Philly can't cope with Bulls size

The Chicago Bulls still don't have much offense without Derrick Rose, but after struggling in the first period, they shut down the 76ers all night long and used their size advantage to get points on the board.

Chicago owned the glass

Be it Noah, Gibson, or Omer, the 76ers couldn't box out the Bulls on the interior. They didn't have the size and went small most of the night. The Bulls dominated the offensive glass, and Philly repeatedly hacked the Bulls big men in an attempt to slow them down accounting for 20 of the Bulls 31 free throws.

In particular, Joakim Noah proved particularly difficult for the 76ers to handle as he continued his spectacular play. He made plays as a ball handler, and drew foul after foul as well as pulling down five offensive boards.

Teams that can't shoot the three struggle against Chicago

Chicago's swarming defense clogged up the interior and made life too difficult for the 76ers to score consistently. Philly failed to stretch the floor to any notable degree shooting just 3/13 from beyond the arc. Chicago has an elite defense, and if they don't need to defend further than 18 feet out, no team is going to consistently score against them.

Luol Deng continues to struggle

Over the past two games Deng has combined from 1 for 11 from the three point line, and Deng's three point shooting has been the only thing keeping his offensive game afloat. He dribble penetration game has dwindled with the wrist injury, and Deng hasn't been moving off the ball in the offense as much as in the past.

He's become an expensive spot up shooter who can play defense. Those are still valuable skills, but it's not what the Bulls would get from a fully healthy Deng.

C.J. bounces back

Watson was only 6/15 from the field, but he knocked down 4/8 from beyond the arc and ended up with 20 points on his 16 shot attempts. Watson wasn't efficient inside the arc, but he offset that with some great shooting and kept the ball movement going better than Lucas and James [who was somewhat a disaster perhaps quieting his fan club].

Lucas and James play a similar brand of basketball. They both overdribble, underpass, shoot with no conscience, and can go big hot streaks while mostly shooting poorly. When either guy is on a roll, you wonder, why isn't he the backup PG for someone? However, both guys tend to spend a lot more time not on a roll than on one.

Watson has his strengths and weaknesses himself, but he generally keeps the ball moving, hits his open threes, and plays decent defense. He struggles to finish when attacking the basket if there is help defense in the area, and frequently struggles as a shooter when not taking spot up shots.

That said, he's still quite a step above James/Lucas.

It wasn't a pretty, but a win with Rose out is a good win

Sure, the Bulls didn't play their best, but without Rose, a win is a win. While they've had their ups and downs, the Bulls have really done a tremendous job of finding ways to win games despite the obstacles in their way.

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  • It's funny, because when you look at this matchup on paper, and examine the two team's strengths and weaknesses, this is pretty much how you'd envision the game going down. The Sixers D would keep them in it, but our equally strong defense, against their weaker offense, and our superior rebounding, would give us the win, in most games.

    Yet, for some reason, they've scored on us much easier than anticipated in previous matchups, and have actually out-rebounded us in a few of those games as well. I'm hoping that these past couple games (and even moreso this one) are the true indicator of how we matchup with them. Because I have to be honest, after they beat us again this year the first time, I was pretty nervous that they just had our number. Wins like today our great to see. I don't fear them nearly as much now in a potential playoff matchup

  • You have to give a break for CJ. Even though I don't like his shoot first attitude sometimes, he is playing with a sprained ankle/foot. He is gutting it out because Rose is hurt. I think he might have sat the last few games if Rose was healthy.
    Thibs/Noah did a great adjustment on Hawes in the second half. He was torching Noah in the first half but Noah was all over him in the second half. I think this was one of the best games by the Bulls big guys.

  • Noah's playing at a ridiculous level right now. I can't remember another player that affected the game on offensive boards as much as he does, especially in crunch time. Really glad the Bulls paid that guy.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Eight figures for a rebounder is crazy... Taj is just as good at rebounding and far superior on offense at a tenth the cost.

