Bulls fall to Clippers travel to Philly

In what's potentially the worst case scenario last night, the Bulls fell to the Clippers after a hard fought battle where all the starters Sans Hinrich played 40 minutes (Deng 39:56). They must now head to Philly for an east coast back to back with an early tip off after having a late tip off last night.

Back to backs are never easy, but it especially sucks with less than 20 hours between games. Due to the time change the Bulls play their next game around 19.5 hours after the Clipper game ended.

The good news is that the Bulls played well in the loss. While the Clippers largely outclassed the Bulls with their athleticism, Chicago was able to keep a relative handle on both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The Bulls may have won the game had it not been for a disastrous stretch where they turned the ball over repeatedly and allowed three open dunks, two of which came on back to back breakaways.

Watching the game, I felt very solid about the Bulls half court defense. While there were some missed rotations and box outs, overall, they did a nice job of slowing down an extremely talented and athletic Clippers team.

Chicago wasted perhaps the best three point shooting night they'll have this season when they went 10-20 from beyond the arc. I'd say the night was an aberration, but the Clippers were genuinely horrible at defending the three. I suspect if the Bulls had similar wide open looks every game that they'd regularly knock down 10 threes a night.

Many of the Bulls threes (including misses) were the variety where the player was totally alone, caught the ball, fully set, and released and still had no one running out at him after that. It was truly a poor effort by the Clippers, and I'm almost embarrassed by Vinny Del Negro's coaching job on both ends of the floor in this game.

Carlos Boozer played perhaps his best game of the season which was impressive given he commonly struggles against athletic front lines, and the Clippers have an extremely athletic front line. However, he used veteran moves to get shots at the hoop all night long and finished repeatedly around the rim. Hopefully Carlos can repeat against a Philly team without much athleticism up front.

Deng and Noah both struggled from the field, and you have to think if either of these guys played the way they did for most of the rest of the season that the Bulls would have come away with a win. I was disappointed by the play of both players, and until Noah hit a couple tip ins in the fourth quarter (which were crucial in the Bulls comeback bid) he was simply atrocious from the field as was Deng.

On to Philly

As noted above, this is going to be a tough game on particularly short rest after the starters were run into the ground in a gut wrenching loss. Chicago will need a find a way to get up (both emotionally and physically) for this one, because it won't be easy to go into Philly and get a win.

The Bulls will need to hope they can keep their shooting touch against the 76ers as points may become difficult to come by in this game. Chicago and Philly will both play a tough half court defense, and you have to like Philly's creators more than Chicago's when it comes to generating shots.

The Bulls have the personnel to dominate on the interior though, as they'll have a size/talent advantage against a Philly front line that frequently includes Thaddeus Young playing PF.

Chicago needs Noah, Boozer, and Gibson make things happen on the offensive glass and inside the paint to compensate for the better perimeter play that the 76ers will likely bring to the table.

Not feeling good about it

I think Philly would be the favorite either way, but the short turn around in game time combined with the heavy minutes played by starters yesterday puts the Bulls at a significant disadvantage. It wouldn't be a huge upset for Chicago to win, and the game could clearly swing either way but my money's on the 76ers.

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  • Great effort by the team last night and that made it an especially frustrating loss, especially when you throw in Vinny and even Jamal Crawford, two guys with chips on their shoulders when it comes to Chicago. Noah is starting to show signs that he is wearing down from the 40+ minutes a night. Thibs has to figure out a way to get that number down to 36-38 or Noah is going to be missing games soon.

  • Look, I realize Thibs has been given a crap bench to work with, but you have got to give Jimmy, Taj, and Nate more minutes last night. It was the perfect chance to use them. Defensive, Athletic bodies that can bring energy on the first night of a back-to-back. Noah, and even Deng already, seem to be gassed by the time the third quarter roles around already.

  • The Bulls are turnover prone and thats what killed them last night, especially during the second quarter. boy did Thibodeau scream at them during a timeout when they were turning the ball over for slam dunk after slam dunk. Its a shame since the Bulls had excellent 3pt shooting with 10 made and 50 rebound night. They have to work on ball security issues which can't happen since they already are a poor jumpshooting team. Golden rule number one, do not defeat yourself, make the opposing team earn their victory the hard way. Glad to see Boozer play well against a great team so that was one of the very few positives from this game. Agree with Gibson, Butler and Nate needing more time. The Bulls FO needs to make a small trade to get Noah a decent backup center so he can rest a bit but probably they will roll with what they have so they need to get Gibson more minutes on the floor.

  • I understand people who write about sports must find something to write about....minutes blah blah blah. I've always thought that these guys get paid to play basketball so if they arent hurt shouldnt they be able to play 40 minutes a night? I could be wrong and am not interested in such a debate regarding men who get paid millions to play a kids game. Though I do appreciate Doug's blog in general (very much).

