Bulls set numerous records while throttling Atlanta

The Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks were evenly matched for half a quarter. Nothing seemed amiss yet. Then the Hawks went nearly 10 minutes without scoring a basket and finished the second quarter with just five points, 20 in the half. It was a dominant defensive effort combined with perhaps the worst shooting I've ever seen in an NBA game.

The only tension in this game came early on when Kyle Korver hit a couple of shots angering fans who remember how the Bulls didn't cover up on him well enough last game, but his one three was from about six feet behind the three point line, and Luol Deng just bullied him on offense repeatedly to take advantage of his time on the court.

When the final seconds ticked off, the Bulls had set team records for fewest points allowed in a game (58) and a in a half (20) and tied the record for fewest allowed in a quarter (5).

The Bulls did most of their damage in the paint with Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng leading the way on offense and Joakim Noah leading the team on defense. Korver couldn't slow Deng who just power drive into the lane using his strength to go straight through him repeatedly to score. Boozer connected on a wide array of shots, and the Bulls offense start off slow but found its rhythm.

The Hawks looked as frustrated as you'd expect a team to look when they can't throw the ball in the ocean. Devin Harris committed a flagrant foul just shoulder tackling a mid air Kirk Hinrich in what was an extremely dangerous play [fortunately Kirk was fine]. The play showed the last sign of life out of a Hawks team which more or less just ran out the clock afterwards with little effort.

Perhaps the only disappointing note of the night for fans was Deaquon Cook missing a three on the Bulls final shot attempt that would have given away free Big Macs to the crowd [hint McDonalds/Duncan Donuts will honor the coupons whether you really win or not, just saying].

2-2 in the past four isn't surprising

I frequently look ahead at the schedule while doing my podcast and try to project what I think a good goal for the following week will be. I remember looking at one point and seeing: Milwaukee, @New York, Phoenix, Atlanta and thinking 2-2 seems like a fair goal for these four games. Two teams the Bulls should be underdogs against and two they should be favorites.

Of course, the Bulls go 2-2 winning the games I figured they'd lose and losing the games I'd figure they'd win. Without Derrick Rose, Chicago goes through stretches where it simply can't score. The Bulls frequently rely on long two point shots which is no way to run an efficient offense. They don't do this because Thibodeau is stupid, but because it's what most good defenses will allow if you don't have a player dynamic enough to create something better on his own.

Chicago attempts to get things going in the paint with their big men, but they're only so-so effective at it depending on the match up and the game. Against Phoenix, the Bulls repeatedly attempted to get things going in the paint, but they were simply got stripped, blocked, turned it over, or simply missed on the majority of their attempts.

Basketball is a game of streaks as well. Sometimes when you play, you're on. Sometimes you're off. Same goes with your opponent. When Chicago is off, they're one of the most off teams in the NBA since they lack the guy who can bail them out, and without anyone who can create easy shots they're more likely to be off than most teams.

Their defense and rebounding can frequently bail them out of off games anyway, but it should be no surprise when the team throws up a sub 40% shooting night regardless of the opponent and when you can't hit 40% of your shots, you can lose to anyone.

True road warriors?

The Bulls start a two game road trip on Wednesday before coming home for four. Afterwards they'll play 24 road games vs 16 home games the rest of the way. Chicago has played well on the road thus far (10-5), but if they want to continue their run towards a good seed in the East they'll need to prove this isn't a fluke.

Fortunately for Chicago, the East doesn't feel so tough anymore. If Derrick Rose is able to come back and play well, then Chicago might still have an outside shot at the #1 seed and will at worst be competing for the #3 seed. If he doesn't come back and play well, then it's more or less irrelevant where they end up anyway as they won't make it out of the second round without quality play from Derrick Rose.

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  • This team is like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. I keep trying to reacj some conclusion about this team and simply. After the Knicks game I thought they were ready to go on a run. They then lay an absolute egg against a bunch of has-beens and never-will-bes (the Suns). About to give up, they come back and embarrass a team that had embarrassed them two weeks earlier.

