Bulls take the Cavaliers to the woodshed, Skiles fired, Dwight out

The Chicago Bulls put on perhaps the best interior passing display you'll see by any team all season long. It felt like half the Bulls shot attempts were dunks and layups after four quick passes and poor rotations by the Cavaliers.

The Cavs started off strong, building a 10 point lead through the first quarter largely off the back of C.J. Miles three point shooting. The Bulls looked like they were playing better than the results though as they were flubbing easy opportunities and Cleveland made some tough shots.

After the first quarter, the Bulls generated even easier looks and Cleveland stopped seeing their shots drop, and what started as a big Cleveland lead turned into a near even game at the half and a complete blow out by the end.

Carlos Boozer with three consecutive 24+/11+ games

Not a bad run for Carlos Boozer who may even be converting a few haters into neutrals. As the crispness of the Bulls passing increases, the value of Carlos Boozer on offense increases. When Boozer is on the move and playing with a little bit of room he can show off his excellent finishing with both hands and variety of moves to score.

When Carlos Boozer gets the ball in isolation and is forced to create space for himself, frequently against more athletic and lengthier defenders, he struggles mightily. Chicago has given Carlos enough room to work with that we see the quick dives through the paint giving him easy shots at the rim, and he's knocking down the open jumper when given space out at the free throw line.

I don't see Carlos Boozer continuing to average 20/10+ for the season, but if the Bulls can keep their ball movement up then we will see a much more dangerous and effective Carlos Boozer.

Taj Gibson also looked strong in the post scoring most of his shots of dunks and layups. He had at least three baskets where he established deep post position and displayed excellent footwork to fight up a shot through the defense and score as well as several straight up open dunks/putbacks.

Marco impressed again

Up until this game, I haven't felt like Marco was quite the same as he was as a starter, but he brought the fire against Cleveland knocking down three of four behind the arc and hitting what looked like an impossible angle running scoop shoot around Tyler Zeller after out working his man on the dribble.

I still think the Bulls need to get Belinelli back in the starting lineup.

Nate Robinson also provided some excitement with a couple of crazy 'and 1' finishes to go along with some deep bombs, even whipping out the jet after knocking down one corner three.

In other news, Skiles quits/fired

The Milwaukee Bucks are sitting at .500, and looking at their talent, I'm impressed they've done so well. That said Scott Skiles has apparently reached his shelf life with the team and quit/was fired last night. Jim Boylan will take over as interim coach.

We can now forget about the Bucks making a run at the division.

I'm sure there are a bunch of Bucks fans out there happy that Skiles is gone, and let me say this, it probably was time for Skiles to leave. Once he hit the point where they mutually agreed it was time, then it's probably time. However, your odds of getting a better coach are awfully small, and your interim coach is a train wreck waiting to happen.

Bulls fans around the world feel for you, but we'll likely enjoy playing the Boylan led Bucks on Wednesday.

I don't know how long it will be before Skiles recharges his batteries and looks for another gig, but I hope he doesn't land in Charlotte where he'll find some way to take their players and mold them into at least a .500 team and ruin our slim odds of top draft pick in 2016.

Not missing Dwight so much now

I've long advocated doing whatever it would have taken to get Dwight Howard last season even without a commitment. Well, Howard's out indefinitely with a shoulder injury after playing fairly beneath his standards for most of the year while recovering from a back injury.

Any thoughts of getting much out of Howard this year seem fairly hopeful, and if he left the Bulls after one injury plagued season then they sure would have come out on the losing end of that deal. Of course if he would have stayed, then I'd still take him and hope for the best with the injuries going forward.

Either way, tough break for the Lakers who also lost Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill to injuries. All three players will be out indefinitely, and it looks like the Lakers may have a rough time even making the playoffs. Interesting twist of fate for a team many thought was title worth this season.

In the preseason I had the Lakers third behind OKC and Miami. At this point, they're probably a long shot to even make the playoffs and will live through an off-season of what might have been if it weren't for the injuries.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Enjoying the 3 game Booze Cruise! :-)

    Thibs and Skiles are both high intensity drill sargents that get the most out of their roster. Like you say Doug, hopefully Skiles doesn't go to the Bobcats and get them winning but it is good for basketball and that region of the country for the Bobcats to do better also since it is Jordan's team and he is so beloved here still in Chicago...let's see what trade we can do and probably need to package that pick with it as sweetner.

  • @doug, lets humor ourselves here and say boozer continues to play this well. We re close to the trade deadline. Do you think anyone will take on boozer and his contract? If teams show interest do the bulls trade boozer? Or is the best thing to do is to keep him and see how far we get once rose returns?

