Bulls fall to Pacers as Rose watches from the bench

Heading into Indiana expecting the worst, I was pleasantly surprised by a Bulls team that took the Pacers down to the final possession. It's a little late in the season for moral victories, but it does show the Bulls have picked up their intensity since going into and coming out of the all-star break with poor play.

Nazr Mohammed played his first quality minutes of the season, and the Bulls actually played even for a full quarter with a lineup featuring Teague, Belinelli/Cook, Butler, Radmanovic, and Nazr. Bulls fans may want to know why the Bulls felt fine using this lineup in the second quarter down by 10 but not in the fourth quarter against Brooklyn when up by 20 and three minutes to go.

Marco Belinelli shook off a poor start to score 20 while Noah dropped a 14/10/5 game for the Bulls. Jimmy Butler played exceptionally well off the bench and knocked down three of five from beyond the arc. As Butler improves his shooting, his likeliness of starting at SG next year increases considerably.

The Bulls are likely inclined to move Hinrich to the starting two guard spot, but Hinrich's best strength has been ball movement (ironic given he was a big overdribbler earlier in his career). That strength is more or less completely minimized with Rose on the court as the ball won't be flowing through Hinrich's hands all game. As such, if Butler can prove competent from beyond the arc, the Bulls should increase his role rather than trying to play Kirk at the two for big minutes, not to mention that glass Joe was out again with a sore foot.

It's hard to imagine counting on Kirk given how in and out of the lineup he's been with a variety of injuries. There's no sense in banking on him staying healthy next season.

Marquis Teague played a good chunk of minutes and alternatingly impressed and frustrated Bulls fans with his play. At this point, Teague has NBA caliber dribble penetration, occasional NBA caliber defense, and pretty much nothing else. His decision making is poor, his finishing is poor, and his shooting is poor.

That said, the athleticism and skills he does have bode well for him having a long career, but he needs to put in a killer off-season in order to upgrade the rest of his talents to make that happen.

Derrick Rose returns to the bench

Perhaps nearly as interesting as the game itself was Derrick Rose's return to the bench. Tom Thibodeau had said in January that as Rose came closer to return to the court that he'd likely sit on the bench more frequently.

Rose has been going through hour long warmups at the home games making sure any fan arriving early gets to see him working up a good sweat on the court.

For those who are incredibly cynical, the deadline to purchase playoff tickets for season ticketholders is fast approaching, and my group only planned on purchasing if we felt Rose would come back. His appearance on the bench swayed at least one member in our group to swing their vote.

That said, I do think Rose will return to the court before the season is over. I think his brother's comments locked that in.

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  • Let's get these things out of the way so we can have a real discussion:

    1. Reinsdorf is cheap and a demon.
    2. GarPax is incompetent.
    3. Bulls never should have let Asik go.
    4. Hinrich is a disaster.
    5. Boozer is Boozer.

    There is clearly nothing to play for this year, so what, if anything, can the Bulls do to improve the team?

    If you can get anything of value for Deng, I'd take it. He's not going to re-sign with the Bulls when his contract is up. He's a good player but not a difference maker.

    Boozer occasionally contributes but he's not a difference maker when it matters. Assuming no one will take him, they should amnesty him just out of principle.

    Who's out there that can make the Bulls better? Would Gasol still help? Would you still want Dwight Howard? Kevin Love would be an improvement but would he be the answer? You wouldn't really pay max for a guy like Eric Gordon would you?

    The only really encouraging thing is that Noah looks like a legit force to pair with Rose for the next several years.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Thats the problem with Bulls fans, instead of being infuriated with the BozoHoles world class lack of effort, we just accept his shit as if it were normal, nevermind normal for a $15 million starter.

    Boozer being Boozer is not acceptable unless it results in him not being a starter.

    It may not work, but if the Bulls are even going to try to get better, they need to be different, and Deng is the only asset that even allows us to try to be different. He is just not good enough, which means that he has to go this summer, no matter what we do with the BozoHole.

  • Good game by the Bulls last night, i was at the game in Indy and the Bulls hung in there as much as they could but again... defense can only take a team so far without quality guys that can put the ball in the basket. It was good to see Roze on the bench with the guys. He didn't really seem to interested in the game, probably cause the Bulls trailed for most of the game and Boozer couldn't do anything to slow down West. Boozer was terrible once again going up against someone his size. He really should take notes from West on having some heart and play to his capability cause he has the skill set but just entirely too lasy. But it was good seei.g Rose out there. Mike Wilbon was spot on with his column in ESPN Chicago on Friday say what i have been saying about this team for over 3 years now. And thats defense can only take a good defensive team so far, and that team has tobe able to put the ball in the basket and have the energy to do so. There's guys on the Bulls playing too hard on offense that normally dont have to play that hard if they had the players that could score. He also suggested the Bulls try and do something to address this Bulls team offensive problem cause if they dont, things for the Bulls wont get any better and they just may be stuck with what they have which isn't good for the long term future of the Bulls. I still say this team will have to trade some valuable assets to get some good offensive players for the future.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Your rhetoric never changes. I mean like ever.. No matter the heading you always come with the same old tired crap.

