Bulls set offense back 50 years in loss, prep for Boston

Much like the Bulls loss against the Clippers, the Bulls played their starters into the ground only to lose to a team they were significant underdogs against before playing a winnable game the next night. The Bulls showed few signs of fatigue and beat the 76ers on that first back to back, can they beat Boston tonight?

I hope your eyes have healed

Mine still burn from watching that game. It's not often that you're on a pace to score 71 but still very much in a game with three minutes left. That's where the Bulls found themselves against the Grizzlies when the two defensive juggernauts squared off. In the end, the Grizzlies were able to find just enough offensive execution to win while the Bulls flailed around helplessly on the offensive side of the ball.

Luol Deng attempted to put the Bulls on his back and carry them and simply collapsed under the weight of Rudy Gay's defense. He entered the fourth quarter with around eight minutes left and the Bulls down six. He proceeded to go 0-5 from the field, 0-2 from the free throw line and added a turnover to the mix for his trouble. He eventually drew a foul with 23 seconds left and knocked down one of two free throws to break his 0-fer streak, but the game was already over.

It was a difficult stretch to watch as Deng kept trying to force the issue while being absolutely suffocated defensively and took terrible shots well outside of his ability range. I'm not overly critical of Deng for making the attempt as someone had to do it. The Bulls weren't getting much better looks elsewhere, but it just summed up the night for the Chicago offense which was ice cold for most of the night.

The Bulls lack of three point shooting largely did them in this game as Deng and Hinrich combined for 0-8 from beyond the arc. Had each player hit just 1/4 the Bulls would have been right in this game down the stretch, but it was not to be.

More of the same tonight

The Celtics haven't been nearly as good defensively as the Grizzlies, but tonight's game threatens to be another painful experience with two defensive oriented teams willing to slug it out in a slowed down game. Much like Bulls/Indy and Bulls/Grizzlies, this could be another first one to 80 type affair.

That said, the Celtics won the first match up at the United Center in a virtual barn burner 100-95. The Bulls couldn't slow Rajon Rondo or the Celtics offense and eventually ran out of gas offensively themselves after shooting well most of the game.

The same general trends are likely to occur in this game. Luol Deng has a chance to put up a nice game against Paul Pierce on both ends of the court while Chicago still has no one to stop Rondo on defense.

Teague time?

Much like the story of the three bears, Kirk Hinrich was big enough but too slow, Nate Robinson was fast but too small, while Marquis Teague may prove to be just right. Teague defended Deron Williams and Jrue Holiday well in key situations. He has the athleticism to stick with Rondo and the length to not get abused defensively.

Thibodeau probably won't play Marquis Teague, but if he doesn't get more out of his PGs then he should. Hinrich's a solid fundamental defender, but he frequently gets blown up by athletic guys while Robinson tends to get ripped up by quality players all the time due to his lack of size.

Hinrich's offense has been awful so far this season, so the Bulls aren't losing a whole lot taking a gamble on Teague for a few minutes and seeing if inserting a dose of athleticism into the lineup allows Chicago to get out on the break or slow Rondo at the point of attack.

Pound the glass

Boston's not a strong rebounding team, and Chicago can stay in this game by dominating the boards even if they struggle to score in the half court. They need a big effort from Noah, Boozer, and Gibson in the paint to make sure they own that advantage.

I also like Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng flying in from the perimeter to crash the offensive glass and think Chicago can gain advantage there. If the game comes down purely to offensive execution, Chicago's in trouble, so they need to win the other facets of the game.

Go get this one

I'm not confident enough in this Bulls team to say they "should" win any game against a team over .500, but this is clearly a game the Bulls can go out and get. They played Boston close last time and beat them without Rose last season a couple of times last season. They need to go get this one.

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  • As long as we don't rely on Kirk to stop Rondo we have a chance, if we keep Kirk in the game allthough he is not 100% (and will never be again, b/c he's old and slow) we will lose.
    I'm all for trading Kirk away asap, b/c he's hurting the team. If he wants to stay he should retire and hire on as an assistant if he is that useful as a mentor for other PG's.

  • Marquis Teague - DNP, what a fucking joke.

    What a shock, Thibs the conservative drudge rejected Marquis Teague with any kind of payback for his game saving plays especially late, and instead went with a "vet" in Kirk Hinrich.

    Listen, Teague may be a limited player in the end if he can't shoot or has injury trouble who knows. But the guy has an elite pedigree being a star of stars in the NCAA championship run and in his NBA level elite quickness and excellent athleticism. And he certainly showed that elite poise in his big plays down the stretch against the Nets. He absolutely should have played some in that follow up game to see what he could do. Both for the good of the team and Teague himself.

    Thibs is an excellent coach in many ways, but this micro focus on the short term game in game out rather then long term fostering of roles with players is very limiting and one day will probably be his downfall IMO.

