Nets bullied into lousy shooting night

Discounting a score adjustment on a Nate Robinson two converted to a three, the Bulls went scoreless for over five minutes to end the game. They finally added two points when Robinson and Noah each split free throws once Brooklyn went into desperation mode.

The terrible finish may work to their advantage as no one in Chicago will walk out feeling all that confident with the win. The Bulls know they escaped this game rather than took it from Brooklyn.

This was a sandwich game for the Bulls. They started horrifically. They ended horrifically. They dominated in the middle. The Nets went one stretch where they simply could not throw the ball in the Ocean hitting only one field goal over around 12 minutes between the end of the first quarter stretching over most of the second.

Overall though, Chicago's shooting fell back down to their norm, as they shot a shade under 40%, still struggled from the three point line, and were poor from the charity stripe. It was their great defense throughout the majority of the game that swung the game for them.

Kirk Hinrich shadowed Deron Williams limiting him all game long. I'm not a huge Hinrich fan, but the past two games he's pestered Deron Williams into scrub like performances, neutralizing what you'd expect to be Brooklyn's biggest talent advantage.

Jimmy Butler couldn't get much going on offense and looks awfully tentative, but the lack of confidence hasn't affected his defense where he's slowed Joe Johnson.

Luol Dangerous for two minutes

At one stretch, Deng looked unstoppable, even breaking Wallace's ankles off the dribble to drill a three, then taking him right to the basket for a three point play the next possession.

Overall, Deng scored 10 straight points for Chicago in a shade under two minutes early in the third to build the lead that Brooklyn would unsuccessfully try to chase down the rest of the night.

Deng never really got it going before or after that and was just 5/19 outside of that stretch, but even though it was early in the third that won the game for Chicago.

Say what you want about Boozer but...

You know I'm not steering the Boozer bandwagon, but if the Bulls win this series against the Nets, you can look at one C-Booz as a big reason why.

I noted before the series started that Brooklyn was an ideal matchup because they lacked anyone to contain Boozer when the Bulls were on offense nor did they have anyone to press him while he's on defense. So far, Reggie Evans has proven that to be true.

Boozer has a PER over 20 for the playoffs, a 59%+ TS%, and is averaging 20 points per game. He's rebounded well, limiting Reggie Evans to just two offensive rebounds for the series and has even stepped up and made some nice defensive rotations.

Hats off to you Carlos, you may be Chicago's whipping boy, but you've come through for the first three games of this series.

So much for the revenge of C.J. Watson

Many have said that C.J. Watson was taking this series personally after the Bulls waived him. Perhaps he is. However, with a chance to send the game to overtime with the Bulls flailing, momentumless, and likely to lose, he airballed a wide open corner three.

Overall, he shot just one for eight on the night and the effectiveness he had the past two games disappeared. That's probably par for the course for C.J. though [and I don't mean that in a bad way] because if he was good enough to always play that well he wouldn't be signing for the minimum contract.

No repeat magic for Joakim

Noah was 0-7 from the floor with just one point on split free throws after an intentional foul. He also added two turnovers to the mix and wasn't able to recapture the magic he had last game where he shrugged off the fact that he could barely walk to dominate the Nets anyway.

He played with heart, rebounding the basketball, gave it his all, and chewed up some big man minutes for Chicago. In the end, he simply wasn't able to give the Bulls much positive impact, and it's likely not going to get any prettier for Noah who's foot is clearly bothering him significantly.

That said, I salute you Joakim. You came out there and gave it your all. It's tough when a guy is playing at 60% and gives you a performance like he's playing at 60%, because we irrationally expect guys to keep doing what they can at 100%. Noah wasn't able to give us his best, but he gave us everything he had, and that's always enough for me.

Bulls take control of the series

After three games, the closest a series can be is two to one, so the Bulls can't relax. Any advantage they've gained is wiped out by a game four loss.

That said, Chicago has given themselves a nice advantage as the Nets would need to win three of four against Chicago to take the series. That's a tall order against this Bulls team which tends to play well after losses and can win games with their defensive intensity alone.