    You know it is an alternative universe when the only consistent players are Boozer (in a good way) and Hamilton (in a bad way). My prediction of 32 to 35 wines by the All Star break still stands but will no longer bet my house on it.

  • I have to give it to them with their lack of top talent it was hard to for me to expect this much out of those guys. I thought they would struggle to hang around .500 but they have come together and play hard. Having a shot at first still is an achievement in my book.

    I was checking out the PER stats and guess the Bulls top two players. You would never have thought it before the season but its Nate Rob and the Booz cruise! Really! Although none are very high on the list by position. Surprising was seeing Noah and Deng outside the top 20 at their positions and they are both playing well.

  • It was a bit worrisome at halftime with the Bulls up by 28. Since they were at home, we knew they were capable of tanking the second half, blowing the lead! However, not last night.

    This is an example of a coach having the team ready to play. Not possible to play with that energy and drive every night, but it was nice to see. Should be useful in the playoffs.

  • The Bulls had more rebounds (59) than the Hawks had points (58). I wonder how often that has happened?

  • One comment which we already know is true: the regular season and the post season are two completely different animals. The Bulls have no chance against a healthy Miami team period. Yeah they might beat some shitty EC team. And it will be ugly ass basketball nobody outside of Chicago will want to watch anyway.

    Derrick, Adrian Peterson aside, very likely will not be back to his MVP/full self until next season including reduced minutes availability. And even then without legit star scoring support his efficiency was terrible in his last full playoffs.

    Boozer shot 43 and 42 percent in the last two playoffs as a big. In regards to a playoff performer, He Sucks. Period.

    The Bulls dumped their bench for money's sake when they have reaped huge profits from chump ass fans who continue to watch faithfully. At least wait until Derrick gets back for god's sake.

    The Bulls as in Derrick Rose if he stars in the playoffs then I will take back much of my vitriol. But without the help and post injury I just dont' see it. It will be ugly ass basketball come playoffs so who gives a crap about the Bulls? Miami has only OKC blocking their path which is a pathetic testimony to the leagues one year of college, way the hell too many AAA/small market joke franchise league. Right now the NBA is a watered down joke. And the MegaTax has insured it will stay that way. David Stern you suck mule nads. After Jerry Reinsdorf is done with them.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    You actually touch on a good point. There have been a few articles since the start of the season about tickets to NBA games going for as little as 10 cents.

    I know there were garbage teams back in the MJ era, but it does seem as though the quality of basketball being played has taken a step back this year. Asides from OKC, San Antonio, the Clippers (Bizarro world) and (@#$% that I have to admit this) Miami, there aren't a lot of team that are "fun" to watch. And even those teams have clunker games (Heat in Utah being a case in point).

    People say the East is weak this year, but I look over at the West, and it ain't exactly Magic's Lakers, Bird's Celtics, MJ's Bulls or Olajuwon's Rockets out there, either.

    5 points in a quarter? And people are expected to pay full price for that 'effort'?

    I know David Stern wants the NBA to expand. However, I'd suggest he first contract some franchises that have proven to be futile over the long haul (Minnesota, New Orleans, Charlotte, Toronto, etc.), reallocate those players (e.g. give teams at the NBA draft the opportunity to pick a college kid or a contracted player...would make the draft immensely more watchable and would stimulate some interesting trade activity), and re-energize the NBA before embarking on further diluting the talent pool.

    I won't hold my breath waiting for it to happen, but I do hope that the NBA does something regarding the overall talent level sooner rather than later.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Once Deng and Noah starts on this Bulls team come playoff time, this Bulls team will beat Miami. Mr. RoadWarrior, I will talk to you then!

  • Are you and Bigway the same person? If not, you guys should form some type of glass is half empty club. Or perhaps, with all the hate invested in Boozer, maybe an Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosch to Chicago club.

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  • 1. I submit that Boozer has really played well the whole season. To the point where it's obvious his injuries the past two seasons were more debilitating than we thought. Yes, he still has baby hands sometimes. But he's no longer driving to the hoop and coming up with a flat tire. He can score. He's probably paid too much, but the ball-and-chain that is his contract seems to be little less burdensome this season.

