Derrick Rose rusty as hell, but hit one when it counted

Rusty, out of sync, deplorable, or pathetic. Take your pick of words to describe the Bulls offense right now depending on just how pessimistic you want to be. Chicago really can't get anything done on offense and has big problems that even the Knicks pedestrian defense couldn't solve.

11 points. That's what the Bulls fourth quarter gave us. Fortunately Derrick Rose, after a god-awful, trainwreck of a night, managed to hit a floater with 5.7 seconds left on the clock to give the Bulls a one point lead. Carmelo Anthony proceeded to take a contested shot from the three point line and came up short.

The headlines may read like Rose was the hero, but he was no hero last night. Athletically, Rose looks fine. However, it also looks like he forgot how to play basketball in the past 18 months. A few preseason games against lackluster effort haven't been a good enough representation of a real game.

He finished with more turnovers than assists for the second game in a row and shot just 30% from the field, a slight improvement over Tuesday's 27%. This isn't to trash Derrick, but it's to note that all the other headlines I read about Derrick bailing the Bulls out don't really tell much of the real story.

Derrick looked absolutely wretched this fourth quarter, turning the ball over, missing shots, and basically being completely ineffectual. The Bulls as a team looked equally hopeless around the rest of the court struggling to get anything done whatsoever.

Rose will obviously improve as he gets used to playing NBA games again, but in the meantime, it's an ugly struggle. If the Knicks hadn't completely left him alone at the three point line for consecutive shots early in the third, his night would have been really, really ugly.

Needed more Boozer

Did I actually type that? Yes, I did. The Bulls had good success going to Carlos Boozer early. He knocked down 5-7 shots, and then they inexplicably never got him the ball again. On the night, he scored 14 and dished out three assists. His +9 was the highest +/- on the team, and the Bulls only real good quarter was the first where they went to Boozer repeatedly.

Look, I'm not a Carlos Boozer bandwagon rider, but right now, he's the Bulls only piece on offense that doesn't look scared and confused. Derrick Rose obviously needs some time to work out the kinks, Jimmy Butler climbed back into his shell this game, Luol Deng's always a guy who only plays well when other guys play well first, and Joakim Noah's still finding his strike.

Carlos Boozer's what the Bulls have right now on offense, and they need to feed the hell out of him while everyone else is figuring out what to do.

Jimmy Butler showed a lack of confidence

You could see it in his game. There was some point in his head where he said "I can't hit the three tonight, I'm not going to try another one". After that he had possession after possession where he dribbled out of an open three into either a worse shot or simply was forced to give up the ball.

Butler also seemed nervous to drive decisively to the basket and simply generate contact or simply couldn't get the step. Either way, the result was Jimmy took a lot of tough shots, didn't hit many of them, and looked pretty poor on offense.

That said, his defense was still tremendous, his rebounding was huge, and he found other ways to contribute. Despite an awful shooting night, he also made it to the line for six free throws which helped balance out what was otherwise a poor offensive performance.

Luol Deng picked his spots for a strong game

Luol Deng wasn't able to create anything for the Bulls. He wasn't able to drag them out of their shooting slumps, but he was able to take advantage of all the little seams he had all night. When Carmelo was negligent, there was Luol Deng cutting to the basket for a layup.

I didn't think his offensive game was as pretty as the numbers, but on a night where the Bulls couldn't throw the ball in the ocean, I'll take 8/15 from the field. Much like Butler, he also contributed greatly on defense and played Anthony very well when matched up against him.

While I blasted Derrick Rose's night of 7/23 from the field, Anthony was just 8/24 and missed his opportunity to win the game at the buzzer. The Bulls rarely had to double team him, and Luol Deng gets the lion's share of the credit for that.

Joakim's still getting there

His offensive numbers still aren't pretty, but he racked up five assists vs one turnover and looked more comfortable on the floor tonight than against Miami. Jo probably needs another two or three games to find himself, but his rhythm is coming back.

Best Noah moment of the night was probably the rocket pass he flipped to Derrick Rose. Noah was around the baseline three point line and whipped one on the outside of the baseline with one hand to a Derrick Rose who barely got in bounds before catching the ball and going in for a lay in.

That said, Noah appeared to lose the physical battle with Chandler more times than he won it. Particularly in the fourth quarter where Chandler kept getting back taps to grant the Knicks extra possessions. Noah did knock down to clutch free throws towards the end of the game when the Bulls simply couldn't buy a shot which was big for the team.

