Chicago Bulls better find themselves against the winless Jazz

Four games into the season it'd be silly to say the season is on the brink. However, if the Bulls can't get on track against a winless Jazz team at the United Center the talk of patience amongst the fans may quickly shift to full blown panic.

Four games isn't enough to cause mass finger pointing or hysteria. However, if the Bulls fall to 1-4 with a loss against one of the worst teams in the NBA while playing at home? It won't be pretty. It shouldn't be pretty. It's hard to imagine that five games in the season could be on the brink of melting down, and it probably won't be. The Bulls ARE better than this.

However, if they can't find their shot, their defense, and their mojo continues to go out the window, the Bulls might be looking at the draft a lot harder than they're looking at the playoffs. Silly words so early I know.

However, the worst case scenario isn't beyond reason. Derrick Rose simply might not ever become Derrick Rose again. Luol Deng has trended down a a shooter for several years despite his laughable all-star appearances. Jimmy Butler may simply not be as good as we want him to be.

Even in all those cases, the team isn't THAT bad, but a team with championship aspirations which is struggling with a management/coaching feud, players returning from injury, and free agency of a core guy, and the weight of expectations.... Well things could come crashing down.

That's why a game against the Jazz is either a godsend or a curse. A few quick wins and the Bulls can recapture their stride. The tension can be lowered. The wolves can be kept at bay, and the finger pointing won't start. However, if the Bulls start losing to the dregs of the league? Well, we saw what happened in 07/08, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that it could happen again.

The Jazz stink

Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kantor, Alec Burks, Richard Jefferson, and John Lucus III. That's who their biggest per minute guys are. Hayward is probably the best guy in the group, but the Bulls should match up well with him defensively. Kantor offers something inside as well, but Noah be able to keep a handle on him.

The rest of the perimeter guys are shooting scary low percentages. The Bulls should hold this team to sub 80 points tonight.

On the offensive end, who knows if the Bulls can get things going, but this is a team without any lock down defenders, nor is their interior defense anything special. A Bulls team that's attempting to thrive on motion and passing should find plenty of openings against this young rather undisciplined group.

D-Rose time

Rose hasn't played a complete game yet, but who's going to check him tonight? Rose should have a free pass to dominate the hell out of the Jazz unless there are just automatic double teams in which case we'll have to hope the Bulls anemic offense can score in 4-3 situations.

Though honestly? I'd guess Rose could probably fight through most double teams given the guys the Jazz would double with.

The Bulls biggest problem this season has been Rose not quite in sync. He looks good athletically, but his game seems to have disappeared. Tonight is the prime opportunity to build up some confidence again.

Can the Bulls play for 48 minutes?

Chicago has put up some quality first halves, but they haven't finished. They gave up 60 and 58 points in the past two second halves against Indiana and Philadelphia to blow half time leads [and a huge one against Philly].

I don't know if Tom Thibodeau is having everyone smoke joints at half time, watching Bugs Bunny, or participating in some meditation. However, I do know the Bulls have seemed to lack urgency in the second half of games. They've struggled to get loose balls, rebounds, and hustle plays at the end. This was also quite notable against the Knicks even though the Bulls escaped with a win.

This is the type of thing that Thibodeau loses sleep over and needs correction. Losing a game, missing shots? Sure. It happens. Lack of effort? Lack of hustle? That shouldn't be a problem with this group, but it has been.

Bulls will get it done

While I admit that I'll even start to panic a bit if the Bulls drop this one, I don't expect it to happen. Chicago has too much talent and urgency to drop a game to the Jazz. The Bulls will find a way to get it done.

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  • Even if the Bulls do win this game as of right now the Bulls stink and no one but Boozer until the Pacer game can find their jump shot or offense period. I said before Rose came back from his injury that he would need more helpthan ever after a such a devastating injury. I don't know when the light will come on for the Bulls FO, but this team can't afford to lose scorers like Nate Robinson and Marco Bellineli, Kyle Korver and even C J Watson and continue to think this Bulls team offense will improve. All of the guys that I mentioned were important quality bench scorers the Bulls FO didn't want to pay so now this is what this Bulls team have. Hopefully the Bulls can win tonight and the next few games as well to at least for a little while end the panic from all bulls fans.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Marco b and Kyle k both stuggled at the beginning of the season jus like dunleavy. And I do recall although Marco b. could get his own shot and get to the rim..90% of the time he MISSED! He had a couple game winners but I don't understand the whining about letting him go like he's Lebron on Carmelo ! I'm with u on nate Robinson bulls should have kept him. But this team will come around.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I get what you're saying but it's all about making the Bulls opponents respect their perimeter game and the guys that i mentioned helped in that aspect. Right now the bulls opponents are not respecting the bulls players jumpshots and are clogging the lane which is where Rose gets the majority of his points. The Bulls right now has a handicaped bench when it comes to scoring which is really hurting the team. The bulls need to use these next few games to work out their chemistry and scoring issues.