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  • Wow great game! I love how Kirk & Carlos have stepped up and how Jo is on the court eventhough he can hardly walk let alone run!
    Great effort and we want this more than Brooklyn! Like you say Doug game 4 in Chicago is very important, if the Bulls win they win the series most likely being up 3-1, if they lose they give back the win in game 2 in Brooklyn and series is tied 2-2 with the 2 of the next 3 in Brooklyn.
    At any rate if the the Bulls win or lose this series they have been amazing to watch and it makes you mad to think that with a little more help we could challenge for the championship! Even a JR Smith, Ben Gordon, Jamal Crawford...yeah all X Bulls would have helped tremendously for our lack of scoring options! We rely so much on Nate and he has played delivered mostly...I love that little guy and Jo of course...they have so much heart and are true warriors!
    Carlos has really dominated in this series and Nazr has really stepped in there with Jo being hurt!
    How ineffective is RIP? To not even get any playing time when we so desperately needed some points? WOW! I mean even a few minutes??? Well Thib's knows best and I never doubt him!

  • In reply to smiley:

    I would not call that a great game. Brooklyn was terrible, and lost due to a combination of the Bull's tough defense, and offense even more horrific than the Bulls. Should the Bulls progress to the next round, they will get annihilated by the Heat. I'm not sure this team could take more than 2 games from Miami, even with a 110%, highly-conditioned, in-rhythm Rose on the court. They do play with tremendous heart and effort though.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    So your point is, a Bulls team with its 2 best players injured can't beat one of the best collections of talent in NBA history? Are you sure you want to make such a bold statement?

    A 1st-round win for this group is tremendous no matter how hard you might try to discount it.

  • A win is a win, but the Nets hit one basket in 13 minutes and lose by 3?
    Also if the game had been tightly officiated, Hinrich fouls out in five minutes.

  • Jimmy "G" Buckets need to start making some buckets. I haven't seen him attack the basket so far this series. When he is attacking and cutting that's when he is at his best. Right now he is just settling for the 3 which he is not knocking down.

    Still waiting for a GOOD Nate game as well as Taj putting a print on the game. Did love that poster he put on humphries. Wow. Belinelli has been quite.

    I think if bulls defense stay lock down as it has been these lasts 2 games and we can get some help from these guys we will win this series. But Butler Robinson Gibson Belinelli got to,step up.

  • Bulls wins are rarely pretty so I will take it. So thought they were going to lose when they went into hibernation mode to close the game out. That is star territory and he is on the bench so not that surprising...

    Hope we can keep them out of sync on offense as that to me seems the key to beating them as we otherwise can't keep pace. I have thrown Kirk under the bus a lot this season but I have to give him props for a great job on Deron the past two games. Who would have thought the keys to winning a playoff series would be Boozer and Captain Klank?

  • The Bulls have already surpassed my admittedly low expectations for them. This is a six or seven game series. I don't know what else one can ask for from a depleted Bulls team that really doesn't have all that much offensive talent to work with even when their roster isn't injury-laden. Heads will roll in Brooklyn if we haven't seen the two worst performances from them in this series.

    On a separate note, I know someone brought up Bill Simmons' column where he talks about a K Love trade. Nick Friedell wrote about it afterward on ESPN Bulls. Some of the comments there were cracking me up. Like "I'd trade Boozer and either Mirotic or the Charlotte pick but you gotta keep Jimmy." A lot of comments like that. It's hard to believe people can get picky about a fringe starter in Jimmy Butler and two *theoretical* assets of debatable worth in Mirotic and the Charlotte pick when talking about a trade for an All Star top-10 player who can put up MVP type numbers when healthy. If there's even the hint of a trade there for either Boozer or Deng + assets, the Bulls should make it happen if they want to win.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Lol That's crazy you get proven star in Love which jimmy is not. You try to fill in 2 guard spot which you have to do anyway. Does boozer trade value increase if he continues to play like this? Including if we advance and he beast in second round? Or does his value stay the same because of his age and money owed?

    A few teams could use boozer. raptors, wizards, bucks, and nets of all teams. Nets would be good partner if bulls could get assets from nets to send to twolves to get Love.

    I just wish we could get a legit two guard stay healthy and see how we fair against Miami. Sigh

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I think Boozer's trade value has pretty much been trounced on from his play with the Bulls. Does one good playoffs improve that value? Maybe incrementally. Other than that I don't know. The FO would need and does need to get some GM's on the phone.