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Knowing the Bulls FO, they would think Boozer has 'turned the corner' and live up to his contract...now that he's getting older and declining.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    No, I don't think anyone is taking Boozer, at least not without offering worse contracts back.

  • The Lakers situation is a good reminder that no matter how much money is spent on a team, there remains the element of chance.

    In fact, after the 1991 championship, Phil said, 'We had an injury-free season - that's rare!' And you know what? Of all the Bulls teams in post season, the 1991 team had the best record! Only 2 losses, by 1 point each! I doubt we will ever see that again, by any team.

    A funny fact about the Bulls this year - they have the best road record of any EC team. If they stay healthy, if Rose comes back better (and he really ought to be a better shooter), and if the FO can pull one great trade, they just might contend this spring.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    The Heat situation is a good reminder you should field the best team you can and you will be successful.

  • Just read that the Grizzlies are looking at trading Gay for Jared Dudley and a future 1st. If this is true, the Bulls should be calling now and offering Jimmy Butler plus the Charlotte pick plus the non guranteed salraies to match. That would be an unbelievable starting 5 when Rose comes back.

    Rose
    Gay
    Deng
    Boozer
    Noah

    Not sure what bench players we lose but we still keep Taj (they don't want that salary) and one of either Marco or Rip. I just think this lineup wins multiple championships. No way anyone thought there could be a possibility to keep pretty much everyone together but apparently Memphis is wanting to save money. (This will never happen because management would not pay that much for this team but I can dream)

  • In reply to do53:

    There is the great trade I mentioned!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Now that Michael Heisley is no longer the owner of the Grizz, that could actually work out, if they do indeed demand so little in return, which I doubt.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    ok, so under which CBA would this actually be feasible?

  • In reply to do53:

    You guys need to slow down...

    MEM is moving Gay to get a competent SF back in return, shedding massive salary, and getting future assets.

    PHO does it because Dudley is making something like $6mil per, is a very good defensive wing who can shoots 3s. PHO eats Gay's contract because they're under the cap. And that 'future 1st' is an UNPROTECTED lottery pick (PHO is bottom-5 in records right now).

    Bulls won't be taking on Gay because it would push them into a payroll of about $90+mil. That isn't happening with this ownership group. I'm telling you right now...if Lebron was offered up to the Bulls for nothing, I think Reinsdorf would pass for the mere fact it gets us into the luxury tax.

    We're hearing speculation the Bulls will offer up a 1st just to move Rip's expiring contract, and you guys think they're going to spend MORE money? LOL.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Gay to the Bulls is a pipedream for everything that you just said, and more. The trade is a non starter even if the Bulls were willing to take on Gays future salary, and massive tax payments as well as eliminating the 2014 plan. Well, Gay would be the 2014 plan.

    Nevermind that you can't have a team with both Deng and Gay on it, they are both small forwards and small forwards only. Neither one can play the 2 or the 4 on a regular basis, and they certainly would not be compatible together. and a Bozo for Gay trade doesn't work basketball or salary cap wise for either team anyway.

    Memphis apparently wants out of the tax this year and in future years, they need to shed about $4 million this year to get out. Not only are the Bulls over the cap, but they are hard capped, thus having no flexiibility to add even a penny of salary in a trade. The bulls would have to send out exactly the same amount of salary as they take in to get Gay. Something like Deng and Rip for Gay and a $1.5 million contract.

    Even If we could get Gay for Deng(I would probably be excited about it at first), but my gut says we would lament the deal come the summer of 2014.

    Deng and Rip might actually make some sense for the Grizz, but apparently they would want additional future 1st rounders too. The Grizz wouldn't get out of the tax this season but with Rips buyout for next year the Grizz would save a few million bucks, and get out of $19.3 million due Gay in 2014 when Deng expires and is sure not to reup for anywhere near that amount.

    If the Grizz are really shopping Gay, it might make sense for the Bulls to kick the tires, but my sense is that the Bulls probably value Deng as a player more than they do Gay even if the salaries were reversed. You have to know that Thibs does.

    Not really sure what Gay is anyway. Is he the second best player on a championship team(I say no), the third best. He is probably a slightly better offensive player in a goto sense, but he doesn't appear to have the guts, desire, toughness to play defense at championship level intensity.