    2. Atlanta clearly has personality issues. Just watching them it seems like Josh Smith is a cancer, right? I really wonder about addition-by-subtraction with him.

  • If you think Brandon`s story is nice..., won weak-ago my brothers friend who's a single mum basically brought in $4768 working 40 hours a month from there apartment and there classmate's step-mother`s neighbour done this for 4 months and brought in over $4768 part time on there mac. apply the information here...... BIT40.ℂOM

  • The Bulls played with a sense of urgency and hustle all game and it was a good win but like everyone else, I would like to see more consistency. I was interested to see D. Cook shoot a few threes in garbage time. Of course its not much of a sample size but I wonder if the Bulls are weighing the option of having Cook playing the Bogans role of shooting a few threes a game(25 minutes per game) and then bringing kirk Hinrich off the bench since they probably won't be able to bring back Belinelli. He's not great but Cook does look like he tries to rebound and hopefully he can get better on D.

  • Couldn't watch the game again, NBA TV not included with the league pass on ATT Uverse. This seems to be a good thing for the Bulls, since the last time was the first "blowout" in NY.

    At first, I said, wow, what the heck happened, looking at the box score, not much apparently.

    Statistically, the game doesn't look all that special, other than Atlanta shooting horrifically, 20% in the first half, 29% for the game. The Bulls shot poorly also, 42%, resulting in lots of available rebounds, the Bulls, led by Noah(16) grabbed most of them(59). Bozo had another "great" game, and since I didn't have to watch him not play defense, and the Hawks could hit a shot anyway, I can't say anything to refute that "argument", although I must note that he had 5 turnovers, which is the equivalent of missing more than 5 extra shots(you might rebound a miss).

    I would also contend that they did not set a franchise record for points allowed. They beat the Jazz 96-54, I believe in the 97 or 98 finals. Don't see why the playoffs shouldn't count as part of the franchise records.

    Finally, shouldn't Thibs be pissed that they slacked off on defense in the second half. How the heck did they give up 38 points?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    9 of those points were in the last minute or so with the team up more than 40, surely even Thibs can't be pissed about that, I mean he finally let Teague play those last 2 minutes so he must have felt safe.

    Side note: I was disappointed though, I was hoping to keep the Hawks to 49 or less for the NBA record.

    I do agree that playoffs should be counted with regular season, it's just baffling how people talk about the playoffs as the only thing that matters but then treat the games as non existent statistically. Kobe for example has well over 35k points, no idea why he's only just being recognised for hitting the 30k mark.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I was trying to be facetious about Thibs being pissed, doesn't always work in writing, i.e. how could they dare let up 38 after only giving up 20 in the first half.

    If I had been able to watch, I to would have been rooting for them to hold the Hawks to 48, since unfortunately, the post Jordan, Tim Floyd bulls hold the current dubious record for least points scored in the shot clock era, 49 against the knicks I believe. It seems almost unbelievable that any team could be that bad, 12 points a quarter for an entire game.

    Yea, if the playoffs counted Wilt would be at 35,000, Jordan would have nearly 38,000 total points, Kareem would be around 43,000, and Malone would be well over 40,000, and several other players would have broken the 30,000 plateau.

    I suppose that for the most part it wouldn't really change the order much, just the totals, but I would still rather see all the playoff stats included.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yeah I knew you weren't being completely serious, but Thibs was taking the game pretty seriously even in the last quarter, he didn't put the end of bench guys in until the last couple of minutes, I think he's pissed about the performance in some of the home losses.

    The 49 points was against the Heat - unfortunately Atlanta matched that about half way through the final quarter ... but a tie was still on until the scrubs came in. No matter how bad this team can look offensively at times they're the showtime Lakers compared to the 98-99 team, they only topped 100 3 times the entire season! Chicago basketball fans probably lost weight that year. ;)

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    Twenty years ago, even Michael Jordan experiences an exercise in futility – He scores 64 points but the Bulls still lose to the Magic. Rookie Shaquille O’Neal scores 29 and grabs 24 rebounds - January 16, 1993

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