    It's amazing that the Bulls have needed a two-guard who can score, create for himself, and a little for others, and handle the ball a bit going on four years now.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I posted that Simmons comments a couple of days ago, and read Friedells peice with great interest. Love has an opt out after 2014-15, which is the only reason he might be available, but also makes it hard to give up a ton of assets for him, unless he is willing to sign an extension. I'd hate to give up all three of those assets, but if Love proves to be healthy, then you have to do it, and maybe get Asik and Korver back while your at it.

    As for Bozo and his trade value. Any team that doesn't care about winning or money could use Bozo, other than that he has less than zero trade value, you have to bribe someone to take him off your hands with "assets", like Bulter, Mirotic and the Charlotte pick.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I was one of those saying not to trade Jimmy. He's a great value right now and can start at either SF or SG. We talk about him replacing Deng in the long run.

    The T-Wolves have already made it clear that they aren't going to re-sign K-Love, so why should we give up Jimmy? Boozer, Mirotic and a 1st-round pick should be pretty enticing to them.

    But the main reason for my position is because I question whether K-Love would put the Bulls over the top. Do you really think he's a top-10 player? Does he fill the bill of the "second star/offensive creator" that the Bulls need? Does he win the matchup with Bosh? If you think so, then go ahead and trade Jimmy. Otherwise, you're getting upgrading one position only to downgrade another.

    Seriously interested in your thoughts on it, because I think this is realistic. D-Rose and K-Love are friends and for a guy playing in Minny, Chicago is a huge upgrade.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I do like Jimmy. I'd like him more if he were 20 right now instead of 23. Being 23 already, he was a lot lower ceiling than most people expect in my opinion. The kid has already played and developed during four years of college ball. It's highly unlikely he's going to turn into a shooter of even Deng-type quality.

    I'd give up those assets because it may be the only way you get K Love. Sure, I'd like to give up less. But if there's a chance to get Love, I don't want to leave the table without him.

    I think Love is a top-10 player when healthy absolutely. 26 points and 13.3 rebounds in the 66-game season. Second team All-NBA. And besides that, what other top-10 (or even top-20) player in the NBA fits in better in Chicago? Position-wise and attitude/reputation-wise. He has a thirst to win and he's willing to work. Plus he's already fairly close to Derrick. Is there another superstar-caliber player out there whom the Bulls should be holding out for? That Bobcat pick could turn into Derrick Williams or Jimmer Fredette and Mirotic might be another Kukoc (if that). For the record, I think he's absolutely better than Bosh. Look at the numbers and impact and I don't know how anyone could say Love isn't the best power forward in the league right now when healthy.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Well, we sure could use anothe Kukoc right about now, as either a sixth man or a starter.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Well, many of the commenters on ESPN Bulls have already taken it for granted that Mirotic is the next Nowitzki. Just like every athletic SG with some potential was going to be the next Jordan.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I think if you have a second scoring threat like Love who can stretch the floor as well as any big in the game then you can get away with Noah as your second best creative outlet. It's one thing to know the ball is always going to be in Rose's hands, it's another to stop it when you can only keep one player inside the three point line because the SG/SF/PF are all threats to knock down a three. Love would improve the team over Boozer even more than the raw numbers suggest.

    Jimmy would be the first asset I throw in, not the one I try to hold out on. I think Mirotic or the Bobcats pick especially are far better to try to hang on to because they have the upside to be the piece that puts you over the top down the line. On the other hand Butler is a nice player, but he's the sort of guy that you can always find a replacement for ... look at how the Spurs seem to have a factory for wing players who can defend and shoot threes.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I say throw in Deng and keep Jimmy.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Nobody is taking Deng instead of Jimmy in a deal.

  • i've been saying kevin Love is the most realistic "star" the Bulls have a shot at. Unfortunately those greedy Lakers probably have their eyes all over Love and i just don't see the Bulls giving up assets unless they get guarantees he'll resign with them. This is where Rose has to step in and recruit his "friends" to join for a shot at a title. As fans we don't even know if Rose has quit on this team and wants out so we just have to wait until next year and see where his heart is.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    The lakers have no assets and must get out of tax and sign on again off again Howard

