-throw line as much as I think they could. D. Rose's handles looked a bit shakey and out of control at times causing turnovers, hopefully he can knock off the rust. The rebounding machine we saw last year hasn't really come out yet and the defense isn't as good as we saw last year. Hopefully they can fine tune everything.

    As for Asik, I think I read Sam Smith mention the Bulls might trade one of their bigs during the draft. I think they probably trade Asik since some team will throw alot of money at him so why not get something? In fact, You might get a late lottery pick and a team like Sacramento needs a tall center and they had interest in him last year. Maybe the Bulls could draft someone like Tyler Zellar or Cody Zellar...which could play center and powerforward and are skilled offensively, the Bulls have many options but they probably will not look to add salary........I just don't see that unless they get a superstar.

  • It's Thunder vs Heat NBA Finals all the way. Bulls will probably lose tonight and go 2-2. I think Miami will take home court throughout the NBA playoffs.

    As far as Asik I thought he was big in the win. Playing for the struggling Noah. I thought Asik bothered Cousins. He hit two big free throws as well.

    What I like about Rip is he shots when open and doesn't think twice. Not all go in but at least they're not shot clock violations like last season.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    I think of course the Heat are favourites at this point but I don't think 3 games in you can really call it a done deal. Especially with this shortened season, one injury could change everything. And if you get a 7 game series against them, with home court or not, you always have a chance. They can be a better team but you just need a bit of luck to win a couple you probably shouldn't.

  • I think most of Noah's struggles last night were due to foul trouble. The refs definitely screwed the Bulls in that category. If they're going to call all of these cheap touch fouls on one side, they need to call them on the other side. There was one offensive foul I remember called on Deng (I think), Chuck Hayes started falling backwards before Deng even got to him and in the replay, it looked like Deng may not even have hit him because he fell backwards so early. Hopefully the refs clear off the rust too!

  • In reply to NateTags:

    Something is wrong with Noah to me. I don't know if he just takes a bit longer to get into shape but... he's so un-cordinated. Did you see him try to make a simple bounce pass to Boozer? It took all the effort in the world for him and he threw it behind Boozer.

    I remember when Noah could like take one had and dunk on people with like power. I wonder if his weight lifting has effected his flexibility and light footedness.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    Interesting thoughts on his weight lifting effecting his flexibility and quickness.

    I think his other problem which has been discussed at length is having to help/cover for Boozer on defense. It's getting him out of position for rebounds, getting him into foul trouble, etc. He plays much better with Taj because he doesn't have to help as much with Taj out there. A lot of it is just lack of cohesiveness with Boozer on the court. Hopefully they work it out, otherwise, this will be the achilles heal for the Bulls all season.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    I am just guessing here. I feel Noah's BB IQ is the problem for the most part on his defense or offense. I feel he has been given too many responsibilities of co-ordinating the defense. He looked great initially in his career because of what he was asked to do was less. He seems to panic on his positioning and he is out of position. Forget helping Boozer, he struggles even with Taj out there. Maybe, Thibs has to simplify things for him a little bit. All we want from Noah is his energy and hustle(which he does try hard to provide) and his keep them honest jump shot.
    I heard Scalabrine on ESPN podcast and you could infer on how he feels about Boozer and Noah. He kind of said that going against Boozer is one step more difficult than Noah.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    Don't forget the play where he dribbled the ball down the full length of the court and put it in on a layup! It was reminiscent of the Boston playoff series when he stole the ball from Paul Pierce. He's got the coordination skills. Rebounding was dismal, but the help defense stuff makes sense.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    Did you see the time he grabbed the rebound, ran coast to coast, with the ball at a sprint then finished with a driving layup around one of the Kings guards?

    How many other centers in the NBA could do that? I don't think coordination is an issue.

  • I'm glad to hear you say that about Asik. Don't get me wrong, I like him, but come on. I've heard things like bulls officials think he can be the best defensive center in the league. I think he can be a great back up and starter for some teams eventually but we shouldnt overvalue him and not move him in the right deal. I don't think he ever becomes a legitamate threat on offense. Put back and dunks seems like where he will score most in his career.

