Bulls Beat #352 - Ouch

Bulls Beat #352 - Ouch

The Bulls struggle through a tough week and finish 1-3.

Bulls Beat #352` - Ouch

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CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • So this will be an extremely long post, sorry to take up the space lol...Crazy enough, I am still optimistic this team has what it takes to get to the finals. Let's think about the month of January and how each player has looked recently and what we can maybe expect for the rest of the year:

    Joakim Noah: Obviously never 100% healthy all year. Now has a chance to rest (hopefully longer than what Thibs wants). Figure out a way to play through the post-surgery knee, and he is the one player you know can eventually figure that out and play through the pain. Is he DPOY or crazy assist center Noah of 2013, hell no, but once he gets back close to 100% he can be the 2011 or 2012 Jo again. Overall, has plenty of room to grow.

    Pau Gasol: As everyone has mentioned, would be great to see Pau with someone beside Noah and show more on the defensive side. Also, can he get a hold of the ball more often and not have Carlos Boozer hands or give that disgusting look on his face when he thinks there is a foul and mopes back on D. Once again, has more time to gel with the team and contribute even more than he has, with a little help from Thibs limiting his minutes and saving him for the playoffs. Get your defense in order Pau!

    Taj Gibson: I think he has been the most consistent player. Yes, not as good as years past, and looks frustrated at times, but lately has been the most consistent team player. He even is passing the ball more lately! I love Taj and what he does for the team, but totally understand if the Bulls trade him in the offseason, as he is no longer a necessity for the Bulls to win it all. As far as the rest of the season, I look for Taj's rebounding stats to increase, and he has room to get better on the offensive end when he is playing with the right group.

    Jimmy Butler: After a great start, needs to pick it back up, maybe not to the high level he was playing in first month, but just get his head back and figure out how to become a better contributor when playing with D Rose. Not worried about his D, more worried about Thibs running him into the ground. We need Jimmy to get to the line when Rose and Gasol are struggling, along with shutting down or at least slowing down the other team's best player. Butler has time to get back to playing confident basketball like we enjoyed earlier, don't think any Bulls fans will question his heart and hard work.

    Bench: So Niko is probably not the ROY and I think some people got a little too excited about him. Still LOVE how he goes after it, and he will get better, need his shot to start falling and he will be back at it. Once again, room to get better. AB, everyone knows has been stellar. Can Thibs get him more time? Can he play a little better D? Can Thibs play Etwuan Moore instead of Kirk? I'm actually a Kirk guy, but I admit his glory days are done. He doesn't have much left in him, and should only be used in spurts when Moore or AB are struggling.

    And of course, D-Rose: This is the most exciting part of the season. Derrick Rose has played most of the season and is looking better every week. Oh by the way, his 3 point shooting alone has kept the Bulls in some games where they struggled. He is being smart, going to the hoop less often than in years past. Yes, he is being lazier on D, but many times it is the bigs who make him and Jimmy look bad by not picking up their guys after the guards have forced them baseline. I know, D Rose is not going all out all the time. Good!!!! Keep it easy, go after them in the 4th quarter and play big time in the playoffs. I will be ecstatic if D Rose is completely healthy the rest of the season, but that's a big if.

    Overall, first half has been up and down, with many fans frustrated and looking for answers. Maybe they pull a miracle trade or maybe a miracle happens to Thibs and he sees the light that so many fans are mentioning...either way, I'm excited for the rest of the season and still think if the team is healthy come playoffs, they will have enough to have a good chance to get to the finals, and that's all we can ask for right now. Go Bulls!

  • In reply to Keep:

    Miracles are nice, but they don't happen very often!

    How about some bb smarts instead? Rest Noah until he heals, play Brooks more, trade for Afflalo - maybe cheap for pieces to balance the salaries, plus a couple of 2nd round picks. If not, surely the Bulls 1st rounder should do it. Or how about this trade: Afflalo and Nurkic for Taj, Snell, Bairstow, and Denver's choice by draft day of either the Kings' pick or the Bulls 1st round picks in both 2015 and 2017? That would improve the team quite a bit!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I doubt that Denver would trade Nurkic for anybody on our roster right now, maybe just maybe Rose and given his injury/salary situation likely not even him. I on the other hand would trade any of our big men straight up for him, but I'd like to keep Niko.

