Chicago Bulls pay a visit to Omer Asik and the Houston Rockets

The Chicago Bulls swore up and down they'd do whatever it takes to keep Omer Asik. They made their 2012 trade deadline decisions envisioning Omer on the roster as they could have traded him away for value but opted to keep him. In the end, they grossly miscalculated the market for Asik which seems foolish in retrospect.

They repeatedly said Omer was a lottery pick talent. They waited years for him to come over. They played him at the end of games. They knew how good he was. He ultimately signed a deal for three years and 24 million dollars. Did they not anticipate an offer of 3/24 for a lottery pick caliber seven footer that they themselves thought was one of the best defenders in the NBA?

It wasn't like someone came in and gave him the max they could. That would have been a 4/40 million dollar offer with an extra two million per year and one more year tacked on. Asik's offer definitely had a poison pill in it, it definitely would have been tough to swallow that final year of his contract, but then that was information they should have processed prior to the trade deadline and moved him then as eight million a year for a quality seven footer isn't a difficult to grasp offer to see coming.

I was torn on whether the Bulls should match Asik, ultimately I thought he was a goner because quite frankly he was worth eight million a year (or more) to the Rockets where he'd start and likely not worth so much to the Bulls where he wouldn't. The whole deal is part of the curse of Carlos Boozer. Would anyone not trade Asik for Boozer straight up right now even if we ignored the salary figures which are heavily weighted in Asik's favor?

Nevertheless, it will be fun watching Joakim and Omer battle it out tonight. Joakim's been on fire on offense while Omer's one of the league's best defensive big men. This is a tough battle for Jo, and I'm interested to see how well he performs particularly on the glass where Omer has a big size advantage.

Stopping James Harden

That's the goal tonight. Stop James Harden. Do that, and you've got a victory. Fail? Who knows. James Harden's averaging 24 points a game while only shooting 42.8% from the field and 28.6% from the three point line. However, he's killing teams with the drive and getting to the free throw line nearly nine times a game.

Despite low shooting percentages, his scoring efficiency is quite high.

The Bulls will need to find a way to slow him down which might be difficult if Rip Hamilton is expected to defend Harden at all. Hamilton's too slow and too weak to stand a chance. The Rockets don't have anyone particularly dangerous playing SF, so the Bulls should consider putting Deng on Harden right away though Harden may have too much athleticism for Deng to handle on the perimeter, my hope is Deng's length will make up for it.

If it's not Deng, then I expect to see some extra minutes for Jimmy Butler and playing a perimeter with Deng and Butler on it to have multiple athletic wing defenders to throw at Harden may be a look the Bulls want to show frequently tonight.

Linsanity has turned into Linsufficient

In a turn of events that surprises pretty much no one, Jeremy Lin has come down to Earth considerably after leading the New York Knicks to a quality record against horrible opponents for a small stretch before getting hurt.

He's putting up Kirk Hinrichesque numbers this year.

Okay, it's not THAT bad for Lin, but it's not good. He hasn't been able to find his shooting touch and has his assist numbers inflated by playing along side an incredibly gifted scoring guard. This is one defensive matchup that Hinrich can probably handle quite well. Lin isn't athletic enough to burn him, and Hinrich is strong enough fundamentally to match up well.

Where's the defense?

Surprisingly, the Bulls offense has played fairly well recently. What they haven't been able to do is stop anyone. The Rockets are molded into the type of team the Bulls are traditionally designed to play well against. Their offense is largely focused through a primary scorer whom they can swarm with help defense.

The Bulls struggle much more against balanced offenses than ones with one elite threat, and Harden, while great, isn't all that elite as far as elite threats go.

I look for the Bulls defense to rebound in this game and hold the Rockets to around 40% from the field to keep Chicago in the game.

Can they stay above .500?

This is their first chance to drop below .500 this season since the opening tip off. This is one of those games where the Bulls should win. The Rockets simply aren't that good, and Chicago should be plenty motivated after dropping a couple games in a row.

If they lose it makes a much bigger statement about the state of the team than if they win. I think they'll pull through.

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  • Good points about our front office being so clueless after waiting to get Asik, then not trading him for a player of value like Courtney Lee or maybe other SGs that could have added some much needed athletism and scoring to this team that so desperately needs it with out without Rose! Then they just let him walk away for $8M/yr which he is worth! Yes we have Noah and us grossly overpaying for Boozer is killing the team! We should have started Asik at C and Noah at PF, amnesty Boozo and Gibson could be our fill in PF/C while getting another utility big like Diop, Darko, etc.

  • I've watched quite a few Houston games this year and boy are they fun to watch. They've got more weapons than one would think- Chandler Parsons is crazy athletic, Patterson has become a pretty reliable scorer and Cole Aldrich has quite a few post moves and has been straight ballin in a couple of the games I've seen.
    They also move the ball really well, with Harden acting as a facilitator. And of course Omer is killing on defense and the boards and seems to have worked on his offensive game too. He's not a threat to score much, but is more comfortable with the ball.

    The Rockets do, however, have a tendency to go into huge shootings funks for extended periods of time, much like our Bulls. I've seen the Rockets go 5 minutes or more without a bucket a handful of times. Hopefully we see such a funk tonight, because without it the Bulls have little chance to pull out a win in this one.