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    It'll be sad if the Lakers somehow work their magic and trade Pau for K Love.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    So why can't we trade boozer for love? I would think boozers value is more than gasol. Better numbers and health! Wolves getting knew gm so who knows if they still would want to trade for pau and not much else. If bulls are in battle with lakers for love don't see why we shouldn't win. We have more assets.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    The Lakers have a better shot of signing Love as a free agent in 2015 than they do of trading for Love before that. Except of course for the fact that they are the Lakers and they always find a way to get what they want, like Lebron in 2014.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    True about lakers getting love via free agency but if love is available through trade we have better shot than lakers. And I don't see why he wouldn't sign extension to play with rose since they are good friends and talked about playing with each other

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    No one, but nobody has a better shot at a free agent than the Lakers. Aside perhaps from Miami when it comes to signing ring-chasing vets. That will just be a little blip in the history of the NBA, an anomaly explained by the best player of this generation being in his prime and winning championships down there. Otherwise it's all Lakers. They'd have turned Pau into CP3 if the league hadn't stepped in. They bullied their way into getting Kobe. They got Shaq. Same thing with Dwight Howard. They even bullied their way into Pau in the first place.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I guess that's why they about too sweep spurs in first round. Since they did such a good job in free agency and trades the last few years. Nobody has a chance! Get outta here wit that mess

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    The Lakers are consumed with gaining stars. They traded away Bynum, with what's likely a degenerate pair of knees, for who was and is widely considered the best center in the league by far, Dwight Howard. They nearly had CP3, the best PG in the game while Derrick's on the bench, for a 32-year-old Pau who in his prime was only a 19 or 20 ppg scorer. I never said they're going to win every championship. I'm saying if there's a player to be traded or in free agency that they want and any other team in the league wants besides perhaps Miami, they're going to bully their way into gaining that player.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I don't disagree with you, but this isn't very productive thinking. You make it sound like other teams shouldn't even bother, but the Lakers are down right now. The Bulls have a better player to build around in D-Rose than anyone on the Lakers right now and they need to make their move. Some excellent points were brought up in that while K-Love may or may not be the piece that puts the Bulls over the top, he's the best player the Bulls can realistically get and there isn't really another player to hold out for. GarPax needs to make the bold move for once in their careers.

  • 0You may be theoretically correct about Bozo's performance from a general standpoint, but just like Deng he completely choked down the stretch, and had we lost, it could easily have been argued that he single handedly lost the game in the last 6 minutes of the fourth.

    Besides playing his usual absolutely putrid defense and allowing nothing but layups and dunks, he totally sucked on the offensive end, either getting stuffed at the rim or turning the ball over like Ben Gordon, i.e. dribbling the ball off every part of his body including his face.

    Anybody who didn't see that, or can't bring themselves to admit it is just a typical homer fan who only sees the points in the box score and not the reality of the game.

    and that my friends is exactly what is wrong with both Deng and Bozo, neither one of them can ever be counted on in crunch time to win a game, never mind a series. They lit it up for a few minutes in the third then swallowed their asses for the last six minutes of the fourth. Which time period is more important. A better team than Brooklyn would have left us crushed last night.

    Basically it was a 75-60 game with a bit over 7 minutes to go. I remember saying to myself that if the Bulls could hold them to one basket for every minute of playing time(basically 50% shooting on 2 possessions per minute, a fairly robust pace) we could win the game without scoring another basket. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened, and C.J. Watson was wide open for that final shot that he airballed.

    Last night was proof positive that the Bulls will never even sniff a championship with Deng and Bozo as their starting forwards. and if you agree with that, then what is the point of this entire exercise and constantly making excuses for them.

    I guess it depends on what your happy with and what your goal is. I thought that it was to compete for or win a championship, at least since Rose became an MVP.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Dude get off it! Boozer has stepped up and playing better defense. Everything broke down in those last 6 minutes. Offense and defense and it wasn't just boozer. Smh lol wow

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    There is nothing to get off, except of course the obvious truth. An invalid couldn't have played any worse than he did those last six minutes. I was praying that Thibs would sub Gibson in for him, but like you and the rest of the Bulls nation always hoping for a miracle, he kept him in until the bitter end praying against reason that he would deliver in crunch time like it was the beginning of the first or third quarters, i.e. garbage time. He didn't play a lick of D, and he compounded that by making a negative play on every single offensive possession that he was involved in during that last six minutes. Who gives a shit what everybody else did during that time, what kind of an excuse is that, Jordan certainly never did. At least Noah had an excuse, he was playing on one foot.

