Bulls discover one miracle three limit per night, fall to Wizards

Bulls discover one miracle three limit per night, fall to Wizards

The Bulls tried to pull off the hat trick, tying a game to force over time with a last second three after an opponent chokes on the intentional foul shots for the third straight game. Unfortunately for Chicago, Washington decided not to miss their free throws, and C.J. Watson only had end of game three in his back pocket.

The game came down to a similar script, but the Wizards put more pressure on Chicago than they could take. With 22 seconds left, John Wall knocked down both free throws to put the Wizards up four. C.J. Watson drilled a three to bring it down to one, the three that would have tied the game if Wall had missed a free throw like Stuckey or LeBron, but he didn't.

Instead, the Bulls fouled again, and Evans knocked down both of his free throws forcing the Bulls to knock down another three. They had two chances, but Rip Hamilton was partially blocked, C.J. Watson missed, and the Bulls couldn't secure the offensive rebound fast enough to get off a third try.

Tom Thibodeau was pissed

The post game presser was about as pissed as I've seen Tom Thibodeau all season long. It's easy to understand why, falling to a garbage team will do that to you. However, much like in the past, when the Bulls barely hang on to a win for a couple games, the attitude of "we'll find a way" seems to overcome the attitude of "holy crap we almost lost, we better try harder", and the Bulls drop a game.

Thibodeau responded that the Bulls had "more than enough" to win [despite missing Rose/Deng] and blamed their lack of energy and turnovers for the loss rather than their lack of personnel. Kyle Korver agreed with that assessment, and I find it hard to argue myself.

Granted, with either guy, the Bulls probably win the game, but they had more than enough to win without them.

Big time loss

The loss opens the cracks for Miami to grab the #1 seed. The Bulls previously had to beat only Washington, Charlotte, and Cleveland to take the #1 seed in the East, but they'll now need to beat Miami, Indiana, or have Miami drop another game against a different opponent to take the east in addition to winning at Charlotte/Cleveland.

The Dallas game, doesn't impact the seeding one way or the other as a win and loss both lower their EC magic number by one [a loss guarantees the tie break]. A healthy Bulls team would still have a considerable edge, but if Derrick Rose remains out, then it's not difficult to imagine a scenario where the Bulls fall to the Heat and Pacers [both road games] and the Heat winning out [though they have three tougher games with Chicago, Houston, and @Boston remaining].

Fingers resting on the panic button

It's not pushed yet, but Derrick Rose's surprise injury appears to have thrown a jolt through Bulls organization. K.C. Johnson noted on twitter two team sources said Rose needs to play, and they want him out there. Thibodeau repeated the same thing at the press conference.

The team has noted how little time they have left to build chemistry, and they aren't going to do a whole lot of it if Derrick Rose can't get back on the court. At this point, who knows when that will be? Luol Deng will likely recover from the rib injury shortly and resume his play, but the Bulls are less than two weeks from the playoffs and have to consider what a playoff run would look like without Rose or with a severely limited Rose at this point.

The thought isn't pretty. We've generally taken the tact that Rose will be ready to go by the playoffs, but he seems to keep compounding injury upon injury. It remains to be seen whether they're compensatory, but the present situation isn't pretty, and I have little faith in the Bulls medical staff's treatment of such injuries. Perhaps we can trade a future first rounder for the Suns medical staff and get our guys put back together.

Discouraging game..

The game itself featured many of the problems of the Pistons game. The Bulls went into a massive offensive slump at one point, turned the ball over too much, and failed to get back on defense in transition. The Bulls could have easily won this game with a bit better play in one of many areas as the Washington team that beat them didn't mow them down with hot shooting or anything.

Washington played fairly typical, lousy, Wizards brand basketball. The Bulls simply played even worse. Korver didn't knock down a shot, Lucas was 1/6 from the field, and Brewer hit just 3/9 and missed his two free throws.

These games happen, and they happen more frequently when the teams two best players sit with injury, but Chicago will need to regroup quickly and find a way to beat Miami or Indiana in addition to Charlotte and Cleveland if they want the #1 seed in the East.


