Bulls smack Boston around this time

It didn't take a career night from D.J. Augustin for the Bulls to get past the Celtics this time. In fact, D.J. Augustin shot just 1/9 and seemed bothered by the defense of Phil Pressey for most of his time on the court. Instead, the game was close for a half before the Bulls jumped out to a big lead which they would never relinquish.

Mike Dunleavy Jr went off for 22 points including shooting three of six from beyond the arc to lead the Bulls. The Celtics played Joakim for the pass, spreading out their defense when he got the ball at the top of the key, and Noah took it to the hole over and over to score 19.

Jimmy Butler chipped in 18 points on mostly mid range jumpers while Morten Jensen fooled me with the annual April fools joke using his Denmark time zone to post a link to a fake article that Butler wanted 10 million per season on his extension. Damn you Jensen.

Carlos Boozer contributed 16 to the Bulls strong offensive night before taking his customary seat on the bench in the fourth quarter.

The real difference was the Bulls defense though. Chicago shot well in both games, but this game was a blowout because they held the Celtics down to 40.3% shooting for the game. It didn't start out that way as Boston was closer to 50% at half time, but the Bulls second half defense caused plenty of turnovers and forced Boston into tough shots that weren't falling this time around.

Where's the rebounding?

The Bulls haven't been getting much of an advantage on the glass recently. They aren't getting destroyed frequently either, but they lost rebounding battles to Boston and Philly recently, two teams that don't have mush skilled size. They've broken even against teams you'd think they'd beat too.

There seems to be much less urgency lately for the Bulls grabbing rebounds. Last night, the game was in hand, but Joakim was outfought for rebounds at times and when Taj/Noah play at the same time, frequently one or both will get pulled from the basket on a switch causing the Bulls to have a rebounding deficit.

Carlos Boozer plays a lot less defense than Gibson and his anchoring himself to the paint doesn't help the initial defense, but his bulk and refusal to move five feet from the rim tend to give the Bulls a strong defensive rebounding position.

I'm not suggesting the Bulls play Boozer more, but Taj/Noah need to understand that they can't both roam around the court at the same time, and whomever is playing on the switch needs to step up to help on the glass more.

One of the only ways Chicago will upset a good team, or likely even get out of the first round, is if they can own the glass against their opponents.

Back into a tie

With the win and the Raptors loss to the Heat, the Bulls and Raptors are tied again for third place. With Indiana falling off a cliff in terms of performance, the three seed looks a hell of a lot more enticing than the four seed right now.

Granted to win a title, you've got to go through both Indiana and Miami, but the Pacers look like a team the Bulls would actually stand a shot at picking off in the second round the way they're playing right now.

Hopefully Chicago can pass the Raptors, but it won't be easy as Toronto holds the tiebreaker. Toronto's only got two tough games left on the schedule, both played in Toronto. Their next two, Houston and Indiana. That's probably tougher than what the Bulls face, but Chicago will be playing five of their final eight on the road instead of at home.

It looks like the race for 3rd will go down to the wire.

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Tags: chicago bulls, nba

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  • I wonder if some of the rebounding issues relate to less offensive rebounds from Noah, now that he has been pulled away from the basket more.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    I think that is likely the case too, good point.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    To further this point. The offensive before Noah for as far back as I can remember was pick and roll with a point guard that ends up with either the pg or a guy coming of a screen driving to the basket, drawing the defense and missing a layup and we would get the offensive rebound.

    I watch Noah practice his jumper from 15 feet and he is on point. You can see him trying to get over the mental hump of making this face up shot in a game. Think he is getting close but he has surprising finishing ability near the basket.

  • I really hope the Bulls get the 3rd seed. Indiana is in a funk and there is a lot of turmoil within the team. The Bulls have a better chance to beat the Pacers in the 2nd round. The Pacers are also offensively challenged at times and the Bulls have the size to counter the bigs of Indiana. Plus the Heat will face the Nets and there is no way that they would sweep the Nets. Here is a list of the remaining schedule of the Bulls and the Raptors:

    Bulls 42-32

    at Atlanta
    vs. Milwaukee
    at Washington
    at Minnesota
    vs. Detroit
    at New York
    vs. Orlando
    at Charlotte

    Raptors 42-32

    vs. Rockets
    vs. Pacers
    at Bucks
    vs. 76ers
    vs. Knicks
    at Pistons
    vs. Bucks
    at Knicks

    The Bulls have a slightly easier schedule than the Raptors. The string of winnable games could give Thibs the chance to rest his players and get them all in a groove.

