Bulls grab another moral loss against the Jazz

Bulls grab another moral loss against the Jazz

Derrick Rose returned to help the Bulls despite playing at what looked like half speed. Pau Gasol returned and dominated on offense during stretches. The Bulls jumped out to a big first half lead, but almost threw the game away.

In the second half, the Bulls couldn't rebound, struggled getting stops, and struggled to score. The Jazz built up a one point lead and had a two for one with the ball and 45 seconds or so left. The margin for error in this scenario is fairly small.

It requires a stop, a score, and a stop. Three straight possessions to swing in your direction. After the Jazz had played a very strong second half, they let it go in the critical moments. Trey Burke turned the ball over, and Butler stole the ball and sprinted in the open court going up against two defenders.

Derrick Favors blocked Butler, but the momentum of the play took all three players out of bounds and Mike Dunleavy was the only other player trailing the play. He put in his only bucket of the game, a wide open layup off the offensive rebound.

Derrick Favors tightened up on the Jazz's next possession missing badly, and the scrum for the loose ball resulted in a jump ball which Tony Snell won over Trey Burke, tipping the ball to Pau Gasol who split free throws.

The Jazz would get final chance down two. Gordon Hayward had almost three seconds and got off a three point shot which looked eerily similar to the one he nailed over LeBron to beat the Cavs. This time he fell well short hitting the front of the rim over the outstretched arms of Pau Gasol who did a great job rotating after it appeared Tony Snell misread the play and didn't switch properly.

Derrick Rose didn't look great, but provided a great help

Derrick was either playing at half speed because he was still hurt or simply taking precautions. He was clearly on a minute restriction as Thibodeau was willing to leave him out until the six minute mark where Rose got up to check in.

He was a bit sloppy with the ball and wasn't able to push the pace, but despite all of that he managed to score 18 points on 10 shots.

He knocked down the three early and when he came back in with the game on the line had a drive for an and one lay in. Derrick didn't have tremendous burst but used nice change of speed to draw the foul and get the critical hoop and free throw to put the Bulls up one before Utah countered to set up the end game described above.

Rose looked a bit limited with his lateral quickness defensively, but he showed that even with limitations he can help Chicago win basketball games. It was just the fourth game this season that Derrick finished, so Chicago has to count that as a plus.

Pau Gasol plays 37 minutes returning from injury

He had a planned rest which was ruined when Joakim Noah was poked in the eye and the Bulls were too scared to put in Nazr or Bairstow with the game slipping away.

Gasol looked downright nasty in stretches. His overall plus/minus on the game wasn't very hot, but he carried what little offense the Bulls had through some bad rough stretches.

One thing the Bulls struggle with is when Gasol contests shots by stepping away from the basket, the Bulls really struggle to rebound. Still, Gasol provided a huge lift for Chicago in the game with his offense.

Jimmy Butler's a stud

It's difficult to understate how great Butler is playing for Chicago. He's knocking down key shots, creating looks in crunch time, getting to the free throw line, scoring with big volume and great efficiency all while playing tremendous defense.

Butler had an interesting night, drawing a tech after getting shoved to the ground by Joe Ingles who clearly shoved Butler but also got pushed into him by Aaron Brooks. Butler walked over him while he was on the ground to express his displeasure, but players were separated and nothing escalated further though Butler drew a tech on the play which Utah tied the game with.

Jimmy knocked down a key 22 footer with shot clock winding down and the Bulls down four. He had a few big layups, and overall got screwed by the refs who called him on one offensive foul which should have been two free throws for him and missed another clear foul which should have been an and one.

Despite getting the short stick from the refs on several occasions, Butler was still 8/16 from the field and 8/9 from the free throw line for 25 points.

Nikola Mirotic's coming around

His lineups were a train wreck, but Mirotic gave the Bulls a lift on offense in his time on the floor. He knocked down a couple threes and showed some nice drives to the basket.

He finished four of nine from the floor and was robbed on another basket on what should have been a goal tend.

Mirotic needs to improve on his defense/rebounding, but he's certainly showing signs of life out there, and his plus/minus differential is impacted significantly by the poor combinations he's on the floor with.

