For a few minutes, the Chicago Bulls looked awfully good. They build up a 9-2 lead, a lead which should have been 12-2 except for one of the most egregiously awful charge calls you'll ever see against Jimmy Butler. The call forced Bulter out of the game and discounted an open three.
[Haslem slides over to draw a charge while Butler is jumping away from the basket, a ridiculous time to call a charge, but the replay shows that not only did Haslem not have one foot set, he didn't have either foot set when Butler jumped and his body hadn't even stopped moving towards Butler when contact was made, the Bulls had a three in the air that swished through the hoop when the call was made].
That call may have changed the nature of the game. It should have been three more points for Chicago or a second foul on Haslem sending him to the bench instead of Butler. Would it have made a difference? Would the Bulls have kept momentum if they hadn't had to send Butler to the bench early?
Probably not. It'd be disingenuous to imply the officials stole this game from the Bulls.
The Heat lambasted the Bulls in game that wasn't nearly so close as it seemed like it might get at the end. The Miami Heat simply got up by 25 points and put the game on cruise control. Chicago worked their way back into the game, but if Miami hadn't earned a large lead they would have likely never let up on the gas in the first place.
No, the Bulls were thoroughly drubbed by the Heat and quite a few flaws were revealed.
You can't win if you can't hit a jumper
If I added them up right, the Bulls were 11-44 on jump shots. That's just 25%.
Quite simply, you can't win shooting the ball like that.
What's scariest for the Bulls is Derrick Rose. If you look at his shot chart, he appears to have morphed into Eric Gordon. He's got a ton of shots at the hoop and a ton of three point attempts and nothing in between.
His mid range game is gone. He didn't even attempt a single mid range jump shot all game long. He hasn't been attempting them in preseason either. I hate the long two. Hate it. However, the real mid range shot is one Derrick needs in his arsenal. He needs that step back shot.
He needs to drive into defenders, get them reeling, then pull up and knock down 12-15 footers.
That should be bread and butter. Haven't seen it in preseason, didn't see it last night. That's what scares me most about this game.
However, beyond the lack of mid-range jumpers, Rose was just 1-7 from beyond the arc, and the Bulls were 7-26 as a team. Granted, they launched three 40+ foot heaves that probably shouldn't count, but 7-23 isn't exactly lighting it up either.
Deng and Rose combined for 1-12 from beyond the arc, and that more or less was the game.
Jimmy Butler quietly kicked some ass
It was difficult to notice because the Bulls were suffering an epic beat down for most of the game, but this is why that horrific call against Butler hurt the Bulls so much.
Jimmy Butler gave the Bulls offense.
In 30 minutes he scored 16 points on 6/12 from the field 2/4 from beyond the arc (and one of those misses was an end of quarter heave) and six of seven from the free throw line. He had the athleticism and enough ball handling to break through Miami's pressure defense. Something Dunleavy and Deng both struggled mightily with.
It might have been a different game had Butler played an additional 8-10 minutes, or maybe not. However, he was one of the few bright spots for Chicago.
Carlos Boozer 27, rest of Bulls 29
That flashed on the score board as the Bulls sat stuck on 58 points. This is what the Bulls need from Carlos when everyone else is playing well. It's a shame to waste the effort in a loss, because Boozer scored all over the Heat.
Also, if you weren't paying attention, Boozer's defense was pretty solid inside as well. It's a bit early to jump on the Boozer bandwagon after three years of not really being a difference maker, but you couldn't ask for a better start from Boozer.
The Bulls 25% on jumpers drops down to 20% if you remove Boozer's attempts from the list. That's simply pathetic for the rest of the team, but it was as much as you could ever ask of Carlos to do.
Is this the last time I can say "At least the knee looked good"?
As noted above, Derrick's outside game was crap, his mid range game didn't even make an appearance, but at least his knee looks good. He drove to the basket a ton, finished quite a few inside shots, and was robbed on what should have been at least another six free throw attempts.