    We also have to keep in mind that it will be tough to keep him. Kwame Brown got a 7 million dollar one year deal. chuck hayes got 22 million over 4. Bigs got overpaid this offseason. after this season or next may be the time to move him for something

  • I do think Asik looks slower getting off the ground this year than last year. A lot of people mentioned that his leg took a bit to heal and didn't get to 100% until recently. Once his conditioning comes around, I expect him to contribute more on the offensive glass than he has been recently. There have been plenty of balls in his vicinity that he was a step slow getting to that he might have come up with last season. That being said, I do think his offensive potential is extremely limited.

  • I'm really starting to like Ronnie Brewer. He's becoming more and more a true SG. He can now shoot 3's and handle the ball well. I'm for starting him over Hamilton !!

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Nah I like him off the bench. Rip should start he's a good playoff performer and give Wade problems.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    I'm not impressed by Rip's defense yet. Remember how he had hard time guarding Kobe on Xmas day.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Yeah he's not perfect but I still would rather he be on the first unit.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    I wouldn't say he can shoot 3s just yet. He has a spot up corner three, that's a great start, but it's quite a bit different than most of the other guys shooting 3s.

  • It's nice to see Boozer having a good game. It's been such a while. Don't you think Boozer should use more his jump-shot instead of playing in the paint ?

  • Before he got injured, and was traded, Ronnie Brewer: 2007-08 12ppg on .558 shooting, and 2008-09 13.7ppg on .508%. And good steals per minutes played.

    You do wonder how much of that productivity(along with Boozer) was a product of the Jazz/Jerry Sloan system of back picks, Deron Williams, crafty set plays etc.? It seemed like Ronnie came in here billed as a likely starter. But Thibs liked/knew Bogans, and Ronnie was hampered by his hamstring/injuries for a while before his excellent play kicked in the second half(only to be injured again).

    RIP was signed to be the starter, and you'd think his scoring ability/pedigree should keep him there if he shoots 42-43%(?) with double digit scoring, and a couple of three attempts a game at .345 or better.

    If however somehow Brewer could hit low volume threes, say two a game, at 34% or better then maybe he steals some of Korver's SF minutes? Korver shot 41% from three on 3.5 A's pg., but his defensive liabilities(often?) sometimes kill team defensive momentum.

    If Korver's three point attempts, are lessened by a guy who scores at a very high percentage, and can legitimately shoot a couple of threes, but also is a very capable defender as opposed to a major defensive liability at times is that something worth thinking about? My instincts tell me Thibs plays Kyle his minutes period becasue Kyle is a proven player for his role, and that's what the organization expects.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Even if Brewer can start hitting the corner three that doesn't replicate the type of threes that Korver can hit. Korver hits them from anywhere moving or set with a split second to get the shot off. Having a guy stand in the corner doesn't represent the same threat to the defense at all.

  • I think the biggest issue with most of the role players is "they are what they are" for the most part. Their health and summer work-outs may help them to add a new skill/improve on a skill. That skill will probably work against non-elite players. But, when they come up against elite guys, those skills will be exposed again like Brewer's 3 pt shooting or Deng's ball handling or Noah's shot making

  • There is a fine line between being very strong and bulky and being a super star in the NBA! The big guys PF/C can get away with being big and bulky to hold their ground and get position under the hoop but we can also see how Rose has lost his muscle he had when he came into the league! You can also see it in other PG like Tyreke Evans on the Kings, Ron Artest (not even going their calling him his current name).
    Noah has added good size to a smaller thin frame but he still is undersized and bullied by the bigger centers of the league.

    I lived in Sacramento for 4 years and really had Kings fever when they were a very good team going all the way and they now have a good young team that is fun to watch so it was a treat watching my 2 favorite teams play! I of course wanted the Bulls to win and have never been prouder of the Bulls post Jordan than I was since last season especially!

    Bulls played much better in this game, but should have beat the Kings early and taken the fight out of them...still very early with no training camp so can't get too over critical and concerned this early in this shortened season! As you say Doug, the playoffs is when you have a fresh slate and the game really begins and the Bulls are expected to go far and can't settle for less than a championship, but its still very fun watching every battle they have this season as well!

  • In reply to smiley:

    I don't know what you're talking about with Rose. Rose looks way bigger to me than when he entered the league.

  • Asik for kobe. We'll have to throw in a filler contract, but I think this deal gets done.

  • The open shots that Boozer and Rip couldn't convert on at the end of the fourth quarter irritated me as well. I thought Rose was going to finish with 20 and 10 assists.

    Did you notice how both times, Boozer was wide open but about two feet beyond his range? Why. Just why.

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