    In short trading for Gay(even for the Clownzer) would be a knee jerk reaction that would probably turn out to hurt our future championship aspirations by no later than the summer of 2014.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Gay is a legit 2nd tier player and it would be great to get him. But I do agree with the cap issues and why it would not be a good idea. Also it might be pretty easy to stop the team offensively because you are not super worried about anyone beating you from deep.

    But everyone talks about the 2014 plan, who is the ideal guy to pick up then? Just out of curiosity.

  • In reply to do53:

    The Bulls aren't going to pay Rudy Gay. Look at his salary. There's also no way he can play SG.

  • Rose taking contact!

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Shump cleared for FULL contact today.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I think that they were injured on the exact same day, but Rose had his surgery a few weeks after Shumpert did.

  • 1) Another demolishing of the Cavs (Post-Lebron). Nothing much else needs to be said.

    2) Boozer has been playing lights out in the year 2013, so if we still can't find a buyer, hopefully he will keep this up.

    3) Marco should be starting for the mere fact Rip is older, more injury prone (and his minutes should be limited), and Rip should and CAN still do his thing in limited minutes. Don't continue thing Bogans-strategy anymore.

    4) I've always said Skiles = Thibs - Superstar/MVP (Rose), so it's unfortunate with his situation. I know there's been reports over the years that he Owner has been waffling about selling the team, about moving the team, and most definitely about not spending money to put the best team on the floor.

    I think SVG would be a nice fit in Monta, but whatever MIL does, if they want to be a good team, they would get rid of Boylan. Like Doug said, Skiles should probably sit out a year, recharge his batteries, and then get back into the game.

    5) Remember when the initial reports were Dwight will be out until Dec/Jan? And then as we inched closer to training camp, the Lakers said Dwight is ready for opening day. Maybe the Lakers screwed up and should have waited for Dwight to FULLY heal before they put him on the floor.

    Lakers are screwed right now. They have to go something like 32-16 the remainder of the season just to get to 45 wins and the 8th seed in the West. Dwight has a torn labrum, Pau has a concusssion, and Hill has a tear in his hip. It all comes down to the dynamic duo of Sacre+Jamison.

    And if it couldn't get any worse, if the Lakers miss the playoffs, PHO gets their UNPROTECTED lottery pick.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I think Thibs is better than Skiles. I think he relates to players better and better manages the taskmaster role with giving them breaks. He gave the team lots of days off last year and the year before when he felt necessary.

  • Nice to win easily for once, has been a bit of a rarity this year. Suddenly the Bulls are within touching distance of the #3 seed ... the way the Knicks are trending then perhaps even #2 is possible. Hooray for the East!

    I like Skiles. I hope he gets a job coaching a roster with some real offensive talent at some point, the knock on him has always been he only knows defense but he really hasn't had a hell of a lot to work with.

    I'm immensely enjoying this Lakers team. Howard is leaving at the end of the year, they have no cap space, and they'll be in the lottery without a pick to show for it. This Bulls team might not be much fun to watch this year, but watching the Lakers lose is providing plenty of entertainment.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I think it will be interesting to see if Howard really leaves the Lakers. I doubt he will.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Who knows, he's already shown he'll do the unpredictable, but if he stays it would seem to be giving up all hopes of a championship any time soon. If he wanted that he could have stayed in Orlando and not had to deal with the hate.

  • I agree that Thibs and Skiles are similar; bith being excellent strategists and intense. My view from afar is that Thibs is a bit more of a player's coach than Skiles however and that Skiles is more of a turn-around guy that eventually wears on the players (and management) and so has only a certain shelf life. My guess and hope is that Thibs is a longer term solution and that the team does not tune him out eventually.

  • The Bulls interior passing has been off the charts for the last three games, which happens to coincide with the Bozo's improved offensive #'s. So who/what is the chicken and who/what is the egg.

    I say that Bozo is the egg. The real question is did the Bulls suddenly discover a new offense or have the past three opponents just player horrific interior defense. My sense is that is has to be more of the later.

    I'll enjoy it while it lasts, but I 'll be surprised if either the chicken or the egg lasts very much longer.

    And will everybody please stop with the assinine canard that the Spectator is suddenly playing good/better/acceptable defense everytime that he scores over 20 points.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree with all points that the interior passing has helped Boozer, that Boozer isn't the main cause of it, and that it won't last and has been caused by undersized frontcourts we've played.

    The one thing that gives me some hope is that Derrick Rose himself creates much of the space that we've had recently, so when he returns I expect Boozer to play consistently better than he has so far this season. Not 24+ points a night, but probably closer to 18/10 than 15/10 and with his efficiency back up to 50-52% rather than 47-48%.

Leave a comment