    But, hey, if your goal is to beat Brooklyn in a first round series, more boozer to ya.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    +1 Bigway seems to have just an extremely negative view on everything Bulls. I don't know if I've ever heard anything positive from him. Yes, Boozer and Deng (along with everyone else on the Bulls) sucked at the end of the fourth, but they still won us the game with their third quarter offense/defense. I'm sorry, but the first and third quarters are not "garbage time" minutes in the playoffs. That's the same as saying a top five center in Lopez and top ten point guard in Williams suck because they helped their team go 1 for 23 at one point during a critical stretch in the game. The Bulls would have never even made it to the playoffs without the "Bozo" and Deng. And in case Bigway is forgetting, Deng is playing without a ligament in his wrist. So much for giving Noah an excuse and not anyone else. I think winning a first round series is more than we all could have hoped for this season without Rose.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    Lol exactly. First off the bulls kept turning the ball over. 2. They were taking long twos instead of going to the basket. If anything they should have went to boozer more down the stretch!! If I remember correctly there were 2 pick and roll pays that involved Kirk and Noah result was turn overs. Then jimmy turned ball over. Deng missed wide open three and long shot. Noah fumbling ball and 2 shot clock violations. It was just bad. Please go to boozer down the stretch. He did turn ball over too in critical moment tho

  • In reply to Motoman:

    You must have slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, because apparently you are a doctor. Deng is not playing without a ligament in his wrist, he injured at ligament a year and a half ago. Apparently, it has healed since we haven't heard a word about it all season, but it most certainly did not with away and dissappear, or maybe I just forgot about that newsflash.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    We got a smart guy over here. Deng tore one of the ligaments in his wrist, to the point where the only way to repair the ligament is through surgery. He chose to not have (or at least delay) surgery and just play through the pain, which by the way he has said that he stills feels every now and then. You seem to have missed the point, you said Noah is the only one with an excuse for poor play. I simply stated one example of a number of players on the Bulls that are currently playing through injury (specifically Deng and Gibson).

    I would like to ask you though, who do you think are better options to replace Deng and Boozer as the starting forwards that the Bulls could actually pull off?

  • In reply to Motoman:

    Give me or anyone else with even a small kernel of NBA savvy nearly $30million(Deng and Bozo's combined salaries for next season) to spend and I think that we can find any number of combinations to do a better job.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Dude r u purposely trying to kill the bulls buzz?! Jeez

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It was an honest question. I really would like to know, who in the NBA do you think could replace Boozer and Deng and play better? Assuming you have $30 million to spend and assuming the other team(s) would be willing to part with those players, who would you choose?

  • In reply to Motoman:

    +1 this. Playoff time isn't garbage time. These guys are putting up when it counts.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    in the playoffs everything but the last 6 minutes is basically garbage time. In the playoffs the game is won or lost in the last 6 minutes. Neither Deng nor Bozo had a single positive play in that time, and Bozo in particular had at least a dozen negative plays, i.e. had we lost, he would lost the game for us, despite whatever numbers he put up earlier in the game(i.e, garbage time)

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You cannot seriously think that any amount of time during a playoff game is garbage time. I think we can all agree that Boozer and Deng are both overpaid, but that does not mean that they are worthless players. Those two help throughout the ENTIRE game to even put us into a position to win at the end. You are seriously starting to sound about as delusional as the good ole Mr. Happy (the people that have been on this blog long enough will understand lol)

  • What a great come back lead by Nate dog!!! He needs to be resigned asap. What about that hypocrite Reggie Rose cheering from his court side seat lol.

  • In reply to rob32:

    Lol I saw that!!! Hilarious.

  • That was amazing!!!

  • Now that's why I watch basketball. Amazing effort and amazing everything. What a hack job by the officials, though. How do you not call a shooting foul on Gerald Wallace when he fouled out on that Robinson fastbreak. Nate was in the air to shoot! The offensive player always gets the free throws for that. Always.

    Deng, other than one the beginning of the game and one shot in OT was absolutely atrocious. And Nate, well, what can you say about Nate? I just wonder how many millions he added to his next contract today.

  • Great win today! Good Nate comes through!

  • Resign Nate to a new 10 year contract and promise him a statue next to Jordan's when he retires!

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