Maybe Rose could have finished 4-12 for 17 points if he got a few of the whistles he deserved, but it wouldn't have helped him take away his five turnovers or paltry four assists [though that was as much on the rest of the Bulls missing shots as it was on Rose].
Derrick looked explosive. He looked like he was physically in MVP form. However, his basketball game looks like it still has plenty of rust, and he'd better rediscover that mid range game quick or he'll be a hell of a lot easier to cover even if he does have a three point shot.
Luol Deng couldn't connect on much of anything, and his 0-5 performance from beyond the arc wasn't doing the Bulls many favors. Miami blitzed him when he had the ball, and Deng struggled to dribble out of the trap or even pass out of it.
He turned the ball over three times, and he simply didn't look like he could contribute anything meaningful on offense at all in this game.
That what the Bulls got out of Luol Deng on offense, and quite simply, that's not going to get it done. His defense was solid, his replacements were worse, but the Bulls simply need quite a bit more out of Luol Deng.
Mike Dunleavy, your free pass ended Monday
Dunleavy shot the ball like crap most of preseason. I've been willing to give him a pass due to his history as a shooter. We know Mike Dunleavy jr can shoot. Well, now the games count. Now he has to make them. To his credit, he finished 2/4 from beyond the arc, but he missed all his shots while the game was still a game.
Beyond the fact that Dunleavy couldn't hit the broad side of a barn for most of the night, the Heat attacked him on both ends of the court similar to how they'd attack Korver. The Bulls looked hopeless while Dunleavy was in the game, and they put so much pressure on him when he had the ball that it scared you.
I expect he'll improve, but he's going to need to start proving it on the court.
The bench sunk the team
Taj Gibson was really the only player to play well on the second unit. His defense was Taj like, and he scored 10 on eight shots while dishing out three assists with no turnovers. He added eight boards as well. It wasn't the best game of Gibson's career, he was three inches away from posterizing Anderson and instead had an embarrassing missed dunk, but Gibson was solid.
That's about all you could say. The team was simply destroyed while Butler and Deng sat. Kirk Hinrich played 29 minutes, and the Bulls were lambasted on the floor for almost all of them.
Tony Snell made an appearance for seven minutes and managed to miss all three of his open jumpers [do people now believe me when I say this guy's got a long way to go and wonder why I doubt him?] and gave up a three point play to LeBron on defense [in fairness, why was Tony Snell iso'd on LeBron seven feet from the basket?]
Nazr Mohammed made an appearance for five rather ineffectual minutes as well, but for the most part, the Bulls only really played Hinrich/Gibson significant minutes off the bench.
The Bulls need more.
Joakim Noah logged just 20 minutes
The groin is obviously still an issue, because Noah didn't play all that much despite 11 boards, two blocks, two steals, and two assists in his 20 minutes.
He did look fairly hopeless on offense, though it was amusing when the announcers attributed a missed dunk to "rust" while the slow mo close up replay reveals the Heat just blatantly grabbed his arm and ripped it away in the middle of the shot causing him to lose control of the ball.
Still, Noah seemed to struggle with the Heat's physicality defensively. They bumped him every time he touched the ball, and he didn't look comfortable driving or making plays. His passing was off, and he sailed one about 20 feet out of bounds and 10 feet too high for Carlos Boozer while trying to lob it in over the defense.
We'll have to hope it was rust rather than a sore groin, but hopefully the Bulls truly rest Noah if he needs it rather then letting this injury linger otherwise.
It could have been worse... I guess
The important thing is not to overreact to one game. The Bulls showed some positives which will help them play Miami later in the season. Jimmy Butler looked awfully legit, and the Bulls starting lineup looked like they could do some damage.
Joakim Noah was obviously still far away from where he should be later on, and Derrick may have all his explosiveness back, but he obviously doesn't have his full game back yet. In short, the Bulls showed why they might compete even though they really didn't.
That said, this was far from Miami's best punch as well. LeBron barely even attempted to put his stamp on the game. When the teams meet again I'm confident the Bulls will bring quite a bit more to the table, but I think the Heat had plenty left in the tank if needed as well.