    Also, anyone who is really concerned with the machinations of the Bulls front office at this point, I mean trade Kirk, keep Kirk, who with a life really gives a shit. This cheap, shortsighted team will continue to fu-ck up as they always have. Good thing they signed Taj to that contract too because trading away valued assetts to upgrade offensively or with young talent Taj, Asik, Gordon for nothing is never the answer.. right Gar/Pax..??

    I will say watching Joakim and Lu play recently has pulled me into watching a couple of Bulls games I admit it. They overall have been playing great. And Belinelli recenty has been fun to watch except when Thibs chews his ass out while he's winning you the ball game, arbitrarily while letting Boozer slide. Big mistake. If Belinelli gets the minutes and plays so well why not stick with the younger guy and see what develops over old injury workers comp clowns in Rip(off) and Kirk?? Yet Thibs will

    Thibs, your bulldog quest for nightly victories does lack some sophistication and grand scheme of things wisdom that is for sure. I guess that's why you have no life or interests outside the game of basketball. Please wake the f-ck up. Your what in your 50's for god's sake.

  • 'Solid fundamental defender'?? Your definition is too narrow. Did you see hiny lay on the ground as a protest, to what he thought was a missed foul, as the Grizzlies took a fast break in for a score?
    He has been doing that his entire career. It is what defines him as a fraud. I can appreciate taking a chance on the development of a player, but watching this con artist rake in millions is a kick in the teeth.

  • I'm disappointed in the loss like everyone else, but at the same time I'm not at all surprised with the out come. This was two of the top defensive teams playing each other with the Grizzlies having the edge offensively. From a front court perspective we were evenly matched, but like always our weakness lies is our backcourt. I thought Noah, Deng, and even Boozer did okay for 3 quarters but by the 4th they were clearly out of gas. This is one of those games that make you miss Derrick Rose the most because we really have no other option to close out games. Without him we live and die by our defense and hustle to win games, but Memphis beat us at our own game and scored the ball more efficiently.

    I think the Bulls should give Teague a chance to start because even though he's a rookie, his game is much more well rounded than Hinrich and Nate's. Our best bet would be to give Teague, Butler, and Belinili the majority of the minutes, and they need to shop Hinrich, Hamilton, and Nate. However I doubt we see that happen.

  • The Bulls looked pathetic on offense and its why they should of known to get a scoring point guard like jarrod bayless if they really disliked cj watson for whatever reason. I dont know whats more painful to watch, hinrich on offense or deng trying to create for himself. The Bulls function best with a scoring point guard that opens up the floor for everyone else, GarPax should of known better. I like most fans want to see more Marquis Teague even though he will continue to make some rookie mistakes.

    The Celtics killed us with Garnett and Rondo last time, if they can somewhat contain those two and dominate on the boards, they should be ok. But the Bulls are a poor jumpshooting team they have to focus on not defeating themselves with high turnovers and that will be a major key. I'm a bit confused to why both Deng and Hinrich have forgotten how to shoot 3s???? I mean they're not lights out shooters but are shooting a poor percentage this year. We need to knock down at least 5 treys a game. We need 3 point production from everyone, Beli, Deng, Nate, Kirk. Jimmy Butler needs to work on that corner 3 if he ever wants to have any chance of starting in the future. It's a shot I think he can develop if he works hard at it.

  • The similarities between the Bogans situation and the Hinrich situation are startling. The most alarming of all is the fact that Thibs refuses to change.

    I'm not necessarily that high on Teague, but the fact of the matter is, at least he can stay in front of people at this point. That he didn't play in a game where a little athleticism and energy could have made a difference is disappointing, to say the least.

    "Solid Fundamental Defender". You know what that reminds me of with respect to Hinrich? Those Steven Segal movies where, despite his 'solid fundamental martial arts', they had to slow down the frame rate to like 1/3 normal speed to make it look like he still had @ss kicking mojo.

    So, if we could slow down the modern NBA game to 1/3 speed, Hinrich would once again be solid defensively.

    Hinrich is D-O-N-E. Put a fork in him, take him out of the oven, serve him up on a platter DONE.

    Rondo's Hall of Fame debate highlight film continues tonight....

  • Ladies and gentlemen, that is 2/3 of your "core"(ooopps, that was 5 years ago) looking like everyone's little brothers getting played with on the playground.

    Hangdog and to a lesser extent Deng looked like little kids getting toyed with by their big brothers, in this case Conley and Gay. Conley was throwing up shit that you only see on the playground or in practice, because he knew that he could do anything that he wanted against Hangdog. It was Meadowlark lemon against the Washington Generals.

    Hangdog looked like he was going to have a complete breakdown and nearly started crying in the third quarter when his glasses broke. Teague should have gotten at least a shot against Conley. Why Thibs didn't see what was happening is beyond me, put I guess that it is hard to see through solid concrete, the composition of most of Thibs head.