  • In reply to StephanH:

    Uhhh, I was at the game and I am just commenting on what I've seen and already known about this Bulls team bro, so stop crying over the Bulls cause it is what it is. If you feel like its the same old as you call it crap...DONT READ IT

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Who cares if you were at the game dude. Do they do something different at the stadium that they aren't broadcasting on Television? We all watched the game man and saw the same things you did, and I'm clearly not "crying" over the bulls. Everyday your post are centered on the front office and what they aren't doing and how bad garpax sucks. I guarantee the morning after Derricks return you'll troll your way here and say "well who cares Derrick came back..the front office still sucks and they won't ever win, im a troll"

  • In reply to StephanH:

    Ha, Ha, Ha...Thanks for amusing me Dude, I'm glad when I was this chumps age I didn't call people trolls

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Oh... and you have a good day..."DUDE"...HA HA HA...

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The simple fact is that if you want to win a championship in any sport, you have be good at both offense and defense. Even if you're outstanding on one side of the ball, you have to be at least average on the other. Paxson remembers how good the MJ-Pippen teams were defensively but they were great at offense too.

    As far as building a team, I think it's much easier to get a great offensive team to play tough, hustling defense, than it is to get a great defensive team to learn how to score.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Agreed Roman, its not that hard to figure out. The Bulls will eventually have to give up some of defensive minded players to bring in some offensive minded players and with Thibs being the coach those players I'm sure will learn to play defense whether they come to the Bulls via trade or the draft.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Don't be so sure -- look at Boozer. But yeah I generally agree that Thibs is much more likely to coach up talented scorers to play defense than he is to coach up talented defensive players to play offense.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Boozer is a specific case, the Bulls didn't do their homework on him before they signed him as far as his defense goes. The Bulls FO should've known this guy stinks on offense but they were pretty much pressured into signing him after they were fooled by Wade LeBron and Bosh. Those fools had the Bulls waiting on them while other players signed elsewhere.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    My fault meant to say Boozer stinks on defense.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    What he really stinks on, is heart, effort and BBIQ, which is far worse than simply being a bad defender and far more gaulling.

    Korver wasn't a good defender, but he gave a shit and tried to do what Thibs and the team asked of him. I watched the Laker/ATL game last night and realized how much we/I miss Korver.

    Despite the positional issue, I would kill to have Korver back and get rid of the BozoHole. Can't we just trade him to Charlotte, since they were dumb enough to trade for the baby BozoHole(Ben Gordon)

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Who are these other players that signed elsewhere that the Bulls would have chased? Amare is the only other guy, and he's on an even worse deal than Boozer.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    David Lee and Tyson Chandler are both other options that seem to be forgotten by a lot of people. Not to say that I would prefer Lee or Amare over Boozer (all three seem to not know what defense is), but I just wish the Bulls FO would have done a little more looking around before settling on Boozer.

    With that said, I still wish the front office would just admit there mistakes this summer and amnesty Boozer. Between Gibson receiving increased minutes and signing someone even along the lines of a Carl Landry or JJ Hickson this offseason, Boozer's offense could easily be replaced while freeing up some money to fill other needs.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    Pretty sure that that Warriors and their fans are far happier with David Lee than the Bulls and their fans are with Bozo the Bamboozler.

    In fact, I would say that it is not even close, about as difficult as chosing between mother Teresa or Ghandi and Hitler, Stalin or Mao.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    That's who I was referring to Doug, David Lee who really was interested in signing with the Bulls. He would've fit with the team a help of a lot better than Boozer, at least Lee has always played with heart going back to his Florida days. Lee and Noah would've been a hand full with their energy on the court.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    We signed Boozer before Lee signed with Golden State. We could have had Lee, we choose Boozer instead. I wanted Lee at the time, but there was certainly a case to be made for Boozer given that he could create his own shot where Lee really couldn't. Lee was on some terrible teams and put up good stats while Boozer put up good stats on good teams.