  • In reply to Tamaraw:

    I think the Bulls have no real chance of winning a 7-game series against the Pacers, but they could push it to 6 or 7 games.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    My gut tells me that when the playoffs actually happen, it will be Pacers in 5, if we even get there.

  • In reply to Tamaraw:

    I don't agree that the Bulls have an obviously easier schedule. Sure the Pacers and the Rockets are upper tier teams but the Bulls are playing 4 teams on the road (Hawks, Knicks, Wizards, Bobcats) that will be fighting for playoff positioning.

    Sure wish the Bobcats would start to suck although the difference between the 16th and 18th picks is probably not too big a deal.

  • A great example of Noah's versatility; Boston plays to limit Noah's passing, so he takes the ball to the hole instead. The Bulls have a great asset in Joakim Noah.

    I'm a bit conflicted about the toughness of the Bull's remaining schedule. On one hand, it's good they have a reasonable chance of winning the majority of games, and can secure the 3 seed. On the other hand, is playing a bunch of mope-a-dope teams going into the post-season going to make them "soft", so to speak? Would there be a benefit to maybe throwing in a Miami or OKC just to keep them honest? I don't know.

  • To Doug who said he would prefer Luol Deng over DJ Augustine for next season, read this directly from the Cleveland newspaper:

    "The Cavs’ first big trade this year came on Feb. 7 when they acquired small forward Luol Deng. After watching him perform, it’s also quite obvious to many observers the Cavs can’t spend big money to sign Deng.
    He doesn’t appear to be the same player he once was in Chicago. If he’s really asking for $14 million a season, you would wish him well and send him on his way.
    I’ve written this before, but when the Bulls offered him a three-year, $30 million extension before he was traded, that was more than fair for him at this stage of his career.
    Bulls management was chastised for the offer. I think they had the right idea. They are 25-14 after trading Deng.
    I’m certainly not closing the door on Deng signing with the Cavs, even though he might have little or no interest in staying in Cleveland. I would consider bringing him back at a reasonable price, maybe $8 million to $10 million a season. He made $14 million this season."

    http://www.morningjournal.com/sports/20140329/bob-finnans-nba-notes-spencer-hawes-return-to-cleveland-cavaliers-strong-possibility/1

  • In reply to Edward:

    I'd offer him an invitation to the Bulls Summer League Team

  • In reply to Edward:

    Personally, I would have been pissed if he had accepted that offer and remained a Bull. I am still a bit skeptical that that offer was actually ever real.

  • Nice guy, decent player, but not a needed piece to bring a championship to Chicago. More bang for the buck elsewhere.

    Glad he turned down the Bulls offer. I bet his agent calls the Bulls after the season to say they'll take that offer now, but it should be off the table.

  • Here is a link to an article about a guy that I would love for the Bulls to bring in as their 3rd/4rth bigman for next season, Jordan Hill

    http://www.insidesocal.com/lakers/2014/04/02/jordan-hill-has-no-interest-returning-to-the-lakers-with-same-role/

    I have no idea what he will command as a free agent, but I doubt that it will be as much as the full MLE, so that would put him in the mix, if we amnestitize the HPOF(bimbo the bamboozler). Sign Mirotic and Hill into cap space and DJ to the room exception, draft another couple of shooters/scoreres at the wing positions and were set for next year.

    Bigman rotation, Noah/Hill, Mirotic/Taj, not a lot of size, but a lot of skill and versatility.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Jordan Hill could be good, but from the article it doesn't sound like he wants to be a backup center coming off the bench. Would he accept playing behind Noah? Though I don't know how many teams would or could guarantee him minutes.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Your man Gorgui Dieng was named Rookie of the Month for March with a PER of 22.8!

    http://basketball.realgm.com/wiretap/232728/Carter-Williams-Gorgui-Dieng-Named-Rookies-Of-The-Month-For-March

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