Derrick Rose looks good in return

Derrick Rose looks good in return

The Chicago Bulls started their desired starting five for the first time this season and for a half it was magical. The Bulls dominated the first half of the game crushing the Pistons in all areas. Detroit fought back but the Bulls hung on for the victory.

Derrick heated up as the game went on

Derrick Rose looked a bit slow to me at the onset of the game, but he scored all over the Pistons anyway. As the game wore on, he started playing faster and faster. By the end of the game, Derrick looked close to 100% in terms of how he looked physically though he struggled with his jumper in the second half.

Rose knocked down 2/5 from beyond the arc and overall has shot the ball well from beyond the three point line. By the end of the game, he dominated in the half court off the bounce cutting to the basket for himself and finding others.

His passing vision was very good on the night as well and Rose could have easily had a few more assists on the night easily and set up guys for easy looks and wasn't just Chris Duhoning his way to seven assists on the night.

It was a great game back for Rose given that he's frequently struggled in his initial game when returning from injury.

Joakim Noah still struggling on offense

Much like Rose, Noah started very strong. He rebounded well, knocked down a couple jumpers and looked like he was primed for a big night. By the 4th quarter his rebounding was still superb, but he started getting scored on and couldn't hit a bucket.

Overall it was still a nice game for Noah who really pulled down some tough contested rebounds against the huge Detroit front line. He heavily contested the shots that went in over him to make guys work for it as well. Much of his inefficient scoring came from trying to fight back up tough shots around he hoop through Detroits length.

However, by the end of the game he definitely started to look tentative with the ball in his hands and scared to make a move on offense. These are lesser concerns given he's the Bulls 5th option on offense in most rotations now.

Rebounding better, but...

Sure the Bulls had more overall rebounds, but they didn't really win the rebound battle per se. Detroit had fewer defensive rebound opportunities due to fewer missed field goals by the Bulls. That means, in general Chicago would have more total rebounds if the teams broke even on the glass.

Breaking even on the glass was probably a more fair assessment. That's still a big improvement from where the Bulls were recently as they've bee getting destroyed on the glass. It also shows that the real issue hasn't been the big men as much as the guards.

Detroit has a huge front line, but they don't have so much in the way of offensive boards coming from the perimeter, so the Bulls wings not boxing out wasn't as big a factor as it was in other recent games.

Overall it was a vast improvement, but Chicago's still a long way from dominating the glass like they used to and not just "not losing" the rebounding battle.

That whole minutes thing

Rose and Noah were managed well around 32 minutes a piece. Maybe a shade more than I'd like to see from Rose coming back from the ankle, but he looked strong during the game, so it looks like it won't set him back any.

However, Thibs has quickly lost all trust in his bench guys. Butler played 42 minutes. Gasol and Dunleavy played 35 each. Kirk Hinrich came in for Rose instead of Aaron Brooks which is a disaster of a decision given Brooks has been a total bad ass and Kirk Hinrich has generally sucked balls.

This limited Brooks minutes to 11 while Kirk played 17. Brooks managed to score 10 points on six shots while Hinrich scored four points on five shots. Kirk also got roasted on defense, so he wasn't bringing that either.

Mirotic and McDermott played just five minutes a piece, and quite frankly they both played badly. Here's the thing though, the Bulls need to get these guys on the court some. It would be a great start to not run them in a lineup of: Brooks, Hinrich, McDermott, Mirotic, and Gibson.

Talk about setting your rookies up to fail.

This is a lineup which is:
1: Undersized
2: Under athletic
3: Under experienced
4: has no center
5: has no plus rebounders
6: has only one quality defender

No crap those guys are going to struggle out there in this lineup. Why not mix in some of their minutes with more experience. Instea of playing Dunleavy 35 minutes a night, find five minutes where he's playing with the starters and give them to McDermott to play with the starters.

Same with Mirotic instead of Gasol.

Or heck, just swap some of those minutes around, if you're only going to play McDermott and Mirotic five means each then fine, but give them five minutes with a better unit so that you can hide their flaws a bit and take advantage of their strengths while giving them some confidence.

Putting in a lineup destined to fail and then saying "see these guys can't cut it" is just moronic. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. The Bulls should be beyond five man bench lineups at this point anyway. They have depth, but it doesn't mean we need to run out hockey rotation style line switches. Mix the talent up to smooth out the performance of everyone.

It's not like we haven't seen these guys play well. We have. They've shown they can play well when they aren't thrown out there in these ridiculous lineups.