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  • watching the last two games I was reminded of the scariest feature of this bulls team... you know when you watch a conventional dominant team and they lose these types of games it has mostly to do with effort (unles its a freak shooting game from the opponent or something)? Well, though the bulls didnt give a massive effort the last two games, I still saw them running to the glass for offensive rebounds, trying to move the ball and generally executing a gameplan. They just at times can look like they suck at basketball, missing open jumpers and layups, throwing the ball away repeatedly. The problem with this is that come playoff time the effort will always be there, but these kinds of games are not going away (they sure didnt last year), and a couple of them in a series can doom the team. They need to get their collective shit together and exorcise these types of performances

  • Maybe the Bulls needed a loss like this. They have not been playing great basketball lately, but sqeaking out wins on last seconds shots. Losing to the Wizards (it's almost hard to believe) will hopefully put things in perspective, and remind these guys that winning games on bail-out shots is not going to get you far in the playoffs.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    To be fair, taking the two best players off the team leaves them in a position where they're susceptible to losses. It's not like they're losing at full strength.

  • If the Bulls fall to the 2nd seed, they will lose to INDY in the Second round.

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    That just might happen who knows. last year the bulls snuck up on every one but not this year, its gonna be tough getting back to the ecf. it just feels like they will be upset in the 1st or 2nd round.

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    If Rose is healthy no chance this happens. If not, it remains a possibility.

  • In reply to dougthonus:

    A series against either the Pacers or Knicks is going to be 50/50 at best. Neither Rose or Deng will be at 100% for this years playoffs, it is already too late for that. Heck, I don't see any easy outs for the Bulls the way that they have been playing since the all star break. Maybe the sixers, who are collapsing, but they seem to have a way of playing against us that gives us problems.

  • In reply to dougthonus:

    Theres a good chance it happens, and based off of Derrick THIS year i have to assume he won't be.

  • In reply to dougthonus:

    I think theres no chance if Rose doesn't have his speed or leg lift. I for one don't look for the Bulls to go to fat in this years playoffs.

  • NBA Championship teams: the last five or six years, on every one of those rosters, of the main core, four or five of those guys played 70 to 80 games. Granted this shortened season skews those numbers. However, when you have guys like Derrick Rose playing in 37 games, that's bascially missing half the season(so far). Say you add ten games of the 16 shorter games from 82, that's still only 47 games.

    Richard 'Rip' Hamilton, people can debate whether he was brought in as a "significant addition" as in starter with 30 plus minutes and say 13-14 ppg on 42-43% shooting(which is what he did last year). Regardless, playoffs there's no question with his history of scoring and guarding Wade effectively, he was a 'key' piece no doubt.

    The 34 year old Hamilton has played in 23 games. Add 10 or 12 games of the 82, fine that's 35 games.

    Luol Deng is seriously injured and hampered with his wrist. Deng is shooting .412 from the field, and has played in 51 games. Add 12 that's 63 plus he probably get's no rest now so five more 68.

    Anyway you slice it the Bull's core pieces have just not had a championship type of year. Could it happen? Hamilton has looked good shooting the ball(always after long rests). Game in and game out of a rugged playoffs? And Derrick if not totally then somewhat out of sync with a ton of rust and continually nagging injuries shooting 43% right now.

    The 2012 Bulls have been very entertaining to watch most of the season regardless. From C.J. and Taj to Lu and even Derrick it has been a fun year despite the injuries. Defense, superb passing and sharing the ball. Team basketball.Though lately the offense has struggled, and has fallen from 2nd and 3rd best to 6th. Their team field goal percentage is barely hovering above 45%.

    If Derrick shocks the world of mounting doubters resurrecting his season with all the myriad injuries and recently sulky comments with a potent playoff performance say 23ppg and up with a minimum of 43% and 32-33% 3-pt's then yes the Bulls could pull off what for my money would be a June Surprise. With possibly the best overall NBA record granted some will deny the underdog status of Derrick and this Bulls team. We shall see.

  • I agree that if the Bulls fall to the 2nd seed, playing the Pacers would not be something I'd be looking forward to.