    I still though Lee's age and cheaper dollars per year made him more ideal though.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The idea that the Bulls "didn't do their homework" is the funniest thing I've heard all day. Thanks.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yeah, I agree 100%. Nobody is ever going to pay Asik $8mil per.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Nice try changing the subject but just because you're frustrated, don't say they don't work hard. They are nothing if not diligent. Forman and Thibs are workaholics, both of them. They are extremely thorough in their evaluations. They knew exactly what they were getting in Boozer. I'll give you that they don't seem to have a great idea of what other management teams will do -- they underestimated the interest in Asik and quite possibly overestimated the interest in Taj.

    If you want to say they're uncreative, or risk-averse, or not forward thinking, or poor salesmen, I'll be the first to agree with you. But any idea that they don't work hard is so ridiculously far off base.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Also I don't think they're surprised anyone's paying Asik $8MM, I think they're surprised someone's paying Asik $15MM.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    As I said last night, to see that difference between a man(West) and a pussy(Bozo) just look at the tape of last nights game.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of money West gets this summer, and from whom(a short term max from the Bobcats, perhaps)

    I linked Wilbons article yesterday, he was spot on, here is a link again. A sober dose of reality.

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/9001612/defense-carried-chicago-bulls-far-can

  • Hopefully the bulls can win in San Antonio.. The lakers are playing really well and that's probably a loss. 2-1 this week is realistic but they have to bring the intensity.

  • Was anyone bothered that we were playing Deng at the pf, but we kept boozer on the bench the entire night? Really? Boozer wasn't doing great on defense, but Deng wasn't playing so well offensively nor was his defense on david west good enough to warrant him moving to the pf position.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    The only reason we managed to get back into the game and make it a contest was that Bozo the Bogans only played 17 minutes. We won the game during the other 31 minutes that he sat his dumb, lazy jackass on the bench, so why would anyone be bothered.

    This game should be the model for the Bulls going forward. At this point, prior to amnesty the best that we can hope for is that Thibs goes to the Bozo the Bogans program.

    As I suggested yesterday, I would have removed Teague and gone with Nazr on Hibbert and switched Noah onto West in the last 4-5 minutes of the game.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Some fans were saying that yesterday.

    I would have put in Lou Amundson, if for anything, to bother the shit out of West and the Pacers....Out-Hansborough the Pacers.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I was interested to see Amundson play as well, but since Nazr had a good day I can't complain so much.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I would have liked to see Amundson get some run, certainly ahead of Vladrad, who actually played better than Bozo the Bamboozler in his stint yesterday.

    However, I am sure that Thibs doesn't feel comfortable with Amundsons understanding of the Bulls defensive principles, but with Taj out and West going wild, it seems like now would be a good time to throw him in there and find out what he has to offer, if anything.

    On paper, he is a Bulls/Thibs type player, we should find out sooner rather than later.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Amundson isn't much of a defender, so we'll see how he fits under Thibs. He's a hustle guy though which helps.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Some people corrected me saying Amundson hasn't even practiced with the Bulls yet, so if that's true, I understand why he didn't play yet.

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    In reply to pinkizdead:

    Deng did end up knocking down some big shots in the fourth quarter.

  • Butler last year averaged 2.6 points in 8.5 minutes on 40.5%-18.2%-76.8% shooting. This year he's averaging 7.4 points in 22.3 minutes on 48.3%-29.1%-85.5% shooting. Great improvement over his rookie campaign (could a rookie ever have a good season with Thibs as the head coach?).

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Eh, the Bulls have had a total of three rookies under Thibs. Butler, Asik, and Teague. Two of those guys matured into very good players in their second years. I'm not upset with how Thibs has handled things.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Thank you for pointing that out. As a rookie, Asik played big minutes in the playoffs. Butler came into his rookie year with no training camp and a short season. Many thought Teague should go to the Dleague, yet he has played big minutes in a few games. I don't see why people think Thibs doesn't play rookies. Butler had to play behind Deng, Brewer, Hamilton, and Korver. Teague playes behind Hinrich and Robinson. Sometimes they just cant get into the game.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    That's sophomore season. I'm just pointing to the fact that it's hard to base things off on Butler's first season since he played so little. I'd like to see Thibs work a little harder on offense, but that's a larger criticism than a rookie's minutes.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Who's to say those guys couldn't have sped up their development in the first year if Thibs didn't give them any run?

    It's not like the Bulls didn't have any time to give them. We were only blowing out teams every a few times a month...where they could have got extended minutes, but I guess Noah/Deng playing with no rest is better than developing guys.

    And as far as Butler's progression, he wouldn't be playing the minutes he has this season if Deng didn't get injured. That's when Butler actually got minutes.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    There aren't many 60 win teams that rookies get a lot of burn on. If Thibs was coaching a lottery team I'm sure he'd play rookies more because they wouldn't have established talent in front of them.

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