  • In reply to Chad:

    "Taj is just as good at rebounding and far superior at a tenth the cost," explain yourself nut!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Taj can make a jump shot consistantly and rebounds at almost the same per minute rate. Is that clear enough for you?

  • In reply to Chad:

    He rebounds at nowhere near Noah's rate. He also can't play center, or handle/pass the ball anywhere near as well as Noah.

  • In reply to Chad:

    No asshole. Also, learn to spell!

  • You could see Watson limp, you could see Deng favoring his hand,it was an unmistakable glare in Derrick Rose eyes at every commercial break. This season is turning into twists and turns as unpredictable as our weather, it could be worse..

    I am applauding our Chicago Bulls for weathering these storms,lesser competitors would have let the bitch in them out by now. Thibs has them at the top looking down. The thing that bouys me most is when the playoffs do roll around, each player will shouldered some of that late game pressure

  • I would like the Bulls to at least consider pursuing Kaman if he becomes available. That offenensive size would wear many teams out/ inside out. Pairing him with Noah gives Joakim the opportunity to roam on defense and the flexibility to have a more reliable post presence when we dump down. We dont have to look for cutters. We force double teams and create space for what we already have.

    Not to mention we also keep that notion away from Miami, because thats how they try to use Bosh.

  • In reply to mummuhwalde:

    No way the Hornets' owners (the other 29 owners) allow Kaman to be waived and gift the title to HEAT. They rejected C Paul to Lakers to maintain the status quo; yes Clips are better but won't win the title. The owners hate the superstar players having the power so no way do they help the "Big 3" in Miami

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    Excellent Point. Thank you for pointing out the true owners of New Orleans Hornets and their 'behind the scenes' motivation for not waiving Kaman.

  • In reply to mummuhwalde:

    If Kaman is available, he'll go to Miami. He can be their starting center, whereas for us he may not even be in the rotation. He'll also (likely correctly) view them as his best chance at a title.

    I actually don't think Kaman would help them a whole heck of a lot though. They need defense at C, and maybe he's better Anthony, but if so, not by a whole heck of a lot.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Actually, I could see Kaman helping Miami a lot. As an offensive threat, particularly being able to hit an open J, he will further open up the floor for the big 2 and a half. Personally, I am rooting for Stern on this one, I don't want to see him anywhere near Miami.

  • In reply to mummuhwalde:

    If we get Kaman, what will we do with Boozer ? Bench him ?

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Thats the same damn question for 2years now.

  • In reply to mummuhwalde:

    The Bulls will not exceed the tax limit this season for anything less than a DHoward level trade. That time has come and gone.

  • Good win. We have a saying here in England that "the best teams know how to win ugly". That really describes our Bulls at present. It is as painful to watch as going to the dentist but the wins keep coming.
    I like you Doug am concerned about Luol. He and Thibs really have to manage him the rest of the season. Jimmy has proven esp on the defensive end that he can spell Luol for more minutes than he is currently getting. Also when Derrick gets back we can slide CJ to the 2 and use Ronnie/Jimmy at the 3 as the lockdown defender. I agree with sitting RIP until he is fully fit; all players will tape up a sprained ankle and play through it (CJ) but Luol is really struggling. He just looks scared to get involved; his confidence is disappearing on his 3 so I don't think continuing to play him big minutes will help with his frustration. I think we need him playing in situations where he isn't the main offensive focus like when he is the only starter with the bench mob etc. I think he needs rest to let himself get used to the wrist injury but its it not about keeping him out of the game but when/how long he plays. The rest is more about mental rest/confidence and finding him easy baskets.

    I watched quite a few 76ers games this year and love what they are doing but teams are now realizing how to beat them - slow down halfcourt game. If ever a team needs a go to star (ala Melo lol) its the 76ers.

  • I agree that Thibs needs to find more rest for Lu, and certainly Butler deserves more burn after his recent play, but I don't see him doing that until Rose is back.