Nice to come out with a win

The game started off great, but the Bulls failed to put the Jazz away. Utah had a shot to win at the end and really four shots that could have put them in the lead in the final minute, but missed them all.

The lack of rebounding again did the Bulls in as in Utah's big stretches they just dominated the offensive glass. Still, at the end of the year, this one just counts as W, and another win on the road. For Chicago, who was still playing short handed and with a rusty Gasol/Rose, it was nice just to get a win.

The Bulls play Denver tonight, and we'll have to see how much they have left on the second half of the back to back. It will be a great sign if Rose/Gasol are ready to go again on the back to back.

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  • I really like our team and if we can keep injuries to a minimum we can go far this year!
    Gasol coming to the Bulls has given such a lift with his professionalism, BB IQ, size, post game, etc! He basicly is playing this year for free if you look at the offer he got to stay with the Lakers for 2 year over what we are paying him for 3 years!
    Also Mike Dunleavy only at $3M/yr this year is a great tall good shooter which is doing great! I hope we can keep him around and ease McD into the starting lineup later this season if not from next season.
    Snell I think is looking better out there, except for that blown defensive assignment that almost cost us the game with Haywards 3 pt shoot at the buzzer! Gasol who doesn't come out far from the basket normally charged after Gordan with his arm outreached having some effect on Gordan's concentration it appeared! :-)
    Wow Thib's is losing his cool, like many of us fans and announcers, media, etc with Rose being so iffy with minor injuries!
    Will be interesting if Gasol and Rose play tonight again Denver and if they play how long they play!
    With Kirk and Taj out it was so important that Rose and Gasol played last night and hopefully do tonight as well!

  • In reply to smiley:

    Well, if you are going to suggest that Gasol is giving us a free year, then it would have to be the 3rd year, which I'm guessing most of won't think will be a good value even if it was for free.

  • Rose said before the game that his hamstring is fine but he still has muscle fatigue. I don't know if he is still getting into game shape but he has basically done nothing in nearly 2 weeks so he shouldn't be tired. Thibs also sound frustrated with the amount of injuries.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    I think you misunderstood what Rose meant. Maybe he meant his muscles just weren't used to an NBA game, albeit only 25 minutes, since he has been out a while and has not got in a groove yet...I understand many fans' frustrations, but I am positive D Rose is the one who is most frustrated and wants to play more, but knows it is the right thing to take it easy, man I would hate to keep getting hurt and would show way more anger if I were D Rose, I think he handles it well considering that...

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    Rose should have sat out last nights game(as Doug and others(myself included) suggested) so that he could avoid a back to back. I bet the Bulls figured(correctly) that Utah was the more winnable game, so that why he came back.

  • Great analysis Doug, the rebounding is a surprising issue, but I think it will get back to a strength as in years past, once everyone is healthy for a few weeks (if that is possible).

    Would be awesome to see anything from Rose or Gasol tonight, not worried about getting a win, just want to see them look healthy.

    Does anyone else think Gibson's injury is sort of proof as to why guys need to take time like Rose does with these early season injuries? People have been complaining about Taj's defense and rebounding early in the season. So all of a sudden he isn't a great defender or rebounder? It was obvious he has been playing on the bum ankle for a while and should have been sat for 2 weeks a while ago. This guy gives maximum effort when he is healthy, this isn't Carlos Boozer. Anyone asking to trade Taj or complain about his game needs to relax and wait for him to be healthy.

    Love this team, did not think Gasol would be this effective, and this team is here all year, no major changes, enjoy it and hope for health in March/April!!!

  • In reply to Keep:

    I just saw today that David West has missed all 13 games this season with a sprained ankle (I didn't know that was his injury). And Wade's been down for quite a bit. Rose came back relatively quickly in fact. Taj should take his time. My best take of the day on the Bulls is Sam Smith's column mentioning that Deng and Noah urged Rose to not play injured early in his career, but Rose played anyway. And now he's paying in many, many ways for those "young" mistakes. That's for all you haters of D Rose out there. The kid is great. Let him heal and play the game he loves.

  • In reply to unclejimmy:

    Amen to that! We are so lucky to have this kid on our team!

