Chicago controlled the game early, but a series of poor defensive plays and open threes allowed Portland to hang around. Then Chicago failed to capture their Miami magic in the fourth quarter, and the offense crawled into a hole and died.
This is what we'd expect without Derrick Rose, however, if the Bulls were going to split games against Portland and Miami, then we're happy they won the Miami.
Point of failure
After combining for 35 on 19 shots against the Heat, Watson and Lucas combined for 17 on 23 shots against the Blazers. They had no free throws a total of seven assists and five turnovers [all by Watson]. The Bulls had solid production from everywhere else on the court, particularly Carlos Boozer who had 22/14/4 but killed the Bulls with his lack of stepping up on screens which caused many of the open threes.
This was part trap game and part the level of talent the Bulls have without Rose. When Derrick is out, they can be beaten by anyone and will be prone to inconsistent play. The level of defense is what disappointed me most in this game, there's no reason that a Roseless Bulls team should come out and give up open shot after open shot all night long.
Bring on the 76ers
Philadelphia is also coming off a tough loss yesterday where the Miami Heat beat them at home. It was a game Philly could have won if they could have found any offense, but they didn't. Like Chicago, they'll look to rebound tonight.
What's different tonight?
Without any info, the best guess is that Chicago will roll out the same team tonight as last night. In which case, they'll need to improve considerably on last night's effort.
The Bulls need C.J. Watson and John Lucas to knock down open jumpers and move the ball more. John Lucas's magic looks nice when his terrible offense is going in, but he tends to hold the ball for 16 seconds at a time and then force up a tough shot out of an isolation play or dump the ball off to someone else with no time to work.
C.J. does a much better job of moving the ball around to facilitate some offensive flow, but he needs to take better care of the ball. Both players were victims of poor shooting nights partially due to taking tough shots because the Bulls couldn't get much else going on, and the PG position is the default bailout shot taker in this offense.
Chicago needs to focus on always taking the first decent look they get as they passed up shot opportunities at times looking for a better opportunity which never came. They don't have Rose's creation ability to bail them out of tough spots, so the first good look needs to be taken each possession.
The Bulls still have the pieces to beat Philly without Rose as Philly can play very poorly at times, but they'll be the underdogs tonight unless Rose suits up.