  • The starters need to play better, that's what has to happen.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Rose -49
    Butler -13
    Noah -50
    Deng -6
    Boozer -20
    Hinrich -21
    Dunleavy +5
    Gibson +2

    The bench is playing better than the starters- the only two positive players are Dunleavy and Gibson, while Hinrich got his negative by playing so much with the starters.

    The two starters who play the most with the bench (Deng and Butler) have the "best" +/- among the starters.

    The bench has played well the last few games- they played the Knicks even, and:

    vs Philly:
    Taj 23:55 +8
    MDJ 16:24 +9
    Kirk 19:32 +8
    Nazr 7:49 +2

    vs Pacers
    MDJ 20:32 +5
    Taj 23:23 +8
    Kirk 30:56 -11
    Nazr 13:22 +8

    Anyone trying to blame the bench for the last 2 games either isn't watching the games or just has some blatant agenda against the current bench.

    Once the starters begin to hit their open 3's, and Rose knocks off the rust, we'll be fine.

  • Lucky the Bulls are playing a team riggin' for Wiggins.

  • I think the Bulls pushed the limit of how bad you can look in a blowout win where you shoot over 20% better than your opponent.

    Bulls offense is terrible, there's too many moments when you're left wondering what their plan even is to score. Lots of movement but no real attacking intent. Guys run in circles through screens so they can receive the ball then hold it 5 seconds waiting for the next guy to pass to. I think it showed up even more this game against a bad team, it's not just a case of good teams being able to make the Bulls uncertain, they actually do have no idea.

    Utah are just so awful it didn't matter - if this is a typical game for them they're not cracking double digit wins this season, even with all the other tanking teams.

    Still baby steps, Rose looked a little better and finally had a game with more assists than turnovers and Noah actually showed signs of life. Loved Thibs trolling everyone by for once pulling Deng early when he had a shot at a triple double.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Thibs didn't "pull Deng early", he left him in for a few extra minutes and ran a couple of plays specifically designed to get Deng another assist. In fact, at the next time out they even showed Deng on the bench "ripping" Nazr for missing the bunny that would have been his 10th assist.

    Were we watching the same game??

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Have we been watching the same coach the last 3 years? Pulling Deng with 6:15 to play is super early for Thibs. I've seen him leave Deng in to the last minute in blow outs. I stand by what I said.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    As has already been pointed out you are wrong on the Deng issue. In fact I am both surprised and pissed that Thibs left Deng in longer just to get a shot at a triple double. I think that it is unprofessional if not childish that anybody on the team is keeping track of their stats during the course of the game. It's not like he had 99 points and was on the verge of breaking Wilt's record, I could see being aware of that.

    However, your top line contention that we still looked like crap despite the game being a blowout is totally true. Anyone who takes any comfort out of this performance is deluding themselves. All the same problems were still evident, while we playing a team that looks to be worthy of the Tim Floyd era Bulls.

    In fact if one thing stood out last night, it was that the bulls are not a low post team and should never try to be one. Every time that we get all excited by thinking that we have some kind of advantage in the post and try to force feed the ball into the post it just turns into a turnover fest, and offensive fouls for the Hole. It really doesn't matter who we go to, the Hole, Taj, or even Deng on those occasions where he thinks that he has a mouse in the house. Basically unless your Wilt, Shaq or Kareem it is a waste of time and plays into the opponents hands to force feed the post. With the type of players that we have, if it doesn't come in the natural flow of the game then don't bother.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Agree on Deng. Considering the problems this team has had with injuries, it's absurd to leave a starter in at the end of a blowout game simply to reach some arbitrary statistical milestone. Especially Deng, the guy who will end up playing more minutes this season than anyone in the entire NBA.

    Also agree the team looked mostly bad again. The turnovers in the first half were ridiculous. And the only reason the second half looked better was because Utah gave up, and the game morphed into a pre-season quality contest.

    There was one play in particular, maybe in the third quarter, Butler got the ball just behind the 3 point line, his defender was playing off him 6-7 feet, and made no move at all to close out. Butler set himself, started the shooting motion, then put the ball down and drove instead. I'm pretty sure he scored on the drive, but the fact he passed up on that wide open three just shows how little confidence he has in his shooting game. I'm no trying to get down on Butler; he's a solid player overall...but; a shooting guard that's afraid to shoot? Only in Chicago.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    "I think that it is unprofessional if not childish that anybody on the team is keeping track of their stats during the course of the game."

    Well, then every team in every professional sport is unprofessional if not childish.

    Maybe you're right for thinking that, but everyone knows when a player has a no-hitter going, or a chance at a rushing or passing or receiving record, or a sacks record (Brett Favre took a dive to give Strahan the sacks record a few years back).... or a triple-double, which is a pretty big deal.

    Or, like you said, Wilt's record. Nobody would know if they had a shot a Wilt's record if they weren't keeping track of their stats during the game. Points scored is a stat, after all.

    And it's not like the players themselves are out there keeping track of stats in their heads, it's the people on the sidelines who are noticing. Sometimes it's players, they want their teammates to get accomplishments, like Nazr said after the game last night that he felt bad about not getting Deng his triple-double.

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