  • In reply to Keep:

    Yeah, if we can make it to march/april healthy then things will be really interesting.

  • With all the blasted injuries, one can see why athletes are tempted to use PEDs - they are stronger, so they have fewer injuries, plus when they do get one they heal faster.

    Still, a player can kill themselves with that stuff. It really is not worth it.

    Speaking of injuries, have the Bulls had even one game this season where everyone was truly healthy? Noah and Rose have been hurting every game, and it seems that the team is averaging 2 players out per game! This is a significant issue. At this rate Thibs will be totally bald by spring.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Is it ever serious conversation to discuss Lebron possibly being on PED's? Honestly, I'm asking cause I really don't know and don't hear much about it. The guy is almost never hurt and I know he's a beast, but at times I think maybe just maybe....am I crazy or do people mention this sometimes?

  • In reply to Keep:

    Yes, it's serious conversation. I hope LeBron is clean but there are reasons to doubt that.

  • In reply to Keep:

    LeBron has all the markings of a serious PED user. Maybe he's not, and I hope he's clean too, but he certainly had the premature aged look.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    We may never find out, but I'd be shocked if he wasn't.

  • Jimmy Butler gets max money in the offseason. He has been a beast. I still think he should be playing the 3 in the new NBA and we need another player at the 2 who can put the ball on the floor and making rotating defenses pay, but Jimmy sure is fun to watch at the moment. Derrick was clearly not 100%, but he drives me crazy by sleepwalking through the sets on offense. He can still force a quick tempo and make the offense work even if he is reluctant to drive the hoop and push his hammy. Mirotic gets better every game. His offensive instincts are great (the double pump fake and dish to Gasol under the hoop was awesome) and his rebounding is surprisingly good. He needs to learn how to defend the pick and roll and how to stay in front of his guy without fouling. he has the footspeed to do it, he just needs to learn what he can get away with in the league. Hopefully JImmy plays fewer minutes tonight. 40 plus back to back in altitude might kill him

  • Doug or anyone else able to answer -

    What was the advantage to teams like the Warriors signing Klay Thompson to max a max contract this offseason? As I understand it - Klay would have been a restricted free agent next offseason, so they would have been able to match any offer. If they are offering the max anyway, they have no danger of losing him as a restricted FA, so why not just wait till next year (and protect team in case of injury this year). So what was the point of signing him this year? Expectation the max contract will rise with new cap next season? I know there is a good reason, just don't know what the reason is.

  • In reply to Charlieboy:

    Well he's a top 3 shooting guard and if you're lucky enough to have a star player you want to lock them up. Don't quote me on this but I believe he could have signed a 1 year qualifying offer at 125% of his last year and then become an unrestricted free agent. So I guess there was a possibility they could lose him that way but not if he was a RFA.

    I don't understand what the team was thinking when the Kevin Love trade talk was going on. At the time they refused to trade him for Love but they still wouldn't give Klay the max.

  • In reply to Charlieboy:

    I'm not really sure, but I believe you answered your own question, because I thought they did it understanding that it could be a higher max next season. Also, maybe having a contract done will give Klay less distractions, but that sure isn't stopping Jimmy Butler as we all know

  • While I agree that Mirotic has to improve his defense(a lot) his rebounding has been better than expected, especially for a guy who is slightly built. His rebound rate is certainly higher than Taj's, interested to see how it compares to Noah and Gasol.

    Mirotic looks like he can become at least a serviceable defender once he learns NBA/Thibs defensive principles. Right now it is obvious he has old habits to break and doesn't really know what to do and when to do it within the team defensive concept. I still have hope for him, which a lot more than we can say for McPillsbury, who looks more and more like a lost cause.

  • Last night Rose looked like exactly what he has been for the past 2 plus years, a guy who practised his jump shooting and never plays basketball. He shot well, and basically committed a turnover everytime that he attempted a pass.

    Good thing that Dunleavy was in the right place at the right time for that game winning putback, he was an invisible pussy the entire rest of the evening.

    It was a misery inducing victory, which is still better than a loss, but hey we got tonight in Denver for that.

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