Mike Dunleavy looked like a good signing once

Let's hope he find his game, because it's ugly right now. He missed both his shots from the field, one of which was a wide open three point attempt with time that's inexcusable for a shooter to miss.

I'm not going to panic about Dunleavy jr yet, as his game will probably round into much better shape when the rest of the offense isn't a train wreck which will give him more space. That said, he hasn't shown much of anything yet.

Except for that whole turnover thing...

Kirk Hinrich did a lot of things really well, most of them marred by the fact he turned the ball over five times. In the fourth quarter, it felt like the Bulls were biding their time with Kirk in the game. They couldn't generate any offense at all and were just hoping to get Rose back on the floor.

Then they got Rose back on the floor, and it got even worse.

We didn't need Nate Robinson? Really?

I don't know that the Bulls needed the Nate Robinson, but they definitely need a Nate Robinson if you know what I mean. The last few years, they've always had some type of offensive oriented, black hole, streaky as hell combo guard to bring off the bench and score some points in a game like this where the whole offense falls apart.

They don't have it this year, and you can see the void it's created in both games they've played so far. The defense against the Knicks was spectacular, but the Bulls look like last year's team trying to hold opponents to 80 because they can't score.

Derrick Rose will get better, everyone else will get better when he does, but the team is still lacking shot creators. It doesn't seem like they even want to address it or view it as a problem either. Perhaps that's the biggest problem.

It wasn't pretty, but it was a win

With the team obviously quite far away from gelling, it's good to get a win. Things will improve considerably as the season wears on, so I'm happy they got this one even if it wasn't a great performance.

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  • You pretty much nailed it, Doug. I'm encouraged by the fact that Rose is trying to take it to the rack, but he's got to 'stop and pop' more often. Nobody can stay with him athletically (except for Westbrook) and that mid-range pull-up jump shot is there for him, as is the step-back. Instead, he insists on driving into the teeth of the defense and the trees ... and Chandler is one of the best defensive trees in the game, so no wonder he was so off.

    Butler must man up on O. He should take a page from his partner D Rose and just keep shooting. His form is excellent and he's proven he is a legit 3-point shooter. He's got to start believing that he's a star.

    The biggest concern is no O from the bench. Dunleavy is a train wreck right now. Korver/Bellini have never looked so appetizing. And why is Thibs not playing Teague at all? Oh, because Captain Kirk is so vital? Come on, give the young dude some run and create some opportunities with his athleticism.

    Everybody got upset about Nate Rob leaving, but the bigger loss was Bellini, in my estimation. A legit 6'5", a streaky shooter with some panache to his game, a good handle and passer, and somebody who become a capable defender ... why let him walk?! Because Mike Dunleavy is so much better because he's 6'9"?! Bad decision that could haunt this team ...

  • I stopped watching this game at halftime. One of the worst NBA games I've ever seen. It was honestly not worth my time and I live in Boston so I don't get to see the Bulls play all that much - just WGN and ESPN/ABC games. Still, I would rather do work than watch that hot mess. At least I was productive.

    Very worried about the Bulls at this point. Dunleavy, Noah, Rose, Deng. You name it. Just UGLY. Maybe October and November NBA basketball is like this more often than not. Even when the Bulls locked up the overall #1 seed in 2010-11, they started slow.

    I'll tell you one thing... all you know that I was a big Deng supporter all summer. But, not anymore. This team needs another scoring wing. Doesn't have to be a superstar. Just someone who can shoot and create some offense. Only Rose and Butler are untouchable in my mind. If we have to trade Noah, too, than fine because he can't score either, and he's probably not getting much better given his age.

    BTW - it was tough seeing Hardaway Jr flash such potential. He didn't shoot all that well, but was 2-6 from 3 and looked like he belonged, which you can't say about Snell. The Bulls passed on him.

  • In reply to Granby:

    They might of picked Snell as a cheap Deng replacement because of his long arms and body type but make no mistake, Hardaway Jr is the better talent and is aggressive on offense. He's what we needed but Snell might be able to develop in the long run. He's a smart player but too passive and doesn't have the aggressive scoring mentality that we need on this team. The Bulls offense looks anemic and lost and Dunleavy totally popped a flat tire. It's still early and hopefully its just rust and the chemistry needing to build.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Agree with you 200% about Hardaway Jr. The young man has tons of potential and his game looks good and the Bulls passed on him. WOW...