Solid win

A home win against the Pistons is nothing to write home about, but this is a team that had a front line we thought might cause us trouble on the glass and specifically attacked our recent weaknesses well.

The played their starting lineup for the first time which was great but also a test to their continuity as these guys haven't has much time together yet didn't turn the ball over much.

The Bulls showed a glimpse of what they could be in the first half where they dominated on both ends, and a glimpse of what they were in the second when they went through a stretch where they simply couldn't score then everyone looked scared to shoot.

There's plenty of work to be done, but there's also plenty of time to do it.

Cavs beat Pelicans

The demise of the Cavaliers was fun while it lasted wasn't it? Only caught the portion of the game where the Bulls/Pistons were at half time which was the final five minutes, but the Cavs just ran a Kyrie Irving/LeBron James pick and roll over and over again while the Pelicans tried to defend it with Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon.

Unsurprisingly, this did not end well for the Pelicans. I have a feeling that LeBron/Kyrie pick and roll will become a staple of the Cavs offense, but when healthy, the Bulls will defend that with Rose/Butler which sure looks like a more promising outcome for Chicago.

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  • You can make the argument for the rookies lack of minutes due to their play but Brooks is currently on one of the hottest shooting streaks in the nba and you reward him with 10 minutes.

    43mins for Butler and the Pistons don't really have a perimeter scoring threat. Pretty obvious Thibs won't change. At least he was knocking down his threes.

    What's happened to Rose's mid-range game, it's either a three or attack the basket.

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    Thibs played the match ups tonight. Detroit went with the Jumbo line up which forced him to keep Jimmy on the floor to guard Smith. Had we maintained the larger lead I think you would have seen more of the rooks and Snell.

  • Good to finally see a full roster, and a solid half of basketball. The team definitely has some work to do, but no one realistically expected complete NBA dominance by the second week in November anyway. As painful as it may be at times, the rooks definitely need to get some regular minutes, even if it's only 15-20 per night. Last night showed this team does have the ability to kick ass, so hopefully they build off that.

  • Yes, why so many minutes for Butler? Why not get McDermott (and possibly Mirotic) some time with the starters?

    Rose and Noah are clearly on a minutes restriction and Gasol's minutes are down just because front court depth is so overwhelming. (Gibson getting a lot of time)

    Brooks, McDermott and Mirotic needs more time and Hinrich, Noah, Dunleavy and Butler need less time.

    Butler is a bad ass, but why play him more than 38 minutes in the regular season???

  • In reply to Granby:

    In principle, I agree with you. What happened, the Bulls' lead dropped to 5 points with a few minutes to go! So, Butler had to stay in to make sure of the W.

    However, the team will have to blow a few losses to get M and M more minutes - otherwise, they won't be worth much in the playoffs, and the Bulls will not win the title. They will need M and M for that!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I believe that it actually dropped to 2 90-88, with the Taj Gibson led defense and rebounding effort leading the collapse.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Gibson has looked good on offense this year, but he seems to have struggled with everything else.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    That has to be all based on attitude/effort, doesn't it.

  • Wonder about Derrick's shooting, but two point percentage wise he's at 53% on 8.5 attempts per game which is excellent. At times he misses mid range J's at about the free throw line, but other times he's hitting those. And His push shot he does driving into the lane and on post ups he's killing it. Of course his multiple lay-ins per game don't hurt either. And he's got five three throw attempts per game which isn't bad. Rose in only 27 minutes is averaging 17.5 ppg. Threes his volume maybe either slightly should go down unless his percentage goes up to 33% minimum. Hopefully his minutes can gradually go up to a starter average of what 33-35?

    Aaron Brooks with his stellar shooting percentages getting 20 minutes to Klank's 28 is.. not good. If Thibs/the Bulls refuse to play Derrick at all at the two then Brooks offensive firepower will be largely wasted as Rose's minutes increase. Doug mentioned the defensive switch with Jimmy and Derrick on the defensive end. And if Thibs won't incorporate MCFresh and Nik then the Bulls come playoff time will be out of luck because Klank and Dunleavy will be a couple of worn out old white dudes aka 34 yr olds.

    Hopefully Noah's health and mobility will continue to improve along with his god awful .417 FG percentage on 8 impacting attempts per game. Nikola too slight to fill in significant minutes as a big(?) will need to be fronting in the post or will get killed. His activity defensively has been good though foul prone aka rookie and Euro. And McDermott has showed some flashes going to he basket it's disappointing he hasn't had more minutes. Thibs wake up!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Brooks/Rose combo would be nice to see, didn't know Brooks was as quick as he is.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Well, Mirotic is certainly too slight to play center which Thibs has him playing most of the time since he is usually paired with Gibson. He should be fine if he ever gets to play his natural position alongside a true center.

