By any rationale measure, it's probably a better idea to watch election coverage than to watch one of 82 Bulls games this season. However, if you're like me and somewhat disenfranchised by our political system, then the Chicago Bulls make a nice alternative when all the networks turn off their programming in order to cover the election.
The Orlando Magic are off to a 2-0 start beating the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns behind the sensational play of Glen Davis and J.J. Redick whom are both averaging over 20 points per game with efficient shooting percentages.
Now here's a team that looks like it's facing similar challenges to us. When J.J. Redick and Glen Davis are your primary shot creators, then you're going to run into some problems. Meanwhile, the Bulls are coming off a disappointing loss to the Hornets who were effectively fielding a DLeague roster.
The Bulls couldn't hit the broad side of a barn last game and Boozer, Hinrich, and Hamilton were benched for the fourth quarter due to their poor play.
Carlos Boozer can get this done
Glen Davis is a fatter version of Carlos Boozer. He's got plenty of skills, but he's undersized for his position and isn't bringing a whole ton of defense. In short, he's the type of player Carlos can typically do well against. Boozer can attack Davis off the pick and roll using his speed and also get good looks with his turnaround in the post if he establishes deep position early as Davis doesn't have the length to contest a fadeaway.
On the defensive end, Davis isn't a world beater, but he's active, and Carlos will need to stay active to avoid giving him good looks. All in all, this is the type of matchup I expect Carlos to win handily and give the Bulls a significant advantage, but expectations and Boozer frequently lead to disappointment.
Get it done inside
Orlando has little front court to speak of and will play plenty of small ball which should give the Bulls plenty of room to get things done in the post. Beyond the play of Boozer (noted above), the Bulls need Gibson and Noah to provide some offense down and dominate the glass.
The Magic will play small plenty of times, and Chicago needs to win those matchups by playing big and crushing them with second shot opportunities or mismatches in the post. The Bulls are a great rebounding team and going up against an undersized front court should give them all the advantage they need.
The E'Twuan Moore vs Nate Robinson what could have been
E'Twuan was a hopeful low end signing for many Bulls fans this summer. Chicago didn't appear to pursue him though, and he's gone on to have a very solid start for the Magic. The Bulls signed Nate Robinson to fill the spot on the roster that Moore may have filled instead and has also gone on to have a hot start.
While the battle is sort of silly and irrelevant, Bulls fans who love to complain about anything will have something to talk about if Moore has a big game tonight.
Fundamentals and shooting
When the Bulls are playing well, the formula is fairly simple:
The Bulls have a team that can easily fall into a big shooting slump as when the shots stop falling they don't have anyone to lean on to try and get some easy points. However, when they play defense, rebound, and share the ball then they typically generate a fair amount of open looks and capture some easy ones in transition.
The Bulls need to hammer home that formula like they have the first two games but can't afford the lapses they had during the third. They'll also need to improve on their three point shooting as they've been pathetic beyond the arc thus far.
If Chicago hit 1/3rd of their threes last game (still below average for a team) then they'd have beaten the Hornets despite playing quite poorly. They can't afford to have Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich hoisting up bricks all game long on open threes.
Bulls need a win
After starting the season with four creampuffs (including this game), the Bulls will go on to face much tougher opponents over the next couple weeks. Chicago needs to get this win now. They can't afford to split games against the dregs of the league if they want to keep the ship afloat, because splitting them against the good teams will be much tougher.
If they can't stop a team led by J.J. Redick, Glen Davis, and Aaron Afflalo, there's something wrong. The Magic don't have any more shot creators than Chicago does and lack the defensive presence. This game is right there for the taking, but so was the last one and we saw how that turned out.