    Was at the game last night - Rose looks like an old man. Publicly, they mention groin, and he does walk slowly. However, they have him sitting on an extra high chair pad (pad it 8-10 inches thick) so that he doesn't have to sit low. When he sits or stands up, he is extremely slow and deliberate - this just screams of his back issue, not a groin issue.

    Only have until the end of April before the playoffs start, we gotta get our guys as healthy as possible.

  • Lu sucks right now he should just shut it down because it is almost a waste having him in the lineup with zero contribution. The starters suck without D Rose it is painful to watch as they have zero offensive capability. Noah is left wide open from mid range meaning Boozer is definately covered and hence is no threat. Deng and Brewer have no ability to create. CJ is the only threat and he is more of a jump shooter than driver though.

    The second unit puts them to shame consistently when Rose is out. Asik, Taj, Korver, Brewer/Butler, CJ/Lucas are much better on both Defense and creating for each other since 1-3 can shoot from the outside (not as much from the two spot but when open it could go in...) and Taj can bury the mid range jumpers it flows nice. This lineup should be the one that is ridden when Rose is gone. It is the lineup that always tightens the game up after the "starters" get dominated in the first.

    Deng has been complete crap ever since the ASG. Not one game has been good since then which leaves little hope he can turn it around soon. If he is playing like this come playoffs we will be lucky to make it out of the first and second rounds. Especially with Thibs playing him 40+ mins.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I'm getting tired of you. You sound like schaumburgfan. Even in a great win you sneak in a dig at Noah. Why the hell don't you find a Blog to encourage and entertain your nonsense!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Saying Noah is left wide open at mid range is not a dig it is a fact watch a game once and a while. Noah is the tall one with the long hair FYI.

  • In reply to Chad:

    You're one of those scumbags who lived your worthless life following Noah throught his career as a college player and a Bulls player and where there was none, creating dirt to tarnish his image. But you're frustrated because he's a winner. He has won throughout his career, and he will win in Chicago.
    Tell us where you're from, what school you attended and we'll understand your hate. Stop hiding your foolishness in this blog, pretending to be a regular follower of the sport.
    Noah doesn't have to hit a jump shot to be effective as a center, clown, he affects the game in ways a fool like you can't appreciate. It is called winning basketball, GOAT!

  • the one thing that sticks out at me these last few games is how badly needed is not only Rose's offense but his defense. Our small guards while can score some get lit up like roman candles. So for those still saying Rose sucks on defense, they need to take a better look next time, he's not dwayne wade on D but he definitely is a solid defender.

  • The Philly game shows the wisdom of keeping Asik and Gibson.

    I think Bulls will not trade, but will resign both Asik this off-season and Gibson next season. This is why Bulls REFUSE to pay luxury tax this season - because Bulls know they must pay luxury tax the next two seasons.

    The next two seasons (2012-13, 2013-14) Bulls will pay Deng/Boozer a combined $28.3 mil and $29.5 million. Boozer has a third season 2014-15 at $16.8 million.

    Once Deng's massive $14.3 million salary comes off the books after 2013-14, and Bulls do whatever they do with Boozer, then Bulls will have both Asik and Gibson under contract, and can get back under the luxury tax threshold in 2014.

    If Bulls resign Deng after 2014 I believe it will be at a reduced salary. Deng's a solid player, but very overpaid. And of course Bulls will not resign Boozer, but will likely dispose of him somehow in 1 or 2 more years.

    So in summation, I think Bulls will view the luxury tax in 2012-13 and 2013-14 as a temporary necessity to keep their frontline intact by extending Asik and Gibson, while waiting out the massively overpaid contracts of Boozer and Deng.

    And then will come Mirotic and the Charlotte pick.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I don't understand how you can say Deng is massively overpaid. A couple of years ago I would have agreed with you 100 percent, but in the last 2 seasons he has emerged as the second best player on the team, our record is worse without Deng in the lineup than without Rose. Just because a player is hurt at the moment people forget how good they really are, just like Noah last year. I'm not saying that Deng doesn't have his flaws, but what player doesn't?

