For my first game live at the UC, I got the enjoyment of watching perhaps the ugliest basketball game in the Derrick Rose era. I suppose the good news was that it was a win. If there was a prop bet on John Lucas having a 25, 8, and 8 game this season, I bet you'd have cleaned up.
Have you ever seen a 25, 8, and 8 game uglier than this one? I'm sure someone will make the comment "Derrick Rose isn't that good even John Lucas can score 25, 8, and 8 in this system" which would completely miss the point of how basketball is played.
This isn't to rip on Lucas, for a third PG, playing with no one who could create their own shot, he was pretty amazing. He may have needed to use 30 possessions to get his 25 points, but that was more efficient than almost anyone else. Still, it was clear that despite the statistical totals being similar to Rose, the impact on the game couldn't be any further.
If you want to see why Derrick is an MVP candidate, you need only watch the Bulls offense against one of the worst defenses in the NBA without him. Horrific. Granted, if the Bulls had C.J. Watson and Rip Hamilton, things probably would have gone much smoother. Missing all three really hurt the team a ton.
This Boozer/Noah thing is starting to get real
I don't know what the deal is with Noah, but he's playing pretty poor basketball. The effort is there, the movement is there, but the results are simply not there. He looks way to hesitant on offense, and he's "nearly" getting a ton of rebounds instead of actually getting a ton of rebounds.
His tips are all missing, and in short, he's not having remotely the impact on the game that he's had in the past. Noah has traditionally been a player that needs to play himself into shape and without a training camp perhaps he's still trying to build up his wind. Something needs to change though, because he's not getting it done.
Carlos Boozer is perhaps even worse. This guy was billed as a low post threat, but he has absolutely nothing in the low post. Nothing. His game is entirely predicated on Derrick Rose setting him up on the pick and roll for an easy basket or sliding back to the flat for a mid range jumper.
He can have quality scoring games here and there, but his impact on the game is simply non-existent. Though his game is nothing remotely similar, the result reminds me of Eddy Curry. No defense, good efficiency on offense, but somehow it fails to really help the team.
Taj Gibson and Omer Asik are taking over as the fourth quarter lineup. At some point, the Bulls may need to try and bust up Noah/Boozer and Taj/Asik to try and get these two guys going better. The Bulls locked 135 million into the duo, and it doesn't seem like much of an investment right now.
The Bulls will (and should) ride it out, but if it isn't better by mid season, then you have to at least consider changing it up.
Luol Deng didn't exactly step up on offense
You hoped you'd see something out of Deng tonight, but he could not get anything going whatsoever. I will credit Deng for playing outstanding defense all night long though. That's the nice thing about Deng, when his offense isn't going [12 points on 26 possessions is fricken horrific] Deng still finds ways to contribute.
He defended well, rebounded well, and still made a big impact despite not having his shot fall.
Asik and destroy
You know all those times Asik got called for a foul and didn't deserve it? I think the refs gave him this game to make up for it. The game itself was called extremely liberally on both ends. McGee probably goaltended about 35 shots [okay 3] that weren't called, both teams got away with some serious hackage at the rim.
With a swallowed whistle, Asik just dominated the crap out of anyone stupid enough to go into the paint thinking he was some random white stiff. The five blocks hew as credited with seem low from watching the game, and he was a huge part of a defense that just completely shut down the Wizards offense.
Repeat what I said about Asik, but add in the fact that he owned the offensive glass
If Taj was only credited with four offensive rebounds then the Bulls gained several more possessions based on his tips and hustle. He seemed to come up with an offensive board every time the Wizards went on a run, and the Bulls really needed a possession. He played like a man possessed on the defensive end as well.
Great effort by Taj out there, he and Asik have become a tremendous tandem.
This game is a reminder of what a bad ass Kyle Korver is
He was the only player on the team to score more than one point per possession used once you factor in fouls and turnovers. However, it wasn't the scoring that made the difference, but merely the threat of it. As soon as Korver entered the game, the lane started opening up on his side of the court.
There were multiple plays where the Bulls had Korver on the weak side, then had Lucas curl hard from the strong to weak side where the only help defender was defending Korver on the three point line. That defender then just sat their frozen too scared to leave Korver and wouldn't provide help.
Spacing simply changes the game, and Kyle Korver provided plenty of it.
The Brewer as a PG theory didn't work out so well
Ronnie had a tough night overall, but the stretch we tried to use him as a PG to get Lucas some rest? Not going in his career highlight package, we'll leave it at that. Still love Brewer's defense, but watching him play with the starters reminds me of Keith Bogans doing the same thing.
Maybe if Noah/Boozer had it going on things would be different, but when Chicago doesn't get much out of them starting Brewer is even tougher.
Wow, the Wizards stink
I could complain about John Lucas's efficiency, but he's a 3rd string PG having to play a superstar PG role. Wall is a potential superstar who couldn't do anything but chuck up misses against John Lucas. Did you have John Lucas in this game to win that matchup? Probably not. However, after a fairly strong rookie campaign, Wall has regressed considerably this season.
The Wizards shot 31% on the whole, and that's simply atrocious. Jordan Crawford had one little stretch where he looked good, but he still finished 4/12 which means he was a complete trainwreck outside of that stretch.
i watched Rashard Lewis and though, wow, you're not that old, how'd you get so lousy so fast?
The whole team is just an abomination to watch.
Rest up, get healthy, and hopefully we have a few more players in uniform when the Bulls play Boston on Friday.