    Kind of makes Doug's point about setting these guys up to fail. Did anyone other than Thibs really think Mirotic was a good matchup against Andre Drummond.

    In fact last night would have been a good night to try him at SF, since Detroit did run out their 3 bigman lineup for several minutes. Getting only 5-6 first half minutes per night isn't going to do anything to develop him into a legitimate NBA player. In fact the only thing that it might do is wreck his confidence.

    Like Doug said, it is Thib's job to find a way to get these guys minutes where they are in a position to succeed and develop their games.

  • I agree with all the above., including Doug.

    Especially Rustyw. Jimmy's minutes just too high. But, Thibs coming off a loss, put his best winning line-up out there.., which is always gonna include Jimmy. Gotta rest him more earlier.

    Tough one comin' up vs. Toronto. Very interested to see our Slower Bigs play vs. a fast Toronto team.


  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    That to me was the key reason that we held our own/won the rebounding battle, Detroits bigs are not super athletic which doesn't expose Gasol's weaknesses in particular. Taj sucked on the boards again, particularly in the second half. Noah and Gasol did a good job when they were together.

  • The conclusion about Hinrich "generally sucking balls" is ridiculous. I will never understand why some Bulls fans think Kirk is terrible. Sure, he isn't the best shooter, but guess what, he's there for the defense and how he runs the offense smoothly. Anytime his shooting is going it's an extra benefit to his game. If the Bulls are worried about Hinrich scoring and his shooting percentage, then they are in big trouble and have greater problems. Kirk was brought back to stabilize the 2nd unit, especially with some rookies, as well as providing solid defense when needed (like when he shuts down D-Wade time and time again). Get off of Kirk's case, he's not here for what you want him to be here for.
    I agree with everything about the rookies. Get them a little more time with a better mix of starters. McDermott was a great draft day trade and looks confident even when his shot is struggling. The guy is a more athletic Korver and will definitely have his time to help carry the scoring on the bench when Brooks or Gibson aren't taking over. However, the less we see the rooks the more it means the Bulls are healthy, so I'm all up for waiting another year to see too much time from them, that would be great news for all Bulls fans.

  • In reply to Keep:

    I will never understand how some people still want to believe that Hangdog runs the offense smoothly unless you mean smoothly into the ground. How does he play great defense, when he can't keep any point guard in front of him which leads to the breakdown of our entire defense which then causes a great deal of our rebounding issues.

    Brandon Jennings doesn't even have to wait to see Hangdog enter the game for his eyes to light up, he smells him coming.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    So why would the Bulls front office and coach continue to talk about how solid Hinrich plays? I tend to trust their observation (and my own), along with other professional Bulls writers, instead of fans of the team who have a grudge against Hinrich for other reasons.

  • In reply to Keep:

    As Doug pointed out yesterday, it is nothing personal(i.e a grudge) against Hinrich, it is simply that what you call solid we call non productive if not borderline useless.

    We certainly could have done better with the last 4 years of money that we spent on Hangdog. The Bulls keep him around and continue to play him ahead of better players because for them it is personal, they just like him because he is a good guy(i.e. keeps his mouth shut). They are probably grooming him to be GarPax's replacement.

    Most professional Bulls writers are homers who have an incentive to keep the players friendly to them. I have probably watched more Bulls games in my life than any of them so I tend to trust my own observations over first time callers.

    The bottom line is with Rose healthy you really only have minutes for one backup PG, and any observer that doesn't think Brooks is the vastly superior option, especially with the offensively challenged second unit, isn't a particularly astute observer.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That would be the Brandon Jennings that went 3/11 for 11 points and had 4 TOs? That shared the court with Kirk for all of 8:11? That went 1/3 during that time, even assuming Kirk guarded him? (Aaron was on the court during the second stint, too, and I believe had primary guarding assignment.)

  • In reply to clancy:

    I didn't say that Jennings performed well, I said that Jennings eye's light up everytime he sees Hangdog enter the game. Jennings immediately goes into attack mode, because he is Brandon Jennings it doesn't always work, it really has nothing to do with Hangdog "stopping" him.