  • While I might agree in general that losing to the Wiz and Hawks isn't embarrassing in and of itself, trailing from wire to wire and never really looking like you ever had a chance to win is kind of embarrassing. But it does make the games easier to watch, knowing that a loss is inevitable no matter what little glimmers of hope(Rose 3 point shooting) appear during the intervening minutes.

    So now we know with near certainty that we cannot beat the Wiz, and it looks like the Hawks either. Add in any team with Lebron on it, and who does that leave that we even have a chance against in the playoffs, maybe Toronto and even they will simply be hungrier than we are.

    I think last night demonstrates that coaching does matter, a lot. Atlanta is undersized in general and really not the most individually talented team(no real in your face all stars), yet they are on a 26-2 run. The Bulls 72 win team started out the season 41-3 which included a 31-1 stretch.

    Maybe there is something about the SA way. At a minimum maybe playing guys 12+ minutes at a time isn't the way to maximize effort. I like how the Hawks are constantly running guys in and out, keeping them fresh. Certainly Gasol(Mr Krispy Kreme) who isn't the worlds most supremely conditioned athlete could benefit from shorter stints.

    Why would the Bulls have wanted/tried to keep Kyle Korver, they had to go out and resign Hangdog twice, who wouldn't make that choice. But you are right, Atlanta uses him in a much better way than the Bulls did. Korver had his worst seasons with the Bulls after nearly setting records before joining them and after leaving.

    Though the majority of our games lately appear to been over by the middle of the first quarter, they are definitely over with about 4-5-6 minutes left in the 4rth quarter when Thibs brings back Mr Krispy Kreme to finish the game. We simply cannot get stops with him manning the soft hole in the center of our defense. Unless we/he score every time down the court we simply won't/can't overcome any deficit down the stretch without stops.

    In a perfect example of the essential softness of Mr Krispy Kreme, go back and look at the turnover at half court early in the first between KK and Rose. KK had to bring the ball across the half court line to beat the time clock, he then picked up his dribble while completely unguarded by anyone, waiting for Rose to cross the half court line. The play was so telegraphed that Teague who was down in the key area started to sprint out to intercept the pass well before KK even threw it. All of this action was happening right in front of him, and he should have been aware of it. Never the less, he lazily threw the pass to Rose, Teague intercepted it in full gallop and scored an uncontested bucket. That was nothing more than mental laziness on KK's part, just one of the many ways in which his softness manifests itself.

    The other night on the opening possession of the Wizards game, Noah did a good job of forcing Nene under the backboard on a reverse layup attempt. The shot missed and Krispy Kreme had a completely uncontested rebound. Instead of moving his feet and body to go after the rebound and using both hands to grab it, he stood flat footed waiting for the ball to come to him, reached for it with one hand and slapped it out of bounds. Wiz get the ball back and score. Again another subtle manifestation of his softness.

    We pretty much get a display of his essential softness every time that the other team scores a bucket, as he just stands there looking totally exasperated shaking his head and arms in frustration that nobody is helping him. This is exactly the same crap that was going on in LA the past few years. I thought that it was due to D'Antoni and the bad situation in LA, but apparently it is the very essence of who he is. Now we appear to be stuck with it for 3 years. I am sure that most people are still in the honeymoon phase with Gasol and that it will last at least until we get embarrassed in the playoffs. Even then, like it did with boozer half the people will continue to deny the problem until the very bitter end. It is time to start the boozer treatment for Mr Krispy Kreme, at least if we want to have any chance at winning games during closing time.

    The box score fans will point out what a great game Krispy Kreme had last night(another double double), but even setting aside the defensive issues, as the Hawks mostly scored at will, pick and rolling or popping us to death, he should have dominated a Hawks team with no one taller than 6'9".

    It is starting to look like this might be the year that Thibs and the entire team implodes, as there do not appear to be readily available solutions to the growing number of problems that are being exposed on a nightly basis by opponents good and bad.

    Naw, not really, I'm just too negative, everything will be alright when we get everybody back healthy and they all play the way that they do in our vivid imaginations.