  • In reply to Granby:

    There are 3-4 guys that fit in the 3 and D big wing mode that were drafted after the Bulls took Snell that might come back to haunt us. In addition to the sexy names, Hardaway Jr, and Rice Jr, you've got the guy from Carolina that the Clippers took and the guy that the Pacers took. We shall see, in a year or 2.

  • I really don't know why they never filled the JL3/Nate role... You are 100% right that their complete lack of acknowldegement of needing a secondary shot creator is a HUGE problem. If they actually valued the role they wouldn't have paid non gauranteed minimum contracts to the last two whom filled it. This team is filled with defensive grinders and one "shooter" in Dunleavy. This is the reason they get no respect as serious championship threats. I have no idea why GarPax always devalue players that can create on offense.

    I know Rose gets better and they probably have a great regular season and the average fan will feel all warm and fuzzy that they could go all the way when in reality they have basically no shot outside of some one in a thousand miracle run. I guess I am the pessimist today after two ugly games.

  • I agree with the point about Boozer. In the first two games the only time the Bulls' half-court offense has been halfway competent is when Boozer is on the floor and involved.

    I noticed something in Butler last night for the first time that concerns me and that is that his passing looks very tentative and mechanical. He is not going to get away with that. There is no way he can be a secondary play-maker unless his passing is more instinctual. However, his lightning fast hands make him fun to watch on defense.

    If the Bulls don't get their half-court offense figured out it will be a long season.

  • The Bulls could've used one of the two guys they let leave in their first two games, Marco and especially little Nate. Thanks Doug for mentioning and noticing that the Bulls could've used Nate cause I was one of a very few that wanted the Bulls to keep Nate while everyone else is praising Dunleavy. He looks like he's done as a productive basketball player and his signing with the Bulls looks like a waste that could've been used to sign Marco or especially Nate. The two guys Boozer and Deng that should be on the trading block if anyone will trade for them carried the Bulls and everyone is looks terrible. Hopefully their offense will come together at some point but it doesn't look good. I will say this again...the Bulls and Derrick Rose need more scorers, more help period, this team will not get it done.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Oh and when it comes to the Bulls continuing to stink on offense like they always have and I have always called them out on it...I will remain a pessimist cause it is what it is, THE BULKS OFFENSE STINKS and another scorer is needed ASAP!!!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    There you go again, arguing with an imaginary cadre of Bulls fans who disagree with you. You are definitely smarter than those ghosts but almost everyone I read here wanted to keep Nate.

    I agree that most here thought Dunleavy would be a slight upgrade over Bellinelli.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Instead of trying to criticize and argue with just about every one of my comments like you have a man crush or something roman, go back to previous threads that were commented on this blog and you understand then...i guess. I have my own personal obsessed follower in roman on this blog, its a good thing im not into twitter

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I'm surprised you have time to respond, isn't there a whole bunch of imaginary fans you need to set straight?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Oh dont worry it's Friday so i have the time to respond to idiots like yourself who obviously dont have a life. But rest assured i wont waste my time any longer responding to obsessed orverly critical posters such as yourself. So you have yourself a good day sir as hard as i know that will be for you. And you should really stop with the men crushes and butt kissing for future reference, not a good look. I will look forward to reading your very last post on my behave for entertainment purposes

  • I also think you are right on the money in this analysis. Unfortunately, I disagree in that I am already in panic mode about Dudleavy. To have only one regular bench guy on your team to bring offense is not good. And to have that one bench guy shooting blanks is even worse. The Heat have Battier, Allen, Cole and Lewis to knock- down shots. Like many others, I thought Dudleavy was going to be an upgrade over Marco. Hope that proves true.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    In case your wondering Pat Reilly already trade marked Dudleavy, I am going with it anyway.

  • Rust is certainly part of what is ailing DRose; however, it also seems that the entire team is having a problem with the offensive scheme. The spacing and lack of confidence that lead to the indecisiveness, appear to be from trying to run a "read and react offense" that isn't working. The "read and react" offense involves all 5 players making decisions and moving in sync. Much like the way the Bull's switching defense operates.
    Learning this offense and having it become instinctive is going to be challenging.
    My concern is specifically DRose's learning curve. Issues like his SAT tests, letting his brother speak for him, etc make me fear that it will take him longer than most to learn something new.
    In the meantime, we'll just call him DRust.

  • In reply to Waldock:

    Your right Rose and Thibs look clueless on offense right now. Rose doesn't even look like a point guard right now. In fact on Allen Iverson retirement day, he started to remind me of bad Allen Iverson, a one dimensional high volume scorer who shoots 40% from the field and doesn't even know that he has teammates.