  • In reply to mikeb31588:

    Your point is really valid. Deng bailed the Bulls out in the 4th qtr of a lot of games earlier this year. He often scored 18-20 pts per game, with 8 rebounds, several assists, and great defense. As we now see, that's not so easy to replace!

    I had assumed that the Bulls would lose Asik to free agency, but now I hope they will resign him. Edward's analysis makes some sense to me, but will mgmt agree? Plus we hope Asik gets better, of course. He made 2 free throws in a row last night!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Bring I guess I am in the minority when I think that since there are no options available to match Miami speed for speed, we bolster our inside game threats wear their asses out by size and drawing fouls...

    Wasnt that the whole purpose for trying to get Howard??

  • In reply to rustyw:

    My bad Rusty, I was replying to Doug and hit the comment button by mistake.

    I do hope that Kareem brings his HOF,league leading scoring knowledge to Joakim AND Omer. He offered to in the summer during the lockout

  • In reply to rustyw:

    18-20 and 8 is extremely generous! Loul has only averaged 18+ once in his career, which was 6 years ago. This year he is averaging 15 and 6 last year he averaged 17 and 6. 15 and 6 is not worthy of his massive contract unless you are Isaiah Thomas...

  • In reply to mikeb31588:

    Deng is playing well since 2 seasons because he now has Rose. He knows the pressure is on the Rose at the end of games. He hide behind Rose. When Deng is on the spolight like before Rose, He cracks under pressure.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Deng's best season was before Rose arrived.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Deng was superb against Miami before Rose in the playoffs. He was so automatic with his jump-shot...he was in rumors as a primary piece about a trade for a prime Kobe. That said, we know he is not a primary option on a contending team. His biggest problem is he cannot create a shot a lot of good/great SFs do. I wonder why is he so terrible with creating a shot with him being such a main option in his college career, being a smart player etc.. If Deng's shot creation was at CJ Watson level, he would be a stud.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I remember that serie when bulls swept the Heat. Deng and Ben Gordon was so good.
    But I think we saying the same. The issue with Deng is that he can't create his own shoot. If a player can't do that, why would you pay him 11 milion a year and refuse to trade him for Garnett, kobe and Gasol. That's why Edward is right when he says Lu was/is overrated and overpaid.

  • In reply to mikeb31588:

    If he is our second best player, and/or for as long as he is our second best player, we are not a championship caliber team, which is why he is definitely overpaid and maybe massively so.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Deng WHEN HEALTHY compares favorably with anyone at his position(save LeBron), his size, defense, and ability to impact the game in many ways besides just volume scoring.

    Why do you think LeBron resorted to such wrist slapping tactics if he wasnt a well respected threat?

    Unless anyone short of GOD becomes available, Luol Deng will be rolling out in a wheelchair during intros, till the damn wheels come off my man.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Exactly how I see it, and hopefully exactly the way the Bulls see it.

    My guess is that Boozer gets amnestitized in the summer of 2013, costing Reiny nearly $32 million, but saving him more than $32 million in luxury tax. I think that even Reiny can figure out the value in that, even as repugnant as giving away $32 million might be to him.

    However, keeping both Asik and Taj will likely require giving up on Brewer, Korver and maybe even Watson and replacing them with rookie wage guys or veteran minimum guys.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Deng is not overpaid now(although it looks like it in the last month because of his injury). I think he definitely earned it last year and he was earning it this year before he got injured. But your thought is right though. His next contract cannot be as big as it is now as he will be past his prime and kind of will be in Boozer's level(age, skills for a SF).
    The best case scenario for the Bulls is Boozer doing a decent job in the playoffs so that he can be traded sometime at the end of next season or next season based on the availability of Mirotic or some other FA or Taj developing a better offensive game. I think GarPax have to strike with Boozer at the right time if an opportunity becomes available rather than waiting for the best trade or chemistry worries.or they have to end up amnestying him.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The Noah contract at 12 per year is seen as value, that is why his name is constantly mentioned by other teams when big contracts like Pau Gasol/monta ellis are discussed. Deng's backloaded contract kinda sucks but Boozer's is the worst...I feel the Bulls will trade Asik to get a 4 year cheap rookie contract for a center in a loaded draft. They might keep the more versatile Gibson for at least one more year. The Boozer question will continue to linger but the Bulls are probably committed to him for one more year before they try to dump him on some other team. I just don't see them using the amnesty unless its for a smaller contract with only a year left. I wonder what they will do with the Rip thing is this guy continues to be injured. He was supposed to be the guy that took some of the scoring load off of Rose and balanced out the Bulls offense.