    I knew that somebody would respond in the way that you did, since they didn't get the point that I was making. Most guys in the league get jacked up when they see Hangdog enter the game, because they know that they can take him anyway they want.

  • I have to disagree with your point 6 above, unless you think that one of Brooks, Hangdog, McBobblehead or Mirotic is a quality defender. I simply do not think Taj qualifies at this time. He is simply not the player that he was before he got paid and before he let his offensive game go to his ego. Mirotic might actually be the one making more defensive plays(deflections/steals) out of that group right now.

  • While it was nice to see the full starting lineup for the first time, even if we might like one of the starters to be someone else, I wouldn't call it a confidence inspiring win. The first half was solid, but he second half was somewhat of a reversion to this seasons mean. Coming in Detroit had played the easiest schedule in the league and was still only 2-5.

    We have to give some credit for the win to Van Gundy as he closed the game with Josh Smith at PF instead of Greg Monroe, and Smith delivered for the Bulls with typical the Josh Smith smorgasboard of crap. He put up decent numbers 19 & 11, but still really hurt them.

    Great to see Noah and Gasol just miss a 30-30 game, even though it still looked ugly at times. It has always frustrated me how awful Noah is around the basket with his right hand, when he is clearly a right handed player. It's hard to believe that a guy who is 6'10.5" can't hit more than 50% of his shots from 2 feet. The problem is clearly getting worse as his athleticism is clearly declining with age.

    At least he looks like he is starting to play himself into shape, something that happens every season. In addition to his offensive woes, he spends way too much time falling to the floor. At his size this can't be good for his health. He's not a high flier, so he really shouldn't be on the floor so much. With his seemingly reduced role in the offense, I would really like to see him crash the offensive glass with a vengeance, which he really hasn't been doing much of this season.

    He always been my favorite Bull, but he can be frustrating to watch. Anybody else think that Jimmy had a very quiet 19 points last night?

  • Anybody interested in trading Taj for Greg Monroe.

    Detroit has to know that they are losing him in free agency next summer. He is clearly a superior offensive player. He has a reputation as an indifferent defender, but since Taj has effectively retired on that end of the floor, how much would we be losing. Detroit gets a guy who is signed at a reasonable rate for the next 3 seasons.

    What do you think Bulls fans, is Monroe worth the max, or minimax that he is entitled to now?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Wouldn't say he's superior offensively, Taj can still spread the floor better. Especially this year, Taj is killing it offensively. The whole team's defense has been poor but it's only going to improve as the season goes on. Monroe is already playing out of position at PF, that would leave us with 3 centres and really without a lineup should a team go small.

    Monroe already turned down 5/12m/yr and a 4/14m/yr. We would almost certainly lose him in the offseason. Keeping Taj is probably best for this year. Saying that, Monroe is only 24 and a change of scenery to a contender will only do him good. He's definitely leaving Detroit, but would he even accept a 6th man role.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    I doubt the FO would trade Noah - political reasons, not BB reasons.

    However, Monroe could make the Bulls better this year. As for the future, Noah is in decline, he generally comes into the season out of condition, and he is hurt a lot. Will his contract be renewed? Questionable, we don't know.

    This trade would be a gamble. I would be inclined to do it, but I doubt it will happen.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    He could become a replacement for Noah but If you do it then you have to choose between Jimmy and Monroe in the offseason.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I have no expectation that the Bulls will even think about it, but it seems to me like the kind of move the Bulls should be thinking about.

    Noah is signed through next season, the Bulls face a very tough decision on what to do with Noah in the summer of 2016. Noah will be 31 going into his age 32 season. As much as I love the guy, I don't think that he will age well, and may very well not be worth retaining at that point. Gasol will be 36, heading into his last contract year with the Bulls, and probably on his last lung by then. Taj is also not spring chicken, so the time for thinking about getting younger up front is fast approaching if not already upon us.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    I don't think that Monroe is a center at all, he is definitely a power forward on both ends of the floor.

  • I still think it is possible that the Bulls will need to trade Taj for a SG near the trade deadline, especially if Mirotic develops well. I would not think about that if Taj's D and rebounding were anything like they used to be, but his falloff in those areas is significant.

    Of course, the SG we would want might not be available, even for Taj and the Kings draft pick. And if Butler stays healthy, which he may not at 40 minutes per night, the team might not need the SG.

    If the Bulls traded Taj for Monroe, could they resign both Butler and Monroe in the off season? Since they both would be Bulls players, could they go over the cap without penalty? It would just be for one year and then the cap would jump up.

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