    It will be interesting to see if things to magically turn around when Dunleavy gets back. That would be shocking given how little he was actually contributing right before he got hurt. But who knows, at this point it is about all we have going for us.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree with you as usual. I still can't believe the Bulls stuck with Hinrich over Korver or even Thabo for that matter who I thought also didn't get enough opportunity when he was here. Don't even get me started on the Elton Brand trade.

    Pau Gasol has no hustle to his game and as much good it does the team offensively it hurts us twice as much defensively. Also he has some of the softest hands I've ever seen. I've lost count how many times I've seen a defender just slap the ball out of his hands or snatch a rebound right from his grip.

    I think the Bulls bigs are the main cause of all the problems. Noah just isn't healthy and hasn't done much of anything good this year. Gasol is too one dimensional and stiff, Mirotic is a bit inconsistent and every time he attempts a three it leaves us with a weaker rebounding presence, and Taj is basically our most solid all around big right now but sometimes he makes dumb decisions with the ball and his jumper is garbage right now.

    In my opinion these players on the Bulls feel too safe and comfortable. They don't believe they can be traded so they play with lackluster effort because they don't have nothing to fear. A prime example is Aaron Brooks and Etwaun Moore. These guys have something to prove and are fighting for playing time and their very existence in the NBA. I don't see that same hunger among any of the starters or the regulars. I think it may be time to pull a trade just as a wake up call.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Agreed, coaching does matter A LOT. But don't Bulls have one of the best coaches in the NBA? Sorry, no they don't. Bulls have a one-dimensional drill sargeant who hit his ceiling as a lead assistant coach-defensive guru.

    Earlier, I called Thibs a "lifelong assistant coach masquerading as a head coach", and caught some flack for it. But I'll stick with that term, as I watch Thibs continue to struggle for years with matchups, adjustments, rotations, and minutes management - all basic responsibilities of a head coach.

    Thibs can watch game film 26 hours a day - eight days a week, but until he can adjust in real-time to live games he's a second rate head coach.

    Korver wasn't running all over the court curling around screens last night, was he? No, he was stepping into his 3-point shots. Big Difference!

    The Budenholzer hiring really passed under the radar as Al Horford was injured most of last season. But with a complete roster and a year to implement his system, Budenholzer has created the Spurs of the East. The Hawks are a well-coached team.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I thought the problem was that Reinsdorf is cheap and waiting for the next CBA? You must have posted as much 20 times or so, used bold and everything. Now you're saying the problem is the coach is actually an assistant? It's amazing they win any games with such worthless coaching, management and ownership.

  • Not that it is a big deal, but anybody have any thoughts on why Thibs started Snell for a few games, getting up to 32 minutes then he goes DNPCD in back to backs. Really Moore or even Snell would be preferable to the eye gouging pain of having to watch the Hangdog flop around like a fish out of water on defense. For the second straight night Thibs actually realized how bad he is by calling a timeout to yank him after a particularly attrocious defensive lapse. If you go back and rewind some of these plays, they are truly commical, like a little kid who simply doesn't belong on the same court as the big kids.

  • Right now the Bulls look very mediocre. As they are currently they might advance to the second round if they finish 4th in which they'll play the Cavs in the 1st round. Despite the Cavs current troubles they are a scary team to face in the 1st round and could still have a reasonable shot to make it to the finals, so the Bulls need to get their act together fast. Furthermore right now the Bulls look inferior to both the Hawks and the Wizards. Many fans would like to see the Bulls end up with Toronto but should be careful with what you wish for. DeRozan is back and the way the Bulls are lackadaisical on defense doesn't make Toronto any easier of an opponent than the Hawks or Wizards. If they don't get back to playing defense and playing with some swagger things are going to get ugly come April.

  • So LeBron and the Cavs tonight. Kyrie Irving went off in their last game against the Clippers. See how Derrick's game holds up tonight. Hope Niko can bounce back too with more minutes.

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    In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Well if this past week to ten days is any indicator, the Bulls should get smacked. Them only being a 3-4 pt underdog probably means they could win this game.

    I just want to see the bulls hold a team under a 100 points for a change

  • This team has no identity. Even when this team was winning, you couldn't definitively call it Bulls basketball. There is no Bulls basketball. It's not defense and rebounding anymore and nothing took its place.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Reminds me of the Bears going from Lovie to Trestman.

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