  • Interesting that you mentioned the Bulls winning with their size. I thought that they should have gone even bigger, not just last night but in general.

    With Deng playing like crap, why not try a front line of Asik, Noah and Taj. Taj seems to have enough athleticism to cover small forwards.

    The way that Deng is playing right now, he should just be shut down, he is hurting us far more than he is helping. More Taj or more baby Taj(Butler) has to be better than what Deng is giving us right now.

    This size upfront, would play to our strengths, defense and rebounding and would give the Bulls more flexibility in the backcourt, either using both small guards, or using Korver or Butler as the 2 guards.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Thats what Ive said this whole post. Due to the lockout, we have been less prepared to give our bigs actual pivit moves, hook shots,set ups and dropsteps. Derrick Rose had to complain because we dont the rep to watch for contact like that.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Whether Taj can defend 3s is the least of the problems with that lineup. If you're going to play Noah and Asik together you at least need to play them with 3 other guys who can shoot from outside.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Exactly. Gibson doesn't have a reliable shoot.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Well, Deng isn't exactly lighting it up right now, is he.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Everybody from this blog knows that I've never been a fan of deng. Though I do not agree you. With a lineup of Asik-Noah-Taj, who is going to score ? You should at least say Noah-Boozer-Taj.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    I prefer Asik, Taj and Korver. Screw No Shot Noah you do have to score to win.

  • In reply to Chad:

    You prefer Asik because "you do have to score to win." Are you such a hater that you you're telling the world that you prefer a man who has absolutely no offense or inkling of the game's fundamentals to Noah, a guy averaging a triple double, among the leaders in block shots, one of the game's best passers? This is INSANITY!

  • In reply to Chad:

    Why would you subsitute Asik for Noah he's even worse on offense, at least Noah can generate some offense with his passing?

  • In reply to deewaves:

    We are already having a hard time scoring, because Deng is a virtual zero on offense right now. Might as well go for the extra D and rebounding, especially offensive rebounding, it has been our most effective offense lately anyway, then just get some 3 point shooting from the guards.

  • Chad's nonsense is catching on like a bad virus..."a guy averaging a double-double for most of the season and most recently registered a triple-double."

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Yea, wasn't there somebody else last year that spent the whole year ragging on "No shot Noah". I don't think that it was Mappy, but he was almost as annoying as Mappy.

  • You're right Bigway, I think it's Chad who disquises himself with new names. I've clashed with him before, and yes, the label "No shot Noah" gives him away. They go into hiding and then resurface with the same insane nastiness. We've nailed you Chad!

  • I think a more reasonable salary for Deng is $10 mil max.
    I actually feel more like $8-9 mil, but don’t know if that is possible now that Deng’s salary has been inflated. I have difficulty imagining another team offering Deng more than $10 million in 2014 when his current contract expires. I think Noah is more valuable than Deng due to the scarcity of good centers.

    Even though Bulls need a SG like Doron Lamb of Kentucky, I can see Bulls drafting a PF because dumping Boozer’s massive contract has got to be roster priority #1.

    With Richard Hamilton under contract as the SG for next season, I don’t see how Bulls can release any of Brewer/Korver/Watson. Bulls need a replacement for frail Hamilton before they can let any of those 3 guys go.

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