  • Rose is injured again? Is he made of glass or what? $19M/yr for this kind of garbage. He is WAY overrated when he is healthy anyway, and should have been traded like last year before people wake up and see what he really is, a bottom 5 PG.

  • Let's see Rose as a PG:
    1. Can't handle the ball even with no pressure, just cough it up
    2. With pressure, he lose the ball most of the time.
    3. Under Rose, there has been absolutely no lobs for easy dunks in his last 3 years as PG.
    4. No court vision, and have no clue how and when to pass. Even he admit it as such yesterday.
    5. Can't shoot free throws in pressure situation and proves it over and over again.
    6. All he got is speed, but no clue how to use it to his advantage. Actually, he use it to his disadvantage. see all the missed layups, and getting hurt every other day.
    7. He took up $19M of the team's salary, which could have been used to sign 2 or 3 great players.
    8. With the same crazy schedule, Durant and Westbrook never missed a game. Actually, Westbrook never miss a game ever, starting in High school.

    Enough said, Rose needs to go, like last year already.

  • In reply to liztan:

    No court vision/can't pass? Rose's assist percentage of 40.3 is better than Tony Parker, Rubio, and Westbrook. His turnover percentage is better than Westbrook or Deron Williams.

    The free throws are a problem. He's missed too many shots at the rim this year, but that is likely due to injury. Speaking of which, while Westbrook's durability is amazing in an almost Favre-like way, one compressed season isn't enough to draw any conclusions about anybody's durability. Dwight Howard has been nearly indestructible before this year, while Carlos Boozer of all people is the only Bull to start every game. It means very little regarding his value going forward.

    He needs to go? Where? Who's going to take on his contract if he's as bad as you say? He can't be amnestied because his contract was signed under the new CBA.

    Which 2 or 3 great players were they going to sign? Eric Gordon? (speaking of injuries) Howard? (coach killer who doesn't want to play here) D-Will? (coach killer wants to go home to Dallas). When healthy Rose is one of the 10 best players in the league and worth every penny. If the injuries keep happening over the next season or two, I'll change my tune, but this is way premature.

  • In reply to liztan:

    ~scrolling down~

  • I am not that worried about the chemistry issues. The bulls are going to have twice as many practices during the first round of the playoffs as they've had in the last two months.

  • Well...its back to my old saying about this team and it really is an issue whether anyone wants to admit it or not...FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS!!! From missing crucial free throws at the end of games, to losing to one of the worst teams in the league, and to losing games that they should've won, this team lacks FOCUS at times. Looks as if Miami chances of getting that number 1 seed just got better thanks to the lowly WASHINGTON WIZARDS BEATING THE CHICAGO BULLS WITH THE BEST RECORD IN THE LEAGUE ON THEIR HOME FLOOR...really nice job Bulls!!!

  • Qoute from Thibs about last night, and the teams play in general for a while now.

    “There are certain amount of mistakes that are going to happen in a game,” allowed Thibodeau. “But it doesn’t absolve you from sprinting back and protecting your basket and not conceding two points. Now we’re turning it over, not getting back and giving up the easy buckets, which also gives your opponents confidence. That has to be corrected. That has to be corrected."

    Gee, I wonder who he is talking about, and exactly what I said in last nights post game. The correction is obvious, it doesn't take a genius to figure it out, Thibs simply has to grow a pair(contract & egos be damned) and execute the offender(s).

    Just like Ben Gordon before him, it only takes one guy to suck the critical competitive edge out of a team, and lack of effort in transition D after a turnover is one of the signature plays of both Gordon and the Ben Gordon of power forwards(a.k.a Jane Fonda).

    Thibs must really be pissed to call out his team in public, even if not naming names specifically. So, despite his dubious rotations and allocation of minutes, Thibs is not totally oblivious of what has really been afflicting the Bulls for the past 2 years, and especially since the All-Star break. Cancer always starts with just one cell, even if it is one big fat(265 lb) one.

    thank you Thibs for calling it out today, now find a way to correct it, find a way to correct it.

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