  • we should all be watching the early second quarter and seeing how that second unit comes out. I would ditch Nazr Mohammed and go with a lineup of Robinson, Bellinelli at the 2, Butler at the 3, Deng as a "stretch 4" and Taj Gibson at the 5. This new formulated second unit has 3 scorers in nate,deng and belinelli plus energy-hustle guys in gibson/Butler and 3 solid defenders in deng,butler and taj. It would also give an athletic boost to that second unit. They can then use Nazr for spot minutes when Noah gets into foul trouble if needed. I would like to see Thibodeau experiment with the lineup, especially when the Bulls are getting killed in the second quarter.

  • The mishandling of the Asik contract cannot be understated. It is a prime example of how professionally inept the front is in not being able to understand the cap rules, determine the market and evaluate talent. I have no hopes for the GarPax management and ultimately for the Bulls as longs as those two morons are calling the shots.

  • I see a Rockets win cause this Bulls team as constructed STINKS! Not enough offensive options and I'm starting to hope this team continue to lose some big games in order to force someone's hand in that incompetent FO to do something in making some changes to this roster. And go get em Asik, let the Bulls management know they made a huge mistake in letting him go.

  • This game will be one of those 50-50 games against an average team.

    It will be close (maybe 1 team takes a big lead, but the other will get on a run and get back in) because they have hustle/energy guys (Asik, Patterson, Parsons, etc).

    BUT because they have a go-to scorer in the 4th (Harden), they will win the game.

  • About the only reason to watch the game is to see who gets the better of the bigman matchup, Noah or Asik, should be interesting, I can't really call it either way, although I could see Noah struggling with Asiks size. As Asik's biggest fan, I will find it hard to root against him even when playing against Noah and the Bulls.

    The Chandler/Deng matchup might be interesting also. Lin probably has his way with HangDog. We might need a healthy dose of Butler all over the place to match up with Houstons athleticism. But in the end Hardin will probably destroy us and win the game for them.

  • Just painful to watch the bulls offense in the closing seconds of this game. Loved the lineup of Nate, Butler, Deng, Taj, and Noah but we desperately need someone else who can drive the ball.

    On a side note, we need to see this lineup much more often. The heart, hustle, and defense of this unit is the only thing that can allow the bulls to compete on some nights. At this point, I don't see how Thibs doesn't consider starting Nate over Kirk. Kirk is just killing us out there, time to give a few of his minutes to Teague. The rookie can't possibly hurt us any more than Kirk currently is.

  • You can't tell me Thibs cares. His coaching is as bellow average as this team

  • too early for tanking time?

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    I believe that they are tanking. Management isn't creative enough to build by trade. Pax said it was hard to get a 2nd star. The draft is the only way this management is capable of dingo it. Thibs isn't even hoarse. Got his contract. He knows he doesn't have the players. The bitch is they had the nerve to raise ticket prices. Lord they have stones.

  • Way to go Bulls!!! Good loss keep it going cause this team needs a makeover in the worst way. Someone on the team and in management need to go.

  • Mass stupidity and offensive ineptitude. A choke by everyone involved, plain and simple. A perfect example of why Deng and the word All Star should never be used in the same breath.

    We've got 3 starters on the All useless veteran team, Bozo, Rip and Hangdog, then the guys who replace them play D, but can't score when it counts. The really is no hope without Rose at his MVP best. Even then it wouldn't hurt to have Asik and Korver back.

    Thank god for the DVR as it allowed me to watch bigboy basketball on ESPN(OKC v Clips) while I recorded the Bulls(JV) game.

  • tough loss, I thought it was a good idea not playing Nazr and it did seem to work with his new look lineup for the second quarter but the team fell flat in the last minutes. It's obvious Thibodeau prefers a "scoring point guard" and management handed him a dud so he is forced to go with the Nate show which can turn good or bad.

    This Bulls team needs to USE that 14th roster spot on a young athletic big to provide energy-defense-shot blocking-scoring. We saw this with Houston using Craig Smith and how those energy points really helped them. No more washed up veterans please!!!! Stop being stuck in the past garpax and go get some young athletic player hungry to compete instead of a veteran going through the motions and collecting his paycheck.

  • OJ Mayo tonight against NYK: 27pts on 10-17 FG and 3-7 3pt

    Jamal Crawford tonight against OKC: 20pts on 7-18 SG, 2-4 3pt

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    ESPNChiBulls Nick Friedell
    Very somber postgame locker room. Thibs admitted there could be changes to the starting lineup.
    =
    Boozer should come off the bench. He would FEAST on 2nd Units....

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    the team would need boozer to feast on the 2nd units because with gibson in the starting lineup the offense will struggle. it doesnt matter though because gibson is playing the forth quarters and the bulls are still losing.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Oh right, CHA is 6-4 now and 5th in the East.

    If they make the playoffs, that once so 'valuable' draft pick becomes useless.

    They didn't even trade that when it had it's most value.

  • Listening to the commentary after the game by Mark and Kendall made me want to laugh. Kendall's first suggestion was that they needed to play Kirk down the stretch. The Bulls wouldn't have been in that game -- period -- without Nate. Kirk has given them nothing.

    The second suggestion was that the Bulls have to play vets like Boozer and Rip more in the fourth. The only time Lin showed any signs of life was when Rip ended up on him. I can remember seeing him defend Harden once in the game, thinking to myself that this isn't going to end well, then Harden does one move and has Rip's legs going in the opposite direction of his body while he ices a three. Boozer... well... Boozer we don't need to get into.

    Mayo scored 27 on 11-of-17 tonight. Doug, you've taken enough credit for being right about Kirk. Will you admit you were wrong about Mayo as some of us suggested?

  • In reply to Hunter:

    10-of-17*

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