    I know that this will get better as the rustoleum takes hold, right?

  • Oh holy gods of offense, why do you spite us!!!! To have given us both Marco and Nate only to snatch them away once we truly needed them. Even the meager John Lucas III could help in this time of need. Or maybe just his giant beer balls so so we may attach them to the feeble minded Butler.........oh the sorrows of an empire.

  • In reply to Villageworker2:

    Ha! Dunleavy in Milwaukee = 42% shooter from 3. Dunleavy in Chicago = terrible. Is it the water or what? I'm beginning to think that Thibs needs an offensive coordinator. (We used to say that about Tubby Smith at UK when his teams played great D but could not score.)

  • In reply to Granby:

    That is a valid point as Thibs throughout his career has basically been a defensive coordinator.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I've always argued that in order to be a great defensive mind you had to understand offense, but Thibs is starting to prove me wrong. Don't know, but was Ron Adams our offensive coordinator.

  • In reply to Granby:

    And today in small sample size theatre ...

  • Dunlevy will settle down. and if we meet the Knicks in the playoffs he would match up well with Bargnani.

  • In reply to Waldock:

    By matchup well you mean at least one of them would go off because neither can defend? At this point my money would be on Bargs winning that duel handily.

  • Bull aren't going to win too many games with their two best players, Rose and Noah, struggling to find their games.

    Have to admit seeing Rose struggle has me slightly worried that he'll ever be the same player. He probably will, but I can't help but worry about it.

    At the same time, assuming both players are just shaking off the rust, it really de-emphasizes the importance of losing to Miami opening night.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I was hoping for a more efficient Rose with more floaters and pull up midrange jumpers. i don't mind him shooting the 3 but when he takes 7 in a game.....I think he needs to diversify his offense a bit. Him and Joakim will get better but Dunleavy looks scary bad out there.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I am not worried about Rose. The speed and explosiveness seem as good as before which is what had me concerned. He just needs to find his groove, the regular season is way different speed and intensity and he has only played like 40 some games in two years... I would say that warrants some time to shake the rust.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Obviously, we all agree that Rose and Noah are the engines that will drive this Bulls train. Clearly neither one is anywhere near peak efficiency right now. Fairly certain that Noah will get there in short order. Rose looks like he should physically, but we can only keep our fingers crossed at this point.

    The one thing that has me worried is that despite his claim that he increased his vertical by 5 inches, I just don't see it. Right now he is playing the game below the rim. If I had to bet, I'd bet that his vertical is 5 inches less not 5 inches more. It kind of kills me how every announcer has more or less made that a fact just because Rose threw it out there.

    Even if Rose gets everything else back, losing his vertical could be a huge setback for his game, since it would greatly diminish his ability to finish at the rim, which was probably already less than elite percentage wise, if not style wise.

  • Now where are all the idiots who demanded Rose return last spring to carry the Bulls to an ECF showdown with Miami on his surgically repaired ACL without the training camp, preseason, and half a regular season it will take to regain his All-Star form.

  • Quote from Doug

    "That said, Noah appeared to lose the physical battle with Chandler more times than he won it. Particularly in the fourth quarter where Chandler kept getting back taps to grant the Knicks extra possessions."

    Doug, I love what you do here for Bulls fans, but I expect better from you than the average mindless fan, who assumes that Chandler did his damage against Noah because they are both the putative centers for their respective teams. Noah was not assigned to Chandler for the entire night, until the final 2-3 minutes when after 2 backtaps on one possession Thibs finally removed Boozer who up until that point had been assigned to Chandler the entire night and replaced him with Hinrich(instead of Taj) since the Knicks had been playing small ball for some time. In fact I had been fuming for several minutes wondering why it took Thibs so long to figure out that having Noah running around chasing Shumpert was killing us on the boards and on D in general.

    I have never been a fan of taking Noah away from the center position on defense just to protect Boozer from being embarrassed by a more talented offensive player(in this case that player being Bargnani, who Noah covered all night).

    Honestly, if you watched the game at all how could you claim that Noah lost the physical battle with Chandler when until the final 2 minutes they never went up against each other. It was Boozer who gave up 17-18 of Chandler's 19 rebounds. Now, I will admit that in those last 2 minutes Noah had his hands full with Chandler, including on the last shot by Anthony when Chandler managed to get a pretty good look at a last second tip in to win the game. However, I would say that he fought him to a draw in those last 2 minutes.

