The Chicago Bulls put up little fight against the Cleveland Cavaliers continuing their stretch of lousy play.
In the end, Chicago simply couldn't hit shots. Their defense was nothing special. Their rebounding was pathetic, but in the end they couldn't hit shots.
Chicago had all kinds of open looks, but they didn't knock them down. They shot only 37.5% from the field and given their other deficiencies it wasn't nearly enough to stay in the game against Cleveland.
Derrick continues hot three point shooting
Rose was 3/5 from beyond the arc which was considerably better than his 2/9 inside of it. He did get to the line for five FT attempts, but overall it wasn't one of Rose's better games as he had just two assists though part of that was poor shooting by the team.
Derrick's been a bit up and down on the season of course, but it's fairly promising that his three point shooting has been very solid for four straight games. It's one of the few things that has gone well over that stretch for Chicago.
He's 18/32 over that stretch and has raised his season percentage to 31% from 25% before the hot stretch. I'm skeptical about whether Rose can keep it up, but it's certainly one of the few positive signs Chicago has going for it.
Pau Gasol is playing like a seven million dollar player
Gasol looks like he'll make the all-star team and his stats are fine, but he's hurting the Bulls on defense and the glass tremendously. Perhaps even more so than Carlos Boozer because Boozer at least rebounded.
Gasol does play interior defense and blocks plenty of shots when guys drive into him, but he's awful on the pick and roll and doesn't make any effort to get out to defend jump shooters.
It's not his fault per se, this is who he is. He's an older player without much foot speed and simply isn't quick enough to handle the responsibilities in the Bulls system. The Bulls will live with what he brings, but they need to dial back his minutes at times.
With Noah out, the Bulls have had little choice but to ride him, but they've shown a tendency to do that regardless of what is going on.
On offense, Gasol was flustered by Cleveland's Timofey Mozgov. He's struggled against big physical players for most of the year. His big nights typically come against undersized front courts. With that said, it seems likely that Gasol is going to set us up for playoff disappointment.
Jimmy Butler was okay I suppose
Butler had an alright game. He scored 20, got to the line a bunch, and had a pedestrian shooting day. I think this level is probably similar to what we can expect from Butler on a more consistent basis.
He was 6/16 from the field with a bunch of free throws and while he'll probably shoot better than 37.5% from the field going forward the FG% he was sporting earlier probably wasn't sustainable. I expect more games like this from Butler going forward.
Still, on a day where your shot isn't falling, to score 20 on 16 shots isn't bad. It reminds me of an off game from a prime Paul Pierce or Dwyane Wade where he couldn't get his shot to fall but made up for it by getting to the line.
Nikola Mirotic slumping
Nikola only got one shot up in 15 minutes and missed it. He's now shot 33% or worse from the field in six straight games. Some of those games he's gotten to the line for FTs or hit enough threes to compensate for poor shooting, but overall, Mirotic isn't shooting the ball well.
He's lost his aggressiveness. He frequently gets the ball with room and doesn't shoot or drive right away but pump fakes which allows his defender time to close. He needs to either shoot or drive immediately to take advantage of the space he gets.
Mirotic needs to keep playing in order to improve is defensive instincts. He's a willing defensive player, but he's not naturally in the right place at the right time yet either.
Tony Snell gives the Bulls a lift
Tony Snell wasn't perfect out there. He was careless with the ball at times, but he gave the Bulls a lift with 12 points on 4/8 shooting. He did a nice job helping on the glass as well, and he continues his run of playing better basketball.
He was one of the few players who played well for Chicago and did much of his damage when the Bulls were still in the game rather than collecting stats in garbage time.
Kirk Hinrich was scary bad
Hinrich's 0-4 from the field was nothing new or surprising, but as a PG he missed several good opportunities to get the Bulls easy baskets by leading the break poorly or not seeing the floor.
Defensively, he got turned around on a bunch of plays letting his man get easy baskets.
In short, while we don't expect much from Hinrich in terms of shooting, we expect him to perform in other areas, and he couldn't do that either.
Filed under: Uncategorized