    I have complained about how ugly Deng is to watch for years. Even when he is playing well, he looks like a gangly newborn gazelle just out of his mothers womb. Last night he looked like he was having a spastic epileptic fit for most of the night. He might be the worst looking athlete in the league. Like I've said, even when the numbers are good, he is just no fun to watch. And he is just not an allstar, he is just another no name putz running around like a chicken with his head cut off.

    In general last night was just another case of what I've been saying about this Bulls team for the past several years. They are the worst hands team in the league, and when they play against an Edward scissor hands team like the Grizzlies or the Clippers the results are an ugly moronic mess like we got last night.

    Finally, is there a worse team on the fast break than the Bulls, this shit has been going on for years, led, if you could call it that by our allstar, Luol Deng, who is cluelessly pathetic on the break.

    A game like last night is precisely why it is impossible to get exciting about watching this team. No matter how hard they try(everyone except of course, Bozo), or how many wins they gut out against crappy or middling teams, they simply do not have the talent to compete against any team of actual playoff quality. and at this point, I don't see Rose making enough of a difference to get you out of the second round.

  • an interesting post from Grantland about the Noah-Gibson tandem.
    I have been fairly disappointed with Taj this season, more-so on defense and rebounding than do to his offensive struggles which are just part of his game, so this was interesting. Maybe when Rose comes back we can find out that amnestitizing the Clownzer is the way to go.

    anyway from Grantland

    Taj Gibson–Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

    A.k.a. the "Can we amnesty Carlos Boozer?" duet. Gibson is shooting just 43 percent, including a miserable sub-20 percent figure on mid-range jumpers, and the main question about this pairing was always going to be whether Chicago could score enough to justify cutting Boozer's minutes — or cutting him altogether, via the amnesty provision.

    Chicago scored at a league-best rate with the Noah-Gibson duo last season, but most of those 311 minutes came with Derrick Rose running the point. In 282 minutes already this season, Chicago's 24th-ranked offense is scoring at just about the same subpar rate with Gibson-Noah as it is overall. That's not great news, but it's not bad news, either; the Bulls are staying afloat, and with Boozer shooting 47 percent and barely getting to the line, the points are coming at the same rate regardless of who plays. What happens when Rose gets back?

    And the defense. Holy hell, the defense. Chicago is holding teams to 84.2 points per 100 possessions with the Gibson-Noah front line, a number 12 points stingier than Memphis's league-leading figure. Gibson and Noah are all extended arms and fast feet, able to cover more ground in Tom Thibodeau's aggressive schemes than two people should be able to manage. They rebound everything and force turnovers at a scary rate.

    They can make up for this by destroying the offensive glass and outrunning opponents in transition, where Noah's ballhandling is a huge asset. The Bulls will face a huge tax bill next season if they keep Boozer, and they could have cap room in the summer of 2014 if they amnesty him. Has the Gibson-Noah combo shown enough?

    This analysis more or less justifies what I always said, that a Bulls front line of Noah/Asik/Taj was championship worthy if Rose was complimented with 2 high quality scoring wings one of which could only be Luol Deng if the other was a much better player than Deng.

  • Got to 100 against a playoff team for the first time this year! Celebrate it because it might not happen again until Rose gets back.

    Still the East isn't that good, so long as the bigs stay healthy then it looks like they'll do more than enough to keep in the race until Rose comes back and they should get home court in the first round.

    I think I'm starting to get won around to Doug's view: anyone but the Heat in the East is a winnable matchup if Rose comes back healthy. The Knicks are clearly a good team but they have some pretty big vulnerabilities defensively, and struggle if they aren't hitting threes. The Bulls are a great team at defending the three, it's really as good a match up as they could hope for against a team on track to win 60.

  • It needs to be said again.

    Kirk Hinrich had 0 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds to go along with 4 fouls in 24 minutes tonight.

    O.J. Mayo had 26 points (on 8-of-12), 8 assists and 3 rebounds in 36 minutes tonight.

    Oh, how it hurts.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Kirk managed to have slightly more impact than a dead man but with far less efficiency. On the positive side, it's got me daydreaming about making a belated entry into the NBA. Sounds like I can make $4 million a year which might buy me some coaching.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    No, it doesn't need to be said again. I don't see any more need to post about it than to post that the sun came up this morning. You don't need to state mundane facts. Everyone already gets it. There really isn't anyone saying that Kirk wasn't a horrible, horrible signing ... heck outside of Doug's half hearted defense of it most people said so as soon as ink was put to paper.

    It is what it is, stop picking at the scabs of the wound.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Yes, let's not remember the FO's failures. Let's forget them immediately. Give management free reign to make as many bone-headed decisions as they want until the team is beaten to dust. The Bulls don't make horrible decisions out of everything, but their free agency decisions have been atrocious for a long time and that needs to be noted. In case you haven't noticed, the team still needs a 2 guard who can get his own shot plus handle and facilitate a little - same as they did two-three years ago. We should remember at least until that problem is corrected! Neither Rip nor Marco can be the starting shooting guard on a team that wins the championship. Let's not forget.

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