    I am really baffled by the motives for your analysis(protecting your Boozer storyline, I don't know). I simply don't understand why everytime Boozer looks less than somnambulant on offense everyone has to immediately imply that therefore he stepped up the rest of his game. This is simply not true and never the case. Irregardless of his results on the offensive end, he always sucks on D, and never even attempts to block out anybody on the defensive boards.

    Chandler is a tough handle for anybody when he is healthy, Noah usually battles him to a draw or slightly wins the battle, the BozoHole on the other had has no shot as was proven all night long.

    Finally, as a tangent to this point, I think that Thibs made the wrong call when he finally did get boozer out by going with Hinrich(who was awful all night) instead of Taj to match the Knicks super small ball lineup. At that point we needed rebounding on both ends since we couldn't buy a shot and needed to limit the Knicks opportunities on the offensive end.

    Anyway, Chandler did not win the physical battle with Noah because there never was a physical battle between the 2, and that's on Thibs as the misstatement is on you.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Dude, saying dougs analysis is that of a mindless fan. .. even in this instance is way over the top. Doug is the man, and this blog rocks. Sure he had an unusual infatuation with James Johnson a few years back, but the time and energy Dude puts in is more than admirable. Respect the man. Stop trying to get your rocks off

  • In reply to Villageworker2:

    Thats why I said that I love the work that he does for here for Bulls fans. I totally respect his work, which is why I was shocked to see this particular analysis which was massively factually incorrect and like that of a typical mindless fan, not typical of what we get from Doug.

    I'm not trying to get anything off, but the facts are the facts, and all you had to do was watch the game, not just the box score. Because he usually does such a good job, and is usually so inciteful, I expect better from Doug.

  • Now on to something we can agree on.

    The Bulls totally need Nate Robinson, thats what I was thinking the entire night.

    Who would you rather have right now.

    Robinson or Hinrich, Robinson or Dudleavy, Robinson or Teague.

    In fact GarPasDorf should be on the phone right now begging Denver to give us back Robinson for any of the above three players.

    Robinson for Teague(throw in Murphy to make the money work) or Hangdog would sure be sweet.

    Your right on Dudleavy also, he looks absolutely useless. His D is actually worse than Korver or Belli right now. He just looks like a really passive player, and he just doesn't seem to have the "it" factor as a three point shooter the way that guys like Korver or Steve Kerr did. I guess that we can only hope that things get better, Belli looked pretty lost early on last season also, and Nate didn't start lighting it up until later in the year.

    Really an awful game to watch, but at least we didn't lose to Philly, yet.

  • The last couple games were pretty ugly; but pining over Nate and Marco....really? It's the second game of the regular season. The Bulls are trying to learn a new offense, obviously have a lot to sort through, and have a couple key guys trying to shake the rust off. I'm willing to bet by December these guys look a lot more polished. Chicago might be a .500 team until then, but so what; it's 15-20 games.

    I'm guessing most fans were expecting the Bulls to come out on day 1, and start steamrolling every team in their path. Get real. Bulls are 1-1 against a top 6 team in the East and the reigning NBA champions. Miami lost to friggin' Philly. Let's keep this thing in perspective. As for Dunleavy, the guy has been consistent his entire career. He didn't wake up in Chicago one day and become terrible. It's a new system, and he will find his rhythm.

    Yeah, the offense is terrible right now, so just relax...it will get better.

  • Wow. Overreact much?

    Derrick will get back in the groove. He's got a lot of timing to get back, didn't get to play with Jo much at all in the preseason, and is almost certainly pressing because he wants to show everyone he's the old DRose again.

    Dunleavy looks awful ... but so did Belli last year for the first few weeks while he figured out how to play in the system. Let's judge him by how he's playing a month from now.

    I feel like I watched a different couple of games than the folks bagging on Hinrich. His play on offense at the end of the first and his part of the second, with the exception of the turnovers, was the only part of the game I felt like the team was running an actual offense, and he had some nifty offensive moves to boot. He was instrumental in several calls that went against the Knicks, too.

    Let's see where we are after 10-12 games rather than believe anybody has any meaningful analysis to contribute after two — including one against the consensus best team in the league.

  • I seem to recall at the beginning of last season fans were sayin Marco beli sucked. Now everyone is crying for the guy. I think mike dunleavy needs to get more than two games under his belt before we want to kick em out of town! It wud have been nice if we could have kept him along with nate Robinson though

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