    What I take away from this season so far is that despite an expected enormous amount of naysaying this team has been in position to win most games except a couple (only the Clippers in LA comes to mind as a blowout). So I apologize in advance for being a positive Bulls fan but with a healthy DRose and Rip Hamilton this team aint so bad IMO. Of course they probably need more to win it all (Mirotic where are you? :-) but I think they can make a run if they can get healthy by playoff time.

  • In reply to bullswin60606:

    Finally, someone else who doesn't hate this year's team. Obviously, everything hinges on Rose, but this team can compete.

  • "The Chicago Bulls are riding a three game win streak and have done a nice job winning the games they were supposed to win. Tonight, they face a team that's supposed to annihilate them and did exactly that in their first meeting in L.A. Can the Bulls find a way to stay in this one?

    "Quite frankly, no. Not unless something particularly abnormal happens.

    "The Clippers have too many parts the Bulls have no answer for. Their biggest strengths play right into the Bulls biggest weaknesses. The Bulls have no answer for Blake Griffin or Chris Paul, and both players should get whatever they want all night long against the Bulls".

    I seem to remember the above being spewed by Doug yesterday in his preview to last night's showdown with the Clippers.
    Oh ye of little faith! One would have thought the Bulls were tackling the Phil Jackson Lakers.

    .

  • Doug, perhaps this question has been covered before but I was wondering why the bulls didn't try to get O.J. Mayo when he became a free agent? I would have thought he would have been a good fit for the bulls. He has a good contract and can score as he is showing now. Can you answer please?

  • In reply to g2344:

    I can answer that. They're stupid. They got it in their heads that they wanted Hinrich back and didn't aggressively pursue Mayo as a result. Figures, since Memphis seemed willing to trade Mayo for Asik a couple years back, but the Bulls deemed Asik too valuable. That's why they let him walk for nothing in free agency. Doug is right that he said he thought the Bulls should pursue Mayo, as many of us did. But he did often bring up in the comments something about how a player with three years in the league who's never had a PER of 15 or more never goes on to be a good starter or something like that.

  • It was nice to see that Noah and Deng came up strong in the fourth quarter of the game tonight. Teague impressed me with some of his play. I think he will be ok. Maybe by next year he will be a full time role player.
    Just want to add to the SG starter debate. Does it really matter who starts? Rip could start again aslong as Marco got minutes with the starters. Don't know if they will do it, but I'd give all the SG minutes to Rip and Marco and let Jimmy play more SF. Then Deng could play more minutes at PF leaving Boozer and Taj to split time as the backup Center. Noah needs some time off. A lineup of Nate, Marco, Butler, Deng, Taj could be an athletic lineup when they need to go small against someone like Miami or New York.
    Bulls win. Keep pace with the Nets. Heat lose. Good night all around!

  • Bozo sits the last 15 minutes of the game, the Bulls pull away and win. EJ's neato interesting stat of the night, Bozo minus 12, Lavoy Allen plus 14. Every other sixer was in negative territory, and every Bulls player except Robinson and Belli were between +9(Deng) and +18(Taj).

    Last night Bozo plays what some want to call his best game of the season, Bulls lose by 5, Bozo +/- minus 6. As I've said his play never contributes to winning and always contributes to losing, I would call that the absolute definition of a loser.

    While Deng had a nice night statistically, dare I say an Allstar night(19 & 12),athletically he was a hot mess, it had to be one of the ugliest nights in NBA history, almost culiminating in a freak injury on his stumbling bumbling "fast break/drive" thru the lane in the fourth quarter. There is just nothing fun about watching Deng play, and he just might be the worst fast break player in league history. The Bulls in general have sucked on the break for the past several years, but Deng is consistently the worst that I've ever scene.

    Would you trade him for Thaddeus Young or Evan Turner, I doubt that Philly would. Not saying that I would, but I would definitely have to think about it. It would probably come down to age and contracts.

    Nice showing by Teague, shocked that Mr Concrete skull actually went to him in the second half, and then stuck with him. He may have been the difference between winning and losing tonight, as Holiday was unstoppable against Nate.

    I'll probably have to point this out for the next dozen or so years, Holiday went 17 to the Sixers one pick after the Bulls at 16 selected James "Dickey Simpkins" Johnson. As I always say, take the best basketball player available irregardless of position or need. Holiday had been projected as a top 10 pick, but likely slipped due to physical immaturity. I think that he and Rose could easily play together, and as a bonus, we wouldn't have had to sign Hangdog(Hinrich) this past offseason.

    Distressing that the Bulls got outrebounded tonight, both in total and on the offensive glass by a team that doesn't even start a center and only has one on its active roster, Spencer Hawes.

    I'll take the win, but there sure isn't much joy in Mudville.

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